Thursday, January 25, 2007

"The War On Terror Doesn't Exist"

UK Prime Minister Tony Blair has had far more trouble trying to sell the notion to his people that the country, like the United States, is involved in a 'War on Terror' that could last for decades, or generations.

Although they weren't in the majority, millions of Brits blamed the actions of Blair and his involvement in the War On Iraq for bringing the violence of jihadi terrorism to London on July 7, 2005.

This blame-Blair reaction for the attacks increased in fervour when videotapes of at least one of the July 7 bomber surfaced, where he said exactly what some Brits already believed : that the War On Iraq had inspired him to strike in London.

But the British public clearly no longer believe that the War On Iraq is, as Blair has parroted Bush in saying, the central front in the War On Terror.

And this sentiment is being regularly acknowledged by former officials of the Blair government, former British intelligence agents and experts and high profile lawyers and civil libertarians.

The most popular article on the UK Guardian (one of the most popular news sites in the world) in the past three days is this story entitled 'The War On Terror Doesn't Exist'. The argument made is credible and realistic, and clearly a popular sentiment amongst the British.

Excerpts follow :
The director of public prosecutions, Sir Ken Macdonald, put himself at odds with the home secretary and Downing Street last night by denying that Britain is caught up in a "war on terror" and calling for a "culture of legislative restraint" in passing laws to deal with terrorism.

Sir Ken warned of the pernicious risk that a "fear-driven and inappropriate" response to the threat could lead Britain to abandon respect for fair trials and the due process of law.

He acknowledged that the country faced a different and more dangerous threat than in the days of IRA terrorism and that it had "all the disturbing elements of a death cult psychology".

But he said: "It is critical that we understand that this new form of terrorism carries another more subtle, perhaps equally pernicious, risk. Because it might encourage a fear-driven and inappropriate response. By that I mean it can tempt us to abandon our values. I think it important to understand that this is one of its primary purposes."

Sir Ken pointed to the rhetoric around the "war on terror" - which has been adopted by Tony Blair and ministers after being coined by George Bush - to illustrate the risks.

He said: "London is not a battlefield. Those innocents who were murdered on July 7 2005 were not victims of war. And the men who killed them were not, as in their vanity they claimed on their ludicrous videos, 'soldiers'. They were deluded, narcissistic inadequates. They were criminals. They were fantasists. We need to be very clear about this. On the streets of London, there is no such thing as a 'war on terror', just as there can be no such thing as a 'war on drugs'.

"The fight against terrorism on the streets of Britain is not a war. It is the prevention of crime, the enforcement of our laws and the winning of justice for those damaged by their infringement."

Sir Ken, head of the Crown Prosecution Service, told members of the Criminal Bar Association it should be an article of faith that crimes of terrorism are dealt with by criminal justice and that a "culture of legislative restraint in the area of terrorist crime is central to the existence of an efficient and human rights compatible process".

The criminal justice response to terrorism must be "proportionate and grounded in due process and the rule of law," he said. "We must protect ourselves from these atrocious crimes without abandoning our traditions of freedom."

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