This is going to be a long war. Decades. The enemy will inflict some defeats. Today was one of them. Some of the people who will die in the war will be people in uniform. Some of them will be ordinary citizens of countries targeted by the terrorists, possibly some of this blog’s readers or writers. The shock of this attack in London will pass quickly, then all the usual parties will maneuver to gain political advantage from it. All parties will argue that it validates their existing positions. Whatever spin eventually emerges from these events, the ultimate outcome of the war is not in doubt. Neither America nor Britain are going to be defeated by these means. The terrorists lack the means to destroy the core of our power. And any attempt to appease the terrorists or placate them will be taken, correctly, as weakness and will only lead to further demands and further violence. They cannot be negotiated with, since their goals are effectively infinite — the establishment of a regime like the Taliban, imposed on the entire world. So, by whatever twisted course, ongoing violent confrontation, and the ultimate defeat of Islamic terrorism, is going to be the long-term outcome. A lot of people are going to die first. Even so, fear nothing. How we live is what matters, and when we die is, by and large, out of our hands. What we make of this country and this time we live in and what we hand on to those who come after are what matters. Our generation has had the task imposed on it of fighting and destroying these terrorists. It will be hard, and it will be ugly, but we will do what needs to be done.

For now, pray for the dead, the injured, their families, the people caring for the wounded.

30 thoughts on “London”

  1. My son and his fiancee are home safe after walking through areas close to the bombed stations, and boarding a train on a station just re-opened after the all-clear! His one comment to me, made on a mobile phone whose network had just been restored, was typical of our slightly understated way of life, “First time in ages there’s been an empty train ready to leave from Charing Cross!”

    We appreciate the support from our friends, and know that such friendship is steady through thick and thin! Thank you all very much!

  2. Well done Lex. Victor Hanson echoes these thoughts in his “Ripples of Battle”. He noted that hardened vets of Okinawa and other terrible places had a somewhat similiar reaction upon hearing of 911. Rather than jumping up and down and screaming they just stood up and knew what must be done. Of course I paraphrase, but everyone does know what must be done – the perpetrators of these crimes against the innocent must be eliminated.

  3. Mike, glad you and yours are safe.

    Dan, these terrorists have literally limitless demands. In Ralph Peters’ parlance, they are “apocalyptic” rather than “political”. They cannot be negotiated with. They have to be killed. I wish it were otherwise. But there is no other way.

    Moreover, these kinds of attacks have a very large constituency. They are popular in the Arab world, as was 9/11. It is not a tiny minority who supports these attacks. The British are going to have to clean up their own country. See this. They have home-grown terrorists to worry about. As I said, this is going to be a long and ugly war.

  4. Good post. You’re right that it will be decades, and ugly. And you’re right that it’s something we don’t have any choice about.

    Prayers for all Londoners today.

  5. Madrid was a defeat, but today was not a defeat because the British won’t let themselves be defeated.

    Today was an attack, and the bad guys in this war will keep mounting attacks against us. But only we can turn their attacks into defeats. That’s what the Spanish did.

    But the Bali attack wasn’t a defeat, and 9/11 wasn’t a defeat, and 7/7 isn’t a defeat.

  6. Thank you. Very well put and very true. The fight actually has just begun and I doubt seriously that it will be completely finished in my lifetime or maybe even in this century. The last conflict between the two cultures lasted over 400 years.

  7. Yes, I agree wholeheartedly they must be killed. But I don’t feel bad about it. Like the guys on Okinawa and other places knew – it is just the way it has to be. There are to be no negotiations with the Islamofascists just as there were none to be had with the Japanese.

  8. Just thinking about what the Brits endured during the Nazi buzzbombing days makes these two bit thugs look like a joke. I’m pretty sure this will only serve to re-shore the steely british nerve….

    I hate to steal a line but it can truly be said that America has had no greater friend in modern times….

    good luck to you all….

  9. SDB, I agree with your larger point, but I’ll stick to my terminology.

    Spain was a strategic defeat. Today was merely a tactical defeat. They penetrated our defenses and killed a lot of our people. But, agreed, the British are not likely to respond as the Spanish and hand a major, and unearned, victory to the enemy as a result of this atrocity. The supporters of the enemy perceive these attacks as victories, it encourages them, so it is a victory in that sense as well. Preventing these attacks, as unspectacular as that is, is success for us.

  10. In the show Les Miserables, Gavroche sings:

    “So never kick a dog because he’s just a pup/
    We’ll fight like twenty armies and we won’t give up/
    So you better run for cover when the pup grows up!”

