Throwing away the key

It seems the British establishment has a few issues.

First, an acknowledgement that the… Afghanistan mission… is close to failure. Note that the Afghan people are irrelevant to the debate. It’s all about “strategic failure.” That’s a rather odd way to describe that wonderfully inspiring democracy project, but maybe I’m just mis-understanding the nuance of the comment.

And in a further sign that governments are prone to extreme behaviour without the checks and balances of public accountability, this latest call is straight out of Saddam’s Iraq:

One of Britain’s most senior police officers has demanded a return to a form of internment, with the power to lock up terror suspects indefinitely without charge.

The proposal, put forward by the head of the Association of Police Chief Officers (Acpo) and supported by Scotland Yard, is highly controversial. An earlier plan to extend the amount of time suspects can be held without charge to 90 days led to Tony Blair’s first Commons defeat as Prime Minister. Eventually, the government was forced to compromise on 28 days, a period which Gordon Brown has already said he wants to extend.

Ken Jones, the president of Acpo, told The Observer that in some cases there was a need to hold terrorist suspects without charge for ‘as long as it takes’. He said such hardline measures were the only way to counter the complex, global nature of terrorist cells planning further attacks in Britain and that civil liberty arguments were untenable in light of the evolving terror threat.

Daniel Pipes will be most pleased. Likewise Michelle Malkin. The terrorist threat is real, but governments are regularly prone to exaggerate this threat for political gain. The Bush administration are experts at this shameful behaviour. Locking-up suspects… indefinitely… without charge should be vigorously rejected. It will achieve little more than Guantanamo Bay. A moral black hole, numerous innocents will be detained and… the Muslim population will resent Western governments even more than they do already. Violent opposition should be expected.

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