Today’s news about a foiled plot to blow up flights between the U.K. and the U.S. is very upsetting. Not the plot itself, as despicable as it is, what is really upsetting is the response. No taking liquids on to planes, “sorry maam, we know airlines don’t feed you anymore, but that water bottle is a no-no”. And no more hand luggage – no laptops or iPods or portable DVD players or keys attached to a fob or phones or PDAs (now you’ll be delayed and won’t be able to let anyone know) …
The truth is that the authorities had little choice here. After all, imagine if several months from now terrorists were indeed successful in blowing up a plane using similar plans. Can you imagine the uproar? “You knew this could happen and you allowed it to happen anyway!” would be the accusation. Heads would roll, people would lose their jobs, and knee-jerk decisions would be made so as to appear decisive and responsive. It’s a lose-lose situation.
But, terrorism is intended to frighten, to terrorize, to force people to stop living their normal lives, and instead submit to fear. Well, if that’s the case, mission accomplished. Without actually carrying out a plot, terrorists have succeeded in instilling fear, and have made authorities do their dirty work for them, forcing us to change the way we live.
The terrorists have won.

54 thoughts

  1. The Homeland Security guy was on this morning saying that hand luggage was OK as long as all liquids were checked instead. But in the UK I think you’re right that they are disallowing hand luggage. I certainly wouldn’t trust my laptop to checked baggage tho’… not seeing the way they throw stuff around!

  2. Not to make light of a depressing situation, but if you decide to come out and speak the the Salt Lake City masses we’ll guarantee you have all the shampoo and conditioner you need.
    Matthew Reinbold
    SLCFUG Manager

  3. It’s more annoyism than terrorism. And by you posting this clickbait and me responding to it we are annoying each other and spreadingit further.
    The Annoyists have won.

  4. Let me get this straight. Terrorists were planning on blowing up some airplanes today and were stopped and arrests were made. Yet somehow they have won and we have lost? Give me a break.
    With all due respect Ben, I do NOT think the terrorists have won. I think this for several reasons. First, I am still alive – you are still alive, and everyone else reading this blog is still alive. No planes were destroyed today, and they were not successful in taking any innocent lives.
    Second, you said their goal is to have us submit to fear. I am not scared of terrorism. I know the authorities are taking every precaution they can to ensure my safety. I would be scared if I thought the opposite was true – that the authorities were not doing the best they can to protect us. I have no worries when I step on a plane are go anywhere else because of that security. Nor do I think that they have caused me to change the way I live. OK, so if I got on an airplane today I could not take a drink with me. Big deal. Hardly a life changing event.

  5. Is it really fear we are submitting to? there are a few perspectives here.
    Fight terrorism on flight by having all sorts of technology and guns on board (my godfather is a pilot) or simply go pure! i find it relaxing getting away from my cell. its almost the only time im assured peace of mind.
    Being only 14 days on the deck of the world trade center before dissaster i would much rather be ‘naked’ on board than to even imagine another attack. why take that kind of risk.
    is it fear we are submitting to or technology? I am so *high* from coldfusion and flex integration that i read and work with my laptop from a mr softy icecream truck in manhattan!
    my point is to see things from the bright side and not think only about a machine and if it will break in the luggage (no offense). we’re submitted to fear since day one, lets actually learn something from it!
    –ben, looking forward to 9/26!

  6. Sorry Ben, can’t agree with you here.
    Their bottom line goal was to kill lots and lots of people; to make this operation bigger than 9/11. No one killed or hurt. No planes exploded. Today showed the world that we CAN catch these jihadis before lives are taken.
    Instead of terror, I have a desire to see public executions return.

