As this blog post suggests (more in a Register editorial tomorrow), I didn't think President Obama did too badly in his little talk on the Christmas pantybomber today. There are plenty of people who want to use this as a casus belli, urging him to greater militancy and feats of rhetoric and military punishment. But terrorists win when we overreact, Bush-style, and declare them to be Public Enemy Number One, to which we must dedicate all our efforts, compare them to Hitler and the like. The CNN commentators thought he was unusually angry -- at the U.S. security apparatus for missing the signals more than at the boxerbomber, as well he should have been -- but I thought he was more businesslike, which was appropriate.
Of course the new pat-down security, the designated countries and the talk of full-body scan machines are simply window-dressing that do little or nothing to make us safer and a good deal to make flying less convenient and Americans more sheeplike. Obama acknowledged government failure but hardly noticed the absurdity of solving a government failure with more government.
I don't expect him to do the most useful thing if we really want to defang the jihadists, which would be to withdraw the U.S. military from all Muslim countries and stop trying to make them Just Like Us. I don't even expect him to understand that part of the problem is that there are too many overgrown security bureaucracies that can't coordinate because they are too lethargic and topheavy and cautious. He is POTUS, after all, and the inheritor of the Military Industrial Complex.