Britons and Blair overreacting to terror attacks ?

I thought part of the way to defeat terrorism was to minimize their effect upon normal life. By keeping thing low tone or non-alarmist one would reduce the “propaganda” value of terror attacks… and minimize racial/religious tension.

Now Blair grandiosely announces several measures to deport extremists and fight support and incitement of terrorism: CNN link This sure looks like a nice way to further isolate some muslim youth.

Isn’t there already a good legal infrastructure to deal with terrorists in the UK ?

When the Tube re-opened… there were thousands of policemen in order to “re-assure” the population… just reading it made me think how all these Cops just seem more scary than reassuring. Too much fanfare and cops sure seems like an overreaction… if there were another attack… it would be stopped most likely by an alert passenger.

So discussion… are Britons and Blair overreacting to terror attacks ? Is this giving undue propaganda value to the terrorist acts of the past month ? Do those extra cops make you feel safer or not ?

More than a few people have noted that the same Finsbury Park mosque has been linked to just about every terror-related incident in the past five years. The fact that they can’t dislodge a radical cleric teaching (and perhaps sponsoring) jihad six miles from Scotland Yard suggests that, no, existing laws have not in practice proved sufficient.

One problem is that many/most of the “radicals” are present under misguided asylum laws that are based on a model of providing an absolute right to asylum and support to self-identified “victims of oppression.” Now, when you set up such a system (and assuming that it weren’t being abused), the very last thing you would ever permit was for a “victim” to be deported to his homeland because that’s the very place that his (supposed) oppressors are waiting to kill him! Nor can you send him back to his place of origin till his application is processed and found meritorious, for the same reasons. Essentially, then, the asylum/refugee laws are predicated upon allowing any self-declared refugee to stay until his case is processed (years), and on assuming that “refugees” will not lie; the laws and policies behind them are completely incompatible with deporting asylum applicants with any ease.

The only little (er, huge) problem comes when people realize what an absolute silver-bullet “refugee” status supplies to would-be migrants, even when they are not fleeing political terror (even when they are seeking to inflict such terror). Once someone invokes asylum, the existing procedures make it very difficult to get rid of them till their case is processed, and as a practical matter, tracking down asylum applicants who “jump bail,” or proving the falsity of bogus asylum claims, has proven to be a task that Western immigration authorities are either uninterested in, or incapable of, doing with any effectiveness at all.

Leicester is home to 10k Somalis kicked out of Holland explicitly for being unworthy of refugee status – yet none of them have been removed from the U.K., despite the fact that they are there precisely because they’ve been found to be unqualified for asylum elsewhere.

In short, this is an existing problem that people are using recent events as a way to solve?

Perhaps another way of putting it is that recent events have called attention to the acute nature of the problem and the insufficiency of existing ways of addressing it. News that several of the July 21 jokers were living in government-sponsored housing by virtue of their “asylum-seeker” status probably helped crystallize the dissatisfaction against existing govt. policy.

I think it would probably be fair to say that the bombings have acted to:
[li]Prompt an effort to address several well-known problems which have until now been avoided as being too challenging to deal with[/li][li]Stimulate a great deal of pointless legislation which goes down well in the media but will have minimal or negative long-term effects.[/li][/ul]
What laws fall into which categories remains to be seen. Similarly to what has happened in the Netherlands over the last year or two, things will shake out into a new political landscape with respect to immigration, ethnicity, assimmilation and some aspects of civil rights, for better or for worse.

With regards to the OP, if you treat all the attacks as one, after a total of eight attempted attacks by al-Quada, the ‘top 5’ for fatalities on the London transport system are as follows:
[li]al-Quaeda bombings 2005 - 52 killed by suicide bombs[/li][li]Clapham Rail crash 1988 - 35 killed when two trains collide[/li][li]Paddington Rail crash 1999 - 31 killed when two trains collide[/li][li]Moorgate Tube crash 1975 - 29 killed when train runs into dead end[/li][li] Kings Cross Fire 1988 - 27 killed when cigarette starts fire on escalator[/li][/ol]
In the grand scheme of things, allowing for the hundreds of injuries from the bombing but also for the fact that they were trying to cause unprecendented carnage, so far the ‘terror’ campaign hasn’t managed to come up with much more than our well-loved transportation companies cause on a fairly regular basis. So unless something terrible happens in the next year or so, it’s frankly a piss-poor effort. All the visible police are basically a placebo, as has been chewed over here in the context of New York . So yes, I agree that it has been an over-reaction, but on the other hand, what are you going to do when people are getting blown up on their way to work? I doubt any democratic government could get away with ‘they can’t kill enough of you to make a real difference, so just suck it up and get back to work’, even if that is what is called for.
And as Huerta88 points out, there are some real issues to be addressed with regards to asylum policy and so on - its unfortunate that this will pander to the ‘stormfront’ element, but the Londonistan situation was becoming untenable even before this happened

I’m just saying, I’ve been hearing people complain about ‘asylum-seekers’ for many years now. Almost as bad as the Parisian Cities, I hear. (Housing complexes outside cities.)

The word you are looking for is “banlieus” (euphemistic term for “neighborhoods” a/k/a subsidized high-rise housing projects ringing Paris). They are full of angry North Africans, and the French have been as busy, if not busier, than the English in terms of committing national suicide by tolerance (subsidy, no less) of the Fifth Columns in the banlieus. However (and the French are prone to spasmodic bouts of toughness, as with the Greenpeace dinghy), they have recently expelled a couple of homegrown Osama-type clerics. As far as actual widespread deportations of the disaffected and terrorist-sympathizing Muslims within (remember, 25% of Muslim “Britons” expressed sympathy with the motives of the July 7 bombers), though, don’t hold your breath as to either France or England.

