"We are all Londoners today."

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Britain's Guardian is collecting what it calls "Messages of Resolve" from its online readers. There are comments from all over, though the page seems to be dominated by messages from the U.S. and Spain.

The newspaper is also providing frequently updated blog coverage of the bombing aftermath here: "Explosions plunge London into chaos."

[Blog link via The Command Post.]

NEXT: "That isn't an ideology . . . "

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  1. Just watched the Penn & Teller where they show us that London has a serveillence camera for every 5 people. What a rousing proof-of-performance this is.

  2. And what now of the clerics in London who openly called for this to happen? Will he carry on his merry way? Or will Europe finally realize that they have deadly enemies, and they’re not guys from Texas?
    To the people of the UK, the USA stands with you as you have stood with us. I hope that the rest of Europe now knows that adopting a neutral stance in the war agaist Islamist terror is an act both foolish and cowardly. It’s coming for them next time. Let’s hope there is no next time.

  3. “”Explosions plunge London into chaos.”

    I don’t see any chaos. Londoners are not running around in panic. There is no rioting or looting. The transportation system is down but people seem to be dealing with it.

    What is it with the media and the need to portray ordinary people as fragile creatures unable to withstand a sudden shock? I remember on 9/11 when TV reporters voice over said that people were “fleeing in panic” from the vicinity of the towers when the images they broadcast clearly showed people moving in orderly fashion, even stopping to help those who fell behind.

    It looks to me that the Guardian is trying to impose a narrative on the situation instead of just reporting events.

  4. Dave,

    Europe hasn’t adopted a neutral stance on terrorism. Some European countries did oppose the war in Iraq. Don’t confuse the two.

    Jeff,

    It was in the 1990s they installed many of those cameras; it was claimed that they would reduce crime significantly. They didn’t reduce it at all according to the British government’s own findings.

  5. Shannon Love,

    People did flee in panic, screaming, etc. when the towers were collapsing. I well remember the scene.

  6. Hi Hakluyt!

    As you probably have seen, several posters below have voiced optimism that the cameras might be “worth it” if they can assist in providing meaningful evidence in this terrible affair.

    O/T, sort of. The Clash song, “London’s Burning” has been in my head all day.

    amicalment,
    drf

  7. The Clash song, “London’s Burning” has been in my head all day.

    My sympathies. I hate the Clash too.

  8. It looks to me that the Guardian is trying to impose a narrative on the situation instead of just reporting events.

    The Guardian is reacting with the same kind of fear that the Secret Organization Group of al Qaeda Organization in Europe (I am perpetually amused by how childish the worldviews of religious fundies are) expected them to. The message rambled on about some great act of revenge…killing perhaps a hundred people in a city of 7 or 8 million and causing a few week’s worth of structural damage hardly qualifies as some great act of revenge. London should stand up to this just fine, and without me prattling on about how I too am a Londoner…I’m not, and I can’t say I have any particular solidarity with the people of London. I hope they get over this and continue to live their lives as quickly as I think they will.

    The tactical error al Qaeda made with respect to the U.S. was overestimating our attachment to idols. The WTC buildings were perhaps symbols of our economic dominance, but it’s not Mecca, and our consumerist culture guarantees that such constructs are always replaceable. In London, the al Qaeda offshoot or whatever it is has wrecked numerous lives and has produced media frenzy, bloggorrhea, and of course endless political drivel, but the overall effect will be negligible. Score 1 for the good guys.

  9. “I hope that the rest of Europe now knows that adopting a neutral stance in the war agaist Islamist terror is an act both foolish and cowardly.”

    You know. Like England.

  10. Saw something on CNN this afternoon that I was not aware of but can not confirm. The reported stated that in cases of terrorists attacks the government is capable of shutting down the entire cell network in order to sever communication efforts between terrorists. Makes sense, but what about all the people struggling to find their loved ones? Or people stuck in an emergency situation wanting to report knowledge of the attack? Does anyone know of evidence towards this being possible or having actually happened once before?

