United Kingdom: Is enough being done to fight terrorism?
Londoners showed their mettle last week with extraordinary displays of courage during a brutal terrorist attack, said Dan Sales in The Sun. Three Islamist extremists smashed a van into crowds walking on London Bridge, then jumped out and began stabbing passersby and people in restaurants and pubs, killing eight and wounding dozens more. The carnage would have been much worse had British heroes not fought back. Café staff barricaded customers inside, and restaurant diners threw chairs and plates at the attackers as they slashed at people randomly. One doorman “saved countless lives by hurling barstools, bottles, and glasses” at the jihadists, driving them toward police marksmen. Within eight minutes of the first emergency call, police had killed all three men. And then we got right back on with our lives, said Dominic Lawson in the Daily Mail. The day after the attacks, London streets were filled with people strolling and shopping. We will not let our nation be “changed by these murderous nonentities.”
That’s misguided, said Tim Stanley in The Daily Telegraph. In love with our own pluck, Britons boast that if we change our ways one jot, the terrorists will have won, so we smugly consider doing nothing to be a victory. It’s not. Security officials say that we have 23,000 possible jihadists walking our streets—why are they not “rotting in a prison cell”? One of the London Bridge terrorists, Pakistani-born Brit Khuram Butt, wasn’t even detained after appearing in a TV documentary, The Jihadis NextDoor, in which he was shown praying in a London park under an ISIS-style flag. Another attacker, Moroccan-Italian Youssef Zaghba, was arrested by Italian police last year on his way to Syria—and Italian media say Rome warned London about him. This hands-off approach to Islamist extremism can’t continue. “We’ll have to arrest a lot more people” and deploy some of the un-British tactics we used to defeat the IRA. Terrorist suspects could be interned without being charged and spying on British Muslim communities ramped up. “You don’t fight a war without the expectation that your way of life will change. If we want to win, it must.”
“I am all in favor of the un-PC and unpalatable solution as long as it actually works,” said Clare Foges in The Times. But if you round up hundreds or thousands of extremists and lock them up in a confined space, they will “come out with new networks and grievances.” And think about the impact internment would have on recruitment. When we began interning IRA suspects, violence in Northern Ireland rocketed and new foot soldiers rallied to the terrorists’ cause. Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to review British anti-terrorism laws and practices, saying, “We cannot and must not pretend that things can continue as they are.” There’s certainly more we can do in this fight—placing suspects under curfew, barring them from using cellphones or the internet. “But internment will never help us win it.”