London bombing thread

Don Arthur has posted on the London bombings immediately below (although there’s something very strange going on with his post at the moment). For me, it’s too early to say anything wise or even sensible about these dreadful events. We don’t even know how many have been killed and seriously injured, although I suspect it will be rather higher than some of the more sanguine commentators have been suggesting on TV. It may conceivably be no worse than an average casualty day in Baghdad, but that is hardly a comfort to the families of victims in either place, to whom all our hearts go out. Nor do we definitely know who is responsible, although an Al’Qaeda affiliate seems a pretty fair bet.

Feel free to comment here through the night, but please try to avoid partisan sledging at least for the moment.

About Ken Parish

Ken Parish is a legal academic, with research areas in public law (constitutional and administrative law), civil procedure and teaching & learning theory and practice. He has been a legal academic for almost 20 years. Before that he ran a legal practice in Darwin for 15 years and was a Member of the NT Legislative Assembly for almost 4 years in the early 1990s.
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cs
cs
2022 years ago

Last I heard it was at least 30-something dead and thousands insured. Very grim, etc.

Tet? Black humourist, Donald Rumsfeld, might say this is only to be expected as we win the war on terror.

cs
cs
2022 years ago

errr, “injured”, and I insist I haven’t sledged.

Gummo Trotsky
2022 years ago

Courtesy of ninemsn, we’re starting to get some of the more important details. See: http://news.ninemsn.com.au/article.aspx?id=54787

<gallows humour>It’s heart-rending stuff that really brings the tragedy home to you</gallows humour>.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Holy Thursday

‘Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two in red and blue and green:
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among:
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

– William Blake, a Londoner

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Holy Thursday

‘Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two in red and blue and green:
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among:
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

– William Blake, a Londoner.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

Holy Thursday

‘Twas on a holy Thursday, their innocent faces clean,
The children walking two and two in red and blue and green:
Grey-headed beadles walked before, with wands as white as snow,
Till into the high dome of Paul’s they like Thames waters flow.

O what a multitude they seemed, these flowers of London town!
Seated in companies they sit, with radiance all their own.
The hum of multitudes was there, but multitudes of lambs,
Thousands of little boys and girls raising their innocent hands.

Now like a mighty wind they raise to heaven the voice of song,
Or like harmonious thunderings the seats of heaven among:
Beneath them sit the aged men, wise guardians of the poor.
Then cherish pity, lest you drive an angel from your door.

– William Blake, a Londoner.

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2022 years ago

Tet? TET?!??

Sigh. I was talking to a Vietnam vet yesterday. He remarked on the charming Viet Cong habit of sneaking into small villages and murdering officials. Teachers were an especially popular target, Chris.

I guess we all know who’s to blame, eh? I’m confident you’d fully agree with the chap who said:

“…responsibility for the bloodshed this morning lies with those who carried out the acts…”

I suspect you’d agree with the rest of what he had to say to.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15861298%255E1702,00.html

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2022 years ago

Tet? TET?!??

Sigh. I was talking to a Vietnam vet yesterday. He remarked on the charming Viet Cong habit of sneaking into small villages and murdering officials. Teachers were an especially popular target, Chris.

I guess we all know who’s to blame, eh? I’m confident you’d fully agree with the chap who said:

“…responsibility for the bloodshed this morning lies with those who carried out the acts…”

I suspect you’d agree with the rest of what he had to say to.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15861298%255E1702,00.html

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2022 years ago

Tet? TET?!??

Sigh. I was talking to a Vietnam vet yesterday. He remarked on the charming Viet Cong habit of sneaking into small villages and murdering officials. Teachers were an especially popular target, Chris.

I guess we all know who’s to blame, eh? I’m confident you’d fully agree with the chap who said:

“…responsibility for the bloodshed this morning lies with those who carried out the acts…”

I suspect you’d agree with the rest of what he had to say to.

http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/common/story_page/0,5744,15861298%255E1702,00.html

Al Bundy
Al Bundy
2022 years ago

D’oh – should have looked at Nab’s reprints and put my brain into gear instead of falling for the old ‘spurious internal error page’ trick.

Down and Out in S
2022 years ago

Al: my problem with Mr. Galloway’s comments is not his words, but his timing. I agree with what he’s saying, but my inner voice is crying “NOT NOW!” A mere 24 hours after the attacks took place, and the finger pointing has begin. But in the end, it’s between him and the electors of Bethnal Green and Bow.

Tiny Tyrant
2022 years ago

The question is not who, but how many are to blame?

jen
jen
2022 years ago

Nabs,

The analogy is a clever one. The image of the innocents off to church guided by the grey beadles and white wands is a satisfying comment on the situation in London.

The analogy comes apart in the last line tho’ when Blake’s sense of social justice meets his sense of religion and spirituality.

