"The Only Man Ever to Enter Parliament with Honest Intentions"...

By Benjamin Wittes
Saturday, November 5, 2011, 10:40 AM

...was, of course, Guy Fawkes, who entered in 1605 with the intention of blowing the place up, along with King James I.

Today, November 5, is Guy Fawkes Day--a holiday we don't celebrate in the United States but which, in Britain, is marked with fireworks and bonfires and, naturally, the burning in effigy of old Guy Fawkes (or, traditionally, the Pope). Kind of like July 4--only with a foiled terrorist plot at its core and a strongly anti-Catholic history. Guy Fawkes Day is of special salience to Lawfare readers because it is one of the few--if not the only--holidays that mark the failure of non-state actors to bring down the symbols of state regimes. It is of special salience to me, because I happen to have been born on Guy Fawkes Day and thus have always treated the fireworks displays as celebrations throughout Britain of my birthday.

For those interested in the Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes, and the history of the day, Wikipedia has some very good entries. The interrogation of Guy Fawkes--which was not pretty--and its interesting relation to modern interrogation disputes is also the subject of a brief but fascinating discussion in Philip Bobbitt's monumental book, Terror and Consent:  The Wars of the Twenty-First Century

And for those who want to get in on the action, this YouTube video offers a flavor:

So happy Guy Fawkes Day to all!