The London Bombings

This seems to be the best place to go. Astounding, that this could exist in so little time.

Lots of comments in the open thread below about this outrage.

The Discussion: 84 Comments

Following today’s multiple bomb attack against commuters in London, I consider it fitting to reproduce the words of the Major of London, Ken Livingstone, spoken earlier today and directed towards the human beings who carried out this terrorist attack:
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“I wish to speak directly to those who came to London today to take life.

I know that you personally do not fear giving up your own life in order to take others – that is why you are so dangerous. But I know you fear that you may fail in your long-term objective to destroy our free society and I can show you why you will fail.

In the days that follow look at our airports, look at our sea ports and look at our railway stations and, even after your cowardly attack, you will see that people from the rest of Britain, people from around the world will arrive in London to become Londoners and to fulfil their dreams and achieve their potential.

They choose to come to London, as so many have come before because they come to be free, they come to live the life they choose, they come to be able to be themselves. They flee you because you tell them how they should live. They don’t want that and nothing you do, however many of us you kill, will stop that flight to our city where freedom is strong and where people can live in harmony with one another. Whatever you do, however many you kill, you will fail.”

July 7, 2005 @ 2:25 pm | Comment

Magnificent. And Livingstone has been attacked again and again by the American right as a “liberal.” You can be a liberal and a good human being at the same time.

July 7, 2005 @ 2:34 pm | Comment

Remember when Livingstone was in all this trouble for some remarks he made about Dubya? I wrote him a supportive email – and he wrote back! It was not a cut and paste job, my mom and my sis also heard back from him.

Amazing.

July 7, 2005 @ 2:45 pm | Comment

Ken Livingstone has done London proud for a long time before today as he’s been our Major for a good few years now already.

However, today on BBC radio, I listened to Bush, Blair, our opposition leader Howard, Gulliani and a host of other politicians from Britain and the rest of the world.

I was impressed with Gulliani as his sense of solidarity with the people of London and Britain was astonishing, perhaps because he knows. Blair was obviously deeply upset and mainly spoke about the families of those people who would not be returning home tonight but Ken Livingstone’s speech, directed to the very people who carried out this attack, together with the message that the terrorists will fail, was as you say, magnificent.

Thanks to KLS for originally pasting it on the open thread.

July 7, 2005 @ 2:51 pm | Comment

Is that right Lisa? I know he’s a real man of the people but personally answering emails is something quite special I think.

To be honest, I didn’t really know that he was so well-known in the States.

What kind of stuff did say? (apart from thanks for writing).

July 7, 2005 @ 2:57 pm | Comment

He’s not only well known in the US, he is mainly despised here. Mostly because of the loudmouths of the far right who painted him as an anti-Bush liberal and an anti-Semite, because he dared speak critically of Israel. My friend Charles Johnson, of course, led the smear campaign.

July 7, 2005 @ 3:14 pm | Comment

I have the email someplace, it was mainly thanks for writing, it’s been kind of tough and I appreciate your support. I’ll check and see if I can find it.

July 7, 2005 @ 3:19 pm | Comment

It never ceases to amaze me how high-profile blogging has become lately. This article is from today’s UK Guardian newspaper:
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Bloggers react quickly to London blasts

Bloggers have been quick to react to today’s events in London, from practical advice about how to get home to analysis of how well the major news outlets have covered events.

Plum Blossoms writes on Wibbler.com: “Things can go from euphoria to a totally different emotion very very quickly.” The blog carried a translation of an alleged claim of responsibility for today’s bombings from a group linked with al-Qaida.

Londonist.com points out that ferry services on the Thames might be one way to get home tonight given the closure of the Tube and some mainline stations and disruption to bus services.

Wikipedia already has a comprehensive entry for the “2005 London bombing” at Wikipedia.org.

Perfect.co.uk offered a more personal perspective on the events at 12.19pm. “I’m alive, as are my immediate family and friends. Edgware Rd tube is approximately 200m from my office, and I imagine around half of the people at work use the station during their commute.”

Ellis Conroy commented on the coverage provided by BBC News 24, which was also simulcast on BBC1. “From a reporting standpoint, they’re doing a great job so far; less sensationalism than the rest, and they’re breaking the news faster.”

Rafael Behr on the Observer’s newsblog described what news organisations are going through on a day like today: “There is a taut atmosphere – a mood of extreme alertness I recognise from reporting emergencies in the past, as journalists who are used to being detached from ‘a story’ strain to focus on news judgement and the necessary mechanics of reporting an event that will clearly also have a massive emotional impact.”

July 7, 2005 @ 6:01 pm | Comment

I’m out of the office all day again today attending a nearby education fair, so I don’t have much time to comment right now – but very briefly.

I just finished watching CBS News (on Hong Kong’s Pearl TV), and I found their coverage to be rather muddled though telling.

Firslty, they noted, not once but four times, that the London attacks had been widely regarded as “inevitable” – the “inevitable” had just occured.” They made absolutely no mention as to why these attacks had been inevitiable – perhaps the reason it just too obvious!

Blair is lucky in that his public image has improved greatly in recent weeks, thanks largely to his very public efforts to apply pressure on the Bush administration over climate change, and because of his very public support of Bob Geldof’s agenda to alleviate poverty in Africa. If it were not for these very public policy allignments, I think he would be in serious political trouble right now. If these attacks continue, he may not last long.

CBS did though, interview an American expert on global terrorism, who stated who did state the obvious: that the war in Iraq was making the world a far more dangerous place in which to live in by encouraging disaffected Muslim youth throughout the world into joining terrorist organisations.

But what was most peculiar about this morning’s CBS coverage is that the journalist reporting on events live from London mentioned the IRA. How, and why?

Well, he said that London “had never experienced anything like this before” and that past terrorist attacks in London “by the IRA involved rules. For example,” he said, “they never targeted the subway.”

Now I don’t know where this guy gets his information from, but that is absolute utter nonsense. The IRA targeted the London underground many times: my uncle was in London back during the mid-eighties when a whole series of IRA bombs went off in the underground system. Many were killed and injured. When I myself lived in London, on two occasion, IRA bombs went off in London’s buses too. In 1986 an IRA suicide bomber blew himself up whilst on baord a London bus – killing many.

So why is this CBS journalist mentioning the IRA at all, and why is he trying to make out that their terrorist attacks were somehow less barbaric than Al Quaida’s?

The answer is simple: the US state has, in the past, including in the very recent past, supported the Irish Republican cause. The bombings in London do of course, bring back instant memories of a time, not so long ago, when IRA bombings occured rather frequently in the British capital.

And don’t you think that the whole idea that by planting a bomb in a crowded park, or in a car parked in a busy street, that this is somehow following a rule, and is somewhow less babrbaric than putting one in a train carriage – don’t you think this is somewhat ridiculous, nonsensical, quite outrageous in fact?

True, the IRA often phoned Scotland Yard to give vague warnings – but certainly not always.

Of course, the US State, in the eyes of many, may very well be morally right to support the Irish republican cause. Their support has always been a qualified support – we support the cause, but not the behaviours of some of those whose acts of terror they carry out in the name of that cause. That’s a perfectly valid and moral position to take on the part of the US State. I maintain a similar position, as many of you know, over the Palestinian cause, and over the cause of the Iraqi resistence.

