Leading governments are fueling terrorism

Slowly but surely, other countries’ governmental leaders are realizing that the secrecy and anti-Islamic behavior of many of the worlds leading governments are in part responsible for the growth of world-wide terrorism. From Canada’s Security Intelligence Service head:

Canada’s spy master, of all people, is warning that excessive government secrecy and draconian counterterrorism measures will only play into the hands of terrorists.

“The response to the terrorist threat, whether now or in the future, should follow the long-standing principle of ‘in all things moderation,’ ” Jim Judd, director of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service, said in a recent Toronto speech.

He admitted officials do not yet fully understand a crucial element in combating terrorism — the process of radicalization that can lead individuals, especially young Muslims raised in Canada and other democracies, to embrace terrorism.

That remark at the recent Raoul Wallenberg International Human Rights Symposium was followed yesterday by details from a CSIS study that found a “very rapid process” is transforming some youths from angry activists into jihadist terrorists intent on killing for their religion.

The study, obtained by the National Post under the Access to Information Act, says a few have embraced terrorism with frightening speed after becoming enraged over what they perceive as a western “war on Islam” and being coaxed on by extremist preachers.

“The most important factor for radicalization is the perception that Islam is under attack from the West. Jihadists also feel they must pre-emptively and violently defend Islam from these perceived enemies,” it concludes.

Similar commentary from Britain’s head of MI5:

Mr. Judd’s comments are similar to those made in November by Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller, the normally very private head of Britain’s MI5 security service.

In a major public speech, she predicted the fight against terrorism will last a generation and warned that radicalization, especially of young people, was one of the biggest problems facing anti-terror investigators. Three of the four men who attacked three London subways and a red double-decker bus on July 7, 2005, were British-born.

“We therefore have to avoid falling prey to the terrorist propaganda which would have people believe that this is a clash of civilizations or cultures or religions,” he said. “Our own response therefore has to be carefully modulated and very focused…. And we have to be very careful in our use of language on these issues.

This isn’t to say we need to close our eyes to terrorists. However, too many people seem to think that mere profiling based on ethnicity will reduce many terrorism issues. I know people who say if we just don’t let people from the middle-east fly, we won’t have a repeat of 9/11. And yes, I really do mean that – I know people who have suggested that is all it would take to keep flyers safe. This is nothing but another form of racism, and punishes people who have done nothing wrong and who have no intentions of doing anything wrong. In short, it is baseless, useless, and ineffective.

Mr. Judd continues to the point that I’ve been trying to make for years:

“Over-reaction to terrorism, it should be remembered, is a fundamental objective of most terrorists in history. We should not accommodate their goals in this regard.”

Yes. Terrorists goal is not to kill us all (well, long-term it may be, but the near-term goal that we have to deal with is different). Their goal is to disrupt our lives as much as possible in as many ways as possible so that our freedoms are restricted, we feel less safe, and we start doubting our government more. Every time you get delayed by a security check in an airport that you wouldn’t have needed to go through before 9/11, the terrorists have accomplished a small part of their goal. Every time the government strips away your rights in order to “protect you” from terrorists (I’m particularly thinking of the gross violation of Americans’ rights that are the USA PATRIOT act and the illegal wiretaps to spy on US citizens illegally authorized by our current President) , the terrorists have accomplished a small part of their goal. Every time legitimate, previously legal, non-harmful immigrants and visitors are prevented from coming into our country or turned away due to the ineffective and meaningless “security measures” imposed on non-citizens coming into the country, the terrorists achieve a small part of their goal. Every time people are scared to fly, scared to go to the movies, scared to go shopping, scared to go to sporting events, and so on, guess who has achieved part of their goal?

What Mr. Judd and others are realizing is that this is what the terrorists want. They know they cannot take on the free countries of the world via military maneuvers. They cannot destroy the financial strength of these countries. They cannot kill every one. But they can get the government to strip away our rights, and many citizens being sheep-like in mental acuity will be thankful for losing freedoms. They can get us to lose faith in our leaders and to distrust our own governments because we have seen to many rights and freedoms taken away. And given enough time, the terrorists hope to disrupt our lives enough that getting their recruits will be easier. Their plan is more for infiltration and absorption than for frontal attack. That’s why they aren’t routinely attacking us. That is a big part of why we’ve gone so many years without them attacking again. They don’t have to. And that is something Mr. Judd speaks on quite eloquently:

A careful, broadly based and multi-faceted national and international response to the issue is going to be required to prevail, he said.

“Democracies have taken a long period to develop and their values, laws and institutions continue to provide inspiration to those without the luxury of living in one. It is thus essential that in responding to threats such as terrorism we do so in a fashion that best reflects what democracies stand for.”

Responding to terrorism must be done in a manner that protects our democracy and our rights. Since 9/11, that hasn’t been the response by our government. But as more leaders and strategists around the world wake up to this realization, hopefully freedom and rights will be restored rather than stripped away, and maybe we can start trusting our government more to lead rather than spread fear. Then we will start truly winning against terrorism.

[tags]Canadian Security Intelligence Service head speaks on intelligent response to terrorism and dealing with it[/tags]