An editorial / By Dale McFeatters
Scripps Howard News Service
July 22, 2005
As of late Thursday, British police were trying to determine why the copycat attacks were so amateurish and ineffective. The most serious explosion blew out some windows on a bus, while another barely blew a hole in a backpack and yet another appears to have fizzled altogether.
But the targeting of three subway trains and a bus fit the pattern of the deadly July 7 assault when four bombers killed themselves and 52 of their fellow countrymen. And the authorities were convinced that Thursday's bombs, even though duds, were meant to kill.
British police quickly and efficiently identified the suicide bombers - three of Pakistani descent, one of Jamaican, all Muslims and all British citizens - and were well on their way to breaking up what appears to have been an al Qaeda cell. At British request, Pakistani police are searching for Haroon Rashid Aswat, an aide to a radical cleric already in a British prison and a suspected al Qaeda operative, who visited and telephoned the bombers in the days leading up to the attack.
If al Qaeda is no longer able to pull off wholesale terrorist spectaculars like 9/11, it is still able to kill at a retail level and the only antidote seems to be vigilance, good intelligence and relentlessness in tracking down the perpetrators.
Once again there will be speculation about why young Muslim men, living in comfortable circumstances with stable families, would turn so violently against innocent civilians.
There will be the usual accusations that it's despair over the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but this is blame-shifting to deflect awkward attention from the religion and culture that inspired the terrorists.
But if those wars and conflicts went away tomorrow, does anybody believe this would placate the sullen, alienated and gullible young men in Europe's bleak immigrant suburbs?
Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.shns.com