Quotes of the Day After
The choice for Britons now is whether they wish to be Australians post-Bali or Spaniards post-Madrid. .. This is the beginning of a long existential struggle, for Britain and the West. It's hard not to be moved by the sight of Londoners calmly going about their business as usual in the face of terrorism. But, if the governing class goes about business as usual, that's not a stiff upper lip but a death wish.
Mark Steyn, in the UK’s Daily Telegraph
What I hope most of all is that Mr Blair will not use the London bombings as an excuse to clamp down even further on our ancient liberties. It would be utter nonsense to suggest that ID cards would have prevented yesterday's atrocities, any more than they prevented the bombings in Madrid, where they had been compulsory for decades. The only sensible reactions to yesterday's bombings are to pray for the dead and the bereaved, express our heartfelt admiration for the emergency services, keep a vigilant eye out for suspicious people and packages - and carry on with business as usual, as far as we possibly can. We are just going to have to accept the depressing fact that the terrorist threat will be with us for a great many years to come, and that there is very little that we can do about it apart from staying on our guard.
Tom Utley, also in the Daily Telegraph
There is, of course, a widespread view that the election of the Socialist government immediately after the Madrid bombings was, at best, an act of appeasement or, at worst, of cowardice. And that it sent out entirely the wrong message to the terrorists. Well, I agree with the latter but reject the former. It seems to be overlooked that Spain was at the very end of a general election campaign and that the atmosphere was febrile. There was deep anger with the ruling PP party for its immediate and obvious manipulation of the atrocities and this, in my view, fed back into previous anger about how they’d mishandled the Prestige oil disaster. There was no time for reasoned debate about what sort of message should be sent to terrorists and how ‘mature’ the Spanish voters should be in considering both the short and long term implications of turfing out the offending PP party. And I very much doubt whether things would have gone differently in the UK.
To end on a positive note – Yes, Noah Feldman does have some constructive ideas about how to deal with nihilistic terrorism. His thesis [in ‘After Jihad’] is that Islam and democracy are not intrinsically incompatible and that Western governments must abandon their policy of seeking to maintain stability by supporting repressive autocrats and take the risk of promoting democratic government throughout the Islamic world. The good news is that he appears to know what he’s talking about and is not just a crank idealist screaming from the sidelines. Since there’s no other practical option but to live with permanent terrorism, one can only hope that his thesis gains favour where it counts.