Responding to London

RESPONDING TO LONDON….This is a very weird exchange of views about how to respond to Thursday’s bombings in London:

Nile Gardiner and John Hulsman of the Heritage Foundation: “There must be immediate retaliation by the U.S. and UK ? the war must be taken to the terrorists. Whoever has harbored, funded, aided, or abetted these terrorists must be held to account.”

Ivo Daalder at TPMCafe: “But this assumes we know who is behind these attacks ? or at least who is behind those who are behind these attacked. Problem is, we don’t….Like the terrorists who struck in Madrid and elsewhere, the London bombers probably planned and operated on their own rather than under the direction from bin Laden or his organization.”

Reed Hundt at TPMCafe: “There is certainly probable cause to believe that Osama and others associated with Al Qaeda are criminally culpable for not only 9/11, Madrid, many other attacks, but also the savage London bombing….Osama is in the group of the culpable and must be hunted down, apprehended, brought to justice, as soon as possible.”

What’s the point of all this? Even if bin Laden had nothing to do with Thursday’s attack, we still want to find him. On the question of whether we should hunt down Osama bin Laden, the London bombings add precisely nothing, right?

And unless I’ve misunderstood the situation completely, there’s only one thing preventing us from doing that right now: the sovereignty of Pakistan. Questions of manpower and international cooperation are moot unless we decide we’re willing to invade Pakistan against their wishes. Are the hawks willing to do that?

Washington Monthly - Donate today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation