Thursday, July 07, 2005

A Blessing and a Curse

Just a few comments in the aftermath of the attack on London. The first and most important hard fact to grasp is that this Al Qaeda strike, their first against an Anglosphere city since 9/11, has caused much less damage than that on New York. This despite the fact that Al Qaeda has had nearly four years to brood on its humiliations and losses and to plot its revenge. The reasons for this are simple: the enemy is now operating in a much more hostile environment. The accessible methods of mass destruction, such as wide body aircraft, have been secured; not perfectly, but for a defense to work it must only be sufficient to blunt the onslaught of the enemy. Increased surveillance, tighter controls on movement, etc have all played their part. The second reason the enemy is weaker is Iraq. It is widely accepted that thousands of Al Qaeda fighters, the cream of their rancid crop, is fighting to expel the American infidel from the Land Between the Rivers. A moment's reflection will show that if they are there they cannot be elsewhere -- in London, Paris, Rome or Boston -- sowing bombs on buses and trains. Furthermore, fear in formerly smug circles within Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Libya at sharing the fate of Saddam have left terrorists have fewer powerful confederates. Thirdly, allied forces are in contact with the enemy all over the world, buying intelligence with their blood, just as a SEAL team in Afghanistan did. Nothing yields as much information as the act of grappling with the enemy. Liberals often talk about the need to improve intelligence capability without admitting that you can't gather it without being in action against the enemy.

The Al Qaeda have characterized the attack on London as 'punishment' for Britain's temerity to resist the inevitability of Islam. It is the kind of punishment these self-ordained masters of the universe are accustomed to meting out against harem women and insolent slaves. A few administered licks, and no doubt the cowardly kuffar will crawl back to his place. The tragedy is that Al Qaeda's perception is perfectly correct when applied to the Left, for whom no position is too supine, no degradation too shameful to endure; but incorrect for the vast majority of humans, in whom the instinct for self-preservation has not yet been extinguished. It will result in history's greatest case of mistaken identity; the mismatch that should never have happened. The enemy is even now dying at our feet, where we should kick him and kick him again.


Blogger Karridine said...

July 9th approaches, and with it the remembrance and commemoration of the Martyrdom of the Promised One; Tabriz, Persia; at the hands of Muslim clerics; by means of 750 riflemen!

They sought to extinguish His light, but instead planted the Burning Bush of the love of God DEEP in the heart of humankind, and His holy mortal remains rest on Mount Carmel, for all to partake...

Except fascist terrorists and thugs and baby-killers and head-hackers!

7/07/2005 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

There will be a reckoning

7/07/2005 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Thirdly, allied forces are in contact with the enemy all over the world, buying intelligence with their blood, just as a SEAL team in Afghanistan did."
God bless them all.

7/07/2005 05:17:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

well said, doug

7/07/2005 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

here's the british attitude that i grew up with:

7/07/2005 05:30:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

A goddess violated brought thee forth,
Immortal Liberty, whose look sublime,
Hath bleach’d the tyrant’s cheek in every varying clime.

7/07/2005 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Anyone hear that they found two unexploded bombs in London? Just came in from a run and my Mom said she heard that, I guess on Fox News.
If true that will help a lot.
Interesting item from over at NRO, from an article in The Evening Standrad in 2004:
Four young British Muslims in their twenties - a social worker, an IT specialist, a security guard and a financial adviser - occupy a table at a fast-food chicken restaurant in Luton. Perched on their plastic chairs, wolfing down their dinner, they seem just ordinary young men. Yet out of their mouths pour heated words of revolution. "As far as I'm concerned, when they bomb London, the bigger the better," says Abdul Haq, the social worker. "I know it's going to happen because Sheikh bin Laden said so. Like Bali, like Turkey, like Madrid - I pray for it, I look forward to the day." "Pass the brown sauce, brother," says Abu Malaahim, the IT specialist, devouring his chicken and chips. "I agree with you, brother," says Abu Yusuf, the earnest-looking financial adviser sitting opposite. "I would like to see the Mujahideen coming into London and killing thousands, whether with nuclear weapons or germ warfare. And if they need a safehouse, they can stay in mine - and if they need some fertiliser [for a bomb], I'll tell them where to get it." His friend, Abu Musa, the security guard, smiles radiantly. "It will be a day of joy for me," he adds, speaking with a slight lisp.

