Thursday, July 07, 2005

Seven Bombs in London Underground and Buses

I don't think you will hear any questions today about the treatment of Guantanamo prisoners.



rod said...

Dan, you know I love you, man, but - just what the fuck is this idiotic comment supposed to mean?

I take it to mean "Our enemies are barabaric, murderous animals - so let's see if we can be just as barabaric and murderous as they are."

Or, maybe it means "They hate us for our freedom, so we'll show them - we'll throw away our freedom!"

Another possibility: "We're fighting them on the streets of Baghdad, so we won't have to fight them on the streets of London. Wait - never mind."

Look, everyone I know - liberal or conservative; Muslim, Christian, or atheist - is shocked and horrified by the kind of senseless carnage we're seeing this morning. Any decent human being is. The fact is, the fundamentalist zealots who believe their God approves of random slaughter in London, in Madrid, in New York, are our enemies, so long as we believe in (and, more importantly, practice) something better, something higher - like due process, say, or the rule of law. But if we abandon those principles, so threatening to deluded fundamentalists from Afghanistan to Alabama, then it's all just territorial pissing - in which case, you can count me out.

Anonymous said...


Gotta go with Rod on this one. Here's a few quotes from an article about how to fight terrorist (published a week after 9/11) by a Brit. A note: While to some hardline westerners it may seem a stretch to equate the treatment of Gitmo prisoners with torture, that is how it is being portrayed on Al Jazeera. I assume the Muslim target audience believes they are being tortured.

'Ask now of any action you mean to take -- bombing, assassination, ground war -- whether it means there will be more or fewer terrorists when the children who are now in preschool grow up to fighting age. This is not an argument against the use of violence. Violence is absolutely essential; but it has to be used so that it conveys the right political message to the people who might become terrorists when they grow up. The state has to become as good at theater as its enemies. There's a short version of this lesson: "Don't shoot the boys throwing stones." ' And don't humiliate/torture the bound and hooded prisoners would work here too.

'Don't use torture. Torture is the crack cocaine of anti-terrorism because, for a while, it works. [As it did for us initially, but what is the point now? The Gitmo prisoners have NO current information...LB] The terrorists will certainly use it. But everyone tries it. The Brits did it in Northern Ireland, the Israelis use it on the Palestinians and the Palestinian Authority uses it on Palestinians too. The French, in their Algerian war against terrorism in the 1950s, turned it into an instrument of policy. But the price is higher than a democracy can pay. [!!...LB] Either the people who have to do the torture are sickened, and spread their disillusion throughout society (this is what happened in France); or they are not sickened. They come to enjoy it; and then you have lost the values that you are fighting for. Either way, after a time, it stops working. '

I've got no issues with these guys being in jail. And I have no problems with limiting who sees them or censoring thier correspondence. But leg shackles, handcuffs and hoods? Defacing the Koran? etc? Why? What's the point? As the article mentions, "the state must become as good at theater as it's enemies." This is bad theater and it hurts the cause (as well as the intent) of democratic liberalism.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, forgot to sign the last comment.

Larry B.

Anonymous said...

What do the folks in Prague think about the London bombings? Do they understand the religious/political nature of the jihadi war against the west?