I think Ann Althouse makes a good point here about how we're looking at the Christmas Pants bomber:
But no one - other than the bomber - was seriously hurt, so we can discount it or play with it and be flippant or political in ways that we would avoid if there were specific and numerous victims.I don't have my copy of "The Looming Tower" at hand (I'm traveling for the holidays) but I'm suddenly reminded of an aspect of the 1993 truck bombing at the World Trade Center: at the time, some government and security officials failed to appreciate the building threat of Islamic terrorists because they became fixated on the fact that one of the truck bombers went back to the Ryder truck company to get his deposit. What a dope! Now I'm getting an unsettling deja vu that we'll be seeing "hot pants" gags on Leno. Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano doesn't help the situation when she claims "the system worked," sending the blogosphere into a feeding frenzy.
By all accounts, the passengers of Flight 253 were a failed detonator away from the Great Hereafter. If that guy had detonated his device from the lavatory, there would have been nobody diving over seats to stop him. That's how close it was.
Yet today and tomorrow we'll be patting down little old ladies from the Midwest and dumping out baby formula and confiscating my nail clippers (that happened.) Meanwhile, the terrorists will be studying this attempt, probing for weaknesses, and planning their next assault. But we'll be serious then, after it's too late.
Extra - Jeffrey Goldberg: "The TSA's security burlesque"