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Wednesday, July 20, 2005

 

sensibility in the face of violence


britons, being veterans of terrorism thanks to the british empire of 1815-1947, have already learned the lessons and are a lot more sensible about what has happened and what's to be done, it seems, than we americans are. and livingstone, whatever else he thinks, has this right in his comments on the london bombings.

"You've just had 80 years of Western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of a Western need for oil. We've propped up unsavory governments, we've overthrown ones that we didn't consider sympathetic," Livingstone said.

"I think the particular problem we have at the moment is that in the 1980s ... the Americans recruited and trained Osama bin Laden, taught him how to kill, to make bombs, and set him off to kill the Russians to drive them out of Afghanistan.

"They didn't give any thought to the fact that once he'd done that, he might turn on his creators," he told BBC radio.
the guardian pointedly states the case:

Yet for anyone but the most blinkered defender of government policy, it is common sense to say that the war increased the risk that Islamist terrorists would target this country. As the respected Chatham House thinktank commented on Monday in a report remarkable only for stating the blindingly obvious: "The situation over Iraq has imposed particular difficulties for the UK. It gives a boost to the al-Qaida network's propaganda, recruitment and fundraising." There is no disagreement on this in Whitehall, where the Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre concluded last month: "Events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist-related activity in the UK." To insist, as Tony Blair, Jack Straw and John Reid all have, that there is no connection whatsoever between Baghdad and Beeston is ridiculous. Mr Straw sounded silly, roping in a weekend bomb attack on western tourists in Turkey as evidence of a global terrorist menace that justified the war. He might as well have thrown in the Real IRA or the Animal Liberation Front.
and it's nothing that christian science monitor can't acknowledge honestly.

There is a growing realization, moreover, that the Iraq war has not just ignited the fury of Al Qaeda members, but may have driven countless new recruits into their camp - like the four perpetrators of the 7/7 Tube and bus bombings.

Inayat Bunglawala of the mainstream Muslim Council of Britain lobby group says it has become much harder for moderates to persuade disaffected youth to maintain faith in the authorities when the authorities are seen to be responsible for Muslim deaths in Iraq.

"The Iraq war certainly helped Al Qaeda to recruit more people and boosted their propaganda efforts," he says. "It has undermined mainstream Muslim organizations."
and yet many in the west are still in complete denial of these plain truths, favoring instead a blind patriotism to the cant that flows from leadership that allows them to absolve their governments -- and therefore themselves -- of any fault in the international arena as an act of religious faith in the nation.

as toynbee said in his analysis of the holy see that forfeited the flower of the west in its intoxication with militarism:

the transfer of the papacy's prerogatives to secular governments had begun two hundred years before the reformation and it worked itself out in the states which remained catholic as well as in those which became protestant. the sixteenth century saw the process completed; and it is, of course, no accident that the same century also saw the laying of the foundations upon which the 'totalitarian' states of the modern western world have been built. the most significant single factor in this process, of which we have indicated some of the external landmarks, was the transference of devotion to these parochial secular states from an ecumenical church.

this hold upon human hearts is the most precious of all the spoils which these successor-states have taken from the greater and nobler institution which they have plundered, since it is by commanding loyalty much more than by raising revenues and armies that these successor-states have kept themselves alive. by the same token it is this spiritual heritage from the hildebrandine church that has turned the once harmless and useful institution of the parochial state into the menace to civilization which it clearly is today. for the spirit of devotion, which was a beneficent creative power when directed through channels of a civitas dei to god himself, has degenerated into a destructive force when diverted from its original object and offered to idols made by human hands. parochial states, as our medieval forebears knew, deserve from us that same conscientious but unenthusiastic performance of minor social duties which we render in our time to our municipalities and county councils. to idolize these pieces of social machinery is to court disaster.
indeed, this idolization is blinding many of us from the duty we have as citizens of a western republic: to make responsible and decent by our christian principles the activities of these malefactory nation-states in which we live.


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