Short changed

Clare Short announced yesterday that Osama Bin Laden was on the winning side in the war against terror.

“I am sure that wherever he (bin Laden) is, down there or up here, he is saying it has all gone according to his plan,” the MP for Birmingham Ladywood, who has become an outspoken critic of the Government, told a fringe meeting. “Since September 11 the world has gone in the way that he wanted it to. It has got more dangerous and insecure and there are more and more angry young people in Afghanistan.”

I’m not sure what the evidence for her conclusion that the world is a more dangerous place might be, there was certainly none provided in the article in The Times reporting on the speech given at a fringe meeting of the Labour Conference.

It’s a valid point to consider though. Is the world really more dangerous and insecure since September 11th ? Clare Short is certainly not the only person who believes this to be true. Although before we let ourselves be swayed by fashinable orthodoxies perhaps we should remind ourselves of a few facts:

1. Afghanistan is no longer a massive base for a terrorist network with the money and organisational skills impressive enough to turn their aim of Jihad against the West into a bloody reality.

2. A good proportion of the leaders of Al-Qaeda are either dead, in hiding or in custody hopefully spilling the beans on their former colleagues in terror.

3. It is highly unlikely Iraq will be firing scuds into Israel in the future (as it had done in the recent past for those who don’t or don’t want to remember the first Gulf War)

4. Strong pressure is now being applied to Iran so that it thinks twice about threatening to detonate a nuclear bomb in the middle-east. For those who need reminding of how a medieval theocracy considers modern technology should be used click here

Anyone aquainted with the the facts above might be tempted to disagree with the conclusions drawn by Ms Short on evidence which went as far as the unsupported observation that there are

“more and more angry young people in Afghanistan”

I’ve got shocking news for you Clare, there are lots of angry young people everywhere. Try going to any nightclub, university, High Street, pool hall or football match in the country for proof. It’s practically obligatory for young people, especially men, to be angry about something whether it’s the inability of their team to win games or their own inability to attract girls.

I’m not sure there is much we can do to prevent youthful frustration turning to anger especially if you live in a place as poor and socially conservative as Afghanistan but I for one am pleased that that such anger and frustration is now more likely to be expressed in political debate than in exercises at Afghan training camps which taught thousands of young people that to kill and maim Christians, Jews, and Buddhists was God’s plan for the world and that for them to die crashing planes into buildings containing innocent workers was glorious.

The fact of the matter is that the world is actually safer now than it was on September 11th. To argue otherwise because your career has gone pear-shaped is shameful opportunism. Clare Short, please shut up.