7/07/2005 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

the citizen of every clime, the friend of every color, and the child of every creed, Liberty walks abroad in the ubiquity of her benevolence, alike to her the varieties of faith and the vicissitudes of country; she has no object but the happiness of man, no bounds but the extremities of creation.

7/07/2005 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

Wretchard says thusly:
Liberals often talk about the need to improve intelligence capability without admitting that you can't gather it without being in action against the enemy.

Marcus Aurelius says thusly: Thank You Stansfield Turner! We really appreciate your emasculation of the Humint portions of the CIA. Yes, we need elint but humint as we are finding out is crucial too!

Yes, I too am hearing reports of unexploded bombs but nothing real solid.

7/07/2005 05:43:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...


Interesting story. A ex-colleague from the UAE University who taught in the engineering college had an interesting story about a Yemeni colleague of his. My buddy said his colleague was showing pix from home and this included the family howitzer. The Yemeni was waxing romantic about how neat it would be to be at home manning the piece yadda yadda yadda.

My colleague asked him to really think about what he was saying and if IT REALLY would be neat. They Yemeni thought it over a bit and conceded that it was probably a whole lot better with his cushy U job in the UAE.

7/07/2005 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/07/2005 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hewitt reads Wretch's entire post to Lileks.

7/07/2005 05:51:00 PM  
Blogger Harkonnendog said...

REALLY enjoyed that last paragraph.

7/07/2005 05:58:00 PM  
Blogger Boghie said...

Can we also be looking at a change in al Qaeda war time strategy? Or is it part of the plan to break up the coalition?

England was mid-point (following Spain and Italy) in a supposed al Qaeda authored study on how to break up the coalition.

The strike could also be the result of al Qaeda accepting defeat in other theaters of war. They may be trying an asymmetric war storm. Strike everywhere all the time. Confuse their enemy and terrorize their citizens. The Blitz.

If the civilized world does not collapse, that the spasm of violence will fail completely – and the al Qaeda movement will be crushed soon.

Time will tell.

7/07/2005 06:02:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, kick them. But in order to kick them, you must first find them. They, the jihadists, have hiding places in the immigrant neighborhood sanctuaries in the cities of Europe. The immigrant neighbors hide them either with enthusiam, or from fear.

The task for the civilized West is to persuade the hiders to unhide the hidden. Appeals to humanity may work, but obviously not thoroughly.

The civilized West will then have to examine the moral dilemmas it faces and then create a fear of its own, more powerful than that of the jihadists, to persuade the hiders.

But examine quickly. Time is quickly running out.

7/07/2005 06:03:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The actual statement does not blame "Britain's temerity in resisting whatever". Here it is:
In the name of God, the merciful, the compassionate, may peace be upon the cheerful one and undaunted fighter, Prophet Muhammad, God's peace be upon him.

Nation of Islam and Arab nation: Rejoice for it is time to take revenge against the British Zionist Crusader government in retaliation for the massacres Britain is committing in Iraq and Afghanistan. The heroic mujahideen have carried out a blessed raid in London. Britain is now burning with fear, terror and panic in its northern, southern, eastern, and western quarters.

We have repeatedly warned the British Government and people. We have fulfilled our promise and carried out our blessed military raid in Britain after our mujahideen exerted strenuous efforts over a long period of time to ensure the success of the raid.

We continue to warn the governments of Denmark and Italy and all the Crusader governments that they will be punished in the same way if they do not withdraw their troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. He who warns is excused.

God says: "You who believe: If ye will aid (the cause of) Allah, He will aid you, and plant your feet firmly."

7/07/2005 06:13:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

I wish that I could have put those words together. Alas they are quotes from better minds than mind

the first is by Tobias Smollett and was excerpted from his 'Ode to Independence'

the second is excerpted from Charles Phillips's (c. 1789–1859)Address to Catholics

found them while surfing and thought they were great.
Happy you do to

common cents
you've wrote that twice that I have seen. I'm with you. Let's roll

7/07/2005 06:14:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Interesting, Marcus...
Makes me think of Myron Magnet's book "The Dream and the Nightmare" in which he points out that it was all well and good for middle and upper class kids to play around with "alternative lifestyles" - they had help to pull them out of the inevitable hole. But by promoting those lifestyles to the poor, they created a nightmare of no escape.
Is the same thing happening to the Arabs? Safe and secure, with jobs and a society that protects them, sipping lattes and eating the latest fad food, they wax eloquent about how wonderful the jihad is, and vow to support it - or as soon as they have the BMW paid off. But push come to shove, it is the poor and ignorant that suffer and die.

