Tuesday, August 22, 2006

The end of Terrorism as we know it

From Today's Guardian:

The Tories have gained over the last month while support for Labour has fallen heavily in the wake of the recent alleged terror plot against airlines. An overwhelming majority of voters appear to pin part of the blame for the increased threat on Tony Blair's policy of intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ministers - including Mr Blair - have repeatedly denied that there is a connection. But 72%, including 65% of Labour voters, think government policy has made Britain more of a target for terrorists. Only 1% of voters believe the government's foreign policy has made Britain safer, a devastating finding given that action in Iraq and Afghanistan has been justified in part to defeat Islamist terrorism. The findings will shock many at Westminster who had expected Labour to gain ground following John Reid's high-profile handling of the alleged plot against transatlantic airlines. Carried out over the past weekend, following the series of terror arrests, the poll shows voters do not believe the government is giving an honest account of the threat facing Britain. Only 20% of all voters, and 26% of Labour voters, say they think the government is telling the truth about the threat, while 21% of voters think the government has actively exaggerated the danger. A majority, 51%, say the government is not giving the full truth and may be telling less than it knows.

Yesterday from CNN:

Just 35 percent of 1,033 adults polled say they favor the war in Iraq; 61 percent say they oppose it -- the highest opposition noted in any CNN poll since the conflict began more than three years ago. ....... Most Americans (54 percent) don't consider him [President Bush] honest, most (54 percent) don't think he shares their values and most (58 percent) say he does not inspire confidence.

The full survey results details the public's growing sense that the President is not honest. 77% of the public (according to this survey) believed him to be honest in late April 2002. Currently, only 47% believe him to be honest.

As I have been noting a bit in my musings of late, the human spirit is a fickle thing. Sometimes, as occurred in the US after 9/11 and recently in Lebanon, external threats drive people together, while at other times, they can lead to dissatisfaction with those in charge.

It may well be that another 9/11 type of a attack could lead people here in the US or in the UK to see their current leaders not as saviors but as part of the problem. At least that is one view I entertain after reading these latest poll numbers.

In that regard, I think we may be witnessing the beginning of the end of terrorism as we know it. The more that terrorism becomes a liability for the majority party, the more likely will its framing change.

Of course, the majority party needs to discover the truth of this for themselves.