There is no angel to turn away from in this London blast context. There is no clear victim and no clear aggressor.

GregM
GregM
2022 years ago

Jen

I’d really appreciate an elaboration on your comment.

What are those who were killed and injured in the bombings, if they are not clear victims of the bombings?

What are those who planted the bombs, if they are not clear aggressors against those whom they have killed and injured?

jen
jen
2022 years ago

Blake is commenting on social injustice in London during the industrial revolution. His perspective is also informed by morality that is based on the Bible. He believes that there is a God before whom we are all accountable. Hence the last line. ‘lest you drive an angel from your door’ and therby damn yourself for now and for eternity.

In this London Blast everyone is complicit in the violence. The people killed and maimed here are voters who have re-elected the government that invaded Iraq.

That would have been effective, if the Iraqis were responsible for terrorism in the world.

The hit should have been made on those responsible for 9/11. It wasn’t. Why? Too hard? Other agendas? I don’t know.

But, by re-electing the Blair government, the British public has sanctioned the invasion of Iraq. That is the violence against the Iraqi people. Australia runs the same risk as does America.

In contrast, the children who worked in the factories and mines in 18th century England were not complicit in their misfortune. They were clear victims of their age.

Americans, Australians and the British are all citizens in democracies which, (no matter how imperfect) grant them the power to remove leaders who make unpopular decisions.

GregM
GregM
2022 years ago

Jen, your logic troubles me.

The bombings were of public transport targets, not a Labour Party convention. Among the dead and wounded are children and foreigners not eligible to participate in the British electoral process. How are they any more complicit in their fate than the children who worked in mines and factories in 18th century England? Are they not, too, clear victims of their age? If so, how are those who have caused their deaths or injuries not aggressors?

Of those who were eligible to participate, less than 60 percent voted in the last election. Of them, only 36 percent voted to return the Labour government. What, then, is the complicity of those who did not vote, or voted for parties other than Labour?

You have made a link to to the invasion of Iraq. How do you know that this was the motivation for the bombers, given that Islamic terrorist bombings pre-date the invasion and their motives encompass much broader and deeper agendas than simply opposing the invasion? Are we not all complicit in not accepting the Al Qaeda agenda of establishing Dar-Al-Islam throughout the world?

In our own part of the world JI seeks to establish a caliphate in South-East Asia and have been prepared to use bombings to advance their aims. The Indonesian people, however, have voted for a democratic and essentially secular form of society, rejecting the JI vision. Are those Indonesians who have died in JI bombings therefore complicit in their own deaths and, even if so, what form of morality could carry even an implied form of criticism of them and exculpation of their killers?

It seems that your logic would take us to a point where there everyone is complicit in terrorism, its victims as well as its perpetrators. How does not that logic lead us to include the societies and communities from which the perpetrators have sprung and, from there, how does that not lead to a logic that terrorism against those societies and communities would be justified and excused by their complicity?

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Jen is indulging in the blame-the-victim reasoning of the Left. This is exactly the mentality that the terrorists seek to foster, for they know it will give them victory.

GregM
GregM
2022 years ago

Evil Pundit. I thank you for your comment. But I look forward to Jen’s reply. Perhaps she can tell me something that will increase my understanding of the point she has made.

jen
jen
2022 years ago

If US and it’s allies had been able to search and destroy those responsible for driving into into the world trade centre, it would have demonstrated the kind of strength that makes a worthy opponent. The invasion of Iraq was as cowardly and politically opportunistic as the terrorist bombings in London etc.

That invasion, Greg, was unjust. I have to play tennis (lucky me in a lucky country) so this is brief. There was no honor in it. The moral high ground from which the coalition is prepared to operate makes me sick. I don’t understand why the Coalition decided that Iraq was the threat.

I don’t know if a successful search and destroy would have worked, but in face to face confrontations natural jusice is served if the ones who hurt get hurt right back.

Eye for an eye. It’s a pity, but that seems to be how humans learn. Taking an ear for an eye, just messes everything up.

GregM
GregM
2022 years ago

Jen, thanks for your reply. Since your argument revolves around the US invasion of Iraq, is it your view that the many Islamic terrorist attacks before the invasion,(eg Bali, Paris, NYC etc) were immoral but that any terrorist attacks after are moral, or is is it your view that now morality isn’t involved at all, so it would be OK for you and me, as non-Muslims, to kill any Muslims wherever we find them?
I just want to know where you are logically taking us with your reasoning.

jen
jen
2022 years ago

I don’t exactly reason Greg, you would have picked the lack of linear logic by now. I sort issues and priorities in what Parish terms and ‘impressionistic’ way.

I do believe though, that anyone who seeks to impose their way of life on anyone else is behaving badly.

