View Full Version : Bomb in London
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 11:56am
Several people have been injured after explosions on the Underground network and a double-decker bus in London.
A police spokesman said there were "quite a large number of casualties" at Aldgate Tube Station.
And Scotland Yard confirmed one of several reports of explosions on buses in the city - in Tavistock Place - but said the cause was not yet known.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 12:14pm
Talking to some people from London in the chatroom - it's sounding pretty bad ... CJ says a new report of an explosion comes in every ten minutes or so...
And when is someone official going to say the word 'bomb'? Surely these couldn't be anything but?
Edit: Ah wait, now they have...
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 12:29pm
I wonder if this has anything to do with the Olympics or G8 - anarchists from all over the world were causing trouble in Scotland, but this explosion is a mystery.
The false bomb warnings seems like an IRA tactic, but I don't think its them.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 12:48pm
I would say it's more than unlikely to be the IRA.
This will have a connection with the G8 summit, certainly in terms of timing. Perhaps also lack of vigilance since the greatest security measures are around Gleneagles rather than down in London this week.
Seems to be a series of smaller explosions, but the death toll will mount up when the debris is cleared :(
Son of Bhaal
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 1:01pm
Somthing like 3 confirmed explosions and a possible 6 others elsewhere, but these are unconfirmed report, I heard there was an explosion at Heathrow...
Trains, buses, power, mobile phones, the whole city is at a standstill, the M25 has handwritten signs saying "dont bother coming into london", I still can't believe it...
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 1:38pm
An Islamist website has posted a statement - purportedly from al-Qaeda - claiming it was behind the attacks. Very likely, but too obvious don't you think?
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 2:19pm
My bet is on anti-globalization crazies of some sort.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 2:25pm
Seven confirmed explosions, timed perfectly for the rush-hour.
Last I heard, there were only two confirmed deaths. That's still two too many, but it could be far worse.
Son of Bhaal
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 2:33pm
There is more than that surely, did you see the picture of the bus? at that time of the day buses are always full in London, even more so on the tube!
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 2:38pm
Everything I've read says it WILL get far worse, Alavin. :(
Bush is such a fool. The problem of terrorism is a huge and complicated web, fraught with misunderstanding one every thread, and still he paints is as a good v. evil, us v. them picture. When will he realize that "spreading our ideaology of hope" won't bloody work?
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 3:12pm
What's worse is the moron spends all of our resources in a war that as NOTHING to do with getting to the root of these terrorist sickos.
And what happened to our "improved" intelligence gathering??? It's high time we faced the fact that we know NOTHING about how the other half lives...or where they'll strike next.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 3:30pm
Just read the news at work. My condolences to all of the victims. EDIT: MSNBC reports 40 dead and 300 hurt (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/8492258/).
And I agree with you Spelly, wholeheartedly. What Bush does down there in Iraq is, if anything, making things worse (http://www.csmonitor.com/2005/0623/dailyUpdate.html) if CIA analysts are getting the trends right.
Sadly, when Bush and his neo-con morons continue their way, incidents like the mess in London are just the warm-up.
The neo-con the response is pre-programmed: (a) we won't appease terrorists, like those darn Euros do, and therefor we have to act boldly and (b) attack Iran and Syria already ... :rolleyes:
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 4:27pm
Holy crap, I just got home from London 5 days ago.
The neo-con the response is pre-programmed: (a) we won't appease terrorists, like those darn Euros do, and therefor we have to act boldly and (b) attack Iran and Syria already ... So true.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 4:42pm
Of course it's Islamic extremists; the bus bomb is rumoured to have been a suicide job. They've been wanting to get London for years - even the government and the police have stated that a major attack was "inevitable" - and now they have.
The BBC says "More than 30" are dead now.
I actually travelled from King's Cross to Liverpool Street about a month ago. :(
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 5:39pm
But, perversely perhaps, this is only going to cement support for Bush and Blair. If Blair was under fire for Iraq WMD "intelligence failures," more people will be rallying behind him now. This will likely increase enlistment in the UK, increase public tolerance for military and civilian losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, and increase, even if slightly, an invasion of Syria or Iran...
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 6:35pm
A tragedy of this magnitude and we, both in the press and on SP, turn this into a political debate.
There is no political party in either US or UK that would give in to any terrorist demands -- it's a part of the 'never surrender' tradition both countries have (and it's a damn proud tradition at that). This is a time for people to pull together, not point fingers. The finger pointing time comes later, it always does.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 6:40pm
But, perversely perhaps, this is only going to cement support for Bush and Blair.There's no inevitablity about that; there certainly wasn't for Aznar. (Remember him?)
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 7:06pm
Surfing through some Brit newspapers; on the front page of the telegraph there's a picture of Blair giving a "they will not succeed" speech, with a picture of Churchill and a 60th anniversary of VE/VJ day graphic right underneath. I give about a 0.00% chance of these bombings having the same effect on the UK as the 3/11 ones did on Spain...
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 7:13pm
Next in news: "The king/president of Britain proclaims war against terrorism and blames Saudi-Arabia of the recent explosions in London. He promises that all casualties will be revenged ten-fold. But since US already took Afghanistan and Iraq, including their oil-reserves, he is facing a new dilemma: which country has enough oil to make it worth invading?" :rolleyes:
Personally, I can't understand why they target civilians. If they want to play guerilla tactics, then their targets should be in the military and government. Bombing those that do not have anything to do with their "Holy Crusade" is just wrong. (Okay, but then was the invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan too. Just think which one did more damage. Speaks about the whole affair being idiotic.)
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 7:16pm
Oh, I'm not implying that anything of the type which happened in Spain will happen here. I'm simply saying that the idea that this is going to lead to some kind of almost total turnaround of Blair's fortunes is nonsense. (There actually hasn't been any great amount of personal support for Blair as PM for more than a year or two now.)
The kind of rallying-round you mention in the newspapers is mandatory on these occassions in the short-term. Especially from a source such as the Torygraph.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 7:17pm
Bion, But, perversely perhaps, this is only going to cement support for Bush and Blair. If Blair was under fire for Iraq WMD "intelligence failures," more people will be rallying behind him now. This will likely increase enlistment in the UK, increase public tolerance for military and civilian losses in Iraq and Afghanistan, and increase, even if slightly, an invasion of Syria or Iran...... only if people again forget that Iraq and the fight against Al Quaeda are two separate fights.
Robert Scheuer quite rightly described al Quaeda as a global islamist insurgency. Bush's attack on Iraq only fuels the salafi perception of the Muslim World being under attack from the West.
Attacking Syria and Iran would make it even worse, the fact that the U.S. don't even have the troops neccesary put aside. But since when has the secondary point that a plan is outright stupid deterred the neo-cons from pursuing it, as long as it only looks splendid on Powerpoint (http://slate.msn.com/id/2069119/#powerpoint)!
They continue their vocal demonisations of various evils only because they're afraid of running out of enemies one day. Demons allow them to recycle the cold war template into the all-new GWOT template.
It makes politics so convenient that it would be a shame to lose it, horrors, without it you might end up justifying or explaining yourself for the policies you pursue! They just point at a bogeyman and say 'That's why!' and use that as a fit-all justification.
That doesn't mean Al Quaeda isn't a real enemy, it is, but that the obvious problem with Al Quaeda has nothing to do with Iran or Syria.
As for the rsik of war and Blair ... I think Blair is pretty much fed up with adventures, as his troops are overstretched, too, and that is the underlying reason why he wants to shift his troops to Afghanistan again, much to the dismay of Rumsfeld. The madmen are in Washington, in Cheney's and Rumsfeld's offices and the AEI and JINSA. The Brits are remarkably sober about Al Quaeda.
Only half-idiots still buy Bush's line that the U.S. fights terrorists in Iraq, to not have to fight them in San Diego! :rolleyes:
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 7:20pm
Blair couldn't actually assist in an invasion of Syria or Iran in the same fashion he did with Iraq anyway; It would politically wreck him and force his resignation if he tried it. Both him and Bush are certainly aware of this.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 7:34pm
I'm not saying Syria and Iran are now going to happen; I'm just saying the likelihood has increased incrementally. Certainly people won't be quite as bothered by a harder line being taken on Iran re: nuclear weapons. And these things kind of build up. Before Syria would happen, likely you'd see a number of border skirmishes. And before Iran, likely someone would try to take out its nuclear facilities from the air.
People rally around their leaders when things like this happen, and mistakes and poor judgment like Iraqi WMD are more easily forgiven.
And if another terrorist attack happened on US soil, I could guarantee that the US armed forces would more than make up it's recruiting quota.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 7:38pm
I think you're still actually radically over-estimating the effect this will have on foreign policy. It's not going to have annything near the effect 9/11 had, or even Madrid; it's just going to be business as usual for Blair, and the British public in general, come to that.
Oh, and believe me, Iraqi WMD's and the mess Blair made over Iraq has not been forgotten here, Not by a long shot. It's been a constant running sore for him, and he's never going to recover politically from that one. At least, perhaps not until the history books are written.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 7:45pm
I do think the likelyhood has in fact decreased. These war's ain't gonna happen. Syria, if anything, will look like yet another color coded revolution.
And Iraq wil be left in the cold and the demonisations from the neo-cons will continue. IMO the neo-cons are still caught in their threat perception of the early days of the Khomeini regime, when the U.S. embassy was under siege. They just can't forget that. It's a simple bias.
Their greatest fear anyway, is that they can actually deal and talk with Iran's new man Ahmadinejad. Horrors!
If that would happen, they'd have to come up with a real policy, that would much more than the current 'evil begone' pseudo-policy.
The ironic part is that the neo-cons prefer to confront Iran, wich has legitimate security concerns, rather than allying themselves with them. To Al Quaeda Shias are heretics, and as popular enemies as the U.S.
Atm Iran actually cooperates with the U.S. against Sunni Islamists in Afghanistan. The U.S. and Iran have common enemies. They should be allies.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 8:35pm
All the US needs is another decent-sized terrorist attack, and it will start throwing it's weight around again. A draft might not be unthinkable then. And remember: no one (except US soldiers and their families) has been asked to make any sacrifices whatsoever for either Iraq or Afghanistan. There's plenty of reserve capability here.
But I'm really talking about more subtle things, in terms of diplomacy. I would imagine that this would make the UK even less likely to overlook evidence of state sponsored terror.
Yeah, the whole Ahmadinejad thing, when everyone wanted to believe he was one of the embassy hostage takers.
But I'm surprised to hear you say the US/UK should ally itself with Iran; wouldn't this be just another case of the US/UK (cynically) allying itself (and thus supporting) an oppressive regime for the sake of national interest? Like how you would criticize the west for dealing with Uzbekistan, Saudi, etc?
