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A letter to the terrorists from London
July 8, 2005 12:15 AM   Subscribe

A Letter To The Terrorists, From London
posted by Spoon (83 comments total)

 
Metafilter: What the fuck do you think you're doing?
posted by quin at 12:38 AM on July 8, 2005


Dear London,

Ok ok we were wrong. Now would you forgive us if we promised to click on your Google ads?

The Terrorists.
posted by DirtyCreature at 12:39 AM on July 8, 2005


Ok, there's that.
posted by basicchannel at 12:46 AM on July 8, 2005


Admittedly the ads hawking "Girl's Clogs" seem a little incongruous.

But basically they've got the message right. We Londoners, being by default a sanguine and indeed pretty cynical lot, aren't likely to react much to a terrorist threat.

There was a sense of panic yesterday at lunchtime, but I'm not kidding when I say that by 5pm it was pretty much as if nothing had occurred at all. We're used to this stuff: let's get it over with and move on to the next issue.

Oh, and by the way... we won the 2012 Olympic bid on Wednesday. Ha!
posted by skylar at 12:56 AM on July 8, 2005


Not bad. Short and sweet and to the point. I thought it was going to be awful when I clicked on the link. Started to read it in an Arthur Daley voice for some unknown reason.

"Wot? You an' awl? Leave it out!"

The right sidebar has a link to a story titled "Find out what's going on in that lunatic mind."

Fairly relevant, you would assume... except it is a link to an article on Michael Jackson!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 1:03 AM on July 8, 2005


I think attacking London today, if it was in fact Al-Queda, was a huge miscalculation. From the impression i get talking to English people on the net it seemed like most were not in favor of supporting the war on Iraq and many disliked prime minister Blair. This kind of an attack, only 1 day after the Olympic announcement when nationist feelings were already stirred up, can only incite a backlash against terrorism in general. The British public was ALREADY standing up against the war, and not getting anywhere. Now, it seems to me, they are going to be much LESS inclined to advocate a peaceful solution or pullback from Iraq. One thing I have not heard at all today is much of the "We need to try and understand the grievances of these people" or "Let's rethink our position on Iraq, these guys are serious".

I cringe to admit it, but when the WTC was hit, I sympathized with the attackers somewhat. I have no doubt the 1980's US proxy wars in Afghanistan and Iraq crippled those countries for decades and caused massive problems. I can understand to some degree the hostility toward the IMF, World Bank, and massive US financial behemoth that treats third-world-countries unfairly. I don't see anyone reacting to the recent attack in London this way, and in fact all the Americans i know who might have sympathized with the grievances, if not the methods, of Al-Queda in the past have long since changed their minds.

So either
a) the "Secret European Al-Queda Society" (or whatever the name was that claimed responsibility" made a huge error in judgement. or...

b) this was a rigged attack by Bush/Blair/Evil Entities to solidify public support for the war at a time when many US polls show a decline in approval and im guessing British polls the same.
posted by sophist at 1:06 AM on July 8, 2005


actually im glad that Londoners are acting all badass and defiant because for a quick minute i was distracted away from praying that Karl Rove gets named as the leak in TreasonGate

but all kidding aside, im loving the moxie across the pond
posted by tsarfan at 1:15 AM on July 8, 2005


I don't think the attitude displayed in this letter is a sensible one. I certainly think that we should remain defiant and resolute and not unduly fearful, but there is no call to be self-aggrandising and deliberately provocative like this. How can anyone hope to be seriously threatening towards anonymous bombers? Is the author going to ask every passenger who gets on a bus with him if he can search their bag? I am just as angry as he is, but we cannot just assume that because we survived this attack we are invulnerable.
posted by mokey at 1:25 AM on July 8, 2005


That's a gorgeous little rant. Succicnt, to the point.

I too, like many, sympathized with the oppressed, taken-advantage-of people that "The Terrorists" supposedly represent, but vehemently disagree with their tactics, methods, and idealogy.

If there's one thing that history teaches us over and over again is that violence only breeds even more violence. On any and all sides of the fence.

The "East", or third world, or whatever - basically any peoples or nations that hasn't been G8 or the western or first-world industrialized countries - has had the short end of the stick for a long, long time.
posted by loquacious at 1:32 AM on July 8, 2005


this was a rigged attack by Bush/Blair/Evil Entities to solidify public support for the war at a time when many US polls show a decline in approval and im guessing British polls the same

I will never understand how so many people can even consider ideas like this.
posted by Marquis at 1:50 AM on July 8, 2005


(As a Londoner) I'm with Mokey, the attitude in that piece is all wrong. Frankly, though, I wouldn't expect any better from that publication.

