From today’s New York Times:
MOSCOW (AP) — Responding to a spate of deadly terror attacks, President Vladimir Putin announced a series of anti-terror initiatives Monday that would strengthen the Kremlin’s grip on every layer of Russian political life. Putin told Cabinet members and security officials convened in special session that the future of Russia was at stake, and called for creation of a powerful anti-terror agency.
“The organizers and perpetrators of the terror attack are aiming at the disintegration of the state, the breakup of Russia,” he said. “We need a single organization capable of not only dealing with terror attacks but also working to avert them, destroy criminals in their hideouts and, if necessary, abroad.”
Funny thing is, this sounds a lot like what Bush and Ashcroft did three years ago. While one could say that the U.S. was “caught sleeping” and didn’t really know what to do after a terrorist attack of such magnitude, it’s a little surprising the Russian government was as unprepared as it was. Bush has been tromping over the globe proclaiming how his War on Terror will shut down the bad guys everywhere, and surely all of the major world leaders have heard the rhetoric by now. Coupled with the rise in international terrorism incidents, I would expect the Russians to have put into place at least some rudimentary measures to handle an attack like the Chechan one a few weeks ago.
Instead, the pessimist in me feels like governments use major terrorist attacks as justification for increasing their own power. Why worry about handling the problem before it occurs when you can consolidate more power afterward? While I’m not suggesting Bush or Putin knowingly allowed the attacks to occur, they sure jumped at the chance to take away a few more liberties…