    Perhaps now these jihadis will learn that they’re not called Bulldogs for nothing. And with the Eagle flying overhead, they’d better run for cover!

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  14. Lex, I would suggest that today’s attack was a triumph for the attackers, but I still contend that it wasn’t a victory for them.

    They didn’t win anything today, and this attack may end up making things even worse for them in the long run.

  15. Steven, I earnestly hope that today will make things very, very bad for the terrorists, as you do, whatever we call it.

  16. Evoking WW2 is fine and makes us feel good, but can we please look at recent history?

    How many hundreds of thousands protested against the ‘illegal and immoral’ Iraq war? What about the pathetic spectacle of Kenneth Bigley? Or the supine behavior of British politicians towards the relatively small Muslim population of Britain with regards to that absurd Hatred Law?

    This bombing happened in a state of heightened security, 4 years after 9/11. According to British Intelligence, none of the people they were ‘watching’ had anything to do with this. That’s worrisome.

    WW2 was a long time ago and a lot can change in 60 years. Give the Brits a week. Then we can probably make some cursory judgements as to how this will play out. The Georgeous One is already flapping his jaws. I think it’s a precursor.

    The West is ill. I think it’s questionable if we’re up to snuff.

  17. As usual, I agree with Lex on this one. It is a defeat, but not a devastating one. What I’m afraid of is that this is a prelude to a continued series of attacks on the UK and, God forbid, the USA. I hope it is not a strategic shift in Al Qaeda’s thinking from large scale attacks to small scale attacks, ie turn the USA into the West Bank, Gaza, or Sunni Triangle. If I were them, that’s actually what I would be doing. Setting off bombs in various high density/low security targets such as shopping malls, sporting events, mass transit, etc, but make them frequent and small. Small is easier to carry out than large, harder to detect & prevent, and it would take the fight to the American homeland.

  18. How we live is what matters, and when we die is, by and large, out of our hands.

    Well done.

  19. A defeat? A victory? The impact of 7/7 can’t be fully known for years.

    As a state’s-rights Republican I have one real concern: in short, if the federal government has to fund an unbudgeted, emergency mandate for the security of urban mass-transit infrastructure then the terrorists have taken a pretty big bite out of us.

    I’m not saying don’t respond forcefully, I’m just saying that when deciding whether the attack was successful, the jury’s still out and I hope that it’ll add-up all the long-term costs. If the attack on London’s public transit system becomes the justification for saddling the Federal government with the open-ended liability of funding select states’ urban security projects, then the attack could be called a success. $800 million or more redistributed to coastal urban states for their cities’ “first responders” means that much less for the nation’s urban schools, missile defense and border patrol.

  20. I’m sorry, this is nothing less than a catastrophic defeat. Britain in the run-up to WWII did everything in it’s power to avoid war until it was too late and very disastrous. Lillian Hellman’s Watch On the Rhine is politically incorrect these days and no longer performed.

    Within a month Blair will be ousted, Brown taking over, with George Galloway as Interior Minister. Britain will withdraw from Iraq AND Afghanistan, apologize to bin Laden, call for a return of Saddam and the Taliban, and institute Sharia Law for Muslim Family disputes as Canada does.

    That’s just a given. Terrorism ALWAYS works. It worked for Gerry Adams, Yasir Arafat, Osama (made him a legend), Shamil Besayev (Beslan was a total triumph for him, he showed Putin to be unable to save even toddlers and impressed the hard boys with his own brutality). Terrorism worked in Kenya (Mau-Mau), in Algeria, in Beirut, in Palestine (the Munich Massacre directly led to UN applause for Arafat and massive sympathy for the PLO).

    Remember Red Ken says it’s OK when Muslims blow up Jews in Israel. It depends who is on the bus (Red Ken defends the kind of bombing done in London just so long as it’s Jews dying).

    The only instance of terror not working was the OAS, where the French were just so tired that they let De Gaulle do whatever it took (killing most of them basically) to make the OAS stop.

    That’s understandable. It costs money, time, effort, lives, and civil liberties to defeat terrorism. That’s why Gerry Adams and the Omagh bombers went unpunished. Peace process don’t you know. I’m sure nothing very bad will happen to the surviving 7/7 bombers.

    Anyway, Blair is toast. Already Londoners are saying the bombing was deserved. That dynamic won’t change until a major UK city is nuked as the terrorists inevitably escalate both demands and attacks. Who would have thought in August 2000 that terrorists would fly planes into the WTC and Pentagon?