Much better alternative London commentary here.
posted by ascullion at 1:52 AM on July 8, 2005


I will never understand how so many people can even consider ideas like this.

Marquis, I don't think that there was a conspiracy yesterday, but when it's beyond doubt that British intelligence services have used their authority to kill British residents in times of threat to the state (primarily in Northern Ireland), I don't see how you can be so quick to discount the possibility.
posted by ascullion at 1:54 AM on July 8, 2005


The British public was ALREADY standing up against the war, and not getting anywhere. Now, it seems to me, they are going to be much LESS inclined to advocate a peaceful solution or pullback from Iraq.

Who says that these bombers a. give a damn about Iraq b. would want a peaceful solution anyway? These are not Iraqi nationalists, or Baathists or even Iraqi islamists (sunni or shia). These are people who have as much riding on more war as George W. Bush.
posted by talos at 2:00 AM on July 8, 2005


this was a rigged attack by Bush/Blair/Evil Entities to solidify public support for the war at a time when many US polls show a decline in approval and im guessing British polls the same

I will never understand how so many people can even consider ideas like this.


History?
posted by srboisvert at 2:01 AM on July 8, 2005


Must keep the war machine rolling, after all...
posted by nightchrome at 2:12 AM on July 8, 2005


I may be repeating only unsubstantiated rumors, but wasn't Pearl Harbor more-or-less allowed to happen to solidify support for the US to join WW2?

Anyone with better memory or history skills care to support or deny that?
posted by loquacious at 2:21 AM on July 8, 2005


Oh, and on a somewhat smaller scale: The US publishes and uses a great deal of exaggerated and/or falsified information to support the war on (some) drugs. Scale that up or down and it's not such a leap of the imagination. Power tends to corrupt, etc.

Some random place on the Cable news realm I heard (Fox, I think), paraphrased: "We can win the war on terror. We won against the Mafia, we can win against the terrorists."

Didn't we "win" against the Mafia by ending alcohol prohibition, removing their major source of funding and driving them into the underground? I'm pretty sure that the Mafia still exists, along with dozens and dozens of other organized crime groups.

You can't win a guerilla war, especially not against terrorists - and still have a free society. Maybe that's what they want - on both sides.
posted by loquacious at 2:25 AM on July 8, 2005


this was a rigged attack by Bush/Blair/Evil Entities to solidify public support for the war at a time when many US polls show a decline in approval and im guessing British polls the same

Evil entities? Do you mean Satan, the Lord of Darkness? Maybe it was the ghost of Guy Fawkes come to avenge his torture and execution? Honestly...

On the one side we have pricks like ParisParafuckwit saying we should be sending hundreds of troops to Iraq and then on the other we have fantastical looney tunes conspiracy theories like this one. You're both as nutty as each other. Can't everyone just get a grip?

Terrorism is easy. Putting bombs on trains is easy. It doesn't require millions of dollars to do. It doesn't require a conspiracy at government level. All it requires is two or three people who get an erection everytime they think about 9/11.

It wasn't so long ago this guy created chaos in London and guess what? No fucking conspiracy!
posted by dodgygeezer at 2:28 AM on July 8, 2005


can only incite a backlash against terrorism in general

uhuh. What the fuck does that mean?

oh, reading down it's either AQ screwed up by waking a sleeping giant that will now redouble its efforts in fighting the scourge of blow-things-up islamicism, or it was an inside job.

option c) is that planting some bombs was a doable thing and it got done, and the cycle of violence will continue. I fail to see how if AQ or islamists did this they are hurting their cause. Their cause is to stir the shit. Mission accomplished.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:43 AM on July 8, 2005


Mokey / Ascullion : The LNR is a satirical newsletter, and thus I don't think the "tone" should be taken that seriously at all. I realise that those unfamiliar with the site / newsletter may think it's a serious news site (or, to non natives, perhaps a London daily newspaper).
posted by coach_mcguirk at 3:00 AM on July 8, 2005


I don't know who they think they are to represent all of London, but that's a pretty weak letter.

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

Really? I'm pretty certain four bombs went off yesterday, and a bunch of people were killed. Sounds like a successful operation to me.
posted by chrismear at 3:25 AM on July 8, 2005


I think it's a class rant.
posted by Frasermoo at 3:55 AM on July 8, 2005


chrismear -- Agreed. I have to wonder why people keep trying to blindly console themselves with "if we stop buying stuff/going to work/etc. then the terrorists win!"

