The brainchild of Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin, the Olympic Movement was established back in 1894. Its objective is defined in the Olympic Charter:
“The goal of the Olympic Movement is to contribute to building a peaceful and better world by educating youth people through sport practised in accordance with Olympism and its values.”
“Peaceful and better world” were not among the words found on flyers recently passed out to some London residents by their Ministry of Defense. What was on the leaflets was information their residential apartment building may serve as a temporary military base for housing a “high-velocity missile system.”
The New York Times’ Sarah Lyall ran the story, quoting one of the lucky leaflet recipients:
“It looked like one of those things where you get free pizzas through the post. But this was like, free missiles.”
Shooting for a peaceful and better world is something we can aim for, but you can’t deny we’re probably a few centuries away from that target. Fortunately for the lucky residents of this apartment complex, the Ministry assures them (via the handout, in the “Frequently Asked Questions” section mind you) they’re fortunate indeed to be chosen to potentially house Rapier surface-to-air missiles on their house because it will “improve your local security and not make you a target for terrorists.”
Of course these handouts triggered haggling from all sides. City residents who wonder what happens if those missiles misfire. City residents who wonder if they’ll be targets because they DON’T have a missile system in their neighborhood.
And…Thank God…at least one other person besides me who wonders what happens if terrorists do decide to lob something in the direction of London and the Ministry decides to intercept it downtown with one of those high-velocity missiles.
Jan Wind, a retired Dutch Navy captain and director of the Hague-based Wiser Consultancy:
“When you launch a Rapier missile and shoot down an aircraft, it’s not like the whole thing vanishes. It’s 100% tons of metal, scraps and other stuff that is coming down. If a Rapier is used, the damage could be just about the same as the intentions of the terrorist – only on another spot. The goal of the terrorists will be met in a certain sense.”
It’s been no secret these kinds of precautions have been taken for other events of global magnitude since 9/11. In most cases I have heard of, security has been discreetly positioned…designed to ward off the enemy long before their intended target.
The British military sought to assure citizens after all this got out by clarifying any decision to launch missiles from rooftops would come from the highest levels of government.
The levels of government who thought this was a sensible idea in the first place.