First, they shouldn't be calling it an "attempted" act of terrorism. By affecting our behavior for the worse the mere attempt to down an airliner is an act of terrorism. Our current feckless leadership is exemplified not only by DHS Secretary (and prospective Supreme Court nominee) Napolitano but also by Attorney General Holder's boilerplate statement in his press release on the episode (with my comments in brackets):
"This alleged attack [alleged only if you think the real attack might have been gastritis] on a U.S. airplane on Christmas Day shows that we must remain vigilant in the fight against terrorism at all times," Attorney General Eric Holder said. "Had this alleged plot to destroy an airplane been successful, scores of innocent people would have been killed or injured. We will continue to investigate this matter vigorously, and we will use all measures available to our government to ensure that anyone responsible for this attempted attack is brought to justice [and given an opportunity to denounce America in a U.S. court, should his attack fail]."
Holder's boilerplate statement looks preposterous in light of his decision to try various Guantanamo detainees. One reason the "panty bomber" (Mark Steyn) waited until landing to set off his device was to assault Americans on American soil. He must also have been counting on a backup plan of addressing a U.S. court. Should that turn out to be a motive, Holder should certainly offer his resignation.
Victor Davis Hanson and his NRO colleagues have more. Let gratitude be felt for the allegedly quick-acting passengers on the Detroit flight--though maybe, according to the jurisprudence of the day, they should be charged with assault instead.