I mean, yesterday seems like a win for the terrorists. They set off a few bombs, killed a few people, injured hundreds more, scared the shit out of people, got tons of air time across the world, and still haven't been caught. How is that not a win?
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:58 AM on July 8, 2005


A good rant, it's not a win because we Londoners are going to carry on going to work on Trains and Buses and we're not going to get scared. The attitude from my mates has been a big old two fingers to the terrorists in a 'we've survived worse than this' way. 20 Years of bombings during the Troubles kind of prepares you for stuff like this.

On a more mythological note this is good explanation why London doesn't panic at a few bombs.
posted by invisible_al at 4:15 AM on July 8, 2005


I may be repeating only unsubstantiated rumors, but wasn't Pearl Harbor more-or-less allowed to happen to solidify support for the US to join WW2?

What?

I don't remember ever learning that in school, or reading it elsewhere, or seeing it mentioned in the movie, so I assume that's false. I feel even more confident about this assertion, because when I googled "pearl harbor conspiracy" I got nothing more official or researched then a geocities site that reproduced a free essay on essays.cc.

I'd comment on the link, but it appears to be getting slammed, and I can't get through. Anyone want to mirror?
posted by cyphill at 4:20 AM on July 8, 2005


> when I googled "pearl harbor conspiracy"

How much advance warning did FDR actually have, and how sure could he be that an attack was coming? It is actually a question that's been debated, and not just within the tinfoil hat fringe (though very largely there, of course.) Try this search:

pearl.harbor warning roosevelt OR FDR

Here's The Straight Dope's take on the question. Short version: vanishingly unlikely.
posted by jfuller at 4:35 AM on July 8, 2005


cyphill, Pearl Harbor: An Exchange. Not really a conspiracy.
posted by gsb at 4:40 AM on July 8, 2005


It's not a win unless it furthers their Big Picture geopolitical goals. Too soon to tell, in other words, but somehow doubtful.

Cyphill- as to Pearl Harbor- it's a recurring theme, I'm surprised you've not heard it. John Flynn, a Roosevelt hater, started it in 1945. If you're interested, try John Toland, or more recently Robert Stinnett. (N.B.- I'm not making claims, just pointing to the info cyphill has missed, so no derailing snide remarks, okay?)
posted by IndigoJones at 4:42 AM on July 8, 2005


On Topic: I though the letter was what everyone is saying it was, a rant. Not exactly the most interesting thing, but I understand they comfort a lot of people.

Off Topic: GSB, jfuller, don't those links sort of agree that FDR did not have previous knowledge of the attack, but rather helped provoke it? I was more interested in the supposed information that FDR sat through the night waiting for pearl harbor to happen so he could launch his war campaign. But I don't want to hijack further, so move on. There's nothing to see here.
posted by cyphill at 4:56 AM on July 8, 2005


I mean, yesterday seems like a win for the terrorists. They set off a few bombs, killed a few people, injured hundreds more, scared the shit out of people, got tons of air time across the world, and still haven't been caught. How is that not a win?

Depends what the bombers' (or perhaps bomber's) main objective was really. If their objective was simply a single day of terror in London, then yes, it was a win, although given the resolute way most people reacted, perhaps not the drubbing they hoped for. But if it was part of a longer term objective to impose their will through terror, then of course they won't win.
posted by chill at 5:28 AM on July 8, 2005


Really? I'm pretty certain four bombs went off yesterday, and a bunch of people were killed. Sounds like a successful operation to me.

What a staggeringly shallow and utterly clueless remark, and what depressingly superficial thought processes it reveals.
posted by Decani at 6:04 AM on July 8, 2005


What a staggeringly shallow and utterly clueless remark, and what depressingly superficial thought processes it reveals.

It's pretty much the sort of thing I've come to expect in the Metafilter comments section, sadly.
posted by acetonic at 6:34 AM on July 8, 2005


But that is all this method of attack hopes to achieve, Decani -- bombs going off and people getting killed. There is no strategic value in the individual attacks against civilians, and there is no centralized leadership planning these attacks. The whole point is to sow dischord, and hopefully provoke a reaction. The stronger the reaction, the better. If Britian suddenly packs up and leaves the Mideast, or if Britian reaffirms its military commitments, the terrorists win. Leaving is of course the ultimate objective for them, but more involvement means more conflict, which means more sociopaths scheming to kill people.

It might sound shallow and depressing, but it happens to be reality in this case. Do not let the original poster's flippant tone prevent you from recognizing the truth of the situation.
posted by solipse at 6:38 AM on July 8, 2005


I think they win more than people realize, with ID cards sure to happen now there i've heard--even tho they'd do nothing to stop anything like this, and more surveillance cameras will be installed, and other losses of privacy and rights. And it's clearly not a good time to be a Muslim man there now.

