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Tom Allard asks (The Vicious Circle, The Age, 11 June) whether political leaders, the media and the security agencies have exaggerated the security threat and quotes Hugh White as describing terrorism as a very serious challenge but not a threat to our way of lives or values.
True, planned acts of terrorism have not so far been successful here. But in each of the first five years of this century, a terrorist attack involving Australian or Australian interests has been disrupted, aborted or carried out. [Other countries have experienced direct loss of life from terrorism and polling shows significant proportions of Muslim communities in those countries support radical changes to social structures and terrorist acts. ] The capacity to implement attacks is increasing and even a small scale attack involving chemical, biological, radiological or nuclear weaponry could create major disruptions.
It would be foolish in the extreme to underplay the risks faced by all Western societies.