July 07, 2005

London

...comment below. Such an attack was all but bound to happen, alas, despite the valiant efforts these past years of Scotland Yard/Metropolitan Police, as well as so many others in Britain's security and intelligence apparatus. London is simply too vast a metropolis, too tempting a target etc etc. Our thoughts are, of course, with the victims of these horrible attacks. One can only hope that the death toll will not rise too much higher. And one can't help wonder, now with London joining Madrid, if more intrusive airport style security checks might not someday become part of more routine ground transport commutes like subways and buses. It just seems impossible given the sheer volume of traffic--the millions who get on the NY subway or Underground daily. Still, who knows if such attacks continue--might it be deemed advisable to institute measures beyond assorted spot checks and heavier police presences on subways in major cities? As someone who will be on the 4,5,6 train every morning in New York City--it's a question that does come to mind...today, however, our thoughts are with the city and people of London. How tragic, of course, that the euphoric scenes from yesterday's Olympic Games decision in Trafalgar Sq are now cruelly overshadowed by these odious attacks. We face an evil and resilient enemy indeed. Today was a horrible reminder of this, in case anyone needed one.

Posted by Gregory at July 7, 2005 01:37 PM | TrackBack (1)
Comments

Hey, Greg,

Got the phone call from my sister at 6am - she said it took forever to push a mobile call out.

I say this only let you know that my families heart goes out to you, as your many friends in the Kingdom are able to get ahold of you. Certainly we feel any loss, but here's hoping it doesn't end up being any more personal that it alreeady is for you.

Posted by: Tommy G at July 7, 2005 01:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

BBC reports that "Home Secretary Charles Clarke said blasts occurred between Aldgate East and Liverpool Street tube stations; between Russell Square and King's Cross tube stations; at Edgware Road tube station; and on a bus at Tavistock Square."

A map of the area appears here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/4659093.stm

I have to say that early reports of "heavy casualties" but no more than three confirmed dead are a little hard to understand. Bombs set in the London tube or subway during rush hour, especially in the locations noted above, would have to be quite small not to kill many more people than that. They may have been, or many victims have yet to be reached underneath fallen masonry, or British national and local authorities are simply doing a very thorough job of managing information. On the other hand the London subway stations I remember did not contain a great deal of flammable material, which contributed to the death toll in the Madrid and Bali bombings.

I was afraid something like this would happen sooner or later. We should all be thinking about the victims right now. They could be us; not quite four years ago, they were us.

Posted by: JEB at July 7, 2005 02:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mornings like this are always chilling. Thoughts going to friends and family or just innocents that might have been on the tube or a bus in the wrong place.

Strategically, I can think of a couple initial questions:

1) How will the British and European public (and left) react to the attack. Will they see it as the Spanish did in response to the Madrid train bombing -- not a validation of the global threat of terror but an incident linked to a misguided Iraq policy? The answer is important in determining how effectively the attack may mobilize further transatlantic cooperation on the issue.

2) What will be the Homeland Security response to the security of mass transit. I for one hope that we do NOT see metal detectors and security lines at subway stations or any other public place that doesn't represent a particularly critical vulnerability. Such measures just divert terrorism, they don't stop terrorism. It is impossible to secure every possible terrorist target in a city like london. Second, because every time we compromise our lifestyle and turn our free democracy into a police state, it is a small victory for the terrorists. Terrorism is best stopped through intelligence and police work, not metal detector.

I'll post in more depth at nationalinsecurity.blogspot.com

Posted by: POTUS B at July 7, 2005 02:30 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Well here is one response from a Londoner, and quite moving at that especially considering the source, Mayor Ken Livingstone (from Channel News Asia):

"This was not a terrorist attack against the mighty and the powerful; it is not aimed at presidents or prime ministers; it was aimed at ordinary working class Londoners, black and white, Muslim and Christians, Hindu and Jew, young and old, indiscriminate attempt at slaughter irrespective of any considerations, of age, of class, of religion, whatever, that isn't an ideology, it isn't even a perverted faith, it's just indiscriminate attempt at mass murder, and we know what the objective is, they seek to divide London. They seek to turn Londoners against each other and Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack."

.....

"I wish to speak through you directly, to those who came to London to claim lives, nothing you do, how many of us you kill will stop that flight to our cities where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another, whatever you do, how many you kill, you will fail."

Posted by: PeterArgus at July 7, 2005 03:00 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I have to say that early reports of "heavy casualties" but no more than three confirmed dead are a little hard to understand.

Jeb, the casualty figures are coming from the hospitals, where survivors were taken. In situations like these, emergency services place almost no priority on the dead --- they concentrate on rescuing the survivors. I'm (unfortunately) certain that the confirmed casualty figures will be much higher, once the police and emergency service workers have done all they can to rescue the living.

(reports are now coming in of "confirmed" deaths in the 40-45 range --- but they are secondhand (i.e. one is a US government source quoting a British Security source.)

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 7, 2005 03:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

1) How will the British and European public (and left) react to the attack. Will they see it as the Spanish did in response to the Madrid train bombing -- not a validation of the global threat of terror but an incident linked to a misguided Iraq policy? The answer is important in determining how effectively the attack may mobilize further transatlantic cooperation on the issue.

Pretty good question, but your premise as the Spanish did in response to the Madrid train bombing needs some clarification. The Spanish public was outraged at the Madrid bombings, but they were even more outraged that government officials had tried to blame the carnage on Basque separatists (ETA) well after it was known to be an attack conducted by the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group. That was the turning point in electing Prime Minister Zapatero. Shortly after, PM Zapatero withdrew the Spainish troops from Iraq.

Although the Spanish people never supported their government's committment to provide troops to the American led coalition, it was the conduct of the government itself that led to the defeat of that government, and to the hasty troop withdrawal under Zapatero.

The answer you seek is a valid concern, but the nature of the Spanish response to the Madrid bombing says more about Spanish anger towards their government than an indication of a political/strategic course of action.

