Just how stupid do you think terrorists are?

A break from the norm; a political post! Rare for me, but this one riled me up a fair amount. Maybe I’m giving the average man a little too much lee-way here, but I’m willing to bet that someone plotting terrorist activities wouldn’t make a point of dropping hints to a taxi-driver. But it seems that not everyone thinks this way.

Harraj Mann, a mobile phone salesman of Indian origin, was reported to police by a taxi driver…for playing a song by The Clash. ‘London Calling’ features lyrics such as ‘…now war is declared, and battle come down…’. The aforementioned cabbie decided that this was obviously the sort of thing a potential terrorist would play, all the while chuckling evilly in the silence of his own mind at his sneaky subtlety in dangling clues under the noses of the unsuspecting. The police hauled in Mr. Mann, and questioned him under the Terrorism Act (which incidentally caused him to miss a flight).

I mean, come on. Do people really think that terrorists intent on death and mayhem are really that stupid, to the point that they would play song lyrics to a member of the public that might tip them off about some potential misdeed? Does it not occur to people that any terrorist, especially one whose appearance has already placed him under a certain level of suspicion in the carefully-fostered climate of paranoia that the Western world is currently living under, might actually go out of his way to be as inconspicuous as possible? Wake up, people – terrorists do not go around wearing ‘Jihad World Tour 2006’ T-shirts and telling people on the tube how much they hate decadent capitalist Westerners. If they did, then perhaps we’d have rounded a lot more of them up by now, rather than detaining innocents and dupes in dodgy off-shore prisons that are declared to be out of the reach of human rights laws.

If this is really the sort of thinking that pervades the people empowered with protecting our safety from malevolent extremists, I think it is safe to say those extremists feel pretty secure in the knowledge that people are going to be far too busy investigating idiotic assumptions to actually accomplish anything in the ‘war on terror'(TM). If we assume our enemies to be stupid, we send them a signal that we also are extremly stupid. The more assumptions like this I hear about, the easier it is to understand how poor uneducated people are duped into thinking the West is a snake-pit of Muslim haters. If terrorism is a flame, throwing petrol on it isn’t going to solve the problem. I guess this is what happens when we allow our leaders to declare war on an abstract noun.

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