22 juli 2005

We are all British (3) (De andere kijk)

Today, two weeks after 7/7, a new wave of bombs was aimed at London. However, this time, some of the bombs did not explode at all, of the other bombs only the detonators went off. As a result, only one person was wounded, unlike the 50-plus deaths of two weeks ago.

What does this tell us? Are we dealing with a copycat, a lousy copycat? The investigation will tell. But the first reports indicated that the attacks bear the hallmarks of Al Qaeda. Under that assumption, the failure is telling. After 9/11 when more than 3.000 people died, subsequent attacks, although deadly, killed less people: Bali, more than 200 dead; Madrid, less than 200; London 1, 50; London 2, 0. This is significant as Al Qaeda is known for long and carefully planning its attacks. Sheer luck seems to be excluded. It is more likely that Al Qaeda’s capabilities have diminished since the war on terror began 4 years ago. Who said that the war has not produced any results?

A purely defensive position with camera’s, ID-cards and police work will not foil all attacks. They only need to be lucky just once, you know? Confronting the enemy on his own turf, forcing him to drain his own resources, so that he cannot commit them fully to your own turf, is a necessary part of the strategy for victory.

And it seems that this strategy is producing results, as we saw today. There is also good news from overseas as the coalition is steadily moving its forces into the “insurgency” rear area in Iraq. We are winning the War on Terror.

In the meantime, the main battle is on the domestic front, the one for the hearts and minds back home. Ken Livingstone, the mayor of London, was widely praised after London 1. However, it didn’t take him long to fall in his old habits. In a radio interview, he blamed 80 years of US and UK policy in the Middle East for the London bombs. That the US did not create today’s dictators in the region, that oil is a commodity available for every nation at the market price and that OBL and co really didn’t need the CIA to want to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan are probably just details that don’t fit into Red Ken’s narrative. It is typical for many on the left today that they are not hindered by the facts. Unfortunately, his ideas are widespread. The blogosphere can and must play a role in debunking the many circulating myths.

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