Wednesday, January 25, 2006

The Fear

Sir Ian Blair says BE AFRAID! Thanks for that Sir Ian.

Let's go back to basics. Terrorist activities are designed to generate a climate of terror in their target population. A key part of that strategy is the randomness of their activities. Terrorist groups do not have the military capability needed to inflict massive casualties on the scale needed to genuinely threaten the national security of the country under attack. Instead, they use random attacks in an attempt to destabilise that country. The idea is to cause a disproportionate level of anxiety, fear, and panic within the target group. In essence, a terrorist operation succeeds if it generates fear which is out of proportion to the size of the threat the terrorists actually pose.

There's a very easy way to limit the effectiveness of that strategy. Be honest, stay calm, and explain it.
Today, as you will know, there are small numbers of fanatics who wish to attack and kill the citizens of this great country. These terrorists seek to frighten us but they are not a threat to the security of our nation.

We are doing everything in our power to stop these fanatics. The nature of terrorism is such that we can never guarantee that they will not succeed in launching an attack at some point. Our brave nation has faced many threats. We stood alone against the might of Hitler's airforce in 1940 and we refused to yield. Our nation did not buckle under the full force of the Nazi onslaught and we will not buckle under the feeble force of this band of extremists. If these fanatics believe they can scare us, the British people, they are sorely mistaken. We will not be frightened. We will not allow them to change the rules of our society. We will never surrender.
Something like that would do it.

If, on the other hand, you want exploit the terrorist threat for your own purposes, you might say something like this:
I think I am more pessimistic in the sense that the threat is here, it is palpable.
There are people who engage as we speak in thinking about and preparing for atrocities in London and elsewhere.
We thought we were busy before July - we are at least 75% more busy.
Play up the threat, in other words. Use words like "atrocity" to emphasise that that you could be the next one killed in a bloody random act of terrorism even though it is highly, no extraordinarily improbable that you will be. Play down the fact that you're still far, far more likely to be killed in a traffic accident or, to use a facetious example, when coming into contact with the police than you are to be killed by a terrorist. And remember always to emphasis that the size of the threat is increasing, always increasing.

Adopting that strategy, for whatever reason, does in effect turn you into a terrorist propagandist of course. You end up helping to spread the disproportionate fear that the terrorists are trying to generate. Does this fact ever enter Sir Ian's tiny brain? What about his boss? Does it ever occur to him? Or are both Blair brains basically big bare bollocks?

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