7/07/2005 06:15:00 PM  
Blogger ex-democrat said...

PD -- get that crap off my screen now.

7/07/2005 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

jihadists that are like the young chickenhawks I've read about from the lefties. So refreshing, iotm won't know what to say. (not likely)

7/07/2005 06:28:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

I'm reading here and there about how unfortunate it was that some of the neighborhoods where the bombs went off are heavily Muslim -- that Muslims killing Muslims no-no thing.

But if you think about it, where would *you* go if you were a beady-eyed terrorist and didn't want people to "look at you funny"?

Not only are Muslim fanatics actively killing other Muslims, it would appear that they are actively *seeking Muslims out* as targets, both as a form of camoflauge and for being the softest possible targets. Including Egyptian diplomats.

I like the comment about unexplained explosions in mosques, because surely the Arabs out there in the world will sooner or later figure out that this is what's going on: that not only are the jihadists in Iraq targeting mainly Muslim/Arab populations, but now the jihadists in Britain are too.

And what are plain-old Abdul and Omar and Ali, et al., gonna do about that???

7/07/2005 06:53:00 PM  
Blogger TigerHawk said...

The enemy is even now dying at our feet, where we should kick him and kick him again.

Faster. Please.

7/07/2005 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Rummy reads like Wretchard.
Good Show!

7/07/2005 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Pierre said...

Now we kick them, those assclowns messed up by showing how weak they are, kick them, kill them and keep killing them till the very ground asks for mercy from their bodies.

Now would be a marvelous time to issue ultimatums to Syria and Iran...stop your support of terror or pay the price.

This war is a war of wills, at their supposed moment of victory show them hopelessness by attacking the few sponsors they have left.

Their leaders must understand that this was a pitiful attack and that they exposed their weakness. Now smash them.


7/07/2005 07:02:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/07/2005 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

I'll repeat a previous posters statement by Rumsfeld:

"Before long, I suspect that those responsible for these acts will encounter British steel..."

-Donald Rumsfeld

See: Rumsfeld's statement

7/07/2005 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger Truesilver said...

That's a very good thought, Philo. The British are a remarkable people. And you are right. History has done far, far worse to them than this bombing. It is tragic, but in many ways, it is a pathetic effort.

By bombing the UK, as when they Bombed the US, they have done nothing but thrown more gasoline on their own funeral pyres.

They understand retribution. They understand symbolism. But it becomes clear that they do not understand that heroic martyrdom goes both ways.

What has this attack in London done, in psychological reality? It has created 740 innocent Martyrs to a cause they oppose.

They are becoming desperate to make us fear them again like we did after 9/11 and 3/11. But for the sake of those innocent 740, we cannot, and will not, allow ourselves to fear them that way.

The cost of Freedom and Liberty anywhere in the world demands a high price. Not in money and goods, but in the blood of our Sons and Daughters, Fathers, and Fellowmen. But we have seen the costs of tyranny. Religious fanatics in Iran and Afghanistan. Totalitarianism in the Taliban and from Lenin through Putin. We know that what they demand, the total rule of Islam over the world, States where only the Qur'An, as interpreted by them is Law; These things we know and see the prices of. And the cost of giving up now are far greater, in goods, in money, in the Blood of our Families, than any war we have fought for the sake of True Liberty.

The Cost of Liberty is high. The British understand this better than almost any nation in the world. And we must remember it too.

Let Al Qaeda have it's retribution. We understand Vengeance too. And we have thousands of lives to buy back in their blood.

7/07/2005 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger The Tetrast said...

Spot on. Just like against nazis -- hit them when they're up, kick them when they're down.

Too bad we won't thoroughly do that. It means also intensely stigmatizing them culturally, as we did to the nazis. All those movies with evil nazis. Hollywood is not only leftist, but also too frightened to make movies about islamoterrorists. (Article decreasingly available)

7/07/2005 07:21:00 PM  
Blogger RWE said...

Nahncee: I often wonder just who the attacks really are supposed to influence. The Western powers? Or the Muslims in the West who are in danger of slipping away from the grasp of the traditional strongmen and clerics - as well as those in the Middle East who live half in fear and half in hope? Is the real basis for terrorism the belief that "all politics is local"?

