Update: NBC is reporting that security officials in London believe at least some of the bombs detonated in London were done with timers, while Debka File is still saying the bus was blown up by a suicide bomber...
Now the shock and awe is over, we're on to Liberals vs. Conservatives on the GWOT again. Bloggers on the right are pounding antiwar British M.P. George Galloway, who said this today:
"We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the Government ignoring such warnings."
Plus, apparently, this:
"We urge the government to remove people in this country from harms way, as the Spanish government acted to remove its people from harm, by ending the occupation of Iraq and by turning its full attention to the development of a real solution to the wider conflicts in the Middle East. "
..while others righties don't quite know what to make of anti-Bush London Mayor Ken Livingstone, who said this :
"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty or the powerful, it was aimed at ordinary working-class Londoners. ... Black and white, Muslim and Christian, Hindus and Jews, young and old. It was an indiscriminate attempt to slaughter, irrespective of any considerations for age, class, religion whatever. I know that you do fear you may fail in your long term objective: to destroy our free society. And I will show you why you will fail. In the days that follow, look at our airports, look at our seaports and look at our railways. Nothing you do, however many of us you kill will stop that life. Where freedom is strong and people can live in harmony, whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail."
Well Gorgeous George's "it's not them, it's us" argument was particularly ill-timed today. Terrorists weren't targeting George Bush or Tony Blair or the other leaders who sent troops to Iraq and Afghanistan, or picking up weapons, donning uniforms and heading to the battlefield, they were targeting ordinary people like my inlaws in London who were just going to work in the morning, in hopes of scaring the hell out of them and reminding them that they aren't safe anywhere, hopefully causing contempt for the governments who can't protect them, and ultimately decreasing those government's moral or actual authority.
At this point, I don't think the jihadists even want us to leave Iraq. It's been way too good for recruitment. Their goal is simply to kill and cause mayhem. Changing Bush or Blair's policy would be a double-edged sword for them even if they could manage it, since it would take away their best suicide bomber recruitment tool. But of course they can't. They must know that blowing up innocent people in the heart of London won't cause troops to leave the Mideast -- if anything, it will encourage the West to keep them their longer, as well as to aim the military, law enforcement, intelligence and other resources of Europe and the U.S. right into the heart of the ethnic neighborhoods throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas where their al-Qaida cells may be hiding. In their dreams, that will mean more arrests, more detentions, more abuse complaints and Koran "mishandling" and more jihad, forever.
And that's the point. The Jihadists want the war on terror to continue, whether or not they are able to drive countries out of Iraq. They want it to continue because it's not about territory or victory on the battlefield, it's about each individual jihadist fighting "for God." We can't win this like a conventional war. We'll never get rid of them all. Invading Iraq gave them gasoline and motivation, and abu-Ghraib and Gitmo may help them gun the engine, but they already had the car.
So the point goes to Livingstone, who agrees with myself and others that the Iraq war was a huge tactical mistake, but that it hardly even matters now. We're bombed if we go, bombed if we stay. So we might as well figure out a way to beat these nut-jobs soundly and with some measure of our integrity left, before they blow anybody else up. If Tony Blair can do that he'll have my respect, Iraq or no Iraq. Previous post:
London struck by terror attacks