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 9:28pm
['] ['] for those who died
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 9:37pm
What a nightmare. I used to work in an office building just across the road from Liverpool Street station. Most of my work colleagues would have come through that station every morning and many were probably on that train. Pretty hard to check if they are OK or not from this side of the world.
Could easily have been me...... scary.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 9:45pm
It'll be the bloody IRA again :@.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 9:47pm
10 posts before this attack was implicitly blamed on Bush. :rolleyes: I am not sure if I should be surprised that it took that long, or ashamed that people are so politically motivated that they don't even wait to see who is responsible before they take advantage of the situation to lay the blame at the feet of a man who has absolutely no control over the attacked nation's foreign policy.
Oh well, typical leftist mindset, blame the most convenient and politically expedient party at every opportunity. :(
My condolences to those injured and the families of those killed in London. For the rest of us, get used to it. Until we decide that we have had enough of this, and are prepared to make heavy sacrifices, this is going to be a somewhat regular occurrence. None of the choices that would result in an effective end of terrorism are attractive, and no matter what course is taken in dealing with terrorism, a large number of people will be dissatisfied.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 10:08pm
I'd hate to be a innocent muslim in London right now. They could be in a for a bit of bother from people who don't think before they react.
Thu, 7th Jul '05, 11:02pm
It'll be the bloody IRA again :@.No, it's not.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 12:22am
Tragic as this event was, this whole thread will inevitably be all about politics, so I'm moving it to AoLS.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 12:22am
why not Iran, and why cynical? Iran, after all had elections with some four or so candidates, that have actually been democratic in procedere - that's quite a feat. Iran is a 60 million people with an amazing potential.
In sharp contrast the choice in the US usually is restricted to two and the democratic element has been disputed in the last two elections. Wether a geriatric council of mullahs choses candiates, or if two candidates boosted by big money get chosen, where's the big deal?
Darkwolf, "As I complete this book, U.S., British, and other coalition forces are trying to govern apparently ungovernable postwar states in Afghanistan and Iraq, while simultaneously fighting growing Islamist insurgencies in each – a state of affairs our leaders call victory. In conducting these activities, and the conventional military campaigns preceding them, U.S. forces and policies are completing the radicalization of the Islamic world, something Osama bin Laden has been trying to do with substantial but incomplete success since the early 1990s. As a result, I think it fair to conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden's only indispensable ally."
from Michael Scheuer's book 'Imperial Hubris (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/1574888498/antiwarbookstore)'He has a point. Blaming Bush for contributing, with the invasion of Iraq, to the unprecedented recruitment spree for Al Quaeda has a point.
The increasing tempo in terrorist attacks after Bush started the Iraq war is no accident. The recent attack is just a consequence of Bush's serviecs as Al Quaeda's recruiting sergeant - the violent release of pent up energy in the people he helped to mobilise.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 1:02am
Man. Can we at least try and spend five minutes to spare a thought for the people directly involved and the millions of people indirectly impacted by the chaos in the city? Do we really have to launch into a political debate straight away?
Honestly, I’d hate to be with some of you people in a crisis. You’d probably just stand around debating which politician was to blame rather than helping deal with the emergency.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 1:14am
Geez, HB, must you ALWAYS be the voice of reason and sanity around here? :)
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 2:06am
The first thing that comes to my mind, other than the Olympics, is that this is the fourth anniversary of the race-riot in Bradford. I doubt it's related at all, but it's another thing to think about. And I truly hope that whoever caused these actions suffers in Hell when they die. These things are why our world can't stop world hunger, because people elsewhere are ruining life for the rest of us.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 3:16am
Yes, well, it was also Thursday.
To those UKers here on SP - I send you many sympathies for your anguish and a rock-steady shoulder to cry on if needed. :sosad:
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 3:18am
Folks, there will be plenty of time for blame, recrimination and politics later. Right now, the priorities should be to salvage what can be salvaged, bury the dead and grieve or hold those who have suffered close in our thoughts. The English are doing that, rather than dissolving into arguments or chaos - I can safely say that England is and will remain in Australia's thoughts for some time after these events.
I stand amazed at the calmness, dignity and strength of the English at the moment. Instead of resorting to hysteria and a search for a scapegoat, everything has focused on the practical need to save those who can be saved, restoring order and getting people home.
I have a friend who is living in London at the moment (she's okay) who was on one of the destroyed trains until two stops before the explosion. Had she missed that one, she would have been at Kings Cross for that explosion. She said she spent most of the day in tears, astonished at the ability of Londoners and the emergency services to carry on.
What concerns me now is how event this will be used in domestic and international politics. Fox News is already beating the drums of war with allusions to the US and Britain being like Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - that "they come out shooting" when the chips are down.
While I would never suggest that those responsible are any more than murdering thugs who should be hunted down and tried, I do not trust the conservative governments and media of Australia or the US not to attempt to capitalise on fear and shock in the wake of this tragedy.
Blame and accusation can wait. For now, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Britain.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 3:20am
This is especially relevant given that Auckland is currently chockablock full of English people following the Lions tour. This is the busiest I have ever seen Auckland as there are red shirts everywhere. It's amazing. Must be tough for them to be here and enjoy their holiday with all this happening back home.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 3:48am
My heart goes out to the Uk. I know the anguish they must be going through.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 7:27am
My best mate is over there on his OE. Hope he's ok.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 7:46am
of course, the primary blame goes to the perpetrators. The truly sickening part is that four years after 911, except for the killing of some top leadership personnel of Al Quaeda, we're just where we started.
Despite Afghanistan and probably because of Iraq the problem is just as relevant and prevalent as ever.
Four years have mostly been wasted for some feel-good asskicking. Instead of tackling Al Quaeda, some folks decided to attack Iraq instead, oblivious to that Al Quaeda's brand of Islamism was far from defeated.
The soldiers and civillians in Iraq died in vain, just as the people of 911, Bali, Madrid and London and wherever else Al Quaeda struck died in vain.
That only fuels my anger about the politicians helping to conjure up what we face now. Needlessly.
That however doesn't in any way affect my pity for the dead and wounded of London's terrorist attacks, much more as they have cruelly been punished for other peoples mistakes and follies.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 9:25am
My condolences to everyone British and especially to the families and friends of the victims - both the dead and the many injured. I only hope that the perpetrators will be brought to justice and we will come out with the necessary wisdom to prevent other such tragedies from happening.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 10:31am
9/11, I sat and watched CNN in shock at what happened. Reading some of the information passed on in this thread, I get the same think. The difference is that the path to anger is much easier and quicker with every such atrocity.
For days after 9/11, all there was was shock, horror and mourning. Now, within a day, people are already discussing letting George W. send the troops in to (insert current target of wrath here) and shove some good old Americana so far up their hethen asses that they start spewing it out of their mouths. The problem is that it hasn't worked in Afghanistan, and it hasn't worked in Iraq, and it won't work in (insert current target of wrath here). What it will do is boost recruitment for both sides...
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 10:44am
Danm! I've been wanting to login the past 36 hours but I was hopelessly swamped with work. My condolences to those who lost family, friends or any loved ones. I was looking forward to congratulating London for winning the bid for the 2012 Olympics. But such a joyous event has been eclipsed by a tragic one. I have a number of friends in London and I hope they are all well as I do not have their contact numbers.
Sigh. To add to my sadness, here at home our president might be resigning due to pressure from electoral dishonesty (i.e. cheating) allegations. Just what we need, more turmoil to further plunge our country into economic disaster.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 11:00am
The problem is that when such tragedy happens, they want someone to take the blame - anyone, and thats why Iraqis have to suffer for years to come. If this was from al-Qaeda or whoever, then this will give the green light to invade 'x' country in the Middle East.
I would suggest trying a different approach, and actually going after who is responsible, and actually punishing them (unlike the average 3 years in prison for IRA bombers).
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 1:54pm
As far as I am aware all of my friends are OK, though at least one got caught up in a cordoned zone by Edgeware without his mobile. My previous company sent out an email saying all staff were accounted for (I have friends working on the Kings Cross Underground refurbishment project), and my other friends have been in contact. My family in London don't use public transport so I expect they'll be fine.
If my meeting had been an hour earlier I might have been in the thick of it, as it is I ended up driving round London to get to it. Slightly ironic that it was going to be about security.
I'm pretty sure it won't change much, though I expect they'll be a lot less opposition to the identity card scheme than has been previously. (Safety over Freedom?)
The "stiff upper lip" image of the British still holds sway, if we were about to have a general election the Tories would have a better chance as they are even more hardline than Labour. Something like this will only make us more stubborn.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 3:33pm
Oh please save it Ragusa. If Iraq hadn't been invaded, and the US would have moved 130k troops into Afghanistan to try to root out Al Queada you would be riling about that, and terrorist attacks like this one would be just as likely, if not more likely as for the most part terrorist attacks have been contained within the Middle East.
Radical militant Islamists are only looking for an excuse to launch their terror attacks. Remember, 9/11? We hadn't invaded Iraq or Afghanistan, and we had just finished 8 years of appeasement under Clinton, and yet they still launched the largest terrorist attack the US has ever suffered, even greater than the attack on Pearl Harbor. The whole use of Iraq as the scapegoat for why any terrorist attack occurs is at best intellectually dishonest.
Somehow I despite your statements I doubt that you would support the invasion of Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.
Until we either concede everything to these militant Islamists (meaning convert to Islam), they will not be satisfied, and will find some reason to work themselves into a "holy" rage.
Just a reminder as to what this sect of Islam believes, a few of their favorite quotes from that peace loving book known as the Koran:
5.51: O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people. 9.123: O you who believe! kill those of the unbelievers who are near to you and let them find in you hardness; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil). 4.89 : They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah's way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper. 9.5: So when the sacred months have passed away, then slay the idolaters wherever you find them, and take them captives and besiege them and lie in wait for them in every ambush, then if they repent and keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate, leave their way free to them; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. 9.29: Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Apostle have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection. 8.12: When your Lord revealed to the angels: I am with you, therefore make firm those who believe. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who disbelieve. Therefore strike off their heads and strike off every fingertip of them.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 3:45pm
For days after 9/11, all there was was shock, horror and mourning. Now, within a day, people are already discussing letting George W. send the troops in to (insert current target of wrath here) and shove some good old Americana so far up their hethen asses that they start spewing it out of their mouths. The problem is that it hasn't worked in Afghanistan, and it hasn't worked in Iraq, and it won't work in (insert current target of wrath here). What it will do is boost recruitment for both sides... Wow, Gnarff, we agree once more!