I am grateful I was born into a hypocritical democracy in the tradition of washminster, it is not a great system, but I know my way around it. A person who has been born into a Shi-ite Muslim community might feel the same way.

The immorality occurs when one culture attempts to impose itself upon another. It is rude and disrespectful to assume a moral high ground.

That is what I object to in the case of the Coalition and Iraq. Did the US and it’s allies figure that by democratising Iraq they were going to be able to create a model for a international peace? Did they then think that would work as a tool for combating terrorism?

Terrorism is sly, and the last refuge of the desperate and stupid. I don’t know how to deal with it on an international level. I just know that when someone whacks me, if I whack them back just as hard, I have a good chance of gaining their respect. Stupid, but that is my experience. I often feel rude and arrogant because of this, but the alternative, which is to back off, turn the other cheek etc, almost always results in them walking all over me and preventing me from going about my business.

Whether or not it is valid to infer that the same might apply to communities and nations is debatable, but it feels right from here.

The Five Codes of Tang Soo Do (a Korean Martial Art) inform my point of view.

1. Loyalty to Country
2. Obedience to parents
3. Honor friendship.
4. No retreat in battle
5. When fighting choose with sense and honor

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2022 years ago

A very good response, Jen. It is weird but I happen to be rereading Herodotus at present and he makes much the same point. He was appalled by Persian Cambyses’ contempt for Egyptian customs, pointing out customs, whether religious, moral or traditional, are the most important guiding points in all people. Not much has changed in a few thousand years.

Without wanting to escalate into point-scoring, my only contribution to the London atrocity is that it ought to sound out a warning. Giving more power to the state and the spooks has certainly not made us safer.

Despite all the assurances that they were prepared for this (and the emergency services did spring into action pretty well) they seem to have had no advance warning of the attack.

Ken Parish
Ken Parish
2022 years ago

Amin Saikal makes similar points to Jen in this morning’s Age (http://www.theage.com.au/news/opinion/this-is-no-way-to-wage-the-war-on-terror/2005/07/10/1120934123814.html):

“It was a fatal mistake by the Bush Administration and its British and Australian allies to invade Iraq. Instead of concentrating on rapidly securing and rebuilding Afghanistan, resolving the Palestinian problem as a major source of Muslim discontent towards the US and working with democratic forces in the Muslim world to build democracy from within, they diverted their resources to creating a new theatre of conflict for none other than geopolitical ambitions.

The US mismanagement of post-Saddam Iraq, together with many instances of American prisoner abuses and human rights violations against the backdrop of mounting carnage and destruction in Iraq, has created an unprecedented backlash in the Arab/Muslim world. This has enabled al-Qaeda and many groups in its name to fight the Americans and their allies from a wider base of popular sympathy.”

Of course, none of this in any sense mitigates the appalling nature of the London bombings and other terrorist outrages, nor does it lead to a conclusion that the US and Britain should pull out of Iraq before its new government is able to maintain internal security and defend itself (although other stories in today’s media suggest they may be thinking about doing precisely that in order to transfer forces and prevent Afghanistan sliding back into anarchy).

But it’s entirely legitimate to question whether the Iraq invasion may have undermined the actual or perceived moral force of the “War against Terror” among many ordinary, moderate Muslims, and hence played into the hands of Bin Ladin, Abu Bakr Bashir etc, by providing a larger pool of willing recruits and a generally more supportive environment in the Muslim world for terrorists who would otherwise have been clearly seen by just about everyone as the murderous, psychopathic killers they really are rather than as holy warriors or freedom fighters.

It’s certainly true, as Greg M argues, that Islamo-fascist terrorism predated the Iraq invasion, but the invasion may well have made islamo-fascism more powerful, “legitimate” and entrenched in the Muslim world than it would have been if Bush and Blair and Howard had remained focused on combating Islamo-fascist terrorism instead of using it as a pretext to invade a country whose ruling regime, although undeniably odious, had at most very tenuous connections with Bin Laden etc. The fact that Bush used the War against Terror as a pretext to seize control of a Muslim nation with lots of oil but no WMD tends to lend verisimilitude to the Islamo-fascists’ claims that the US is merely intent on imperial global domination and therefore that any tactics, including massacring civilians in western cities, can be condoned as legitimate in the holy war against the hegemon. It’s a stupid justification for the unjustifiable, but one can see why it might sound seductive to quite a few ordinary people in the Muslim world, and Bush and Blair may well have made a dreadful if not “fatal” mistake in acting in a way that gives the Islamo-fascists and their odious justifications for slaughter a credibility they don’t deserve.

blank
blank
2022 years ago

“resolving the Palestinian problem as a major source of Muslim discontent”

For al-Quaeda there is only one way to resolve that problem – drive the Zionists into the sea.

Prior to participating in Iraq, Australia’s role in East Timor had already made it an enemy in the eyes of al-Quaeda.