The same with mass political movements. I might, for example, support environmental groups in their street protest marches, calling on governments to act on global warming. It doesn’t mean that I support the actions of a very few, who might, say for example, resort to using violence as a part of their campaign.

What happened in London yesterday needs to be condemned. But elts not lose sight of the fact that these bombings were clearly carried out in response to terrorist attacks carried out by our own governments, and in our names: the governments of the US, UK, and Australia.

Bush and Blair and Howard, as one G8 protester reminded us all of last night in a interview from the protest site, Bush and Blair and Howard are at present among the world’s biggest terrorist.

Our war against terrorism, if it is going to have any real meaning, if it is going to succeed, and if we are going to want to be consistent in our ideals and ethics, will need to challenge the behaviours not only of groups like Al Queda, but also the behaviours and policy decisions of our own governments.

Regards for now,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 7, 2005 @ 6:50 pm | Comment

As an American, I stand with all of our English cousins. We are all sorry for your losses.I don’t know what else to say.

July 7, 2005 @ 7:02 pm | Comment

“Bush and Blair and Howard are at present among the world’s biggest terrorist.”

Mark-Anthony Jones, I agree. Such malfeasance from the British and American governments and their “war on terrorism” warrants such acts.

Between my own travels here in China attending to education seminars, as well as my daily reading of Marx’s Das Kapital and the Koran, I have gradually accepted that supporting the CPC means a peaceful existence free of such imperialistic onslaughts.

Please keep posting your comments–they are academically sound and promote your unwavering belief in your own superiority.

I hope time is on your side to continue posting your comments, and I am sure it will be as you pontificate from your desk and PC, a mecca of sacred abstractions, free from the miserable reality of human behavior.

Would Dr. Anne Myers be interested in joining my harem? Just wondering……

May Allah and Hu Jin Tao be praised! (and you too of course!)

July 7, 2005 @ 7:28 pm | Comment

Sheik Falasi, that is truly rich!! I believe our friend MAJ makes some valid points — we really do need to question the policies of our own governments, which I do all the time. But as long as he insists Blair and Bush are worse than Osama Bin Laden, MAJ will be perceived as being out there in la-la-land, with only deranged Sheiks like you supporting him.

(And why do I suspect that you’re not a sheik at all, but one of our regular commenters….) ๐Ÿ™‚

July 7, 2005 @ 7:37 pm | Comment

Mark

You just don’t stop do you? Can’t we at least wait for the relatives to be informed that their loved ones have been slaughtered before we start using this tragegy to score political points for whatever political cause we happen to believe in?

You know, on yesterday’s Open Thread, KLS justifiably vented his anger about President Bush using his response to the bombings speech to justify his War On Terror. I intimated that perhaps it was too early to start such arguments and I thought that just because President Bush used his reponse speech to score political points doesn’t mean that we should lower ourselves to that level and also that perhaps showing a little bit of respect for the families of those slaughtered might be a slightly better option.

Therefore, it goes without saying that I’m disappointed to say the least that in your first comment following the London bombings you almost exactly mirror President Bush’s actions and use the bombings to justify your own particular political opinions.

In your case, your political opinions I find quite offensive at this time because what you are clearly saying is that the US and Britain inevitably had it coming to them because of their foreign policy regarding the War On Terror and deserved all they got.

Bearing in mind your past support of the Iraqi insurgents, not to mention your views, repeated above, that President Bush and Primeminister Blair are terrorists equal to yesterdays bombers, this view doesn’t surprise me.

Please don’t reply saying that I have it all wrong as everything I am saying is right up there in your post where where you wrote it in black and white for all to see.

Finally, I am going to refrain from taking issue with some of the incorrect statements written above until I know the final body-count of yesterday’s atrocity because right now my thoughts are with the families of those people in London who are perhaps still wondering why their loved ones didn’t return home from work last night. At the moment I care little for pedalling my own political views.

July 7, 2005 @ 7:50 pm | Comment

Well stated, Martyn, but don’t expect to make much progress. I respect Mark’s intelligence and even some of his viewpoints (some), but I fear he doesn’t know when to stop. While I have said in the past that I think Iraq has made us less safe, to even imply that because of that we had this coming or that this was somehow justified – to imply such things is inappropriate and won’t gain him many points or supporters.

July 7, 2005 @ 8:00 pm | Comment

allah u akbar, MAJ!

July 7, 2005 @ 8:03 pm | Comment

Point taken Richard.

July 7, 2005 @ 8:06 pm | Comment

i have always felt that we should question the wisdom of our leaders and our foreign policy. but such questioning should not be rooted in the bombing of innocents by fanatics. when innocents are bombed by fanatics, we should stand together and say that it was a low and evil attack.
i am consistently critical of our government, but when i see innocent people attacked on the way to work like this, i lose all interest in criticizing, and am much more interested in sympathizing and supporting those who have been hurt.

July 7, 2005 @ 8:20 pm | Comment

i am also completely outraged at the things i am seeing in chat rooms e.g. “that was ok, but they should have gotten japan,” etc.

July 7, 2005 @ 8:21 pm | Comment

chinese chat rooms, i mean.

July 7, 2005 @ 8:34 pm | Comment

Kevin, are you at all surprised?

July 7, 2005 @ 8:40 pm | Comment

i’m not suprised, but it’s the first time i’ve really followed such reactions. i missed the 911 stuff, although i have read about it since. just suprised to see it come out so fast with such venom.

July 7, 2005 @ 8:43 pm | Comment

Just tell em’ more Chinese die in the coal mines EVERYDAY!Or going shell hunting at high tide or walking down the middle of the highway or…….. Yeah, I don’t get it at ALL either.

July 7, 2005 @ 9:10 pm | Comment

Dear Martyn,

I’m sorry if you, and others, have read me in this way. I am not, was not, trying to score any political points – what a stupid, utterly ridiculous suggestion.

I merely commented on CBS’s coverage – it was CBS who continually mentioned, in this morning’s report, live from London, that everybody, from politicians through to experts on terrorism through to the average Joe on the street – that they all shared a widespread belief that for London to be attacked by terrorists was “inevitable” – in others words, few are surprised.

That is NOT to say that I believe that they deserve to be attacked – that they had it coming deservedly. I have NEVER suggested that, and I take extreme offence by the suggestion that I did.

Bush and Blair and Howard are bigger terrorists than Al Quaida – you cannot compare the number of innocent civilians that they have killed to the number of innocent civilians killed in Iraq. And should I dare add Afghanistan as well?

My simple point, and I maintain it, is that such terrorist attacks like the one that occured in London need to be condemned. I said that very clearly, very explicitly. But funny, don’t you think, that we can all find it in our good little hearts to sympathise with Westerners when they are killed by terrorists, but we choose instead to ignore the deaths of people in Arabic and Persian countries when they fall victim to terrorist attacks – even when hundreds or even thousands of them die on the same day, or in the same week.

Enough of the hypocrisy, and enough of supporting terrorists! Be they the IRA (who CBS seem to like), Al Quaida, or Bush, Blair and Howard.

And Martyn, if you think that it is inappropriate of me to make these comments the day following the awful event, then go and look at all of today’s top stories and newsblogs in the world’s major mainstream newspapers, like The Guardian for example. Tariq Ali has an entire article in today’s Guadian titled “The price of occupation”, or take the following from today’s Guardian newsblog: “Respect MP George Galloway says: ‘We argued, as did the security services in this country, that the attacks on Afghanistan and Iraq would increase the threat of terrorist attack in Britain. Tragically Londoners have now paid the price of the Government ignoring such warnings.'”

