Lessons of war

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As Allan Massie reminds us (Perspective, 26 November), Anglo-American governments have a bad record of over-
reacting to perceived internal threats, and this was clearly demonstrated during the Second World War.

The SNP’s Arthur Donaldson was held in Barlinnie on the 
risible grounds that he intended to follow the example of Norway’s Vidkun Quisling in the event of a Nazi invasion.

Worse still, Winston Churchill’s obsession with espionage led him to arrest as “potential Nazi sympathisers” some 30,000 Jewish refugees from Hitler’s concentration camps.

In the US 120,000 West Coast Japanese were interned and it took Ronald Reagan to admit the action was based on “race prejudice, war hysteria, and failure of political leadership”.

Today’s intrusive government surveillance at home and targeted assassinations abroad, all in the name of national security, should make each one of us feel a twinge of unease.

(Dr) John Cameron

Howard Place

St Andrews