The president has now decided that although the fight against terrorists might not be war as usual, it nonetheless calls for special powers and the infringement of certain liberties. In this he is surely correct. The attacks of September 11 2001 and subsequent terror plots show that the US is dealing with a tenacious and resourceful enemy, willing to kill as many innocents as its weapons allow, loosely organised around the world but organised nonetheless. This enemy is no ordinary criminal enterprise and suppressing it calls for extraordinary measures.
Mr Obama has conceded, in effect, that the Bush administration was right about this