“Mr Grey says this picture shows police surrounding one of the men involved in the incident who had apparently been on fire.” Amateurs, you’re supposed to blow yourself up, not set yourself on fire.
Well, I decided to wait a bit to comment on the terrorist attacks in the UK immediately, just in case something interesting developed. Looks right now like your basic local schmoes inspired by Al Qaeda type attack. Off-the-shelf low grade pyrotechnics, car bombs that didn’t blow up, and two guys crashing their car into a barrier. (What, two guys in a suicide vehicle? They needed two to use the car pool lane?) As someone pointed out, reading terrorism instructions off the Internet and putting them into practise is harder than it sounds. The Brits appear to be taking it in stride, I mean, the bombs didn’t go off. And if they didn’t let the IRA rattle them, who evolved into into trained and sophisticated bombers in the course of that war, amateur Al Qaeda types shouldn’t faze them.
So basically same old same old, this sort of attack will continue as long as Britain has armies in the Middle East. Good policing and intelligence prevents most of them. It might be inspired by the recent knighting of Rushdie, but even so that would just be part of the picture. And of course on the same day the news about this came out, it appears that over a hundred civilians were killed in a NATO air raid in Afghanistan. Yes, westerners care so much about the lives of Muslims that we routinely use bombers, artillery, and helicopter gunships in their urban areas. It’s no wonder the Islamic radicals think the west is a culture that worships death, we kill innocent Muslim woman and children every day and apparently think nothing of it. And of course the non stop bloodshed inflicted by the US and Israel is what makes it easy for Al Qaeda to inspire a fifth column in the west.
It may seem odd, but read an article about Russia recently that helps to understand this current mess. It’s kind of long and meandering, but the main point it makes is that Americans see themselves in the mirror when dealing with other cultures. That is, they think that American values are universal values, and they insist that everyone they deal with respect the exact same values. What most Americans fail to understand is that telling people to adhere to your values is the same as telling them what to do. And guess what, people don’t want to be told what to do and generally refuse on principle. The further point made is that American’s foreign relations with other countries are doomed to failure because we haven’t taken the trouble to understand where their values differ from ours.
It’s a reasonable point. There are something like 5,000 cultures on the planet. Each with it’s own unique collection of values. Understanding the difference between them means the difference between peace and successful business deals, or war and mortgaging your future to China. Unfortunately the US seems to be committed to the later path, and many of our allies, especially Britain, are along for the ride. As long as western armies are crusading in the Middle East and Israel is holding millions of people hostage this sort of attack is inevitable. Our leaders and Al Qaeda know this well, welcome to a world of permanent terror.
(The above image of the aftermath of the Glasgow terrorist attack is claimed as Fair Use under US copyright law. It is not being used for profit, it is central to illustrating the post, and it is an historically important image. Credit: Richard Grey/BBC)