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Britain vs France Revisited

Reader comment on item: Weak Brits, Tough French

Submitted by ko (China), Jul 31, 2005 at 04:19

Given events since the original article was published, it's worth reconsidering the issues.

1. British police and intelligence services have proven to be far more effective in responding to these incidents than one would expect given D.Pipes' characterization. Their ability to quickly and effectively marshal public security resources within Britain and intelligence internationally, demonstrated competence and resourcefulness. We must equally recognize the contribution of countries that cooperated in this endevor.
2. Much to their credit, this was accomplished with minimal disruption of civil liberties in the country at large, and the Muslim community in particular (given the situation). In fact, cooperation by the Muslim community played a pivotal role, and demonstrates the solidarity engendered by British multiculturalism.
3. As predicted in my previous post, this came at a cost; the unfortunate (but understandable) death of a Brazilian national mistaken for terrorist because of his physical appearance. The long-term cost has yet to be seen, but will. This is just the begining.
4. The reaction by the British public, by and large, has been moderate and reasonable. We have seen much public debate, but little of the racial stereotyping and blame placing that occurred in the USA following 911. We can partially attribute this to history of IRA terrorism, which taught British "terrorism survival skills", but I submit multiculturalism played a significant role, enabling the British public to see this for what it is and resume daily life with determination.
5. No doubt, as this plays-out, the arguments will become more complex and actions more difficult to focus. How will this shape British law? What policies and measures will be adopted to respond to this continuing threat? Can they improve the security of the public without sacrificing traditional social vales and freedom? What will be the effect on foreign policy and relationships? On this point I join Pipes in underling the fact that Britain has harbored Islamic terrorists and their retainers in the name of freedom, politics and commerce, and must come to term with the results. You reap what you sow.
6. By extension, the Blair government must be held accountable for it's impulsive and hypocritical willingness to support of the USA-Iraq war, on one hand, and to shelter Islamic reactionaries (rich and poor) on the other. Blair's arrogance in handling both must be brought to the dock of public debate; he's damn lucky so far, but I suspect his attempt to rehabilitate his reputation by diverting attention to the plight of Africa will not work once the truth surfaces.

Thanks D.Pipes, for raising these issues, and thanks for publishing this letter.

C Ko
Shanghai, China

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