As to your second point, 9/11 didn't compel the authorities to take protective measure concerning critical transportational and industrial infrastructure, what makes you think (or not think) that a bombing in London will compel our government to address this now?

Posted by: James Emerson at July 7, 2005 04:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

When will the Muslim community speak out, loudly and with conviction, against these indiscriminate attacks on their fellow citizens? In the past, the Muslim community's criticism of such attacks has been muted at best. Since these bombs made no distinction between Christian, Jew or Muslim (and in fact one bomb exploded in a Muslim neighborhood), the bombers obviously have no regard for the sanctity of human life (as Blair put it so eloquently). To them, all who do not ascribe to the terrorists' extremist views are infidels and are thus not entitled to live. Surely, these terrorists do not act with the approval of the vast majority of Muslims. Unless Islam is in fact a religion that countenances terrorism, Muslim clerics should be condemning what happened today in London--loudly and without qualification. We should all therefore pay close attention to the words spoken at tomorrow's Muslim services to see how the Muslim community feels about these terrorist attacks! And remember, silence is commonly considered acquiescence.

Posted by: RAZ at July 7, 2005 05:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Greg said:

As someone who will be on the 4,5,6 train every morning in New York City--it's a question that does come to mind...

I currently am on the 4,5,6 every morning, and that and more came to mind this day as I nervously glanced around at my fellow passengers.

Tragic, horrible, despicable, craven, words really don't suffice.

Posted by: Eric Martin at July 7, 2005 05:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Once again a terrorist attack comes less than a month after a tape by al-Zawahiri is released by a media outlet (usually al-Jazeera).

While there is not a lot a government can do to respond to such vague "warnings," you'd think there would at least be a little more public attention paid to connections between the timelines of terrorist attacks and the timeline of these Al-Quaeda tapes.

Posted by: Steve Amidon at July 7, 2005 05:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Perhaps it is better not to write anything when emotionally responding to such a horrific incident. Every one of the bomb locations was familiar to me even though I have spent perhaps a total of six weeks in London during my lifetime, visiting most recently with my twin teenagers during this precise period but several years ago. I recall their delight in the efficiencies of the London transportation system, the long escalators from the "tube" and the excitment of visiting their first truly large city. We are from a suburban community outside of San Francisco, which although a delightful city, hardly measures up to London, New York or Paris.

I have long been dismayed over the polorization evidenced on this site as well as among polical leaders here and abroad as to the true threat that Islamic terror poses. OK, we haven't yet tied these acts to the Jihadists and this may turn out to be the IRA again or an English version of Tim MacVeigh (sp?). But I doubt it. The remarkable success of the train bombings in Spain from the terrorist perspective would encourage a repetition of the tactic. The posters above who are debating whether it was the terrorists or the Spanish government that affected the election result is simply more of the same. We as a society, as Western Society, have got to face up to the fact that the perpetrators of these deeds are morally bankrupt, are a plague on our lives, and as the London Mayor so clearly stated, are motivated by a perverse ideology that aims its hatred not at our leaders, or our political thinking, but rather at the lives of our citizens. I am not talking solely about American citizens, but am emcompassing the citizens of all Western countries.

This blog and so many other sites have become carping grounds for those on the left who want to avoid this awful conclusion under the idealistic notion that all evil can be reformed, and by idealogues on the right who seek to impose their equally neferious religious concepts on the rest of us.

I find myself with the feeling, ney hope, that this terrible incident will distract the polar opposites from the carping, the personal assaults, the Bush hatred, the Clinton bashing, etc. and will allow all to focus on the magnitude and importance of the threat that our societies face. There is no such thing as perfect, precient management of either war or peace. I remember as a college student in 1966 visiting Russia and eastern Germany. I watched the abundant automatic rifle toting soldiers with a mixture of amusement and fear, rejoicing in the fact that I had never seen such a thing in my own country. Well, that era has long past and while we can debate whether any particular measure detracts from our cherished notions of civil liberty, we have to agree that we are debating not because the Republicans want to impose a police state, or the Democrats want to empty the jails, but rather because we share a genuine fear of terrorism and we differ as to the means of countering the threat. The polorized dialogue that has characterized this debate is not leading to constructive solutions. Rather, as it has degenerated into name calling ("wing nuts, facists, idiots, etc."), the possibility of constructive results has evaporated.

This is not a question of whether the Gitmo detainees get coffee, tea or milk on any particular day or whether their precious Koran is or is not abused. Frankly, I care little about either. Those debates are unfortunate distractions from the task at hand. It is a question of ultimately forging the political will to put the preservation of our way of life, our freedoms, and ultimately our survival as a society as the primary objective. In the darkest days of WWII, Churchill almost alone saw that the survival of enlightened Western society was surely at stake and his beliefs prevailed at huge cost. Yesterday I had lunch with an old friend who was wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. He is a staunch Democrat and while he was critical of the war in Iraq, it was not in his lexicon to descend to name calling and personal attacks against anyone. His lesson, at 85 years old, was that we need light and not heat on the subject. He is absolutely right, and if the quality and nature of the debate is not changed, we are going to lose this one.

I close this long post by pointing out that the Isrealis, who are at great risk, and who are endlessly criticized for their harsh response to the terrorists, have shown considerable success in controlling that scourge and protecting their citizens from random attacks by those very tactics. More importantly, their tactics hold some promise for the first time in decades of resolving the controversy. I am afraid that we are going to have to adopt similar tactics before this goes away.

I hope we don't forget who we are in the process.

Michael

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at July 7, 2005 05:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

James wrote

Pretty good question, but your premise as the Spanish did in response to the Madrid train bombing needs some clarification. The Spanish public was outraged at the Madrid bombings, but they were even more outraged that government officials had tried to blame the carnage on Basque separatists (ETA) well after it was known to be an attack conducted by the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group. That was the turning point in electing Prime Minister Zapatero. Shortly after, PM Zapatero withdrew the Spainish troops from Iraq.


