London thought-splurge

This is a bit of a thought-splurge of little things that have been going through my mind since the London bombings.

I was surprised that some people felt that they had to change their political views in the aftermath of the London bombings, seeing it as a wake-up call. It is, though, different for me. As I explained on the 7th, the bombs in London felt as distant as the ones in Madrid last year. (Perhaps if, say, Edinburgh were to be bombed by terrorists then I would maybe feel different, but I can’t tell.) And I didn’t have any reason to believe that London wouldn’t be a target for terrorists. I mean, London is a very high-profile city in an important western country — it’s surely bound to be.

I watched Straight Talk over the weekend, where the only topic of discussion was the London bombings. At one point they were discussing what Charles Kennedy had said — that Iraq was surely a factor. All of the panellists agreed that he had a valid viewpoint but that the timing was wrong. What a bunch of wusses. Surely the aftermath of a major event like the London bombings is the time to be forthright and honest about your views?

I am not saying, of course, that Iraq is the only factor in bombers’ minds. If Britain hadn’t gone into Iraq, Britain wouldn’t be exempt from terrorist attacks, for the same reasons I outlined above. But when the intelligence warned about the potential for Iraq to increase the threat of terrorism in this country, it’s difficult to just say that Iraq has nothing to do with it.

Here’s what they said in June this year:

Events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist related activity in the U.K.

That was in the same report that prompted the government to decrease the threat assessment traffic lights of doom level. So if that bit of the report was right, how come the other bit of the report, about Iraq, is meant to be so wrong according to the government?

Ask the public (via Chicken Yoghurt).

Only 28% of voters agree with the government that Iraq and the London bombings are not connected.


I also reject the idea that the mere suggestion that Iraq might have been reason why the London bombings took place is somehow making excuses for the bombers. Pure rubbish. I’ll say this: the London bombings were the fault of the bombers, and their accomplices, alone. Disagreeing with the war in Iraq is no reason whatsoever to go about blowing even more people up, and I would think that most people — whether they were for or against the war — would agree with that.

I was against the war in Iraq for a variety of reasons, one of which was that I thought that it would increase the threat of terrorism. The thing about the London bombings is that it gave both sides of the increasingly tedious pro- / anti-war debate more ammunition. Those who were in favour of the Iraq invasion say, “Look, we told you so, terrorists are everywhere, so we need to go get ’em!” Those who were against say, “We told you so, Iraq increased the threat of terrorism.”

One last thought about it all. The revelation (one that reminded me so much of Monkey Dust) that the bombers were British born and bred, and most of seemed to be, on the surface, normal everyday people, to me kind of debunks the idea that all Islamic terrorists are the sort of people who you can’t have a discussion with.

Update: I like this post from Nosemonkey.

Of course, what this could be an indication of (my personal favourite theory) is merely that it’s a piece of piss to conduct a terrorist attack. You don’t need some vast intergalactic conspiracy of bearded men in caves. All you need is some desperate, stupid and psychotic people, access to the internet, and someone with the balls to track down some explosives. Or has every single suicide bomber on the West Bank or in Iraq since the occupation (yet more today, surprise surprise) been part of some vast, James Bond style organisation?

Update: Singing ‘la-la-la’ with fingers in their ears.


  1. On Objectivity

    After what happened in London today, understanding terrorism is more important than ever. The ever intelligent doctorvee made an interesting point in a though splurge a couple of days back.

  2. What nosemonkey said is so true, so obvious. That is all it takes. It’s quite scary.

    Maybe the governement are trying too hard to apply al-queda to the IRA mould.