Aug 122006
 

I haven’t been reading the news all that much recently, but a recent email referenced something about a reluctance to fly on planes. So I started reading about these chilling yet ingenious attacks that were planned on trans-Atlantic flights from the UK to the US, reportedly aiming to detonate around 10 planes in the air, virtually simultaneously.

Hunting around the Internet for news articles, I found a plethora of opinions, and many of the same ‘facts’ repeated. The thing that immediately caught my attention was George Bush’s response to the threat:

The recent arrests that our fellow citizens are now learning about are a stark reminder that this nation is at war with Islamic fascists who will use any means to destroy those of us who love freedom, to hurt our nation.
-George W. Bush

This statement worries me somewhat. I have always been critical to some extent of George W. Bush’s “War on Terrorism” tag line, the way the public react to wars has severely changed ever since the Vietnam War, but I still don’t think a conflict of interests counts as a war unless staged on some common or disputed ground. The problem here is that the disputed ground is purely moralistic, and it is widely known that neither side is going to ‘give in’ any time soon. Isn’t more like a tug-o-war, or a stalemate than a ‘real’ war?

Semantics aside, the bias against people of Islamic origin goes deeper. I found a prestigious news provider saying that the people whose accounts had been frozen by the Bank of England “appeared to be of Muslim origin…”. There is already enough bias against Muslims without saying that people “appear” to be Muslim, just by their photos and names. And what if they are Muslim? That doesn’t automatically mean that they belong to Al-Qaeda. I know this is all old material, but I figure it needs to be brought up every now and then. Because what happens when we don’t notice people being pigeon-holed? That’s more worrying in my opinion.

The reactions of the people that I have had chance to talk with have been vaired and interesting. The primary reaction is that of the chilling reality of these planned bombings. They were only “days away” from a “dry run”,and would have resulted in the deaths of at least a thousand people. Accounts differ as to how many planes they planned to detonate, and when they planned to do it, but it has apparently surfaced that leads from the bombing in London’s Underground helped MI5 unearth the plan. Did the underground bombers think that far ahead?

The next reaction is one of curiosity as to the ingenuity of creating a bomb from such ordinary items as a drink bottle and a disposable flash camera. While some people may think it abhorrent to be fascinated by this, I do think that ‘terrorists’ are becoming more resourceful as the authorities of various nations struggle to keep up. I don’t mean to be demeaning, I realise that governments have many things to think about and action at any one time, and even though several nations have apparently known about the use of liquid explosives for some time, it takes time to design, build and test machines that can detect them.

Then comes the sympathy for those whose flights were delayed/cancelled, and who are just too scared to continue. Having just travelled overseas, I wouldn’t wish extra delays on anyone. With people being asked to be at their check-in desks 3 or more hours before their planes leave, and many flights only allowing passengers essential items on the planes with them, airports must be hell at the moment. There are further ramifications also, with airlines forcing people’s carry-on baggage into the hold, surely that reduces their freight carrying ability also.

I would never proclaim to know the answer. But I do tend to be skeptical from time to time (and in fact I just found a reporter whose opinion is very similar to mine, scary). I can’t help but wonder why the US and the UK have put their alert levels up if they have “busted” this ring, and “captured the main players”. If they knew what was going to happen, and they have now foiled it, then surely there is – if anything – less of a threat now than before.

So why all the totalitarian measures? To ensure that the public realises what sort of “grave danger” it is in, and to foster belief and faith in our governments? It is all very convenient to constantly be at “war” with someone, it helps the government control The People better you see. George Orwell wrote a tale about that once I seem to recall.

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 Posted by at 1:51 am

  4 Responses to “The Evolution of Terror”

Comments (4)
  1. Sorry about all the similar news references. There are only a certain number of sites I can get to through my proxy server!

  2. “Remember, remember the 5th of November….” I think the more pop culture quote has been circulating the world over since the release of V for Vendetta. And perhaps to some point we are safer with a higher order controlling our safety in some way or another… remember sometimes we can only choose the lesser of two evils. (Or a stupid one if you back bush)
    As for the tale of the Islamic fascist… remember last week with the impromptu rally outside the doors of union house that sparked the immediate introduction of police, as students were harassed whilst leaving union house by these Lebanese die hards. And I know the war is an atrocity, any war is, but what has really caught my attention is how quick most people are to label Israel as the bullies of the Middle East. And no I’m not giving them a green light to go nuts with their awesome arsenal, but you must have to appreciate the absolutes of war. One can draw very similar parallels to Churchill’s theory of world war two. When surrounded by German forces ready to storm the channel to raze the motherland, Churchill never even contemplated democracy; there was only one alternate, WAR.
    Unfortunately, the major rule of war is whoever will fight the hardest for longest wins. Churchill knew it, Roosevelt and the rest of the free world knew it, history was made and we avoided evil… same applies with Reagan and his work for the cold war, I mean not a shot was fired but a very different war was won by battling for the spirit of the people.
    Anyway getting back to the point on hand, Israel certainly do need to defend every iota of land they have, and need every weapon they have in their arsenal. Again, no green light, don’t go nuts guys and I did mean defend, not clear land fall hundreds of Palestinian suburbs while people are eating their dinner. What I’d like to ask is for those of us who are so quick to dismiss Israel to consider the alternative – swap hezbollah’s arms for Israel, give em the nuke and wait 20 minutes. I guarantee you that hezbollah would launch all nuclear weapons into where ever they can. Let’s not forget hezbollah are already launching weapons into Israel at an incredible rate with no target other than the bigger the better. Again, a battle of the lesser of two evils.
    Unfortunately for the U.N. there is no talking out of this war, their hatred for each other grows two strong, and breeds rampantly through generations. And never was that raw hatred so visible than outside union house this week, how could people so distant from the war be seething in hatred… and take it out on others?
    As for those lining up for plane flights, try 11 hours in La Guardia Airport in New York a month after 9/11. Delays and whatnot are a fact of life. Problem is, and this I believe alludes to a previous rant of Will’s, people today expect the world in half a second, and even then it’s late.

  3. I would like to say one thing…

  4. haha

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