The Corner

New and Improved?

As Mark Steyn has warned for years, the Western attitude toward reports of terrorism is about as anti-empirical as one can imagine. We hear that Jewish hostages in Bombay were horrifically tortured, even as pundits assured us that the terrorists were symptomatic not of a cruel and evil radical strain of hateful Islamic fundamentalism, but of poverty and India’s illiberality toward Muslim minorities (ergo – mad at Hindu extremists or the dominant culture? Then take a neighborhood Jewish fellow prisoner and torture and execute him and his wife?).

FISA and wire-intercepts of terrorist communications in the pre-Obama president months were once derided as more of Ashcroft-Bush stomping on the Constitution — except that now ABC News reports that, in fact, US intelligence agencies supplied India with general knowledge of the rough time period, place, and perhaps even method of terrorist attack. Are we to believe that such newfound capability to warn a country 7000 miles away about terrorist infiltration on its borders would be of no utility here at home?

I think in response what we will see is that insidiously, bit by bit, Obama and the Obama-brand press will begin to drop the shrill rhetoric about destroying constitutional liberties, and replace it with the vocabulary of ambiguity (e.g., try “complex,” “no easy answers”, “problematic”, etc.). Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (mastermind of the 9/11 mass murders) will cool his heels in Gitmo for a bit longer rather than going onto a federal circus trial in NY or DC as a political prisoner with his government-paid-for lawyers seeking to find a sympathetic jury to nullify the evidence in the interest of social justice (I hope David Axlerod has polled the American people on that possible fiasco).

And I suppose that, given the Obama appointments, Iraq is now no longer an open sore, and of no utility in fighting radical Islam, but quietly evolving into a success better turned over to the Petraeus/Iraq timetable. And I think there will be both no more campaign-trail chest-thumping about going into Pakistan (lest India finds that a useful exemplar), and quiet compliance with existing stealthy Predator strikes against bin Laden followers in Waziristan.

All this is very American: Like taking the same old laundry detergent, sprinkling in a few new inert green crystals, and putting it in a more eye-catching redesigned box, with “New and Improved” (rather than ‘hope’ and ‘change’) spashed in bold cursive across its top.

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