London police shoot dead three terror suspects after rampage kills seven people.
On the 27th May, I wrote that the war on terror simply is not working and echoing Jeremy Corbyn's words on the subject, I went on "We need a smarter way to reduce the threat from countries that nurture terrorists and generate terrorism.” This comment from Corbyn attracted criticism from Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary accusing Corbyn of, “very muddled and dangerous thinking”, that implied blame on Britain for somehow bringing the Manchester attack upon itself.
Speaking outside 10 Downing Street this morning, Prime Minister Theresa May said essentially the same thing. Islamist militancy was the thread that linked these otherwise unconnected attacks saying, “It is an ideology that is a perversion of Islam and a perversion of the truth,” adding “Defeating this ideology is one of the great challenges of our time. But it cannot be defeated through military intervention alone.”
I cannot imagine that Fallon is now looking for the nearest television interviewer to criticise his leader for having, “very muddled and dangerous thinking”.
We have to find another way of addressing the terrorist threat. Another way, which does not involve an escalation of military actions in Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, Iraq or many other places where western foreign policy has failed to address the fundamental issues. Another way which does not involve draconian restrictions on civil liberties as suggested in some quarters. We should always remember the words of Benjamin Franklin who tells us that
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both". As in all cases, it is a question of balance, but the one indisputable fact is that we must find another way of dealing with terrorism. The events of last night were an atrocity that we all condemn without reservation and our thoughts must go out to the victims and the families of those affected by this outrage. We must restore our police, emergency and security services to levels where they have the facilities and personnel that they require.
We must also work towards finding a long term solution to the scourge of the terrorists bomb or bullet for, if we continue as we are, the London and Manchester atrocities will become more frequent and more intense.