  7. in response to Steve’s post, with all do respect i hope next time your security authorities do their best (9/11 and many more), that you are not one of the victims!
    Please do be honest and share with us what would your opinion be if you lost someone in a terrorist attack?
    PS. i haven’t lost someone in a terrorist attack and i respect security authorities extremly for what they do.vsDqY

  8. Oh, don’t get me wrong, if there was ever a justification for the death penalty, this ranks right up there. If these individuals wanted to die, heck, let’s grant them their wish.
    But I really am worried about the domino effect here. For example, take the fragile airline industry. Will fear, or the additional hassle, stop some from flying? Very likely. Are business travelers going to cut back on flying? I did not after 9/11 (I was on the very first flight allowed out of Detroit, and flew to NYC), and have never even considered doing so. Until now. I fly over 200,000 actual miles a year, and if had to check my laptop (and run the risk of it getting lost, delayed, or damaged) I’d likely not make some of those trips (especially quick in-and-out day trips). It’s not because of the laptop itself, I appreciate the concerns and the risks, but suddenly flying may not be the best way to conduct business considering all of those risks. And I know others feel the same way. Business travelers are the single most critical demographic to the airline industry, an industry that is already struggling to survive as it is. Airlines cannot afford a drop in traffic, if that were to occur then very realistically some airlines would be forced out of business. And if that happens, then yes, the terrorists have succeeded in disrupting our lives, costing us jobs, and hurting our economy. And they would see that as a victory, regardless of whether or not they succeeded in blowing planes out of the sky.
    — Ben

  9. Hi Ben,
    I do not think it will stop people from flying. One would assume that, but in reality; life does go on. I flew just a few days later after 9/11 and although it was a bit strange, it was slightly comforting that everything was the same.
    I think the issues with liquids will be more of an issue with domestic flights than international ones. Domestic don’t feed you, Int’l still does… I’m curious how it’ll change. No more backpacks, no more laptops – should make the security lines go faster!

  10. I think to say "the terrorists have won" is an oversimplication of the matter. Terrorist are mad ruthless fanatic assassins who are blinded by religion and beliefs I do not share under any circumstance. And then u have all the Bushes, Blairs, etc who are blinded by power and thirst for money and oil and surrender their dignity to the lowest ambitions. And between them, it’s the people who died in the planes at 9/11, those who dies in the trains in Madrid, the arab kids who die in a war they can’t even be aware of, the people in the cities of the world who are afraid of getting on a plane, and the list goes on and on. The terrorists AND those who play with us like toys deceiving us under their masks of rectitude have won. That’s what I believe.

  11. The day we give up, that’s when the terrorists have won, the day we’re all dead, that’s when the terrorists have won…
    This for me goes right back to Nathan Hale…
    I regret I have but one life to give for my country.
    As much as we fight, bicker and disagree, WE MUST STAND UP FOR OUR FREEDOM.
    No other nation will lift a hand, except a few brave souls…
    Do you think freedom is a birthright and gift you automatically get?
    That’s plain hogwash…
    We are a nation of free thinkers and innovators…
    If crap happens, we adapt or innovate.
    No bleeping terrorist is gonna take my freedom or life away, if it’s their life or mine, i hope they all die in living freaking hell.
    I will do whatever i can to protect those i love and care for.
    And i am not quitting…
    Again and again i think of the late great Walter Payton, who came from a small southern town to be one of the greatest nfl running backs of all time…
    What was his quote of his biography?
    So if you want to go quit, and whine and complain, then go ahead.
    But i am done giving up to evil, or giving up to my freedom and the life of those i love.
    I may get a lot of hate mail, but that’s because we’re both free…
    So i take my right to say one good thing.

  12. Alexander,
    I would be devastated at the loss of a loved one due to a terrorist attack or anything else for that matter. However, my opinion would be not different than it would be had my loved one been killed by an ordinary person from my neighborhood. The point that I am making is that I am not afraid of terrorist because of the security measures put in place.
    I can assure you that if a loved one is killed by somebody in my neighborhood, I am not going to go about spouting off that the murderers have won. Or analogous to this particular situation, If somebody was planning on killing a loved one of mine but failed and was arrested, I most certainly am not going to concede that murderers have won.
    I’m not saying that terrorists attacks wont happen again. I cannot say that my car wont break down on my way home from work either. However, I am not afraid of my car breaking down because I think my mechanic has done everything I have paid him to do to keep it running.
    You are more afraid of flying today than you were yesterday? Did you really think up until today that terrorists were not going to try to blow up planes or do anything else? Everyone knows that terrorists would love to do this. This is old news. The only difference today is the fact that we caught them. That is good news. Certainly not cause for declaring victory for terrorists.

