Who will guard us from the guardians?

The head of MI5 said,

Some erosion of what we all value may be necessary to improve the chances of our citizens not being blown apart as they go about their daily lives. (Source)

The latest U.S. State Department figures show that terrorism is at its lowest level for thirty-five years.

Jimpix has an interesting comparison (figures are as of Jan 2004):

Now, I felt a bit jittery when I got on the tube today, but I.D. cards, telephone tapping, a shoot foreign-looking people to kill policy, three month internment all feel a bit disproportionate.

If we want to protect our liberal democracy from those who would destroy it, we shouldn’t voluntarily dismantle it piecemeal. It feels like the old Vietnam doublethink of “we need to destroy the village to save the village”.

Insipred by Anxiety Culture email.

3 Responses to “ Who will guard us from the guardians? ”

Comment by Shez

We’ve been through this all before with the IRA, so why we’re all so jittery about Al-Quieda (‘scuse the spelling) is beyond me. The figures you quote make interesting reading. But we don’t ban ciggies, alcohol, cars, conventional weapons etc. Why not ban death toting consumerism? Why make a big fuss about the odd bomb? The only thing I can think is that you can’t tax terrorism (yet).

Comment by Gert

The erosion of Civil Liberties already began before MI5 stuck its ugly head in it and before Charles Clarke started churning out anti-terrorism laws that, at best, will come in handy as toilet paper.

Our current laws are more than adequate to deal with terrorists, as shown in Northern Ireland, where eventually a solution (partial at present) was achieved through negotiations, not more “war on terror”.

In the immediate aftermath of 9/11 hundreds were arrested around the globe, nearly all of them had to be released because they simply had nothing to do with al-Qaeda whatsoever. Give the police and the spooks more powers of arrest and detention and that’s exactly what we’ll get: more arrests but not necessarily more convictions. Give them shoot to kill and they… shoot to kill a Brazilian electrician. What next: plumbers from Croydon?

Give the sheriffs longer periods of detention and they’ll spend more time at lunch…

Look at Guantanamo Bay… Ah, what a lovely little war this is [sic]…

Comment by John

Our current laws are more than adequate to deal with terrorists, as shown in Northern Ireland, where eventually a solution (partial at present) was achieved through negotiations, not more “war on terror”.