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The terrorists always win november 17, 2015

Posted by Kaj Grüssner in Frivilligt samarbete, Interventionism, Kultur, Politik och samhälle.
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The reactions to the attacks in Paris were expected. People all over the Western world are outraged, and the politicians fall over themselves in expressing their grief and horror and their sympathy with the French. There is no reason to doubt that the ordinary people who sport a French flag on their profile pictures on Facebook are sincere. The politicians, on the other hand, are a different matter.

It is difficult to believe that people like Kerry, Obama or the Repbulican hopefuls actually care about the people who were killed and injured in the attacks. After all, a hundred plus dead and hundreds injured is everyday life throughout the Middle East, thanks in large part to the constant bombing and meddling by Western powers. That has never bothered them.

We shouldn’t forget that the US is not the only country that is involved in the Middle East. France lead the NATO campaign to oust Muammar Gaddafi in Libya, is very much involved in the Syrian civil war, and has of course a long history of meddling in that region, as well as in Africa.

Correlation does not always mean causation, but it is hardly a coincidence these attacks don’t seem to happen in Switzerland, the Nordic countries, Eastern Europe, or even Canada. And that is not because of round-the-clock, all-encompassing NSA style surveillance, certainly not in the Nordics. Instead, these attacks seem to take place in countries like the US, the UK and now France, all of which are deeply involved in the affairs of Arab nations.

Whenever an attack such as this takes place, the disconnect between what the politicians say and what they do couldn’t be bigger. They always say that the terrorist won’t win, that we will not be ruled by fear, but will persist in holding to our values of freedom, openness and tolerance. Obama spoke about this as the “universal values we all share”. I presume that by “we”, he means the West. But what does actually happen?

The first thing French president Hollande did was to close the borders and declare a state of emergency, with the complete suspension of all civil liberties. The French police can enter any home at will and arrest anyone at will. The French army is deployed on the streets of Paris. In the US, the Patriot Act, which was already drafted, was passed shortly after 9/11.

And thus the terrorists win. The first response of the West is to curtail the civil liberties we supposedly hold so dear. The politicians declare a state of war, as Hollande did, telling the world that they will prosecute this war without mercy. Many other political leaders echoed this sentiment, eagerly speaking about fighting the war against terrorism and extremism. Just like the US fights wars against terrorism and drugs, among other things.

This transition from praising our universal values of freedom to declaring a state of war is important. It allows the politicians to profess their support for liberty, only to enact the complete opposite policies as part of fighting this war. Naturally, no leader says whom they are going to fight, let alone how the war will be prosecuted and how the war is supposed to be won.

And because we are now at war, criticism of the government its polices is treason. To object to the curtailment of civil liberties, to oppose the increased powers requested by the surveillance bureaucracy, is to sympathize with the enemy. We must give up our rights for the sake of security. The same story all over again, and it seemingly always works.

Nobody ever stops to think about this means. To be sure, ISIS is no fan of civil liberties. Nor are the mullahs in Iran or the royals in Saudi Arabia. The society these terrorists and extremists envision is one of total control of the population, with no respect for life, liberty or property. To be fair, many Western countries don’t seem overly concerned with that either, but the way we typically respond to these terror attacks is to make our societies more like theirs. How is this not letting the terrorists win?

If we actually want to win, whatever that means, the only logical response would be to pull out of the Middle East entirely, to stop interfering in their internal affairs and above all stop occupying and bombing their countries. Our governments should stay out of there, and instead promote free trade. And instead of surrendering our liberties, we should embrace them.

Minding our own business politically and militarily, promoting the individual over the state, encouraging trade with everybody who wants to do business with us, that is how we win. Until we accept this fact we will always lose to the terrorists.

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