Following the Plot

By Anthony | August 11th, 2006 | 12:56 am

A terrorist plot to blow up passenger jets was thwarted by British authorities this week. It sounds like they did a great job, arresting a large portion of the people involved. And in this case, the threat seems to have been much more real than in some of the more recent terrorist arrests.

However, the nature of the plot and its downfall leads to two points:

1. The notion of “fighting them over there so we don’t have to fight them over here” doesn’t seem to be working out too well.

2. This is a significant, tangible victory against terrorists, and it comes as a result not of military action, but of the work of law enforcement agencies. There are circumstances where the military will be needed to fight against terrorists (the action in Afghanistan after 9/11, for instance), but in my opinion the most notable, undisputable victories – such as this one – are more likely to come from law enforcement activities.

24 alleged terrorists are now out of action. There was no collateral damage. This is a solid gain – there’s virtually no chance that these arrests have caused any resentment among third parties who might want to now turn to terrorism themselves as a result. We haven’t made any new enemies by reducing someone’s home to rubble. Military action has its place, to be sure, but we may need to rethink the nature of its role in the fight against terrorists.

3 Responses to “Following the Plot”

  1. Brenda Bowers Says:

    Sorry Anthony, but the only defeat they know is military. The pounding into the ground of this evil that Isdlamic Fundamentalism is will be the only possible way to stop them and make the world safe from them. The head is in the Middle East but the rest of the snake’s body is twisted around the world. Talk won’t do it Dear. I wish it would. Europe tried to talk to Hitler. Evil is as old as time and has all the time in the world so they won’t stop trying to kill us and eventually they will succeed and get thru. And, fighting them over there is working. One, it is keeping some of their attention in the Middlle East, but more improtant is two, the war in Iraq is keeping the populations of the western countries focused on the problem. Out of site is out of mind and that is when evil infiltrates. BB

  2. PotatoStew Says:

    Hi Brenda,

    “Sorry Anthony, but the only defeat they know is military.”

    Are you suggesting that the arrests in Britain this week were not a defeat? They were, yet they were not a military defeat. I would suggest that the arrests hurt their cause even more than a military defeat. With a military defeat, the next group of guys can just as easily pick up their guns and carry on relatively quickly. In the case of this bombing plot, all that time and all those resources they spent on the plot are all for nothing now. It will take a new group months if not years to get even close to the point that this plot was at when it was stopped.

    “Talk won’t do it Dear.”

    Who said anything about talk?

    “the war in Iraq is keeping the populations of the western countries focused on the problem.”

    It may be keeping the problem focused in our minds, but I think what we’re doing there is actually accomplishing little in the way of actually solving the problem, and therefore it’s tying up resources that probably could have been more effectively used elsewhere.

  3. Plead the First » Blog Archive » George Will on the “Law Enforcement Approach” Says:

    [...] In the wake of last week’s foiled terrorist plot, I blogged that a law enforcement approachseems to be a very effective method of dealing with the threats posed by terrorism. In his column today, George Will comes to a similar conclusion: The London plot against civil aviation confirmed a theme of an illuminating new book, Lawrence Wright’s “The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11.” The theme is that better law enforcement, which probably could have prevented Sept. 11, is central to combating terrorism. F-16s are not useful tools against terrorism that issues from places such as Hamburg (where Mohamed Atta lived before dying in the North Tower of the World Trade Center) and High Wycombe, England. [...]