Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Doublethink, Doctors, and Dumb Ideas

An AP report on Breitbart.com says that all eight people arrested in connection with those car bombs in London and Glasgow had something in common. They were all current or former employees of the United Kingdom's National Health Service.

The article looks like level-headed reporting, and says that the official view in Britain is that, although the suspects are foreign-born, the plot was hatched in the United Kingdom.

"To think that these guys were a sleeper cell and somehow were able to plan this operation from the different places they were, and then orchestrate being hired by the NHS so they could get to the UK, then get jobs in the same area—I think that's a planning impossibility," said Bob Ayres, a former U.S. intelligence officer now at London's Chatham House think tank.

"A much more likely scenario is they were here together, they discovered that they shared some common ideology, and then they decided to act on this while here in the UK," he said. (Excerpt from Breitbart.com.)

Meanwhile, the Daily Express ("The World's Greatest Newspaper") has a much juicier article. It says, "Gordon Brown has banned ministers from using the word 'Muslim' in connection with the terrorism crisis.

"The Prime Minister has also instructed his team – including new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith – that the phrase 'war on terror' is to be dropped."

It seems that the new PM wants to avoid offending Muslims, adopting a more 'consensual' tone than existed under Tony Blair.'"

The Daily Express may have a slight bias, as evidenced by the headline "BROWN'S SECRET PLOT TO SHUT OUT THE TORIES (GORDON Brown is to step up his secret campaign to keep the Tories out of power for ever – by changing Westminster’s voting system.)"

Even so, I don't think they made up Mr. Brown's remarks.

I wish the new British hadn't banned that word and that phrase.

First, I don't recall bans on the word "Irish" when terrorists from one of my ancestral homelands were embarrassing me with their misguided, murderous attacks.

Second, I'm very uncomfortable with this sort of censorship. Although it isn't quite newspeak, it does take a bit of doublethink to talk about M***** terrorists without thinking about the W** ** T*****.

Plus, forbidding the use of terms which have obvious connection with what was probably behind the botched mass-murders at a nightclub full of women and an airline terminal puts massive amounts of fertilizer of the fields where conspiracy theories grow.

For example, isn't it obvious that Bob Ayres is wearing rose-colored glasses? There's a vast conspiracy in Great Britain! the United Kingdom's National Health Service has been infiltrated at the highest levels! Terrorists abound in England's hospitals! The Prime Minister is in on the plot!

Panic in the streets!!!!

No, I don't believe that: although I wouldn't be all that surprised to find out that the NHS has been paying more attention to ethnicity and diversity, and less to background and beliefs, than it should have been. Who knows, maybe there really is a plot.

On the other hand, maybe this has nothing to do with the suspects' religious beliefs.

Think about it: they all seem to be doctors or medical professionals. Maybe they were just trying to pick up business.

(No, I don't believe that either. But the human condition being what it is, I suppose I have to make that disclaimer.)

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Note! Although I believe that these websites and blogs are useful resources for understanding the War on Terror, I do not necessarily agree with their opinions. 1 1 Given a recent misunderstanding of the phrase "useful resources," a clarification: I do not limit my reading to resources which support my views, or even to those which appear to be accurate. Reading opinions contrary to what I believed has been very useful at times: sometimes verifying my previous assumptions, sometimes encouraging me to change them.

Even resources which, in my opinion, are simply inaccurate are sometimes useful: these can give valuable insights into why some people or groups believe what they do.

In short, It is my opinion that some of the resources in this blogroll are neither accurate, nor unbiased. I do, however, believe that they are useful in understanding the War on Terror, the many versions of Islam, terrorism, and related topics.