Each attack takes a little away from the way things were before, which is what they want.
posted by amberglow at 6:40 AM on July 8, 2005


That site reminds me of everyone's annoying younger brother.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 6:43 AM on July 8, 2005


Nice link invisible-al. The FPP rant isn'bad either.
This was the city where in WW2 newspaper shops with their fronts bombed off had signs outside the next day saying "More open than usual". Love you London.
posted by adamvasco at 6:58 AM on July 8, 2005


How is that not a win?

Because - and I'm not there, but have been reading for hours - the capital got up and running quickly; citizens weren't intimidated; and in a huge city, very few people died. Haven't we all heard since late 2001 that an attack on the London tube was imminent? It was supposed to be much, much worse. Crazy Japanese cult-type worse.
posted by goofyfoot at 7:05 AM on July 8, 2005


Tony Blair is a good and decent man, and a great leader. Statues of him will be erected. In the future, I would love to see one in DC, and in Central Park here in the States.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:05 AM on July 8, 2005


The Home Secretary: ID cards 'wouldn't stop attacks' (But he's still for them regardless)
...He also suggested that in future civil liberties might have to be curtailed.
Consideration would need to be given to checks on people boarding tube trains, ID cards and data exchange, he says. ...

posted by amberglow at 7:07 AM on July 8, 2005


Ken Livingston: "Londoners will not be divided by this cowardly attack. They will stand together in solidarity alongside those who have been injured and those who have been bereaved and that is why I'm proud to be the mayor of that city."

Man, I wish we had a national politician with that much class. Solidarity, that's what the U.S. is lacking, dammit.

and what solipse said.
posted by warbaby at 7:11 AM on July 8, 2005


So to paraphrase the rant: "Bring it on."

I just didn't see much of interest there, other than a litttle chest-pounding, and frankly dunno why this made FPP.
posted by LordSludge at 7:12 AM on July 8, 2005


sophist -

c) the terrorists did this, knowing it would be more likely to keep britain in the iraq and afghanistan wars, because the continuance of these wars helps create the atmosphere of hatred and chaos they can thrive in ... that's somewhat psychotic reasoning on their part, but they are somewhat psychotic, aren't they?
posted by pyramid termite at 7:19 AM on July 8, 2005


> Sounds like a successful operation to me.

It will only be a 'success', if it succeeds in:

a.) getting us out of Iraq and the Middle East

Personally, I opposed the war in Iraq as an illegal operation and an unwinnable war. Another Vietnam in the making. But now that we're in there, I think we have a moral obligation to refuse to abandon the bulk of Iraqi citizens to theocratic despots, and so actions like this make it more likely that we'll stay, not less likely.


b.) forcing us to change the way that we live.

Clearly, there are a handful of politicians who would like it if we went the American route -- increasing the amount of surveillance over the lives of individuals, imposing identity cards, house arrest and stuff like travel permits, taking away our freedom of movement.

But the strength of this letter was that it's indicative of the resolve of ordinary people *not* to be cowed by this shit. Not to concede all of our good sense to politicians pursuing their own particular agendas. And it's a reminder that we *aren't* like America.

Those of us who are getting on a bit will know that we've lived with terrorist attacks in the UK for most of the last forty years. While we've never suffered any attacks that were as spectacular as 9/11, we've lived with things like Lockerbie, and the Manchester bombing without feeling it necessary to transform our society into a police state.

Hopefully, that isn't about to start to happen now.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:31 AM on July 8, 2005


This is good. But what address do we send it to? And what's the postage cost? It's all cool if these guys are living in Finsbury Park - hell, I'll put up the 27p myself. But what if they're in "World Zone 2" or whatever - like, maybe Nauru? That shit costs money man - and I for one am saving up for Olympics Tickets. These fucking terrorist guys can come and pick up their own mail for fuck's sake, the cheap pricks.
posted by the quidnunc kid at 7:34 AM on July 8, 2005


Al Qaida's long-term strategic goal is Mecca, not Iraq. This isn't about Iraq, except how that relates to overthrowing the Saudi regime. It's always been about Mecca, but the strategy of near enemy / far enemy means they're first seeking to isolate the region.

It won't work, any more than Leaderless Resistance won't work for the white supremacists in the U.S. or the split IRA / Sein Finn strategy won't work in Northern Ireland, etc. ad nauseum. They're wrong, they aren't stupid or crazy.

Iraq is a sideshow, as far as Al Qaida's long term strategy goes. Keep that in mind and the mess is a little less messy to contemplate.
posted by warbaby at 7:40 AM on July 8, 2005


I thought it was a great letter, and it should ring well for some time.
posted by buzzman at 7:40 AM on July 8, 2005


I don't get why people are making comments like "oh yeah, good rant!".. It's a dumb, pointless, stupid rant.

