Friday, August 11, 2006

What he said

Following in the same vein as my post below: When are we Going to Learn that War is the Worst Possible Way to Fight Terrorism?

But the biggest problem with the president's statement is the invincible ignorance it displays. In reminding us that we are at war, he shows that he has still failed to learn the lesson fairly shouted by the latest news: war is anything BUT the answer to terrorism. War only breeds more terrorist attacks. What aborts them is patient surveillance.

Ever since 9/11, we have been literally waging war against terrorism....In return for all this blood and treasure, how many serious terrorist plots have we foiled? Not counting that feeble little fantasy conceived by half-wits in Florida, the answer is none. You can be quite sure that if this administration had actually managed to foil a serious plot, we would have heard about it. But we have as yet no evidence that the FBI or the CIA can do what the British did. Instead, the Bush administration reads the London conspiracy as one more argument for open-ended war in Iraq.

It is nothing of the kind. The crucial lesson here is that the British have just cleaned our clocks. They've shown us how to do what we should have done years ago, well before 9/11, to stop terrorist attacks before they happen rather than letting them happen and then waging endless wars to retaliate for them--and in the process killing thousands of innocent civilians. Since last December, when British agents started tracking the group of suspects and one undercover agent infiltrated them, the British patiently collected the intelligence they needed to judge the scope of the plot and calculate the best possible moment at which to arrest the plotters. They did it without killing or wounding anyone, and at the same time gathered the evidence they need to convict the plotters--not to hold them indefinitely in the absence of any evidence at all. The British have thus shown us how a civilized society fights terrorism.


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