142. This report has been an attempt to look at the
landscape after 11 September and to reach some preliminary conclusions
on what has changed in respect of the threat from terrorism to
the UK and its interests. This is not a threat assessment; we
are not in a position to undertake such an exercise. Rather it
is a threat characterisation.
143. Our conclusion is that the threat from terrorism
has become more pressing and more dangerous. A threshold has been
crossed in terms of scale and level of casualties. In his
speech to the Labour Party Conference the Prime Minister asked
'If they could have murdered not 7,000 but 70,000 does anyone
doubt they would have done so and rejoiced in it?'
144. Whatever the outcome of the present action in
Afghanistan or the fate of Osama Bin Laden and al Qaeda, we cannot
expect to neutralize the new threats easily or quickly. The
campaign against terrorism has been described as three-pronged
in that it includes military, diplomatic and humanitarian initiatives.
This three-pronged campaign must be pursued both legitimately
and relentlessly. We must not lose our sense of the urgency and
importance of this task in the months ahead. We must not hesitate
to take the necessary steps to protect the UK and our interests
145. We shall be watching the MoD's work on its new
chapter for the SDR with interest. As with the original SDR, we
shall continue to track and monitor its progress. And we shall
report on its conclusions.