  13. Ben, I am going to take a view contrary to some of the other comments and actually agree with you on this. Since 9/11, we have been engaged in a massive effort to cover the back-sides of our political leaders and the government infrastructure they have created. We have been bowing to political correctness by near strip-searching little old ladies at the airport. And most of it is an exercise in trying to create the appearance of security or the illusion of safety.
    This latest round of further intrusion into the lives of law-abiding citizens is really just more of the same. And you are right, the terrorists have suceeded at altering our lives in serious and profound ways. I have always hated to fly, but since all of the security tightening, I much prefer to take the train whenever possible. That will be even more true now, especially if they stop letting me bring anything on board that might occupy me for the duration of the flight or make the flight a bit more civilized.
    The really sad part is that we don’t really need a bunch of new rules. We just need to enforce the ones we have always had. Don’t forget that it was against the rules for the 9/11 hijackers to bring box-cutters onto the planes.

  14. Ben, I have been thinking the same thing all day. The terrorists today succeeding in shaking up the world. They managed to instill fear in the masses and change/inconvienience our daily lives. Yes, we were able to stop them from taking human lives, but at least one of thier goals has been met. Thanks for speaking up on this!

  15. Ben’s comment about the impact on flying is key here – like Ben, 9/11 did *not* affect my flying habits. But not being able to travel reasonably with just carry on luggage is a sufficient hassle that I would think twice about making certain trips and I am most certainly *NOT* going to check my laptop! If I can’t carry my laptop and important electronics with me, then I’m not flying until Homeland Security get a dose of reality instead of knee-jerk FUD!

  16. I agree with you, Ben, 100%. The terrorists NEVER have to do another 9/11 style attack again–they just have to instill the fear of God in people and the world will freak out. "No more liquids, laptops, phones, ipods…!!!!!!" Give me a break.
    So, in a sense yes, they are accomplishing their goal–to disrupt all of our daily lives so nothing is ever the same again. Flying sucks already as it is–getting everything short of body-cavity searched every time you fly really makes for a great vacation or business trip. Pretty soon, we won’t be able to bring our laptop or ipod on the plane with us, either. So, that 5 hour layover in Des Moines should be awesome!!! And, how productive do you think we can be without any of the tools we need to do business? Think about it, sceptic morons.

  17. Sigh… With a name like mine, now flying is going to be even WORSE! After 9/11, everyone I know with Ahmed in the name gets red-flagged. That means whenever we fly, we can’t do the print your E-Ticket kiosk thing; we have to talk to customer service person who has to call someone to approve it every time… And I get ‘randomly’ spot checked at every spot check station there is!
    First, I’m half-white by the way (my mom is Austrian). If Homeland secrutiy is going purely off name, wouldn’t the simple work around be to just change your name? I understand that you got to do what you got to do to protect yourself. I’m fully willing to have an RFID implanted in me so that the NSA can track me to their hearts content — I just hate long lines and the 75 question interview at every security station. Where do yuou live.. where you going, who do you work for, etc…
    Now after this. Oh my gosh… Any non white dude is going to be strip searched!

  18. I will add another $.02 to pot.
    Do you truly believe that this is how it will be from now on? I can’t see that. If I understand the story properly, they feel that the caught some (but not all) members of a group that were attempting to carry out a terror mission. So, the flipside of that is that they know there are still some people out there that they have not identified, that for all they know are still working according to plan. They also know that the people they caught were planning an attack with carry-on supplies, such as drinks. Is it really that out of the realm of reason for them to clamp down on carry on items (devices, drinks, etc) on the same day in which a plot was foiled and some people were still on the loose? I would be inclined to think it would be more irresponsible for them not to.