  11. Hakluyt,

    Fleeing screaming from an immediate threat to ones life is not panic. Panic is by definition irrational behavior like a drowning person attempting to climb up on their rescuer. People fled in terror from the towers but the overwhelming majority of them did so in a rational manner.

    A lot of studies were done on the behavior of people of New York during 9/11 and they all concluded that only a small minority, probably less than 10%, succumbed to panic. The rest dealt with the situation in a rational and competent manner. This is in keeping with research done on similar events like plane crashes. Most people do not let fear overwhelm them and remain rational and functional. The self-organise to save their own lives and the lives of strangers.

    This did not prevent the media from repeatedly describing people of Manhattan as generally panicked and disorganized. It is a narrative, a preconceived story, that the media imposes on such events because the journalist intuitively believe that people do fall apart under such stress.

    Likewise, the Guardian is imposing a narrative of “chaos” on London’s orderly and rational response to the bombings. The city is no more “chaotic” than it would be had it suffered a major transportation accident.

  12. Shannon, “fleeing screaming from an immediate threat to ones life” is most certainily “panic”?

    One reason we get these reactions, sometimes exagerated (I don’t remember people fleeing in NY before the first tower collapsed) is that reporters are in the middle of it and they are not immune from fear or emotion. I remember this from 9/11/01 and you can see it today in the faces of British reporters.

    I don’t think they’re trying to portray people as weak. Maybe “plunged into chaos” is a little strong, but look at the pictures…this doesn’t look like a city that has just suffered a major transportation accident.

    Anyway, I was only in DC on 9/11, but I remember people’s faces as I rode the metro home. And in the stores. And on the streets. I suffered from a whole lot of grief and a lot of anxiety, but I doubt I was affected by a pre-conceived narrative.

  13. Shannon Love,

    I am quite familiar with studies on the sociology of mobs. Panic is not a per se irrational behavior and it is quite common in disaster situations. This is why architects and other professions dealing with masses of people plan their designs and what have you around the expected panic that comes during such situations. Poor planning leads to the sorts of deaths found in the Rhode Island bar fire a few years ago.

    Panic is often a useful response to danger, and does much in the way of saving lives.

    The Guardian is reporting what people have stated about the events in question. Or are you accusing the Guardian of fabricating eyewitness accounts?

  14. As you probably have seen, several posters below have voiced optimism that the cameras might be “worth it” if they can assist in providing meaningful evidence in this terrible affair.

    I didn’t see any of those. What I saw was a consensus that they obviously did not work.

    Except for the “statist” response I provided to Jennifer. I guess I didn’t raise the sarcasm flag high enough. Sorry 🙂

  15. Hi Issac!

    Whoops. Mea culpa. My bad for missing it. I think I had one too many “Warren Coffees” this morning.

    agreed with you and GG.

  16. Hakluyt,

    ” Panic is not a per se irrational behavior and it is quite common in disaster situations.”

    Panic is by definition a state of fear so severe that a person is no longer rational. That is why we have a specific word for that state of mind. When we tell each other, “don’t panic,” we aren’t saying, “don’t be afraid,” but rather, “don’t do anything impulsive and stupid because you are afraid.” The phrase “panic attack” indicates an irrational fear response to an ordinary stimulus. There is no sense of the word panic that implies rational action.

    Panic, especially mass panic, is in fact relatively rare in disaster situations. The overwhelming majority of people in immediate danger of their lives do not become irrational. They are afraid and they must decide and act quickly but usually make the best possible decision based on the information at hand. Sometimes people are killed because they don’t panic and flee.

    Incidentally, people fleeing a burning and collapsing building are not a “mob.”

  17. Shannon Love,

    I am afraid that you are simply wrong. Panic is not per se irrational. Indeed, it is often a rational response to a deadly situation.

