Jay Nordlinger at National Review thinks Alhaji Umaru Mutallab is the "father of the year" for going to the U.S. Embassy in Nigeria to alert authorities about his son Umar Abdulmutallab's activities:
Alhaji Umaru Mutallab is a remarkable man. He’s the father of the “Christmas Day terrorist,” who had gone to the U.S. authorities to say, “I’m afraid that my son has become radicalized and could be a danger to your country.” That was a bracing step for a father to take. In fact, in Impromptus today, I say that this man could be considered Father of the Year. Too little thought is given to the parents of criminals. It is a terrible position to be in, and such people endure a lot of pain.
Of course, Mutallab did indeed do a brave thing by contacting U.S. authorities. But I'm assuming Nordlinger shares the views of his colleagues at the National Review that his son Abdulmutallab should be tortured for information. I doubt many parents would come forward with concerns that their children are being radicalized if they think the United States is going to stick them in a secret prison somewhere and waterboard them. On the contrary, the realistic fear that people apprehended by American authorities might be tortured could help create the kind of toxic relationship with counterterrorism units that we see between urban communities and the police in the U.S., which would contribute to radicalization, rather than mitigate it.
At any rate, there's something disingenuous about the folks at NR empathizing with Mutallab's "pain" on the one hand and calling for his kid to be waterboarded on the other.
-- A. Serwer