Suicide bombing is merely a tactic used by those who lack other means of delivering explosives. What happened in London occurs every time a U.S. or British warplane unloads its bombs on an Iraqi village.
But, you may say, our forces don’t deliberately target civilians. Perhaps not. But they have consistently shown themselves to be indifferent to the civilian casualties produced by their operations.
“Collateral damage” is the inevitable result of choosing to go to war. By choosing war in Iraq, we chose to kill tens of thousands of civilians.
American and British media have devoted hours to wondering what would drive a seemingly normal young Muslim to destroy himself and others. No one asked what would cause a seemingly normal young Christian or Jew to strap himself into a warplane and drop bombs on a village, knowing full well his bombs will kill civilians (and, of course, soldiers).
Peaceful protest, persuasion, demonstration, negotiation or remonstration haven’t made a dent in the single-minded U.S. and British policy. If all legitimate forms of dissent go unheeded, illegitimate forms will be turned to instead. Some people will resort to violence, which does not produce the desired result but may give vent to the inhumanity with which they have been treated for so long. Paine was right: People who are treated brutally will finally turn into brutes.
This is a war between one form of zealotry and another, one form of ignorance and another, one form of barbarism and another. More of the same will not yield solutions. The time has come to be human, and — motivated by sympathy, actuated by reason — to think and act as human beings, not unthinking brutes.