I?m grateful for the thought (and the information and the links) that have gone into recent posts by my co-blogger Edward. I find myself disagreeing with him about only one thing: That the London bombing will (or should) lead to a major change in the way we see things, or to the West?s anti-terror strategy in particular.
I certainly don?t support aspect of Western leaders? anti-terror strategy, although I?ve been a proponent of a global war on terror since 2001. (I think the war in Iraq has turned out pretty disastrously, for instance.) So yes, I think something should change. I?m just not sure what the London bombings have to do with it.
This was expected. We knew something like it would probably happen (again) at some point, in someplace we know very well, like a big city in Europe or America. We have a general idea of who did it and we basically know why they did it. Sadly, something similar will likely happen again in the future, hopefully on not too grand a scale. People are sad, angry and revolted, but nobody is terribly surprised. So is there anything to learn from the London bombings that we should not have already learned? Does the event itself have anything to teach us?
I would say no. Rather, it simply serves to remind us of things we already know, or things we already think we know. Whatever change in strategy is needed was needed already, and should have happened regardless of how many people were killed last week. So I?m a little put off by the potential for over-analysis. (Edward, I must add, is focusing on the facts of this case rather than over-analyzing.)
To put it indelicately: For those not directly affected by what happened in London last week ? and in now way do I mean to belittle the pain of the victims or the horrible nature of the crimes ? I simply don?t think this was an earth-shattering event, by which I mean an event that truly changes the way we view things.
So we can read and write essays about the stoicism of the English, about the brutal nature of the assault on the diverse cosmopolitanism that is London and, most importantly in my view, about the need not to be cowed by fear. But perhaps the most important thing we can do right now is to carry on with our discussions and debates without using the London bombings to bolster our tired arguments. In fact, I think I?ve said a bit too much about it already.