I wish I knew what the solution was, tho'. Either we ignore them and they keep bombing civilians at random, or we take 'em out and they recruit more people to keep bombing civilians at random. It's a lose-lose situation :(
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 4:01pm
I agree with Darkwolf on the point that it's patently absurd after 9/11 to blame this on Iraq and Afghanistan.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 4:24pm
Prayers for the families of the fallen.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 5:14pm
Well Bion, Darkwolf,
To make my point clear: I don't 'blame it on invading Iraq'. I'm not as simple as that. The point is that Iraq was counterproductive and didn't contribute to the problem of fighting Al Quaeda and their ilk, thus, was a waste of lives, resources and money.
I'm not so very much alone with my assessment. The larger goals of U.S. strategy depend on separating the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical-militant Islamist-jihadists. But American efforts have not only failed in this respect: they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.That's not some America-hating, leftist appeaser but Rumsfeld's Defense Policy Board speaking (http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports/2004-09-Strategic_Communication.pdf).
Iraq, with key events like the flattening of Fallujah, Abu Ghraib, and in a broader sense with icons like Gitmo, provided a powerful catalyst to Islamist terrorists and enormously aided their recruitment.
But while Islam certainly is an excuse and motivation, Al Quaeda types are thoroughly political animals, with political, not religious demands. They want U.S. withdrawal from the 'Muslim World', a term they interpret broadly.
Pope Benedict XVI had a point when he said they follow a "martyr ideology", which "turns God into an idol by which man worships his own will". They probably have lost the true path of Islam, but as long as they don't notice their fervor won't go away.
Some of the key issues for islamists is U.S. presence on the soil of islamic holy sites in Iraq (like Najaf) or Saudia Arabia. Of course, would the U.S. withdraw they would probably still be offended, as there is the problem of Israel and the other holy site - Jerusalem. So yes, we'd still have trouble.
But I can't see how invading Saudi Arabia would in any way help solve this dilemma, so yes, I wouldn't support it. It wouldn't solve the problem of the militants spread all over the world - we have enough trouble already with the crazed goons we have at our throat already, no need to make more enemies than absolutely neccesary.
The West cannot defeat the Islamist terrorists without friends in the Islamic World. That means compromising in some way. I'm still undecided how that can be done.
The key, however, is to deny the terrorists aid and comfort in their own societies. The U.S. invading countries only unites 'them' against 'us'. George Tierney had some interesting remarks on this in his piece 'Get Out, You Damned One' (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/02/opinion/02tierney.html?ei=5070&en=30d4bebd6194700b&ex=1121140800&emc=eta1&pagewanted=print) During the Civil War, Union soldiers were amazed to see poor Southerners without any stake in the slavery system defending it in suicidal charges. But there was a simple explanation, as a barefoot, emaciated Confederate captive famously put it when a Union soldier asked him why he kept fighting: "Because you're here."...
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 6:48pm
Well, with the civil war, the postwar occupation actually worked (to a point that is; the north ended up caving to the south's desire to set up all sorts of race laws).
I totally agree with you that Iraq was sold to the US and the world in a shameful way, and that it would have been better, if AQ was the target, to concentrate more effort on Afghanistan.
But, even if that had been the case, we would still be in an uncomfortable position: with good conscience, can we really hold up Saddam's Iraq as an example of good ME government, simply because it "kept the militants in line?" If you had the choice, would you really make the call to put the Baathists back into power in Iraq? Isn't that both 1) much like the pre-9/11 conservative/Halliburton line of thinking (in spite of people's attempts to blame everything on Clintonian "softness"), which was more than happy to overlook horrible human rights abuses as long as business was humming; and 2) also condemning the children and poor of Iraq to the continued deprivations of UN sanctions?
BTW, I can see why it can seem a little harsh to immediately start with the politics after such a thing, but then again, the British press is already full of these kinds of discussions, from the "we shall never surrender" to the "this is what we get for occupying another country" variety. Again, my thoughts go out to the Brits; it takes a while for the city to seem normal again after such a thing...
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 7:49pm
Oh come on, as if it would have been impossible to bribe some baathist general to replace Saddam. That was the realist's plan all along. It isn't as if removing Saddam by means of an invasion was the only option. Far from it.
But no, the neo-cons wanted to completely redo Iraq from a scratch. They wanted nothing less but a 'NEW IRAQ (tm)'
No more filthy compromises with thugs like Saddam, instead redemption and moral purity through the power of U.S. arms. :spin: If you only blow up enough people you won't corrupt yourself anymore through dealing with filthy dictators :roll:
Well, *I* have always said the neo-cons are moon-howling lunatics. Just listen to them:
"Military conquest," enthused AEI's Joshua 'Powerpoint' Muravchik, "has often proved to be an effective means of implanting democracy." Michael 'let's invade Iran too, faster please' Ledeen went even further, declaring that "the best democracy program ever invented is the U.S. Army." "Peace in this world," Ledeen added, "only follows victory in war."
Yes, of course, to convert the Islamic world from their wrong ways to western democracy, and to teach them a 'civilised Islam', you only need enough laser-guided bombs ...
:rolleyes: With dimwits like them at the center of power ... :rolleyes: ... you well know where their silly talk brought the U.S.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 7:58pm
March 11, one year ago; I was in Argentina, my girfriend living in Barcelona, Spain; suddenly I heard the news: bombing in trains in Spain, I couldn't get much information, I just knew that were in Spain, so I called my girfriend and her mobile didn't work, that sounded strange to me because I talked to her everyday at every hour I wanted, I called her mother and the same, I spent the most terrible 4 hours of my life not knowing if she was there in those trains untill she called me, I cried in relief...
I know what people must be feeling there in London, so my thoughts and feelings are for them.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 10:14pm
The only positive thing is that London probably has more experiencing dealing with terrorism than any other major city in the World - the 'IRA' years taught officials a thing or two. Of course there's going to be panic when these things occur, but reports suggest our emergency services were quick and well co-oridinated which has undoubtedly saved lives. Sympathies to the families of those who have died or who are injured.
This is all so pointless. Terrorism has never worked against this country and it never will. Ask the IRA.
I'm sure Bob Geldof is cursing al' Queda...
It was odd watching the news last night. It was about 7pm and they were doing live reports from the scene of the explosions. It was so calm. Less than 12 hours after the attacks, the streets were cleared, the buses were running, people were walking about. In a very bizarre way, I thought it was wonderful.
The actions of our emergency services, the citizens of London and our politicians yesterday, I felt, once again, proud to be a citizen in this country. There is something truly unique about our culture, at least in the 'roll up the sleeves and get on with it' manner we deal with crisis.
Again, particular credit to the emergency services. The pay some of these people take home is appallingly low but their professionalism remains a credit to the country.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 11:10pm
Good call, Barmy.
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 11:23pm
I don't see why we bother to have topic titles in here-- every single one seems to turn into an Iraq analysis. :heh:
[ July 08, 2005, 23:53: Message edited by: Spellbound ]
Fri, 8th Jul '05, 11:46pm
Ragusa, Muravchik and Ledeen are absolutely right. The use of the US military brought about democracy in Germany, Japan, and Italy. And talking will not work. Just look at the bs with the talks between Israel and the Palestinians. Only when one side is defeated (guess which one that will be) will there be a chance for peace.
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 12:05am
This is off-topic (although some people seem to think Iraq is to be brought into any conversation about terrorism):
Oh come on, as if it would have been impossible to bribe some baathist general to replace Saddam. Every General, competent enough to carry out such a plan had already been executed. Saddam surrounded himself with men who did not pose a threat to his power. A peaceful overthrow of Saddam's government was impossible -- the position you are implying certainly is not supported by the history of the regime. And it's moot now anyway.
By the way, I've always believed extremist on either side are moon-howling lunatics.
I've always admired the British and their approach to tragedy -- when you allow the terrorist to change how you live your life, the terrorist wins.
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 3:24am
Interesting that the Queen flew so quickly to a hospital to console the wounded, then gave a defiant speech to about 250 staff, vowing that the rule of law would not be subverted. Hmmm. Just don't understand those British.
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 3:26am
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 3:29am
Cernak, not sure I understand your point.
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 3:41am
neither do I, Cernak. Please explain yourself.
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 4:39am
As a resident of London I was appaled but tragically unsuprised by Thursday's terrorist outrage . The immediate response to suchtragedy must be empathy with the pain of those injured and the grief of those bereaved. Britain has given a remarkable display of solidarity following the terrorist attacks in London. Much has been said of this stoicism yet it is one thing to be admirably stoical, another to be foolishly supine. The terrorist threat will dominate Britain's immediate political agenda, and so it should. It is easy to blame the intelligence services in the aftermath of such a tragedy but these attacks were carried out by terrorists - they are the only begetters of the death and destruction we experienced in London yesterday. But this does not mean that we should not ask some hard questions. It must now be obvious that George Bush's grotesquely misnamed "war on terror" is failing. This is not to say that the terrorists are winning. But simply to point out that their ability to bring violence and destruction to our streets is as strong as ever and shows no sign of diminishing. We may capture the perpetrators of Thursday's bombings, but others will follow to take their place. Moreover, the actions of our leaders have made this more likely, not less. We must not shrug off Thursday's events and continue as before. It's time for a rethink.
I agree with the previous posts that have argued that the war in Iraq is immoral and counterproductive. In Iraq we allowed America to rip up the rule book of counter-insurgency with a military adventure that was dishonestly conceived and incompetently executed. Tens of thousands of innocent Iraqis have been killed by US troops uninterested in distinguishing between combatant and noncombatant, or even counting the dead. The hostility engendered has been so extreme that the CIA has been forced to conclude that Iraq may become a worse breeding ground for international terrorism that Afghanistan was. An effective strategy can be developed, but it means turning our attention away from the terrorists and on to the conditions that allow them to recruit and operate. No sustained insurgency can exist in a vacuum. At a minimum, it requires communities where the environment is permissive enough for insurgents to blend in and organise without fear of betrayal. This does not mean that most members of those communities approve of what they are doing. It is enough that there should be a degree of alienation sufficient to create a presumption against cooperating with the authorities. We saw this in Northern Ireland. The political dimensions of this problem mean that there can be no hope of defeating terrorism until we are ready to take legitimate Arab grievances seriously. We must start by acknowledging that their long history of engagement with the west is one that has left many Arabs feeling humiliated and used. There is more to this than finding a way of bringing the occupation of Iraq to an end. We cannot seriously claim to care for the rights of Arabs living in Iraq when it is obvious that we care so little for Arabs living in Palestine. The more the west emphasises confrontation, the more it silences moderate voices in the Muslim world who want to speak up for cooperation. Success will only come from isolating the terrorists and denying them support, funds and recruits, which means focusing more on our common ground with the Muslim world than on what divides us.