--------------------------

James - this is just SPIN and you should know better. The Spanish opposition campaiged quite heavily on a platform of withdrawl from Iraq

The spanish voters questioned after they voted didn't indicate they acted upon the complex train of thought you mention above

Most spanish were against their involvemet in Iraq - most swing voters who voted against Aznars party that day did so due to this issue - and the bombing pushed enough over the edge

I know it offends people to be labled as appeasers - but this is what clearly happened - and efforts to craft an alternative version of events don't change that

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 7, 2005 06:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

We as a society, as Western Society, have got to face up to the fact that the perpetrators of these deeds are morally bankrupt, are a plague on our lives, and as the London Mayor so clearly stated, are motivated by a perverse ideology that aims its hatred not at our leaders, or our political thinking, but rather at the lives of our citizens

do you really believe that if Bush and Blair were no so well protected, that terrorists would not be going directly after them?

We are not dealing with people who are morally bankrupt -- we are dealing with religious fanatics with an overdeveloped/distorted sense of morality who see the United States literally as "The Great Satan". Indeed, we are dealing with people who are just as convinced of their own righteousness --- and the absolute corruption of their enemy --- as you are.

The "War on Terror" will never be won as long as it is being led by those with the same mindset as the jihadists who are fighting "The War Against The Great Satan".

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 7, 2005 07:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

p.lukasiak
we are dealing with religious fanatics but their "religion" is one of death and their stated intent is to murder every man, woman and child on the planet who does not submit to their uncivilised barbarism.

I hate equivalences of this kind. Christianity teaches that we are all sinners and that pride goeth before a fall. It does not advocate murder. The fact that all humans and therefore all Christians regularly fail at perfection and are capable of doing unkind or bad or even terrible things - does not make it the moral equivalent of Jihadism. Christianity and religion in general is not a prophylactic against sin. It is a challenge to lead a better life. And clinging to that faith is a good thing because not clinging to it would be to give in to "nuke the bastards". It is too bad that people like p.lukasiak cannot make the distinction and constantly weaken the efforts of people to combat terrorism. Would you have wanted the US government to call in the FBI and the troops to enforce desegregation, investigate the bombings and murders of innocent black people or should we have just tried to understand the KKK and respect their culture?? Fortunately the people of the south slowly coughed up the killers and arsonists themselves. It's in the FBI records. Partly in self-defense i.e. if people will do this to innocents then we are not safe with them in our town. So they obeyed the law: the law of the land and God's law and things changed. I am sorry if you do not understand that you are on the side of the KKK. Or rather that you think the FBI and the prosecutors and the good people who abhorred what was done to black people were the moral equivalents of the KKK.

Posted by: BritAmerican at July 7, 2005 07:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Not to disrupt the thread, but Bruce Rolston has an interesting suggestion at http://www.snappingturtle.net/flit/

It concerns the Tavistock bus bomb. Read Bruce's entire post on this; basically the idea is that the bus may not have been the intended target.

Posted by: JEB at July 7, 2005 08:16 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Indeed, we are dealing with people who are just as convinced of their own righteousness --- and the absolute corruption of their enemy --- as you are.

The "War on Terror" will never be won as long as it is being led by those with the same mindset as the jihadists who are fighting "The War Against The Great Satan". "


can someone please send this to Sully, for one of his moral equivalency of the week awards? Who in the leadership of the WOT advocates the deliberate murder of muslim civilians?

By the way, if Bush is a Christian, he wouldnt beleive in his own righteousness, would he? Everyones a sinner and all that? I dont know for sure, Im Jewish,help me here. I sure dont believe im perfectly righteous. But Im quite sure AQ is evil, if evil has any meaning. Which some folks deny, of course.
But this isnt really the forum for that discussion.

Posted by: liberalhawk at July 7, 2005 08:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Christianity teaches that we are all sinners and that pride goeth before a fall. It does not advocate murder. "

Indeed, most branches of Islam do not either. Most Muslims, AFAICT, see the events in London today, as, well, completely evil, the work of well, morally bankrupt men who are a disgrace to Islam. My heart goes out to THEM, as well to the victims in London (indeed, some of the victims may well be Muslims)

Posted by: liberalhawk at July 7, 2005 08:35 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

What is it in our society or educational system that makes the self loathing masochism of Mr. Lukasiak and his comrades so trendy?

Earth to moonbat: the people killed, like those at the WTC, were not all greedy imperialistic homophobic racist white middle aged males. Some of them were probably just like you, -- mixed up, acting-out misfits that did not deserve to die.

Posted by: wayne at July 7, 2005 08:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Mr. Lukasiak, you are a very intelligent person who writes well and argues well and studies your material. However, I must confess I simply can't comprehend your deep seated hatred both for America and for President Bush and every single thing he does or says. The loyal opposition is fine, but driven by hatred, it is bound to fail. It is the same hatred that drives the Jehadists. Here, however, you have your facts wrong. You will recall that the hijacked flight that crashed in Penna. was headed for the White House and presumably was an attack both on the symbol and, Allah willing, the President as well. Allah wasn't willing, I guess. I think we can anticipate that suicide attackers will go after Bush, Blair and any other Western leader they can. I can only hope they fail.

Michael

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at July 7, 2005 09:13 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink


"Most spanish were against their involvemet in Iraq - most swing voters who voted against Aznars party that day did so due to this issue - and the bombing pushed enough over the edge"

Pogue, the significant thing is that the jihadists thought that they could affect the outcome of an election in a democratic country. It doesn't matter whether the electorate rejected Aznar's Iraq policy or his government's handling of the bombing aftermath. The jihadis are patting themselves on the back for their work in Madrid; now they are trying it in London.


"The "War on Terror" will never be won as long as it is being led by those with the same mindset as the jihadists who are fighting "The War Against The Great Satan".

Lukasiak, I am tired of people twisting themselves into knots trying to cast this as a war between the American religious right and the Jihadists. This has been made up out of whole cloth. The corollary to the argument that the the US administration policy is wrong and provocative would be to adopt a policy or "mindset" to which the jihadists have no particular objection.


Posted by: Chuck Betz at July 7, 2005 09:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue --- Read this! Then maybe we can continue this conversation...

