Internal security has never commanded a primary slate in Greece and this condition is not expected to change any time soon.

This comes as a surprise to outside observers, especially in light of the difficult and dangerous times we are in, not to mention Greece's own mounting domestic security challenges: burgeoning imported and "indigenous" crime, with heavily armed criminals getting more daring, more brutal,  and more lethal by the day; a non-stop invasion by illegal immigrants who Greece's badly organized, poorly equipped, and insufficiently led security forces are simply unable to stem;terrorist groups, large and small, laying bombs and improvised incendiary devices across Athens and Thessaloniki and having become, literally, a fixture of daily Greek routines, whose existence does not even attract much public attention; and constant agitation by a globule of  "democratic forces" who, under the cloak of democratic politics and individual freedom, flirt with criminal anarchists, openly advocate thinly-veiled violence against "state oppression," and unfailingly appear in support of every terrorist, criminal street thug turned "militant" or bomber who may have the bad luck of stumbling into arrest.

The roots of this uniquely Greek phenomenon of governments standing hesitant and largely idle in the face of mounting internal security troubles would require a separate tome to analyze. To put it though briefly, Greek politicians, raised on a steady diet of false "wisdom," influences of recent historical disasters, and the maniacal impact of "progressive" demands dictated by a combination of political blindness, historical illiteracy, and narrow partisan dictates, aren't about to turn themselves into armored guardians of our peace and security.

The starkest recent example of this disastrous attitude emerged in December 2008, when roaming gangs of rioting "angry youth" were allowed to torch downtown Athens, and loot, plunder, and hold the country hostage for over three weeks (with the infection spreading onto other cities and towns as well) while the government twisted its thumbs and sweated over how best not to act lest the rioters would suffer casualties. The net result of that catastrophic month of near insurrection was €1.5 billion in economic losses and the permanent scarring of the government's "reputation," already flapping in the wind, torn and abused by scandal, fraud, waste, and mismanagement. That a proven minority was able to cause such enormous damage without the whole of Greek society rising in defense of its own is a depressing and ominous phenomenon.

The obvious question that arises at this point, in view of Greece's endemic political corruption and the government's self-inflicted ineptness, is whether genuine reform can be initiated to save the day in general, but, also, specifically in the field of internal security, surrounded as it is by sensitive constitutional, social, and political factors.

An honest estimate would, almost certainly, declare the patient clinically dead, although there are always statistical probabilities of some revival. There are, for example, those who argue that Greece may be jolted into awakening because of a major incident that would shake the whole rotted edifice to its very foundation. The counter-argument here, of course, is that this major incident has already occurred (the December 08 riots) without any significant re-grouping of the country's security forces or any noted urgent changes in the approach to prevention rather than reaction. Such exchanges tend to further reduce the ranks of optimists and strengthen those who see this country inseparably locked onto a path of failure and self-destruction.

The government that emerged from the October 2009 election has done little to dispel this atmosphere of gloom. There have been promises, of course, plus a convoluted ministerial paper reorganization project that has shifted the security services around with the net result of blurring, rather than streamlining, command hierarchies and decision making. In the end, the project has reaffirmed the favored tactic of Greek governments of bureaucratically shifting things around, an activity that comes complete with much reshuffling of paper, changing of pompous departmental titles, shifting people to "new" irrelevant assignments, and generally spending large amounts of money in an eternal, aimless game of musical chairs.

We have repeatedly stressed in our remarks here on this page the need for a national security mindset to take hold in this country if anything of any consequence can be achieved in better defending Greece and the Greeks against new and older threats.

A "mindset" though cannot emerge from a void. It takes concerned and thinking people to set the playing field ready and level. It takes conscious decisions at various level of government to promote the rule of law and pursue law breakers without regard of their "democratic" status and political pull. And it takes a large activist segment of society to support these proactive people who would supposedly take the lead inside government.

None of these elements currently exist -- and there is thin hope that someone, somewhere, in a position of authority would begin to push for real change. 

Greece will thus continue on the same perilous road of wearing a sack over her head lest she will lay her eyes on the pitfalls dotting the surrounding landscape, not to mention the pressing requirements of acting now to forestall the worst from happening.

It is certainly not the first, and it won't be the last, time that this country proceeds in such manner. However, playing this self-adjusted game of chicken with one's own self isn't the wisest or safest path to take.

But who wants to talk about unsettling matters? It really does spoil the nirvana.

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