    Are you suggesting that architects and the like are just wasting their time?

    And I didn’t state that people fleeing a burning building were mobs.

  18. Shannon Love,

    Anyway, if anyone is crafting a narrative here (a rather bizarre conspiratorial one at that), its you.

  19. drf

    No problem. It’s a shitty day.

    Even tho I’m sitting halfway around the world from this event, and don’t know a single soul who was involved, I still feel incredibly sad.

  20. You said it, Issac.

    and it is otherwise a beautiful day here in Chicago……….

  21. I find it interesting that a vocal few blame this on “civilian casualties” during the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan. A couple bits of misinformation need to be exploded (forgive the bad pun).

    -Unless you wear a uniform, your a civilian or considered a spy by the Geneva Convention. Kind of hard to tell the difference when the Coalition forces haven’t shot at anybody in a uniform for over 2 years.

    -The Coalition doesn’t use car bombs or suicde bombers. They aren’t efficient enough and don’t cost enough money.

    -Islamic ideologues used the same tactics on their neighbors and enemies before one American boot set foot on “Arabic” soil.

    -They want the destruction of the Western traditions of democracy and tolerance of minority views. They will not settle for withdrawl of troops, as they have already set upon their own countrymen. This is a fight to the death; no surrender, no retreat, no appeasement. OBL threw a rock at our hornet’s nest, and we threw one at his. Life is going to suck for quite a while as a result, but we don’t have the luxury of being able to call it off.

    Surely, we armchair generals and politicians could do a better job in a number of areas. Our job (since we can’t directly control the action) is to watch over our freedoms and protect the innocent until proven guilty. We’ve got a hell of a lot of work to do. But we must constantly remind ourselves that this isn’t a war against our government–it is a war against our identity. Sun Tzu would call this desperate ground.

    As Londoners endured years of bombing during WWII, so must we soldier on. I’m sure they thought that it might be a good idea to call the whole thing off on more than one occasion. This pinprick against their magnificent city doesn’t hold a candle to history.

    So I guess we soldier on and on and on. If we are to be made into combatants, then we must fight with the weapons we have available, and those are our traditions of liberty and democracy. Sadly, some of our enemies appear to be internal (I’m looking at you Mr. Rumsfeld and Mr. Gonzales). The nice thing is, we get to question orders and don’t have to pull triggers.

  22. Whoah, Shannon Love makes her first appearance in a while on the same day that I get a vibe of He Who Must Not Be Named?

    Damn!

    I know, there are at least 2 perfectly logical explanations:

    1) Today’s tragedy made both of them want to come here and comment. Fair enough.

    2) I’m wrong and He Who Must Not Be Named isn’t here. And Shannon just showed up to give her insight because of today’s events.

    Still, it’s like, wow!

  23. What is it with the media and the need to portray ordinary people as fragile creatures unable to withstand a sudden shock? … It looks to me that the Guardian is trying to impose a narrative on the situation instead of just reporting events.

    Shannon, if the mainstream British press is anything like the British Formula One reporting I read every day, exaggerated headlines are completely normal. When driver A is asked about something driver B did in the race and driver A says, “I didn’t think it was a good idea” you can be sure the British headlines will state that driver A “lashes out” at B or something to that degree. I don’t know if it’s a cultural thing or simply a paper-selling tactic, but its common enough in the British press. In any case, you can be sure the Brits who are buying the Guardian know full well that London is not in “chaos” despite what it says on the headline. I guess it’s sort of like those warnings you see on the roads over here advising you to slow down to 30 MPH for the upcoming curve. If the sign says 30, you know full well you can take the turn at 60.

  24. I did a quick Google image search for “9/11 panic” and came up with this picture.

    I would describe that image as people “fleeing in panic” from the vicinity of the towers.

    I would also consider it a perfectly reasonable moment to panic.

