Navy seals storm ashore on Brighton beach. They race to a murky boarding house and bundle its occupants into a Mercedes and rush them to a ship offshore. Don't worry, they tell passers by, they are terrorists. The innocent have nothing to fear. What would we think? The US attacks on Somalia and Libya over the weekend were against lawless parts of the world that harbour dangerous people intent, so we are told, on causing mayhem outside their borders. Someone needs to deal with them. Yet both these countries have been subject to massive western intervention, supposedly to set them on the path to democracy and good order. As with the failed Somalian kidnap, something went wrong there too.

© Guardian News & Media Ltd

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