Friday, May 20, 2005
By any objective standards al Quaeda is a lesser enemy than Germany & Japan. By the same standards America has been very successful. Afghanistan has been occupied, Iraq is occupied (we occupied Iraq during WW2 "just in case" too), bin Laden, if he still lives, is in a cave considerably less well equipped than the Fuhrerbunker. There may be some thugs that have escaped to south America, there may even be some who have been hired by the CIA, as happened after WW2 but by any sensible definition the "war" is long over.
This is not to say that we shouldn't keep a look out for al Quaeda terrorists, or new terrorists, Moslem & otherwise but this is not a war. This is where the real problem lies. During wars people put up with serious interference with their freedom for the common good. During WW2 we put up with ID cards, restrictions on travel (air flight to the Scottish Isles is made outrageously expensive because of the same government "security" measures being applied to Tiree as to Heathrow), & all the petty bureaucracies that government breeds. When the war is over we are supposed to go back to peacetime freedoms, or at least in that direction.
Yet this "war", with fewer casualties than 50 days road accidents, is set to restrict our freedoms ever more for as far as it is possible to see. It is a natural function of government to try to keep the people frightened by "an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary" (H.L. Mencken) & unlike WW2 this hobgoblin is now essentially imaginary. And yet we are now, after 4 1/2 years, being frightened into accepting ID cards & arrest without trial. What will it be next year?