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Sunday, March 14, 2004

MORE LINKS TO MADRID ATTACKS COMMENTARY Here's some stuff I find worth reading about the Madrid bombings. First up Andrew Rawnsley has some good points on Tony Blair's much-ridiculed vision of terrorism. Here's the money-shotted version:

Yesterday, he resisted the temptation to say he told us so. But tell everyone so he did in the speech on global terrorism that he made precisely a week before the Madrid bombings. He warned then of a 'mortal threat' from 'devilish' fanatics 'prepared to bring about Armageddon'.
. . .
This form of terrorism presents governments with some virtually insoluble challenges. It is capable of launching attacks which will not always be stoppable whatever precautions are taken. At colossal cost and massive inconvenience, airline-style security could be installed in every railway station. Even if that did stop the bombers, they would move on to another soft civilian target.
. . .
Here, I rather sympathise with the politician's dilemma, plaintively expressed by Mr Blair like this: 'Would you prefer us to act, even if it turns out to be wrong? Or not to act and hope it's OK? Suppose we don't act and intelligence turns out to be right? How forgiving will people be?'

What if a British 9/11 does happen? And let's not forget most security analysts are certain it will happen, so not really what if, but rather when, so it is highly important to take into consideration the issues Nick Cohen raises today:

Imagine the effect of a video of a British suicide bomber who had attacked a British target being broadcast.
. . .

Nothing has been sillier in the past few years than the wishful thinkers who instantly try to explain every outrage as a brutal but understandable reaction to Western, usually American, policy. In its own way the argument is a species of racism, which holds that the answers to all questions lie in the West and denies that the Islamic world is capable of producing apocalyptic movements just as irrational and inexplicable as the communism and fascism of Europe.
. . .
The question is whether they can kill thousands of people or even hundreds of people in Britain. Because if they can and do, Herzen's ideal of the Englishman doggedly clinging on to his civil liberties may not stand the strain and everything will go.

Some serious food for thought.
David Aaronovitch should be read in full.

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