The Boston Globe must be one of the most fastidiously civil-libertarian newspapers in America. So much so that it has lost many of its normal liberal readers (that is, Americans who are not blind to the perils the country faces from Muslim terrorism).
In an editorial on Thursday, “Al Qaeda’s troubling new focus,” the paper offers a short (but very incomplete) narrative of what has occurred recently on the domestic terror scene. But the fact is that I do not concur that the change is so dramatic. There has been home-grown and violent Islamic jihadism since before 9/11. Still, the phenomenon is now much expanded. And it is good that the Globe has recognized it.
The editors elude the matter of how the government should deal with the epidemiology of the jihad legally and judicially. I believe that the obsession with treating these matters as ordinary crimes will pass ... either by a greater realism from the Obama administration or by a general political struggle in the public and the political system specifically. The president himself will, if pushed hard enough, be quite flexible; and Eric Holder will, well, be out of office, a victim of his own misguided principles.
Jamie Kirchick has written a very smart account in Commentary of the changes in terror on American soil over the last decade. He is more pessimistic than I about how the Obami will deal with these.