An excerpt:

Suspicion that the government manipulated information -- blaming ETA in order to divert any possible link between the bombings and Aznar's unpopular support for the war in Iraq -- helped fuel the upset victory of the Socialist Workers' Party in Sunday's elections.

My emphasis.

Posted by: James Emerson at July 7, 2005 09:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Emerson -- Your point about the ETA diversion contributing to the political election is correct. Unfortunately, it is unrelated to my point (and Pogues) about Spanish perception about why al Queda bombed the train. Even if the Aznar government didn't botch things further with the ETA accusation, the Spanish popular perception would have been the same -- seeing the attack as an incident tied to a flawed Iraq policy, not indication of a broader menace of global terrorism. Again, we are talking about the reaction to the bombing, NOT the Aznar diversion or the election. You can stop arguing now. You were right. Just not about the point I was making.

As for the question of whether I think we will respond to the attack (and whether we did in response to 9/11), yes I think we will. And similarly, I fear our response will be overexaggerated to the last attack. Don't try to bring tweezers on the subway!

Pogue -- Good to see we agree on something. But lest I let sleeping dogs lie, I should tell you that I'm very much hoping Russia will launch an all-out nuclear strike against the U.S. and prove once and for all that Bush's missile defense system is a farce. Boy that would hurt him in the polls. :-)

Posted by: POTUS B at July 7, 2005 10:29 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

People understand that politics and politicians change over the centuries.
Regretably, as history so vividly reminds us, religous fervour, intolerance and hatred does not change.
Today's tragic events remind us that politics, whether from the left or the right, is a minor part of the explanation for today's insanity.
Let's focus on the principal culprit - Religous Intolerance.
Amen

Posted by: Tom G. at July 7, 2005 11:36 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Who in the leadership of the WOT advocates the deliberate murder of muslim civilians?

the US military doesn't "advocate" it, it just does it with startling regularity in Iraq--- and is so unconcerned with (or embarrassed by) the number of civilians it kills that it doesn't even keep track of them. IIRC, it was the Iraqi government itself that stated that "coalition forces" were directly responsible for the deaths of 20,000 innocent Iraqis so far.

Now, personally, I don't believe that all 20,000 of those deaths were accidental. I think its safe to say that thousands of those deaths were due to decisions were made that the US military knew would result in civilian casualties.

The goal of the terrorists is not to kill civilians, but to disrupt the social and economic fabric of "The Great Satan" and his allies. The goal of the US military is not to kill civilians, it is to disrupt the ability of the insurgency to fight. In both cases, killing civilians are simply a byproduct of achieving the goal of the organization. Neither side shows a whole lot of regard toward the lives of civilians when it comes to the question of achieving their goals.

One final thought to consider.... (if you head hasn't exploded already :) )

During the invasion of Iraq, the US killed thousands of Iraqi soldiers whose only "crime" was being drafted to defend their country. Because the overwhelming majority of the Arab/Muslim world considered this war to be unjustified, the killing of those soldier --- who were not Saddamistas, or Republican Guard --- was regarded as the destruction of "innocent" life. "You're wearing a uniform, therefore I have the right to kill you" only works morally when a war is justified --- and this one was not.


Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 7, 2005 11:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Do you right-wingers think that Medieval Christian Europe was a bastion of liberal democracy? Christianity was no religion of love and forgiveness when "the faith" was in charge. So let's not romanticize the Spanish Inquisition as a moment to strengthen faith and forgiveness!

And the South was left to its own devices after the Civil War. Lynching was a right their “Culture” demanded, from 1865-1965. The Southern Dark Ages.

Posted by: NeoDude at July 8, 2005 12:16 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Lukasiac, I have been accused of having a "flair for the obvious" but don't you think there should be a distinction drawn between targeting civilians to "disrupt, etc...." and civilians "caught in the crossfire?" Do civilians killed in attacks against American forces count in this number? Are Iraqis not dying 10 to 1 due directly to these attacks? What are we to make of the crowds of smiling kids surrounding marines while the jihadis intimidate local sheikhs by setting up kangaroo sharia courts in the areas they control?

The Iraqi soldiers defending the regime left their posts and went home; a relatively small number of them ended up as cannon fodder as I recall. I will never forget images of a sea of young males proceeding south en masse, walking home barefooted because their commanding officers had taken their boots in a vain effort to stop desertions. They were not mowed down by American machine guns, but you can bet they would have been mowed down by Saddam loyalists!

I doubt very much that the London bombers gave a hat full of bottlecaps for the well-being of Iraqi civilians; their compatriots in Iraq sure don't.

Posted by: Chuck Betz at July 8, 2005 02:48 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

P.luk, one body count I never seem to have heard, from you or others, is Iraqi casualties due to the "Minutemen," civilian or military. More or less than our so-called tally? If equal, are they morally equivalent?

Posted by: nichevo at July 8, 2005 03:46 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

lukusiac I disagree --- The goal of the terrorists is not to kill civilians, but to disrupt the social and economic fabric of "The Great Satan" and his allies. The goal of the US military is not to kill civilians, it is to disrupt the ability of the insurgency to fight.

The goal of the terrorists IS to kill civilians thereby disrupting the social and economic fabric of the nation.

The goal of the military might be what you say it is, but the goal of the soldier is to stay alive, and doing so by shooting and killing innocent Iraqis who've been confused with legitimate targets. In Iraq, getting too close to Americans can get you killed.

One must also consider that most of the estimated 100,000 casualties were caused by air strikes and artillery barrages, and that "goal" in itself is reason enough to lose this war. We lose the war because our soldiers fear the proximity of Iraqis and we lose the war because because air strikes and artillery are relatively indiscriminate weapons.

Posted by: James Emerson at July 8, 2005 03:49 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

POTUS --- It's good to hear that I'm correct about something, it's too bad that I hadn't fully responded to your assumption.

