7/7 now joins 9/11 and 3/11 as another grimly memorable date. London along with New York and Madrid now also has the distinction of having been attacked by Al Qaida.
I have a very deep respect for the courage and resilience of Londoners, having watched how they survived the first foray into modern warfare by Hitler. For modern warfare has now become primarily against civilians. Night after night Hitler’s planes bombed London, which had no military targets, in the expectation Britain’s resolve to resist would crumble and an invasion would be simple.
Hitler was wrong, and any Al Qaida member who thought that the bombs yesterday would throw the Brits into panic, demoralize world financial markets, or disrupt the G-8 meetings was very, very wrong. If whoever planned these attacks wanted to get the British out of Iraq, they should simply have waited for British public opinion which has been angry over the all the deception to do it. Now public opinion may have solidified behind Tony Blair and staying in Iraq.
And I do not recommend to any Al Qaida planner that he now consider Paris a potential target. Paris is a city every bit as tough as London.
I was struck by the response of a commentator on BBC to our Condaleeza Rice’s remarks that the use of suicide bombers is not normal. Not true, he said, the use of suicide bombers is perhaps the only possible weapon they have. We don’t like the concept of the suicide bomber that he is willing to give his life in the process of killing as many others as he can. We train our soldiers to kill as many of the enemy as they can and still try to stay alive. But all soldiering is essentially a suicide mission. Ask any woman who sends a soldier off to war whether in her heart she absolutely expects he will return alive.