It’s been said that the London bombings were the inevitable pay-off to the absurd decision taken by the British government to slavishly follow the most universally reviled President in American history into the prosecution of an illegitimate war in Iraq under the spurious pretext of the "War on Terror." There may well be more than a scintilla of truth in the assertion: the illegal invasion of Iraq should henceforth be renamed Al-Qa'ida: the Recruitment Drive and (just in case the last disenfranchised, disillusioned disciple of Islam hadn’t got the message) the sadists of Guantanamo Bay and Al Ghraib brought the final pots of simmering resentment to the boil and doused the remaining reservoirs of troubled water with oil.
Of course al Qa’ida, and their imitative ilk (they are a cancer which scatters self-sustaining secondary tumours throughout the globe), don’t need a reason for blowing up innocents: preternatural hatred of America, it’s allies and everything they stand for is sufficient pretext for indulging in the butchery which they so patently enjoy, but anyone who proposes that Britain (or Iraq, the United States, Spain, the world in general) is a safer place since the Iraqi invasion is patently certifiable.
Guilt-ridden liberals erroneously characterise the metastasing menace of al-Qa’ida as the terrorist/insurgent/freedom fighter equivalent of a battered wife retaliating against her abuser but al-Qa’ida are even less likely to fit a bogus pseudo-psychological profile of victimhood than S&M serial killer Karla Homolka. The Al-Qa’ida Death Cult embrace death, depravity and indiscriminate destruction with sado-masochistic, psycho-sexual rapture.
Al-Qa’ida aren’t particularly interested in the plight of the Palestinian people and they couldn’t care less about the Allied incursion into Iraq beyond the opportunistic identification of that particular Hell-on-Earth as a fertile recruitment ground and suitable base for operations. These nihilistic harbingers of Chaos style themselves as Islamic avengers but they're really the Fifth Circle of Hell's PR department.
Al-Qa’ida’s primary interest is the dissemination of fear. Their chosen vehicle is pornography: an act of barbarism is only invested with meaning if it’s caught on camera. Any society gets the pornography it deserves and in the decadent democracies the prevailing trend is towards violence.
Al-Qa’ida are nothing if not hip to the zeitgeist. They’re locked into a self-perpetuating and endlessly self-referential cycle: the production and distribution of low-cost, gonzo snuff movies ~ pornographic paroxysms of violence with faux-religious overtones ~ executions of hostages posted on the web and terrorist atrocities filmed by the voraciously voyeuristic cameras of the world’s media, captured on the digital cameras and mobile phones of victims and bystanders, and endlessly replayed on CNN and other 24 hour news networks for our depraved delectation and delight.
The timing of this week's bombings had nothing to do with the Olympics (the decision to award the Games to London merely added an extra, though to some extent fortuitous, portion of insult to an already generous helping of injury) but everything to do with the start of the G8 Conference, which took place a few miles up the road from Casa del eugenio. The “great and the good” should hold future get-togethers on the surface of the moon as nowhere on Planet Earth is an outbreak of Ugly American Neo-conservatism likely to be greeted with anything other than a proportionate and reciprocal measure of contempt.
But the bombings weren’t just about the charm-less Yank: Al Qa’ida wanted to give Bush’s lapdog Blair a bloody nose and, sure enough, the bombs sent him whimpering away from his master’s side in search of his cajones. Blair was always going to reap a bitter harvest from his inexplicable decision to style himself as Bush’s bitch. Al Qa’ida clearly wanted to humiliate Blair, undermine the G8 but, perhaps most importantly, it was time for the most narcissistic, jealous and insecure terror group in history to get back in front of the cameras in a bid to reinforce the al-Qa’ida Terror brand in a fickle market currently dominated by sexier rivals such as Make Poverty History and Global Warming.
It had all been so different a few days earlier when Blair had assured his African advisers Bono, Bob Geldof, Brad Pitt and George Clooney that he’d make sure Mr. Bush got down with the Make Poverty History program. Normal service was resumed when George informed the world that I really don’t view our relationship as one of quid pro quo, I view our relationship as one of master and slave. No concessions on Africa or climate change in exchange supporting us in Iraq proclaimed Bush, puncturing the happy-clappy optimistic bubble blown by the Messianic Rock Stars Without a Mandate.
Needless to say with the re-energised War on Terror raining on Africa’s parade the “trivial” matter of Global Warming was conveniently shuffled to the back of the pack. Reducing the impact of poverty and Aids on the African populace is perfectly laudable if their continent has any prospect of remaining habitable. The American Neo-cons, characteristically, cherry-pick science to best fit their ideology and throw the rest in the trash. Playing craps with climate change, for now, might be George's idea of fun but if, or more likely when, he rolls snake eyes and Africa ends up relocating to Antartica just as South-East Asia migrates to Siberia we’ll spare a thought for the intransigent Yanks as they’re trying to shoehorn 49 states into the bit of Alaska which isn’t under water. I'm no betting man but I'll wager a whisky sour to all the beer in Brooklyn that one day soon Climate Wars will make the Middle East seem like Woodstock.
The 8 kilometre long, two metre-high steel mesh perimeter fence, guarded by a series of watchtowers and a network of surveillance cameras, patrolled by armed police and circled by military helicopters, surrounding Gleneagles proved more than sufficient to keep the protestors out but fears that it wasn’t capable of keeping the war criminals in were realised yesterday when George Bush escaped.
In truth al-Qa’ida is suffering from acute second album syndrome. When you start by flying hi-jacked passenger jets into the Twin Towers the only way is down. Three tiny homemade bombs were detonated in the underground system and a fourth peeled the roof off a bus. London’s public transport system shut down for a day but the next it was pretty much business as usual. My guess is that Britain will deal with the bombings in it’s customarily stoical fashion and will probably resist the understandable temptations to clamp down on civil liberties, invade a sovereign state with no discernable connection to the bombings, detain hordes of suspects without due legal process in makeshift prison camps, build human pyramids out of naked Arabs and evict folk singers from casinos for purporting to enjoy a Michael Moore movie.
A closing thought: it would be nice to effect regime change in the United States but I don’t, yet, consider this to be sufficient reason to invade it.