Playing Cops and Criminals

A quote from Irwin Stelzer in The Weekly Standard, 1 August 2005

One reason for the widely different responses is that America was attacked by foreigners, whereas Brits were horrified to learn that they had been attacked by fellow citizens. Americans know it is “us” against “them,” whereas Brits know that “they” are also “us.” […] The flak-jacketed, heavily armed men and women lining my road to Heathrow last week were cops, not troops. America is at war, Britain is playing cops and criminals. These are very different things, with important implications for policy. Just as the Clinton administration decided to respond to terror attacks as if they were bank heists – he sent the FBI overseas – Britain has insisted on applying the law and procedures of the criminal justice system to terrorists. […]

London is known in international security circles as Londonistan because of the haven it offers international terrorists – men who in some instances entered Britain illegally but cannot be deported because the Human Rights Act prohibits extraditing wanted criminals if they might be treated harshly in their home countries. That indeed is their likely fate in Morocco, Egypt, and other countries eager to apply home-grown justice – including what Pakistan's government calls “intensive interrogation” – of the sort that makes British elites squeamish.