What Not to Take From Britains Success

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by armchair_jihad, Aug 12, 2006.

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  1. Excellent article concerning different approaches to Terrorism - starts very well but then gets rather technical; do try to read it all, its worthwhile.

    [While many Americans may have an inferiority complex about things British -- the refinement, the style and, of course, those accents [-- it would be a mistake to carry it over to the area of counterterrorism.

    This week, soon after authorities in London announced the arrests of a group of people allegedly plotting to bomb a number of airliners, commentators and experts were marveling at how the British disrupted the attack and asking whether we needed to be more like them, with their less restrictive surveillance laws, a domestic intelligence agency, almost no rules against watching and tracking Muslims in mosques or community centers, and no First Amendment. But those would be the very lessons we ought not to learn from this week's events.

    First, Britain has been the target of three serious homegrown attacks, either successful or attempted, since Sept. 11, 2001 -- and all since the Iraq war began. The suspects are all from immigrant families, all young men who appear to have felt no allegiance to their nation or the freedoms they enjoyed. Their alienation was so complete that they sought to kill their own countrymen.

    Second, the disruption this week of the bomb plot occurred because of very good human intelligence: a person's infiltrating the terrorist cell, convincing the plotters that he was part of their plan, and then turning on them when they started to get serious. Finally, there was nothing in airline or airport security that stopped the plot, despite the frenzy of security activity at airports throughout the world since Sept. 11. These facts suggest helpful lessons that might get lost in the flurry of the U.S. administration's "we are still under threat" attitude.

    No one doubts that we are under attack, but this week's developments should motivate us to assess our priorities, including what we are doing right. Though there is considerable fascination with electronic surveillance -- through the domestic eavesdropping program -- this practice is helpful only as a complement to real and serious human intelligence efforts by our agents. The Bush administration has spent a lot of money and time promoting the National Security Agency's surveillance program -- a program that is legally suspect and has not been clearly effective in targeting real and credible threats. Unfortunately, human intelligence has gotten short shrift from the administration.

    And while it is understandable to clamp down at the airports, this should be seen as a short-term reaction and not as part of any real counterterrorism effort. No terrorist attack has ever been stopped at an airport; even would-be "shoe-bomber" Richard Reid got on his plane, and only the heroic actions of flight attendants and passengers stopped him.

    Finally, getting tougher on communities of interest -- including pronouncements that authorities will start profiling or focusing on minority populations -- is exactly what we ought not to emulate about Britain. The most serious homegrown attack on U.S. soil was by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh.

    Immigrant groups feel themselves part of America, and our success is that we have made them feel that they have a role in the nation's destiny. Tougher surveillance, profiling or efforts that risk alienation might give us a sense that we are doing something, but the long-term legacy of such efforts could well prove self-destructive. Investing in those communities and asking for their assistance in the fight against terrorism is a smarter strategy.

    There is much to learn from the British: their reticence about disclosing details, their clear expertise in human intelligence, their non-hysterical reaction to very real threats. But how we deal with our immigrant and domestic populations is certainly not one of them.

    By Juliette N. Kayyem

    The writer, a lecturer in public policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, is the co-author of "Protecting Liberty in an Age of Terror." She was a member of the National Commission on Terrorism.

  2. Pretty sensible to me, especially the bit about immigrant populations. The Americans have long had the attitude that people moving to America do so because they want to be Americans. We had the same attitude until the guardianistas and Hampstead islingtonies got their hands on it and brought in the multicultural crap which has turned out to be divisive rather than diverse.
  3. Shame that some of their immigrants from Ireland felt the need to stoke the fires of the "Auld Sod" from afar.

    Pots and Kettles.
  4. Actually she talks bollocks. She hasn't got her facts straight either. The current slew of arrests include someone who was called "Don" until 6 months ago when he changed his name and religion, and they certainly weren't all immigrants (some of the "immigrants" third or fourth generation). She also chooses to ignore the recent furore in the US about illegal immigrants and the amnesty they were being offered - there were protests and riots from both sides of the divide.