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 7:03am
Wow, Gnarff, we agree once more!
I wish I knew what the solution was, tho'. Either we ignore them and they keep bombing civilians at random, or we take 'em out and they recruit more people to keep bombing civilians at random. It's a lose-lose situationThey chose this, therefore we either play their sick game and surrender our humanity to their bloodlust, or we refuse and surrender our lives to their bloodlust. How long before the line of Perdition is crossed? Perhaps Bin Laden may have crossed it on 9/11, but will our leaders cross it too by dropping a nuclear bomb on a city in (insert current target of wrath here)?
Pope Benedict XVI had a point when he said they follow a "martyr ideology", which "turns God into an idol by which man worships his own will". They probably have lost the true path of Islam, but as long as they don't notice their fervor won't go away.I've heard that the word Islam translates to Peace, and that Allah means God in their language. Have these people lost site of this, or have they embraced the mor militaristic parts of their doctrine as were pointed out last page? If they seek to rid the world of every non Muslim, then it will start WWIII sooner or later...
The downside of this wrath is that it distracts from the human side of these attacks. A nation no longer mourns with those who mourn, but rather leaves the mourners to their own and seeks vengeance against the serpent that srtuck them. So you get more of the same **** that King George has been criticized for ever since 9/11...
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 12:41pm
Why Americans are so Impressed (http://www.ucomics.com/anntelnaes/)
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 1:23pm
Sorry for being stupid, but I don't think I get that, Rally. :confused:
Why the tube logo?
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 3:30pm
Because most of the attacks happened on the tube stations, I guess. But I think that comic is in very poor taste, as it can be understood in several ways, most of them offensive.
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 4:12pm
If it is a mocking cartoon it's a bit ill-timed. Whilst we still have emergency services scrapping body parts out of the London Underground, it is insensitive at best.
Still can't make head nor tail of what it's meant to be though.
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 4:30pm
It means that the Brittish don't sit in the corner crying for the victims for a week but carry on with their normal lives as well as they can. In my opinion the Brittish have survived this attack very well and have not let it affect their lives too much (since that is exactly what the terrorists want). Perhaps it's because of the history with the IRA and nazi bombings.
Sat, 9th Jul '05, 5:12pm
Like Morgoroth says, it means that we don't let these kind of privations ruin us, nor do we let them subvert the way we run our daily lives. We make the best of a bad situation. It's a quintessential British characteristic.
It's been well exhibited during other times of hardship, most notably during the Blitz.
Sun, 10th Jul '05, 2:53am
This is all so pointless. Terrorism has never worked against this country and it never will. Ask the IRA.
Barmy, not the best example you could have chosen as it can be argued that terrorism HAS worked for the IRA at points. The very exsistence of an independent country sitting to the west of you on part of the other large island there attests to that. However it's a mistake to think that all 'terrorists' are cut from the same cloth it should be said - Al-Queda is not the IRA/ETA/Irgun etc and comparisions between those latter groups and it inevitably break down. All those groups had (leaving aside whether you love or loathe them) various agenda which by comparision were reasonably straight forward and negotation could take place. It's difficult to know as many have pointed out exactly what Al-Queda wants, or even to quantify exactly what Al-Queda is.
Sun, 10th Jul '05, 3:04am
Sun, 10th Jul '05, 5:13am
Hmmm, I didn't see it as offensive in any way. I took it as admiration for the calm, collected British response to those horrors and their resolve to not let terrorism win. That people must "Carry On" with their lives.
Sun, 10th Jul '05, 5:08pm
Yesterday I've been at a public firework in Cologne, with some half a million people attending. I commute to work and uni every morning on public transport. I feel the chill - but what else can one do? Dig in?
As an old praelat once told me about the mess when I was an acolyte: Whatever you do, do it with dignity. Actually I find Britain's calm response much more impressive than America's hysterical white heat after 911. Colour codes everyone?
Insofar Rally: Calm, collected ... good point. There's no 'now let's bomb those ****ers whereabouts to smithereens' nonsense from Britain.
They understand that that would likely mean to bomb student houses and suburb flats in Edinburgh, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Glasgow - or London.
Sun, 10th Jul '05, 10:30pm
I am VERY disappointed to see that several mosques in New Zealand have been the target of 'retribution' attacks over the weekend. I thought my fellow New Zealanders were above the sort of thing but I was wrong. Despite the fact that it is the other side of the world, a bunch of mosques have been spraypainted with the words "RIP London" and had windows smashed. So pointless.
Sun, 10th Jul '05, 11:00pm
Actually I find Britain's calm response much more impressive than America's hysterical white heat after 911. Colour codes everyone?
That is totally uncalled for, imo. Who the hell do you think you are?? THOUSANDS lost their lives in that tragedy. YOU think you can have a better response?? This just really pisses me off. I am so sick of your knife throwing and your demeaning and maligning comments towards the US, it literally MAKES ME SICK. You can't make one flipping post without some snide reference. :flaming:
Sun, 10th Jul '05, 11:05pm
How quickly tragic events become poorly handled pawns in a never-ending game...
To be honest, I remember things being very quiet in first days after 9-11. Sort of a national deep breath.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 12:15am
I think I've finally heard from all the people in London who I had to check up with. I think everyone I know and used to work with is OK and they're starting to get back on with things. But I understand there are still a few New Zealanders who are still unaccounted for in London, which is a worry for their families on the other side of the world.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 12:16am
Well I do think that the WTC attacks were more unexpected than the attack in London which explains a lot of the hysteria, not to mention the fact that it was much larger in size and that Americans were not used to such attacks. Anyway I don't think the Americans were excessively hysterical about the terrorist attack considering its proportions.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 12:26am
Actually, I remember more a sense of shock. I did not go up to New until about 2 weeks later. Manhattan was very quiet. People were going about their business. There were a lot of police around but I saw no hysteria. Any 'hysteria' did not come from New Yorkers or the tri-state area. Except maybe in a rare instance.
I did startle the manager of my gas station when I asked if he was Turkish. He was fine as soon as I explained that I wanted to find a store where I could get some food I wanted.
Britain is famous for its 'stiff upper lip' attitude and is holding up well.
/me curtsies in the direction of my cousins
[ July 11, 2005, 00:46: Message edited by: Nakia Nightshadow ]
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 12:52am
I do still remember the direct aftermath of 911, like probably everyone else here. And yes, I do remember that period of calm right after as well.
My point is that Britain and London especially has had the unfortunate and questionable privilege of having been target of terrorist attacks before. Terrorism as a phenomenon is not entirely new to Europe.
To America it was. I think that's the important difference.
At a time when Bin Laden's goons planned to attack the U.S. the neo-cons were occupied lobbying for a missile shield and killing the ABM treaty. Terrorism was something taking place exclusively overseas, and not perceived as an imminent threat - not by the politicos and not by the citizens.
The first WTC attack was not perceived as the wake up call.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 12:59am
My 2 cents worth: I think the news media hypes anything like this up to be much more than it is for the people who are actually there. 24 hour a day news coverage with all sorts of 'breaking updates' makes it all seem like the end of the world. I think that for the people who are actually there, if they did not watch the news, they would have no idea that rest of the world was watching so intently. If you are there, you have no choice but to just carry on. I've been speaking to friends in London and, whilst of course it is a terrible tragic incident, they were surprised at what a big deal we were all making of it overseas.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 1:03am
I don't believe the two incidents are comparable. While both are a tragedies certainly -- you're comparing damage done to underground train terminals with 50 dead, to 2 huge skyscrapers toppling to the ground with thousands dead. It's like comparing apples and oranges on the damage scale. ( I don't much like comparing them that way....but it's the facts.)
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 1:29am
I've lost track of what we are even arguing about here. Not sure why we are even trying to compare the World Trade Centre collapse with last week's terrorist bombings in London.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 1:32am
It was triggered by Rags comment about the "perceived" difference in incident response between the two tragedies.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 5:24am
Harbourboy has a point about the media. Which would get CNN more ratings? The US bombing the **** out of Syria or a bunch of English people getting on with their daily lives?
I think there's a good point between Spellbound and Ragusa somewhere. I might not be able to express it well, but here goes.
Ragusa thinks the British are handling this better than the US. There's some truth. After 9/11, the US was at a standstill longer than the city of London after this atack, but Spellbound also has a point that 9/11 was much more horrific than the recent terrorist strikes. Ragusa also points out that the British aren't looking for someone to bomb the hell out of like the Americans were. Perhaps they are more gracious in their suffering, or maybe they're sick of seeing people getting bombed, or even that they know that bombing other countries does nothing to solve the situation.
The US, after they got past the shock of 9/11, were out to prove that nobody gets away with an attrocity like that. Last week's tragedies in London prove that the Al Queda did get away with 9/11. And they'll probably get away with last weeks attacks too...
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 5:46am
There's also quite a few years in between the two attacks. Hindsight is 20/20.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 6:32am
I think the Brits will become more aggressive after this attack. How could they not?
Probably increase their intelligence efforts...which basically means break laws if I am not mistaken.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 7:33pm
I think the Brits will become more aggressive after this attack. How could they not? Why would we? We didn't suddenly 'do an America' and carpet bomb ROI after the IRA terrorist attacks.
The best way to answer terrorists is to go about your business like nothing ever happened as soon as possible. A reaction is the whole point of the exercise for these crazies.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:11pm
The best way to answer terrorists is to go about your business like nothing ever happened as soon as possible. A reaction is the whole point of the exercise for these crazies.Barmy, excellent point. If only few guys in Israel and USA have the same attitude...sigh...
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:15pm
Why would the British get more aggressive?
Because Barmy, people are getting tired of extremists Muslums puting bombs in their public spaces.
They have been doing this for years you realize...
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:18pm
And what will aggression do? Killing innocents and throwing your power around like a school-yard bully?
Incite more attacks, that's what.
There's not really any counter measures you can take against someone willing to kill themselves for a cause. Just try not to incite their hatred is the best thing...
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:20pm
Well, just off the top of my head...you could kill them and their associates...
Took me about half a second to think of that solution...
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:24pm
Ah right, yeah. Silly me...