It says nothing interesting or thought provoking, and certainly says nothing to its "audience" (the terrorists). All it really says anything to is its audience (fellow londoners and others upset with the attack), and even then, it doesn't say much.

In fact, it reads to me more like it was written by an american than a londoner - what with the profanity-laced "ooga booga look at me, big and strong!" tone. Though maybe I have just stereotyped londoners as wittier and more .. well .. reserved?

I don't really see why this merits an FPP - it's not poignant, witty, touching, or much of anything else.

But... for london's sake:

.
posted by twiggy at 7:42 AM on July 8, 2005


this was a rigged attack by Bush/Blair/Evil Entities to solidify public support for the war at a time when many US polls show a decline in approval and im guessing British polls the same

Equivalently, God has a sick sense of humor.
posted by nervousfritz at 7:47 AM on July 8, 2005


President Bush is given to justifying the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that by fighting terrorism abroad, it protects the west from having to fight terrorists at home. Whatever else can be said in defence of the war in Iraq today, it cannot be claimed that it has protected us from terrorism on our soil.

Robin Cook
Friday July 8, 2005

The struggle against terrorism cannot be won by military means
posted by y2karl at 7:53 AM on July 8, 2005


Peter, i hope you're right about you guys not being as accepting of curtailing civil liberties as us. You already have more surveillance cameras than we do, i believe.

Al Qaeda doesn't want us to leave Iraq tho. it's the best thing for recruiting in years and has helped them become a global franchise.
posted by amberglow at 7:53 AM on July 8, 2005


"I don't really see why this merits an FPP"

ohh my precious precious community weblog.

I thought it was an interesting point of view. An immediate reaction to yesterdays events. I'm not going to argue the toss about it. If you don't like it, leave it alone.
posted by Spoon at 8:08 AM on July 8, 2005


PeterMcDermott writes "Clearly, there are a handful of politicians who would like it if we went the American route -- increasing the amount of surveillance over the lives of individuals, imposing identity cards, house arrest and stuff like travel permits, taking away our freedom of movement."

Isn't one of those politicians your Home Secretary?.. and the Home Secretary before him as well?
posted by clevershark at 8:27 AM on July 8, 2005


that's somewhat psychotic reasoning on their part, but they are somewhat psychotic, aren't they?

Psychotic in our eyes, yes. If you consider the architects of Al Queda's methodologies and their years of experience fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan, it makes sense. They do not directly control the actions of the fanatics across the globe, but if those acts should happen to put their foes in a familiar situation (powerful military machines ineptly policing hostile and fractitious people), would it not be stragetically advantageous in their eyes?
posted by solipse at 8:30 AM on July 8, 2005


Off-Topic: I think the notion that FDR sat on military intelligence is distinctly more palatable than the recognition that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was brilliant, and our preparations for inevetable attack insufficient.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 8:37 AM on July 8, 2005


What a rant! The terrorists must be so, like, oh man we didn't expect this, this has totally backfired. I bet they wish they never even thought of this whole scheme, now that they've read such a scathing rebuttal. I mean, sure they might have expected the police to come around, but a rant? Who would have thought that such rage could be released, and on the Internet no less!

The outpouring of brave words from the mighty League of Outspoken Bloggers does little to put back together what has been lost, and trivializes the death and destruction that has taken place. There is almost no acknowledgement in the press and from the Milquetoast Handpuppet, Blair, that this fucking hurts. It hurts London, it hurts Londoners, their families, their friends.. Acting as if 'this is nothing we'll just shake it off' is a sickening, sad response, like you'd see from a drunk who has just had his teeth handed to him but is still standing, though not well, and manages to slur out 'didn't hurt.'

All the bluster from the safety of an armchair does nothing for me, and nothing to deter people who think bombs are a great way to solve a problem. We saw that when Bush and Blair ignored the 'words' of protesters, legal advisors, intelligence agents and others in their push to war. Strangely enough, dead people don't give a shit about your words.
posted by holycola at 8:38 AM on July 8, 2005


MRS TERRAIN: Really, Sam - when are you going to do something about these terrorists?

