THE BLOG

Stiff Upper Lip, or How I Pulled My Head Out Of The Sand

07/20/2005 10:11 am 10:11:14 | Updated May 25, 2011

Nearly two weeks after the London bombings and the gloves, so to speak, are slowly coming off, at least in England. In the immediate aftermath of London’s little 9/11 (and I say 'little' not to diminish the tragedy but to put it in proper perspective, so thank you for your comments in advance), very few in Britain wanted to engage in politics and those who did were quickly shouted down as either apologists for terror or insensitive to the extreme. After all, there were still warm bodies buried deep underground.

On this site, seemingly popular with quite a few on the far right for their much-needed morning dose of outrage, anyone who suggested a link with Iraq was similarly labeled, and even mocked (although I can’t for the life of me see why right-wing humor and sarcasm have a place at the terror table while left-leaning cool-headed explanation or opinion don't). I’m quite willing to plead guilty to a less than overwhelmingly emotional response to the bombings, but I’m not so sure that many on the right are willing to plead guilty to a less than emotional response to at least 25,000 innocent Iraqis killed in the war. Read the comments in Jane Wells’ post and weep.

Now in Britain the media, commentators, experts and politicians are all entering the ring, quite willing to duke it out on the question of why they were attacked. Tony Blair and his government have been quick to rule out any link between the London bombings and either Iraq or Afghanistan, or indeed anything at all. It doesn’t matter that Chatham House produced a report suggesting the opposite, or even that Blair’s own security apparatus warned of increased terror if Britain joined the war. The terrorists struck, apparently in Blair’s mind, for no reason whatsoever.

But it seems that the British public isn’t buying it, or at least 64% of them aren’t. Maybe they, unlike their Prime Minister, woke up and smelled the cordite. Ken Livingstone isn’t buying it either: London’s sometimes popular mayor goes even further (than any causal linkage with recent wars) by suggesting that eighty years of western hegemony in the Middle East is to blame for turning young British Muslims into suicide bombers.

So while here our concerns are l’affaire Rove and George Bush’s nominee to SCOTUS, in Europe they’re still talking about terrorism and thankfully, debating the causes.