Thursday, July 21, 2005

More In & On The Way

Another four bombs. Another three London subway lines, another bus.

These were low-yield conventional bombs. One was rumored to be filled with nails and shrapnel to maximize its capacity to rip through human flesh. Yet the collection of four devices, all of which were remote-detonated and not suicide bombs, were barely powerful enough to cause anything more than panic.

It's pretty clear that today's incident wasn't designed to take another 50 or so lives; it was aimed at scaring the people of London, certainly, and was also a way for a group of extremists to flip London's MI5 and Intelligence Services the proverbial bird.

The events this morning (actually, lunch hour, local time) and two weeks ago are splashed across the news, and their lingering after-effects, like that from 9/11 here, will persist. However, what isn't nearly as public is the proliferation of intelligence: rumors, suggestions, leaks, intercepts, clues and evidence all are being juggled, examined and pored over each day. Eventually, security forces -- whether in the United States, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, etc. -- will act on these newly-developed avenues for understanding.

Unfortunately, until we -- meaning those nations and peoples fighting al-Qaeda and other extemist muslim terrorist groups -- change the rules and start responding in kind, these attacks will continue.

First, what I mean is that there is no way that a civilized society can maintain its civility when monsters masquerading as humans are allowed to freely mingle within the society, board buses and trains, and detonate bombs, both conventional and unconventional. There is no real defense against suicide bombers. Japanese kamikaze bombers in World War II were repelled solely because they were in different "uniforms" than their enemies; but in a society where pedestrians carry backpacks, messenger-type bags and large parcels with regularity, there is no way to determine (or prevent) more of these animals from perpetrating this type of behavior. Is it feasible or realistic to expect subway stations and buses to be protected with metal detectors? It is not. Is it realistic to expect equipment in large cities to somehow detect significant amounts of ammonium nitrate? It's possible, but the cost and the efficiency of these devices would be prohibitive and unacceptable, respectively.

Another course of action, certainly, would be for all Western nations (all nations in general, actually) to remove themselves from all Middle East countries; eliminate the state of Israel; relinquish interest and control over oil- and petroleum refineries; and accede to the beliefs and the demands of people whose life work is to blow themselves up. This seems to echo and mirror those people who suggest that had the US (and other Western nations) not embarked on the war to oust Saddam Hussein, none of this terrorist activity would be occurring to the degree it is. I certainly respect others' opinions on this matter, but anyone who suggests that the War in Iraq was has somehow worsened the status quo vis-a-vis terrorism is thoroughly misinformed.

No, there is and has to be another way.

More on the way.

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