SAM: What? Now? It's my lunch hour.
posted by fungible at 9:36 AM on July 8, 2005


PeterMcDermott writes "It will only be a 'success', if it succeeds in:

"a.) getting us out of Iraq and the Middle East"


How so? From what I've remember, every time there was any tiny advance (or something that looked like an advance) in peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians, Hamas would carry out the most violent act they could manage in order to derail the peace efforts. These terrorists may probably be reasoning along the same lines - an attack may put more doubts about the British involvement in Iraq in some people's minds, but it will mostly serve as a payback for their support of the American efforts and to keep that support going on, so the terrorist groups can count on another generation of youngsters growing up in a climate of hatred for the Western conqueror.
posted by nkyad at 9:42 AM on July 8, 2005


Doesn't any act of modern terrorism that is less of a spectacle than the World Trade Centers in some way diminish the public's perception of terrorists' power? I think the actual power of the terrorists is completely dependant on public perception of their power. Unless they're feared, terrorists as a group are just random murderers with no particular means to affect change in world politics. A city that dusts itself off and gets right back to it has got to be frustrating to them.
posted by onlyconnect at 9:55 AM on July 8, 2005


These attacks are provocations, not decisive battles.

"Winning" doesn't apply, except tactically. These thugs will probably be caught, will not likely escape, and it is extremely unlikely they will be able to pull off an operation on similar scale before they are neutralized.
posted by warbaby at 10:40 AM on July 8, 2005


Me: Really? I'm pretty certain four bombs went off yesterday, and a bunch of people were killed. Sounds like a successful operation to me.

Decani: What a staggeringly shallow and utterly clueless remark, and what depressingly superficial thought processes it reveals.

Is there an actual point of view or an argument in there, or are you just trying to cuss me down in a humourously erudite fashion? In what way do you feel that yesterday wasn't a 'win' for the terrorists?
posted by chrismear at 11:19 AM on July 8, 2005


This thread proves there is a huge marketing opportunity for someone to create a "news review" site which contains short informationless adolescent rants on highly emotive topics on which people are itching to express their opinions, stick up some Google ads at the top of the page and post threads under random pseudonyms to Metafilter.
posted by DirtyCreature at 12:18 PM on July 8, 2005


This commentary was printed on Page One of the local paper in my little Podunk, WA town.

I hate our local paper.
posted by leftcoastbob at 12:29 PM on July 8, 2005


I think the notion that FDR sat on military intelligence is distinctly more palatable than the recognition that the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor was brilliant.

In retrospect, not so brilliant, as it brought into the war a nation with the resources to defeat them. In any case, I'd never heard that the conspiracy theory was invented to assuage America's shame at being attacked by surprise. Post-war kids were brought up to think Roosevelt sagacious indeed in recognizing the need to intervene, and they generally accepted the need for the ruse. It wasn't even called a conspiracy before the 70's. I'm not sure I'd condemn FDR if even if it turned out to be true.
posted by QuietDesperation at 12:49 PM on July 8, 2005


This commentary was printed on Page One of the local paper in my little Podunk, WA town.

I hate our local paper.

posted by leftcoastbob at 12:29 PM
PST on July 8

posted by y2karl at 12:51 PM on July 8, 2005


chrismear, unfortunately, is perfectly right. All this talk of moxie and the terrorists making a 'miscalculation' is nonsense. These guys killed fifty people. Once again they've demonstrated, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they have the will, the capability, and the intent to strike major cities with multiple timed, coordinated attacks. What if those hadn't been bombs but had instead been a biological agent? Would we all be going on about how these guys made a mistake? And really, the fact that you're used to bombings isn't anything to be proud about.

And warbaby, I wish I could have your confidence but more than likely you're very wrong. The facts don't back you up. The fact of the matter is that it's virtually impossible to prevent these types of distributed attacks short of chipping everybody who enters the city limits. Attacks like this won't happen for a while because tactically, for the terrorists, it makes no sense to strike again right away. Instead, they'll wait a few months, maybe even a few years since Iraq will probably still be an issue, and then they'll strike again. And again we'll hear the same nonsense in return. Nobody, and I mean nobody, believes in 100% prevention of terrorist strikes. That's partly why cities are focusing on emergency response plans, and not so much on prevention plans.

The sad truth is the London attacks was a major win for the terrorists. After four years and countless billions and lives, they can still walk into major Western cities and blow things up at will. And each strike carries the hidden promise that the next one will be worse. And there's no end in sight.
posted by nixerman at 2:44 PM on July 8, 2005


These attacks are provocations, not decisive battles.

Absolutely. I can't help but think that all this "they didn't win!" crap is merely an echo chamber--those involved couldn't care less about our feelings on the issue. The only way they could have "lost" would be if the attack had been prevented. It wasn't. Therefor, they won. You can keep telling yourself they didn't if it makes you feel better, but it doesn't change the fact that: A. many people are dead, and B. it can happen again, any time, any place.

Instead of congratulating ourselves on our fine intrepid spirits, how about we get real and admit that there's a big problem here that's not going away any time soon.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:23 PM on July 8, 2005


You already have more surveillance cameras than we do, i believe.