I'm not sure you can separate the effect of the Madrid bombings from PM Aznar's misleading response and subsequent electoral loss. It's highly speculative, but the war was unpopular, and he could have easily lost anyway. But consider this. George Bush presided over the greatest catastrophe to be inflicted on America by a foreign NGO, and he successfully used that tragedy to win elections in 2002 and 2004. Now I realize that Bush had more lead time to prepare his strategy than did Aznar, but I think it's entirely possible for a quick witted political leader to rise above the negatives of a terrorist inflicted horror and solidify support for unpopular policies. But like I said, this is highly speculative.

Posted by: James Emerson at July 8, 2005 04:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Various folks interviewed on CNN and posting on various blogs have made it clear that there is just too much volume for Airport security to be transplanted into Mass Transit. Mass Transit systems move well, masses of people around, usually very well. They don't work with metal detectors or bomb sniffing or anything else. I don't see any move to put those things in because the Mass Transit systems themselves would fail.

Secondly, Powerline has a posting from a woman on the scene, most Brit Muslims she interviewed in London approved of the bombings or found them justified in some way. So did everyone else she interviewed except for business suited white males. Based on the reaction here in the US, to 9/11, which was a lot of excuse making and the usual "blame the jews" sets of conspiracy theories, I'd say that the jihadists DO find a lot of support in the Muslim community. The jihadists ARE devout Muslims, no one has condemned their actions, and the first response of the Islamic community in places where these attacks happen (US, Spain, UK) is not "what can we do to help the victims and find these guys" but cries of discrimination.

It just has to be said, unlike the Nisei the Islamic Community has failed to respond when needed, under the best of treatment (the Nisei got the worst). I don't see spontaneous actions by UK Muslims to identify potential accomplices, raise money for the victims, or much of anything else but the discrimination card, plus justifications over Afghanistan and Iraq.

Please note: AFGHANISTAN as well as Iraq. Respect MP George Galloway who called for a united front of Leftists and Muslims to destroy America and it's culture pretty much justified the attacks because of Iraq and Afghanistan, and demanded a total pullout of both places (presumably to let the Taliban run Afghanistan again with bin Laden). Given that Galloway represents a majority Muslim constituency and made a big point that Respect was a Muslim Party, I think his views accurately reflect those of Muslims in the UK.

Luksiak -- your accusation that the US military does not do everything in it's power to avoid civilian casualties is a base libel of the brave men and women who have died saving civilian Iraqi lives, including children. You owe those men and women an apology. That statement is in and of itself vile and hateful.

http://www.talkingproud.us/EditorChoice042303.html

Oh, you mean the soldier throwing himself on an IED and losing a leg to save an Iraqi child? THAT warmongering killer in a "manner reminiscent of Ghengis Khan?" Gotcha.

By means of comparison, Okinawa cost 100,000 Japanese soldiers their lives and the lives of 120,000 Japanese civilians. The city of Le Havre had 20,000 dead in the first days of the Normandy Landings. Berlin ended up with MORE than 300,000 civilians dead. While I have no doubt that innocent civilians have been killed, I also have no doubt that many US soldiers, marines, and aircrews have given their lives to save Iraqi civilian lives. As in the example above, sadly.

As for killing Saddam's soldiers. Well, Mussolini had a lot of draftees. I guess you'd rather the US soldiers died than the enemy. Right. Gotcha.

Neo -- you'd have a very hard time finding any mainstream Christian organization justifying religious violence. By contrast you'd be hard pressed to find Muslims willing to condemn Jihad, Al Qaeda, and bin Laden. Christian nations no longer have the auto-de-fe and haven't for centuries rightly terming it barbaric and being ashamed of that past. Islamic nations today stone women to death for adultery as the LAW (Nigeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, others). That pretty much says it all and explains 9/11, 3/11, and today.

Islam is not in a clash between itself and Christian rightists. It is in a clash between the values of sixth century tribal Arabia and the modern world, including Thailand Buddhists (favorite Jihadist atrocity is beheading Buddhist monks), China, India, and other non-Christian nations.

James -- no one knows the true casualty figures. The 100,000 figure from Lancet is pure garbage. Unrepresentative samples in the Sunni Triangle (with just taking people's word for it) and a huge confidence interval (from 9,000 to 190,000, any number between them equally likely). Given the KNOWN figures from WWII above and Mogadishu (around 2,000 Somalis dead, most of them fighters) the 100,000 figure seems incredibly high.

We use very little air strikes or artillery barrages and none in day to day operations. The reason it is dangerous to be close to Americans is that jihadis attack when civilians come around Americans (who often hand out stuff to kids) to purposely kill lots of civilians. The only significant use of air strikes and arty was Fallujah. You really should read milblogs of soldiers who are actually IN Iraq, because you simply don't know what you are talking about. Rules of engagement are strict and forbid free-fire, even if Marines and Soldiers die, to save civilian lives.

Posted by: Jim Rockford at July 8, 2005 06:20 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The goal of the terrorists IS to kill civilians thereby disrupting the social and economic fabric of the nation.

James, with all due respect, "killing civilians" is part of the means to the desired end. (Another aspect is the co-ordination of the attacks -- a single subway bomb would not have paralyzed London for a day.)

IMHO, terrorism is (in general) a sign of impotence; the result of grievances against those far more powerful and which are perceived as being unadressable through "civilized" means because of the massive disparity in the power equation. (This is why I've always felt that Iraq was such a huge mistake --- the display of raw power in pursuit of ends that were opposed by the vast majority of the Muslim/Arab communities exacerbated the sense of impotence among Muslims/Arabs, while simultaneously expanding the list of grievances against the US. )

There is also the aspect of retributive justice -- the Muslim world didn't raise much of a fuss when the US took out the Taliban, because of the acceptance of retribution/revenge as a form of justice. I fear that "terrorism" involving civilian casualties is becoming far less unacceptable in the Muslim/Arab world because of the war in Iraq --- the sense that the American (and British) people bear collective responsibility for the actions of their government makes it far easier to cast attacks against civilians as "retribution" for the thousands upon thousands of Muslims/Arabs being killed by those governments.

