Thursday, July 07, 2005

London Thoughts

It's hard to say too much about the London bombings I guess. I have just a few quick thoughts:

1. There is a lot of evil in this world. To talk of these terrorists as anything but horrible horrible people is just offbase. To kill innocent civilians in their home countries is totally unacceptable and just insane. And then of course there's all the innocents that the US and Britain have killed in Iraq. I hear Bush talking this morning about the killing of innocents and I think, are you talking about London or yourself?

2. There is a major difference between targeted assassinations and these kind of terrorist attacks. Not only do they really lead to nothing, but they are basically immoral. My mind can process the killing of the Egyptian envoy to Iraq, not that it justifies it. But what is the reason for such random killing? It seems not only immoral, but bad strategy as well. And I do differentiate between killing civilians in their home countries and the killings of civilians in a colonially occupied place, such as Algeria before the French left. Maybe I'm splitting hairs but I do think there is a real difference.

3. I think it's important to think about different ways to avoid these kind of attacks. Personally, I believe in a two-pronged policy of alleviating the most obvious and unnecessary provocations to the world's Muslims while attacking the terror cells very strongly, though with legal methods. Closing GITMO would be an excellent start. Not going to war in Iraq would have been a real good idea here. Giving Islamic prisoners some sort of due process would also be a real good idea. It's important to take away the legitimate moral claims that terrorists use to justify their actions is a very important first step. Attacking the centers of terrorism is a little trickier. Do you come down on the free speech of radical Islamic clerics when they advocate terrorism? That's a tough call. I think that if you do, you'd better make the process very transparent about what is acceptable and what is not and you'd better be constantly reviewing what is the correct thing to do in individual situations. And you'd better not be passing things like the Patriot Act that ultimately strengthen the moral claims of extremists.

In any case, what a sad day.