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:26pm
There's not really any counter measures you can take against someone willing to kill themselves for a cause. Just try not to incite their hatred is the best thing... We should all run and hide, lest we incure their hatred? They hate us for what we ARE -- infidels. Last I knew, most people weren't rushing off to a nearby mosque to embrace Islam -- British OR American.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:33pm
Barmy, we don't have to DO anything to incite their hatred, they hate simply because we exist. I suppose you could analyze history and come up with specific points that shaped this attitude, but that would be a useless academic exercise. What matters in the present is that it's not possible for us to STOP the hatred. I have a feeling that even if the Western world converted to Islam tomorrow, we wouldn't be Islamic "enough" and then they'd hate us for that.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:35pm
It's not about running and hiding. It's about at least trying our best not to invade their countries and kill innocent people.
Reacting the way the US has will only bring more hatred, can't you see that? You can't bully countries into doing what you like and throw your weight around.
People who hate, will breed children who hjate and the spiral continues.
I'll say it again. There's no way of effectively stopping them bombing places if they really want to do it. It's impossible.
I also find you saying 'They hate us for being infidels' naive and a bit insulting. They hate because they have seen their family and friends murdered for the sake of frabricated reasons, poorly disguising greed. Or, they have beem brainwashed into believing they are going to a better place by blowing themselves to kingdom come. But again, there's nothing you can do to stop them, really.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:40pm
I think we need to acknowledge that Muslum extremists do what they do not for a perceived political injustice but rather for a very personal spiritual exaltation.
It is not going to stop no matter what policy we adopt.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:42pm
I also find you saying 'They hate us for being infidels' naive and a bit insulting. They hate because they have seen their family and friends murdered for the sake of frabricated reasons, poorly disguising greed. Or, they have beem brainwashed into believing they are going to a better place by blowing themselves to kingdom come. Oh please... They hate because their religion teaches them that anyone who does not subscribe to Islamic ideology are infidels...plain and simple-- and should be destroyed. I have studied the Koran -- I dated an Iranian for years and do know something about their religion. "Brainwashed" frequently goes by the term "religious fervor" and is quite common in all religions -- it's just that in most, believers don't believe in murdering those who don't subscribe to it.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:47pm
I'm sorry, Spellbound, but that's rubbish.
You should try putting yourself in their shoes, and see how you would feel.
911, or the London bombings is nothing compared to the amount of innocent dead in Afganistan, Iraq etc.
I stress, I'm not sympaphising with these atrocities. They are wrong, plain and simple. But it's hardly purely just because they have a different religion to 'us'.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:49pm
The best way to answer terrorists is to go about your business like nothing ever happened as soon as possible. A reaction is the whole point of the exercise for these crazies. Barmy, I agree with you completely on this one. It's a very sad situation, but the fact is that a few bombs here are there are not going to destroy civilisation. But if we all go mad and get afraid and allow ourselves to be ruled by fear then that CAN destroy our way of life. I fully agree that the best thing to do is to try and show that these petty actions have no impact on our way of life.
They hate because their religion teaches them that anyone who does not subscribe to Islamic ideology are infidels That's a sweeping statement and I sincerely hope you're not talking about all Muslims there.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 9:56pm
LOL -- Barmy -- you obviously don't know much about fundamentalist Islam. Individuals who believe in this, define their entire beings by it -- it is who they are. And in their minds -- it's the Chosen Ones vs. the Infidels (everyone else). This is precisely why they find great honor in committing suicide bombings -- all in the name of Allah -- it assures them a place with Allah. For fundamentalists, this is all they live for and all that matters. And this hatred that they breed goes back centuries.
You can call it rubbish -- but it's reality.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 10:00pm
It is not reality. That's a very naive thing to say. And extremely wrong. I know plenty of Asian Muslims myself, who I get on with fine.
You should get to know more, before you make sweeping generalizations.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 10:05pm
Barmy -- I know plenty of Muslims as well -- I worked with them for 10 YEARS. Many of them are my FRIENDS. I am speaking about "fundamentalists". Do you know what that is? They are a segment of Islam that believes in the death of all infidels. Read your news... Read your books. This is fact. And they make no secret of it.
I fully agree that the best thing to do is to try and show that these petty actions have no impact on our way of life. Petty actions???? I never considered the killing of many thousands in one terrorist act to be "petty". I wonder if you would say that if you lost people in that attack -- or if you had to look at a skyline that was missing two buildings. :rolleyes:
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 10:11pm
Petty actions???? I never considered the killing of many thousands in one terrorist act to be "petty". I wonder if you would say that if you lost people in that attack -- or if you had to look at a skyline that was missing two buildings I didn't say that the impact on people was petty so please don't roll your eyes at everything I say. I'm just trying to share my opinions (which is the whole point of having these forums). I was referring to the action itself. I believe it is petty to go around blowing people up every couple of years and to think that is going to destroy all the 'infidels'.
And I still agree with Barmy that the best thing to do is to show that these actions do have no impact on our lives. And I would still say that if they came and blew up buildings in New Zealand as well.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 10:24pm
Harbourboy -- Um, I count one rolleyes in my posts directed towards you...I hardly call that a barrage. And last I looked, rolling eyes wasn't against forum rules.
And I would still say that if they came and blew up buildings in New Zealand as well. Let's hope you never have to put that to the test.
Mon, 11th Jul '05, 11:24pm
Let's hope none of us have to experience anything like that.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 12:24am
it's the Chosen Ones vs. the Infidels (everyone else). This is precisely why they find great honor in committing suicide bombings -- all in the name of Allah -- it assures them a place with Allah. For fundamentalists, this is all they live for and all that matters. And this hatred that they breed goes back centuries. It's not like there are no Christians with this kind of mentality. Of course they rarely blow up buildings but that's mostly because they have no reason to, but then again the majority of even fundamentalist muslims do not blow up buildings or practice suicide bombings either. So you really should not critizise the knowledge of others when even your own knowledge seems to be a bit limited.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 12:47am
I will criticize other people's comments, if the person commenting is claiming he knows something about what he does not. Barmy's comments were so off the mark as to fundamentalist Islam in general, it wasn't even funny.
If you have read the Koran, you can see quite clearly that it implores the extinguishment of all infidels in the service of Allah. THAT was the original argument. Barmy was saying that these terrorists commit their acts NOT on the basis of any religious ideology, but because of what we did to THEM, etc. And that is incorrect. And we are talking about terrorists here, who are a faction of Islamic individuals, who carry out the religious mission. Do others believe in that mission? -- YES (per many opinions of my Islamic friends) -- do they carry out those beliefs? NO. Only a select few do that....but it doesn't detract from the rationale as to why they do it.
Before you chastise me for my responses, it might be good to look at the original argument as it was stated.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 12:53am
Spellbound - are you saying that your Islamic friends believe that you (as an infidel) should be extinguished?! Or are you saying that they believe that some other Muslims believe that?
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 1:11am
If you have read the Koran, you can see quite clearly that it implores the extinguishment of all infidels in the service of Allah. I have not read the Koran but from what I've heard there is no such passage in the Koran. I might be wrong though since as I said I have not read the book myself. I think however that the closest thing to such a passage was that those who prevent the spreading of islam should be struck down.
Barmy was saying that these terrorists commit their acts NOT on the basis of any religious ideology, but because of what we did to THEM, etc. Well religion helps of course and is a big factor but it ain't a sole factor. I find it quite naive to think that these people committ these acts just because they hate our religion, there are other cultural, historical and political factors involved.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 1:37am
I have not read the Koran but from what I've heard there is no such passage in the Koran. I might be wrong though since as I said I have not read the book myself. I think however that the closest thing to such a passage was that those who prevent the spreading of islam should be struck down. Morgoroth -- take a good look. There's quite clearly more than one passage referring to the fate of the infidels:
Koran - Chapter 2 (http://islamreview.org/KoranKafir/chapter2.html)
The terrorist fanatics see it as their license to kill.
Harbourboy -- My friends and a guy I dated for quite a few years (Iranian) have told me repeatedly that "the infidels must burn" ideology is very common among fundamentalists. Only those that are extreme radicals, however, act on it -- but the point they were trying to make is that -- that group of people is growing. There is a very strong "call to arms" movement, if you will, that is going through Islamic countries -- imploring that everyone take a more radical stand. Most of the people I know are in this country to escape that -- but they still have family members over there. The guy that I dated back some years was an economic advisor for the Shah of Iran -- when he was exiled, the guy came here. He received a lot of pressure to go back from family members -- to participate in the Jihad. He resisted it, but gave me quite an earful at the time. It was then that I read and studied the Koran. And, frankly, it made my blood run cold. We had many arguments about it -- and I never could quite come to grips with it, or accept it.
[ July 12, 2005, 01:49: Message edited by: Spellbound ]
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 2:40am
Of course the people who pick those passages from the Q'uran tend to ignore the Surahs that call Jews, Christians and Muslim all people of the book. They also tend to ignore the, rather ironic given current history, fact that Jews and Muslims lived in peace for many centuries during which Jews were more disliked in Europe with it's various blood libel laws etc.
The Bible has some pretty crazy passages you can pull out, including one prophet who gets bears to kill children who mock him and Lot offering his daughters up for gang rape. The call to arms movements reminds me in some ways of the Nationalist movements that sprang up in my own country (Ireland) towards the start of the 20th centruy, although obviousl this is it's own unique situation and the comparision is not perfect.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 2:49am
Marcus -- I agree to some extent. I think most people believe this kind of rhetoric exists in most religions -- but, imo, not to this type of pointed, graphic extent. Regardless, the terrorists are indeed Muslim, which is the point here -- and they are using this book as fuel for their particular fire.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 2:55am
Are there any similarities between these terrorists and the Bolshevik and Serbian ones who menaced Europe 80 years ago and contributed to the events leading up to World War I?
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 3:19am
HB -- Interesting similarity -- While the brutality may be similar -- I'm not sure those peoples saw suicide as the glory that these other people see it as. But who knows.
It's all very sad.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 3:31am
geez, see what I miss when I go home for dinner with the family...
Barmy, I agree with two points you made:
1) There's nothing we can do to prevent terrorists from bombing their chosen targets (and, as an aside, there's apparently little we can do to identify those targets.)
2) Current American action is not improving the situation.
However, the reasons for the Islamist (meaning someone who is after the death of infidels and an Islamic world, as opposed to Islamic, meaning a practitioner of the Muslim religion) hatred of westerners goes back far, far beyond American response to 9/11 and the Iraq war. Why did they bomb the WTC back in 1993?
This has been brewing for a long time, probably back to when the first Europeans took a region full of nomads and imposed national boundaries to simplify their access to the region's resources. American oil companies are just the latest in a long, sad line of greed-blinded entities who have made ill use of the Middle East and its people.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 2:44pm
Like the Bible, the Qur'an has its share of aggressive texts, but like all the great religions, its main thrust is towards kindliness and compassion. Islamic law outlaws war against any country in which Muslims are allowed to practice their religion freely, and forbids the use of fire, the destruction of buildings and the killing of innocent civilians in a military campaign. So although Muslims, like Christians or Jews, have all too often failed to live up to their ideals, it is not because of the religion per se.
