Friday 27 Apr 2018 | 05:21 | SYDNEY
Friday 27 Apr 2018 | 05:21 | SYDNEY

Resiliency in counter-terrorism policy


Sam Roggeveen


16 April 2008 08:16

If you've just discovered The Interpreter thanks to this short interview I did with AAP, the blog post you are looking for — questioning proposals for the Government to have new powers to monitor email — is here. But I treat the concept of resiliency in counter-terrorism policy in slightly more detail here and here.

To expand slightly on the point I tried to make in the interview about the Burnley Tunnel accident: terrorists have two aims in staging an attack. One is the direct damage they can cause, and another is the fear they can instill. Since we cannot defend every possible target against all terrorists all of the time, some attacks will succeed, and we will not be able to prevent the physical damage such attacks cause.

But we can make a choice to limit the psychological and propaganda damage, partly by recovering as quickly as possible. It took five days to reopen Burnley Tunnel to traffic. In Israel, it has been the practice to try to return the scene of a suicide bombing to normalcy within hours of the attack, in order to send the message to the groups responsible for the attack that their actions have not had a disproportionate psychological or political impact. If the Burnley accident had been a terrorist attack, the long disruption to Melbourne life would have sent just the opposite message — that terrorism can be hugely disruptive well beyond its direct physical effects.