Is KSM Bragging?
As the WSJ says today, let's hope they're right.
The chain of carried out and planned events reveal horrific schemes that, if successful, would have killed over 10,000 people; perhaps as many as 25,000 by my rough estimating. Nearly all would not have been combatants in the war against Islamfascism; they would have been moms and dads, kids, grandparents ... innocents.
Those who are trying to ignore the ferocious, appalling goals of Islamofascism -- whether it's by criticizing the KSM confession or by sitting in their seats in Congress and undercutting the war -- are trying to turn back the clock to Sept. 10, 2001, when they still thought they could get away with ignoring the jihadist threat.
Here's how the WSJ editorial described those who would pretend we're not at war:
As the Surge begins working, as Iran looks better than ever, we have KSM making the terrorists look worse than ever. And as his confession circulates, as the car bombs aren't going off in Iraq, Congress continues to say there's no war here, there's nothing for us to win, let's just go home, comfy in the knowledge that this whole Islamofascism thing was a bad dream.
But we think KSM's world of war makes clear that, if anything, President Bush understated the danger posed by the 14 "high-value" enemy combatants he transferred to Guantanamo last autumn. And it reveals just how terribly mistaken was the view of those who told us, pre-9/11, that terrorism was merely a law enforcement threat like any other.
That view permeated the CIA, where Paul Pillar helped run the Counterterrorist Center and wrote that "There is no. . . BinLadentern" akin to the old Communist Comintern. He denounced "overheated rhetoric that has spun out ever more frightening and unusual ways in which terrorism might inflict large numbers of casualties." And he deprecated President Clinton for ordering government agencies to examine the plausibility of a biological attack on New York City after he'd read "The Cobra Event," Richard Preston's 1998 novel on the subject.
When the 9/11 Commission concluded that the failure to avert that awful day was above all "a failure of imagination," the Pillar world view is Exhibit A. And we mention it here because now, after five years without a terror attack on U.S. soil, that view is making a comeback in the growing opposition to holding enemy combatants in Guantanamo or to warrantless wiretaps of al Qaeda.
As KSM makes clear, bin Laden and his acolytes declared "war" on the U.S. in his fatwa of 1998, a fact the U.S. only figured out on September 11. He professes to regret the death of women and children, but calls such indiscriminate killing "the language of any war" and justified by his religious motivation.
"For sure, I'm American enemies," said KSM in his broken English. For sure, too, he is a reminder of the evil that still confronts us in this conflict with radical Islam, and one that we underestimate at our existential peril.