Friday, July 08, 2005

London 2 

Update 6: I love the war on terror hawks at Democratic Underground:
The attack in London, tragic as it is, is a direct result of Bush and Blair losing interest in pursuing al-Qaeda. They followed their own agenda when they went to Iraq, knowing full well that there was no connection between al-Qaeda and Iraq.

Bush and Blair both lost interest in Afghanistan, where the Taliban is now in resurgence. Both failed to take any action whatsoever against Saudi Arabia or Egypt which is where the 9/11 hijackers came from. They both forged an alliance with Pakistan, where Osama bin Laden is apparently being hid, and orchestrating present terrorist attacks.

Had we stayed in Afghanistan, spent the billions necessary to rebuild that war torn nation, and aggressively pursued Bin Laden and crew, much of what is a real terrorist threat could have been nipped in the bud.
There is no evidence whatsoever that Afghanistan today is exporting international terrorism like it was over three years ago, but never mind; had the left been in power post-S11 today we would have had five divisions stuck in the 'Stan, continuing cold war with Saddam still in power, and on top of that cold war with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Pakistan. And I thought it was the Shrub who was on a mad crusade. Coming tomorrow: DU will demonstrate how more boots on the ground in Afghanistan would have stopped a Moroccan cell in London pissed off that we're in Afghanistan in first place.

Update 5: Alenda Lux notes the full spectrum of responses to the bombings on the opinion pages of "Guardian": calls for understanding and tolerance, blaming America, and unconditional surrender to the terrorists (parts one, two and three).

What was it that Karl Rove said? Oh, never mind.

Update 4: Reports vary as to the public sentiment on "the British street". While some articles paint the picture of quiet defiance - the spirit of the Blitz,
("As Brits, we'll carry on - it doesn't scare us at all," said 37-year-old tour guide Michael Cahill. "Look, loads of people are walking down the streets. It's Great Britain - not called 'Great' for nothing"...

Computer technician Matt Carter, 25, said he was struck by how the attacks had united Londoners.

"It's amazing how people have stuck together. I've seen total strangers hugging each other and people coming out into the street with free cups of tea," he said.

"We can't let the terrorists defeat us. We've got to show them they will never win.")
others, like the American blogger Charmaine Yoest, are reporting different reactions:
I expected some grief, at least as much as there was when Lady Di died. And grief I got. I interviewed three very ordinary, normal teenaged English Muslims, one with short spiky hair (dressed not unlike my 10 year-old-dude). All three seem to be parroting Muslim talking points. "The bombings were a conspiracy by Blair to generate support for the war," they recited in a charming British accent.

The bombers were quite indiscriminate. Edgware is not far from the heart of Little Beirut, a Muslim ethnic neighborhood.

A young British black woman told me, "The bombings are Tony Blair's fault - they killed a 100 thousand Iraqis - and it's like a boomerang [coming back at the British]." Most everyone I talked to believed that the British caused the bombing or had it coming.

Of the dozen or so people I interviewed only white males in business attire expressed surprise that anyone would think the British were at fault in anyway. But these gentlemen were the minority. Most felt that the Brits were complicit. The people at London's ground zero were sounding like the "wobbly" Spanish after their train bombings.
My sources in the UK are split on which version is more correct.

Update 3: A Londoner's call to arms:
Some will attempt to blame Tony Blair's government for bringing this horror to our capital. The people who set these bombs expect this reaction. They saw it in Madrid, and they crave it in London.

They must get the reverse. Under Blair's leadership Britain has taken its place in a war against Islamofascism, against the bombers of New York, Bali and Beslan, against those who believe that their love of death is stronger than our love of life. We saw that love clearly displayed last Saturday at 'Live 8' in one of this city's great parks - striking proof of this young, diverse nation's desire to engage with and assist the wider world.

We are right to be in this war, and right to work with progressive forces in the Islamic world who want a life free from tyranny, totalitarianism and the cult of death - such as the millions who voted in Iraq, such as the millions who today yearn for freedom in Iran. Together with our Moslem allies we must redouble our efforts - and, yes, our troop deployments - so that we can isolate and destroy Bin Ladenism wherever it chooses to make a stand, and send the clerical fascists back to the dark ages.

But many people will blame Tony Blair. Some of them have spent years saying that there is no real terror threat anyway, that the war is something worthy of inverted commas, something got up by the American right for its own dark purposes. Let yesterday prove that they were wrong. Let yesterday prove that 60 years after defeating another brand of this same poison, Londoners and Britons of all faiths and backgrounds can still see clearly who their enemies are, and refuse to bow the knee.
Phil Craig is co-author of "Finest Hour: The Battle of Britain", "End of the Beginning", and most recently "Trafalgar".

Update 2: With reports of two unexploded bombs being found, we are left with a coincidence of seven bombs on the seventh day of a seventh month of a year whose individual digits add up to seven. There's no evidence, however, that jihadis are into numerology, or into marking any anniversaries.

By another strange coincidence, at the time of the report on the nighly news in Brisbane, the number of killed at three subway stations was seven each and twenty one on the bus.

Update 1: Reader Jim writes:
Been watching the news casts all day and I must say I'm really tired of hearing how this was a "well planned attack" or a "well coordinated attack" or was done by "skilled, well trained terrorists."

What is so damn hard about telling a few crazies "here's a bomb, set it off in a bus or subway around eight o'clock AM on such a such day"? A troop of cub scouts could have pulled this off! All you need is one guy to get the bombs rigged and a bunch of crazies to plant them. And since these bombs went off over a period of time, and apparently set with timers, instead of simultaneously, they could have been dropped by just one or two people. Why do we make it sound as if these scum are so smart, so skilled, so well trained? Why make them bigger than they are? Why stroke their egos with such praise?
Some links: At Labour Friends of Iraq, Alan Johnson pens an open letter to his friend in anti-war movement.

Mark Steyn (hat tip: Joe G.): "This is the beginning of a long existential struggle, for Britain and the West. It's hard not to be moved by the sight of Londoners calmly going about their business as usual in the face of terrorism. But, if the governing class goes about business as usual, that's not a stiff upper lip but a death wish."

Jim Robbins
: "The London bombings are likely part of a wider al Qaeda summer offensive."


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