THE LONDON BOMBINGS
by Barry Turner
Report from U.K. correspondent: Barry Turner, of British "On
Like the 9-11 tragedy, the "smoke"
is still clearing here in the U.K., but the weekend papers have added
a bit. As expected the weekend press has "divided like the
Red Sea" - according to their philosophical positions (no
doubt of their owners). Con Coughlin of the Telegraph - becoming,
it seems, more and more politically pro-Blair & Co. - links
Osama bin Laden to Iraq and the London incident.
This is a deliberate distortion of known truths and omits to mention
who created Osama bin Laden in the first place.
The Independent on Sunday was far more rational and contained two
excellent pieces by Alan Watkins and Dilip Hiro. The latter makes
it quite clear that considering the ignorant desecration inflicted
on Islamic culture, the WMD lies etc., there should be no surprise
about "pay-back time". Watkins takes a softer line, but
does refer to a TV interview of Home Secretary Clarke, in which Clarke
makes the same attempt at linking the London bombings to Osama bin
Laden, as does Coughlin; again, knowing perfectly well bin Laden
is a creature of America.
To connect 9-11 directly with London of course side-steps Western
guilt over Iraq and will become the official line as Watkins points
This is no time to point out that this has been an everyday occurrence
for equally innocent people in Iraq. There is, of course, the way
in which the people here have reacted, Blitz-style. And the tragedy
has been handled as well as could be expected by Police and rescue
services. This is the immediate concern separate from the political
angles. Much capital is being made of the Blitz angle, maybe rightly,
but it does deflect attention from ideas of "pay-back".
Almost inevitably, George Galloway stuck his neck out in Parliament
and drove home the point about what the West has done to Palestine
and Iraq and the inevitable retribution. It was hardly the right
time whilst emotions are running so high and the country is united
in grief, but it has to be said sooner or later.
John Pilger wrote an excellent piece on Iraq-G8
in this week's New Statesman. He could be interesting if he writes
next week on this latest. I don't know how he is regarded in Australia,
but a few months ago even the Telegraph TV critic had to agree with
him generally on global issues.
There are signs of attempts to spin Blair in the Churchillian image;
the latest reported of the Spanish press this morning. As a poseur
he's tailor-made for the role, head down, lips pursed in grief,
and he can certainly bullshit some of the people as usual with
his oratory, but certainly not inspire them.
My own opinion, having met numerous war heroes,
is that put Toady into uniform, face him with battelfield decisions
or bullets, and he'd be among the first to mess his pants!
It was also hinted in the Sunday Telegraph that
public opinion swings back behind the war in Iraq; the instant poll
in a highly emotional situation. So much for public opinion.