As EKOS reports that the Harperites are making political hay from the fear of terrorism, Paul Adams argues that there is a good case to be made for doing almost nothing about it:
It’s never going to be easy to catch lone-wolf terrorists before they strike. None of what the government is suggesting now seems likely to change that. And the expanded police and intelligence state we erected after September 11 already seems capable of catching and convicting the mostly low-grade terrorist conspiracies springing up in our midst.
And, when it comes to the Islamic State,
in one of the most extensive studies of the Islamic State publicly available, the counter-terrorism expert Richard Barrett has noted that there is no evidence it has established any training or planning for terrorist strikes outside Iraq and Syria. What it does is encourage sympathizers in the West to commit isolated outrages like those recently perpetrated here and in Australia.
Indeed, unlike al-Qaida, Islamic State is preoccupied closer to home. It is trying to be much more than a terrorist organization. It is trying to seize, control, defend and administer territory — to become a state in fact as well as in name. It is attempting to do these things in extremely exigent conditions, leaving few resources and little energy for terrorizing the rest of the world.
Adams argues that, if radicalized Canadians return home, we do have a problem. But he points out quite correctly that:
It is in the very nature of terrorism that it works by creating fears disproportionate to its power to create actual physical harm.
If we run around acting out our fears with extravagant counter-measures, we give the terrorists an unearned victory — and ourselves an undeserved burden.
And it's quite clear that Stephen Harper is completely focused on becoming our burden.