Saturday, June 30, 2007

Some perspective from the eye of the current storm

Popessa referenced the London and Glasgow bombings earlier today. I was just reviewing the British papers for up-to-the-minute news and came across this lead article from the Guardian. I will let the editors speak for themselves:

"... the long view taken by those Britons whose phlegmatic calm so discountenances the foreign media is the right one. For terrorists do not pose, as some melodramatically claim, a threat to our way of life. In fact, they show us its strengths. The periods where there has been no terrorist threat to Britons in the past 150 years have been the exception, not the rule, yet we have weathered pretty much everything that has so far been thrown at us. So, it is worth noting, have many of our closest allies. Spain's far younger and far more fragile democracy withstood the Madrid bombings of 2004, as well as the campaigns of ETA. The US survived the shock of 9/11. Our own nation may have been shocked by 7/7 and 21/7, but it has not been significantly weakened.

Some believe that the solution to terrorism is to resolve the myriad grievances the terrorists broadcast so violently. This is a mistake. Many such grievances are imagined - the West does not want to 'dominate the lands of Islam', for example. Many more are simply not Britain's fault; we are not to blame for the parlous economic state of many Islamic countries. Instead, we should remember that it is our way of life, and the attraction it holds, that remains our best weapon. The truth is that our democratic structures, our economy, our values and the society we have built upon them are much stronger than we often think.

They can easily cope with the unpleasant but necessary measures, such as the controversial and currently flawed control orders, that are essential to fight terrorism. In counterterrorist circles, there is much anxious talk about the resilience of modern terrorist networks. There should be some less anxious talk about the resilience of our societies, too."

I think this strikes exactly the right note. What we are dealing with here is a death cult, with little appeal outside a narrow group of people. There is no need to change fundamentally the way we conduct our business...democracies ARE strong societies, perfectly capable of coping with this kind of threat. The language of overreaction, such as we have heard here in the US, only raise these nihilists' profile and standing. Let's do what we can to deflate these people, drain their swamps--maybe draw down the counterproductive and costly Iraq misadventure--and let the law enforcement agencies worldwide root out and punish these criminals. No need to "go all wobbly," as Margaret Thatcher put it so pithily in the l980s--let's play to our strengths and refuse to take action destructive to our basic values.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

One does wonder so about the hypocrisy rampant in Bush/Cheney and this administration when we hear their cheers loud and long for the American way and promoting democracy abroad and contrast that with their never-ending attempts to pull back on those rights within.

It's a question we've asked time and time again. And no answer ever comes.

10:40 AM  
Anonymous Katy said...

What would Thatcher do? Wouldn't she have been rushing into Iraq with Bush too? Wobbly or not.

12:02 PM  

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