In that sense, "killing civilians" can become an end in itself. If you frame yesterday's events as "three dozens Londoners were killed in retribution for Britain's role in the deaths of 20,000 Iraqi civilians" (which is basically the way at least one communique claiming credit for the bombings framed it) its not difficult to see why and how some people will consider yesterday's attacks less than horrifying. (Don't forget that the Muslim world's objection to the US invasion of Afghanistan was muted, and IMHO that was due in large part because of the acceptability of retributive justice in the Muslim world. )

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 8, 2005 10:54 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Luksiak -- your accusation that the US military does not do everything in it's power to avoid civilian casualties is a base libel of the brave men and women who have died saving civilian Iraqi lives, including children. You owe those men and women an apology. That statement is in and of itself vile and hateful.

Mr. Rockford, the troops don't set the rules of engagement, the civilian leadership does. Those rules place an infinitely higher premium on the lives of American soldiers than it does on the lives of Iraqi civilians. The troops are doing their jobs in the way that they have been instructed to do them, and those instructions are based in large part on the political repercussions of high US casualties. I don't blame the troops, because if they were instructed to place their lives at greater risk in order to prevent civilian casualties, they would do so.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 8, 2005 11:05 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

James - I appreciate your providing a link - from the WASHIGTON POST - that supports your spin regarding the spanish elections

I would be happy to provide a link from the WSJ that supports my position

Your position, that the spanish electorate voted the way they did, despite ALL polls showing Aznars party in the lead, due mainly to his admins initial statements blaming ETA and not the almost 200 murdered 2 days before the election is absurd

Spin it any way you like - AQ had a plan - carried it out - and it worked - the shame is on those Spaniards who voted as they did in response to this attack


As for Lukas continued concern for our troops on the frontline in this war -

"Mr. Rockford, the troops don't set the rules of engagement, the civilian leadership does. Those rules place an infinitely higher premium on the lives of American soldiers than it does on the lives of Iraqi civilians. The troops are doing their jobs in the way that they have been instructed to do them, and those instructions are based in large part on the political repercussions of high US casualties. I don't blame the troops, because if they were instructed to place their lives at greater risk in order to prevent civilian casualties, they would do so. "


Um - not meaning to be too rude - but can you get your head any further up your ass?

Your quite eager to see MORE US troops die fighting the terrorists

So you would want the Admin to push for orders that require US troops to reduce the importance of minimizing US casualties in an effort to .... what?

And you think some grunt in the field will look at some shack that just fired at him and think "normally I'd pop an M203 grenade into that shack before I go forward, but I just got the memo from President Hillary telling me that my life does not have an 'infinitely
higher premium' than the lives of those in the shack - so I better not"

There really is nothing better than getting one of you "I hate chimpymchalliburton" types to offer these kind of suggestions - priceless

Tell ya what Patton - this is the kind of strategery that managed to get 18 US rangers slaughtered in Somalia - not sending any armor for fear of collateral damage, not using air power for same reason

Pretty brilliant that was

Here's an idea - maybe the future offered by the head-choppers and mosque bombers doesn't appeal to many Iraqi's

Maybe they have a better idea of what is at stake here - and aren't so worked up as you are over the destruction of Fallujah and abu ghraib

Why don't you check some Iraqi blogs to find out? Or post your suggestion on some mil-blogs - that would be a good one

Somehow Luka you seem to think that its right and proper that "muslims" be offended by what has happened in Iraq

Didn't Saddam kill more muslims than ANYONE in history?

Arent the only ones who liked Saddam some small number of the 20% Sunni population in Iraq?

When did Saddam become a hero to Arabs anyway - why do you buy that load of shit Isn't it time to respond to all this "the occupation of Iraq is causing terrorism to rise" with a general "if you arabs could clean your own house and deal with the terrorists we wouldn't have to come in an do it for you - so stfu"


and really - James - sometimes I think you may have a brain and then you go and write about "the estimated 100,000" casualties in Iraq

This is the widely debunked Lancet number - don't you know what nonsense methodology they used? NOBODY with half a brain repeats that nonsense - even the most leftist idiots know its nonsense and don't set themselves up like that

As for Bush "presiding" over the worst attack by an NGO ( I never heard AQ called a non governmental organization before - is this the new PC term to use? Can we just call them scumbags please? ) - one wonders what amount of blame you attach to Clinton for presiding over the prior several attacks and all the planning leading up to 9/11

Or the quick version - do you wish Clinton had invaded Afghanistan to go after OBL in 1998 or 2000 - instead of launging a couple of cruise missiles

There are many practical objections to doing this of course - but all I want to know is with the benefit of hindsight - do you wish he had done that?

Yes or No


finally -

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 8, 2005 02:24 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

There really is nothing better than getting one of you "I hate chimpymchalliburton" types to offer these kind of suggestions - priceless

one problem, Pogue..... I didn't offer any such "suggestions", I merely offered the observation regarding the way that US civilian authorities have structured the rules of engagement.

My "suggestion" would be to have never invaded Iraq in the first place. And my "suggestion" now is to get out as soon as possible without endangering the troops we have in Iraq.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 8, 2005 03:02 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The good thing about the web is that your suggestion for a chane in the current rules of engagement in Iraq is right there for everyone to read

You did suggest a change in the rules of engagement from the current placing of US soldiers lives at a premium to one that reduces that premium placed on the lives of US soldiers

you don't blame the troops for their failure to place less of a premium on their own lives - how nice of you - but rather blame to admin for not changing the ROE to FORCE the troops to do so

ala Somalia

Sorry - your own words show you said EXACTLY that - spin your way out of that one if you can


Do you care to answer the question I posed to Jim re Clinton taking action in Afghanistan in 1998 or 2000

I bet you don't

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 8, 2005 03:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I offer evidence to support my Spanish election claim...you offer hyperbole.

And your claim of a thorough debunking regarding the Lancet Study is only true as far as the chorus of "it ain't so" led by the administration's sycophants. No reputable organization or qualified individual --- to my knowledge --- has characterized the study in a way that would lead a fair minded person to believe it was debunked. In fact 'The Chronicle of Higher Education' published an assessment of the LANCET Study last January that "thoroughly debunked" the supposed debunking.

