Skip to comments.Standing firm in the face of terror
Posted on 07/08/2005 3:35:59 PM PDT by naturalman1975
TO be tired of London is to be tired of life, said Dr Johnson. The evil ideologues responsible for the terrorist assault in London obviously are. Whether they were prepared to lose their own wretched lives matters not a jot. What deserves universal horror is the way they presumed the right to take life, and all its promise, from people who were going about their business in London on Thursday morning. This was more than an attack on London, it was an assault on the billions of people around the world who share Londoners' values, and today sympathise with their suffering. These attacks are the work of misanthropes who have no faith in humanity, no hope for the future, outcasts who compensate for their own inadequacies by killing innocent individuals who have done them no harm. The attacks are all the more monstrous for the utter absence of any achievable objective. Blowing up a bus and tube trains to kill more than 50 and injure 700, including nine Australians, will have no impact on the British Government or change the values of ordinary people. This was a senseless slaughter, another attack in the terror war perpetrated by people whose only objective is to kill, and to keep on killing - because it is the only way they can assuage their odious anger with all who will not bow to their will.
While we do not yet know who is responsible for this attack, it has the appearance of an operation by al-Qa'ida, or its allies, designed to randomly kill as many people as possible. For the past seven years or so, Islamic terrorists have attacked in Africa and Istanbul, they murdered 3000 innocents in the September 11 outrage and another 192 in the Madrid rail attack in March last year. They tried to assassinate Australians through a plan for an attack on our embassy in Singapore that was thwarted in December 2001, and in an explosion that occurred outside our Jakarta mission last September. And they succeeded in Bali on October 12, 2002, when they killed 202 people including 88 Australians. But they are not fussy who they kill. Many of al-Qa'ida's victims have been Muslims, and it is a fair bet the dead and wounded in multicultural London included people of their own faith. This is irrelevant to al-Qa'ida and its allies, because, as continuing terror attacks against civilian targets in Iraq demonstrate, they believe that if you are not with them, you are against them. And only a minute fraction of Muslims are with them. It is not hard to understand why. As the fate of Afghanistan under the Taliban demonstrated, there is not much for ordinary people to hope for when they are subjected by men who believe politics and theology are synonymous and that the only acceptable interpretation of the Koran is one that suits their racist, sexist prejudice. And as the politics of devout Muslim countries, notably Indonesia, Malaysia and Afghanistan demonstrate, when ordinary people have the chance to elect their rulers, they never vote for men who want to replace democratic forms of government with theocracies. The contrast between the anonymous bombers and the world leaders who stood in solidarity behind Tony Blair on Thursday at the G8 meeting in Scotland is stark. With all their failings, the national leaders are looking for ways to improve the lives of ordinary people, through reducing trade barriers in international agriculture, developing a strategy to deal with global warming and confronting AIDS. But the bombers' only ambition is to create mayhem and murder.
We are already hearing the predictable claims that the British Government brought the London attack on itself, that the terrorists believe they are defending Islam against the US and Britain in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is a line Islamists love. There are endless al-Qa'ida denunciations of the godless West and exhortations against crusader countries, notably the US, Great Britain and Australia. Osama bin Laden has said Australia is a target for protecting the people of East Timor. And the existence of Israel affronts Islamic terrorists, who are always enthusiastic about killing Jews. But any argument that Iraq and Afghanistan are the catalyst for this, or any other attack, is a nonsense. Osama bin Laden was planning his terror war long before these conflicts. He used to use US military bases in Saudi Arabia as an excuse for terrorism. But the Americans have withdrawn from Saudi, and the attacks go on. The truth is al-Qa'ida and its ilk live to kill people they cannot defeat in debate, and they will not be assuaged. What then must change in the face of the threat of more mass murder to come? The answer remains the same as applied after every previous attack. Nothing. Certainly police and intelligence services must develop better ways to watch, and stop, terror cells before they strike. And emergency services right round the world should learn from the way their London counterparts calmly implemented their damage-control plan. But the lesson of London is that big cities can never be secured from terror attack. Life in every city on every continent - including Australia, for the whole world is at risk - must continue as usual. We cannot placate Islamic terrorists who consider our way of life and political systems an affront to their faith. We cannot negotiate with them because they have no goal other than their own absolute authority. Even fleeing from Iraq would do no good. US, British and Australian soldiers are not the primary terror targets there. Rather, terrorists are killing ordinary Iraqis because the beliefs of the majority Shias offend their fundamentalist faith.
But we can beat these terrorists. We defeat them by holding firm in our faith in democratic government, in the rights of all individuals under the rule of law and in the equality of all men and women to live their lives as they choose. Today only the most deluded of terrorists will be pleased with their work. They have not broken London's spirit and ordinary people there are getting on with their lives. The attacks have not reduced them to a state of terror. Admittedly, Londoners are made of particularly tough stuff. People have been trying to blow them up, off and on, since 1940 and they do not bend to bullies. But they have set an example that Australians, if we are ever subjected to the same sort of attack, must be ready to follow. In his response to the bombing, London Mayor Ken Livingstone made the speech of his life. Just hours after his city won the 2012 Olympics, Mr Livingstone spoke out in support of a much more important cause - the rights of ordinary people to live in peace and freedom. Mr Livingstone said the bombers had attacked in London because it was a successful, tolerant, multicultural city. He said the bombers looked at Londoners from all around the world who had chosen to live in his city because of the opportunity it allowed them. And he warned the terrorists that their cause was doomed. "They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don't want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail." In 1940, Winston Churchill spoke out from an embattled London against a monstrous totalitarian threat. On Thursday, Ken Livingstone denounced another equally evil threat on behalf of Londoners, and all who share their values.
I think this writer "gets it."
I'm getting tired of this "minute fraction" theory about terrorist support within Islam.
There's a very substantial part of Islam (maybe even a majority) that has no real deep-seated problem with terrorism.
Remains to be seen. Didn't Blair just promise $3 Billion in "aid" to the Palestinian Authority? I'm not saying he wouldn't have done it anyway, but ...
One last comment . . .
Putting Ken Livingstone into the same category with Winston Churchill seems like a real shame and a real slap at the historical record.
That's not the point. It's the far snaller number of Muslims acrively supporting (not just cheering) the jihadists and who are willing to replace them when they are killed. Take out them and the terrorism problem goes pffft!
The rest of the billion Muslims can then stew in their 7th century attitudes.
Pull a cobra's fangs and it still has the same murderous intent, but who cares?
I like your thought process, but I'm afraid I don't see how your idea would work.
If 1% of the Muslim population is so devout that they're willing to go on a "martyrdom" mission, that would me we'd have to find a kill ten million people, mostly teenagers. That's a lot of killing, and in the process of doing that we'd surely radicalize at least another 1%, so I'm basically not sure we can kill our way to victory in this war by targeting potential "martyrs."
We need other tactics, like killing the terrorist planners in Iraq, and persuading the rest of the Muslim world to dial back their support for terrorism. The war of persuasion is probably our most important "front" in this conflict (and that's unfortunate because we're not very good at it.)
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