Saturday, August 19, 2006
Chaos at Heathrow.
In a previous blog I wrote about the attack on Lebanon, and about the Israeli spin that makes it appear that every problem in the Middle East is the fault of the Iranians: as if it were Iranian aircraft screaming over the Lebanon these last few weeks and blowing up everything that moved.
It was only after I’d finished writing it and had posted it up that I heard about the terror plot and the arrests in Birmingham and London.
I must admit that my first thought was dismissive. Here we go again. Anything to keep Lebanon off the front pages.
What I had in mind was the well-known history of WMDs, of fake dossiers, of the sexing up of intelligence material, of tanks at Heathrow, of Jean Charles de Menezes and Forest Gate and of all the other times we have been lied to or misled in the last five years since this so-called War on Terror was declared.
So now they have replaced real bombs with hypothetical bombs, real threats with hypothetical threats, real death and destruction and attacks upon civilians with a useful scare story designed to keep our minds distracted and our hearts full of fear.
Disrupting our holidays. Testing baby-milk for high-explosives. Ha! It would be ludicrous if it wasn't so serious.
Notice how the terror alert only went critical once the alleged terrorists had been caught?
That’s how I thought.
Well I’ve decided since then to reserve my judgement. Maybe there was a plot, after all. We’ll leave it to the courts to decide.
We’re lucky we still have a functioning judicial system, despite government attempts to dismantle it.
If there was a plot, let the perpetrators be brought to trial and, if they are found guilty, let them be punished for their crimes.
That is the proper way to deal with terrorists, and it always was.
Of course, when anyone attempts to take a rational approach to the current cycle of violence - pointing out how British foreign policy is causing this country to be targeted, for instance - we are immediately accused of giving in to terrorism.
Accepting that there might be grievances is allowing government policy to be dictated by the terrorists, we are told.
Actually it is the other way around. Only by accepting the reality of the grievances – and of the huge errors in British foreign policy which have exacerbated the situation - can the terrorists be separated from the mass of ordinary Muslims who agree with their aims but disagree with their methods.
Tony Blair’s talk of an “arc of extremism” and of “Reactionary Islam”, uniting Hamas and Hizbollah with the Taliban and al-Qaeda, is a dangerous obfuscation which can only lead to more misunderstanding, more violence and more terror.
Occupation creates resistance, whether in Baghdad, Beirut or Birmingham Alabama. It’s as simple as that. It has nothing to do with religion.