What now? Re: London attacks.

I’ve read any number of suggestions in the various threads dealing with this deplorable event as to what the British response should be – a subtopic that clearly warrants a thread of its own as it is at the very center of the ongoing controversy with the Bush’s Administration response to 9/11. Rather specifically with the invasion of a country, Iraq, that at the time had nothing to do with the either the act itself or Fundamentalist Islam. And while we don’t know for a fact as of yet who the perpetrators of these attacks were, I doubt it’s a reach to place our primary suspicions on one or another branch of the latter for rather obvious reasons.

Should this suspicions prove to be true, how should Blair handle the aftermath of this tragedy? Two basic models come to mind, the Spanish response to the Madrid attacks or Bush’s own to 9/11. Of course, that does not mean you’re limited to the two. Other proposals are welcomed.

So, what would you do and why?

According to American rules, London must first determine who sponsored the attack. They then get to invade the country that harbored those who sponsored the attack. Then they have to wait a turn. After that, they can attack the Middle Eastern country of their choice, but will have little support from allies and will have to occupy it for at least four turns, allowing opponents to attack your pieces with little you can do about it.

I think a wise first step is to investigate this thing and figure out exactly who was responsible…and how it happened. If in fact it was AQ (I’m leaning that way myself, but acknowledge there are quite a few others it could have been), then I think the appropriate response is simply for the British to take a harder look at their own internal security…and get back to business. I seriously doubt the UK is ready to leave Afghanistan, and thats one of the pre-conditions reported in the AQ statement (if its true). I doubt leaving Iraq would make much of a difference in and of itself…and I don’t think it would be a wise move for the British to leave in any case (for the same reason I don’t think its wise for the US to leave…we collectively made that mess and we should stick around at least until their constitution is ratified and general elections are held…if not a bit longer).

Couple of things here. First off, Bush’s own response to 9/11 was to invade Afghanistan…not Iraq. So, it wasn’t really that much of a tangent…i.e. the Taliban really WERE associated with AQ.

Secondly, the British aren’t (afaik) in an election cycle. Blair just won re-election, and has already said he won’t seek to run again. So…its a totally different situation than Spain. Also, frankly, Spain was a minor player in Afghanistan/Iraq…Britian is not. The UK has nearly as much responsibility in Afghanistan/Iraq as the US does. Finally, again not to be harsh, but the British people are not the same as the Spanish. I don’t see them responding the same.

-XT

Well, remember, RedFury, the ‘Spanish response’ was truly a response of the voters while the US response to 9/11 was more governmental in nature. So that’s sort of a false assumption.

What should Britain do?

  1. Pursue the perpetrators and whatever organizations with which they’re affiliated.
  2. Don’t change policy one whit. Continue to do what they think best in the larger world and show they won’t be moved.

What should we do? It’s too late to do it.

Lt. Gen. Wallace Gregson (commander of Marine forces in the Pacific):

The prerequisite to successful action against the relative handful of active terrorists has been, from the beginning, drying up the sea of Islamist sympathizers in which they would swim. That was supposedly the Bush Administration’s intended modus operandi in the weeks after 9/11. Iraq, Gitmo, people tortured to death in Afghanistan and at Abu Ghraib, have fundamentally destroyed that avenue for many years to come. And Bush and his British sidekick aren’t about to change direction here: Bush will never back down on anything, and Blair isn’t gonna break up a great relationship.

Three and a half years ago, the world - including most of the Islamic world - was on our side. Iraq ended that. We can’t get back to the place we need to be.

Meanwhile, the Brits will probably be able to track down these particular terrorists. It’s cold comfort to catch these people after the fact. Meanwhile, we can’t see the terrorists who are planning the next attack, because they swim in a sea of sympathizers.

Only partly agree – didn’t American voters just have the same chance? And didn’t they, in fact, express their tacit approval to the original “governmental response”?

Wholeheartedly agree.

Disagree. I think it’s also a time to asses whether current policy is working. While there is no justification to acts such as today’s, surely there are reasons. I posit that it is in their – Britain’s - interest to know what they are and whether current policy is indeed their best option. Or, simply put, when in hole, stop digging.
Lastly, can anyone claim to be genuinely surprised by the attack? To me, since the Iraq invasion, it has always been a matter of when, not if.

How’s doing more of the same a wiser idea? It it working?

Well, that’s why I specifically mentioned the invasion of Iraq. I think you’re well aware of my feelings on that particular topic. But least you think I am some sort of pinko and/or bleeding heart l’brul, I supported the Afghanistan campaign – just not all the ensuing mistakes.

That’s a rather duplictious statement because I happen to remember how ‘important’ Spain was leading up to the invasion. Or (gaasp!) is a country’s importance directly related to the degree of agreement with the US? No need to answer, rethorical query for introspective purposes not of my own.

Further, could you please enlighten me as to how we’re different than the Brits? Pending your response I’m not sure what to make of the comment other than it reads rather derrogatory.

RT, that’s a pretty pessimistic assesment of the circumstances. Alas I also happen to think you’re spot on.

I think its a good time for London to tell Bush they are going to take care of things their own way… and get out of Iraq and staying in Afghanistan only. (yeah yeah… prodding Bush).

Well Bush aside… I think its quite clear what the message was: No safety from terrorists. Invading Iraq didn’t help… nor Afghanistan. Ultra high security and modern technology either. This is a war of Hearts and Minds. Blair should take the opportunity to be more independent… and reassure muslims of his commitment to real reform and less military solutions.

Closing borders and going police state on muslims won't help... probably make it worse.