I am not the only one making such comments today Martyn! What I am saying is all too appropriate and necessary. And I make absolutely NO apologies for doing so!

Best regards,
Mark Antohny Jones

July 8, 2005 @ 12:40 am | Comment

“but we choose instead to ignore the deaths of people in Arabic and Persian countries when they fall victim to terrorist attacks – even when hundreds or even thousands of them die on the same day, or in the same week.”
hold on, i’m confused here, would that mean that you condemn murders committed by the insurgents whom you said should win?

July 8, 2005 @ 12:45 am | Comment

Bush, Blair and Howard are mass murders, responsible for the murde rof far more innocent cilvilians that Al Quaida, but such civilians are ignored, or simply written off dismissivley as “colateral damage.” That not only angers me, but make me sick.

And Blair, because of his support for the Iraqi invasion and occupation, now also must take some of the responsibility for the London terrorist attacks – everybody, including his own security advisers, all warned him before hand, and repeatedly ever since, that the threat of terrorism in Britain would increase as a result. Blair has a lot of blood on his hands, both in Iraq and in Britain, and I make no apologies to anybody on this site for saying so.

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 8, 2005 @ 12:47 am | Comment

Dear Kevin,

I f you go back to those old threads where I explored this issue about the Iraqi resistence, you will see that my support for the resistence is qualified. I always made is VEERY FUCKING CLEAR that I do not support the murder of innocent people, or ven of guilty people, be it at the hands of insurgents or the US militaary or whoever!!!!!!!!

Get you facts right about my arguments before you go making defamatory remarks please.

Go and read what I ACTUALLY argued instead of listening to other people’s distortions will you.

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 8, 2005 @ 12:51 am | Comment

sorry, i just haven’t seen the “resistance” doing much besides killing people.

July 8, 2005 @ 12:54 am | Comment

Yes Kevin,

I did indeed condemn murders carried out by the Iraqi insurgents – go and read what I ACTUALLY said.

The US State (and particularly many Democrats – the Kennedy fam ily in particular) all support the Irish Republican movement (they openly support the political wing of the IRA) but that support is qualified isn’t it. They can support the cause, and the movement, and they can do this morally without also supporting the murderous behaviours of the IRA.

CBS on the otherhand, actually tried to argue that the murderous IRA are somehow less barbaric that Al Quaid in their new converage of this morning – now that, I do object. Both are equally appalling.

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 8, 2005 @ 12:55 am | Comment

Dear Kevin,

If you go back over all of my earlier arguments about the Iraqi resistence, you will see that I documented the existence of that part of the resistence that the Western media do not report on: the military side of the resistence, the side that employs terror as a tactic, they only make up part of the Iraqi resistence. There is also an immense amount of peaceful resistence to the occupation going on, and that has always been the case since the day Saddam’s statue was torn down!

I support their cause. I make no apologies for that to anyone. I do not support those who engage in killing innocent people. Period. Now if you and others are too stupid to understand and to appreicate my position, if you can’t respect my position, or appreciate the morality of my position, then that’s too bad for me, or it too bad for you (depending on how one might like to view the situation). But please DO NOT defame me by misrepresenting my views, by painting me out to be a supporter of terrorisim, when I am most certainly not.

I do not support the terrorsim of the Iraqi insurgents, or the terrorism of Al Qauida, or of the IRA, or of the Bush-Blair-Howard kind (which is arguable a far more deadly kind!)

Thank you.

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 8, 2005 @ 1:04 am | Comment

And I’m sorry about all of the many careless typing errors in all of my comments above. I’m in a tremendous hurry, as I have to go right now.

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 8, 2005 @ 1:07 am | Comment

Quite alright oh Holy One. Time waits for no man, nor apologies to the wicked. I’m sure the vast repositories of your knowledge must be repleted with volumes of high minded political theory. Myself, Allah be praised, I have only you to direct me to the perpetual source of all that is worthy. I await your lofty defense upon this ephemeral plane.

July 8, 2005 @ 1:30 am | Comment

you said the US needed to suffer a military defeat. for some reason military defeats are always associated with violence in my opinion. maybe i’m confused. you also compared iraqis living under american occupation to people living under brutal dictatorships who “rose up.”
but dr. anne agrees with your views, hehe.
anyway, all i wanna say is that my heart goes out to the people injured in this attack, and they are not people who “had it coming.”

July 8, 2005 @ 1:40 am | Comment

Kevin – we can agree on this much I think: my heart goes out to all the victims of the London attacks, and to their familes and friends as well. That goes without saying. And I agree that they did not deserve to be the innocent victims of what is essentially a war raging elsewhere, between the occupiers and the occupied of Iraq and Afghanistan.

The question that must be addressed now is: how can we avoid more of the same? People need to be truthful in their answers. To do otherwise, to carry on perpetrating voilence, which begets violence, is to the do a grave injustice to all of those in London who have just died.

And yes – I do want to see the US and Britain militarily defeated in Iraq. But I DO NOT want to see anybody, be they Americans or Brits or Iraqis die. Nor do I support the Iraqi resistence in their targeting of innocent civilians.

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 8, 2005 @ 1:50 am | Comment

h, and Kevin, just one more quick point: don’t forget too, and I actually provided evidence of this in my initial comments on a much earlier thread last year about the Iraq resistence, don’t forget too that quite a significant number of US soldiers actually in Iraq have also expressed, to newspaper and televison journalists, as well as to their loved one back home via their personal correspondence, that they too identify with the insurgents! Many US soldiers understand that why people are resisting them, and they can empathise with them. Many US soldiers have said that they would do the same if somebody invaded America – they would resist them, by any means poossible.

Freedom fighters? Or terrorist? It all depends on which side of the battle lines you are coming from – whther you are an occupier, or the occupied.

US soldiers themsleves can, many of them, empathise with the insurgents. They recognise their cause, but not do, of course, support many of their fighting methods – like the targeting of civilians.

regards again,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 8, 2005 @ 1:59 am | Comment

“And yes – I do want to see the US and Britain militarily defeated in Iraq. But I DO NOT want to see anybody, be they Americans or Brits or Iraqis die.”

Right. Good luck with seeing that dream come true.

Meanwhile, for the sake of the West and liberalism in general, I certainly hope we succeed in Iraq.

Churchill said it best:
You ask, what is our aim? I can answer in one word: It is victory,
victory at all costs,
victory in spite of all terror,
victory, however long and hard the road may be;

for without victory, there is no survival.”

In a war against totalitarian Islamists, the last line is especially true.

July 8, 2005 @ 3:04 am | Comment

Dear Johnny K,

All I can say in response really is that violence begets violence. The British finally realised that when they decided to negotiate a peace settlement with the IRA. Diplomacy works. Invading and occupying other countries will only increase the violence – and you will have further atrocities, and commited by both (all) sides.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 8, 2005 @ 3:28 am | Comment

“And yes – I do want to see the US and Britain militarily defeated in Iraq. But I DO NOT want to see anybody, be they Americans or Brits or Iraqis die.”

i’d also like to lose weight without going on a diet, but it doesn’t seem to work.

July 8, 2005 @ 4:00 am | Comment

Shulan:

In fact, I don’t need that tiny URL to make the link short – just a HTML tag will do the trick, as I usually do. But sometimes I’m lazy, too.

