WASHINGTON, D.C. -- A few days after the failed attempt of a Pakistani-born naturalized American citizen to blow Times Square sky high, I bravely made my way through the returning throng of tourists and street vendors to take a look. By my calculation, had the jackal, Faisal Shahzad, 30, succeeded with his evil project in the early evening of Saturday, May 1 to explode the SUV he left on a Times Square street, he might have killed several hundred utterly innocent civilians, possibly a thousand. Fortunately, he failed.
Despite instructions from highly experienced terrorists back home, he packed his Nissan Pathfinder with the wrong kind of fertilizer -- a variety unsuited for bombs. The firecrackers he rigged up as detonators were insufficiently powerful to set his incendiaries off.
Finally, according to my favorite intelligence analyst, Rush Limbaugh, Shahzad's alarm clocks, which were supposed to serve as timers, were set wrong. He failed to distinguish a.m. from p.m. Oh, yes, and he ran from the SUV leaving on its key ring the keys to his getaway car and to his apartment.
The evil Shahzad's incompetence, we are told, should not give us confidence that the next attempt by another terrorist or terrorist group will fizzle as his did. The failed attempt in 1993 to blow up the World Trade Center was followed brief years later by Sept. 11. In fact, the terrorist threats against us here at home continue and may be speeding up.
Since Sept. 11, there have been 20 Islamists terrorist plots directed against us at home, former Attorney General Michael R. Mukasey writes in The Wall Street Journal, including Maj. Nidal Hasan's massacre of American soldiers at Fort Hood. He urges that any terrorist such as Shahzad be designated as "an unlawful enemy combatant" and that information obtained from them in interrogation remain confidential to be exploited against our enemies. Doubtless he is right and prudent in his recommendations.
Yet without diminishing the extent of the threat from Islamist terrorists, let me return to my expedition into Times Square. Naturally, brave as I am, I did not face those crowds alone. I was accompanied by Greg Gutfeld, whom the nation's insomniacs and a growing cult of niche viewers know is the host of Fox News' nightly "Red Eye," which airs in the East at 3:00 a.m. Aficionados burdened by normative daytime schedules TiVo it.