  25. “Warren Coffees” ….just got it 😮

    ….GG?????..don’t get that (:( (trying for “furrowed brow” look)

  26. Panic is by definition irrational behavior like a drowning person attempting to climb up on their rescuer.

    Wrong.

    Panic is by definition a sudden, overpowering terror; an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety.

    It need not be irrational. There are all sorts of terrifying situations that could trigger quite rational panic.

  27. Hakluyt and Joe-

    I’m sorry to say that many European countries have in fact adopted what amounts to a neutral stance (not the UK, which is why i said “the REST of Europe”). I’m not merely referring to oppostion to the Iraq war. I’m talking about a French govt who began to veto ANY measures regarding Iraq in the UN before even Iraq itself opposed them. I’m talking about the Europeans who think it is sophisticated to say things like “Bush is a far greater danger to the world than Bin Laden”. I’m talking about The “we don’t support them, but we’ll do nothing to stop them” stances which are neutral in all aspects but some empty words. I’m talking about the people who think a disapproving scowl from the UN is as far as any western country ought to go in stopping the Islamists, and think that anybody who steps up and does what needs to be done is a “cowboy”. I’m talking about the people who bow to the demands of the terrorists in the hope that it will buy them some protection from attacks, until the next set of demands comes along. I’m talking about the people who are such slaves to the PC mentality that they have a problem with this comment: Western/Enlightenment civilization is better than Islamist culture. It is superior, and the world is going to be a better place when it is adopted by the people of the middle east. Furthermore, when Islamists attack our culture, we are morally permitted and obligated to use our superior strength and numbers to kill them and those who support them. They aren’t interested in anything but a world Taliban, so there is no place to negotiate and appease them. The only moral course of action is to kill them.
    Those of you who disagree with me, please start your replies with “I believe the west should not meet this with force, and instead should adopt the following Taliban rules in order to placate the Islamists…”

  28. The Brits have been blown up so many times that it’s part of their cultural consciousness. I would bet they wouldn’t panic.

  29. Dave,

    You are confusing combating terrorism with the invasion of Iraq. They are not synonymous.

  30. Word,

    “Panic is by definition a sudden, overpowering terror; an overwhelming feeling of fear and anxiety.”

    Perhaps you could explain what exactly is being overpowered or overwhelmed by fear? Could it be a person’s reason?

    Perhaps you can provide an example of the difference in behavior between someone who is merely afraid and someone who is panicked? If to people must escape a burning building how will the behavior of the panicked person differ from the one who is not panicked.

    Frankly, I think you and others have so bought into the myth that people fall about under severe stress and fear that you interpret anybody in immediate danger of their life as panicking regardless of how they behave.

  31. Shannon-

    Since we’re on the subject of public reaction to a terrorist attack, a long time ago you said that it would be better if the media refrained (voluntarily, of course, despite what some of your detractors said) from reporting much info on terrorist attacks.

    In your opinion, what should a responsible reporter say about the attack in London, and what should be left unsaid?

  32. Hakluyt-

    Did you actually read my post, or did you just have that “Iraq and terrorism are not the same” already typed and ready to go? Virtually my entire statement was in regard to things other than the Iraq war.

  33. Dave,

    Well, the other things you stated were so, well, silly, that I didn’t feel a need to really address them. I did address your comment on the war in Iraq. And again, people (like yourself) continually confuse that with the war against Islamic terrorists.

    Also, just as a matter of factual nitpicking, France never vetoed anything in the UN Security Council regarding Iraq. Indeed, the last French veto against a U.S. sponsored measure was during the Seuz crisis as I recall.

  34. He must have read your post, Dave, because we both had exactly the same response to it. Not one of the accusations you make bears any resemblance to European nation’s anti-terror stances, though they do describe many nations’ stances toward the Iraq War. Since you presented those actions and decisions related to Iraq as evidence of their weakness on terror, I can only conclude that you’ve got the two confused.