Which may have an upside to it
posted by IndigoJones at 3:28 PM on July 8, 2005


I will never understand how so many people can even consider ideas like this.

See the Reichstag Fire, Operation Northwoods, et al.

There's nothing inconcievable about people being willing to disregard decency and a respect for human life, should doing so allow for easier and more complete consolidation of profit and power.
posted by stenseng at 3:33 PM on July 8, 2005


Okay, I'm going to take heat for this, so flame away, but this piece is absolute shit- all twelve times it arrived in my inbox so far.

It's babbling, ego-fueling tripe meant not to comfort any actual victim of these terrible events but rather the people who weren't affected at all, who want some kind of emotional justification for what happened to someone other than them. This thing reads like the way most of us act in the first five minutes after a cop gives us a speeding ticket- rambling angry crap about what a fucker the guy is and how it's unfair and how we'll fucking fight these motherfuckers, they'll regret ever MEETING us let alone pulling us over, and then we get to the Blockbuster and back home again and actuall sit the fuck down and start thinking like a rational human being again.

As a liberal, I was horrified when Bush made his "bring it on" speech that was, under the guise of some kind of morale boost, an open declaration that he wants more terrorists to try and attack us. I don't understand how I could applaud this article that basically embodies the exact same concept and not feel like a hypocrite.

If I want some truly poignant, emotional, meaningful words from the war-ravaged battlefields of England, I'll read Henry V, not this post-match WWE promo.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 5:36 PM on July 8, 2005


Okay, so now I'm writing this post three or so hours later, after having a brief conversation with the guy who actually wrote the piece in one of those encounters only the internet can bring.

I'm standing by my point that the article was shitty. And that it's knee-jerk, and that it's obnoxious in the context of a bunch of people uninvolved praising it with an "America- er- England! FUCK YEAH!" attitude. But, as I just told him, I really shouldn't have written that in a way that attacks the guy who actually was directly affected by the events. Plus, as opposed to Ann Coulter who reveled in her calls for genocide after 9/11, the author was a nice guy who could have easily called me on being a complete asshole toward his column but instead reflected on where I had an accurate argument.

To rephrase, I shouldn't have said that this was MEANT as ego-fuel for the uninvolved, merely that people flagging it (and e-mailing it to me a dozen times) are the ones doing the ego fueling. I guess I picked the wrong moment to make a knee-jerk reaction about how horrible knee-jerk reactions are. But the Bush analogy still stands, too: you can't cheer for this and condemn "Bring it On." It's the exact same bad idea.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 8:19 PM on July 8, 2005


that was nice of him.

(those Brits--so polite, even when they're cursing) ; >
posted by amberglow at 8:32 PM on July 8, 2005


XQUZYPHYR writes "If I want some truly poignant, emotional, meaningful words from the war-ravaged battlefields of England, I'll read Henry V"

"I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant. Take a trumpet, herald;
Ride thou unto the horsemen on yon hill:
If they will fight with us, bid them come down,
Or void the field; they do offend our sight:
If they'll do neither, we will come to them,
And make them skirr away, as swift as stones
Enforced from the old Assyrian slings:
Besides, we'll cut the throats of those we have,
And not a man of them that we shall take
Shall taste our mercy. Go and tell them so."

Good enough?
posted by nkyad at 8:34 PM on July 8, 2005


Whether or not it was a win really depends on the objective of the terrorists. If the objective was to strike fear into the hearts of the ordinary citizenry and kill some random people then it was indeed a resounding success. If it is really as easy as you say, however, why don't we see these attacks every month? Or every week? Why has it been years since 9/11 without ANY attack on the US? I haven't even heard of any credible evidence of a major attempt on the US since 9/11, and I doubt that is due to homeland security measures or the terrorists' lack of motivation.

If, instead, their aim is to perpetuate war in their own region, then this is also a success. War will undoubtedly continue. But why would they want the war to continue in Iraq, even if they are psychopathic as you claim? To say they want us there so they can kill us seems rather silly. Whether or not the US military is in the Middle East, Al-Quaeda can theoretically carry out attacks on the US. I highly doubt that any Muslim is in favor of Christian soldiers running rampant in the Holy Land, on the contrary I think they would much rather we got up and left. This attack will not encourage anyone to get up and leave, which is why I labaled it a miscalculation.
posted by sophist at 9:53 PM on July 8, 2005


If it happened all the time, we'd get used to it, and it wouldn't have the impact it has. It really is as easy, but they plan for years (from 93 to 2001 for us here in NY). They have all the time in the world, and our govts are doing their work for them.
posted by amberglow at 9:56 PM on July 8, 2005


Richard rutter (AKA Clagnut) made an excellent post on his site summing up his feelings on the bombing.
posted by TheDonF at 12:21 AM on July 9, 2005


The whole point is to sow dischord, and hopefully provoke a reaction. The stronger the reaction, the better.

