Bloggers sift through the still-emerging details of the thwarted terrorist bombing of American sites in Germany. Also, Larry Craig may not resign!
Teuton bomb: Three men were arrested in Germany Tuesday for plotting a spate of terrorist attacks on sites with heavy American traffic—most notably the Frankfurt airport and the Ramstein Air Base. Their weapon of choice was to have been homemade bombs made of hydrogen peroxide, and evidently enough of the stuff to outdo the devastation of the London and Madrid bombings.
Andrew Sullivan, who's been critical of the Iraq war, looks at the suspects' profiles—two are German, one is Turkish, and all underwent al-Qaida training in Pakistan—and concludes that the war can't be blamed: "It is hard to see how the Iraq war—whether a failure or a success—would have any impact on this tiny cell's attempt at mass murder in the name of God. This is simply the religious violence we have to contend with for the indefinite future. All we can do is what the Germans did: keep up surveillance (with protections against abuse), and run as many to ground as we can." And the Tank, the National Review's military blog, concurs: "The good news is that in both cases, the wagers of jihad were already under surveillance and disrupted as they attempted to acquire and gather physical resources for planned attacks. The bad news is that the threat in, from, and to Europe continues to grow."
Spree at Israelated actually thinks Iraq is enervating al-Qaida: "[T]hey are not able to train their fighters as they once were able because of our military in Afghanistan and our attacks upon their training camps and they have resorted to internet guides to train wannabe terrorists online … which could be one explanation of why these people are so inept nowadays, why their plots are being foiled and why many of their groups are being captured in Denmark, Germany, London and in the U.S." In a similar vein, Confederate Yankee correctly guessed the weapon the would-be bombers were making and points out it's "a favorite of terrorists that nevertheless often fails because of its instability." He continues: "I may very well be wrong, but after the failures of the second London bombers, and the Glasgow bombers, I have very little faith in the competence of the surviving al Qaeda bomb builders … who train terrorists such as these."
Noting that Denmark has just arrested eight of its own al-Qaida suspects, Robert Spencer at Jihad Watch suggests European countries are in a crisis of their own making: "Denmark is willing to arrest suspected jihadists. But it is not willing, nor is any other Western state, to attack the problem at the other end, and even to question prospective immigrants about their views on jihad and Islamic supremacism." Righty Ed Morrissey at Captain's Quarters speculates: "These events are probably unconnected in the pragmatic sense, but symbolically may be another story. With the anniversary of 9/11 coming next week, terrorist cells would aim for a spectacular attack even without central coordination."
Liberal Will Bunch at Attytood raises the point: "Most of the big victories in 'the war on terror' have been racked up by cops, not by soldiers. Why, it's almost as if terrorism is a law-enforcement problem—and less of a threat when it's handled well in that fashion."
But John Cole at Balloon Juice is less interested in terror attacks than in neocons: "I am pretty sure the folks at the Weekly Standard are still pretty pissed about those Reagan-era anti-Pershing protests that got pretty heated in Germany. Hell, anymore, a few terrorists and a decade old neo-con grudge is casus belli for a full-scale invasion. Let's bring freedom and democracy to Germany as we fight them over there instead of over here and do for Germany what we did for Iraq!"
In and out: The scuttlebutt in Washington is that Sen. Larry Craig, he of the airport bathroom assignation, may not resign from office after all, yielding to the encouragement of Sen. Arlen Specter. And his staff aides say it's business as usual on the Hill. Calls are being fielded, constituents are being heeded, even the Master Lock combinations on the toilet stalls haven't changed.
"Great news!" writes Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt's blog. "Senator Tappy-Toes is in it to win it. He's even retained Michael Vick's lawyer, Billy Martin, to help him in the fight. Now there's a guy who has a client roster to be proud of."
Liberal Melissa McEwan at Shakesville says: "As I thought the whole push for resignation by the GOP was rather ridiculous in the first place, just piling more hypocrisy on top of an incident already rich with it, I can't say I'd be disappointed if Craig didn't resign and fought the GOP machine. But it's really sad that he's obviously looking at it primarily as a way to 'prove' that he's not gay."
Is that all Craig's after? "If I were a loyal, long-serving Republican who, at the first whiff of scandal, found myself not just abandoned but loudly denounced by my colleagues, I'd certainly be in the mood for a little vengeance," suggests Michelle Cottle at the New Republic's Spine blog. Conservative Michelle Malkin suspects that's the case, and she's pissed: "Now, just pause and reflect: It is Arlen Specter egging Larry Craig on to help sabotage what's left of the Republican Party's credibility. Arlen Specter. You know, the liberal Republican horse the Bush White House backed instead of conservative stalwart Pat Toomey. Reap. Sow. Sigh."
Hilzoy at Obsidian Wings argues that if Craig reneges, his private life will only come under greater scrutiny, and this time he'll have no one but himself to blame for it: "[H]e should resist this temptation. It will only bring him grief. And when I try to imagine being someone who has been a politician for a long time, it's hard for me to imagine that he doesn't know this."
Read more about Craig's iffiness.