The issue is not only the overreaction legal wise. I still do get the impression that Blair is creating more fear on regular londerners than really necessary. (Hopefully not as a political move a la Bush.) People want to be reassured… not seeing there government acting like a headless chicken running around.

Making it marginally easier to deport people who are preaching jihad against the country whose generosity they are exploiting seems unlikely to create tension among anyone who isn’t already tense.

And “isolation” of Muslim youth is a red herring. The bombers were guys who grew up playing soccer and listening to Britpop and eating Flake bars. They saw sympathetic Pakistani characters on Eastenders.

They chose to isolate themselves from all this to follow a sick creed of violence.

Deporting their revered radical clerics will no doubt further anger these type of radicals, but other than that, who can object to modest halting steps against beyond-the-pale hatemongers?

This is the scariest part.

Basically its a lose lose situation for Britain… but making too much fuss raises race problems and issues while not necessarily solving anything.

Blair seems to be excusing himself by overdoing things… while he should be taking a more calm attitude IMHO

  1. Is your point that the measures should not have been announced, only enforced quietly?

  2. If you disagre with the measures, and if terrorists were targeting civilians in your country and you were in charge, what measures would you take to reduce the problem? (I say reduce because i don’t think you can eliminate the problem)

  3. I have read (Ghost Wars by Steve Coll, history of CIA in Middle East and Osama, etc.) that the al-Qaeda type terrorists are less interested in propaganda than terrorist groups in the past. They are more interested in killing those that do not adhere to their strict interpretation of the Muslim religion than in merely making a point. Their goal is to actually rid the world of non-believers. If that is true, than the “propaganda value” you speak of is not nearly as important as with other groups.


  1. One yes enforced quietly would be better

  2. Blair should be more openly critical of the US I think… and in the eyes of Muslims be more “neutral”. By overdoing the lawenforcement I think he is making things more easy for AQ recruiters. His commitment to work with the Muslim communities should be even more high profile. You only catch terrorists regularly with people ratting on them… IMO.

  3. So at this Pace AQ will take a few thousand years to kill most muslims that don’t follow his ideas. I think when someone choses to make multiple attacks especially in highly visible targets one can only imagine that “propaganda” is important to them. To think otherwise is silly. Naturally if he wants to scare westerners and/or to awe muslims is another issue.

Why should Blair be more openly critical of the US?

You seem to be implying that one of the reasons the Muslim extremists attack England is due to the fact they are allied with the US.

But is there a specific reason why Blair should be openly critical of the US that is related to the terrorist attacks?

If your reply is that the Iraq war is the issue, I would remind you of a couple things:

  1. AQ began before the Iraq war
  2. AQ style Muslim extremists are generally interested in killing non-believers, regardless of support for an Iraq war or not. These types of attackes have been going on in many countries including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, for years.

In addition, during the Afghan war with the USSR, there were Muslim extremists fighting that had run ins with the Afghanis because the Afghans were not Muslim enough!

At it’s core, this movement exists regardless of US foreign policy. It began hundreds of years ago.

The suspect bomber being held currently in Italy specifically states that it was alienation caused by seeing pictures of Islamic women and children killed by British and US troups in Iraq that radicalized that group and decided it to bomb London. What more proof do you need.

The AQ movement naturally is older than Iraq… but regarding Britain its clearly seems inspired by Iraq. Muslim extremist attack in Britain were very few and far between from what I understand. IRA being the big terrorist of the past.

Also when you talk of AQ style remember that those British kids were anything but AQ style people… they were dissilusioned second generation Britons that feel their culture, religion or community is under attack. If they had been imported hardcore afghans or north africans I would agree with you naturally… but that isn’t the case. AQ and terrorism came to Britain mostly due to Iraq.

I think Blair would do himself and the UK some service by acting not as aligned (aka lapdog) with the US while still being "tough" on terror. Britain has always been more tolerant of Muslims and would have been better as a middle ground.

“I wanted to bomb London because my perverted brand of Islam wishes me to exterminate all non-believers” vs “I wanted to bomb London because I saw Iraqi women and children being killed by US bombs”.

I know which one would have the most sympathetic ear in a country already highly critical of the war in Iraq, don’t you?

Hasn’t there been a recent TV series on BBC2 that pretty much rubbished this claim?

Newsweek put a timeline of bomb attacks… and just about all of them were IRA.
Muslim terrorism in Britain was rare and smallish before for sure… but is it **ONLY ** Al Qaeda agitation ?

Rashak Mani,

It sounds like we agree that the movement in general existed prior to Iraq, and that civilians in US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and a number of other countries were attacked numerous times over the last 10 to 20 years.

It seems like the question then is “would there have been attacks in England w/o the Iraq war?”

If we look at Australians, we see a “western” country whose civilians have been targeted multiple times at vacation locations in other countries, but I’m not aware of any attacks on their soil yet.

If I remember correctly, there were a couple of attacks on mostly Australians prior to Iraq.

So my conclusion would be that, British citizens, like those in US, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Australia, etc. etc., were potential targets regardless of support for the Iraq war.

The Iraq war is just an excuse for these terrorists. The infrastructure in place to support these terrorists and help them carry out their plans is based on a movement that is not connected to the Iraq war.

If Iraq is not just an excuse, then why did they (muslim extremists) attack muslim civilians in Egypt and Saudi Arabia?
I think your response (as previously stated) will be that these terrorists had different motivations, and/or are not AQ. While this is certainly possible, I tend to disagree with that based on the pattern of terrorist attacks I listed above.