London Calling

Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Calling

My wife is a very early riser so she heard about London first-- and woke me up earlier than usual to ask if I'd like to know the bad news before or after I've had coffee. But I had a weird non-reaction to the news this morning. I guess in some ways I'm sort of surprised that this kind of thing doesn't happen more often. Also, it just seems sort of, well, small potatoes for al-Qaeda, especially considering London's history of being a frequent, smaller-scale terrorist target. At this point they're saying it was 4 bombs-- 3 on the Underground, 1 on a doubledecker with 160 wounded and 40 or so deaths. Regardless, it's tragic and my heart goes out to Londoners everywhere.

As it has been said a few other places, we are all Brits today.

Watching the interviews with British folks who had been directly affected by the bombings was interesting-- they were calm, almost placid, just so very British. One man described how the top of the bus just blew off, as though that kind of thing happens everyday. It was just so mature and dignified. As a Washingtonian who rides the metro everyday I certainly do fear something like this happening here, although in many ways I fear the actual attack a lot less than I fear the panicking of other people-- we are not a stoic people. (See duct tape, DC area schools closing for predicted snow and for heat.)

So far the most interesting, honest thing I've heard anyone say was on NPR this morning, from Michael Scheuer, a former CIA analyst who used to work as the Chief of the Osama bin Laden anti-terrorism team. He pointed out that if it is al-Qaeda that this is mutually embarassing for both British and American intelligence operations because no one had any warning whatsoever. He said he hopes it's a significant wake-up call for America, that this summer had started shaping up like the summer of 2001-- with the news media obsessed with missing girls, shark attacks, etc. He said he was worried about our complacency most of all because people aren't paying attention to how little things have really changed since the War on Terror began. He also had some heavy criticism for the way the war on terrorism has been fought thus far, but I'll try to find the transcript of his interview before I summarize what he said.

One of the many, many things I haven't been able to make sense of this morning is why PM Blair thinks this is connected to the G-8 summit. To me that sort of rules out al-Qaeda and puts the focus on anti-globalization protesters or the IRA. Generally speaking, al-Queda chooses symbolic targets but doesn't appear to focus on symbolic dates, right? (sigh) I suppose we'll know more later-- hopefully they'll be able to deterimine who is actually responsible. (I keep thinking there's going to be more than one group taking credit.)

0 comments in London Calling

Post a Comment

London Calling | Demagogue Copyright © 2010