Excruciating, not least of all because he ends up basically agreeing with the premise of the question. Yes, of course Shahzad “might have been incited” by radical Islam. He’s an Anwar al-Awlaki fan who went to Pakistan for bomb-training, didn’t he? And yet … he can’t quite bring himself to say that. The best he can do is a clumsy, heavily qualified admission that while Awlawki’s version of Islam is wrong, “people who espouse a radical version of Islam have had an ability to have an impact on people like Mr. Shahzad.” So palpably uncomfortable is he that I honestly feel a little sorry for him. Pathetic. Says Andy McCarthy, “How can you ever hope to stop something when you refuse even to speak its name?”

Incidentally, it’s worth reading the NYT’s recent profile of Awlaki in light of Holder’s answer; note the detail about his 53-disc boxed sets on the life of Mohammed. For a guy who’s evidently so misguided about what the Koran says, he sure has spent a lot of time studying it.

Tags: Islam religion