Auf weiderheun!

July 8, 2005 @ 5:17 am | Comment

Great to see Britons standing up to the blunt evil of terrorism in their usual unflappable manner.

Extremism is frightening and lethal, but, as we are witnessing in London, it is no match for civilization.

July 8, 2005 @ 5:39 am | Comment

Brilliant Slim, brilliant. Thanks for that. Yes, as Ken Livingstone said, “They will fail”.

I’m just listening to BBC radio Five Live again today and the police have confirmed that the deaths “will exceed 50” although it’s still too early for a definitive count.

July 8, 2005 @ 6:17 am | Comment

The very latest news on the victims approximately 60 hours after attack:

– 48 confimed dead.
– Police/firefighters unclear how many more bodies remain in one particularly deep train tunnel underneath King’s Cross Station.
– 22 people remain on hospital critical list.

July 8, 2005 @ 9:42 am | Comment

MAJ said:
“I am not, was not, trying to score any political points – what a stupid, utterly ridiculous suggestion.”

Not trying to score political points? Then can you please explain this from your original post:

MAJ said:
“These bombings were clearly carried out in response to terrorist attacks carried out by our own governments, and in our names: the governments of the US, UK, and Australia.”

…and if you need another one:

MAJ said:
“Bush and Blair and Howard are at present among the world’s biggest terrorist.”

Oh no, not trying to score cheap political points at all. I’ll let my fellow readers make up their own minds.

July 8, 2005 @ 9:51 am | Comment

I live in London, although currently I’m out of the country for a brief holiday (talk about eerie timing, I flew out on the afternoon of July 6th).

I’m in a bit of shock about the attacks, although watching the coverage on international networks has left me strangely disconnected from the whole thing. I guess it will only truly hit me when I return next week. Thankfully, my friends are all safe and accounted for. Unfortunately, there are many other people and families that aren’t so lucky.

I see that MAJ has raised quite a fuss in this comments section, and I thought I’d leave a few of my own thoughts here (being an avid Peking Duck reader but somewhat shy commenter).

First of all, the rhetoric surrounding these attacks leaves me somewhat repulsed. Besides a few intelligent comments, we get the usual civilization vs. barbarism, freedom vs. hate, they hate our way of life, good vs. evil nonsense. Now, I am no hyper-left wing relativist nor am I some extremist apologist; I have chosen my side, and it is with my “tribe” (or the West, in other words). Basically, I hope we win (how? I’m not so sure).

However, this does not leave me so naive as to believe that we are fighting some fundamental evil bent on destroying the world; rather, we are fighting people. People who believe they are right, people who believe they are just, people who see us as the fundamental evil. I don’t like them because they want to kill me and those I love, and I want to see them stopped; but does that make them evil? I don’t know.

In one sense MAJ is right: violence is violence. How levelling a village with cruise missiles is any less morally repugnant than blowing up a bus is beyond me. They are both vicious and horrible; they are both terror. To call one barbaric and to call the other morally justified is wrong, either way you look at it.

And yet, if the cruise missiles ultimately protect me and my loved once (of course, that is a whole other debate), then as an animal with a survivalist instinct, I’m resigned to accepting the moral consequences. I hate terrorism because it is likely to hurt me and my loved ones; I don’t mind state terrorism because it is not likely to launch military strikes on any Western country I live in.

So I have taken sides and accepted the moral consequences, but please don’t tell me this is about freedom vs. hate, or good vs. evil’; it is, quite simply, about survival. If I don’t want to die and I don’t want my loved ones to die, then I have to be prepared to let those who act in my name kill unjustifiably in my name. All the hot air about freedom and democracy, in the end, is just a way to make us feel better about being out to save our own skins.

I don’t really see a way out of this mess.

July 8, 2005 @ 1:08 pm | Comment

Patrick, I’d say you’ve got it right. And there is no way out of the mess. We can’t leave Iraq but we can’t really “win” – the best we can do is get out with a loss of minimal face. And because we are in Iraq, we only breed more terrorists. So many vicious circles.

July 8, 2005 @ 1:23 pm | Comment

Hello Patrick, first off, I hope that great comment of yours above means that we might be hearing a little bit more from you from now on. I certainly hope so, there aren’t enough Brits here anyway!

At a basic level what you term ‘survival of our tribe’ exists. Obviously, there’s also what westerners would argue as the ‘world standard’ of democracy, human rights etc. and what the Chinese would argue as the west arrogantly imposing their ideals on the world.

If MAJ is arguing that US/UK missiles in Iraq are as bad as suicide bombs in London then I’d agree with him but unfortunately such remarks tend to be too wrapped up in his Marxist agenda.

I’d like to think that at least the west’s actions are a means to an end whereas the Islamic terrorists follow an end to a means. Construction and deconstruction if you like.

Anti-Americanism defines the terrorists as much as their own ideals, and a similar situation exists in modern China as well.

The desired aims of the terrorists, it would appear, is the destruction of the west and it’s ideals and the establishment of a fundamentalist Islamic Middle East. As this idea doesn’t have wholescale support in the Arab world, I’d say that the Anti-Americanism, and particularly its support for Israel, does.

By the way, what you about “we get the usual civilization vs. barbarism, freedom vs. hate, they hate our way of life, good vs. evil nonsense” has me slightly puzzled as I can’t see too many of those type of comments. I tend to think most TPD commenters are a bit more savvy than that.

July 8, 2005 @ 2:29 pm | Comment

Martyn,

Sorry, I should have clarified that: I didn’t mean commenters here per say, but rather wider public figure reaction to the bombings and such. Hope that clears up the confusion.

July 8, 2005 @ 2:32 pm | Comment

Ah ha! Yes, that was the only part of your post that puzzled me. The rest was spot on.

Btw, I lived in Wembley Park/Preston Road area on the Metropolitan Line for most of the years I lived in London.

I’m glad you left on the 6th July, I can’t quite imagine how I’d feel if I lived in London, then left, and then saw all the carnage from 4 terrorist bombs.

I can understand what you’re saying about feeling detached from it all however.

I’ve been listening to Five Live since it happened and I’m upset for the families of the victims but really proud of the reaction from Londoners. There are some wonderful stories about individual heroism coming out now and it makes me feel proud.

The attacks might not be of the same scale as 2001 but the terror is just the same.

I hope you come back to TPD after you return home and tell us what the mood of the city is and what Londoners are saying.

July 8, 2005 @ 3:09 pm | Comment

MAJ you said: “In 1986 an IRA suicide bomber blew himself up whilst on board a London bus – killing many.”
did you make this up?

or do you mean 1996 (just 10 years out)?
when an IRA man accidentally detonated a bomb he was carrying, while travelling on a bus?
rather than “killing many”, he was I think the only one to die.
he wasn’t a suicide bomber. not intentionally!

if you are so completely wrong on this, and yet have stated it with such confidence, tell me why anyone should take seriously anything facts you ever present elsewhere?

do you have an answer?

while you’re thinking one up, here’s the official UK response to George Galloway, who you quote.

Armed Forces minister Adam Ingram accused Mr Galloway of “dipping his poisonous tongue in a pool of blood”.

finally point. you mawk on about these attacks being inevitable given British actions in Iraq.
well let me tell you that on 9/11 we here all knew that London would then be hit some time, sooner or later. note: that was well before we went to afghanistan, let alone Iraq.

by the way, there is a free newspaper everyone reads in the mornings on the tube. pretty odd this morning though, with most people in the carriages flicking through pages of photos of the previous day’s attacks as we sped underground.

