Highly Selective Approval and Disapproval of Violence in the Age of Terrorism

Four bombs struck targets in London in July 2005. Tony Blair said immediately that the British people would not be intimidated, and would not allow their way of life to be affected by this violence. Clearly, Tony Blair, George Bush and Minny Others believe that violence in retaliation for the 2005 Bombing of London will be totally justified.

Yet, how many bombs, missiles, artillery shells, hand grenades, tank munitions, etc., have been unleashed by British forces against Muslim peoples in Iraq, Afghanistan, and elsewhere in the past year, three years, fifteen years? How many Muslim victims of British violence have determined that their own retaliatory violence is justified and that their way of life must be protected at all costs?

Do Muslims have a right to violent retaliation for acts of violence and acts of degradation against their lands and peoples? Or do only Westerners have that right? Is there such a thing as "civilians" in a war of civilizations? Are terrorists to be considered as "military people" or "soldiers" even if they do not belong to professional armies or state-sponsored armies? Do civilian "terrorists" have a right to attack civilians of nations conducting state sponsored terrorism (ex. "shock and awe” campaigns) against their own civilian populations in their home countries?

Does violence solve violence, or does violence beget violence? Will further retaliation by the British military and U.S. forces "solve" the problems that caused the 2005 Bombing of London, or exacerbate those problems? When and how do the root causes of conflict get solved?

It seems clear that the disapproval or approval of violence by any person or state depends on the relationship of that person or state to the latest victim of violence. Few seem to care to investigate the root causes of violence, the roots and expressions of injustice, and the means of stopping violence by solving and preventing injustice.

An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and a bomb for a bomb will result in blind, toothless, and bombed out communities and people and relentless cycle of violence and retaliation. Those who invest in the armaments and weapons of violence stand to benefit from the carnage. The financiers and the undertakers are the ones winning these wars. The populations on both sides sustain the casualties and bear the human costs of violence/revenge/violence/revenge.

And as the folk singers of a generation ago used to sing: "When will they ever learn? When will they ever learn?"