If you browsed the international headlines this week, you might think Norway’s entire security apparatus had been thunderously condemned as a useless failure by the 22 July Commission’s report into last summer’s bombing in Oslo and massacre of young people on Utoya island. And it wasn’t just abroad either. “A more devastating verdict on our government could not have been made,” Norwegian tabloid VG splashed across its front page. It demanded Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg’s resignation.
Maybe that’s just red-top sensationalism. Or maybe it’s a backhanded compliment to the Norwegian government — as in, we can’t imagine a more devastating verdict on ourgovernment, which usually gets things so bloody-well right. In fact, the report — or at least the crucial sections of it helpfully translated into English — is the furthest thing from thunderous. It’s perfectly in keeping with Norway’s overall reaction to Anders Breivik’s admitted atrocity, which often seemed far more reasoned and calm than the outside world’s. Last summer, Mr. Stoltenberg declared that the tragedy had “increased the tolerance for Norway being a country consisting of people of different religion, different ethnic background.” But CBC News knew better: Norway was “changed forever”; it “would likely never be the same.”