July 8, 2005 @ 5:54 pm | Comment

Now that is a “gotcha”! Good work KLS, though it’s not too hard to catch MAJ in his wee exaggerations.

July 8, 2005 @ 6:09 pm | Comment

Good one KLS. Yes, perhaps I should have told the other readers exactly who Geogre Galloway is and just how extremist a lot of his views actually are. Glad you picked up on it.

Unfortunately, MAJ likes to bang on about bombing such as the 7/7 bombing as if nobody can work it out for themselves.

However, there is a fine line between accepting that Afganistan/Iraq increase certain terrorist risks and saying that we had it coming and deserved it.

Conservative commentator Max Hastings writing in today’s Guardian newspaper:

“Many commentators have made the obvious point that Tony Blair’s support for President Bush’s Iraq adventure renders Britain a more conspicuous terrorist target than, say, Norway. But most of us recognise that al-Qaida’s animus is directed so indiscriminately against the west’s wealth and cultural dominance that even France can’t consider itself immune.”

July 9, 2005 @ 12:18 am | Comment

From http://www.lnreview.co.uk

A Letter To The Terrorists, From London

What the fuck do you think youโ€™re doing?

This is London. Weโ€™ve dealt with your sort before. You donโ€™t try and pull this on us.

Do you have any idea how many times our city has been attacked? Whatever youโ€™re trying to do, itโ€™s not going to work.

All youโ€™ve done is end some of our lives, and ruin some more. How is that going to help you? You donโ€™t get rewarded for this kind of crap.

And if, as your MO indicates, youโ€™re an al-Qaeda group, then youโ€™re out of your tiny minds.

Because if this is a message to Tony Blair, weโ€™ve got news for you. We donโ€™t much like our government ourselves, or what they do in our name. But, listen very clearly. Weโ€™ll deal with that ourselves. Weโ€™re London, and weโ€™ve got our own way of doing things, and it doesnโ€™t involve tossing bombs around where innocent people are going about their lives.

And thatโ€™s because weโ€™re better than you. Everyone is better than you. Our city works. We rather like it. And weโ€™re going to go about our lives. Weโ€™re going to take care of the lives you ruined. And then weโ€™re going to work. And weโ€™re going down the pub.

So you can pack up your bombs, put them in your arseholes, and get the fuck out of our city.

July 9, 2005 @ 12:30 am | Comment

If my dealings with Britian and the British people have told me anything it is this, Britain is one of the most stuborn and stoical countries on earth, it won’t be intimidated, it won’t give in to the fear, and it won’t cry for blood like Ameirca did after 9/11.

July 9, 2005 @ 2:17 am | Comment

Wow, I didn’t know that Guiliani himself was only half a block away from one of the London bomb blasts.

From today’s unlinkable SCMP:
————————————————–
For visiting Giuliani, an echo of 9/11

ASSOCIATED PRESS in Washington

Former New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who was metres away from one of the blasts that struck London, said the attacks were an eerie reminder of September 11, 2001.

Mr Giuliani said he was in a hotel near Liverpool Street Station when a bomb exploded on a train in a tunnel nearby.

“It was very strange being here today and being a block or half a block away when the bomb went off,” he said.

The former mayor noted the time of day was almost identical to the 2001 attacks, beginning about 8.50am and ending before 10am.

“I told the prime minister and the head of the fire department that it’s the same perplexing thought and feeling, which is: `Why do these innocent people have to be killed?’ The people who were killed were people who were on their way to work at virtually the same time as the attacks on September 11.” Mr Giuliani, who was widely praised for his calm and resolute leadership after the September 11 attacks, told Sky News television that New Yorkers would feel “tremendous empathy” with Londoners.

The mayor praised Londoners’ response to the attacks, saying he was struck by how quickly residents tried to resume a semblance of normalcy. “As I was watching it, I was saying to myself, you can see the genes – these are the same people whose [ancestors] withstood the Battle of Britain without flinching,” Mr Giuliani said, referring to the second world war.

The London attacks did not increase the chances of a similar attack on transit systems in New York or elsewhere in the United States, he said, but reminded Americans a strike was possible.

July 9, 2005 @ 3:29 am | Comment

Mark is quite right. Those filthy little Nazis in the IRA didn’t take every step to ensure that no deaths occured. The very act of planting explosive devices in a public place is in itself an intent to kill. I’m constantly flabbergasted at the fawning over people who are believed to be army council members, and therefore still in a position to pull the trigger.

The IRA was not in a disimilar situation to Al-Queda in the 1980s – at that time their aims were pretty unattainable and they had no realistic alternative channels. But many political causes that are believed to be hopeless do not lead automatically to murder and mayhem. That is the problem with AQ today – and the historical problem with the IRA and the more violent elements of the Republican movement. In fact I would go as far as to say that ceasing violence (in the form of a ceasefire, remember, NOT disbandment) only occured because of the opportunities seen by republicans to achieve – or make significant progress towards achieving, their ultimate political gains. It is extremely like, by the fact that they do not disband, that they would be willing to return to terrorism should that window of opportunity vanish. As it stands, that is not the case, as support for Sinn Fein, both north and south of the border and outside Ireland, has increased exponentially – ironically at the expense of some of the establishment republicans who defeated Sinn Feins forebears in the Irish civil war.

July 9, 2005 @ 2:22 pm | Comment

Dear KLS and Martyn,

Yes, I’m sorry – I made a typing error when I typed “1986” – I was indeed referring to the 1996 incident. But if I remember correctly, he did accidently detonate the explosive – but they were strapped to his body under his clothing nevertheless, which suggests that he intended to blow himself up. He got the timing wrong though, as the bus was hardly packed. I recall reading all the speculation about him being a probable suicide bomber, and of how outraged people were, because the guy was also quite young a I recall.

And Martyn, because I say that Bush, Blair and Howard are terrorists, that does not quite equate to me trying to score political points. I’m not in any alternative party, in an opposition party, trying to score points as such am I?

And I NEVER argued that those victiims had it coming, not in the sense they they had in coming deservedly. I made that bloody clear I think, and I really do resent it when people distort what I say. I said that CBS news repeatedly mentioned the widespread belief that such a terrorist attack on London “was inevitable.” Now look Martyn, is there really anything terribly wrong with me mentioning what CBS was reporting? Tell me? What the hell is wrong with me saying that? What crime have I coimmited? You have taken this simple statement, and you have twisted it into meaning that I am of the opinion that they “had it coming” which implies that I am of the belief that they deserved it, which I have NEVER said.

Please read what I actually say more carefully will you!!!!! It’s not very nice to defame people, is it?

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 10, 2005 @ 1:46 am | Comment

MAJ, you’re clearly a very busy guy.
but just now you said: “I recall reading all the speculation about him being a probable suicide bomber”.
well look, I’ve challenged you on the facts of something. don’t you have a couple of minutes to google it (ie search +ira +bus +1996)?
rather than prove the fallibility of your memory.
as I say, with even a cursory internet search you’d discover that you are wrong: the IRA bomb on a bus was an accident!

I’ve got no particular axe to grind about the IRA or anything like that. and I usually enjoy reading what you write. but when your facts are so wrong, and you can’t even be bothered to check them once challenged, I’m inclined to take what you write in future with more than a pinch of salt, it suggests reality is subordinate to your proving a point.

