Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Sunday, 12 September 2010

The anniversary.

Much is being written about the anniversary today (well, yesterday for me) of the attacks in New York on 11th September 2001. People are recalling what they were doing and how they felt when the news broke, or having 24 hours blogging silence, or castigating at considerable length the bastards who were responsible and the bastards who supported them and now idolise them. For me the saddest thing about it all is not the 2,977 deaths (I don't count the hijackers) that day, let alone the destruction of a landmark. It's not even the thousands more Allied deaths and thousands and thousands of civilian deaths in the wars that were launched in response to the New York attacks. The saddest thing is that we lost the war before it had even begun. We wanted our freedoms protected, and our governments protected them by incrementally taking them away from us. The Americans got the Patriot Acts and a new government department to make them safe by spying on them; the British got the Civil Contingencies Act allowing government frightening emergency powers, not to mention police forces suddenly arresting everyone with a camera; and everyone in the world got treated as suspected terrorists every time they flew anywhere (except in Israel of all places, where they seem able to deal with this stuff both more effectively and without inconveniencing everyone).

If a war was launched against the west and the freedoms of its peoples on September 11th 2001 then we lost. No matter what the end result of the gunfight we've got ourselves into in the Afghan mountains, we lost. Even if if every single person connected to the September 11th attacks, and the Bali bombing, and the London July bombings, and the Madrid train bombings, and indeed everyone who raised a weapon to Allied troops or supported those who did, even if all of those people are captured or killed, we lost.

We lost not because of bullets fired or bombs exploded or even aircraft crashed into our cities. We lost at the stroke of a few politicians' pens, politicians unable to see that freedom cannot be protected by locking it away from the people it is for. Our own reaction to attack secured a host of little victories against us for those who hated our freedoms, and who continue to hate us for what freedoms that, for the moment, we still have. Too many of us demanded our governments take action against those who attacked, and the governments listened. Too few of us told our governments that we were not the enemy, and we went unheard. And so, sadly, inevitably, we lost.

And we won't get un-lost until governments - and more importantly, people - remember the words attributed to Benjamin Franklin:
A society that gives up a little liberty to gain a little security deserves neither and will lose both.
We've given up more than a little security and lost more than a little liberty. I think it's past time we started demanding it back.


Captain Ranty said...

"And so, sadly, inevitably, we lost"

And how.

I am reminded of our defeat every time I fly.

I am reminded when the Civil Contingencies Act is waved in my face.

I am reminded every time I see a CCTV on a street corner.

I am reminded every time I see gangs of armed thugs aka "police officers" roaming my streets.

I am reminded every time I get to a British airport and it it looks like Stalag 15.

I am reminded every time I see images of Downing St, once famously open to tourists, but now you need a special badge and a rectal exam to walk down.

I am constantly reminded.

And yet, and yet, I feel pretty damn safe. Because the "alleged" bad guys are doing their thing three thousand miles away. They are no threat to me or my family, whatsoever. I am supposed to overlook this, and still pay through the fucking nose in my taxes. For this so-called protection.

Protection from what, exactly?

From a fucking disgruntled opium farmer in Helmand?

From a Sons of Islam group in Algiers?

From a pissed off jihadi in downtown Beirut?

They don't threaten me in the least. They are no danger to me and mine. Nor to you and yours, for that matter.

In fact, they are only a "threat" because the fuckwits in Westminster say they are. I see no evidence, (nothing real, at least), in my day to day life.

The sicko's live in Downing St. The weirdo's live in police stations. The paranoid all seem to work for government agencies.

Who the fuck do they think they are fooling?

Not this teddy.

Not for a fucking nanosecond.


JuliaM said...

"...except in Israel of all places, where they seem able to deal with this stuff both more effectively and without inconveniencing everyone..."

They have, sadly, had a lot more practice...

Angry Exile said...

@ Cap'n Ranty - yeah, my thoughts exactly. There's a microscopically larger chance that some wild-eyed jihadi fucktroon will explode his backpack and kill me or someone I care about or someone I might have cared about if I'd have got the chance to meet and know them. But because of that microscopically increased chance the state treats me and everyone else as a potential wild eyed jihadi fucktroon, and I'm fucking sick of it. Sick of the idea of cops looking at me funny if I have a backpack, sick of taking my boots of for the airport inspection, sick of not being allowed to take an ever increasing variety of things onto a plane, sick of the security theatre that comes of our dollar (pound, whatever), sick of the elected pricks who probably really think they're helping when they come up with ideas like detention without charge. Sick. Of. It.

@ JuliaM - yes, but I think there's more to it than that. Do have a look at the linked post if you haven't before, but the long and short is that the Israelis demanded security that worked and didn't put them out, and as a result Ben-Gurion hasn't had an incident for years and you can get on the plane only 40 minutes after parking your car. The last time I flew out of Heathrow the queues and checks and inspections took more than two hours.

JuliaM said...

Ah, but the Israelis instituted several things we here would never countenance - profiling and treating those fitting the profile accordingly, and properly-trained security staff responsible for their own actions.

The first would immediately be jumped on from a great height by all the identity groups and their advocates, and the second by the unions.

Angry Exile said...

I'm quite certain profiling goes on in the West too, which is even more reason to be annoyed at putting the rest of us through the security theatre. I'm sure it's not government sanctioned, at least not overtly, but they're not complete idiots. The security theatre does give a veneer of not profiling and being ridiculously and impractically even handed about it all - oh, so sorry, Mr Suspicious Looking Far Eastern Gentleman, but as you can see everyone else is going through all this too - but the attention isn't going to be on Mrs Pepperpot, 57, of Tooting Bec as she goes through the ritual of putting her M&S flats through the X-Ray. It's on Mr Suspicious Looking Far Eastern Gentleman and has been since he checked in, and possibly even since he booked. The Israelis don't feel so much need to pretend, that's true, but they also look for people who just ring alarm bells. And they start looking at people before they get to the terminal building rather than hoping they don't simply explode in the fucking queue to have their shoes X-rayed.

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