  19. I too disagree
    I live in London and I never think about terrorism and I think most people you ask here will feel the same, we all just go about our normal lives. Yes they are managing to cause the odd few days disruption which isn’t fun and costs money but im sure all will be back to normal as soon as possible.

  20. As someone who regularly fly’s long haul from New Zealand to Europe and the US and has another one to catch from Auckland to New York tomorrow, I know I have many hours of fun filled delays and queuing ahead.
    Like most of you I generally use flight time as a great way to do some work on my laptop without the normal daily interruptions. This may not be the case tomorrow which is really annoying but not the end of the world (getting blown up mid flight may have been though) and maybe being without my laptop for a day might be a good thing.
    In the not so distant past my laptop batteries were only good for an hour or so anyway so I think we quickly get used to new things like power points on long flights.
    In the worlds of Monty Python we should always look on the bright side so just image what restricted air travel will do for BREEZE LIVE!!

  21. I think I’d prefer if different carriers could follow and advertise their own threat levels… the feds could say which level they advise, and different airlines could bar carry-on or not. People would choose their individual comfort level.
    We live in litigious societies today, sure, but I’m still not sure why carry-on decisions are under political control.
    (And, oh yeah, people enmeshed in the death cult, who even *think* of hurting strangers like this? I think it’s kindest to give them their own death, before they "give" unto others. Our species will thrive despite them!)

  22. @Tink – "A few days of disruption"? So if the plan actually went through, would that fall into "a few days of disruption"?
    Also, what airlines aren’t serving food anymore?

  23. While I am typically an advocate for the death penalty in heinous crimes like this, I would be against it in this particular case.
    These people were ready to die, and take many lives with them on there way to martyrdom and the 72 virgins. What they are not ready for is to be the ‘wife’ of their prison cellmates.
    I was still a paramedic on 9/11/01, and was at Ground Zero during the rescue operation. I don’t think anything can erase those images from my mind. Does that mean they have won? Absolutely not. Had I needed to, I would have been on the first plane out of Newark when flights resumed.
    Also, I’d take an office on the top floor of the ‘Freedom Tower’, but it must face east, so that every morning I could greet the terrorists with a one-finger salute.

  24. What is a terrorist and who says that their goal is to "frighten, to terrorize, to force people to stop living their normal lives,"
    When fighting against economic imperialism tell me the tools that you would use?
    I would never condone the killing of anyone (innocent or guilty) it is never acceptable under any circumstance. Some here seem to think there are times when it is justifiable are they not terrorist? What is the difference?

  25. terrorists? where are these terrorists? i’ve never seen them. bin laden’s a myth, created to justify the latest round of US imperialism. what’s more likely is that rumsfeld has just invested in an airplane catering company.

  26. Isn’t the restriction of carry ons and electronics only out of Heathrow? My take on watching the news was that in the US the only restriction is carry-on of liquids and pastes. Here’s the TSA statements:
    I realize Ben’s original post was mid-day and perhaps all had been cleared, but I see comments into the night where no one clarified this, so I though I would.
    Heck, even some evening news stories were mis-stating or implyin that the liquid/paste restriction was in checked bags also, "Leave such things at home", some were saying. That sparked hysterical assertions by the anchors about stinky travelers having no toothpaste, shampoo, or deodarant.
    I agree whole-heartedly that travel out of England (or Heathrow) will be very inconvenient, and even travel in the US will be somewhat so, but for most it means we will have to check our bag since it has our travel kit (like most I used to carry on my small suitcase always). Yes, it’s back to the delays of waiting for it at baggage claim, and the risk of it being lost.
    But it seems a small price to pay for safety. I honestly never realized how easily a bomb could be made from liquids. Seems very realistic. And on the bright side, it could mean faster plane loading as people aren’t ALL bringing on their bags and overflowing the overhead bins!
    All that said, I do see your point, Ben. Yes, disruption in travel (whether short-term or long-) and the economic ripple effect (not to mention the hours wasted talking about it!) may well all be as expensive as any single real incident–except of course for the priceless lives saved. And as has been mentioned, it could do wonders for Breeze licensing. Glad I still have that Adobe stock leftover since the Allaire IPO. 🙂

  27. Sorry, meant to say, "I realize Ben’s original post was mid-day and perhaps all had *not* been clarified yet".
    Also, pardon the couple other typos. It’s early! 🙂 I do so wish that blog tools would add optional spell-checking on submission. I rely on that so much in email. (Yes, I could just copy/paste the submission and check it elsewhere, and will try to remember to do so. Just did this time!)

