Sunday, July 01, 2007

Al Qaeda Amateur Hour

When I was a lad my mum would often caution me as I left the house. 'Be careful crossing the road', she'd tell me.

Wise words when spoken to an eight year old. Twenty eight years later, it gets a bit wearing when I hear those words as I depart from a visit to the parents.

This thought crossed my mind amidst the blanket coverage of the terrorist attack on Glasgow Airport, which follows close on the heels of an abortive attempt to attack the theatre district of London.

By coincidence later this month I'll be flying from Glasgow Airport with K, on a trip to...the theatre district of London. It's K's thirtieth birthday in July, and her treat is a trip to see the new version of 'Joseph'.

Our hotel is located under half a mile from the site of the intended bomb blast.

Has the events of the last few days put me off? Of course not! The only negative thought that crossed my mind has been that I might have got a better deal on the hotel if I'd booked later.

The fact is the people who stage these attacks are remorseless maniacs but also severely lacking in competence.

No doubt eventually they will get lucky and stage a more devastating attack in terms of loss of life and property destroyed. For now, the reality is we are dealing with an enemy so useless, their suicide bombers cannot even kill themselves, let alone anyone else.

Frankly they'd be a lot more dangerous if they gave up on trying to blow themselves up, and simply drove a 4x4 vehicle at high speed through the pedestrianised shopping areas of Glasgow on a Saturday afternoon.

With that in mind, I despair of the sanctimonious nonsense spouted by some people in reaction to yesterday's attack.

Terrorists thrive not only on actual damage inflicted, but on spreading fear of further attacks.

With that in mind, there's no more effective way of combating them than getting on with your business as usual.

Not ignoring them; but not letting them rule our lives either.

One of the natural reactions on some of the forums I frequent was to mock the ineptitude of the attacks. That was certainly my reaction.

Some berated that reaction on the grounds of what might have happened. People *could* have been killed or injured. Yes, but they weren't. It really is a load of sanctimonious nonsense to pretend otherwise.

If we live our lives by those rules, we might as well all become agoraphobic and lock ourselves in the cellar. At which point the terrorists have won.

Fortunately most people are more sensible than the panic merchants who promote this sort of thinking.

Reacting with humour and a degree of scepticism is the right approach, and it's one the terrorists will find extremely difficult to overcome.

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