13 November 2005
Internment and a possible alternative

Natalie and I have been arguing about internment.  She doesn’t like it and was against the government’s proposals for detention without trial.  One of her reasons for opposing internment is that she believes that we haven’t needed it in the past.  I e-mailed her to let her know that we have used internment rather a lot over the years.

That it has been used, of course, does not prove that it has been needed.  Natalie certainly makes a compelling case against its use in World War II.

She may be right, though I think had I been German at the time I would have been rather grateful to have been removed from the native population.  From what I know there was a lot less of the sort of anti-German mob violence that we got in the First World War.

Anyway, this is all rather by the by.  My central point was that internment is essential when dealing with terrorist groups who can find refuge in unassimilated populations such as the Ulster Irish or (as may turn out to be the case) British Muslims.  In the case of Ulster the rule seems clear enough; if you use internment (resolutely) you win: if you don’t you lose. 

That does not mean I like internment.  But given a choice between losing a few liberties and becoming part of the Caliphate ie losing them all, I know which I would pick.

That is, of course, assuming that that is the choice.  There are others.  Unassimilated populations tend to be, for reasons I don’t entirely understand, geographically concentrated.  One could give these areas a choice: either assimilate eg don’t harbour terrorists, don’t allow pro-terrorist sentiment, accept the status quo OR have your area removed from the UK.  The area would then become a separate sovereign state and would be subject to the same arrangements that all sovereign states are subject to ie the border remains closed until we’re happy.

Incidentally, I was against the government’s proposals.  Not because I am against internment (clearly) - I would have gone much further - but because I have doubts about Tony Blair’s commitment to the cause.  If you are going to use something as draconian as internment you’ve really got to mean it.

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  1. Patrick,

    Do you believe that resolute intelligence driven internment in NI would have been the appropriate course of action?

    Posted by David Vance on 14 November 2005 at 03:23am

  2. Pretty much.

    Posted by Patrick Crozier on 14 November 2005 at 05:20am

  3. I do think that there are other ways to filter terrorists mixing up with the innocent population. Internment may be good, but the disadvantages can be too much to handle. It is a matter of religiously implementing the proposition and weighing other options.

    Posted by Wong PoK√©r Hu Online on 15 November 2005 at 05:45am

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