Superb article in the Guardian that confronts the real questions coming out of the attacks on London. While I recognise that it is only 5 days since the terror attacks the initial shock amongst many people is turning to anger and unreasonable hate.
We all deplore terrorism (even liberal lefties like myself). I cannot imagine the pain and suffering that the families of the victims must be going through. However, as a nation there are two directions we can go in. After 9/11 the American government took a radical right-wing step and launched a war on terror. In it's name they have invaded 2 nations, killed hundreds of thousands of people (predominately innocent civilians) and cost their economy hundreds of billions of dollars. After 11th March 2004, Spain took a radically different step. The Madrid train bombings occurred only days before their election. The people ousted the pro-Iraq war government and elected an anti-Iraq war government.
The choices are simple, we can continue to 'fight' this war on terror or we can actually try to get to the cause. If the 30 year conflict in Northern Ireland has taught us anything, it is surely that you cannot fight terrorism by simply resorting to the same tactics. Has the war on terror helped to prevent terrorist attacks? Have the number of terrorist cells decreased? For every man and woman killed in the war on terror there are families that grow up resenting their killers. Only through knowledge and understanding can we prevent terrorism.
When Tony Blair next makes a rousing speech about how we must stay the course, ask yourself this question. If Tony Blair had not led us into a war in Iraq, would the attacks on London have ever happened?
It's a good question . . . will more security improve the situation or make it worse?
"For every man and woman killed in the war on terror there are families that grow up resenting their killers."
Does that include the families of the victims of the London bombing?
I think it does yes. Families of the victims on all sides may well grow up full of resentment. Whether they use that resentment to try to find a way to make the situation better is another question.
Luckily, its not always true Nige... sadly I can't remember the names - but there's a very vocal number of people in the US who lost family in the September 11th attacks who don't want Bush to use their familys name as a reason to attack Iraq.
But you're right, usually resentment and revenge are the reactions.
Although I disagree with America's war on terror, I think the situation in Spain sent out the wrong message to terrorists. It made it look like you *could* affect political change by bombing people. Aside from typical counter-terrorism measures, the only real answer to terrorism is to just keep on doing whatever you were doing. If terrorist assaults on London eventually led to a change of Government, then the terrorist would believe they had won. And they'd probably be right.
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