The Terrorist Threat to Freedom

Terrorist Threat

The winter Olympics are coming soon and will be held in the Russian city of Sochi. There are concerns about security at the Olympics which were illustrated by a Chechen terrorist threat against the city of Volgograd twice within twenty-four hours.

These attacks were likely made by Muslims from Chechnya; which has been in a two-decades long war with Russia to become an independent nation.

These types of attacks represent a real threat to our freedom and our way of life. Obviously they did not occur in the United States but we’ve seen similar murderous rampages in this country from both Muslim extremest and domestic terrorists.

After the Sochi attacks the head of state of Russia, Vladimir Putin, made some strong statements about the actions that would be taken by the state. In the comments section below the story I noted that the vast majority of people not only agreed with Putin, that violence should be met with more violence, but they felt that Putin was the sort of leader they would prefer to have in the White House.

A tough-talking leader who promises that all enemies will be destroyed and that the safety of the people will be guaranteed by annihilating said enemies is a natural result of a terrorist threat. People are frightened and want assurances and vengeance. I suggest that this sort of leader is the greatest threat terrorism brings. This sort of leader is a far greater threat to your freedom than are the terrorists.

I do not want a leader of Putin’s ilk to rise in the United States.

Let’s take a little trip in time back to September of 2004. A group of Chechen and Ingush terrorists attacked School Number One in the Russian town of Beslan. The attack ended when Russian forces stormed the school killing the terrorists. 334 hostages, including 186 children, also died.

What’s important to remember is the aftermath of the terrorist threat. Putin ordered sweeping security changes which were approved by the democratically elected government. These changes strongly centralized the government and changed the constitution in a number of ways, all in the name of security, of safety.

In Russia the leeway given to security forces in detaining and spying on citizens was increased. Laws were strengthened so that people could be arrested more easily.

It’s also important to note that almost all of the terrorists in the attack had suffered from Russian security measures in Chechnya and Ingush. They had family members killed or imprisoned, homes destroyed, or property confiscated.

Does any of this sound familiar?

It is only fair to note; such measures do increase security from outside attacks but, as the more recent terror attacks make clear, they do not guarantee safety.

Terrorists attack are a threat to our freedoms because they cause us to be afraid. We make changes to our laws that often represent a far greater threat to our safety than the terror attacks themselves.

People would be wise to remember the lessons of history. Increasing the powers of the police, giving more authority to the central government, and taking strong measures to ensure your security might seem to increase your safety but in reality they leave you more vulnerable.

I’m certainly not saying security measures should be completely abandoned. I’m just suggesting that we carefully implement them so as to safeguard our freedoms and our bodies.

If enough people in the United States want a President like Putin, it will not be long before we have one.

Tom Liberman

6 thoughts on “The Terrorist Threat to Freedom

    • Thank you for the comment, Rob.

      I read through a lot of stories looking for Blog-worthy material and also thousands of comments.

      I agree that there are a lot of trolls and ill thought out replies but I can usually get a general idea of public opinion by reading enough of them.

      Tom

  1. While I’m not in favor of submitting to the extortion of terrorism there is some room for applying a little rational thinking. To become a terrorist one has to accept defiance of a vastly superior authority or government.One must be willing to risk loss of all of the comforts of a normal life and accept the probability of a violent premature death.Normal, sane, People wouldn’t normally accept these risks unless they felt driven to it, compelled by circumstances which they were powerless to change and which they felt impacted their life in unacceptable ways. Sadly most of the terrorist activities we see in the world seem to be based on religious differences at their root. Religious intolerance, religious persecution, and religious prejudice whether sectarian or between different faiths is by definition, irrational, but it is to be expected that the persecuted will eventually if pushed far enough, fight back. The sectarian violence which has engulfed the Balkans and the middle-east for centuries is not resolvable in the foreseeable future by peaceful means.

    It is not possible for the US to protect it’s interests without exerting undue influence and thus becoming a hated target of the subdued adversary. In a war of religious intolerance we cannot reasonably expect tolerance and forbearance among the combatants. Especially not in a war of zealots and extremists. The US already has a long history of intervention in the region. We may have forgotten the history but those who suffered at our hands have not. US actions in the region have often been self-serving, short-sighted, and ill-advised. Is it any surprise that we are viewed with suspicion and distrust when we try to assume the role of peacemaker?

    The US is deeply engaged in the region and has many alliances and enemies in the region which can’t be changed on a whim. Even if the US began to try to take a more balanced even-handed role it would take time to be believed. We would have to accept that outcomes might not be favorable to our interests. Given the myopic foreign policy of the US it is unlikely. Realistically, we should expect to continue to be viewed as a hostile belligerent by a substantial portion of the Muslim world. Acts of terrorism will continue here and abroad. We can either resolve our diametrically opposed desires of personal freedom and security or continue to be hapless victims of our own inept statecraft.

    Obviously, sacrificing the rule of law for a police state would be a rather draconian reaction to the threat but while our foreign policy lurches right and left with each new administration and while our ambassadorships are considered political capital to be handed out as favors we are unlikely to improve our situation.

    • Thank you for the comment, Dale.

      I think you’ve summed up the current situation pretty accurately. I agree it’s impossible to immediately fix all wrongs or expect other nations to instantly respect any new administration’s supposed change in policies. That being said … you’ve got to start somewhere! 🙂

      Come back and comment any time,

      Tom

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