In the action thriller Die Hard , two FBI agents are about to lead an attack on a building filled with terrorists and hostages. One asks the other how much collateral damage there might be.
"Figure we take out the terrorists, lose 20, 25 percent of the hostages, tops," says the other.
"I can live with that!" the first one says.
That seems to be the attitude of some in the Obama administration toward terrorists released from Guantanamo Bay.
Last weekend, John Brennan, assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, said this about the fact that one in five terror suspects released from Gitmo get back in the terrorism game:
"People sometimes use that figure, 20 percent, (and) say 'Oh my goodness, one out of five detainees returned to some type of extremist activity.' You know, the American penal system, the recidivism rate is up to something about 50 percent or so, as far as return to crime. Twenty percent isn't that bad."
That has to be read twice to be believed. Go ahead. Read it again. We'll wait.
Still can't believe it? You're in good company.
Comparing international terrorists to domestic criminals -- forgers, burglars, thiefs, robbers, even rapists and murderers -- is beyond absurd. And Brennan's whole line of thinking betrays an alarming aloofness and casualness with your life.
Brennan seems perfectly willing to live with a 20-percent return-to-terrorism rate.
The question is, can we live with it?