Ed Driscoll

Best of the Web Today

James Taranto’s excellent Best of the Web Today column is up, and has numerous London-oriented links, including these two, which certainly resonated with me:

Can We Get Serious Again, Please?
Today’s atrocity could have occurred in New York–or in Washington, Chicago, San Francisco or any other major American city. Indeed, we shouldn’t have to remind anyone that an attack on a much worse scale happened in the U.S. less than four years ago–though it often seems as though certain people don’t remember.

After all, what were American politicians doing while the terrorists were planning this morning’s attack? The House, led by self-described socialist Bernie Sanders, was voting to prevent terror investigators from looking at library records. Rep. Charles Rangel was likening the liberation of Iraq to the Holocaust. Dick Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, was urging the administration to treat al Qaeda terrorists as civilians and comparing American servicemen to Nazis.

Closer to London, the Associated Press reported on Tuesday that “a Belgian lawmaker’s report calls for the United States to shut down its detention camp at Guantanamo Bay in Cuba and send detainees to their home countries”:

“We recommend terminating the Guantanamo detention facility,” said the report’s author, Anne Marie Lizin, who is also the Socialist president of the Belgian Senate. She said keeping the camp open was damaging the reputation of the United States and causing the “radicalization” of detainees.

As if al Qaeda was moderate before the Guantanamo camp opened. Andrew Sullivan said it well back in January 2002:

The debate over whether to treat the al Qaeda terrorists and murderers at Camp X-Ray as prisoners of war seems to me a no-brainer. To be a prisoner of war requires that you observe the rules of war. A critical part of those rules is that you wear insignia clearly identifying you as a member of a particular army. Al Qaeda did no such thing. Another critical component is that you obey the laws of war. Among those rules, in Yale professor Ruth Wedgwood’s words, are also: “never deliberately attack civilians, and never seek disproportionate damage to civilians in pursuit of another objective.”

Al Qaeda, of course, massacred thousands of civilians as a deliberate act. These terrorists are not soldiers. They are beneath such an honorific. They are not even criminals. In that respect, Dick Cheney’s and Donald Rumsfeld’s contempt for the whines of those complaining about poor treatment is fully justified. And vast majorities of Britons and Americans agree with them.

National Review’s Jonah Goldberg quotes a reader who points out that violence such as London saw this morning “is what the people in Gitmo would rather be doing.” It shouldn’t take another terrorist attack to remind us of that fact.

The BBC Calls It by Its Name
“London Rocked by Terror Attacks” reads a headline on the BBC’s Web site. This seems unremarkable, except that, as the Mediacrity blog points out, the BBC’s “editorial guidelines,” in Reutervillian style, state:

The word “terrorist” itself can be a barrier rather than an aid to understanding. We should try to avoid the term, without attribution. We should let other people characterise while we report the facts as we know them.

The Beeb does apply this rule sometimes, such as in this timeline of attacks against Israel, which nowhere refers by name to terror, terrorism or terrorists.

Even Reuters is leaving out the scare quotes in some dispatches: “Police said they suspected terrorists were behind the bombings,” the “news” service reports from London.

So this is what it takes for the appeasement-oriented Reuters to leave out the scare quotations and the newspeak.

Those two posts and the rest of Taranto’s page are extensively hyperlinked–too many for me to reproduce here. Click over for all of the links.