Heads, I Win

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Heads, I Win

While folks in America were still asleep, we in Europe were mildly surprised by a series of--so far--seven bombs going off in London. Without having seen any of the reaction or comment, or indeed without knowing much at all about what's happened, I can predict that you will hear this analysis from any number of conservative pundits:
This proves that Bush and Blair are on the right track in the War on Terror. If Arab/Muslim terrorists are going to the trouble of staging a major attack on London, it must mean that they view the U.K. as a serious enemy. And that means that they are threatened by the invasion of Iraq and the other steps that the U.K. and U.S. have undertaken. After all, they didn't attack Paris or Berlin, did they?
This is poor reasoning, of course, but I can almost guarantee you'll hear it from respectable "analysts," similar to arguments we heard after the Madrid bombings. Just because al Qaeda doesn't like something we do doesn't mean we're doing the right thing. If we decided to chuck all male babies of Arab-American families into the ocean, al Qaeda would be angry; but I still think most Americans (even those without Arab heritage) would find the move not only morally reprehensible but also counterproductive.

Of course, if Arab/Muslim terrorists have nothing to do with the London bombings--say it's a bunch of Parisians pissed off at the IOC's decision to award London the 2012 Olympics, or maybe anti-globalization activists marking the G8 summit in Britain--conservatives will say that proves that Blair and Bush are on the right track:
See, even though everyone thought it was al Qaeda, those guys are (a) so busy in Iraq or (b) so badly weakened by our brilliant anti-terrorism strategy that they haven't been able to bother British or American civilians.
This heads-I-win-tails-you-lose approach can be practiced by people all along the spectrum. Thus:
The attacks prove that Blair's and Bush's war hasn't made us safer;
If the bombs aren't connected to al Qaeda, the fact that everyone immediately assumed they were shows that even conservatives don't believe we're more secure from the people who were behind 9/11, and the State Department's suppressed terrorism report shows that terrorist incidents shows that people's intuition is right: terrorist attacks are up dramatically.
So, just a friendly reminder to take with a massive dose of salt the tremendous quantities of spin we're about to be served.

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