Sunday, July 10, 2005

London 5 

Update 4: Peaktalk on Al Qaeda's new strategy.

Update 3: Then's this from Spanish Socialist Prime Minister Zapatero:
"Spaniards know well the suffering of the British people... The terrorists will never make us lose our principles and our values."
Like what? Appeasement? (hat tip: Judith Apter Klinghoffer)

Update 2: "The Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, responsible for dozens of suicide attacks on Israel, condemned the bombings, in an attempt to distance itself from al-Qa'eda."

How bad do you have to be to have a fellow terrorist organization distancing themselves from you?

Meanwhile, the Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe says: "Right now, we are all Londoners." After September 11, the French were also all Americans. Let's hope that the Londoner phase will last longer.

Update 1: As USS Neverdock reports, the firt post-bombing polling suggests that the jihadi strategy didn't quite work:
PM Tony Blair's approval rating jumped from 32% to 49%

Should action be taken against suspected terrorists even if they have not committed an offense yet? Jumped from 75% to 81%

Restrict the civil liberties of terror suspects even though there is not enough evidence to charge and convict them? Jumped from 58% to 70%

As a result of the terror attacks will change the way you lead your life? 88% No.
Meanwhile, half of the Dutch population expect that their country will also be a target of a terrorist attack, and 90% believe that such attack cannot be prevented. God knows what a terrorist attack would do for the race relations in Holland, which are already quite strained following the assasination of film-maker Theo van Gogh. The Muslim minority is also significantly larger as the proportion of the population and parts of it are arguably even more radicalized than those of "Londonistan."

More on grievances, from Christopher Hitchens, via Tim Blair:
We know very well what the "grievances" of the jihadists are.

The grievance of seeing unveiled women. The grievance of the existence, not of the State of Israel, but of the Jewish people. The grievance of the heresy of democracy, which impedes the imposition of sharia law. The grievance of a work of fiction written by an Indian living in London. The grievance of the existence of black African Muslim farmers, who won't abandon lands in Darfur. The grievance of the existence of homosexuals. The grievance of music, and of most representational art. The grievance of the existence of Hinduism. The grievance of East Timor's liberation from Indonesian rule. All of these have been proclaimed as a licence to kill infidels or apostates, or anyone who just gets in the way.
What's the compromise here? We'll give you a Palestinian state but we draw a line at stoning homosexuals? How do you deal with absolutists who want to see you pull out of Iraq and introduce sharia at home? (this, by the way, is a quick tour of what bin Laden's vision of Great Britain looks like). Sharia in Great Britain? - that's never going to happen, you might say. Well, it might sound just as fantastic as red star over Westminster would have a few decades ago or a swastika flying over the White House, but it doesn't mean that those who want to see it happen will not try to do everything they can to make it happen. That's ultimately what we have to deal with.

If you want more Hitchens, here's a partial transcript of his duel with Ron Reagan on MSNBC's Connected: Coast to Coast. Bet you never thought you would live to see a day when a Trotskyite is arguing from the right against the son of the greatest Republican president of the twentieth century arguing from the left? (here's video, too, via the Political Teen)

Attacking the root causes: Tony Blair:
"This type of terrorism has very deep roots and as well as dealing with the consequences of it... and trying to protect ourselves as much as any civilised society can, it's only when you start to pull it up by the roots that you will start to deal with it."

In an at times emotional interview with the BBC Today programme, Mr Blair said he did not believe the invasion of Iraq could be seen as a trigger for Thursday's attacks. However, he also said old injustices, poverty and the democratic vacuum in the Middle East had to be address if terror was to be countered effectively.

Islamic leaders also had to deal with the "dreadful perversion" of their faith by fanatics.
I guess nobody's perfect, so we can forgive Tony his reference to poverty as the root cause of terrorism. Post-G8 he must have been still so caught up in the whole "make poverty history" and aid to Africa thing that he had to resort to an old style leftie canard. Poverty of itself doesn't cause terrorism; if that was the case we would have had thousands of Rwandans, Angolans or Congolese blowing themselves up all over the world. And if more aid money was the solution, perhaps the G8 effort should be directed not at the sub-Saharean Africa but the northern part of the continent, which is providing increasing stream of recruits and funding for Al Qaeda's operations in Iraq.

As for the "old injustices", the region can just learn to live with it. If the rest of Europe can forgive Germany for World War Two, or if Poland can forgive Germany, Austria and Russia for being colonized for over a century, the Middle East should also get on with the program. Pretty soon, there will be a Palestinian state in some form - after that, any whining about the Crusades or Western imperialism might start eliciting a less considerate response out of me.

But Blair's right on the other points - the swamp of extremism has to be drained throughout the Middle East.


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