Imagine If We Had Leaders Like This

Contrast the reaction of Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg to the Olso attacks...

“It’s absolutely possible to have an open, democratic, inclusive society, and at the same time have security measures and not be naive,” he said.

Stoltenberg underlined his commitment to openness, defending freedom of thought even if includes extremist views such as those held by the 32-year-old Norwegian who confessed to Friday’s bomb blast at government headquarters and to the shooting massacre at a Labor Party youth camp hours later. At least 76 people were killed.

“We have to be very clear to distinguish between extreme views, opinions — that’s completely legal, legitimate to have. What is not legitimate is to try to implement those extreme views by using violence,” he said.

...With the reaction of American conservatives to President Barack Obama's conviction that Americans would be resilient in the face of another large-scale terror attack, people who said Obama was "stunningly complacent" and compared him to "a detached observer and doesn't care about Americans dying." Republicans have rushed to proclaim "victory" for al-Qaeda, even in the aftermath of attacks that fail, insisting that we be afraid even of our own federal court system. Terrorism is one part killing and one part theatrical manipulation, and we frankly have more control over resisting the latter than the former. But for some, the opportunity to exploit fear and foment hysteria is just too tempting. 

Meanwhile, even American successes in counterterrorism, such as killing Osama bin Laden, are mere justifications for expansions of the security state. Contrast that with the reaction of Stolberg, who simply refuses to be cowed by terrorists. It's a shame America doesn't have leaders like that. As Spencer Ackerman points out, much depends on what happens from here, but Stoltenberg's reaction is still heartening. 

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