"As the world reels from another major terrorist attack, I wandered round the internet in an attempt to get a bit of a feel of the reaction to the London bombings.
It seems that one of the most interesting (and serious) aspects of the response is over the terrorists' motivations. Was it a protest against Britain's role in the invasion of Iraq, as many commentators are predictably saying, or is it a much broader statement by Islamic militants against what they see as depraved Western values which offend conservative Islam? Maybe we'll never know.
But, here are some of the more interesting comments and stories that I stumbled across:
“Sorry, old chaps, you are dealing with an enemy that does not want anything specific, and cannot be talked back into reason through anger management or round-table discussions. Or, rather, this enemy does want something specific: to take full control of your lives, dictate every single move you make round the clock and, if you dare resist, he will feel it his divine duty to kill you.” Amir Taheri in The Times
“At 8.50am, Manjit Dhanjal was sitting on a packed Circle Line train between Aldgate East and Liverpool Street station, on her way to work in the City.” The Independent
"There was panic and everyone was running for their lives. I saw a lady coming towards me soaked in blood. Everyone was in confusion." The Times
“This is a conflict of values. But it is not just the contrast between the hate of the terrorists and the labours of the world leaders that will turn the tide. It is the contrast between the anger of the terrorists and the decency of ordinary people, as Londoners so powerfully showed yesterday. The Guardian's editorial
“Most of us can only speculate at the degree of Islamist penetration in the United Kingdom because we simply don't know, and multicultural pieties require that we keep ourselves in the dark.” Mark Steyn in the Daily Telegraph
“Clearly the masters of our intelligence establishment will be feeling huge embarrassment today – in early June the UK's central intelligence machinery reduced the threat posed to the UK by "international terrorism" from "severe general" (the highest alert state) to "substantial". The Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre would have based this assessment on an aggregation of all the clandestine and open-source material available to it – tested rigorously by their analysts, and distilled into a format designed to inform policy. But they were wrong.” Crispin Black in The Guardian
“The number and simultaneity of yesterday's attacks suggest localised surveillance and bomb making, requiring a local support apparatus. We can presume that the bombers spent a considerable amount of time in the UK and may have even been UK residents.” RP Eddy, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow for Counter-Terrorism, in The Times
“It is hard to knock a huge city like this off its course. It has survived many attacks in the past. But once we have counted up our dead, and the numbness turns to anger and grief, we will see that our lives here will be difficult. We have been savagely woken from a pleasant dream. The city will not recover Wednesday's confidence and joy in a very long time. Who will want to travel on the tube, once it has been cleared? How will we sit at our ease in a restaurant, cinema or theatre? And we will face again that deal we must constantly make and remake with the state – how much power must we grant Leviathan, how much freedom will we be asked to trade for our security? Novelist Ian McEwan in The Guardian
“It's no use Mr Blair telling us yesterday that "they will never succeed in destroying what we hold dear". "They" are not trying to destroy "what we hold dear". They are trying to get public opinion to force Blair to withdraw from Iraq, from his alliance with the United States, and from his adherence to Bush's policies in the Middle East.” Robert Fisk in The Independent
“Assumed to be the work of al-Qaida, no doubt this will again be greeted with glee in some Middle Eastern streets, as was the fall of the twin towers. There will be renewed suspicion that fifth columnists may also be punching the air in some extreme parts of Muslim communities around Europe too. Yet in a way it hardly matters who did it or why. Polly Toynbee in The Guardian
“The attacks will reinforce the case for pressing on with the long-term task, as defined by Mr Blair: the establishment of a stable democracy in Iraq, peace between Israel and Palestine, and democratic reform elsewhere in the Middle East. If that sounds rather close to Mr Bush's policy, that's because it is. No terrorists can change that.” The Economist
“Al-Qaida's new modus operandi is a combination of strategy and necessity. After the US coalition destroyed its training bases in Afghanistan, word went out, allegedly from Bin Laden himself, that jihadi veterans should return home to their countries of origin, recruit locally and prepare to attack domestic targets. The attacks in Casablanca and Madrid were illustrations of this. What made the Madrid bombers so difficult to detect was that some members of the cell were takfiris, Islamist militants committed to jihad while continuing to live a western lifestyle, drinking, smoking and taking drugs. The leaders of the cell deliberately set out to radicalise and recruit street criminals so they could bring their expertise to the cause. Jamal Ahmidan, the Madrid takfiri who got hold of the explosives, was a drug dealer. One of the critical questions to be answered is: where did the London bombers come from?” Peter Taylor in The Guardian
“Yesterday's events do not look good for the “al-Qaeda was all an invention” party. The bombings surely demonstrated, to those who doubted it, that there really are people out there with the motive and the capacity to inflict mass murder on the innocent.” Gerard Baker in The Times
Also be sure to check this post from Londoner Johnnie Moore.