    The US still believe that terrorism only started on 9/11.....and she needs to open her eyes and hears to find out how much immigrants feel part of the US when most of them are paid less than a dollar a day to live, are denied access to what most Americans take for granted (health care, education, civil rights), and a ghettoised in some of the worst slums in the world.
  5. Perhaps there is some disillusionment amongst our immigrant and second/third generation fellow citizens. After all, they pack their things to come and live in this supposedly tolerant and benevolent country, and end up living in a chav-infested lawless third-rate dump!
  6. She is right on the human intelligence bit though. The fallout from the Nelson trial, when it emerged that some people in my old corps had too close a relationship with the loyalist terrorists - an understatement sadly - brought a good deal of innovative work on running agents into terrorist groups. MI5 managed to run agents into the various groups throughout the remainder of the troubles and for all I know still are, without ever allowing them to do anything criminal, frankly that's an incredible achievement. That they are running agents into these Muslim groups is a similarly impressive achievement, and how they might be doing that ought also to give the "they're all ungrateful Pakistani muslim bastards" brigade pause for thought.

    As of course should this.

  7. Hmmm....."Co-author of "Protecting Liberty in an Age of Terror."? Speaks volumes methinks.

    Just how does this woman think that the British immigrant communities have been sidelined or alienated by the populace or the government since 9/11? Apart from some very sensible security operations that have luckily delivered the goods on almost all occasions, the government has bent over backwards to appease the majority of muslims. Almost every utterance from government relating to terrorism, is qualified with a "we must of course remember that 99.99% of muslims abhor the terrorists and their aims" and ministers are almost weekly filmed sipping tea with 'community leaders' who have, at best, ambiguous pasts.

    If we had armoured vehicles on the streets, security forces patrolling Beeston and Imams being pulled in for questioning all the time, then she might have a point, but until then she is sitting in an ivory tower 3000 miles away, talking out of her arrse.
  8. Not so, you do not see the kind of 'them and us' polarisation evident in the UK in the US - why is this? Why do the vocal elements of the UK Muslim community think themselves a nation apart while in the US they do not (or certainly wouldn't say it)?
  9. Well, prior to the time when lots of muslims tried and succeeded in killing innocent members of our society, they were treated exactly the same as other immigrant communities such as the Hindus and the Sikhs, and as they haven't felt the need to start killing us, I think it's fair to say the fault doesn't lie at our door.
  10. There's also a fundamental (no pun intended!) difference in the origins & motivations of many Muslims in the UK when compared with those in the US. This difference is highly significant.

    Many British Muslims came from an extremely impoverished part of Pakistan (Shylet), were rural peasants and minimally educated, and were already "alienated" at home having been forcibly displaced by their own government's dam building/ reservoir construction projects. They had very few options/ "life choices", and those able to make the move saw working in the British textiles industry as a good chance to make a bit of money before returning to a more prosperous life in Pakistan. They did not, therefore, make the psychological "break" with their home culture - hence the tendency to sustain the social/ cultural norms of rural Pakistan (notably the isolation of women etc in an "infidel" land) whist living in Lancashire/ Yorkshire/ the Midlands etc..

    This has had a huge knock-on effect re 2nd/ 3rd generation: frustrated and bemused by the collapse of local industries (incidentally, mirroring exactly the feelings of "white" compatriots in the same areas) and their parents' apparent inability to live up to their own stated expectations/ hopes; conditioned to think of Pakistan as home (and viewing it through rose tinted spectacles) and unprepared/ unwilling to adapt to the demands of a dynamic and pluralistic society, SOME have taken refuge in an extreme "Islamism" that they perceive to be the only solution for what they view as a hopelessly corrupt/ decadent society.

