Big Macs and DIY Bombs
The article gives a press review of German newspapers. This review clearly shows that the perception of the terror threat is still related to the political camp a newspaper feels warm with. The Lebanese wannabe terrorists didn't change anything.
Mark Landler of the New York Times doesn't realize that:
Bomb Plot Shocks Germans Into Antiterrorism Debate. By Mark Landler, The New York Times
The bombing plot, which has led to the arrest of the Lebanese suspect in northern Germany and an intense manhunt for a second suspect, is also reshaping a politically charged debate in Berlin over how much latitude to give law enforcement authorities in fighting terrorism.
[T]he case has rattled Germans, many of whom have clung to the belief that their government’s opposition to the war in Iraq would insulate them from attacks like those in London or Madrid. The trouble-free World Cup in Germany last month reinforced the sense of security.
"People thought for the longest time that Germany would be safe because we didn’t send troops to Iraq," said Johannes Schmalz, the president of the agency for the protection of the constitution — a rough equivalent of the Federal Bureau of Investigation — in the state of Baden-Wurttemberg.
"This presumption is wrong," he said. "The enemy of violent Islamists is the Western world as a whole."
Germany, owing largely to its Nazi past, has been reluctant to pursue more aggressive antiterrorism measures that are standard in Britain and the United States. Berlin and other cities have far fewer surveillance cameras than does London, and the government does not keep a central antiterrorism database.
*sob* Yeah, Nazi past... My goodness. Did the Nazis use surveillance cameras to spy terrorists? Oups, I didn't know that.
A few points:
1.) The term "debate", used in an U.S. "quality" newspaper, is misleading (or bluntly: wrong). We don't have debates in Germany. What we have are a.) a (usually clueless) journalist interviews a biased expert and b.) a bunch of talking heads all speaking at the same time (we call it "talk show").
2.) It's not that we haven't had loads of law inforcement in the aftermath of 9/11.
3.) The fact that there isn't a national data base has nothing to do with the Nazi past, but with the federal system in Germany, which is, bwt, why the comparison between the FBI and the "Verfassungsschutz" of a German state is ridiculous.
4.) I have yet to meet a person who thinks that the decision not to send troops to Iraq was an appeasement measure to prevent terrorism.