The initial Arab response to the attempt was a collective shrug, indifference at yet another failed plot by a marginalized actor. Now, the Arab public seems increasingly fascinated by the story, with more articles and commentary about a resurgent al-Qaeda than in the immediate aftermath, and Arab commentators seem increasingly angered by the Obama administration's reactions. Between them, the American media and political gamesmanship transformed yet another al-Qaeda failure into what it can now claim as a success. They must be very proud.Fareed Zakaria also has a great take with Don't panic. Fear is al-Qaeda's real goal:
In responding to the attempted bombing of an airliner on Christmas Day, Sen. Dianne Feinstein voiced the feelings of many when she said that to prevent such situations, "I'd rather overreact than underreact." This appears to be the consensus view in Washington, but it is quite wrong. The purpose of terrorism is to provoke an overreaction. Its real aim is not to kill the hundreds of people directly targeted but to sow fear in the rest of the population. Terrorism is an unusual military tactic in that it depends on the response of the onlookers. If we are not terrorized, then the attack didn't work. Alas, this one worked very well.While the real story from late December was the double agent blowing up FOB Chapman in Khost. This will have to come in a future post. Baby steps!
UPDATE: The MSM chime in! Scott Shane is one of the good guys.