July 10, 2005 @ 2:52 am | Comment

Also, I’ve noticed that MAJ spends a considerable amount of time denying that he meant this and denying that he said that, berating people for mis-reading, mis-representing, twisting his meaning and asking people to read more carefully etc.

Sure, one or twice I can understand, a few times even, but practically every single thread?

This is not a dig Mark, not at all and I’m not trying to make any derogatory points. It just puzzles me that’s all.

How are things back home KLS? As good as can be expected? For some reason, I can’t get Five Live on the Internet today which is very frustrating. It’s wonderful to have te UK radio on while one is on the Net.

July 10, 2005 @ 3:09 am | Comment

what’s more, you said he killed “many”.
everyone else says he only killed himself — where did you get your information from? or was that another typo?

July 10, 2005 @ 3:21 am | Comment

oops, that last was for MAJ, clearly.
you know, I think sometimes MAJ likes to say controversial things, people then knee-jerk react away from them without really reading what he has to say, and that is why he gets misunderstood.
I’m sure if the majority of the people here were pinko lefties then MAJ would be propogating a right wing libertarian view.

Martyn, london really is fine. I’m not speaking for people really really caught up in it all, but I think for most people nothing has changed.

July 10, 2005 @ 3:32 am | Comment

Dear KLS,

I appreciate you saying that you often enjoy reading my contributions to this website KLS, and I’m afraid I cannot accept your argument that I have got my facts wrong on this one – true, I did accidently type 1986 instead of 1996, and I apologise for that. That was indeed a careless mistake on my part.

There has indeed, as I said above, much speculation (both at the time and now) that the young man on board the London bus back in 1996 had accidentally set off the bomb, but that he was a suicide bomber, as it was later confirmed that the explosives were strapped to his body, concealed beneath his clothes. Here is how CBS News reported the 1996 bombing:

“In what appears to be a stepped-up IRA offensive, a suicide bomber kills himself aboard a London double-decker bus. Five others are injured.”

Or, from the Facts Sheet: Britain Terror Attacks (http://www.nbc4i.com/news/4694101/detail.html)

“Feb. 18, 1996: Suicide bomber accidentally kills himself aboard a London double-decker bus. Five injured. Blast blamed on IRA.”

Likewise, The Independent reported that: “the bomb which ripped the roof off the double-decker bus in central London may have been detonated by the person carrying it. Police say it could have gone off accidentally while being transported for another Tube attack but they were also considering whether it was the first ever suicide bombing in Britain.” (The Independent, July 10, 2005)

As I said earlier, the bomber was young – only 21 years old, his name was Edward O’Brien, and he was killed when his bomb (strapped to his body) exploded on a bus in Aldwych, central London, seriously injuring others. O’Brien was thought, however, to have been heading for the City of London or for a symbolic site such as the royal courts of justice. The bus just wasn’t packed enough at the time to warrant letting it off, so it must have gone off accidentally.

I hope this will convince you. If not, I shall provide you with yet more evidence.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 10, 2005 @ 3:34 am | Comment

Dear KLS,

I was, however, mistaken whenI said that many were killed. He was the only one, though eight others were injured.

Still, I mentioned this incident from memory, and you are right, I should have checked up on it first. But nevertheless, it doesn’t detract from what I was saying, from the points that I was making, does it? It is, I think you will agree, a minor error.

And Martyn, the simple fact is that people do, very often, misread me. I cannot help that. People should take more care. Simple!

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 10, 2005 @ 3:39 am | Comment

MAJ are you really engaging your brain today?

you yourself quoted from the independent newspaper. the paper was writing about the attacks last week. the quote you used said people are speculating about whether last week was britain’s first suicide bombing.

well why would they speculate about this if they knew that that IRA guy was a suicide bomber??
instead they’d be speculating about whether it’s britain’s SECOND suicide bombing. duh!

you said: “I hope this will convince you. If not, I shall provide you with yet more evidence.”

sorry but I’m not convinced. so please provide me with more evidence.

and you’ll have to do better than hastily put-together and oversimplified “terror attacks on london” timelines by CBS and NBC (the two other sources you quote).

where is the speculation that the IRA man was intending to blow himself up? find me the evidence that the stuff was strapped to his body for this very purpose.

like I say, I’m not in any way sticking up for the IRA or whatever, and this conversation has nothing really to do with the london attacks any more.
I’m just disappointed that you appear to invent facts just to back up your opinions. Cf the Gitmo comments with Conrad.
and, as I say, I’m disappointed because it therefore becomes less and less easy to take your sometimes interesting and refreshing opinions seriously.

July 10, 2005 @ 4:15 am | Comment

Dear KLS,

No! If you check The Independent, it was referring to the bus bombing of 1996. You check it for yourself!

None of the British newspaper, like The Gurtadian, have archives dating back as far a s1996 (they astart at 1998) so it’s actually quite difficult to find detailed reports – but I will keep looking.

And which facts did I invent when debating with Conrad? I did not invent any facts.

regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 10, 2005 @ 4:27 am | Comment

MAJ this is really petty and ridiculous of me, but:

you are, yet again, demonstrably wrong on a very simple fact.

the Independent was NOT talking about 1996. I did you the courtesy of checking it the first time around.

why don’t *you* go back and check.
here is the website: http://tinyurl.com/9w7uu

have a look again, find the paragraph you quote, and then read the paragraph directly after it. in fact, to save you time, I’ll quote it here:

“Suicide attacks have become a common tool for a number of insurgent groups, especially Islamists, the world over. . The United Kingdom had been spared this during the long IRA campaign, but all this may change with new protagonists.”

this is from the article you quote, for god’s sake!!!

keep playing with your petard, mark!

actually Richard, I think I may be being conned here. is this *really* MAJ commenting? or someone pretending to be him to make MAJ look silly?

July 10, 2005 @ 4:40 am | Comment

and I promise I didn’t mean that last comment to be nasty, I just can’t help feeling I’m being set up!

July 10, 2005 @ 4:45 am | Comment

Just speaking from memory, I don’t recall any talk/speculation that the young IRA bloke on the London bus all those years ago was a suicide bomber.

As much as I can recall, he was transporting the bomb to carry out a regular kind of IRA bomb attack.

Suicide bombings were totally unheard of during the Repulican campaign. It was never ever threatened nor discussed by the IRA. Therefore, I’d be amazed if that guy was trying to copy the Palastinians.

Still, as KLS says, this is off the point and hardly a controversial subject as far as I’m concerned.

July 10, 2005 @ 4:45 am | Comment

I don’t think we’re being set up. It’s Mark alright.

July 10, 2005 @ 4:47 am | Comment

Dear KLS,

O.K. I’m really busy right now, trying to do several things at once, and yes, I did make a major blunder in that I did not read The Independent article carefully, and yes, you are right – it wasn’t referring to the 1996 incident.

But look, the fact remains, that the 1996 bus bombing was thought to be a suicide bombing – I was there, living in Lnodon at the time. I remember the outrage, I remember watching Channel 4 News, and the outrage, that the IRA would use someone so young, a 21 year old, to carry an explosive strap on device, to suicide in such a way – though he is also thought to have accidently let off too soon.

I have already provided you with two other sources that reported it as a suicide bombing. Tomorrow I will provide you with more.

