Thursday, July 14, 2005

Sensibility In The "Western" World

A friend of mine beat me to writing about the differences between the British response and American response to attacks on the "homeland." So, here's his blog post on the subject, which can also be found at

I've watched closely the reaction of the British people and the British government to last week's terror attacks, and I must say that I wish America would take a cue from its former colonial patron. The British people have responded to the terror attacks with both class and realism--understanding that the two are not mutually exclusive. Londoners continue to ride the "tube," and most seem to understand that the terror attacks were part of a broader conflict with the Arab world.

The English seem also to understand that terror is, for the most part, the result of a conflict between Western economic and military policies (particularly those of the United States), and Arab nationalism. British PM Tony Blair, whom I'm not particularly a fan of, has responded with dignity, stressing British resoluteness and tolerance. It seems the British understand that radical Islam cannot be defeated with bombs and mortar, but can be defeated with stiff law enforcement, sincere understanding and the presentation of different ideologies. Significantly, there have been no calls to invade Argentina, nor any other country unaffiliated with the attacks.

America, on the other hand, responded to 9/11 with blind rage. That's not to say that anger and rage were not justified, for they surely were. But America's response, the invasion of Iraq, its chest-thumping, its withdrawal from the international community, its spurning of long-time allies, the media complicity and the Patriot Act, demonstrate a short-sightedness that I've come to accept as part of the culture of this nation in the post-9/11 period.

It is said the God should bless America, and America alone; that God willed America to act around the world, and to determine the future of His earth. These views, while cloaked in the language of strength, display, in reality, weakness and fear. As anyone with any shred of wisdom knows, people that puff and try to be strong are, in reality, weak on the inside. (See, for example, Tupac)

I credit this difference between the US and the UK to one thing--the fact that Europeans, particularly the British, travel. They travel all over the world, experiencing different cultures and learning the issues from new, never-before-countenanced angles. Because America is such a vast nation, most Americans have never been outside of America's borders. According to several sources, only 21% of Americans have a passport. Therefore, because Americans are unfamiliar with other countries, they are easier to manipulate through fear and innuendo, as we saw in the run-up to the Iraq War. Throw in a media that is willing to make this a religious war between Christianity and Islam and you have a recipe for disaster that could change the course of the world.

In sum, America should take a clue from its most trusted ally, and learn how to understand terror with a greater, more in-depth world view.

A friend from London sent a link to a very funny article - British journalists are hilarious. Check it out.

Proverbs 16:32
"Better a patient man than a warrior, a man who controls his temper than one who takes a city."


At 11:27 AM, July 14, 2005 , Anonymous sctrojan95 said...


Am I misunderstanding the post, or is it implying that the bombings are not in any way meant to be retribution for Great Britain's involvement in the war in Iraq and its support of the U.S. I sense a belief that if 9/11 never occurred, these bombings would still have been carried through last week.

With respect to the comment "Significantly, there have been no calls to invade Argentina, nor any other country unaffiliated with the attacks", do we forget that one significant difference between those who committed the 9/11 attacks and those who are believed to have conducted the London bombings is that foreigners entered the US to do their deeds while British nationals (albeit Muslim extremist sympathizers) are believed to be responsible for the London attacks? Under this interpretation, you would have to praise Spain for not attacking an unaffiliated country for the attacks by its Basque separatists, and give credit to the U.S. for not invading an unaffiliated country because of Timothy McVeigh's and Terry Nichols's Oklahoma City bombing. I believe, based upon the identities of the presumed responsible individuals, that the bombings were a violent political protest of their nation's support of the U.S. and the war ... not the actions of a foreign terrorist seeking retribution for anm actual or perceived wrong or in the belief that he/she is furthering the cause of his/her organization. I could be wrong ... it's just what I think.

Finally, with respect to the comment about PM Blair's class and realism in asking for "sincere understanding and the presentation of different ideologies", I seem to remember W also making a statement following 9/11 that the WTC attacks were the acts of extremists and people of the Muslim faith should not all be painted with the same brush ... that the Muslim faith is one of peace and that the actions and beliefs of extremists are not shared by all Muslims.

I'm sorry, but I vehemently disagree with the poster. It's one thing to say the stated reasons for the U.S.'s invasion of Iraq were based on lies, half-truths and omissions .... it's completely different to say that given the current state of affairs, that Great Britain's response to the London bombings show the superior class and realism of the British people. I'm not saying they would or wouldn't, but what did you think the British were going to do? Go in and invade Iraq again? Start poking nuclear Iran with a stick?

A friend spoke to me last night about the difference between regime change and regime evolution. A regime evolution takes place over an extended period of time, through changes in political and economic conditions (i.e. see the former U.S.S.R.). Regime change is one that requires the use of force to remove the existing regime from power. Given the conditions, proven genocide of Kurds and Iraqis, suspected (justified in my opinion) development of WMD's, is regime evolution something that would have taken place in Iraq or even something that was possible? It was tried through economic sanctions following Desert Storm in '91 (we've been trying it for over a decade with North Korea, over 4 decades with Cuba) .... it didn't work, did it? I believe, rightly or wrongly, that a regime change was required in Iraq. Did we know for certain that there were no WMD's in Iraq? Maybe ... maybe not. I don't know ... but I'd rather not find out the hard way.

At 3:29 PM, July 14, 2005 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

I am the poster. Thank you for your comments.

While many of my thoughts pertain to the comparative reactions of Bush (who went to the site and threatened war) and Blair (who went to the site and talked about remaining normal), many of them also pertain to the British people themselves.

The day after the attack, I listened to British radio on the internet, and I was shocked at how calm the callers remained. Brits understand the causes of terror, and therefore can react to them with calm, whereas Americans live in a bubble of hubris and materiality that prevents them from doing the same.

In any case, thanks for your comments. Go Trojans!

At 6:35 AM, July 15, 2005 , Anonymous sctrojan95 said...

Fair enough .... I guess if you think about it, just based on the difference between their television programming and newspaper content (i.e. Page 3 girls) and ours, it's clear that they're lovers and we're fighters.

Bush for President!!!! Reggie Bush that is!!!!!

At 1:22 PM, July 15, 2005 , Blogger bombsoverbaghdad said...

No doubt!!!

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