THE POLITICS OF TERRORISM: Claims London Bombings Not Connected to Iraq Sheer Nonsense

By Conway, John F. | CCPA Monitor, September 2005 | Go to article overview

THE POLITICS OF TERRORISM: Claims London Bombings Not Connected to Iraq Sheer Nonsense


Conway, John F., CCPA Monitor


"The purpose of terrorism is just that-it is to terrorize people, and we will not be terrorized."

-Tony Blair, British Prime Minister

"Londoners paid the price for Tony Blair's decision to go to war in Iraq and Afghanistan."

-George Galloway, London Member of Parliament

"I don't think it's about who went to Iraq, I think it's about transcendent global issues that go well beyond any specific action in Iraq."

-Anne McLellan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Public Security

"If you bomb our cities, we will bomb yours. Why do we not attack Sweden?"

-Osama bin Laden, Leader ofal-Qaeda

Modern terrorism is a political act rooted in the politics of desperation, revenge and fear. Terrorist tactics are typically the desperate acts of a militarily defeated and weaker foe against the conqueror and the more powerful enemy. One purpose is to rally support among the vanquished by affirming that the struggle goes on. Another purpose is revenge, pure and simple-to inflict pain and suffering on the conqueror as payback for the pain and suffering of the conquered. The most important political purpose, however, is fear: to engender fear in the ranks of the conqueror and its citizens in an effort to weaken resolve for the conflict, or to undermine political support for the conquest among the citizens of the conquering power.

London was bombed primarily for the third purposeto engender public fear and to weaken political support for the Blair government's continuing involvement in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (and, of course, its support for Israel in Palestine). The results of such tactics are never certain. The bombings in Madrid led to Spain's withdrawal from Iraq. The bombings in Bali, targeting Australians, stiffened the Australian government's resolve to stay the course. It is too early to assess the political impacts of the London bombings, though Britain's long experience with IRA bombings, and the early reactions of the British public, suggest that the bombings will not lead to Blair's abandonment of Bush in Iraq. Indeed, British public opinion already indicated majority opposition to the war in Iraq-and the bombings may in fact undermine the British anti-war movement.

Official responses to the London bombings were shallow and manipulative, while the press response has been hysterical. Clearly the bombings happened because of Britain's involvement in the war in Iraq. Yet Blair and Bush call them an attack on democracy and our way of life, drawing analogies with Nazi Germany's bombing of civilian targets during World War II. This is nonsense. Osama bin Laden and his forces are not about to launch nn invasion of the British Isles, followed by a ruthless and bloody occupation and the imposition of a radical Islamic theocracy.

Osama bin Laden has always been clear about his objectives: get out of Afghanistan, get out of Iraq, get out of the Middle East. The unwillingness of Britain and the U.S. (and in a junior role in Afghanistan, Canada) to do so has more to do with Western imperial geo-political power and oil than with our way of life and democracy.

The response of our Minister of Public security, Anne McLellan, should worry Canadians, since she denies any connection to Iraq (or Afghanistan), babbling on about "transcendent global issues that go well beyond any specific action in Iraq." If one could believe these "transcendent global issues," in her mind, had to do with imperial power politics and oil, perhaps the minister is on to something. But alas, this is not the case, for she too seems to have the view that terrorism is some sort of global miasma drifting around the world, striking here and there against our way of life and democracy. …

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THE POLITICS OF TERRORISM: Claims London Bombings Not Connected to Iraq Sheer Nonsense
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