Unfortunately, you have to be a registered user to access the Chronicle article, but there is a mirror posting at 'Voices in the Wilderness,' if you so choose to satisfy your curiousity.

An excerpt for the lazy:

Reassessing the Evidence

The reception of the Iraqi mortality study by scientists has been far friendlier than by the news media.

Scientists say the size of the survey was adequate for extrapolation to the entire country. “That’s a classical sample size,” says Michael J. Toole, head of the Center for International Health at the Burnet Institute, an Australian research organization. Researchers typically conduct surveys in 30 neighborhoods, so the Iraq study’s total of 33 strengthens its conclusions. “I just don’t see any evidence of significant exaggeration,” he says.

David R. Meddings, a medical officer with the Department of Injuries and Violence Prevention at the World Health Organization, says any such survey will have uncertainty because of extrapolation based on small numbers, and because of the possibility that people gave incorrect information about deaths in their households.

“I don’t think the authors ignored that or understated” those factors, he says. “Those cautions I don’t believe should be applied any more or any less stringently to a study that looks at a politically sensitive conflict than to a study that looks at a pill for heart disease.”

The uncertainty leads to the breadth of the so-called 95-percent confidence interval — in other words, the 95-percent chance that the number of deaths in Iraq resulting from military activities is between 8,000 and 194,000.

Critics like the Slate writer seized on that range, says Dr. Woodruff, the government epidemiologist. “They thought, ‘Well, it’s just as likely to be 18,000 as 100,000.’ That’s not true at all,” he says. “The further you get away from 100,000, the probability that the number is true gets much smaller.”

The gap between the Lancet estimate and that of Iraq Body Count does not trouble scientists contacted by The Chronicle. John Sloboda, a professor of psychology at the University of Keele, in England, and a co-founder of Iraq Body Count, says his team’s efforts will lead to a count smaller than the true number because not every death is reported in the news media.

Dr. Woodruff says, “Les [Roberts] has the most valid estimate.”

Dr. Toole agrees: “If anything, the deaths may have been higher [than the study’s estimate] because what they are unable to do is survey families where everyone has died.”

Robin M. Coupland, a medical adviser on weapons and armed violence in the legal division of the International Committee of the Red Cross, has only one concern: Mr. Roberts’s team did not document how many people were wounded.

“In every recorded context where conventional explosive weapons have been used in armed contact,” Dr. Coupland says, “there’s usually two or more people wounded per person killed. The question that glares out from that article is, Where are all the 200,000 wounded?”

Mr. Roberts says his team did not ask about injuries because of the difficulty of defining both what constitutes an injury and whether the injury stemmed directly or indirectly from violence. “If someone is running from fighting and they cut their foot, is that a war wound?” he asks.


Too bad I won't be around today to see how well the mental gymnatics are going.

Posted by: James Emerson at July 8, 2005 04:22 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

while I realize that the discussion has veered somewhat from its initial context, would it be possible that we all bear in mind that relative to the London bombings no suspects have yet been discovered, Muslim, Islamic or otherwise.

Posted by: zdenek at July 8, 2005 04:45 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The good thing about the web is that your suggestion for a chane in the current rules of engagement in Iraq is right there for everyone to read

the good thing about the web is that everyone knows that if I had made such a suggestion, you would have quoted me actually suggesting a change in the current rules of engagement.

Do you care to answer the question I posed to Jim re Clinton taking action in Afghanistan in 1998 or 2000

First off, you seem to forget that Clinton was, in fact, ready to take direct action against OBL and his Afghanistan strongholds, using Pakistan as a base of operations in 1999, and had gotten the permission of the elected Pakistani government to do so. The plan fell through when, in October 1999, Bush's best buddy Musharraf overthrew the Pakistani government, and rescinded the permission.

Given the location (very close to the Pakistan border, but hundreds of miles from any other border) and topography (mountainous) Musharraf's decision made this kind of intervention impossible.

But to answer your question --- knowing that Bush would be in the White House, and would ignore warnings of a terrorist attack, and then would use 9-11 to justify an invasion of Iraq that would be illegal, immoral and counterproductive to America's national security interests and defense against terrorism, I kind of do wish that Clinton had another opportunity to invade Afghanistan.

He didn't, and absent the kind of international support for the invasion that we got after 9-11, although we would have inevitably "won" such a war, it would have likely been as much of a disaster as Iraq is today. (logistically, Iraq is a cakewalk when compared to what an invasion of Afghanistan without international support would have been. )

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 8, 2005 04:50 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

James - the "evidence" you provided regarding the reason the Spanish electorate ousted their government and opted for change after the 3/11 mass murder was an OPINION piece from a left-wing newspaper

That is not evidence - as stated - I can provide the same "evidence"

It is your OPINION, supported by other opinions, that it was mostly OTHER factors - not the 200 slaughtered 2 days before the election and linked by the murderers themselves to spanish support for the liberation and rebuilding of Iraq - that caused this surprising result

I don't agree - I find such a conclusion wishfull spinning to avoid the harsh truth - AQ sent a message - and enough ( not all ) spanish voters heard it and acted as they were told

Again - you disagree - but you can offer no proof - while I can point to many reports that had the Spanish voters shouting how the war in Iraq caused this attack - so that supports MY opinion


As for the Lancet study - again - all pure speculation and not very good at that -

"Critics like the Slate writer seized on that range, says Dr. Woodruff, the government epidemiologist. “They thought, ‘Well, it’s just as likely to be 18,000 as 100,000.’ That’s not true at all,” he says. “The further you get away from 100,000, the probability that the number is true gets much smaller.” "

Bottom line - they look at a range - 8,000 to 194,000 - and so the figure becomes 100,000

Which you repeat as a FACT - it is nothing of the kind

Its not just Slate that found this methodology odd you know

Your concern for the dead innocents of Iraq is touching however - tell me - how many have been killed by the jihadist "insurgents"


And you never answered the Clinton/Afghanistan question

Will I win my bet - its a simple question -

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 8, 2005 04:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Luka - somehow the US military did the "impossible" after 9/11 ;)

Yet Clinton couldn't do it in 1999? He was poised to do this but was prevented when Mushy took power - is that your delusion? I have NEVER heard this before - what is your source

Leaving aside most of the rest - let me understand this - you think we SHOULD have gone into Afghanistan BEFORE 9/11 - without the International Support - is that correct?
It would have been as messy as Iraq - but we should have done it - is that what you are saying?


