Blogs > HNN > The London Bombing

Jul 7, 2005 7:41 pm

The London Bombing

I'll have more to say about this later; for now, take a look at the terrorists' " claim of responsibility" and note that they hold Britain responsible for both Afghanistan and Iraq. So if anything" created" the attack, it's Britain's military actions in both Afghanistan and Iraq, as well, of course, as Britain's"Zionist" support for Israel. So the Balfour Declaration is as much a"root cause" of this attack as is either Afghanistan or Iraq.

Nor do the terrorists much care that the Iraq war has been unpopular in Britain: rejection of the war is no impediment to killing Britons any more than it was an impediment to the Madrid bombing of 3/11 or the Istanbul bombings in November 2003. In short, the"insurgents" will kill anyone, so long as they can do it conveniently and the blood and gore make it to CNN.

It's another reminder, as if one were needed, that we're dealing with a lethal and implacable enemy that desires nothing short of victory over us, and that nothing short of victory over them will suffice.

Deepest condolences to the people of London.

P.S., 10:55 am: More on London from Slate .

P.P.S, 6:34 pm: Full text of Prime Minister Blair's first statement on the attack. Full text of the second statement .

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Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

That's actually as funny as it is insightful. Don't be surprised if it becomes a "meme".

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

You're not going to believe this, but over the weekend, I was reading Edward Said's Orientalism, and there is an explicit defense of something very much like your incredible hulk thesis there. I don't have the book in front of me, but I'll blog this at some point with the citation.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

I don't think that your two positions are really inconsistent with each other, but I think you're both overgeneralizing a bit.

Both of you seem to agree that the left doesn't understand the threat. Yes and no. I guess it depends what you mean by "the left." If you count people like Christopher Hitchens, Salman Rushdie, or Paul Berman as part of the left, I think they do. Generally, I think centrist liberals do understand the threat, they just have nothing in the way of a worked-out response to it. In this respect, I think part of the left has come around to the view that Jason offers as a thought-experiment. I would describe many of my colleagues as holding a secular absolutist but distinctly left-leaning view.

As for the right, I'm not quite sure how to adjudicate the difference between you, so I'm inclined to agree with both of you at once--about different elements of the right. I think N. is correct about some aspects of the right, and Jason correct about others, but I wouldn't extend either of your claims to the whole of the right as such. Some parts of the right (e.g., the neo-conservatives) do understand the threat (more or less), and parts of it merely look good because the left looks absurd (too many to name).

Of course when it comes to Patrick Buchanan right, they belong in a category of their own, in a specially-reserved part of Hell.

Irfan Khawaja - 8/4/2006

If you're making a distinction between the Left and liberals, I agree with you. I do think that left-leaning liberals of a certain sort are amenable to argument on these issues--more so, I find, than, say, many libertarians.

I think many liberals have an instinctive disgust for Islamism, and recognize immediately the threat that Islamism poses to what they value. In a way I think it is less that they need courses in medieval history of Salafism. What they need is repeatedly to be asked what they think should be done about the threat whose existence they basically concede.

On the whole, I agree with Jason that the Right has done a somewhat poor job of posing and answering that question in a persuasive way (though I guess I agree with you that there are exceptions to that generalization as well; there are insightful conservatives out there). But I also think that many liberals are themselves culpable for their refusal to face it or pose the hard questions--and on that score, I feel the same tension with my liberal friends as the one you describe.

I'm very curious to see the British reaction, when the smoke clears.

E. Simon - 7/13/2005

looking forward to that too. for some reason, this wouldn't seem unlikely.

just watching christopher hitchenson tv and heard him characterize the position of certain unnamed persons and organizations as one where "the root cause of terrorism is resistance to terrorism." that man does have a way with words.

E. Simon - 7/9/2005

That would be cool. I've actually refered mentally to this allegory for some time since the dawning of this new expanded era of political pyrotechnics. You heard it here first!

E. Simon - 7/9/2005

watching reactions from some in london is interesting. those who proclaim "policy," "Iraq," "imperialism," etc. as explanations for/causes of terrorism seem to identify such ideas as the same factors to address in order to deal with terrorism. the argument basically amounts to: mass murderers are angry people, therefore don't make potential mass murderers angry.

it reminds me of what robert "bruce" banner would say in the incredible hulk tv series, something along the lines of 'don't make me angry,' lest we witness his transformation into the uncontrollable freakish green giant played by lou ferrigno. it seems it would take an incredible degree of impotence and lack of belief in the concepts of law, culpability and self-control to disdain the idea that a self-combustible version of the uncontrollable angry man depicted by the hulk cannot be addressed separately from what others must have somehow "done" to "cause" his warped state.

N. Friedman - 7/7/2005

I make a distinction between some liberals and those on the Left such as Chomsky and Co.

N. Friedman - 7/7/2005

Buchanan has his special place. But Hell is a bit nice for him.

Hitchens has, so far as I know, joined the neo-con party. Rushdie and Berman are such rare enough exceptions that you can name them. Name some more. You will see that the list is rather short.

I hear so many like Chomsky and Cockburn who, as I view matters, have created their own reality, that the Left really scares me. And, as you say, the Left does not seem to know what to do as the reality is so far removed from what good liberals - me included - want to believe the world is about. As a result, I have - at least as far as the Jihad is concerned - broken ranks entirely with my liberal friends.

My view: people should be required to take a crash course on Medieval society and on Salafist Islam. Such would tend to cure a lot of rose colored glasses.

Jason Pappas - 7/7/2005

I’m not convinced the Right understands the threat. Convinced that religion is good in general, and as ecumenical relativists, everyone’s religion is good in particular, they underplay the role of religion in the Islamist’s Jihad against – well, everyone who is non-Muslim or not Muslim enough. Thus, they only complain about the methodology of the Jihadists – they use terror and target civilians – and have no effective means of sustaining opposition to the threat.

I believe the Right looks good only because the Left looks absurd. But, the table could turn if the pro-secular leftist discarded multi-culturalism and adopted a strong ethical absolutist ideology. Unlikely but not impossible – it only requires the right intellectual leadership.

Your comments?

N. Friedman - 7/7/2005


Leaving aside my view of the Jihadi war for the moment:

My impression is that many on the Left have come to see the attacks much as Christian and Jewish of old'en days viewed the history of ancient Israel, Judea and the like, namely, as a form of collective punishment for sins. I recall reading an article by Chomsky shortly after 9/11 where he had already decided what had occurred and what it all meant - and, in his version, pre-fact as it were, we see the entire view of the radical left which has not, to date, considered the Muslim regions as anything other than reactants to the West -.

Of course, some on the Right, as many Leftists charge, treat the attacks as an opportunity for the US to dominate the world. On the other hand, I am rather surprised and, to be frank, relieved that many - in fact, very many - on the Right in the US have actually studied what is occurring and are responding to the reality that is including studying what the Jihadis write and claim to desire.

If a suitable strategy to both defeat the Jihad and maintain public support is deviced, it is not going to come from the Left as, thus far, there has largely been an unwillingness of the Left even to address the issues and most especially, no desire to study the Muslim regions. The Right appears, for the most part, to understand the threat but has no strategy that has achieved much public support.