The Terrorists have already won

Events this week in the UK have seen a massive increase in security measures, focussed around the main London airport, Heathrow. In addition to the 1500 police patrolling the airport and searching suspicious vehicles under the flight path, a further 450 Army personnel have been activated in the Heathrow area. The Government tells us that they have received intelligence information that an attack is imminent on the scale of the September 11th US disaster.

Whether an attack occurs or not, the simple fact that troops are on the streets and innocent motorists have their cars searched is evidence enough that extremists are achieving their aims. Just like removing garbage bins from train stations, as a prevention measure to the IRA planting a bomb in them, if terrorist groups (or are they freedom fighters?) can create an incredible feeling of unease and fear, an actual attack is hardly needed.

The measures the UK Government have taken are designed to make the population nervous and rally support for military action in Iraq. The Government needs to do this as overwhelming public opinion is against any planned war. A recent BBC poll has shown that less than 1 in 10 Britons support a war in Iraq without a further United Nations resolution. Even with a fresh UN mandate, support is still less than 50%. Has Tony Blair miscalculated public opinion in his overwhelming desire to roll into combat ? As France and Germany, with Russia and China supporting, propose an alternative to direct military action any Security Council vote for war is likely to be blocked by the nations holding veto rights.

It's a troubling time while the Government is not engendering any trust by rushing headlong into war, aggravating open sores with some Middle East nations, fuelling the fires of hatred within extremist groups and thus the need for troops on the streets "for our own protection."