July 18, 2007

If We Don't Call Them Names, the Terrorists Win

After the terrorist near misses in London and Glasgow, British officials did the expected. They raised their nation's threat-assessment level. They weighed the balance between civil liberties and new, tougher security measures. They pondered the latest fold in the elaborate tapestry before them, the possibility of a privileged jihadist cell tucked into the country's National Health Service.

Finally, they produced the usual morally namby-pamby, logistics-heavy rhetoric about getting to the bottom of each case. They sounded deadly serious about investigating the attempts, deadly uninterested in morally judging what happened.

"We are on the trail," a senior Whitehall official immediately told The Sunday Times of London, and so, as subsequent arrests indicated, they were. London Mayor Ken Livingstone urged city residents to remain vigilant. Lord Carlile of Berriew, a top British terrorism official, upped the ante by admonishing Londoners to be "forever vigilant." New Prime Minister Gordon Brown declared, "We will not yield, we will not be intimidated, and we will not allow anyone to undermine our British way of life."

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