The London Underground was hit today by a series of dastardly terrorist bombings during rush hour. At least 50 fatalities have been confirmed and more than 700 wounded. A visibly shaken UK Prime Minister Tony Blair quickly enveloped himself and his country in the cloak of victimhood and responded with a stern warning.
Blair considered it “particularly barbaric that this has happened on a day when people are meeting to try to help the problems of poverty in Africa, and the long term problems of climate change and the environment,” as if there were a day on which such an attack would not be barbaric. Blair tried to draw the listener’s attention away from the obvious question: why did they bomb London? It is ludicrous to insinuate that there was any connection between the bombings and the agenda of the G8 Summit. The purpose of the bombings at the G8 Summit must be interpreted to demonstrate to the Western leaders who wreak terrorism from afar that they are also vulnerable to attack. This is the message that rang out loud and clear from the London bombings.
Addressing further the British values, one wonders if these values condone the arbitrary detention of its citizens without charge? Do British values condone the incarceration of British nationals without charge in the gulags of its ally? Do British values condone the torture of its citizens by its ally? Do British values condone the commission of atrocities by its troops?
Alluding to the Clash of Civilizations, Blair said, “We know that these people act in the name of Islam, but we also know that the vast and overwhelming majority of Muslims, here and abroad, are decent and law-abiding people who abhor this act of terrorism every bit as much as we do.”
Should not the “decent and law-abiding” Christian people of the UK also abhor the terrorism being wreaked on innocent Iraqis? Did the British populace not elect the party of the war criminal Blair despite the leak of the Downing Street Memo that indicated the launching of aggression on Iraq was motivated by illegal regime change?
Said Blair, “It is through terrorism that the people that have committed this terrible act express their values, and it is right at this moment that we demonstrate ours.” This is transparent sophistry. Blair can choose this moment to express his values, but the fact is that British government values were already displayed when Iraq was invaded and occupied in 2003. The London bombings come over two years after the US-UK invasion, followed by a brutal occupation that has continued to wreak terror into the lives of the humiliated and immiserated Iraqis.
Blair claimed insight to the terrorist motives. “I think we all know what they are trying to do -- they are trying to use the slaughter of innocent people to cower us, to frighten us out of doing the things that we want to do, of trying to stop us going about our business as normal, as we are entitled to do, and they should not, and they must not, succeed.” The bombings are meant to terrorize Britons and other countries that are supporting the occupation of Iraq. This is clear. But are Iraqis going about their business as normal? Are they not entitled to? Are Afghanis going about their business as normal? Are they not entitled to? Why should the Western imperialists be allowed to succeed in disrupting the lives of other peoples?
Blair stated, “When they try to intimidate us, we will not be intimidated.” This would seem to be the exact message the London-bombing terrorists are sending to the western terrorists.
Blair continued, “When they seek to change our country or our way-of-life by these methods, we will not be changed.” The terrorists are obviously trying to change a way-of-life of the British. The British have historically pursued an aggressive expansion of empire through which they terrorized and exploited many lands. This imperialism, now in the service of the hyperpower, is clearly what the terrorists desire to end.
Other G8 leaders joined in the tendentious condemnation of the bombings. US war President Bush declared, “We will not yield to these people; we will not yield to the terrorists. We will find them and bring them to justice.”
The question is when. Bush’s Defense [sic] Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has already indicated that this phase of the never-ending war on terrorism will perhaps require a dozen more years.
Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin asserted, “The London bombings are an unspeakable attack on the innocent and on a way of life.”
UK Respect Member of Parliament George Galloway (who delivered a scathing rebuke to the Senate hearings in Washington, which was deleted from the records) was not surprised by the “despicable” attacks. Galloway considered that Londoners had “paid the price” of the increased likelihood of terrorist attacks for the UK government’s role in the attacks on Iraq and Afghanistan.
Blair displayed an abysmal ignorance of history when he brayed, “We will show, by our spirit and dignity, and by our quiet but true strength that there is in the British people, that our values will long outlast theirs.” This war of values dates back over a millennium. Therefore, to boast of some questionable British Christian values outlasting questionable Muslim values is risible.
The London bombings are terrorism and as such the actions are deplorable. But terrorism is terrorism no matter who is carrying it out. The numerous bombs, cruise missiles, cluster bombs, and napalm rained down on Iraqi civilians is no less terrorism and the horror and mayhem experienced by Iraqis no less than that experienced by Londoners. Western leaders who refuse to deplore and denounce the terrorism of the western world carry little moral dignity in condemning the London bombings.
The bombings are a sad day for all peace-loving people. But when the response to terrorism is further terrorism, people of peace can only mourn the lack of humanitarian values in their society.
Kim Petersen is a writer living in Nova Scotia. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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