As for your suggesting a change in ROE - lets go over this again

"Mr. Rockford, the troops don't set the rules of engagement, the civilian leadership does.

-----------------------------------------------------

OK - So here you mention the ROE that the troops don't set

----------------------------------------------------


Those rules place an infinitely higher premium on the lives of American soldiers than it does on the lives of Iraqi civilians.

-------------------------------------------------------------

HERE you accurately understand the ROE thathas been set

------------------------------------------------------------

The troops are doing their jobs in the way that they have been instructed to do them, and those instructions are based in large part on the political repercussions of high US casualties.


------------------------------------------------------------

RIGHT again

------------------------------------------------------------


I don't blame the troops, because if they were instructed to place their lives at greater risk in order to prevent civilian casualties, they would do so.

-------------------------------------------------------------

OOOH - there you screwed up - you don't "blame" the troops for the ROE - so you do BLAME someone for the ROE you described above

you BLAME someone for the ROE - therefor you disapprove of this ROE as you accurately decribed it - therefor YOU would CHANGE IT

You blame...the neocons I suppose - for the ROE - and would expect different civillian leadership to support a different set of ROE

Say President Kerry for example

If this is wrong - what is it you don't BLAME the troops for?

They are following the ROE you describe - and you don't BLAME them

If this doesn't mean you would CHANGE the ROE from the current over-emphasis on preventing US casualties - what exactly does it mean?

What do you mean when you say you don't blame the US troops

( try not to veer off into "we should have never gone in, should get out" in answering what change to the ROE your comments suggest is needed - to avoid them, or the leadership, getting BLAMED by you )

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 8, 2005 05:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I dunno Zdenek - maybe it was the Quakers? Or the South African Neo Nazi's - like in Hollywood movies

We don't want to jump to any conclusions

/sarc

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 8, 2005 05:11 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

yes, maybe it was a Timothy McVeigh wannabe? was he Arab, Muslim, Islamic, any of the above?

Posted by: zdenek at July 8, 2005 07:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My comment addresses the ROE and how they are effectuated in the heat of battle. I certainly don't know the precise texts of the ROE, but I presume minimization of civilian casualties is a mandated objective. However, I am also certain that military does not proceed on the assumption that ordinance directed at soldiers is presumptively friendly fire. In the fog of war, as it has been so often phrased, the rules tend to break down especially in an urban environment. As ordinance is flying around and there is the inevitable uncertainty as to source, a soldier on the ground is going to do what he can to eliminate the incoming fire. Recently, we are not hearing much about civilian casualties consequential to American activities. Rather, the "insurgents" and their cohorts are deliberately targeting civilians with the result that the totals are pumped. I don't think that a change in the ROE at this stage of the conflict would have much of an effect on civilian safety.

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at July 8, 2005 08:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Michael, I am sure minimizing civillian casualties is a goal - but not at the expense of US lives

Except at the macro level - consider Falujah - hotbed of terrorists

In WW2 we would have carbet bombed the place

What was actually done - the Marines went in to minimize civillian casualties

I am sure Luka will explain this as a PR ploy - but because I don't think of US soldiers as acting in the manner of "ghengis khan" I tend to think its also because we don't want to harm civillians

Has anyone read Luka's comment above and not understood him to mean the ROE should be changed to lessen the emphasis placed upon minimizing US casualties - but he doesn't "blame" the troops for their failure to institute this humane policy on their own

Frankly his bravery with their lives leaves me amazed

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 8, 2005 08:39 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Pogue, I omitted the phrase "not at the expense of American casualties" and I agree with your comment. I have recently read a number of histories of WWII and in that conflict, minimization of civilian casualties fell by the wayside rather early. I don't think the allies knew of the atrocities of the SS, particularly in conjunction with the attack on Russia. However, that was a war of desparation on both sides and no holds were barred, although we did treat our prisioners reasonably for the most part.

Michael

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at July 9, 2005 04:01 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Has anyone read Luka's comment above and not understood him to mean the ROE should be changed to lessen the emphasis placed upon minimizing US casualties - but he doesn't "blame" the troops for their failure to institute this humane policy on their own

anyone who reads my comments knows that I support ending the engagement, not just "changing the rules".

Its kind of like telling a criminal how to go about their business in the best manner. You don't advocate that kidnappers treat their victims with respect, you condemn the kidnapping and demand and work toward the release of the victims.

Like most wingnuts, you are incapable of actually understanding what others write. I believe that this tendency to create strawmen and then knock them down is a direct result of wingnuts inability to participate in rational discourse without looking like an idiot.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at July 9, 2005 12:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

You would think if the opposition consisted solely of wingnuts and idiots the Democrats could win an election once in awhile. Name calling, the backbone of the left.

Michael

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at July 9, 2005 07:09 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Luka, I understood exactly what you wrote

You feel the ROE doesn't do enought o minimize civillian casualties - and don't BLAME the troops for following it but rather the civillian leadership ( the neocons no doubt )

In other words - if you had your way - the ROE would change and more troops would die - but hopefully fewer iraqi civillians

Again - your eagerness to risk their lives is quite brave of you


And Michael - since you note name-calling is the backbone of the left - why does Luka - the resident leftist here throw around wingnuts at all comers and get no comment from you?

More selective sensitivity it seems

What was it Howard Dean has been saying - about how he hates republicans - or Michael Moore - or George Galloway

Name calling from the left - maybe you could take the blinders off and recognize it

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at July 10, 2005 02:33 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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