The persistent threat of terrorism
"[O]ur security is at stake in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is the epicenter of violent extremism practiced by al-Qaeda. It is from here that we were attacked on 9/11, and it is from here that new attacks are being plotted as I speak. This is no idle danger; no hypothetical threat." -- President Obama, West Point, Dec. 1
"Terrorism has long been a tactic, but modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murder innocents on a horrific scale." -- President Obama, Oslo, Dec. 10
Not that President Obama wanted or needed an incident to buttress his assertions at West Point and Oslo, but the attempted downing of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 from Amsterdam to Detroit is a chilling reminder that there are people out there who want to kill us.
The latest failed martyr claiming ties to al-Qaeda is Nigerian. And if the details that have emerged so far prove correct, that's further evidence that the enemy the United States faces is not confined to or by a national border.
But when I say "us," I don't just mean the United States. Al-Qaeda talks about wanting to bring down the free world. In addition to the Sept. 11 attacks, the group has claimed responsibility for hitting Bali (2002) and Madrid (2004), to name just two.
Of course, terrorists understand the significance of trying to smack America around Christmastime. Remember Richard Reid? His attempted shoe bombing played out on Dec. 22, 2001.
Thankfully, the alleged Northwest Firestarter didn't succeed. Federal authorities may get valuable information from this suspect. Unfortunately, that information may only confirm our worst fears.
| December 25, 2009; 9:16 PM ET
Categories: Capehart | Tags: Jonathan Capehart
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