We rarely, if ever, called the IRA bombings "Catholic" terrorism because we knew enough to realise that this was not essentially a religious campaign. Indeed, like the Irish republican movement, many fundamentalist movements worldwide are simply new forms of nationalism in a highly unorthodox religious guise. This is obviously the case with Zionist fundamentalism in Israel and the fervently patriotic Christian right in the US.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 4:15pm
I do not think it is good to compare Muslim terrorists with Christian fundamentalists or even Christian activists. And SatansBF, you are wrong about the Christian right being simple nationalism in unorthodox religiouse gise. While I am not one of them I do know that they practice their religion honestly -- if you are talking about James Dobson and friends -- and are also patriotic. You do not have to choose one or the other.
I also do not think that the best thing to do about terrorism is ignore it -- you have to fight back against it and eradicate, imprison, or convert the terrorists.
-- I edited this to say that this is quite a interesting board for one dedicated to CRPGs!
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 5:34pm
There have been atrocities committed throughout history in the name of religion, and at the base of most of them is a corruption of the basis of the religion. That said, different religions were based on different principles. It is my understanding that Muhammad, seeing iniquity and the unfairness to certain groups started a revolution (one inspired by God if you are a follower of Islam), and it was a violent beginning. There have been many nations that have risen to greatness from a start that was steeped in blood (including my own). Islam is much like this IMO. However, this violent beginning gives those looking for the opportunity to justify continued violence the rationalization they desire.
To take selected quotes out of the context they were written in, and the context of the history surrounding them, is an expedient way to corrupt their real message. However it is not Spellbound who is doing this, it is the extremists within the Muslim religion. Spelly is just stating what is happening with a small subset of the followers of Islam. However, the society of the Middle East, which was formed around the teachings of Mohammed, has not chosen to cast out these extremists and the reasons for this need to be explored.
The western world, due to our open societies, exposes and rebuffs (or at least insulates) extremists when they expose themselves. However, the society of the ME is averse to exposing a ridiculing these extremists, as their society is not based upon freedom, IMO. Many in the ME (probably most) do not agree with the actions of these extremists, but their society is such that they allow the extremists to exist. If we wish to stop this, a new paradigm must be introduced to these people, one that allows for individual judgment, and that does not encourage blind faith in anything, including religion. How this can be accomplished is open for debate, but it cannot happen by ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away.
Aldeth the Foppish Idiot
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 6:05pm
If we wish to stop this, a new paradigm must be introduced to these people, one that allows for individual judgment, and that does not encourage blind faith in anything, including religion. How this can be accomplished is open for debate, but it cannot happen by ignoring the problem and hoping it goes away. That might be the most insightful thing I've heard in a long time regarding the war on terrorism. Unfortunately, it does not seem that this view is shared by many of our current politicians. (Note, I'm not bashing the Bush administration in particular with that comment. While they are in the best position to affect a change, the Democrats are just as guilty of this.) More to the point however, even if this view was shared by most in power at this time, it is one thing to say it, and quite another thing to put it into practice. That's the main problem we have. If we could magically instill this ability into people of the Middle East, we might really see some change, but I do not see a mechanism available to plant the seeds of this mindset in the Middle East.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 8:12pm
What has pissed me off, is that the suicide bombers who did this, were born and bred in England.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 9:51pm
If you were on a holy quest to wipe out non-muslims, why would you plant bombs in a place like London which has a massive muslim population? You're likely to kill more muslims than infidels, which would surely be counter-productive.
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 9:58pm
Harbourboy, according to the 2001 census in the UK there were just under 1.6 million Muslims in the country or abour 2.7 per cent of the populace at that point. Quite a lot of that is as you quite righlty assert in London. However, many of those Muslim people live in the more deprived boroughs, like the one I live in here, Hackney. About 15 per centr of all residents are Muslim here. Where the bombs went of is generally where tourists are likely to gather or commuters. Although I don't doubt there were Muslim killed and hurt in the blast your chance of wiping out more of them than the 'infidels' would be highly improbasble. Also, one morally repulsive justification given by some fundamentalist is that Muslims killed by such attacks automatically become martyrs and enter paradsie,so that makes it all okay doesn't it ?
Tue, 12th Jul '05, 10:08pm
So the DLR is safe then? That's always full of muslim kids, like the ones who go to the school near Limehouse that I used to be a reading volunteer at. I remember being assigned to one kid who asked if I was a muslim. When I said he 'no', he wouldn't speak to me again. Luckily, the next kids I was assigned to was a bit more accepting of my unholiness.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 12:01am
Two of the areas targeted in the bomb attack have large Muslim communities (Aldgate and Edgware Road). In fact, one in seven Londoners is a Muslim. This should make us all realise that the perpetrators of these crimes do not believe that any life has value, regardless of faith.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 12:33am
I think Marcus said the way of it -- that these people think that any Muslims that happened to be caught in the "firestorm", should be thankful that their life was sacrificed for the cause. It's their highest honor.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 12:36am
So the lives of all muslims in London is forfeit then (given that the fundamentalists would, if they were able to, wipe out every human in that city)?
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 1:29am
Well, remember, in this radical faction, sacrifice of one's life in the name of Allah is the highest of all honors....one of jubilance and joy. These people don't view death the same as we do. That's why threatening them with their own death is no real threat to them -- they welcome it and see it as their service. (Although it's funny we don't see Bin Laden and his crew lining themselves up to offer themselves.) I guess it's because they figure there's more work to be done.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 4:47am
Barmy A, HB, and Nakia: Sorry if I was obscure and elliptical. I was thinking of Bush flying to Nebraska after 9/11--Clinton got to New York before he did--then giving a speech that was a declaration of war and proposing a (previously prepared) bill that subverted the rule of law, and I was impressed by the very different British response to a terrorist attack. Also, I was disgusted by much of the network commentary in this country which treated the bombings as merely an opportunity to raise the level of fear.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 2:00pm
Well, just off the top of my head...you could kill them and their associates...
Took me about half a second to think of that solution... Great idea, you tell me who they are and I'll do the shooting... or perhaps we should try the "Final Solution"?
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 4:00pm
Cernak I was impressed by the very different British response to a terrorist attack.:) I second that, word for word. It's basically what I have tried to say all along.
And Barmy, you have brought up good arguments :thumb:
Carcaroth Great idea, you tell me who they are and I'll do the shooting... or perhaps we should try the "Final Solution"?Let's just invade Iran, Syria and some of the other usual suspects, too. Like: Beat your children every day, if you don't know what they did, they do.
What is often overlooked is that Al Quaeda is now in Iraq because the U.S. went there. Had the U.S. gone to Egypt, Somalia or Morocco they'd come there. It's all about ptovoking a repressive reaction to say to the undecided sympathisers: 'See, I'm right - he is the devil!', as Barmy rightly hinted on.
The British have learned that the hard way in Northern Ireland, and were quite successful there.
You may not be able to change the hardcore whackos, you'll probably never will, you indeed may need to kill them. Beyond that, it is all about denying them followers and support to keep the fire small and let it burn out.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 6:29pm
You may not be able to change the hardcore whackos, you'll probably never will, you indeed may need to kill them. Beyond that, it is all about denying them followers and support to keep the fire small and let it burn out. Poor analogy, it has been tried and it failed. Religious fervor is not a normal fire in the sense that it needs fuel and oxygen. It provides its own fuel and oxygen. They will always find some slight or reason to declare jihad, as they fundamentally do not agree with any other way of life. The nature of the society in the ME makes the people who live there susceptible to this type of manipulation. Logic doesn't work here as their movement is based entirely on emotion and faith.
The only way this threat is going to be eliminated is through a major change in paradigm on one side or the other. Either the ME joins the rest of the enlightened world, or we join them in both religion and theologically based government. They will be satisfied with nothing less.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 6:30pm
You may not be able to change the hardcore whackos, you'll probably never will, you indeed may need to kill them. Beyond that, it is all about denying them followers and support to keep the fire small and let it burn out. As to the second half of the that quote -- Just how do you propose to do that? The "hardcore whackos" are growing in size....more and more people are answering their call to arms. Would you ask them "Pwetty pweeese, don't join this violent group....the ones who share your heritage, the ones who interpret the Koran slightly different than you, but still are following the same book you were taught from, from birth?" "Please....come just us, the infidels!....we have more to offer you!"
The point is, the neutrals -- if they're going to swing in any direction, are more likely to join people of their own religion and upbringing. Or perhaps you think that the terrorists get their numbers from Christian-types?? Only if it were that easy. Deny them followers?? -- the radical terrorists have a pool of people that already share similar ideologies.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 8:51pm
Start a Christian Wacko Sect that teaches glory in slaying infidels, promises 70 ministering virgins to those who die in this cause and considers C-4 explosives to be a real swanky belt.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 10:00pm
it has dawned to some of the the decisionmakers in D.C. that invading Iraq may well have achieved the opposite of what was originally intended as far as fighting Al Quaeda is concerned. That's a fact, and it's stated in an unusually self-critical report of the Defense Policy Board (http://www.acq.osd.mil/dsb/reports/2004-09-Strategic_Communication.pdf). ... the larger goals of U.S. strategy depend on separating the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical-militant Islamist-Jihadists. But American efforts have not only failed in this respect: they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended.
American direct intervention in the Muslim World has paradoxically elevated the stature of and support for radical Islamists, while diminishing support for the United States to single-digits in some Arab societies.Ponder on these lines a bit.
This is exactly what that british diplomat, who described Bush as Al Quaeda's best recruiting sergeant, was talking about.
When the CIA is right, Bush has done even more than that: By invading Iraq, he turned the country into a real-world laboratory for urban combat (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4122040.stm).
Two decades ago Afghanistan became the magnet for Islamic militants, who later on became the Al Qaeda network operating under the protection of the Taliban. While the Afghan operation was largely fought on a rural battlefield, the CIA report says that Iraq is now providing extremists with more comprehensive skills, including training in operations devised for populated urban areas.
If only one of these folks is right, the 'let's cut 'em down' option you seem to prefer is going to be a self-defeating, terrible mistake that is going to haunt our children.
This approach would then perpetuate the problem and make it much, much worse.
That's worth a thought or two.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 10:08pm
I see that they seem to have found 4 suspects in this case, although they'd better well be guilty now that there names have been broadcast all over the world and all their neighbours and relatives have been interviewed.
It seems that one of the four had been on holiday in Pakistan and visited a religious school. The other three were his friends and nobody suspected them of being the least bit insurgent.