    The American experience stands as a stark contrast to this. American Muslims come from a much wider range of backgrounds; most are of urban origin, and tend to be highly skilled/ educated. They chose to go to America precisely because it offered chances not available "at home" to pursue scientific, medical, academic & business interests. Many also went/ go to the USA in order to escape oppressive regimes/ cultural practices. In short, they're positively buying into the "American Dream", and - in most cases - actively want to become American. Indeed, in some areas (notably Dearborn, Michigan) they're playing a major role in regeneration of moribund local economies. BTW, it's also worth noting that the lack of substantial state welfare provision, low taxation, the general entreprenurial ethos/ "stand on your own two feet" mentality of the USA encourages this and enables them to play to their own particular strengths as a "community".

    Of course, there are more than a few British Muslims who fit this model as well. But there are, unlike in the USA, also large concentrations of what can only be described as "chavvish" young Muslims (who are, as already noted, usually - ironically - mirror images of their non-Muslim counterparts) who are essentially feckless, incapable of deferred gratification, conditioned to regard any criticism as "racist", and unwilling to regard any shortcomings in their lives as in any way their own responsibility. It's no surprise to me that "Islamism" proves alluring to some: what a way for a banal little nobody to get noticed! It's also notable that those from "outside the fold" who appear to have bought into Islamism are generally social isolates from "disrupted" homes, usually lacking decent male role models.

    We're partly to blame for this, no doubt, as a combination of welfarism and vapid but insidiously nasty "multiculturalism" has created the preconditions in which such dangerous little prats can flourish. To state, however, that Britain has been hostile to Islam ("Islamophibic") is just plain ridiculous. Mosques (including the largest in the non-Muslim world) in most major towns/ cities; state funded Muslim schools; exemption from school assemblies; endless Islam in RE (in my school they do far more on Islam than any other major religion, Christianity included - a not untypical pattern); Muslim Council (again largely taxpayer funded) etc etc. There's even a TV programme called "Sharia TV" FFS! Watching this is very instructive: there's rarely any serious challenge to the endless stream of ludicrous & paranoid rot that tumbles from the mouths of most participants, and - in general - it is they who are guilty of crass generalisation and stereotyping. For example, on this week's programmes an iman (interestingly black American) of a Birmingham (UK) mosque stated, among other things, that those who drink, handle or sell alcohol are damned, and any woman who travelled outside her immediate home area without a chaperone was "un-Islamic" & of dubious morality. It was also made very clear that "peace" from an Islamic perspective means integration of all into a Muslim community under Sharia law. I was shocked to hear such asserted without challenge on mainstream terrestrial TV.

    Final observation, earlier comments re US Muslims notwithstanding, I suspect that Americans may yet prove to have been dangerously complacent re some of "their" Muslims. We'll have to see - the downside to the whole "American Dream" shtick is that some of them just can't imagine why anyone living in the good old US of A would wish to do it harm!
  11. .

    The Multicultural crap is not just a British or a American problem It seems the entire west is infected by the disease. Don't think that American's aren't worried about the problem
  13. Sylhet is in Bangladesh I should point out.
  14. Good post as always WM.

    You make an interesting point in that immigrants to the US are of a higher education, but what is important is to remember that that is not just by chance. Nobody gets into the US unless they have something to offer, unlike the UK, where we have just thrown open the doors to all and sundry. If our immigration policy over the past thirty years had been similar to 99% of the rest of the world, ie we only accepted those with something to contribute, rather than anyone from the old empire, then we wouldn't have the ghettoes and the problems we have now.
  15. sheldrake

    sheldrake RIP

    I'm going to indulge in my own bit of crass generalisation and stereotyping here.

    I think WM is probably correct in his assertions about Pakistani origins. In the UK, and this is, as I said, a generalistation, the Indians work hard and integrate whilst the Pakistanis live on the edges both culturally and financially.

    In Kuwait however, I have noticed that this trend is the exact opposite, and is probably down to rural poor indians coming to work in GCC states whilst it is the educated Pakistanis who have the IT jobs etc.