Sunday, 26 March, 2006

First off, let me give you my apologies for not writing on this blog sooner. I'm one of these people who will only blog if I feel as I have something interesting to share. For the past three to four months I have not really had much to say so I have reluctantly stayed silent.

So what has aroused me from my four month hibernation? This post from my girlfriend, I believe it needs some discussion, so let's deal with the questions in turn.

What is a terrorist? Could we claim Mr Bush is one, for example?

A terrorist is somebody who employs terror as a political weapon. They almost always have some political, religious or ideological goal in mind.

It would be pushing it to say that Mr Bush is a terrorist, although he certain shares some of the key features of one. For a start he is trying to advance an ideology; that is, democracy in the Middle East. He believes God inspired him to bring peace to Palestine just as Middle-Eastern terrorists use God to justify their actions. The reason we can't class Mr Bush as a terrorist lies mainly in the way he deploys and uses force. Terrorists tend to kill indiscriminately to further their objectives, Mr Bush does not. We can genuinely believe that he chooses targets of genuine military value even if collateral damage inflicted on civilians is often unacceptably high.

Who exactly is fighting the war? It is not nation v nation as in a 'traditional war'.

The militaristic term for this is something called "asymmetric" warfare. Asymmetric warfare occurs when you have one side that would utterly crush the other if they we to face each other head on. David can't attack Goliath directly because he's too small to take him on strength alone. Just as David used a sling to slay Goliath, the terrorists use their speed and cunning to inflict damage on the enemy.

Terrorists are almost never a regulated army of a state which means they don't wear uniforms or have any other identifying marks and they also tend to have grass-root support from the communities around them. This make identifying and eliminating the underlying terrorists networks very difficult indeed. In practical terms it is almost impossible to do this without installing the worst kind of tyranny.

Guantanamo Bay and its implications....Is it ethical to hold someone for an indiscriminate amount of time with no evidence against them, if you believe they pose a risk?

Principles mean nothing unless you stick to them even when it is inconvenient to do so. Guantanamo Bay is such an outrage because it was set-up by a country that supposedly believes in habeas-corpus, so much in fact that they enshrine it in their constitution.

While they are legally correct to say that since they are not United States citizens and not on US soil that the constitution does not apply to them, it is to avoid the point to frame the discussion in terms of legality. The real issue here is that Guantanamo Bay shows that the current administration does not truly believe in the principles of the constitution. In fact, it is acting with direct contempt towards it.

Is it right to intern someone indefinitely if we have the slightest hunch that they would carry out a terrorist atrocity? I would say no. It is already an offence to plan a terrorist attack so people who we believe to be involved in terrorist activity should prosecuted under these offences.

I do accept that as a result of sticking to the principle lives may be lost. All I can say to that is that over the past thousand years we have had to defend the principles of our democracy in a variety of ways. Sometimes it is necessary for a few us to die to protect our democratic way of life. I believe this is necessary because the alternative path that we are currently pursuing is leading to somewhere much worse.


15:45:33 GMT | #Randomness | Permalink
XML View Previous Posts