Bloggers dilate on last week's car bomb attempts in the UK.

Bloggers dilate on last week's car bomb attempts in the UK.

Bloggers dilate on last week's car bomb attempts in the UK.

The latest chatter in cyberspace.
July 2 2007 6:19 PM

Arresting Development

Arresting development: Bilal Abdulla, a junior doctor trained in Iraq, and Mohammed Asha, a Saudi neurologist working for the National Health Service in Britain, have been detained as two of seven suspects in the unsuccessful car-bomb attempts in London and at Glasgow Airport. One man under arrest is said to have ties to Kurdish al-Qaida affiliate Ansar al-Islam. Bloggers scrutinize everything from the bombers' tactics to the media coverage to the new Brown government response to the abortive attacks.

At Fundamentals and Falsehoods, conservative Kevin thinksthe failed attacks underlie the international scope of jihadism, which can't be divorced from the war in Iraq, but ought not be seen primarily through the lens of that war: "Remember: England has a new prime minister now, Gordon Brown. He's been critical of the war. His foreign minister is a war critic, too. What does Al Qaeda do? They attack. The fundamental: there is no negotiating with terrorists like this. There is no concession that will appease them (and appeasement is wrong in any case)."

Advertisement

And Moose Alces at righty Auspundits notesthat while the execution of the attacks may have been amateurish, their planning indicates some measure of organization: "[E]vidence that this was a well prepared operation is the fact that the attacks were all under the radar of British security services," he writes. "While the explosives themselves bore the hallmarks of amateurism, operational security did not. Indeed, the Glasgow attack was operationally well executed: had the VBIED been full of Semtex rather than flammable liquid there could have been a rather different story."

Civilized conservative Steve Gilbert at Sweetness and Light takes issue with a Sky News article that fails to mention that Dr. Mohammed Asha, one of the bombing suspects, was granted asylum in the United Kingdom: "[F]or some odd reason our watchdog media keeps trumpeting the fact that these terrorists were not 'born or bred' in Scotland. Of course if they had been, the good news would be that they weren't foreigners."

Others take issue with the government response. Max Hastings at the Guardian's Comment is Free took the occasion of last week's terror activities to remarkthat most British security precautions are not only inconvenient but futile: "Gesture security attained its nadir in February five years ago, with the deployment of armoured vehicles at Heathrow. It was possible to accept that the security service and police possessed plausible intelligence that terrorists were preparing to attack an aircraft with a missile. It was impossible, however, to believe light tanks could play a useful part in preventing such an action."

One of Andrew Sullivan's readers admiresthe British authorities' restraint in speculating as to whether the perpetrators were affiliated with al-Qaida: "You can't watch the response of UK police authorities in their public statements without being impressed with the careful balance they strike between exorting the public to vigilance and resistance to being stampeded into premature conclusions." Is that a good thing, though? "Since the 7/7 attacks and the following conspiracies, one cannot but note the hesitations of government public statements in defining the enemy," writes Walid Phares at Counterterrorism Blog, repudiatingsuch hedging about accountability. "England is among the many other countries where Jihadi political activism has been able to win several battles of ideas. For London's political establishment, at least the dominant one, (along with Brussels' European elite) is extremely precautious in manning the terms 'war on terror,' 'conflict' and of course any terminology using a religious or ideological wording. Examined closely this attitude is the result of layers of 'expertise' provided by academic 'specialists' who advised not use sentences that would – in their arguments – exacerbate domestic tensions with a particular community, Muslims."

Liberal hawk Roger L. Simon is chilledby the fact that these jihadists were MDs: "Al Qaeda's doctors - the ones involved in the recent aborted terror attack in the UK - have turned that on its head to 'First do as much harm as possible and kill anyone you don't know. Not even Mengele himself distorted the medical profession like that. This is psychopathy unleashed."

British liberal "Cicero" at Cicero's Song thinks new Prime Minister Gordon Brown did an admirable job handling the weekend's events: "The quite gravitas of Gordon Brown was the right response to a difficult start to his premiership, but frankly it comes as a relief to most of us not to have the 'I feel your pain' stuff from Blair, followed by another load of illiberal and dangerous legislation. If Brown does not feel the need to pass yet another load of anti terrorist legislation then I for one will actually feel safer."

Readmore reactions to the British car-bomb plots.

Michael Weiss is the director of communications at the Henry Jackson Society, a London-based think tank that promotes democratic geopolitics. He is also the spokesman for Just Journalism, which examines how Israel and the Middle East are portrayed in the U.K. media.