Today’s news about a foiled plot to blow up flights between the U.K. and the U.S. is very upsetting. Not the plot itself, as despicable as it is, what is really upsetting is the response. No taking liquids on to planes, “sorry maam, we know airlines don’t feed you anymore, but that water bottle is a no-no”. And no more hand luggage – no laptops or iPods or portable DVD players or keys attached to a fob or phones or PDAs (now you’ll be delayed and won’t be able to let anyone know) …
The truth is that the authorities had little choice here. After all, imagine if several months from now terrorists were indeed successful in blowing up a plane using similar plans. Can you imagine the uproar? “You knew this could happen and you allowed it to happen anyway!” would be the accusation. Heads would roll, people would lose their jobs, and knee-jerk decisions would be made so as to appear decisive and responsive. It’s a lose-lose situation.
But, terrorism is intended to frighten, to terrorize, to force people to stop living their normal lives, and instead submit to fear. Well, if that’s the case, mission accomplished. Without actually carrying out a plot, terrorists have succeeded in instilling fear, and have made authorities do their dirty work for them, forcing us to change the way we live.
The terrorists have won.

54 thoughts

  1. Hi Ben,
    hope you are well.
    I’ve been reading more about the history of Israel as you suggested, and indeed you are right in that it is not black and white – it is a convoluted and complex problem. I am also reading "Pity The Nation" by Robert Fisk which provides some illuminating history on Israels policy towards Lebanon over the decades.
    Referring to your earlier post where you suggested that Israel had a moral obligation to respond to the rockets that Hizbollah fired: I came across this article in the Independent today which talks about the bomblets that Israel has left in southern Lebanon which will continue to maim and kill people for years to come. My question to you is: what is the moral justification of this? Surely, even if you take a pro-Israeli stance, you have to admit that this is just plain wrong? Because these bomblets are going to kill innocent civilians not Hizbollah – were they really neccesary?
    Independent 18/09/06:
    "The war in Lebanon has not ended. Every day, some of the million bomblets which were fired by Israeli artillery during the last three days of the conflict kill four people in southern Lebanon and wound many more."
    Full article here:
    http://news.independent.co.uk/world/middle_east/article1616665.ece
    Best regards
    Khalid

  2. Frontpagemag.com is a neo-conservative, pro zionist site that deliberately misleads and misinforms and routinely attacks Arabs, liberals and anyone who doesn’t follow the zionist agenda. Although there may be some truth hidden in the propoganda, I would suggest readers take anything and everything from that site with a truckload of salt (a pinch won’t be enough).
    A google search on some of the contributors and the site itself turns up some interesting reading, eg:
    http://www.freeexchangeoncampus.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=176&Itemid=27

  3. Interesting dialogue. I love CF and was doing some personal research on the Middle East conflict and ran across the this post. I am fascinated with the issue of Israel/Palenstine.
    I think both sides have a point and I can sympathize with either party on the issue of their land. Killing innocent people is wrong – bar none.
    It appears the root of the modern day problems point back to the creation of Israel as a state in the late 1940’s.
    Question for Ben – I don’t know the answer to this question. When the Ottoman Empire land was used (or assigned) by the U.N. to Israel who was currently occupying the land? Jewish people? Arabs? or both? What the case that the Arabs were basically told to get out because we are giving your land to the Jews? It seems to me that Israel was not established on empty land – but again I don’t know which is why I am asking.
    Being an American history buff, this seems very similar to what happened to native American Indians. They were over run by U.S. government and told that althoguh they have been on the land 1,000’s of years that the U.S. Government was taking possession of their land.

  4. We have plenty of them in Iraq. they called American soliders, Mehdy Army, Al Qiada…., etc. They all share the same values.
    By the way, I bought 2 of your books Ben.

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