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Friday, November 10, 2006


The British terrorist threat

We're now into the second day of the great British terrorist scare. MI5's head says they are tracking "almost 30 terrorist plots involving 1,600 people," and Tony Blair says "the threat from international terrorism 'is serious, is growing, and will, I believe, be with us for a generation.'"

Completely absent from any of the coverage of this story is any hint whatsoever of the nature of this "threat," and I don't mean which subways are being targeted. To hear or read the coverage, one would think that "terrorism" is simply something that people are attracted to for its own sake. Any clue that there might be a reason why 1500 people in Britain might have chosen to follow this path, other than the usual nonsense about 73 virgins, is completely absent. Equally absent is any explanation about how it might be possible to eliminate this threat in "a generation." Are all the terrorists, and every person who might possibly become one, going to be killed or jailed in that time?

The idea that British (and, of course, U.S.) foreign policy, as seen in Iraq, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan, and Iran in particular, might have anything to do with this threat? Completely, utterly, totally missing from the discussion. Can't go there. Wouldn't want to acknowledge that changes in that policy would be orders of magnitude less expensive in lives and "treasure," and infinitely more effective in ending the terrorist threat.

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