7/07/2005 07:24:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

The window has opened a crack, for now, in this moment in time, we can regain the inititive. Now more than ever
On to Damascus

7/07/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As I watch Fox News the moment is, even now, slipping away. Forecsics and legal nicities. Who did it, what group, how were they able, how can we catch them? Bush speaks of bringing the perps to Justice.

We do not need Justice or Revenge.
Victory will bring the solution to all those questions.
Time is short

7/07/2005 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Justin said...

I made a similar argument about 1 week ago. Check it out here:

Thanks. I blogged about your statement as well. See it here:


7/07/2005 07:52:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/07/2005 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

A Blessing and a Curse?

Good question.

Wretchard had characterized this terror attack as similar to the Madrid terror attack (a lot of preparation, men, materials, trains enclosed spaces and good execution etc.). But, one critical aspect is the timing. The Madrid train bombings were before a major election. The Spanish showed some backbone but when the elections arrived it snapped. They crumbled under self-pity and division. But the opposite was true during the Russian election. The terrorists burned down the church (or some other important building) after the election - which had no effect on its outcome. The lesson for savvy terrorists is: always attack before the election - not afterwards.

The London train bombings were in the middle of a high profile summit with the Leaders of the World (and their security teams). To maximize the terror, the thugs should have attacked before the arrival of the World Leaders (and their security teams) not afterwards. These Leaders must now feel the danger up-close and personal (and their personal security must have been doubled). That being the case, one would guess that the World Leaders would become more concerned about terrorism. And, one would hope that they would cooperate more to eradicate said terrorism. Hence, the Islamofascists may have shot themselves in the foot.

Last, but not least, the British don't take killing of their citizens too lightly. I suspect Rumsfeld's prediction about the terrorists "feeling British steel" will come true.

7/07/2005 07:58:00 PM  
Blogger Truesilver said...

When I said "them" I meant the terrorist organizations in general.

And by "we" I mean everyone who isn't one of the overbearing, theocratic, little minions that make up organizations like Al Qaeda.

7/07/2005 08:08:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

There is relatively little about the Islamicists that puts a fear for the loss of my civilization into me, the possibility of a WMD attack notwithstanding. While dangerous if they happen upon you, they are intellectually negligible in most every sense. They will not have, I think, the moral fibre to win, or go very far, in any truly taxing conflict. Furthermore, their pretense to be leaders, via Islam, in human truth is never going to win over many mininally educated people who stop to ask what actually works to make this modern world work.

Yet what worries me is that many of our "best" educated people in the west continue to believe in a kind of magic (of which postmodern thought is exemplary - e.g. varieties of the Marxoid belief that we can "construct" any political or social order we please, just as soon as we throw off the old patriarchal monkeys or corporate mafias whose own "constructions" presently, it is claimed, rule things).

What I wonder and worry about in the long run is the ongoing cultural war in the west that I believe to be rooted in the anthropolgical truth claims of Judeo-Christianity, the reaction to which fuels so much of the leftist and antisemitic and Christophobic nonsense we have already had to suffer today from endlessly resentful western voices who can't even take a day off in decency.

If you take the J-C revelations on the nature of our resentful humanity to be more or less true when articulated in either religious or secular, i.e. anthropological, terms (as I do), your enemy is the kind of gnostic and fantastical believer in the existence of some revelation into our humanity more profound than those first unfolded in the J-C tradition and eventually made available in secular, anthropological, terms, the belief in some magical revelation that will justify all the resentment expressed against the prior J-C discoveries of human truths and the humbling discipline that adherence to such truths (e.g. the human truth that justifies the admonitions to love thy neighbour, to work to transcend not indulge your resentments, to avoid engaging in idolatry, etc.) demands of our youthful and naive desires.

Now, being rather familiar with the course of western thought since at least Voltaire - though I am presently thinking about a problem of western resentment that takes us all the way back to the Gnostic heresies of the early Christian period - I am quite sure no such new and improved revelation exists. But the belief in such has rarely diminished over the course of the last two thousand years and now dominates, though those dominated are not very self-conscious of this, the MSM and the MSE.