  28. The Terrists have won. Not only have they instilled the fear of flying into our hearts, but they also allowed certain political figures the blank check they needed to "tighten down security" in the name of freedom.
    What is freedom? Is freedom the ability to write what I want about my elected offocials in the paper? Is freedom the ability to take pictures of the sunset? Is freedom the ability to practice or not practice my own religion without worry about retaliation from the government.
    Since 9/11 (and the terrorist thing was brought to the lime-light), the things that I defined as freedom above all are now in question. I can’t openly write about my feelings without thoughts of FBI agents knocking on my door — I can’t take pictures of the sunset because Police might be thinking I’m doing scouting work for terrorists — and religion… Well, if it ain’t Christian, or Christian-like, don’t bother.

  29. Ben, I completely agree with you. I was watching everything unfold yesterday in complete disbelief. Not the actual plot so much, but the reaction. The measures are unfortunately necessary.

  30. Ah, sweet. And it’s not just FF but IE, too (for client reasons, I am still primarily an IE user. Let’s not open that can of worms.)
    I’ve been a fan and user of the google toolbar for a couple of years but just had never thought to use that. Just have to remember, now. 🙂 Great out of the box solution. Thanks, Scott.
    If I can repay the favor to you or any others who may be missing out on the google toolbar, or its many hidden gems, you’ve motivated me this morning to write up an entry on the topic sharing many of my experiences and delights with it (and thanking you for the pointer to the spellcheck):
    "Don’t miss out on the many powers of the Google Toolbar (some hidden buttons, some new context menu options, and more)"

  31. Oddly enough, the thought of having to check my laptop and Ipod is scares me more than any terrorist.

  32. Whaaa….I want to edit that comment! Sorry for the bad grammar.
    "Oddly enough, the thought of having to check my laptop and Ipod scares me more than any terrorist"

  33. Jack – most airlines domestically in the US are scaling down on what they’re serving for food. Many are going the option, if you want food, you must pay extra money for it.

  34. I have to totally disagree with your original post Ben.
    I live in England and every so often the police here arrest various groups of people on terrorist charges. The police have an awful task in trying to protect us from the next attack. As your posts indicates we are so used to our creature comforts that we see the loss of them as a more important thing than the protection of life and liberty.
    A few years ago I remember flying and never being able to take anything into the cabin anyway apart from a book and a sweet to suck on.
    My view is that no flights were attacked, no one got hurt, no flights got cancelled specifically because of the threat(they did cos planes were in the wrong places) and generally we are all here. Therefore we won.
    Yet again we overcame the threat and got on with life – the airports didn’t empty in fear people just got on with it.
    Long may this be the case.

  35. I just went through Heathrow yesterday coming from Auckland and L.A. on my way to Germany. And "yesterday" is meant literally – took me the whole day to get another flight and get out of London again. Heathrow is still purely chaos (on the Saturday), wonder how bad it was on Thursday and Friday.
    Airport security is still some sort of dodgy and a lot of "we do something, so you’re safe"-show. Example: On the flight from Auckland to L.A. the crew distributed toothbrushes and toothpaste. We were allowed to bring it into L.A. transit but on leaving the transit area, all hand luggage was hand-searched again by the US army and people had to dump the toothpaste. But they just searched the hand luggage, so other people carried their toothpaste on board because it was in their jacket or so. Nobody even bothered to do a hand search of the people…

