Friday, July 08, 2005

Individual responsibility vs. War

Tigerhawk has posted a transcript of a BBC interview with Rudy Guiliani. The interview ends with this statement by the former NY mayor:

RG: The people of London are going to react exactly the same way as the people of New York did. I remember that the night of the attack of September 11 I exhorted the people of New York not to cast blame on any particular group of people because of their religion or ethnicity. The people of New York didn't do
that, and it probably was even unnecessary to remind them except that I thought it would be helpful to do that. I'm sure the same thing will be true here in London. The people of London, the people of England, know that this is not a question of group blame, it is a question of individual responsbility. Everything will be done to capture the people who did this and have them pay a very, very big price as a way of obtaining justice and deterring other people from doing it.

This seems like an odd thing to say. Most Americans recognized 9/11 as an act of war, and wanted to respond to it as such. As a consequence, about 93% of us supported the war in Afghanistan. Is Guiliani saying that the proper response for the British to this attack on London is to fill out indictments?

Immediately after 9/11, Bush was shaky. I wasn't sure if he was going to respond properly to the attack, or if he was going to treat it like a criminal justice investigation. He went to New York, and the response of the crowd was like a roar of outrage, demanding war. It had a visible effect on him. It seemed to strike a chord within him, and stiffen his spine.

Obviously, the British government doesn't need to just round up all the Muslims in Britain, and they don't need the British citizens carrying out vigilante attacks on Muslim people, but to treat the attack as anything other than an act of war is wrong-headed. It ignores what we already know about the war against terrorists: they are supported by Islamic states in the Middle East, and they can only be defeated by destroying those states. Bush articulated this strategy, although he hasn't been consistent in carrying it out. If the people of Britain respond to this attack like the people of New York, they will demand that Tony Blair redouble his efforts in the war on terrorism. We have only made a bare beginning, and haven't even gotten to the states which should have topped our list of states to topple: Iran and Saudi Arabia. At the very least, we should be in Syria by now with Assad in chains.

Faster. Please.

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