Simon Jenkins, writing in today’s far-left Guardian has made an invaluable contribution to the global debate on what to do about the terrorists.
His short op ed [“Kenya mall attack: David Cameron’s rush to ‘solve the crisis’ won’t help“] opens up promisingly enough with this reasonable challenge:
Sometimes we should stop and ask why terrorists commit outrages like that in a Nairobi shopping mall.
Yes? But then, with absolutely no overt sign of irony or self-parody, he starts rapidly sinking:
The answer is the west always over-reacts to big, sensational gestures of extreme violence… The best defence is a sense of proportion. The “war on terror” has failed on its own terms. It had made dozens of countries not pacified but terrified.
Then swings to the ultra-pragmatic:
There is nothing anyone can do to prevent suicide bombers hitting civilian populations. The slaughter of Christians in Peshawar this weekend showed that wherever crowds gather they are vulnerable to any group with a brainwashed youth and a bomb. It might be sensible to discourage like-minded crowds from gathering in one place, be they co-religionists or party faithful or merely the wealthy. The modern urban obsession with celebrity buildings and high-profile events offers too many publicity-rich targets. A World Trade Centre, a Mumbai hotel, a Boston marathon, a Nairobi shopping mall are all enticing to extremists. Defending them is near impossible. Better at least not to create them. A shopping mall not only wipes out shopping streets, it makes a perfect terrorist fortress, near impossible to assault.
Uncomplicated, easy-to-follow advice. Terrorism happens because of shopping malls and crowds. Alert Guardianistas will now appreciate that robbery is caused by banks, and traffic accidents by roads.
Someone might consider shouting Simon Jenkins to a tour of Yemen.
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