To my British readers

While getting ready for work, I just heard on the radio what happened this morning while we Yanks slept. I flipped on the TV and was greeted with horrific images from central London. Although the causes aren't clear and all of our broadcasters here (with the exception of Fox News, of course) are qualifying their speculations, certainly these explosions in the Tube and on double decker buses smell like a coordinated terrorist attack, particularly given the multiple locations and the fact that it occurred during the morning rush hour.

To all my British readers, I offer my best wishes, sorrow, solidarity, and hope that the explosions are over. If this is indeed a terrorist attack, as it seems to be, I also hope the bastards who did this are caught and punished. (I have a personal stake in this, because a postdoctoral fellow of mine, who is British, recently left my lab and is scheduled to go back to London with her husband in about a week.)


  1. Thanks for your concern. The emergency services in London seem to have been doing an excellent job and may well have minimised what could have been a far worse situation.

    I thank my lucky stars that none of my friends or family who work in London were hurt; my thoughts go out to those unfortunate enough to be affected by this atrocity.

  2. If your wanted any clearer proof that Bush has failed, Tony Blair has failed, the War in Iraq has failed, US and UK intelligence has failed, the "War on Terror" has failed, that none of our "leaders" has done anything the least bit effective to curtail Al Qaeda's ability to carry out attacks, and that Bush's failure to capture Osama bin Laden (let alone his later statement, in front of TV cameras, that he was "not all that concerned" abut bin Laden) has had disastrous consequences for the world... well, you couldn't ask for it. I don't know what's more pathetic: the fact that more innocent lives had to be lost to prove the failure of the Bush/Blair doctrine, or the extent to which the far-right wingnuts will go to blame today's attacks on liberals.

  3. I don't see how that letter affects Martin's comments. Our government (and others) should protect us from Al Qaida. Clearly Al Qaida is as able as ever to mount atrocities. Therefore, our government, and the security services, have failed us. Obviously, the wrong strategy has been taken.

    This is nothing to do with political opportunism, rather a recognition that things need to change to stop repeats of these bombings in the future.

  4. Martin - I would like clearer proof! What this attack shows, above all else, is that terrorists have no value for human life. Their strategy of killing civilians is in no way a reflection on us; it is proof of a society in utter ruins. A society that worships death, which these terrorists and their supporters clearly do, is a failed society.

    Don't pass the blame for these killings onto Blair or Bush. Terrorists, not the leaders of democratic societies, killed those people in London - Do not forget that!

    London and its people are in my prayers today

  5. Eric: I got a 403 error trying to link to what you said I should read.

    chaperonin60: Further proof? Good grief! Look, here's my point. The Iraq invasion was justified by manufacturing a bogus link between Saddam and terrorism/al Qaeda, now long discredited, while Bush dallied for nearly four weeks after 9/11 before launching a strike against Afghanistan, giving bin Laden (to whom Bush later went on television to announce his indifference) more than enough time to get himself lost in the mountains between Afghanistan and Pakistan. This, oddly, did not seem to concern many of my fellow Americans, whom you would have thought would demand fast action in bringing Osama to swift justice.

    Despite this insouciance, much of Bush's re-election campaign was based on convincing the public he was The Man to protect us all from terrorism (vide the moronic bumper stickers claiming terrorists supported Kerry), a line enough voters fell for to re-elect the man. Defenders of the war continue to claim that because of Bush and his policies, we now live in a safer world. Suddenly, boom goes London, and the notion that "we're fighting them over there so we don't have to fight them here" has been felled like an oak tree before the woodsman's axe. The facts are that NONE of Bush and Blair's policies has done anything remotely effective to curtail terrorists' ability to operate, and instead, Iraq has turned into the #1-with-a-bullet anti-American kill-the-infidels rallying cry. There was clearly no intelligence warning London that this was coming, or at least none that was followed up on competently by MI-5, just like the way the CIA and the Bush admin screwed the pooch over 9/11, doing nothing in response to a memo circulated the month before with the unambiguous heading "Bin Laden Determined to Strike US."

    So while I of course hold the terrorists directly accountable for when something like this occurs -- YES, I do hold our elected officials to a high degree of blame as well. Because it is the responsibility of those who hold public office to keep their citizens safe...especially when, as Bush did, they run their re-election campaigns on the premise that they're ready, willing, and able to do so, and that a vote for the other guy is a vote for terrorism.

    How great does the incompetence of our leaders have to be before folks will acknowledge it? After all, much as I already disliked Bush for being a shill for the religious right, if you had told me, in 2000, that by the end of his first term, 3000 Americans would be dead on our own soil, another 1000+ would be dead in a war fought under false pretenses, and the perpetrator of the most violent act of terror in US history would still be running around loose while the conservative majority in the US government was instead obsessing over gay marriage and Terri Schaivo...Jesus H. Christ, even I wouldn't have believed you!

  6. I find this blame game a little disrespectful.

    Martin, you might want to shelve your speculation for a day or so and think of the several dozen British murder victims and their families. Or are you too concerned with showing everyone that you "were right"?


  7. I was just about to request that people keep it apolitical for at least a day or two. I get home from work and check out my blog, and what do I find? All sorts of finger-pointing. There will be plenty of time for that later; now is not the time.

    I only whipped this post out right before I had to leave for work because I wanted to express my condolences to and solidarity with my British readers. I really didn't want the comment section to turn into an argument over who's at fault, but perhaps if I had had more time I would have foreseen this.

  8. Orac: Repsecting your wishes, I will not continue this discussion.

    Again - my prayers go out to London and its people.

  9. Paul: I am sympathetic towards the families and victims. But unlike you, I do not think that exercising free speech makes one a "jerk," nor do I find it "disrespectful" to hold leaders accountable. Anyway, my post had nothing to do with my being right, and everything to do with my opinion that the policies of Bush and Blair have been wrong. Not everyone who speaks his mind is doing it to flex his ego, you know.

    The British public have been dealing with this situation very bravely. Kudos to them!

  10. Martin,

    The disrespect you show, in my opinion, is in the irrelevance of your comment to the actual post. The original post was a sincere offering of condolences, not a solicitation of political opinions.

    The "post" by the way, that is this bloggers, not yours, as you imply in your comment.

    This is just blog etiquette, and not a "freedom of speech" issue.

    There will be plenty of time for the all important finger pointing. But this is not the time, or the place, again, in my opinion.

    Orac, sorry to continue this thread. This is my last response to Martin.

  11. I concur with the sincere condolences, and am sorry if it did not occur to some that my posts were equally sincere and prompted by my anger at this wasteful loss of life.

  12. The response to the attacks in London in some quarters has been depressing - the finger pointing in the comments to thispost being a case in point. (As though we don't know where people of different political hues are going to place the principal blame without every comment thread on the net being hijacked to that end.) Likewise the reported 30,000 (and counting) hostile emails sent to the Muslim Council of Britain...

    The final death toll is still uncertain, yet already this act - like so many before it - is being used to political ends by those of all shades of opinion and attitude. I suppose when it's just people exploiting death to crow about the evils of Bush/Islam [delete whichever does not suit your political prejudices] and count online coup then it's pretty harmless, but it's definitely distasteful.


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