Islam can be read as in large part a resentful reaction to the prior establishment of Judaism and Christianity. No one would have invented it out of the blue had those prior surveyings of monotheistic truth not already have come into being. Whether Islam itself adds much new, previously unarticulated, truths about our humanity is debatable. In any case, those who want to defend a moderate Islam against the resentful reactionaries had better start making their case, and soon... Yet the greater conceit of our modern and postmodern world is not among the Muslims, most of whom are simple and not, to us, particularly dangerous folk (they may well be a danger to themselves, but...) lies in the characteristic intellectual assumptions of modern western leftism. For those desirous of training their minds to fight this battle, I can recommend various readings. But here is one favorite that jumps to mind, from a real hero of the present PC wars in the universities:

For those wanting to reflect on events from an intellectually disciplined and profound perspective

7/07/2005 08:17:00 PM  
Blogger Jack said...

Imho, the thing could have even been planned to go off before the election, but had to be moved back due to some snafu of some sort. I suspect we won't know the truth, G8, Hamza, whatever, for a long time - if ever.

7/07/2005 08:25:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

Fred, I was struck by the remarkable similarity of our posts, one minute apart. And I second your second.

7/07/2005 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Terrorism is a result of this war,

Boxer said, amid applause at the Commonwealth Club of California-sponsored speech at the
Renaissance Parc 55 Hotel.

"The insurgents are winning the propaganda wars now,'' she said.

(And who is trying to help them do that?)
.___SF GATE___

7/07/2005 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger truepeers said...

I wish I had more time to discuss this Fred, but I've got to run. I would only add to your point, which is true to some degree, the query of whether today's left is as sure about where it is going as you seem to suggest. The nihilism that is out there continually amazes me. I am not sure that they are not just limited to enjoying, in their massive resentment, seeing anyone, from wherever, hit the west, and don't actually think the greater picture through in the strategic terms you charitably ascribe to their putative intelligence.

7/07/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7/07/2005 09:12:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Devil Dog is right.

Families and even neighborhoods know when one of the young guys is getting the "look"--they'd be likely to stop him from packing his sea bag and hitting the road for heaven, if they knew their lives, too, were on the line for looking the other way.

Also, neighborhoods would become much less welcoming to itinerant recruiters.

Israel tried a variation of this with the dozers. We could go one better with assassin squads or C-130 gunships--if we had to.

The way to do this would be to publicize the new policy, then let the potential perps by their own actions ask for the treatment. Then, no guilt would attach on the part of the anti-terror force.

Wouldn't work in every case, but would in many cases--and would make quite a statement.

After all, it was once an accepted responsibility to socialize one's offspring.

7/08/2005 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Alexander Wolfe said...

Some of you guys are so full of bs it's leaking out your eyeballs. I read this and all I see are the tired old right-wing standbys about "the Left" wanting Islam to win, or retreating in the face of terror, xenophobic fears of women in veils, the need to stop being "soft" on terrorists, yadda yadda, blah blah blah...I mean seriously guys, get a clue. I don't even know where to start with some of the tripe I'm reading here, except to say that some of you seriously need to pull your heads out of your asses.

7/08/2005 10:12:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

...and the stick 'em in someone else's?

7/08/2005 10:29:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Who besides you has divided the global terror assault by the race of the victims?

7/08/2005 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

He doesn't know where to start.

Meaning...his opinions are so founded on unexamined assumptions, which are not ours, that he doesn't know how to refute ours?

Hey, Xanthippe, we'll stop distrusting your motives when you start getting as mad at the terrorists as you get at Bush.

7/08/2005 11:03:00 AM  
Blogger Andrew said...

I'm not sure I accept your "fact", crackwilding. Could you provide documentary evidence of the number of attacks before 2001 as opposed to after?

7/08/2005 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

One thing 911 was, for sure: a good lesson in the importance of keeping cloud-cuckooland out of national security policy.

7/08/2005 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Gadfly said...

Thanks for the laugh.

7/08/2005 11:46:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Ha...appreciate that, Gadfly!

7/08/2005 12:50:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Yes, let's all go, en masse!

7/08/2005 02:43:00 PM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

Thanks, Nathan! Great ships! I did two deployments on the Nimitz.

7/08/2005 04:35:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Chester Nimitz' hometown is about 40 minutes from where I sit, the small town of Fredericksburg. Texas. The hotel his parents owned is now the Nimitz Museum, a world-class museum of the Pacific War. Ollie North films many of his "War Stories" Fox series there.

7/08/2005 05:19:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Not me, Fred. I 2 dum.

7/08/2005 09:34:00 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

Who cares? The French and Germans have already decided to sit this one out. They're reactions are not worth the ink or bandwidth to report.

7/09/2005 08:26:00 AM  

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