But frankly, it doesn’t really matter too much does it, because whether or not it was a suicide bombing or not, nobody will ever really know for sure. And it is not central to my point – to my argument. I was simply trying to point out that the IRA did not, depsite what the CBS journalist was trying to make out, that they did not follow rules – like not targeting the underground system. They did target the underground system, and they did blow up buses as well, and people in parks, etc. My point is that the IRA were no better than Al Quiada – they both killed innocent civilians, without warning (although the IRA did, as I pointed out, sometimes phone Scotland Yard 30 minutes or so before hand, to give them vague warnings). My point was simply to challenge the attempt by the CBS journalist, that the IRA was somehow less barbaric than Al Quaida. My overall argument is what matters – if I got one small detail wrong, O.K., fine. I’m not perfect. Sometimes I do make mistakes. Doesn’t everybody? Even the world’s greatest thinkers? Even Albert Einstein made mistakes, made errors of judgement, in the context of his own profession. I knock out these comments in a hurry usually – they’re not meant to be polished, well researched and well written pieces. They are blog comments – I push a discourse, yes, and I try to support my views with evidence, and if I’m sometimes careless with my evidence, then sure, point it out to me. But to argue that my credibilty has just been crushed by a few small errors is nonsense. I wont accept that.

I stand by (a) my claim that the 1996 bus bombing was very possibly a suicide bombing, and (b) my overall argument, that the IRA were no worse or better than Al Quiada, and that it is wrong to present the IRA as being somehow less barbaric.

There is also, available online, documented evidence and claims that IRA members helped train Palestinian terrorists in the “art” of suicide bombing.

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 10, 2005 @ 5:26 am | Comment

Dear KLS,

I mean, I don’t know why you have chosen to make such a big deal out of that one sentence anyway – I mean, put the sentence into its context: it was one of only a number of axamples that I listed as evidence that the IRA didn’t not follow any real “rules’ and that they were just as barbaric as Al Quida are now. Yes, I made an error when I said the bus bomb killed many – it killed one, and injured five (or eight or nine) others – depdending on which report you read. Some reports described it as a suicide bombing, others don’t. I remember it being reported as a suicide bombing. If it wasn’t (and nobody will probably ever know for certain) then so what? Whether it was a suicide or not, the fact remains that the terrorist in question intended to kill innocent civilans – and without following any “rules”!

You’re just trying to brew a storm in a teacup. You seize on one small error (the fact that I said many were killed when only one was killed) and then you want to use this to question my overall credibility. Outrageous!

Regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 10, 2005 @ 5:40 am | Comment

mate, it’s true that some of commenteers here are prejudiced — in a literal sense — against you, they seem primed to take issue and take offense with 90% of what you say, without necessarily working through exactly what you’re saying.

but you too bring prejudices to bear, and indeed seem very eager to do so. this was evidenced earlier in this thread, where your main comments in response to what happened here last week was to attack a mainstream news network, and say that London was so weak-spined that, had blair not been riding on a wave of popularity recently thanks to the olympics and bob geldof, then people in London would have been baying for his head — beacuse they blame him for the deaths on the transport system.

I called you on two of your points.
the first was about inevitability. I said London knew that, after 9/11 and *before* invasions into afghanistan and iraq, the city would be hit by similar terrorists.

the second was to point out that your claim about an IRA “suicide bomber” was totally spurious.

you’re right that this second point is not really a big deal. I was just astonished that you didn’t retract it, or at least give the impression that, very minor minor minor minor minor minor errors aside, you were right about the IRA man all along.

I don’t think you give ground easily enough.

July 10, 2005 @ 6:11 am | Comment

clearly, in a slip demonstrating my willingness to take on board what other people say (haha) I mistyped just now and of course meant “you were WRONG about the IRA man all along”.

July 10, 2005 @ 6:14 am | Comment

Dear KLS,

O.K. Firstly, I never suggested that Londoners had it coming, in the sense that they had is coming deservedly – which is how some people, like Martyn, seem to have read me. I was simply saying that CBS news repeated the line several times in the one report that the attacks were seen to be “inevitable.” This was a report, that the attacks were widely regarded as having been inevitable.

I did not mention at all, whether I too, regard these attacks as being inevitable. Having said that though, I too agree with the widely held view that these attacks were “inevitiable”. I say that for the record, but of course, I am not saying that Londoners deserved to be bombed. I used to live in London, I have many good friends who live there. It’s my second home, for goodness sake!

Ken Livingstone opposed the war, precisely because he thought that Londson would inevitably be targeted by terrorists. Blair was warned about this real possibility (probability) many many times, even by his own security advisors.

The claim I made about the IRA bus bomber of 1996 may be “spurious” but I’m not necessarily wrong on that am I? I mean, it was reported as a possible suicide bombing at the time.

I will, however, concede that I do give ground reluctantly – but if you go back to my last real debate on this site, which was with Conrad, I very quickly made concessions, once he actually made a real effort to challenge my arguments. When he did finally make the effort, he was able to destroy two out of my three arguments challenging the legality of the US occupation of Guantanamo Bay. Now look, I’m not saying that he destroyed my overall argument – that the base is illegal – I offered up three reasons why I thought it was illegal, and he has proven me wrong on two of those.

I’m happy about that though – that’s the entire reason I debate – to test my own views, to test the strength of my own arguments. So of course, I am going to push an argument to its extreme, to test it, to see how far I can get away with it.

Sometimes people, rather than engaging with my actual arguments, simply dismiss me instead, by trivialising me as an ideologue, or as an American-basher, or whatever. These exchanges frustrate me, because they are not only defamatory at times, but they also waste my time. But when somebody like Conrad actually engages with my actual arguments, then I benefit, especially if he is successful in his challenges. At the end of the day, I may have to refine my views, to modify them, but my understanding of an issue will be stronger for it.

Few people here on this site, I think, seem to appreciate this – that I like it when I’m successfully challenged. But you’re right, I don’t give ground easily, not unless my ideas are genuinely (successfully) challenged.

Best regard,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 10, 2005 @ 6:37 am | Comment

Mark

By the way, I don’t think Ken would be too happy reading that he opposed the war “precisely” because he thought that London would be targeted by terrorists. We both know that it had more to do with the fact that innocents would be slaughtered in Iraq and the war was seen as immoral. Anyway, tiny point, it’s just that I’m a big fan of Ken, have been for a long time.

On seperate issue, what you said above about some people ignoring your main points/arguments almost completely and picking up on the most minor details and off-hand remarks happens to many of us I think. It’s just that we notice it a lot more when it happens to us. Also, your posts are quite comprehensive, to put it mildly, so there’s even more potential for you to suffer from this.

It’s quite ridiculous I think. In the past, I’ve written out comments, making, say a dozen relevant points with a couple of casual remarks thrown in. Then people have replied by going berserk over some randon detail, completely irrelevant to the subject at hand. It gets on my nerves to the point where I am aware of this and often delete anything that I think might get picked up on unnecessarily.

July 10, 2005 @ 7:13 am | Comment

MAJ, besides the IRA nonsense (so what if initial reports were wrong, initial reports often are), I called you on two more of your assertions:
first, inevitability; second your suggestion that we’ll blame blair for the attacks.
but you preferred to go on about the IRA guy.
maybe we can return to these things in a week or two.

