I used to have a certain admiration for George Galloway, the firebrand British MP best known for his vociferous opposition to the Iraq War. His work in highlighting the woes of the sanctions regime of the 1990s was laudable, and his anti-war views since, whilst expressed in his jarring Glaswegian manner, are hardly out of touch with the sentiments of many. But to take yesterday’s London bombings as an opportunity for anti-war, anti-Blair/Bush rhetoric was disgusting. Sadly, I’ve heard similar sentiments from others. I am angry today with the evil men who have perpetrated these terrible acts; I am also angry with those, like Galloway, who are so poisoned by their own bile that they are oblivious to the tenor of the moment.
And the fact is this: yesterday the criminals were the terrorists. To point fingers anywhere else is to make their acts understandable, even justified. They are not.
One can legitimately question the morality of the Iraq war, and we can profitably debate the links between terrorism and our own actions. But not today. Not today. Today there is one enemy and it is not the Prime Minister.
The truth is this: if the group who have claimed responsibility are indeed to blame then their motives stretch far beyond Iraq. They claim that the bombings were in retaliation for Britain’s involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iraq is one thing, but Afghanistan is another: can any sensible person suggest that our removal of the al-Qaeda-supporting Taliban was not justified in the wake of 9/11? And don’t forget one other salient point: these bombings were timed to coincide with the G8 conference, a conference that was to discuss poverty in Africa, and included leaders (Chirac, Schroder) who did NOT support the Iraq war.
So, sorry. Iraq is a smokescreen behind which wicked men plot carnage. The actions of the West must always be held to account for what happens in this world, and people often hate us for good reason. But that hate can never excuse placing a bomb on a bus or a train filled with innocent people. Today let’s pull together as a nation, support our Prime Minister, mourn our dead, and direct our anger at these sad Jihadists. Let the questions wait for another day. Not today.