Wish I wasn’t, but Lord knows that enough other people who seem to have a clue have said essentially the same thing Gregson’s saying, over the past few years.

How is it not working, at least with reguard to the US/UK homeland? WHat? You figure for it to be ‘working’ it needs to stop 100% of all attacks? You are dreaming if you figure thats the case. What more do you suggest? That the UK pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan? You figure that would help? It might…short term. What other help suggestions do you have? Eliminate poverty in the ME? Good luck with that without basically taking out the majority of governments in the ME. Get rid of the seas they swim in? Again, good luck with that…I’m sure if you just reason with fundamentalists they will see the logic and come around to your way of thinking. It works so well in the US after all with our own brand of fundies.

I think that these attacks are inevitable, and horrible as they are, especially for the families, the only thing we can do is to try the best we can from a security standpoint, try and step up our intellegence organs and keep tabs on what we think the terrorists are planning, and then go about our business the best way we can.

Gods know where you are getting the above from. I was merely pointing out that the US went into Afghanistan first (i.e. it was our first reaction after we figured out who done it) not Iraq. I wasn’t attempting to paint you one way or the other as a supporter or non-supporter of Afghanistan.

Duplictious how exactly? Did I ever claim Spain was important? If you have a quote by me saying so I’ll gladly eat some crow…but I have serious doubts I ever though Spain was anything but a minor player in this little drama.

How Spain is different than the Brits? Easy. The Spanish people never supported the war in Iraq in a majority while the Brits did (though don’t anymore…much like here in the US). Spain was never anything but a minor player in this drama…the UK was and is a major participant. As I said in my previous post the Spanish were in an election cycle just prior to the attack…the British are not, so there is not much chance of this attack swaying them to come out in force to depose Blair and Co. That enough differences? That you are all set to read things as derrogatory kind of says something to me. I’ve never been hostile to Spain.

-XT

I’m pretty sure that a majority of Brits opposed the invasion in the way it took place, without a UN mandate.

Has it been definitely established that al-Queda is responsible? And why are they striking at Great Britain instead of the United States?

Regards,
Shodan

I could be wrong of course. My own recollection is that the numbers were hovering just over 50% in favor prior to the invasion. Certainly the British numbers were much higher than the Spanish numbers so the point is still valid I think.

-XT

Someone claiming to represent AQ is claiming responsibility (and threatening Denmark and Italy next as well as further attacks on the UK IIRC) for the attack…but its completely uncomfirmed last I checked. It could still be some anti-G8 group or maybe some nationalist group pissed off about the Olympics…or I suppose it COULD be some fringe Irish group that decided now was a good time to start the bloodshed again. My money is on AQ or some other Islamic terrorist group, but its all just a guess right now.

As to why not American…thats a damn good question. A group of friends and I were discussing this on the 4th in fact while looking out at a huge crowd gathered to watch some fireworks. Some idiot let off a bottle rocket into the crowd and it got us to thinking how easy it would be to strap a bomb on or set off a mortar or something like that. I don’t know the answer to why the US hasn’t been hit with something like that…seems to me we’d be as easy a target for such an attack as the Brits.

-XT

News reports say that an al Qaeda group has claimed responsibility. I believe they’ve also claimed the attacks (partially) as retaliation for the US’s military action in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Probably because they can. Terrorists aren’t particularly picky about their targets.

Most Brits did, and still do. I don’t have recent certs, but around this same time last year, it was something like 60% against. But the overriding belief is that the invasion was a bad idea, but very very few seem to support a pull-out.

What I think the Brits should do:

  1. Stay the course. This does not mean keep the same tactics, but there should be no thought of pulling out. Iraq is a mess, but pulling out will just make it worse. I do think this will make it a bit less likely for the UK to give the US a blank check for future ME adventures.
  2. Increase Islamic outreach. The UK has great contacts in the ME, especially with Pakistan, and should capitalize on these to get more Muslims on their side.
  3. Find the fuckers who did this, those who supported them, and those who trained them, and then take them out, hard and fast. Get their money, get their kids, get their families, and take the whole lot down. But that could just be anger on my part for these idiots fucking up my day.

One last comment - living here, the one thing that utterly surprised me was how fast the Brits got right back to it. There was chaos all through London today; my ex took over 5 hours to get home across 5 miles of Central London. The London Exchange took a big hit, and lots of businesses were closed. But by 5 pm, the busses were running again, and by 9am tomorrow the tubes likely will be running again. But again, they have some experience with living with terror.

I really think this will not have a great effect on either politics or on government in the UK, to be honest. I think they’re gonna bury the dead, help the wounded, patch up the broken stuff, and then just keep on doing what they’re doing. This isn’t the first time London’s been bombed, even in recent history, after all…

The London transport system is a bit of a soft target to be honest. A cynical part of me is kind of surprised it took them this long to pull it off. Trains are far easier targets to bomb than planes, and far more people use trains than planes in the UK due to size. London is also very highly dependent on it’s mass transit system.

One reaction of this is likely going to be a huge amount of ‘hardening’ of mass transit systems all over the world, especially high target areas like New York, but to be honest as a part-time security guy the nightmare is how to secure public transport…

I think we will respond in the same way as the Spanish actually - refuse to give in, refuse to subvert our way of life and make every effort to find the perpertrators. I should remind everyone also that Spanish troops continue to operate in Afghanistan.

I am not sure how this could be definitely established, but how sure is London?

Why couldn’t the terrorists strike at some target in the US as easily as in London?

Regards,
Shodan