    Do you realize that the French sent troops to fight by our side in Afghanistan? As did the Germans and Canadians, who are honorary Europeans?

    France refused to go along with our phoney war in Iraq – why should I interpret that as pertaining to the war on terror? They surely didn’t. France has not only assisted in Afghanistan, but have been grabbing terrorists left and right for years. And I’m supposed to accept that they’re “neutral” on terror because they saw through the WMD charade?

  35. Dear Dave,

    Perhaps you’re such a slave to the PC mentality that you’ll have a problem with this comment: You’re a retard. (I know these things, I’m the Lord.)

    The fact that you associate Iraq with Islamist ideology reveals that you don’t know your ass from your elbow. I know you’re all jacked-up about seeing those bloody images on TV, but the situation isn’t helped by you blundering through life thinking that “somebody is responsible” and “somebody’s gonna pay” — despite the fact that you can’t correctly name who that “somebody” is.

    In the war on terror, Saddam was probably one of the United States’ greatest assets in the Middle East. He hated — and feared — the Islamists, probably more than you do, because they were a direct, personal threat to his life and power. As a result, he did everything he could to suppress religious fanatics in his country. Who do you think was hooked up to all those leashes and nipple clips before the U.S. Army got a hold of them?

    And, as it turns out, your new “best friends” in the region — the Saudis — have probably provided more ideological and material support to the Islamist movement than any other single source. If you really wanted to win the war on terror (and not just finish up the first Gulf War), you would have mended fences with Saddam and waged a secular war against the Saudis and Iran. Sure, he gassed a few thousand of his own people and went on that uninvited holiday in Kuwait, but at least he didn’t gas your people, right?

    Perhaps you remember the verse I wrote about pointing at the speck in your neighbor’s eye, while you have a plank in your own? It turns out that I was right: While you chastise others for bending over for the Europeans, you’re actually being prison-fucked by all King Saud’s men.

    XXXOOO,

    The Lord

  36. thoreau,

    Of course, there’s a third possibility: Shannon Love is yet another alias of He Who Do Not Name. In this case, it’s a more full-fledged personality, and the other identities occasionally argue with it. ha!

  37. “Hakluyt” writes: Well, the other things you stated were so, well, silly,

    I thought this cretin was banned from H&R?

  38. thoreau,

    “In your opinion, what should a responsible reporter say about the attack in London, and what should be left unsaid?”

    I would advocate that the media voluntarily not disseminate claims of responsibility for the attacks nor identify those claiming responsibility by name. They especially should not disseminate the demands and goals of those claiming responsibility.

    I think the media should make a point stating that they are intentionally suppressing information about the terrorist as a means of punishing them for carrying out the attacks. Carrying out a terrorist attack or even claiming to have carried out an attack should be the route to political obscurity and marginalization not the stepping stones to international fame and power.

    If they must be identified in some manner I would identify them with nation state or sub-national organization that could be held responsible. For example, instead of naming Hezbollah, I would say “a terrorist group backed by Syria and Iraq.”

    Terrorist attacks are in the end merely very bloody and horrific publicity stunts. Choking off the publicity will reduce the incentives to carry out the attacks. This works more effectively for small acts of terrorism like the kidnappings last year in Iraq than it does for large scale mass-causality attacks but I think it important to try to strangle terrorist groups in the cradle.

    I don’t think this will ever happen. The media likes to pretend they are external observers in matters like crime, terrorism and warfare whose actions have no material effect on the course of events. They will never acknowledge that media attention is the immediate driver of terrorism.

    Perhaps more importantly, I am not sure how a democracy would go about making policy decisions about how to deal with this or that terrorist group without the electorate knowing something of the terrorist motivations. Its something of a catch 22.

  39. Shannon Love,

    The only way the American press has done something like what you want them to do is via government coercion. No thanks.