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 10:32pm
Oh, Ragusa, you shed no new light here. We are all quite aware of the debacle the US finds itself in, regarding the terrorist situation. You, however, have dodged my question:
Beyond that, it is all about denying them followers and support to keep the fire small and let it burn out. I repeat: "Just how do you propose to do that?"
The response you gave was again a criticism of what's wrong. I want to know your answer as to how to make it right -- and one that does not totally surround the UNITED STATES' actions. This is a GLOBAL issue, in case you haven't noticed.
[ July 14, 2005, 00:30: Message edited by: Spellbound ]
Wed, 13th Jul '05, 11:44pm
I think the most benefit could be gained from the aid of the powerful in Muslum societies.
But are the religious and political leaders of Muslum societies helping terrorism or curtailing it?
The political leaders who field terrorists are quickly demonized (unless you are a Saudi royal of course), but the religious leaders are often insulated.
Can the inertia of religious institutions ever be quickly changed?
I don't think the world (or US policy) is going to change anytime soon...
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 12:55am
Spelly, Just how do you propose to do that?There is the british template.
People have been killing each other in Northern Ireland for 800 years. There is barely a chance to do something about the root causes - they are there and barely will go away.
The Brits had one advantage in Northern Ireland, it was basically their turf (though the catholics will disagree there) and had plenty of local allies, but the U.S. by changing their foreign policy can do something the Brits could not - adress a root cause.
The British approach took care to ensure that as little people as possible get killed, be them catholics, protestants, soldiers or terrorists. That sounds weird, I bet.
The 'Bloody Sunday' had bad repercussions for the British Army and their commanders were determined to never allow something like that to happen again.
That was at the time Sharon ordered his army to break the bones of the Palestinians who dared to throw stones.
In the year 1972 there detonated some 3 bombs a day in Northern Ireland. Bombs in Northern Ireland and IRA terror are next to zero now.
Breaking the bones hasn't helped solving the problem in Palestine. And that doesn't mean it's because the IRA goons hated the Brits less than the Palestinians the Israelis.
In Northern Ireland the British never resorted to collective punishment, air raids, bulldozing of homes or farms, or to cutting electricity or water. The British soldiers showed greatest self-restraint, even when IRA murderers assassinated the Queens cousin, Lord Mountbatten, or when they blew up a hotel in Brighton where Maggy Thatcher was about to hold a speech at the Tory convention - and almost managed to kill her. That gives great credit to their excellent discipline and professionality, and the understanding of their leaders.
Over the course of the conflict in Northern Ireland some 3.000 people died -- 1.700 civillians, some 1.000 British soldiers and Policemen and about 300 terrorists. What a crappy kill-ratio one might think.
But maybe that's why the Brits won: At the cost of taking losses they avoided that British soldiers would rightly be accused of criminal behaviour.
The british were also much stronger than the IRA, they had bombers artillery and tanks - but didn't use them. Look at Palestine and the pics of them kids throwing stones at Israeli tanks. Who is the bad guy? The strong guy, beating down the weak.
Criminal behavior, brutality, ambushes, atrocities, cruelty and harming civilians should be left to the terrorists.
That was key to deny the terrorists propaganda, images and a history of standing up against the Brits to aid their recruitment and funding.
In Iraq, Abu Ghraib, Fallujah, Gitmo etc. the U.S. provide Al Quaeda with all of that, aplenty.
That denying of propaganda is probably the reason why eventually the swamp dried up for IRA and UDA support in Northern Ireland - you cannot gain glory when you attack disciplined troops who will only return fire when they themselves draw first blood - that's british standard procedure in Northern Ireland - and who will arrest and trial you in due process and send you to jail. Fighting is a waste of time then, and to support those who want to fight a folly.
However, when you dare to battle the mighty U.S. war-machine and return to tell the tale, now that takes guts and luck - you're a hero for your people.
The british way takes immense patience and the willingness to, yes, take more casualties than to inflict on the enemy to get the mission done. The british approach of de-escalation requires an enormous inner strength and iron discipline.
Sadly, I fear the U.S. atm don't have what it needs to do that, the emphasis on force protection first is incompatible with that - to shoot first and ask later is a mission killer when the job is de-escalation. Of course it is sort of natural for troops to react to violence against them with force. To avoid that, you need to train them the neccessary methality. The British have succeeded to do that, while maintaining their troops remain top-notch.
The US government wants to be on the offensive. I fear it misunderstands the nature of war it is in now.
It should be remembered that Clausewitz pointed out that defense is the stronger form of war.
It isn't any different in normal life: He who defends himself is seen as being morally justified. To remain morally justified is key.
[ July 14, 2005, 02:09: Message edited by: dmc ]
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 1:21am
Sadly, I fear the U.S. atm don't have what it needs to do that, the emphasis on force protection first is incompatible with that - to shoot first and ask later is a mission killer when the job is de-escalation. Of course it is sort of natural to troops to reacto to danger to them with violence. Somewhat understandably, Americans, just like their president, seem to want to be on the offensive. I fear they misunderstand the nature of war they are in now You just don't get it. I had asked that we discuss this WITHOUT pointing fingers at the US or it's citizens....but that seems totally impossible for you.
And here's a clue that might hit close to home: People tend to go on the offensive when they are attacked -- repeatedly. Unbelievable.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 1:40am
That's why his name is Rag-USA.
On a related point, it is the 20th anniversary of the first foreign terrorist action in New Zealand. In 1985, barbaric french terrorists / spies blew up a Greenpeace ship, the Rainbow Warrior, that was anchored in one of our ports (killing one person who was unlucky enough to be on board whilst everyone else had gone into town). NZ's response consisted of singing protest songs, some stern words to Francois Mitterand, and lots of making fun of the French in cartoons. Well, it must have worked because they have never tried anything similar since.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 1:58am
With no offense of any kind intended I think your analysis of the situation in N.Ireland is extremely lacking in parts. You say the British cannot address the root cause of the problem, they most definitely can and if history in Ireland shows us anything it is that their presence is the root cause of the problem, a point admitted by many British politicans after consideration themselves. How that is going to be resolved is anyone's guess at the moment, the most likely solution been demographical change eventually at the moment. Also, you say collective punishment was never employed against nationalist areas, wrong again, internment was at first exclusively used against nationalists only and suceeded in alienating that particular community even more. Your figures for deaths in the Troubles are also somewhat off, a more generally agreed figure is around 3,600 dead between 1969-1994.
The British did not use artillery or bombers etc as they are not exactly selective weapons and their use would have entailed knocking down sections of the areas in dispute that held people actually loyal to them. Also, they did not bomb the Republic of Ireland because that govt. was if anything more succesful in locating IRA weapons and capturing them than the British themselves. Also, bombing it would have meant an actual war, which no doubt the Irish with their much inferior weaponry would have lost but only at the cost of many British lives and an incredibly damaging view of Britain been generated throughout the world. The British were well aware how bad they looked after the first Anglo-Irish war and I am sure did not really want to repeat the experience.
If support has dried up for the IRA or UDA or their political wings then the last election results in N.Ireland in this years general election are hard to understand. They seemed to show a massive polarization there, with nearly a quarter of all votes cast for Sinn Fein and over 30% voting for the loyalist main party, the DUP. The more relatively moderate parties of the two sides have effectively been put on the back burner.
As to British standard operating policy in the North there's been more than enough evidence over the years to suggest that the accusations of collusion with loyalist terrorists and shoot to kill policies have been in effect whatever the public relations says to the contrary.
With around 8 million people living here in England of Irish descent getting too openly heavy handed in N.Ireland would have been a very foolish idea. The British are not idiots, they know doing that would provide lots of room for the IRA to recruit here and in the Irish Republic. Also, contrary to the nice rosy picture shown around the globe both the IRA/UDA etc maintain the capability to return to terrorist activity any time they choose.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 2:00am
Ragusa - interesting. You want the US and Israel to adopt the British model used successfully with the IRA. Given that the US and Israel are the primary proponents of the use of superior force against Islamist terrorists, I think it's fair to say that we can focus on them and ignore most other countries for purposes of this debate. Let's also assume that you could convince the people running the US and Israel to do that.
I'm personally not sure that the British method will work here, because the Brits and Irish were, essentially, very similar and had similar values. I think international Islamist terrorists have little to no common ground with us and are not particularly in need of our help in recruiting. That Bush has decided to help them by the Iraq war is truly unfortunate and, IMO, a disaster, but I am also not very sanguine that your solution is, in fact, a solution.
That being said, I'm also not sure what is a solution. We can't kill them all, we can't leave them alone (the global economy would not be happy with a radical Islamist Middle East playing games with the amount of oil they would control), we can't reach an agreement with them on any kind of real cease-fire, and we are probably unable to keep up what we're doing now. I don't think this insurgency is ending any time real soon. Maybe once Iraq is beaten into the condition of Afghanistan, but that would be a horrible disaster of epic proportions.
It's certainly worth trying the British model. However, this is all a thought experiment, because Bush's political agenda does not include the possibility of anything that does not smack of cowboy justice and a tough guy image.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 2:13am
If it all comes back to oil again, then why not accelerate plans for an economy that is not based on oil (given that we're going have to do this eventually anyway)?
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 2:26am
Harbourboy, good question - I have been reading several books on alternative energy methods lately and many of them look like they could be practical if enough time and money were invested. Admittely there were some hilariously stupid ones relying on the concept of over-unity devices* (essentially devices that produce more energy than you put in) but some other methods like micro-cavitation etc looked promising. However, changing the oil based economy would not just upset the middle east but many of the key companies in both America and Europe who have a fairly major influence on our politics. It will be a long, uphill struggle I think, motivated finally by desperate need that will see our energy production methods changed.
*Possibly the most ridiculous one was the guy attmepting to explain how we was going to exploit zero-point energy.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 2:43am
Harbourboy -- I think that's an intruiging idea as well. The only problem I see with it is the time it would take to affect such a change -- so that we don't have a complete breakdown economically. And if that were our sole solution -- we'd be leaving ourselves at the mercy of these radicals for a long period of time, with a lot more lives lost.
I had thought about economic sanctions -- but many of these sects are funding by internal, family wealth -- and I'm not sure how you go about affecting that.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 2:59am
There are no quick-fix solutions because the problem has arisen over such a long period of time. It's not just a reaction to recent Bush / Blair political decisions (although that may have been useful in providing some "justification"), it's something that has been growing and developing for many years. Some would say it is more the result of decisions made after World War II which helped provide an environment in which some of these brands of fundamentalism could thrive. But I find the whole thing far to complex to try and contemplate.