  36. The terrorists have won, but they are not who we think they are. Seems to me that it’s the repeated story throughout history that governments need "boogey-men" in order to justify actions and limit individual freedoms.
    To credit Ben’s words here futher – now we don’t even need to tricked into some made up story – such as men in caves destroying steel-framed structures, while not even being remotely; they can now just tell us after the fact, without any evidence or intelligence, while strongely pushing unpopular agendas forward. Problem-reaction-solution. (Hegelian dialectic)
    The whole ‘war on terrorism’ is a scam, just as it has been declared by multiple now-eliminated officals and FBI workers. It is for a larger agenda, to restrict personal freedoms, and give power to those who wish to push fear.
    That is the whole catch, even if you can’t believe in government sponsored terrormism happening now; fear. What are you fearing? Who is controlling you with that fear? How many freedoms have been "protected", compared to those inalieable rights that have been "suspended", in these short few years of a War on Terror?

  37. Where’s your sense of perspective? Your biggest worry is you won’t get you take your laptop on the airplane and you consider yourself defeated?

  38. I have to agree with you Ben. I think it should be quite clear that the single vunerability for a super power is to give into fear. Fear that leads to our very own supression, fear that leads to us losing civil liberties and fear that shreads our rights to privacy. Losing the very fabric of what keeps our democracy together will result in termoil and certain economic depression.
    The terrorist cannot defeat us with direct attacks because they simply lack the overall sophistication in man and weapon power. Its logistical really, but there only affective weapon is to have us tear our country apart from the inside… and how? By making us all afraid. And they are DOING it. (and well I might add)
    Bad people do bad things and people die because of it… and it sucks that we live in that sort of world. But this is the world we live in, and for too long we have lived with comforts and rights and freedoms many people take as a given birth right…. but that is simply not the case. We (Americans) live in a little sheltered box… and I am consistently suprised I find so few people who agree with me.
    There will always be bullies on the field… but is showing them so plainly that we are afraid of them the right thing to do? Does this not encourage their behavior and acts of violence? They may be religious zealots, but this doesn’t mean they are unintelligent. Showing weakness is only the scent of blood for these terrorist… We need to walk head held high, shoulders back, and not be afraid to live our day to day lives. We need to let them know that if they strike us, we will strike back with swift and just vengence.
    It makes me boil. I can just hear the board execs at the airlines cowering behind the fear of possible lawsuits… cover your a##ses boys, cover your a##ses.

  39. Hmmmm,
    I do agree – the terrorists are winning – but have not won yet. But who are the real terrorists?
    Bush and Blair have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and are committing terrorism on a daily basis. Iraq was invaded illegally on a false pretext and now faces certain civil war for years to come. Who’s fault is that? More than 70 civilian people A DAY are dying in Iraq – do we ever have a 2 minute silence for them? Do we ever see their babies dead bodies on CNN/Fox? No! Do their lives actually matter to us? They probably don’t, but they DO matter to their loved ones.
    The ‘terrorism’ that we are experiencing from a tiny minority of the muslim world is a direct reaction to the terrorism that our governments have exported to those regions.
    There was no attack on the USA before the USA invaded Iraq. There was no attack on the UK before the UK joined the USA in its impearialist program in the middle east. Why has everything flared up so badly in the last 5 years? It is because of our own extremist foreign policy.
    Surely you can see the connection? Our governments have exported terror and are terrorising innocent civilians RIGHT NOW. Think about the thousands of innocent ordinary Afghans and Iraqi’s that are killed on a daily basis? What about the innocents held illegally in Guantanano Bay? (Remember them?) Held there without charge, without any given reason for years on end. Are we to expect NO reaction for the Human Rights abuses that our governments are perpertating right now.
    The current ‘security measures’ are a smoke screen to hide the fact that our ‘missions’ in the middle east have failed miserably and have blown up in our face. How else can our goverments hope to continue the lie about the ‘war on terror’? They need to whip up media frenzy to create mass hysteria amongst the public. Don’t fall for it.
    Look how America aided and approved Israels wanton destruction of Lebanon. Not once did America condemn Israels murder program. The UK allowed US flights to land in the UK carrying guided missiles to further support Isreals massacre of women and children. Many UK citizens were disturbed by this.
    After all this we expect ZERO reaction from the muslim world? Are we not being naive? Its about time we realised that its actually US who started this war, and now we are just reaping what we have sown. The lesson is that we cannot bully the rest of the world, because it will react against our illegal wars and our unjust human rights abuses.
    Just my 2 cents worth.

