Allow me to disagree with Perry de Havilland where he says:
Anyone running from armed cops who have challenged them first in London today should expect to get shot dead given the clear and present danger we are in
Well, uhm, no. This is crap. If we don't execute murderers and rapists why then should we have a death penalty for "failure to obey police instructions"?
What is needed is a bit of common sense, or, failing that, well defined protocols: either you arrest a suspect, or you put a tail on him, but once you put a tail on him, you don't put a few in his head if he wants to use public transport.
Consider the Bishop of Lichfield, who at Evensong, on the night of the bombings, was at pains to assure his congregants: "Just as the IRA has nothing to do with Christianity, so this kind of terror has nothing to do with any of the world faiths." It's not so much the explicit fatuousness of the assertion so much as the broader message it conveys: we're the defeatist wimps; bomb us and we'll apologise to you. That's why in Britain the Anglican Church is in a death-spiral and Islam is the fastest-growing religion. There's no market for a faith that has no faith in itself. And as the Church goes so goes the state: why introduce identity cards for a nation with no identity?
Good news and less good news: Dutch Intelligence and Security Services successfully infiltrated and broke up the Dutch AEL cell. Less good news: the sorry remains are oozing back to Antwerp, Belgium.
Symbiosis is a generic term for a close ecological relationship between two or more species. Two extreme forms of symbiosis are parasitism, where one species benefits and the other is harmed, and mutualism, where both species benefit.
One example of mutualism is between the fig and the fig wasp. The fig benefits from being pollinated, and in turn, the fig is used by the fig wasp as a hatchery for its eggs.
As for parasitism, there's not much that can beat the gruesomeness of the reproductive cycle of the Ichneumonidae, who use other insects, usually larvae and pupae of Coleoptera, Hymenoptera, and Lepidoptera (if you're not insect people, that's beetles, bees/wasps/ants, and butterflies/moths), as incubator for their eggs without even the decency of killing them first. The technical term for a species behaving like this, is the rather euphemistic "internal parasitoid".
One thing to keep in mind is that "benefit" or "harm" in a symbiotic relationship is always judged at the species level, never at the individual level.
All this brings us to the rather actual problem of the relation between the poplulations of, what we may call for lack of better terms, "Islamic Terrorists" and "Moderate Muslims".
The usual claim goes that Moderate Muslims are harmed by the actions of Islamic Terrorists, because it makes them less competitive, i.e. discrimination against muslims will increase, while Islamic Terrorists benefit from the Moderate Muslim population to hide amongst. In our terms, the relation is one of parasitism.
Things, however, become different if we allow for the fact that the goal of Islamic Terrorism is Muslim Ascendancy. If we factor this in, the case can be made that the relation between Moderate Muslims and Islamic Terrorism is one of mutualism, on the condition that the chance of Islamic Terrorism resulting in Muslim Ascendancy is non-zero.
Which one, then, is correct? In the first case, parasitism, we would expect Moderate Muslims to cooperate to the fullest extent with law enforcement agencies to detect and apprehend Islamic Terrorists, while in the latter case, we would only observe enough action to prevent or mitigate discrimination against muslims, but no effective action against Islamic Terrorists. The reader may observe and judge for himself.
Common wisdom has it that discrimination breeds extremism. The reverse, however, is also worth pointing out: if Moderate Muslims are not inconvenienced by the acts of Islamic Terrorism, or at least not to a greater extent than the whole population at large, (lest we forget that the preferred modus operandi of the Islamic Terrorist is indiscriminate bombing), there is also not much incentive for them to cooperate with law enforcement. While they may not approve the methods used by Islamic Terrorists, it is a bit farfetched to expect them to refuse Muslim Ascendancy on the grounds that it was attained by improper means.
So, unless we want to be counter-productive, any assurances given to Moderate Muslims that they will in no way be held accountable for the behaviour of their naughty coreligionists must by necessity be accompanied by a 100% credible "assurance" that Muslim Ascendancy will never be attained. For obvious reasons, the actual phraseology of this "assurance" must be left as an exercise to the reader.
image: The coronation of Baldwin I, Histoire d'Outremer, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris
I really didn't want to write about the London Underground bombings, because, for all practical purposes, I've built up a tolerance to these disasters.
In a twisted sense, terrorist attacks have taken the place of natural disasters, because just as in the pre-scientific era, an earthquake would have people scrambling to find a cause, i.e. any action of them that would have displeased the gods, so as to refrain from doing that and prevent further displeasure of the gods, terrorist attacks yield some highly tenuous or even irrational theories as to what caused them.
Not caused, in the sense of people placing explosives on public transport, mind you, but caused in the sense of, just as the gods of yore, our actions displeasing the people placing bombs. As these, for obvious reasons, prefer to remain anonymous, a variety of these "displeasing acts" circulate.
However, while we can be certain that suggesting "we should sacrifice a bull to Zeus", or even following up on that, will have zero effect on the occurence of the next earthquake, the same can't be said for terrorist acts, because we can't rule out that there are people out there wanting to kill us, and just waiting for an excuse. We should not provide them with excuses, because that might cause another attack.
Once we acknowledge there is no magic bullet to prevent terrorist attacks, it's a lot easier to start treating them as other natural disasters, with law enforcement playing the parts of scientists or engineers in the domains of prevention, damage limitation and data gathering.
Terrorism is here to stay, the least we should manage is a sane response.