July 10, 2005 @ 1:31 pm | Comment

I’ve been following in silence, but will make a brief comment. Another pattern I see is when Mark is caught telling a whopper, it immediately becomes “unimportant,” a mere “detail” and we are bullies for making so much of his little mistakes. But I’m sorry, that won’t fly. At the heart of the original argument was MAJ’s contention that an IRA suicide bomber caused the deaths of “many people.” That is no detail; if he caused only one death, it’s a very far cry from “many.” Such sloppiness indicates either a willingness to exaggerate or to make sweeping statements based on little or no research. And I am afraid this sort of thing permeates MAJ’s comments, which is a shame because he has some very bright things to say which then get overshadowed by his sloppiness. Just a week ago, he said “many people” (same exact words!) view Perking Duck as a “hate site.” That’s a damned inflammatory thing to say, and when I called him to account and asked how he determined “many” feel this way, guess what? Same reaction, “you are focusing on a minor detail.” Wherever he can’t find cover it’s a minor detail. The truth is, one of his friends called this a hate site. I even know who it was. But, just as with our IRA victims, the one becomes “many.” And MAJ loses all credibility, or at least a hefty chunk.

The supreme irony here is that no one is faster to pick up on minute details and blow them up into major issues as our friend MAJ. Witness his obsession with an early CBS news report — KLS just brought this up in the comment above. To MAJ, this incredibly insignificant moment can be pointed to as having all sorts of underlying conspiratorial implications. But if you seize on something he says, you are trying to make him look bad, ganging up on him and being really, really mean. Poor, misunderstood MAJ.

July 10, 2005 @ 1:58 pm | Comment

he is a slippery character, that’s for sure — hard to pin down.
I think it’s because, as he suggests, he doesn’t always believe what he argues. he admits:

“… the entire reason I debate [is] to test my own views, to test the strength of my own arguments. So of course, I am going to push an argument to its extreme, to test it, to see how far I can get away with it.”

so unfortunately he doesn’t necessarily believe what he says he does. he writes stuff he hasn’t really thought about, and is relying on us to challenge him. why he can’t challenge himself it beyond me.

but it means we’re guinea pigs, sacrificed to the advancement of MAJ thought.
it also means that, cheekily, he can back away from something at light speed, claiming that, well, I was just testing this little idea I had, I never really believed it anyway, despite the fact that I’ve been banging on and on about it for the last 5 days…

July 10, 2005 @ 3:18 pm | Comment

Brilliant, KLS!

July 10, 2005 @ 3:24 pm | Comment

well richard, it’s not too often you and I tag-team up on an issue, but I think we’ve done pretty well tonight. I’m sure though MAJ won’t feel too put out and will revert before long!

July 10, 2005 @ 3:45 pm | Comment

And I can hear the whole broken record already. I think he’s away for a few days, so don’t be hurt if he doesn’t get back to us right away.

July 10, 2005 @ 3:51 pm | Comment

I shall be patient.
I shall also sleep, now. otherwise next week will be on me faster even than an average Peking Duck parry & riposte.

July 10, 2005 @ 4:05 pm | Comment

I suggest that we resume commenting on this under the latest open threaqd. This is getting too old and too far down the screen for people to notice the new comments.

July 10, 2005 @ 7:27 pm | Comment

Dear Martyn, KSL and Richard,

Look, I am amused, though slightly annoyed as well. Perhaps my present irritability stems from the fact that I don’t like Mondays, and today, right now as I type, it is 9:20 Monday morning.

At any rate, I shall address Martyn first: I appreciate your points Martyn, though I did not suggest that Ken Livingstone opposed the Iraq invasion only because he believed that London would become an inevitable target – but that was certanly one of the reasons he initially gave, and it was one which he mentioned very often.

KLS – I think I have already answered your question about the “inevitability” argument – I was reporting on what the CBS reporter had said, which was that the terror attacks aon London are widely viewed as having been “inevitable”. I repeat, I did not initially argue this myself, but I did, for the record, state in my last comment addressed to you on this thread, that I also believe that these attacks were inevitable – though I also clarified this by making it clear that I not believe, of course, that Londoners deserve to be attacked – that they had it coming deservedly. Now please tell me what is actually wrong with me saying this? If you diagree with the widely held view that such attacks were inevitable, then please tell us why you think that way.

I do not blame Blair entirely for these attacks – but I do believe that he ought to take some of the responsibility. I stand by that.

Dear Richard – I was not telling a “whopper” as you put it. You need to view the IRA 1996 bus bomber – what I said about that incident, in its context – I have already explained this above, to KLS. It was only one incident in a list, mentioned in passing, as part od a list of IRA terror incidents. The purpose of the list was to demonstrate that the IRA were no worse or better than Al Quida. I stand by that argument. FIRMLY.

If I got some of the smaller details wrong when referring to that one incident, which I did in passing as part of a larger list, than I apologise. I have already said this, have already explained this. It really isn’t that important. Sloppy, yes! But as I said, this is only a blog entry, not a polished research piece. I knock these comments out in a hurry, often while trying to do several other things at the same time.

The comments by the CBS journalist are significant I believe – that’s why I based my entire commentary around it. Allow me to explain: first of all, we have a journalist telling us that the IRA were not as bad as Al Quida because they “followed rules. Example, they never bombed the underground.” Now, apart from the fact that the IRA had a history of targeting the undergound system, they did not follow any “rules” as such. I have explained this already. OK, you might say, “so what?” He made a minor error, no different perhaps, from my minor errors. But I would beg to disagree with you on this. The journalists erroneous comments were loaded ones (mine weren’t) – the discourse that he was clearly pushing, was that Muslim Arabs are somehow more fanatical, more unpredictable, more blood-thirsty, more dangerous, more worthy of our fear. The report, live from London, was followed immediately by an “analysis” of Britian’s immgration laws. “Did Britain’s liberal immigration laws contribute to the terror attacks?” was how the report was introduced. The argument put forward was that Britain is now full of angry Muslims who bled in with the crowd – that Britain has set itself up for a fall, that liberal immigration policies were somehow to blame, for making it much easier for terrorists to hide anonymously among significant proportions of the population.

Now this is very worrying I think. The report was aimed not at British audiences, but at American audiences. The message to Americans was clear – don’t listen to those soft liberal do-goods. We need tougher immigration laws, and the Patriot’s Act is a necessary evil. This was the clear message.

The fact that the US has often various kinds of support to the political wing of the IRA (and continue to do so) may, as I suggested in my initial comments, also have something to do with this idea that the IRA followed “rules” and were not as barbaric as Al Qiada.

And Richard, on a more sensitive topic, more than one person has described Peking Duck to me as a “hate” site. Not only Kevin – who is not a friend of mine, I don’t know him at all. He emailed me once or twice only. I am not going to provide you with a list of people as evidence – some of them you know – they contribute to your site still. Others have in the past, others have never contributed. I am not basing my claim on the words of only one person, as you say.

I qualified this “report” by also stating my own views of Peking Duck – so no need to be quite so offended. The criticisms were meant to be taken as constructive ones, and were made in the spirit of friendliness.

On that note, I shall conclude.

Best regards,
Mark Anthony Jones

July 10, 2005 @ 7:54 pm | Comment

I guess the Kevin referred to above must be another Kevin. cuz, just to clarify things, i (kevin of kevininpudong) have never referred to TPD as a hate site.

July 11, 2005 @ 9:18 pm | Comment

It’s another Kevin, in Shenzhen.

July 11, 2005 @ 9:22 pm | Comment

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