And has that happened? Or has London got itself back on its feet in double-quick time, put two fingers up to the terrorists and moved on?

That's why the remark was shallow, clueless and wrong. The object of terrorist attacks is not merely to kill people. It is to terrorise. And all the indications are that this has not happened. Just as it didn't during the long years of IRA attacks. So long as the UK doesn't overreact in the absurd and absurdly counter-productive way the US did after 9/11, this is no victory.
posted by Decani at 8:56 AM on July 9, 2005


But why would they want the war to continue in Iraq, even if they are psychopathic as you claim?

Clue: Is the situation in the M.E., specifically the Saudi/Iraq/Jordan triangle, less or more stable since 2001?

The more we Abu Ghraib and Gitmo people, and not to mention blow away innocent civilians, the more hatred of the US/West we engender.

These people are essentially anarchists in strategy if not goals. They profit from fear and violence; all terrorists do.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:43 AM on July 9, 2005


And Italy's definitely out in Sept. now--something about "looking after our own house".

I'm wondering now if this was just a trial run?
posted by amberglow at 1:04 PM on July 9, 2005


Bush is still repeating the thoroughly discredited bullshit: ...We will stay on the offense, fighting the terrorists abroad so we do not have to face them at home. ... (today's radio address)
posted by amberglow at 1:46 PM on July 9, 2005


And not all brits are like that guy: ...The press as a whole has got behind the government position and left the questioning of the Iraq war up to 'the fringe'. Charles Clarke has denied there is a link at all, suggesting there is no evidence at all. Seemingly oblivious to the fact that before the Iraq war Britain was not being attacked before Iraq Clarke believes the bombers were trying to destroy the 'essence of our society'. No reason more than that. They simply woke up one day and completely unrpovoked decided to detroy our society.

To those who suggest a link no invective is spared. ...
we British must also have a faith called stoicim and pugilism. We must accept the consequences of actions with the faith of refusing to accept the causes. We must have the faith to accept more attacks without having the temerity to question why. We must have the faith that we have not erred and the others are always wrong and we can never lose provided we all sacrifice more. We must have faith that Blair is Churchill and blind obidience will prevail.

To me this is as disappointing as the deaths of those simply going to work. Endless braying for more unwinnable war will only ensure this tragedy becomes more not less likely. Policy failure got us here and a continued policy failure may keep us here.

posted by amberglow at 2:48 PM on July 9, 2005


Blair put us in the firing line:
The war on Iraq made the attack on London inevitable

... The fury generated by Tony Blair's decision to coat-tail George Bush into what only the blind still call a justified war has put us all in the firing line. When Blair led us into the war on terror, he knew that a country with which Islamist networks had no immediate axe to grind would be drawn into their sphere of hate as a consequence.

That is why we have had tightened anti-terrorism laws, public scares and training exercises for emergency services. They were all premised on the inevitability of blowback for Blair's foreign exploits. In the calculation that staked our security against some ill-conceived national interest in occupying Iraq, our government has turned us all into expendable pawns, in the same way it did Ken Bigley and Margaret Hassan. ...

(Guardian)
posted by amberglow at 3:56 PM on July 9, 2005


It seems naive to portray "the terrorists" as a unified entity.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:28 PM on July 9, 2005


I don't remember ever learning that in school, or reading it elsewhere, or seeing it mentioned in the movie, so I assume that's false.

i thought that was a joke at first. sadly, it seems it was not.

first of all, you're not going to learn everything you should in school. and don't expect hollywood to pick up the slack, especially when it comes to things that most likely had the involvement of the Pentagon.

of course, that isn't to say i actually believe there was a pearl harbour conspiracy. i've no way of knowing, and not much reason to care. the real question is whether it's completely unbelievable that the governments of former or current world empires might occasionally do reprehensible things to keep themselves in power. since those in power are usually only in power because they've done reprehensible things, or those before them have, the answer is no, it's not completely unbelievable.

history does not speak well of the temerity of the noble human spirit among the elite. and it's not like massive civilian casualties for material gain are something of the past.

as for the letter... are people supposed to be proud that they're still going to work and hanging out at the pub the next day? work sucks, and pubs are generally boring and expensive. this isn't much different than when americans all decided they needed to band together and shop. that'll show you, you terrorists! we can make our own lives miserable, thank you very much!

some yob is proud that he chose not to wonder whether his world has gone mad, and i'm supposed to be inspired?
posted by poweredbybeard at 8:11 PM on July 10, 2005


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