  40. "Bush and Blair have invaded Iraq and Afghanistan and are committing terrorism on a daily basis… The ‘terrorism’ that we are experiencing from a tiny minority of the muslim world is a direct reaction to the terrorism that our governments have exported to those regions."
    You can’t fool me with your moral equivalence.
    Whatever the reason, I don’t think killing innocent civilians on purpose is justified. If Bush and Blair are killing innocent civilians on purpose, it’s not justified. Fair enough?
    "There was no attack on the USA before the USA invaded Iraq."
    Huh? Did you you mean to say there’s been no attack on the USA /since/ the USA invaded Iraq?
    "There was no attack on the UK before the UK joined the USA in its impearialist program in the middle east."
    So why was Germany targeted?

  41. Patrick,
    "Whatever the reason, I don’t think killing innocent civilians on purpose is justified. If Bush and Blair are killing innocent civilians on purpose, it’s not justified. Fair enough?"
    Completely agree with you. I condem ALL terrorism – Blair, Bush, Sharon, Osama, Saddam – there is NO justification for killing innocent people. I don’t buy the US/UK terminology of "collateral damage" – I mean WTF is that? If muslims extremists used that terminology when they killed our innocents we would be livid with anger!
    Why was Germany targetted? I refer you to a paragraph in the SAME article you quoted:
    "Germany is also seen as being on the side of the U.S. and Britain, despite its opposition to the Iraq war, for helping train Iraqi police and military outside the country, taking a large role in operations in Afghanistan, and making other contributions to the so-called "war on terror," he said."
    So there is a connection. However, I don’t think all extremists/terrorists are well balanced individuals – who knows why they do what they do? Bush is a prime example! 😉
    The USA in Iraq: remember the USA attacked Iraq in 1990. That was unprovoked in the sense that Iraq did not launch an attack on any UK/US territory. And since 1990 to the current invasion there is documented evidence that the US has been bombing Iraq *prior* to the full scale invasion. So, yes, the attack on USA definitely came *after* the US initiated hostilities against Iraq.
    If the USA saw fit to carpet bomb Baghdad because Iraq invaded Kuwait, then by the same yardstick they should also have carpet bombed Tel-Aviv for Israels invasion of the West Bank and Gaza strip – but we saw no such action. If the US is so vocal about Irans nuclear program, why is it so silent about Israels? Surely that is where the imbalance in the middle east lies?
    The muslim world perceives a difference in the way the US treats Israel and the way it treats muslim countries – and this perception is indeed also a fact. Hence the current problems.

  42. Khalid,
    I am not going to get in to a debate over Middle East politics with you. I disagree with most of what you’ve said. And I know that no matter what I say you’ll not agree with me.
    But I will say that my biggest problem with your comments is that you are pointing blame everywhere except where it belongs, essentially justifying plans to blow up planes, suicide attacks, train bombings, and the like. Pointing fingers at the imperialistic aggressors is so much simpler than actually having to address the underlying problems.
    >> Look how America aided and approved Israels wanton
    >> destruction of Lebanon. Not once did America condemn
    >> Israels murder program.
    Huh? You seem to be forgetting that Hezbollah started this by abducting soldiers when they knew exactly how Israel would respond because they had seem what the response was to Hamas a short while earlier. You are also forgetting that Hezbollah had been launching rockets in to Israel long before this latest round of violence, over 100 rockets this year alone. And they have been doing so for years. Israel had not responded for years, but it had to now, it had a moral obligation to do so (yes, I said moral).
    >> The muslim world perceives a difference in the way the
    >> US treats Israel and the way it treats muslim countries
    Could that have any correlation to the way Israel perceives itself? Israel is a democracy, and the only locale in the region where people are free to express there views, even dissenting, and actually do so. While the fighting with Lebanon was going on these past few weeks there was protests and demonstrations in Israel, both for and against. When Israel embarked on the disengagement there was much public debate, some approved and others didn’t. Yes, Israelis are allowed to criticize Israel, as is the Israeli Press. And they do so. It’s called discussion and debate, and it’s a healthy process. This type of discussion is never seen in Muslim countries. Instead there is blind finger pointing at the Zionists who are the root of all problems, and who must all be destroyed. Where are the voices of reason? Why is the self-introspection? It does not exist, and in its place is hatred and intolerance. It’s ridiculous to expect tolerance and understanding without ever trying to show the same.
    — Ben

