Saturday, July 30, 2005

Hat's off to the British

Helena Cobban, like me, is impressed with the British reaction to the London Bombings. She writes in her recent post, Police work making a difference in London:

So anyway, this evening I want to say hats off to the British and their focus on massive and (with that one notable mistake) successful police work. And hats off to their ability to build new relations of apparently greater trust and mutual respect with people who formerly-- and for various reasons, not all of them crazy-- might have turned the condoner's blind eye to the activities of the men of violence in their midst.

Calm, de-escalation, building relationships, and sticking to decent values of respect for everyone's human rights... That, it seems to me, is the best way to contain and then end the scourge of terrorism. Globally, as well as within nations.

And no, it needn't take decades to do this. Not if we start out, from the get-go, with a solid, values-based approach.

The fans of GWOT will tell you that only a weak kneed liberal would favor a police response over the more manly approach of taking the violence to them, fighting the "terrorists" in places like Iraq so we don't have to fight them at home... But any thoughtful observer of recent events would have to see the fact that fighting in Iraq has not precluded their striking us on our soil. If anything, it inspires more and more Muslims to either volunteer to fight the US or, as Helena notes, be willing to condone and support those with violent intentions. Lastly, we see that a vigorous, thorough police response is invaluable and utterly appropriate. Police actions may not always prevent terrorist strikes, but its hard to argue that the ham-handed war in Iraq has done anything but increased the risks and likelihood of terrorism against the US and our allies.

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