The foiled Times Square bombing proves yet again that Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich, and the other conservatives who argue that terrorism is “an act of war” that can't be treated like a normal crime are dead wrong, writes Fred Kaplan for Slate. Police caught Faisal Shahzad the old-fashioned way: by checking for forensic clues, reviewing video footage, questioning witnesses, and so forth. “Terrorism may be a campaign of war,” Kaplan argues, “but it manifests itself in criminal acts.”
New York has seen nine foiled terrorist attacks since 9/11, all prevented thanks to informants and arrests. Civilian courts have convicted 319 terrorists, while military tribunals have managed a paltry three—two of whom were eventually released. The incident also proves that busy urban centers, with many citizens to provide "eyes upon the street," are tough targets for terrorists. And although the video lead hasn't panned out, it demonstrates the potential value of New York's oft-vilified street security cameras.