The blogosphere really came of age covering the outrage in London today. The Wall Street Journal covered the blogs and the Times of London covered English bloggers. Media has shifted. When Susan woke me up this morning with news of the explosions I hit Instapundit and then worked from there. Why watch old news on the television?
At the moment the best guess is the bombings were the work of some variety of jihadi. This will have to be confirmed and the simple claiming of the atrocity by one bunch of Muslim nutters or another is not confirmation.
What happened is going to take days to become clear and months to completely investigate unless the police and security services get lucky. But what caused the bombings is almost certainly very clear - they were caused by the ongoing calls to jihad from clerics and Islamofascists both in England and abroad.
Whether this was an al Qaeda operation directed by Osama bin Laden or one of his gunsels, or a freelance operation loosely in support of al Qaeda or the Iraqi terrorists or the establishment of a caliphate, the underlying motivation is Islamic fundamentalism.
Over at Belmont Club, Wretchard, in his comments, writes:
I believe we are watching the slow collapse of all the nice little barriers of political correctness which have grown around the medieval ideology called Wahabism. The Left is dying from the dagger of Islam plunged repeatedly into its back. As they are glad to recieve the wounds, well let them.
I think people like Fouad Ajami understand quite clearly that unless Islam reforms it will quite literally blow itself up, one way or the other. It's a race against time really. That we are in a war is indisputable. The only question remaining is whether the casualties will be numbered in the thousands or the billions. The Left, if left alone, will guarantee it is in the billions. But they are dying from their own stupidity, so there's hope yet.
The casualty count in London has been, in the circumstances, amazingly low. However, that may have had more to do with the quality of the explosives than anything else. Because this attack, or rather attacks, required planning and support. That they could occur at all indicates how vunerable the West is. And it indicates just how seriously the threat of Islamofascism needs to be taken in the West and, more importantly, in the Muslim world.
Russil Wong at Blogs Canada points to a Reuters dispatch in which assorted Middle Eastern leaders, including spokemen for the Palestinian Authority, the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas and Lebanon's Shi'ite Muslim Hizbollah guerrillas condemend the attacks. I find this encouraging. As I find the condemnation by Assad in Syria. But now comes the test - will these groups renounce terror?
The war on terror is just beginning. It is not, as the bombings in London and Madrid and 9/11 demonstrate, a war the West can afford to lose. Nor, frankly, is it a war the Muslim world can afford to have escalate.
At the moment, the calls for nuking Mecca or the forcible deportation of Muslims from England are confined to a fringe. At the moment, Crusader is a term used by al-Qaeda not Her Majesty's government.
That can change. And it can change instantly.
Which brings me back to the opening graf of this post. One thing which has changed forever is that the mainstream media have lost the monopoly on reporting and on the analysis of events. Which means governments have lost the capacity to spin. Instapundit's site meter shows 180,000 visits as of 3:45pm PST. Glenn Reynolds is, relatively speaking, a moderate. The blogs he points to are, generally, moderate. However, there is no reason to believe that if the jihad against the West continues, there will not be rather more extreme positions taken.
Today's vicious attacks will, in time, be absorbed into the long history of London. The jihadis are not the Luftwaffe and binLaden does not even make it to Goering status. But the great fear must be that the jihadis today were doing a dry run for a more technically sophisticated attack with weapons of much greater lethality. I hope I am wrong about this; but I fear I am not.
It is time to stop the jihadis before they commit a crime which will remove all restraint from the anger of the West. That means, at minimum, three things.
First, if the director of the CIA knows where OBL is - likely the tribal lands in Pakistan - it is time to go and get him. It would be unfortunate if Pakistan's none too friendly government collapsed as a result; but that would give a Coalition of the Sensible the opportunity to grab the Pakistani nukes as well.
Second, it is well past time to arrest and deport any individuals advocating jihad from any Western country. Now, if those individuals, by some unlucky chance, have been born in that country, it may well be time to find issolated places for them to spend the next couple of dozen years. Greenland looks vacant and, perhaps, Dithers would like to offer one of Canada's many northern islands for an internment facility.
Third, it is time for the Muslim world to actively enforce a zero tolerance rule with respect to terror, terrorist support and organization, and, most importantly, terrorist incitement. If a cleric wishes to announce it is the will of Allah that the West be destroyed he needs to know that he will be arrested and jailed within the hour.
The last point is the most important. As I write the survival of the Muslim world is increasingly tenuous. If London was a dry run for a larger attack, with more deadly weapons, the ability of Western governments to restrain their population's fury is in serious doubt. And, now that there is at least some media free of governmental control - either directly or indirectly - the ability of Western elites to damp the anger of their populations is reduced.
Today our anger at the murders in London is tempered with the sadness and the sympathy those murders elicit. However, at some point, the grief will be replaced with the steely determination to destroy the roots of the terror. Which should make the Muslim world afraid, very, very afraid. london bombings