    The notion that people would not get word out of what happened, etc. absent the press is downright, well, silly, in the age of blogs and the like. Indeed, it was silly even five hundred years ago. News spreads whether it be by the media or not. And of course the publicity is a two-edged sword; you seem to think that it merely harms morale and the like; when in fact, news of such attacks have generally done the opposite.

    In the end, more knowledge and not less is always more desirable.

  40. Shannon Love,

    There is also the issue of the press helping us determine whether the government is fabricating what it claims as truth. I have no desire to be a mole.

  41. Hey The Lord-

    Yeah, Saddam would NEVER have associated with Islamists to fight their common enemy, the US. I mean he fought the Ayotollah in Iran in an extremely bloody war for ten years right? And they would NEVER be able to get over that. Except immediately afterwards, when they let Iraq hide it’s fighter aircraft in Iran to avoid destruction by the US during the first Gulf war. And these were Shia extremists, by the way. If he would do that, he sure as hell would work with Sunnis.
    And the Baathists are secular. They would NEVER work together with the Islamists. Uhh, except that we see their cooperative handiwork on TV every day. Yup, I’m a retard allright. But of course you just KNOW that wouldn’t have happened had we let them be. I’m sure sad we lost Saddam as our greatest ally in the Terror War. Would this be the same Saddam who sheltered Abu Nidal, paid for suicide bombings, and had a terrorist training camp (complete with airliner) at Salman Pak? We ought to let him go and re-install him as leader of Iraq! The terrorists would surely give up then!
    The Saudis are my new best friends? Wow, wish I knew that. How ’bout you don’t make up stuff out of the blue that was neither said nor implied nor had anything to do with my point (I didn’t think Saudi Arabia was in the EU, but like you said, I’m a retard). Your post is a ridiculous straw man from that point on. You’d think I’d written some flowering praise of the Saudis, when in fact I never mentioned them and take a similarly dim view of the kingdom as you do. But to suggest we should have partnered up with Saddam Hussein to invade them….I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. You think we have an “insurgent” problem now? And there are other concerns here. Unless you live naked in the rain forest and like to watch your kids die from infected stubbed toes and mosquito bites, you probably don’t want to risk eliminating the world’s major source of oil.
    Sorry Hakluyt, I shouldn’t have said France “vetoed” our proposals at the UN. They opposed them outright from the start so that there never was a point in bringing them to a vote. Such a major difference. And they didn’t “See through the WMD charade”. French intel agreed he posed a WMD threat; their government chose not to act because a lot of important men were on Saddam’s payroll. Remember that whole “Biggest financial scandal in world history” thing? The one that makes Enron look like the time the bully stole your lunch money?
    As far as the other things I said being “silly”, please explain. Enlightenment culture is NOT superior to the Taliban way? Other countries approaches to the terror war are better? Well let’s see, there’s the American style of trying to bring democracy to the Middle East (in other words working on all those “root causes” we were lectured about since Sept 12, there’s the EU/UN style of infinite empty warnings that apparently works really well if you want North Korea and Iran to build nukes unhampered, and there’s the Spanish version of the war on terror where you turn your entire nation into a prison with the Islamists as the warden. They say jump, you say how high. After all, fighting terrorism is the cause of terrorism!

  42. Dave,

    No, the Bush administration couldn’t even muster the nine votes neccesary to force either Russia, China or France to use their veto power. We couldn’t even use diplomatic thuggery and arm twisting to convince Chile and Mexico.

    As to “French intel,” the DGSE (France’s CIA) was quite clear that it could make no definitive statements on the nature of the WMD program and that further inspections were necessary. One of the bigger canards in this whole affair is that other intelligence agencies agreed with the Bush administration.

