Okay, this is just bizarre. The article is based on the annual “Patterns of Global Terrorism” report. Isn’t it ironic that a government that claims to be the bastion of freedom across the globe is criticising another government for not clamping down on civil liberties? Perhaps they should invade Canada, just as they have done with their neighbours to the south on so many occasions?
The article was recently covered in Slashdot, and there were some interesting responses. Two of my favourites:
I’ve heard it explained many times, that the reason why America is targeted by terrorists is that “certain elements” are simply jealous of our outstanding quality of life. They want to destroy what they can’t build for themselves.
If you’re right about Canada — what, with all the pot smoking, low crime rates, free healthcare, and civil liberties — I would expect Canada to rise to the top of the terrorists’ hit list. So, maybe instead of trying to get the damned Canadians to cooperate with us, we should simply launch an advertising campaign in the Islamic world explaining that Canada is the more logical target for their anti-western fringe element.
Bush claimed shortly after 9/11 that we were attacked because they hate us because of our freedoms.
So what a great way to prevent a future terrorist attack. Remove those freedoms so they (theoretically) have no reason to hate us anymore.
What makes these interesting is that while being funny, they are at least partly grounded in truth. The argument that terrorists attack the US because they are “jealous of the American way of life” is incredibly narrow-minded and arrogant. These people have a different belief system entirely; there is far more to this world than raw capitalism and materialism. What’s more, on most holistic measures of quality of life (which includes important non-monetary factors like health, education, pollution and political freedom), the US ranks quite low compared to many other nations. If I wanted to attack a country because I was jealous of their way of life, I’d be sending anthrax to Sweden or Denmark.
Personal freedom has diminished markedly in the US, and unfortunately this has created somewhat of a domino effect into other states. The Australian government, while not being nearly as undemocratic as that in the US, is a case in point. It was revealed last year that Australians are 20 times as likely to have their phone calls tapped by authorities than US citizens. However, I’m optimistic that we won’t see anything along the lines of the Office of Homeland Security over here. I am more concerned about Echelon (more info), which seems to fit in well with the elevated occurrance of wire tapping in both the USA and Australia.