Thursday, August 10, 2006

5 Quick Points

I don't want to say too much about the London terror arrests, because what the hell do I know about anything? But I do have a few quick reactions.

  • Good. Phew. Well done, etc.
  • A useful reminder that, to paraphrase Catch-22, just because our current leadership is cynical and manipulative re: "GWOT" (or, more generously, woefully misguided as to strategy and completely largely incompetent as to execution) doesn’t mean that bad people aren’t out to get us.
  • Relatedly, I think in the race between bigger bombs and better armor, the bombs always win. If enough people want to kill us, some will succeed. A strategy that reduces that desire is, ceteris paribus*, better than one which increases it. Similarly, reducing the capability to do us harm is good. Under this framework Afghanistan = good, Iraq (certainly as executed) = bad, Iran = lunacy.
  • This is legitimately terrifying. [Update: Reader Bill (no, not that one) reminds me that this was bombs, not gas - I should have linked more clearly that I think as a general threat that that is pretty nasty rather than speculating that today's plot involved poison gas. Mea culpa.]
  • Finally, just saying...
    Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Most of the big victories in "the war on terror" have been racked up by cops, not by soldiers. Why, it's almost as if terrorism is a law-enforcement problem -- and less of a threat when it's handled well in that fashion.
    I don't agree 100% - to the extent that terrorism is a 'state' activity, (see, again, Afghanistan) the bluntness of military force is probably useful and effective. In its non-state guise, I suspect that the conventional military "cure" may actually worsen the disease.

* All other things being equal. Though there is a certain level of "people wishing us ill" that we have to if not tolerate, than accept and expect, else we've granted a more deadly version of a Heckler's Veto.

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