    As to the financial scandal issue, whatever was happening in the “Oil for Food” program was dwarfed by Enron and Worldcom (the wold Oil for Food program itself was worth only a few billion dollars after all). And as far as I can tell, whatever bribery was going on wasn’t particularly effective (if it actually existed); after all, if the allegations against say Galloway are true, that means Saddam was sending money to him through an intermediary for the purpose of influencing a man who has no influence in the British government. The same is true of the former French minister (out of government since 1995) and Zhironovsky. Indeed, the only papers relating to Chirac (which is what you appear to be getting at) that I have seen show him simply telling the Iraqi government (through his staff) he doesn’t need any oil; in other words, refusing a bribe.

    Your reductionist ideas about the way wars are fought, about Europeans, etc. are just silly. That you can’t even get the facts on the issues you pontificate upon straight also isn’t particularly encouraging.

  43. “The only way the American press has done something like what you want them to do is via government coercion.”

    This is not true. The media routinely refuses to participate in corporate publicity stunts. Back in the 20’s and 30’s there were many instances of businesses pulling elaborate and sometimes dangerous publicity stunts for no other reason than to generate news stories. The press rapidly figured out it was being played (and losing ad revenue) and they stopped covering the events.

    In a similar fashion, the press will not publish the rantings of a serial killer unless the police think it will help catch him. They rightly believe that if people get the idea that murder their way into the public eye it will trigger more murders. The press also does not publicize suicide notes for the same reason.

    More information is usually better but in the case of terrorism people are being murdered for no other reason other than to get you to look at a particular piece of information! By consuming that information you become an enabler of the murders. You are under no moral obligation to listen to someone just because they have blood on their hands. You have every right to simply ignore them.

    As a practical matter the press at least needs to acknowledge that they are being actively manipulated and that they could significantly alter the dynamics of terrorism by changing their ethical code of conduct.

    We will destroy terrorism as means of conflict only when we make it the path to political extinction. Internally, we have already done so. No political movement in America will resort to terrorism because it will mean their instant marginalization. We just need to extend that concept to the rest of the world.

  44. Shannon,

    ‘For example, instead of naming Hezbollah, I would say “a terrorist group backed by Syria and Iraq.”‘

    You meant Iran, right?

  45. Joe,

    “You meant Iran, right?”

    Yes.

  46. Good. Cuz we all know Saddam bin Laden is an Irani.

  47. Dear Dave,

    While Saddam has certainly been involved with terrorism in the past, it would be wrong to claim, as you have been doing, that he is an ally of the Islamist movement.

    And the case of Abu Nidal is a perfect example of this. Saddam was willing to support Nidal as long as the United States didn’t apply pressure to do otherwise. Whenever the U.S. applied serious pressure to Saddam to limit his support of Nidal, Saddam complied, first in 1983 when he kicked Nidal out of the country and again in 2002 when Iraqi intelligence played a central role in his death (either by forcing him to commit suicide or by assassinating him). Saddam’s support of terrorists has always been opportunistic and not driven by ideology, which makes him qualitatively different than other state sponsors of terrorism. He’s precisely the kind of guy the U.S. needs right now because he has good information, and he has proven himself to be susceptible to both carrot and stick.

    And, Dave, the proof is in the pudding. While you and your anti-EU ilk criticize the Europeans for opposing the Iraq war, it increasingly looks like they were right and you were wrong. Sure, the U.S. got Saddam out of power, but the only question worth answering at this point is, Will the current state of affairs in the Middle East increase or decrease terrorism?

    As the Lord, I am privy to these kinds of things, so I’ll give you a little hint as to what will happen. American politicians will begin the Great Puss-Out fairly soon, before the mid-term elections. They’ll start calling for the Iraqis to “take over their own affairs” which is really just code for “get us the hell out of that quagmire.” The Commander-in-chief will dutifully respond by lowering troop levels and before long, they’ll be pulled out. Shortly thereafter, the country will sink into civil war. Iran, Turkey, and Syria will all get involved and jockey for their own “spheres of influence.” The Iraqi people will become radicalized along religious and ethnic lines. Incipient democratic tendencies will be quashed; multiple insurgencies will proliferate; rage and terror will prevail. It’ll be Afghanistan all over again. The irony is that this is exactly what the Europeans said would happen! Of course, the U.S. will be too gun shy to stop any of it and will spend the better part of the next decade licking its wounds and wondering where it all went wrong. So, in the end, the U.S. fucked it all up, simply because people like you were so hungry for blood that they didn’t bother making sure that they pinned the blame on the right guy.

