The color-coded alerts are gone, but terror plot warnings are now seen as an inevitable part of the holiday season. With al Qaeda on its heels, the U.S. faces a real but weakened threat, experts say. Counterterrorism and law enforcement officials work tirelessly and have scored important successes over the last year. Since the very purpose of terrorism is to instill fear and provoke overreaction among the public, an America that refuses to overreact, rush to judgment or give in to fear is an America that defeats terrorism - at the holidays and throughout the year.
Late yesterday, the Senate and House of Representatives completed their conference on the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), leaving fundamentally unchanged provisions that mandate military detention of terrorism suspects, authorize indefinite military detention and harden restrictions on transfers of terror suspects. In the words of Major General Paul Eaton (ret), military and national security leaders "reject the militarization of the American judicial system," and this has led to unprecedented and widespread opposition from former military leaders, civil libertarians, former intelligence officials, current national security leadership, former Bush administration officials and editorial boards across the country. The growing chorus includes, today, two retired four-star generals using the pages of the New York Times to indicate that they would support a White House veto of the bill.