Monday night's arrest of suspected Times Square bomber Faisal Shahzad is both disconcerting and reassuring—proof that the world's jihadists are still targeting the U.S. homeland, yet also evidence that our antiterror fighters are getting better.But a cautious note on the left's "law enforcement" approach:
From the street vendors who alerted police to the smoking car, to the mounted officer who moved crowds away from it, to the impressive forensic and detective work that led to Shahzad's dramatic arrest as his flight was preparing for takeoff at Kennedy airport, to the international cooperation that led to the capture in Pakistan of one of his radical associates, things rapidly came together after the botched car bombing in a way they too rarely do outside the movies.
Surely all this deserves a cheer—and no small amount of credit goes to the Bush Administration for mobilizing this antiterror capability and mindset, which its successors have been able to exploit.
The bombing attempt is also a timely reminder that all the talk about the war on terror being over is nonsense. Astute police work foiled last year's plot to bomb New York's subway, as it did similar planned attacks against a New York synagogue and a Dallas skyscraper. But it was only luck that saved the passengers aboard Northwest Flight 253 on Christmas Day, just as it was luck and terrorist incompetence that prevented an atrocity at the corner of 45th Street and 7th Avenue. The victims of November's Fort Hood massacre were not as fortunate.
One regrettable part of this investigation so far is Shahzad's arraignment in a Manhattan court room yesterday on terrorism charges. This means he has been allowed to lawyer-up and told of his right to remain silent, rather than being subjected to more thorough interrogation as an enemy combatant. Attorney General Eric Holder said yesterday that Shahzad is cooperating, and we hope he is.RELATED: At New York Times, "A Renewed Debate Over Suspect Rights." (Via Memeorandum.)
Image Credit: LAT, "Interactive: Times Square Car Bomb."