After Barack Obama won the election, several Bush appointees running the war on terror came by our offices to sum up. On each visit, one point recurred: Coming into this world from the outside, they soon realized the scale of responsibility was larger than anything they had imagined.
If the Hasan massacre at Fort Hood didn’t bring Barack Obama to this moment, I’m guessing the holidays’ two terror horrors did. On Christmas, a suicide bomber came close to filling the Michigan sky with several hundred bodies. Days later, physician and suicide bomber Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi blew up and killed seven CIA officers or contractors in Afghanistan. The Taliban then released a pre-bomb video of Balawi promising more revenge “inside and outside America.”
The Internet guarantees there is little chance this madness will burn itself out. A Jordanian doctor and a kid from a Nigerian banking family show how for the first time in history we have a homicidal ideology yoked to religion, which relentlessly draws energy and soldiers from the new phenomenon of the Web.
We have arrived at a familiar place—a U.S. president realizing that he is facing a determined and cruel enemy. Who in our politics, besides his foreign policy team, will stay the course with him the next three years?
His own party?