Okay, this is just bizarre. The art­icle is based on the annu­al “Pat­terns of Glob­al Ter­ror­ism” report. Isn’t it iron­ic that a gov­ern­ment that claims to be the bas­tion of free­dom across the globe is cri­ti­cising anoth­er gov­ern­ment for not clamp­ing down on civil liber­ties? Per­haps they should invade Canada, just as they have done with their neigh­bours to the south on so many occa­sions?

The art­icle was recently covered in Slash­dot, and there were some inter­est­ing responses. Two of my favourites: 

I’ve heard it explained many times, that the reas­on why Amer­ica is tar­geted by ter­ror­ists is that “cer­tain ele­ments” are simply jeal­ous of our out­stand­ing qual­ity of life. They want to des­troy what they can’t build for themselves. 

If you’re right about Canada — what, with all the pot smoking, low crime rates, free health­care, and civil liber­ties — I would expect Canada to rise to the top of the ter­ror­ists’ hit list. So, maybe instead of try­ing to get the damned Cana­dians to coöper­ate with us, we should simply launch an advert­ising cam­paign in the Islam­ic world explain­ing that Canada is the more logic­al tar­get for their anti-west­ern fringe element. 

and 

Bush claimed shortly after 911 that we were attacked because they hate us because of our freedoms. 

So what a great way to pre­vent a future ter­ror­ist attack. Remove those freedoms so they (the­or­et­ic­ally) have no reas­on to hate us anymore. 

What makes these inter­est­ing is that while being funny, they are at least partly groun­ded in truth. The argu­ment that ter­ror­ists attack the US because they are “jeal­ous of the Amer­ic­an way of life” is incred­ibly nar­row-minded and arrog­ant. These people have a dif­fer­ent belief sys­tem entirely; there is far more to this world than raw cap­it­al­ism and mater­i­al­ism. What’s more, on most hol­ist­ic meas­ures of qual­ity of life (which includes import­ant non-mon­et­ary factors like health, edu­ca­tion, pol­lu­tion and polit­ic­al free­dom), the US ranks quite low com­pared to many oth­er nations. If I wanted to attack a coun­try because I was jeal­ous of their way of life, I’d be send­ing anthrax to Sweden or Denmark. 

Per­son­al free­dom has dimin­ished markedly in the US, and unfor­tu­nately this has cre­ated some­what of a dom­ino effect into oth­er states. The Aus­trali­an gov­ern­ment, while not being nearly as undemo­crat­ic as that in the US, is a case in point. It was revealed last year that Aus­trali­ans are 20 times as likely to have their phone calls tapped by author­it­ies than US cit­izens. How­ever, I’m optim­ist­ic that we won’t see any­thing along the lines of the Office of Home­land Secur­ity over here. I am more con­cerned about Ech­el­on (more info), which seems to fit in well with the elev­ated occur­rance of wire tap­ping in both the USA and Australia. 

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