updated, 1:15 pm - welcome to those who've come over from Muley's World and the Coalition of the Swilling. Mr. Bingley has run into some of the predictable nitwittery in reply to this monstrous deed. His summation is perfect: "It really is beyond words, except for these: He's on the other side."
Tim Blair is gathering coverage of the attack, as well as the reactions.
updated again, 5:27 pm - I wonder if these bastards had anything to do with this. (w/t to the Corner)
New York, Paris, Madrid, and Moscow can now officially be glad not to be hosting the 2012 Summer Olympics. London has been bombed; so far fatalities are estimated anywhere from two to forty, and the injury list is 300 and climbing.
It's a slam dunk that this attack was planned well in advance. It was large-scale and high-profile. It also fits the pattern of all of these operations: it isn't aimed at the military capability of the West, but its morale. The terrorists aren't trying to win the war, they're trying to get the West to quit, and especially in the light of a significant segment of the West already disfavoring the war effort.
Really, they've been doing this for as long as I can remember. We think the war started on September 11, 2001, but that's just when we realized it. The war started long before, at least as far back as Iran seizing American hostages during the Carter administration. Then there was the Marine barracks in Beruit in 1983, various hijackings of airplanes and ocean liners, the World Trade Center in 1993, Khobar Towers, and the bombing of the USS Cole in 2000. These are people with even longer memories than this, still yammering about jihad and the Crusades and losing Andalucia back to the Spanish the year Columbus sailed for the New World.
I heard about this on the radio this morning. The substitute morning guy on 101.5-FM was asking people if, after hearing this, they felt safer than they did a year ago.
Absolutely the wrong question. This isn't really about safety, it's about liberty. (The British didn't oppose Hitler because they thought the Blitz would be safer.) The question is, are we going to remain a free people, or are we going to sit back and wait until much of the West is subsumed in a new caliphate? From fear, will we allow tyranny to thrive?
I don't have the stomach, this close to the event, to wander around the usual sites to hear about Chimpy Bushitler and His Halliburton Oil Mongers, but I will make an observation - such rantings are relics of the past 25 years, as outlined above. Some people are used to appearances over substance: they care how our actions make us look, rather than the action itself. The recent kvetching about the Quran at Guatanamo Bay and Dick Durban's inanities really highlighted it for me, as a sitting senator called his own government's soldiers a pack of Nazis. (It wasn't quite as bad a a sitting senator campaigning for president on a 20-year record of doing much the same, but still...) Neither of these worthies notice that Gitmo is the freest square milage on the entire island of Cuba. Five hundred yards from its borders you can be thrown in jail for such crimes as starting a library or wanting to stand in a free election.
It's really not complicated. The West holds that liberty is paramount. It is a powerful good in itself, and leads to the possibility of the maximum human progress and happiness. If you happen to aspire to holding men in harness to your own desires, this idea is intimidating - you don't want your own people to suspect that there's better out there for them - and you will be the enemy of anyone, anywhere, that holds that idea. And anyone with a true friend knows that sometimes, having that friend causes trouble. In school one is bullied for liking an unpopular kid; at work one is snubbed for keeping the wrong company. Throughout history, prophets are killed for speaking God's will, and champions of the oppressed share their suffering, and patriots die in war. Standing with the lowly and trying to raise them gets one jailed, beaten, and assassinated. And so loving the world to send One's only Son gets the Son tortured and killed by those He came to save.
Yet He came. He didn't cut and run, either, when it came to the point. For the West to cut and run in the face of the current atrocity is to dishonor those who were killed; it is as much as to say that we hope their lives will buy us a nicer brand of slavery, that their blood is an acceptable price for our security. I'm glad to see that our leaders want no part of such a shameful bargain.
Again, I know that some people say that our own soldiers are victims, much like those in the Twin Towers or the London Underground stations. Such a statement is high fatuity. Mere death doesn't make one a victim. Some will be killed in action, but they know this going in, and any soldier I've ever known or heard of would rather it not be his comrades or his loved ones instead. Contrast this to the suicidists who carry out attacks for our enemies, and you'll see the difference. Soldiers are sent to fight, not to die. They do it for the freedom of others, and not for the wholly selfish motive of eternal nookie in the sky. The jihadist has the same failing as his enablers in the media - his bravery is appearance over substance; since he considers his life to be someone else's property, it's easy for him to be careless with it. He literally has nothing to fight for since he isn't free to begin with. It's the fanaticism of the doomed.
That's how I know, ultimately, that the West is in the right here. If successful, even our enemies will profit; they will no longer be slaves and subjects, but free people. We must not waver where we stand, even if we aren't standing on the front line.