Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Signs of decline in US authority?

With the US having lost moral authority during the `war on terror' and the occupation of Iraq, and with its position as global economic and financial hegemon looking shaky, other states are less in awe of it. In this article two senior British officials criticize US counterterrorism policy. Shocker, you say. But these are not 2nd-year vegetarian philosophy undergrads; you know it is serious when M from James Bond is criticizing your intelligence activities. And a worrying point that Americans should take notice of is that it is apparently no longer taboo to bring 9/11 into a discussion of terrorism NOT as part of the justification for anything the US does:
The response to Sept. 11 was "a huge overreaction," Dame Stella told The Guardian newspaper in an interview published on on Saturday.
I'm not sure that the US would want to suddenly install CCTV everywhere (not that it would be feasible in a place where the pavements are 17 times bigger than would be considered seemly in little Britain), but the difference between a criminal prosecution and global military action is not an insignificant one. Also, with recent reverses in the curtailment of civil rights in the UK, it appears as if the US rush to suspend liberties is not an inevitable nor necessary piece of the process. As the head of the Crown Prosecution Service in the UK said:

"Of course, you can have the Guántanamo model," he said. "You can have the model which says that we cannot afford to give people their rights, that rights are too expensive because of the nature of the threats we are facing.

"Or you can say, as I prefer to, that our rights are priceless. That the best way to face down those threats is to strengthen our institutions rather than to degrade them."

(in an aside, he was convicted of supplying marijuana at university but was only fined £75 - some evidence that minor drug offenses might be better off lightly punished than having a brain-spasmic-7-year-sentence reaction?)

1 comment:

Rusty Big Balls said...


I do read theis every day :)