  21. There is no such thing as total security. Only a total fool expects such a thing. In relatively open societies there are always opportunities for contemptible people to exploit to do harm to innocents. It is so sad that such a large number of the co-religionists of these contemptible people are willing to tolerate their behaviour and incitement to violence.

    If this culture of complacency and co-dependency among the terrorist’s co-religionists does not reform itself, there is a very real prospect of the conflict expanding from a war between terrorists and officials of governments, to a war between civilians of one religion and everyone else.

  22. Re: Jim Rockford and “Within a month Blair will be ousted, Brown taking over, with George Galloway as Interior Minister.”

    I wonder if Mr. Rockford is on the same planet as we in Britain? Whereas I tend to agree with him in our Government’s supine submission to the IRA and SinnFein, which turned out to be a disaster for democracy, with murderers walking the streets and little achieved for that action, there won’t be anything similar happening in regard to the bombings on 7/7! The effect on British public opinion of these atrocties will be to reinforce our opposition to all and any fundamentalist terrorist acts, and to go slowly about the task of bringing to justice the clowns who perpetrated these mindless acts of terror!
    The idea of George Brown actually seated alongside Galloway is so far away from reality, I wonder if Mr. Rockford actually knows anything about U.K. politics at all!
    I opposed, and continue to oppose, the Iraqi war, but British soldiers will remain alongside their American comrades until the Iraqi government states that they are ready to be relieved, and to even suggest anything to the contrary is to totally misunderstand the ethos of the British military presence in Iraq!
    As for Sharia Law, well, our Common Law has been good enough for Britain for the past eight hundred years, and it will take a little more than four bombs from a bunch of mad rag-heads to remove the protections afforded us by that Law!
    As a final comment, I seem to recall that large sums of cash were donated on an extremely regular basis by Irish-Americans and their sympathisers, ostensibly to be sent for the families of the ‘victims’ of British brutality in Northern Ireland, but actually to help buy arms and explosives for the ‘Struggle’; and it wasn’t until 9/11 did the USA Government officially wise up to the fact that the IRA and their brothers in Sinn Fein were nothing more than common-or-garden crooks, murderers and terrorists after power, money and control over a part of the British Isles. I wonder how he came to forget that little piece of American history?

  23. Yes it will be a long war. I fear however, despite the fact that Al-Qaeda can never defeat Western Civilization on the field of battle, they have learned the one single lesson of Vietnam most useful to our sworn enemies, and that is that defeat will come to the infidel through their own op-ed pages and nightime news anchors, and, sadly and most damaging, on the floors of Congress.

    Despite our massive effort to protect civilians from the reach of the GWOT, the plain fact is that our adversary is cunning, capable, and utterly dedicated to their cause, and their cause, unlike wars in the past, includes their willingness to sacrifice their own life en masse to achieve their goal of the restoration of the Caliphate. Victor Davis Hanson and Bernard Lewis have outlined this point well.

    My respect to the Brits: chin up, and carry on.

    My loathing to the likes of Chomsky, Ward Churchill, Democracy Now! (what a lie), Amy Goodman, and the sad spectacle of idiot congressmen in the US who have lost their perspective due entirely to their hatred of President Bush.

    Speaking of which, thank you Mr. President. Prosecuting a war is never an exercise in perfection, and war is one series of FUBARS after another, but I am thankful that you are at the helm.

  24. Few Americans would find the aims of the terrorists attractive; indeed, most would find them well worth fighting against.

    I suspect what needs to be said most clearly & most often are the stated aims of the terrorists, put into a chronology of attacks. Also journalists who so glibly discuss Bush’s unilateralism should put that in the context of the oil-for-food scandal. I realize this is a painfully obvious comment but contexts are seldom given–not much more often by hawks than the doves. (Of course, both are often implicit in hawkish arguments.)

  25. Lex,

    Thank you for your post. You speak a grim truth that most are not willing to acknowledge, but it did me good to read it. I have often felt fear, gloom and bitterness over the past three and a half years, but you have reminded me that I should not despair.

    And thanks Jonathan for the Union Jack on the site. I’m not British, and the Union Jack only takes up a corner of my Australian flag, but I am a Londoner and care deeply about Britain and I was heartened by your expression of solidarity.


  26. Yes, That’s just a given. Terrorism ALWAYS works. It worked for Gerry Adams, Yasir Arafat, Osama (made him a legend), Shamil Besayev (Beslan was a total triumph for him, he showed Putin to be unable to save even toddlers and impressed the hard boys with his own brutality). Terrorism worked in Kenya (Mau-Mau), in Algeria, in Beirut, in Palestine (the Munich Massacre directly led to UN applause for Arafat and massive sympathy for the PLO).

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