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Terror is More Than a Security Problem

7.17.2005

It didnt take long for parts of the UK government tale to come undone in the press. Following allegations earlier this week from Nicolas Sarkozy regarding the arrest of one bomber previously, there were instant denials and rancourous snarls from Home Secretary Charles Clarke. The man was mistaken was the general theme of responces from Whitehall.
So it disappeared for a few days, though a stink of fish clung to the air surounding the whole situation. Then along comes todays Sunday Times with reporting that the man was in fact obserrved and analysed by MI5 in the course of an investigation last year and deemed "no threat".
Without doubt, there will be the usual reactionary calls from the usual reactionary sources. It is, potentially at the very least, damaging for Clarke to appear to have covered up and misled over an important issue such as this at a time when people are still recovering from the emotional hammering of 7/7. This is not why I am writing however, the resignation calls I shall leave to the Mail et al. I think Clarke is a rather decent Home Sec and its the 'better the devil you know' approach which would lead me to support his stay.
The purporse of this is to point to the obvious failure of reliance on solely security and intellegence based solutions to the current problem of extremists in our midst and across the globe.
The judgement that Mohammed Sadiq Kahn was of no threat to the country is a seemingly sane and rational judgement taking account of resources and procedure as well as evidence of activity and radicalisation. There are possible weak points in the decision process but in the rush to judge or give some insanely emotive response we will probably never find out from the press at large.
The fact is that no security force in the world can get inside the mind of a man who doesnt fit pre-existing models or profiles. When he is the first of his kind, he breaks the mould and causes a restart in Security thinking. Thus the problem with the solely security solution is that its always reactive and unless you are a member of the Bush administration cannot actively be preemptive without trampling on Human Rights and Civil Liberties.
If pre-emptive security of the sort experienced at Broadmoor is the only viable solution to the protection of democracy, then perhaps the debate on HR and Civil Liberties would be shorter and more definite. There is not such agreement or proof that defeat/undermining of terror networks is best done in this fashion, the macrocosm example of Iraq is hardly instructive support for the argument either.
Therefore it is clear that we must embrace the multi-faceted approach to terror and extremism that is incumbent upon democracy every day in the face of Facism and the BNP types. Security plays a vital role in observing movements and monitoring chatter online etc, but it cannot be alone in its role. We must try to ensure that security has little or nothing to react to. That we do not give reasons for well educated and clever Muslim youths to examine the al-Qa'ida, Salafist/Wahhabist worldview and agree with its observations is paramount. We have a role and a duty to our electorates to cease activity which throws fuel on the fires of hatred in the mind of a few men.
One commentator recently likened al-Qa'ida's present form to a theology of sorts. In the sense that the power of its ideas rather than its leaders is its key force. We must then go about disproving the ideas and incorporating Imams and other figures in our society to disarm the bomb of of effervesent hatred.
Our engagement with others across the world and particularly in the middle east appear to give credence to the theology which says the evil west only desires to destroy Islam. We cannot keep letting them see and read more of this and this, it must be more along the lines of activity in the west such as opposition to the war and the ability to criticise our leaders.
I am not laying the blame at our door, it is however partly our interst, responsibility and duty to defeat extremism at home and abroad. Human life is the greates treasure we will have, only living opens our freedom up to the world, we must oppose those who would snuff it out.
"Hearts and Minds" is peddled so often as to be devoid of meaning and power currently, this is far deeper than a superficial hearts and minds programme. This is a strategic need for a sea change in policy by the west, on poverty, freedom, inclusion, education and, most fundamentally, in efforts to stop giving evidence and support by action to al-Qa'ida et al.
We can argue all day about who created al-Qa'ida and how its a western responsibility for the destruction of Afghan democracy in the name of the cold war through use of Mujahiddin. The fact is this extremism is here and out there. Unless the ratio of agents to suspects in 1:1 or better we have no chance of "securing" our way to victory. We must engage and address our strategic imperative of securing moderate empowerment and the fostering of Iraqi democracy. The opportunity to do such in Iraq has thus far been squandered and may never be recovered. I sincerely hope it does. We are all emotionally involved now.
RR

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  1. Anonymous guile | 10:39 a.m. |  

    nice, cozy place you got here :)..

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