National Review Online asked "What should Americans be thinking about the foiled London terror plot?" For responses by R.P. Eddy, Frank Gaffney, Victor Davis Hanson, Tom Jocelyn, Heather Mac Donald, and James Robbins, see http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=OWE3ZmVmMWJjMjY1MjhiZjE1YzExN2I1YmUzYzNlZWY.
Several thoughts come to mind: (1) Yesterday's thwarted terror plot, and the ensuing media frenzy, offered the perfect antidote to what I warned was a dangerous post 9/11 complacency, for it involved no deaths but vast attention. Also, it prompted President Bush to break new ground by referring to our "war with Islamic fascists."
(2) Airplanes represent an outdated target because passenger screening techniques quickly adapt to threats. As soon as terrorists implement new techniques (box-cutters, shoe-bombs, liquid components), security promptly blocks them. (One cannot but wonder, however, why creatively, cops invariably lag behind criminals.) Conversely, trains, subways, and buses, as shown by attacks in Madrid, London, and Bombay, offer far richer opportunities for terrorists, for access to them can never be so strictly controlled as to aircraft.
(3) Massive terror plots of this sort (another example: the "Toronto 17" arrested in June) are unwieldy and more easily uncovered than small-scale terror that involves only one or two persons. The Beltway Snipers, who in October 2002 terrorized the Washington, D.C., area, offer a prime counterexample.
(4) On a personal note, as a writer who clocks in his share of hours on planes, I worry that the temporary ban on electronic gear will become permanent, prompting me to rethink my entire travel schedule.