Thoughts on the terrorist strike in London
Some disjointed thoughts from me on the abominable bombings in London, which were timed for rush hour to maximize the loss of innocent life:
Dennis Ross on Fox News just now. He expressed something that many of us have been thinking for some time now, but that one rarely hears a diplomat say (this is not an exact quote from him, but it is more or less what he said):
The War on Terror is a misnomer. Terror is just a method. This is really a war on Islamic fanaticism.
And Tony Blair used a word I'd been thinking of: barbarians--the type of word that just a few years ago I would have thought to be as archaic as the historic barbarians themselves. Blair looked angry, too, in his statement, a restrained but white-hot clenched-teeth sort of fury: The purpose of terrorism is just that--to terrorize--and we will not be terrorized.
Ross also mentioned another thing I'd been thinking about, that attacks such as these in London are paradoxical for Al Qaeda. They want to show us they are still active and determined to strike with impunity and great viciousness. On the other hand, attacks such as this on the civilian population, designed to cause a "Spain effect" (appeasement and withdrawal), can instead cause some who would otherwise sympathize with the terrorists and/or make excuses for them to harden their hearts and their resolve against them. Let's hope for the latter from the Brits, who certainly showed a great deal of grit in the past when faced with the Blitz.
I am glad that there doesn't seem to have been any of this "maybe it's the IRA" business that would have paralleled what initially happened in Spain and that caused a backlash there in some of the populace against the government. This present attack had all the earmarks of Al Qaeda from the beginning. Unfortunately, from bitter repetition, we now know only too well what those earmarks are.
The terrible stunned and traumatized look on the faces of the bloodied survivors of the bombing also brings back 9/11 memories.
It seems an amazing coincidence to me that former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani was in London today for the bombing. Who better to address Londoners and to empathize with how they feel right now? Watching him speak brings back for me those first days after 9/11, when he showed previously unguessed-at fortitude and leadership.
For more, Norm Geras offers a guide to local news on the subject of the London bombings.