London

Met the Innocents for a rehearsal last night but spent the first half hour watching news reports from London. After a while, with things like this, the tsunami and even G8, you feel the panic in the newsrooms of ‘what else can we say about this to fill up time?’.

The fact that the attack and casualties were small-scale (compared to attacks elsewhere in the world) doesn’t diminish it, but humanises the reporting in a way; but that would be more useful if it led to an appreciation and compassion for the plight of the people of Iraq, who face this kind of fear every day. While I don’t equate, as many do, all American  action in Iraq with terrorism, the fact is that it was the military attack in Iraq, and the failures of understanding and planning that followed it, that opened the door to the pure terrorism that has followed – defined as attacks aimed deliberately and purely at civilians, with no military target, and no attempt to gain ground or position, only to create fear and uncertainty about where the next attack is coming from.  Not all the US military attack can be classed as terrorism under that definition, although many attacks from history can: Dresden, Nagasaki, and Israeli reprisals in Palestine. But the responsibility for what Iraqis face in the streets daily – can you imagine that in London? – lies at the door of the White House.

David Byrne makes this comment on the war on terror:

The U.S. method seems instead to be about power, revenge, and show of force —
and is largely ineffective. In fact, I suspect it actually does more to recruit,
create and strengthen the terrorist networks than it does to bring them out in
the open. The U.S. war on terror makes more terrorists. Perfect, their work will
never be done. Halliburton and others will always have jobs. Endless war. A
population constantly in fear. An eternal enemy. The renditions, the torture,
the disregard for human rights — have become worldwide hallmarks of U.S. policy.
The world knows these U.S. methods and doesn’t believe the claims of installing
democracy or even of eliminating terrorism anymore. The ends don’t justify the
brutal means. Though they might be seen to do so, if the ends were actually
achieved. In most cases, sadly, they are not. Instead there is a wake of
carnage.


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I believe it is indeed possible to wage a sort of “war” on terrorism. But the
Bush administration is hopelessly inept, and is going about it in exactly the
wrong way. Bush could never run any of the companies he was handed on a silver
tray, except into the ground, so it’s no surprise he can’t run a war either.