Monday, July 25, 2005

JOE GANDELMAN: "The dead man was identified as Jean Charles de Menezes, a 27-year-old Brazilian, described by officers as an electrician on his way to work. If you look at this case, and the unfolding police dragnhet and security in London, it's clear that there is indeed a danger in the war against terror that some innocents may be killed by a new kind of "friendly fire."

It is a tragedy, but how can officials solve this one? Waiting too long could mean if the person is a suicide bomber police, bystanders, etc could be blown up. Shoot quickly could mean someone who panics at the wrong time, misunderstands what's going on and is either highly suspcious or flees, etc. could wind up on a slab in a morgue.

It's the quintessential debate about balancing rights of the individual and the common good — and it's likely be a huge debate particularly if there are more innocent deaths.

So what is the alternative when you have to make a mega-split second decision?

WARNING: We hope policymakers and police realize that this death and the likely controversy over it raises a NEW DANGER: that terrorist forces may try to set up a situation in which innocents are killed, which would then accentuate any existing controversies.

But the bottom line in the war against terror seems to be this: you are faced with suicide bombers and they ARE going to blow themselves up. And security forces have to act before they can do so. What, if any, safeguards can they use? What precautions should individuals use to make sure they don't get caught in a police crossfire? (Actually we can answer that: common sense.)"

Then Joe proceeds to a roundup of the blogosphere on this affair.

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