    And, Dave, while you said nothing about the Saudis, your support of them is implied. In fact, your position — that we should eagerly wage war against the Islamists — cannot be imagined without Saudi support, because as you correctly point out, the U.S. could not wage its war without a reliable supply of oil. But this doesn’t change the fact that Saudi Arabia — and not Saddam Hussein — is the central problem in Middle Eastern terrorism. The Saudi government screws over its own people, which creates dissent, which inspires ideological and material support for terrorists. If you want to stop terrorism, you have to deal with the Saudi problem. It should have been priority number one.

    In your post, you attack “the people who bow to the demands of the terrorists in the hope that it will buy them some protection from attacks, until the next set of demands comes along.” What you don’t seem to realize is that the Saudis are the terrorists, and you’re the guy who’s bowing to their demands! But you’re not tough enough to take this one on, are you? No, because you’re scared about oil and insurgents. Which is why the so-called war on terror is doomed to fail, because the terrorists quite literally have you over a barrel.

    The only substantive difference in your position from the one you criticize is that you apparently would rather take a Saudi lover than a French one. Either way, you’re standing spread eagle as your shit gets pushed in.

    Thus saith the Lord.

  48. Shannon Love,

    The press rapidly figured out it was being played (and losing ad revenue) and they stopped covering the events.

    Here you are using an example which is not analagous. “Fake” events v. real events.

    In a similar fashion, the press will not publish the rantings of a serial killer unless the police think it will help catch him.

    This is at best a speculative example; the press has on a number of occasions published the writings of serial killers, terrorists, etc. despite the wishes of the police and the like.

    More information is usually better but in the case of terrorism people are being murdered for no other reason other than to get you to look at a particular piece of information!

    More information is always better, no matter what the motives of the perpetrator of a crime.

    By consuming that information you become an enabler of the murders.

    This is a fallacious stance. Sorry, gaining information about a subject does not implicate an individual in how that information came into being.

    As a practical matter the press at least needs to acknowledge that they are being actively manipulated and that they could significantly alter the dynamics of terrorism by changing their ethical code of conduct.

    Actually, if the press were to ignore some aspects of terrorism, terrorists would merely enhance the aspects that they do report on. Of course the fact that terrorism existed prior to the moden press should give you an idea as to the merits of your argument. What terrorists was rely on the word of mouth; that’s how the Mongol armies captured many areas they invaded. A frightened populace and government, filled with bloodthirsty tales of Mongol slaughter, often handed the keys to the city to the Mongols without a fight. Your willingness to make the population similarly ignorant would lead us down the same path. No, the benefits of knowledge far outweigh whatever costs it includes.

    We will destroy terrorism as means of conflict only when we make it the path to political extinction.

    And here we have an equally silly comment. Terrorism will never be destroyed as long as human beings exist. Its a bit like arguing that one will get rid of murder. Honestly, this reminds me of Bush’s arrogant silliness following 9/11.

    No political movement in America will resort to terrorism because it will mean their instant marginalization.

    You don’t pay attention to American terrorist groups apparently. I mean come on, ELF, ALF, Christian nutters groups, etc. commonly commit acts of terrorism in the U.S. Indeed, with regard to eco-terrorist groups like ELF, the attacks have only increased in frequency since 9/11 and their support has grown rapidly. One of these days their acts of arson, bombing, etc. is going to escalate to killing people.

  49. Shannon Love,

    As to my statement (that you quote), it referred specifically to wartime reporting and the censorship regimes the U.S. government set up in WWI and WWII.

    joe,

    Good one.

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