In what might be a watershed development, police defused a car bomb in New York’s Times Square. The bomb was of the classical Iraqi type: propane cylinders and gasoline. Fireworks were used instead of explosives. Amateurish, yes, but simple and efficient.
If the car bomb was planted by Muslims, that might be a harbinger of Pearl Harbor proportions. A 9/11-type hijacking is a relatively sophisticated affair, but Muslim saboteurs can easily plant any number of car bombs anywhere in America. Unless the American national spirit has changed drastically in the last seven decades, such ubiquitous attacks would push US public opinion toward an all-out war against terrorist-supporting Muslim regimes.
Quantity is the real test. If car bombs start popping up in US cities, we can assume the Times Square bombing attempt was for real. Some details are immediately suspect. Why would the terrorists use a false license plate instead of renting a legitimate car? How did they get hold of a license plate which the owner had sent for scrapping? Why use an SUV instead of a roomy mini-van, which is standard car for bombings, and less conspicuous for parking? Not the least, technical failures are extremely uncommon in car bombs, which are carefully assembled in suitable conditions.