Open London transport thread
Comment here on the London Transport bombings. Tom Regan at the Christian Science Monitor has a link-filled article. The BBC reports that, “Tony Blair said it was ‘reasonably clear’ there had been a series of terrorist attacks.” UPDATE: Click here for Blair’s full statement. The Guardian‘s blog has a series of updates. And on this ...
Comment here on the London Transport bombings. Tom Regan at the Christian Science Monitor has a link-filled article. The BBC reports that, "Tony Blair said it was 'reasonably clear' there had been a series of terrorist attacks." UPDATE: Click here for Blair's full statement. The Guardian's blog has a series of updates. And on this side of the Atlantic, Glenn Reynolds has a llink-rich post. A friend from London sends the following e-mail:
Comment here on the London Transport bombings. Tom Regan at the Christian Science Monitor has a link-filled article. The BBC reports that, “Tony Blair said it was ‘reasonably clear’ there had been a series of terrorist attacks.” UPDATE: Click here for Blair’s full statement. The Guardian‘s blog has a series of updates. And on this side of the Atlantic, Glenn Reynolds has a llink-rich post. A friend from London sends the following e-mail:
There are sirens still wailing outside, phone lines are intermittent at best, the entire transport system is down. There are stations trying to open but unable to because of continuing bomb threats. It was elation here yesterday because of the Olympic bid and today everyone is serious and somber?. People are actually walking home… and in a city the size of London, can you imagine? Having been at the White House on 9/11, I am reminded of the how people were wandering around in a sort of shocked daze. It is the same here right now.
UPDATE: Patrick Belton has more on the timeline of events, adding:
I’m quite struck by the strategic cynicism of attacking public transportation, and then after an interval, the crowded bus lines once commuters had been diverted to them. But several friends I spoke with this morning who have lived in Israel say that this pattern – an initial attack, followed by a staggered attack on emergency services once they’d arrived – isn’t at all uncommon. (My friends living abroad are kindly texting to see if i have all of my relevant body parts, attached in the appropriate fashion.) I find that such an attack on commuting civilians completely unengaged with the machinery of government, war, or administration is striking me as stomach-turning and revolting in a way I could not have previously imagined.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Greg Djerejian ponders the aftermath:
Such an attack was all but bound to happen, alas, despite the valiant efforts these past years of Scotland Yard/Metropolitan Police, as well as so many others in Britain’s security and intelligence apparatus. London is simply too vast a metropolis, too tempting a target…. And one can’t help wonder, now with London joining Madrid, if more intrusive airport style security checks might not someday become part of more routine ground transport commutes like subways and buses. It just seems impossible given the sheer volume of traffic–the millions who get on the NY subway or Underground daily. Still, who knows if such attacks continue–might it be deemed advisable to institute measures beyond assorted spot checks and heavier police presences on subways in major cities?
The Economist sounds a similar note:
While Britain?s security services have strong anti-terror powers and London has among the world?s best contingency plans for coping with such serious incidents, its transport system, like any other big city?s, is highly vulnerable. It is almost impossible to prevent determined bombers bringing explosive devices on to trains and buses, and no amount of planning or security measures will eliminate such a risk entirely. Londoners understand this and they?and the security services?have known that it was only a matter of time before something terrible like this happened.
AND YET ANOTHER UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan has a series of blog posts up. As a former resident of London, this post does resonate rather strongly:
Here’s one cultural difference between Brits and Americans. Brits regard the best response to outrage to carry on as if nothing has happened. Yes, they will fight back. But first, they will just carry on as normal. Right now, a million kettles are boiling. “Is that the best you can do?” will be a typical response. Stoicism is not an American virtue. Apart from a sense of humor, it is the ultimate British one.
David Plotz — in London at the moment — makes a similar point in Slate:
The natural state of the English is a kind of gloomy diligence, which is why they do so well in hard times. In 1940, Londoners went dutifully on with their business while the Luftwaffe bombed the hell out of them. Today, most of them are doing the same. I was in Washington for 9/11, and the whole city went into a panic. Offices emptied, stores shut, downtown D.C. became a ghost town. But in London today, everyone still has a cell phone clutched to their ear. The delivery vans are still racing about, seeking shortcuts around all the street closures. The Starbucks is packed. And when I walked by the Queen’s Larder Pub, not half a mile from the Tavistock Square wreckage, at 11 a.m., a half-dozen men were sitting together at a sidewalk table, hoisting their morning pints of ale. Civilization must go on, after all.
Daniel W. Drezner is a professor of international politics at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and co-host of the Space the Nation podcast. Twitter: @dandrezner
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