  43. Hi Ben,
    firstly, I didn’t want to hijack your blog for a political rant. You may find that I actually will agree with some of what you say!
    There is absolutely zero justification for blowing up planes. I don’t seek to *justify* what extremists are doing, however, I would like to understand their motives better.
    This is a long topic. The root cause is contained in the way in which Israel was created. It cannot be denied that at the time of Israels creation 3 million Palestinians were made homeless and destitute and were left without a state. Surely, if they were also given a state at that time they would not be fighting for one now?
    Hezbollah are a very recent creation – along with Hamas – they would have no reason to exist if the Palestinians had a homeland. Hamas only kidnapped 2 soldiers, however, prior to that Israel has abducted dozens of civilians, and prior to that Hamas did x, and prior to that Israel did y and so on – tit for tat. A cursory glance at Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International (both non-muslim organisations) will reveal that the list of Israels Human Rights abuses are immense. And how about their non-compliance with UN resolutions? Why don’t we see sanctions being imposed on Israel for those? Surely, this is going to get a reaction?
    My view is that we all seek peace. But how can that peace be achieved if the problem of a whole nation made stateless is unsolved? The root cause of the problem goes back over 50 years ago. What happened that was that the US and Britain (in their wisdom) decided to give the land belonging to one nation to another nation! Herein lies the root cause – everything else stems from there.
    I fully accept Israels right to exist AND expect peace from its neighbours. I also fully expect a Palestinian state to be created. Maybe we will then see some peace?

  44. Khalid,
    Ignoring the fact that Jews had been living in Israel (although borders and names have changed) for over three thousand years, ignoring the fact that Muslims, Turks, Christians, and others have all laid claim to the lands over the centuries … just look at recent history, it’s not as black and white as you make it sound.
    The State of Israel was not created from Palestinian lands. It was carved out of the Ottoman Empire, and had been ruled by Turks for 400 years before they were defeated in World War 1. The term "Palestinians" was not even used then, the Arabs living there considered themselves to be primarily Syrians. After World War 1 the states of Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Iraq were created, all from the former Turkish Empire. Jordan was created on the biggest chunk (about 80%) of what was then known as The Palestinian Mandate. And then in 1947 the U.N. mandated the creation of two states in the remaining 20%. The Arabs rejected their state, and declared war on Israel repeatedly.
    About 725,000 Arab refugees fled. Israel allowed many to resettle in Israel (providing that they denounced violence and swore allegiance to the State of Israel). Over 150,000 Arabs did so. And then there were other refugees too, refugees conveniently forgotten in this debate – between 1949 and 1954 about 800,000 Jews were forced to flee Arab and Muslim countries where they had been living for years (hundreds, even thousands in some cases). The State of Israel welcomed these refugees, just as it did many of the Arabs who opted to settle peacefully in Israel (for the record, there are now 1.5 million Arabs living in Israel, including 12 Arab members of Israeli Parliament, as well as Arab judges on the Israeli Supreme Court – where Jews, as a general rule, are not allowed to live in Arab countries). And while Israel accepted some Arab refugees, the Arab states refused to do the same for their own.
    Khalid, there are two sides to the story (well, probably far more than that, actually). I’d be happy to give you the titles of some books that I think you should read. And if you e-mail me directly with a mailing address I’d be happy to send you some reading material that may be of interest to you.
    And yes, peace is the ultimate goal.
    — Ben

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