It took Faisal Shahzad trying to set off a car bomb in Times Square to get President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano to finally use the word "terrorism." (And not to refer to Tea Party activists!)
This is a major policy shift for a president who spent a month telling Americans not to "jump to conclusions" after Army doctor Nidal Malik Hasan reportedly jumped on a desk, shouted "Allahu Akbar!" and began shooting up Fort Hood.
After last weekend, now Obama is even threatening to pronounce it "Pack-i-stan" instead of "Pahk-i-stahn." We know Obama is taking terrorism seriously because he took a break from his "Hope, Change & Chuckles" tour on the comedy circuit to denounce terrorists.
In a bit of macho posturing this week, Obama declared that -- contrary to the terrorists' wishes -- Americans "will not be terrorized, we will not cower in fear, we will not be intimidated."
First of all, having the Transportation Security Administration wanding infants, taking applesauce away from 93-year-old dementia patients, and forcing all Americans to produce their shoes, computers and containers with up to 3 ounces of liquid in Ziploc bags for special screening pretty much blows that "not intimidated" look Obama wants America to adopt.
"Intimidated"? How about "absolutely terrified"?
Second, it would be a little easier for the rest of us not to live in fear if the president's entire national security strategy didn't depend on average citizens happening to notice a smoldering SUV in Times Square or smoke coming from a fellow airline passenger's crotch.
But after the car bomber and the diaper bomber, it has become increasingly clear that Obama's only national defense strategy is: Let's hope their bombs don't work!
If only Dr. Hasan's gun had jammed at Fort Hood, that could have been another huge foreign policy success for Obama.
The administration's fingers-crossed strategy is a follow-up to Obama's earlier and less successful "Let's Make Them Love Us!" plan.
In the past year, Obama has repeatedly apologized to Muslims for America's "mistakes."
He has apologized to Iran for President Eisenhower's taking out loon Mohammad Mossadegh, before Mossadegh turned a comparatively civilized country into a Third World hellhole. You know, like the Ayatollah has.
He has apologized to the entire Muslim world for the French and English colonizing them -- i.e. building them flush toilets.He promised to shut down Guantanamo. And he ordered the mastermind of 9/11, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, to be tried in the same courthouse that tried Martha Stewart.
There was also Obama's 90-degree-bow tour of the East and Middle East. For his next visit, he plans to roll on his back and have his belly scratched like Fido.
Despite favorable reviews in The New York Times, none of this put an end to Islamic terrorism.
So now, I gather, our only strategy is to hope the terrorists' bombs keep fizzling.
There's no other line of defense. In the case of the Times Square car bomber, the Department of Homeland Security failed, the Immigration and Naturalization Service failed, the CIA failed and the TSA failed. (However, the Department of Alert T-Shirt Vendors came through with flying colors, as it always does.)
Only the New York Police Department, a New York street vendor and Shahzad's Rube Goldberg bomb (I do hope he's not offended by how Jewish that sounds -- Obama can apologize) prevented a major explosion in Times Square.
Even after the NYPD de-wired the smoking car bomb, produced enough information to identify the bomb-maker, and handed it all to federal law enforcement authorities tied up in a bow, the federal government's crack "no-fly" list failed to stop Shahzad from boarding a plane to Dubai.
To be fair, at Emirates Airlines, being on a "no-fly" list makes you eligible for pre-boarding.
Perhaps the Department of Homeland Security should consider creating a "Really, REALLY No-Fly" list.
Contrary to the wild excuses being made for the federal government on all the TV networks Monday night, it's now clear that this was not a wily plan of federal investigators to allow Shahzad to board the plane in order to nab his co-conspirators. It was a flub that nearly allowed Shahzad to escape.
But the "highly trained federal force" The New York Times promised us on Oct. 28, 2001, when the paper demanded that airport security be federalized, failed to stop the only guy they needed to stop at JFK last Monday -- the one who planted a bomb in the middle of Times Square days earlier.
So why were 100,000 other passengers harassed and annoyed by the TSA?
The federal government didn't stop the diaper bomber from nearly detonating a bomb over Detroit. It didn't stop a guy on the "No Fly" list from boarding a plane and coming minutes away from getting out of the country.
If our only defense to terrorism is counting on alert civilians, how about not bothering them before they board airplanes, instead of harassing them with useless airport "security" procedures?
Both of the attempted bombers who sailed through airport security, I note, were young males of Middle Eastern descent. I wonder if we could develop a security plan based on that information?
And speaking of a "highly trained federal force," who's working at the INS these days? Who on earth made the decision to allow Shahzad the unparalleled privilege of becoming a U.S. citizen in April 2009?
Our "Europeans Need Not Apply" immigration policies were absurd enough before 9/11. But after 19 foreign-born Muslims, legally admitted to the U.S., murdered 3,000 Americans in New York and Washington in a single day, couldn't we tighten up our admission policies toward people from countries still performing stonings and clitorectomies?
The NYPD can't be everyplace.