I find myself agreeing with this line of reasoning by Holman Jenkins. The jihadist threat seems greatly diminished. The Detroit attack was particularly lame – what kind of fearsome terrorist only succeeds in setting his underwear on fire? And what kind of planners keep going after relatively tough targets like airplanes when there are oodles of easy targets? It’s hard to fight a war without troops, and I suspect the jihadis use their limited resources for maximum show of power, i.e. airplanes rather than shopping malls. They could more easily do more damage, but they would seem even more pathetic.
Still, regardless of the ineptitude of our enemies, we need to stay secure. It’s just that we do a poor job of it. The contrast between US airport security and Israeli security is very great. In short, the Israelis look for terrorists while we look for weapons. I think most people here would accept and even welcome an Israeli style approach to airport security, but our politicians have developed an aversion to anything that smacks of profiling.
In fact, the debate still wages as whether we are at war with the terrorists or whether we should treat this like a criminal conspiracy, an Islamic Mafia. Whatever the merits of the two approaches, it is easy to doubt that we are still quite so serious about terrorism after Bush. Fortunately for us, the terrorists seem to be not quite so potent as they once were. Maybe we deserve each other.