I still think the main thing that each of us as individuals can do right now is to help show that they can never win and that we will not allow them to change the way we live. That involves trying to carry on with our lives as much as possible to show how little impact they have on us.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 3:28am
So long as the struggle against terrorism is conceived as a war that can be won by military means, it is doomed to fail. We must be ready to take legitimate Arab grievances seriously and acknowledge that their experience of the west is one that has left many Arabs feeling humiliated and used. We cannot seriously claim to care for the rights of Arabs living in Iraq when it is obvious that we care so little for Arabs living in Palestine. When speaking of terror let us not forget that September will mark the annivesary of the massacre at Shatila refugee camp in Beirut, where 1,400 Palestinians were massacred in 1982 by Christian gunmen with the tacit consent of the Israelis.
Defeating the terrorists also means defeating their poisonous belief that peoples of different faiths and ethnic origins cannot coexist peacefully. Osama bin Laden is no more a true representative of Islam than General Mladic, who commanded the Serbian forces, could be held up as an example of Christianity. After all, it is written in the Qur'an that we were made into different peoples not that we might despise each other, but that we might understand each other.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 3:29am
I agree with all of that. However, I think if we could just send in paid assassins, of the "Carlos" calibre, to get the Bin Laden's of these sects, disbersement of the rest could follow. These fanatics are beyond reasoning with - they don't see the world like we do. Their every frame of reference is different -- there's nothing to parley with. It's like dealing with an alien on a rampage.
SatansBedFellow -- True -- but what we are dealing with here ARE the Bin Laden's of the world.....who take Chapter 2 to heart a bit more than the quote you just stated, unfortunately. If that weren't the case, we wouldn't have the problem to begin with.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 3:57am
Spellbound - cool! That's exactly what we need. Hi-tech assassins. That would rock. It could be a bit like Mission Impossible in that we would disavow their actions if they were caught or killed. Then, in later years, we could make movies based on their exploits. Awesome!
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 7:42am
Errr, and you do think that the price that's already on Al Quaeda leader's heads doesn't produce the desired effect?
Some goon like carlos was basically not a high tech terrorist but a vain troublemaker and coward murderer with conspirative experience. His skill and capability were certainly vastly below that of any U.S. SpOps operative.
That is, the U.S. do what you suggest already, without significant success over the last years.
U.S. special forces are exactly the sort of high tech killers you refer to.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 4:10pm
I was kind of hoping harbourboy was been somewhat tongue in cheek with his post, given the comparisions to Mission Impossible and all.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 4:15pm
Our special forces cannot move amongst the natives in this part of the world, they are too close knit of a society. Sometimes you have to set a thief to catch a thief.
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 4:18pm
Marcus -- so was I. ;) Assassin or not -- it does no good, if we can't FIND these people. That's the frustrating thing about it all. Eventually they'll surface, but who knows when. :heh:
Thu, 14th Jul '05, 6:51pm
Hopefully he'll die from some easily curable disease. That would be a break.
Sat, 16th Jul '05, 3:59pm
Concerns about "Islamic extremism" and disapproval over violence motivated by it are growing in both Muslim and non-Muslim countries, according to a major new survey (http://pewglobal.org/reports/display.php?ReportID=248) that also found declining support for Osama bin Laden in most of the Islamic world, with the exception of Jordan and Pakistan.
And there it isn't even clear what exactly 'muslim extremism' means to muslims. Some define it as the "violent removal of non-Muslim influences" while others saw it as the imposition of strict sharia laws.
Asked what causes Islamic extremism in their country, pluralities in Lebanon and Jordan cited "U.S. policies and influence," while similar pluralities in Morocco and Pakistan cited "poverty and the lack of jobs."
At the same time, the survey found that support for terrorism and other forms of violence has mostly declined in the Islamic world compared to 2002 when PGAP first posed the question.
Seemingly, terror and mindless killing are a thing the Muslim world as a whole does not support. It is easily forgotten that that was also so around 911 when the U.S. got broad sympathy in the Muslim world. Point is, the U.S., as the rest of the West in general, get sympathy when they are perceived as the victims of terror.
Not try to take into context this: London Bombers Were Angered by War in Iraq (http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050715/ap_on_re_eu/britain_suicide_bombers). The logical conclusion is that when the West is perceived as the agressor, they do not get sympathy.
It is also interesting to hold the motivation of the terrorists against the general lack of approval for acts of terror in the Muslim world. Muslims do get what's right and just and what's not, that applies to Western policies as well as to acts of terrorism or what the Koran sais.
This indicates that the bombers are a minority. It seems as if Islamist terror is a sort of desease, somewhat like Ebola, that is too lethal to sustain itself.
In fact 'Islamic extremism' alienates most people in muslim world. The brutality and cowardice of Islamist's acts of terror work to undermine their own support.
Now that is a hopeful sign. When the West, and especially the West's most agressive actor, the U.S. act sensible, Islamist terror is doomed. If not, the problem is nurtured.
That's the choice: An end in terror or terror without end. Your pick.
That doesn't mean that by de-escalation alone future acts of terror can be prevented, but their number can be reduced and the duration limited while doing rigorous law enforcement and intelligence work.
Perhaps disappointing: There will not be something like a decisive victory, or an 'Endsieg'. The terror will simply slow down and eventually pass away.
When the Brits started to switch over to de-escalation it still took them many casualties and decades to calm the Northern Ireland down.
But one thing is sure: They would still be fighting in a little Beirut of their own making had they resorted to Fallujah-style attacks (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/15/international/middleeast/15falluja.html?ei=5070&en=57e8868d29a06102&ex=1122091200&adxnnl=1&emc=eta1&adxnnlx=1121522421-TJVGIrsYPYZ+2VjA6d0PxQ&pagewanted=print) on IRA and UDA terrorists.
In my eyes the refreshingly non-jingoistic response of the Brits to the London bombings got it just right. Their approach works.
[ July 16, 2005, 16:22: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
Sat, 16th Jul '05, 4:21pm
How is the UK response to 7/7 different from the US response to 9/11? Bush and Guiliani gave all sorts of Blairite speeches telling people that Arab and Muslim Americans were just as 'Merkin as any other American, and the Bushies were (temporarily) thwarted in their attempt to turn attention to Iraq, instead focussing on Afghanistan using soldiers from a large coalition of countries, including Deutschland. And the UK isn't rushing like Spain to pull it's troops out of Iraq...
Having watched 9/11 from about a mile away, and wandered about lower manhattan later that day, I can also report from NYC a distinct lack of hysteria. Sure, people were shaken, and pissed off, but at the same time people were incredibly friendly and polite, and for NYC that's saying something.
Finally, sure Iraq was upsetting to the bombers. But that wasn't the root cause; what were the grievances for 9/11, or for the original bombing in 1993. Aid to Israel? Will these people be happy as long as Israel is around? Will they be happy as long as East Timor is independent (and believe me, that's a real sore point)? Will they be happy as long as Muslim women can't cover in France, and if they got that, would they be upset with the sale of alcohol in France? What about Theo van Gogh, did he deserve to die for criticizing the treatment of women under fundamentalist Islam?
Try reading some islamic websites, and see exactly how susceptible to wild conspiracy theories alot of these people are. I've even known highly educated people who somehow held in their head at the same time the idea that 1) Bush/CIA/UN/World Bank what have you was behind various bombings in the West; and 2) these bombings were payback for failed Western bombings. Like having "tea" and "no tea" at the same time in the Hitchhiker's Guide game; quite a philospher, no?
I agree the US and the West could do much better in relating with the Muslim world, but I disagree that giving in to each and every demand is a good idea by any stretch of the imagination. The West needs to clean up its act in terms of supporting autocratic regimes in the Muslim world, but moderate Muslims also have to reign in their own extremists, and stop engaging in their entrenched habits of blaming the West for everything, including their own stupid mistakes and practices...
Sat, 16th Jul '05, 4:44pm
I do not suggest giving in to each and every of their demands. The British didn't do that too. But to adress some of the points they make will sure help a lot.
I truly doubt that there is a distinct need for the U.S. to have their presence all over the Middle East for instance, it's merely a nice-to-have-thing, and as I see it the Pentagon politicos 'do' these bases just because they *can* do it. A much more low key approach could just as much ensure U.S. influence, if that in the current form is desired. Stop the open meddling, diplomats are quiet.
Democratic reform is another thing. If the U.S. take democratic reform serious they have to live with outspoken and U.S. critical, if not hostile, regimes all over the Middle East - that doesn't equal terror sponsor countries - but in any case it will give the U.S. a hard time.
If they want to nationalise their industries, so be it. If they want a theocracy, so be it. If you want democracy and take democracy serious you'll have to respect their pick.
With their well known history of regime changing and in fact suffocating the few truly democratically elected regimes in the Middle East because they were too left, the U.S. should be very careful in this respect. It backfired badly already in 1978 when the Mullah's replaced the Shah. There is no need for history to repeat itself.
After all the U.S. have to recognise that they cannot simply impose some elite or exiles as a democratic force there as they tried to do in the colour coded revolutions in the former U.S.S.R. that didn't serve any other purpose but to roll back russian influence.
For the people, nothing really changed. In Lebanon the U.S. sponsored 'democrats' found to their dismay that Hezbollah, representing just a third of the country, can 'do democracy', too. In fact, they beat them at their own game.
The countries will have to find a way of their own without open meddling. If U.S. policies are a problem in a country, the U.S. supporting a pro-U.S. party openly will only serve to de-legitimise it.
There are sure a good number of backward blame-it-all-on-the-U.S.-and-Israel-and-the-Jews folks all over the Middle East, but people in the U.S. should not be so derisive here - crackpot conspiracy theories are very much at home there as well, starting with U.N. paranoia to belief in UFOs and whatever.
[ July 17, 2005, 01:30: Message edited by: Ragusa ]
Mon, 18th Jul '05, 2:30pm
As former Secetary of State Mo Mowlam once mentioned that she was told that Gerry Adams could not be reasoned with, as culturally Ireland and England are very different and that the IRA would not stop their 'reign of terror' until every British person left Ireland! Thankfully she was intelligent enough to try a differnt approach, which improved the security here greatly.
Well if she was correct about 'Uncle Gerry' then she is probably correct about bin Laden.
I can guarentee that if British soldiers had raped Catholic (or any Irish) women and children or any other 'abuses' that went on in Abu Ghribe or 'Gitmo', our so-called 'trouble' would be a lot more bloody.
As you can see from the following link that there are no bitter feelings towards England, even from Nationalists. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/4680097.stm)
[ July 18, 2005, 14:53: Message edited by: Cúchulainn ]