Re: The Gall


Remember Ogged, these weren't suicide bombers. These guys didn't want to die. So obviously, they'd want to not get their asses kicked. I have a feeling these guys weren't so much thinking through the whole of their plan (not getting the bombs to blow up, not being suicide bombers, getting caught).

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 10:21 PM
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You're right, thanks. Though I don't think it much changes the question, since the shocking thing is that they're willing to kill so many other people.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 10:22 PM
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Right, but while they want to act outside the law, they don't want to be treated outside the law. What you are saying in this post is equivalent to saying "A murderer who hires an attorney or has one appointed to his case is acting unreasonably by asserting his rights." In reality though, they are acting selfishly in their own best interests.

Like I said, I also don't think these guys really planned everything out all that well: my assumption is that they didn't plan on getting caught, didn't think through what would happen if they did indeed get caught, and were, in the end, acting in their own best self-serving interests in the end.

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 10:35 PM
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Another point re: suicide bombers. A suicide bomber wouldn't be worried about his rights. A bomber on the other hand, despite the massive loss of life to others, may not be ready to lose his own life. Furthermore, if this was being done ot further their [own] political interests, this "I have rights" might be seen as a ploy to get others to say that the British are treating these assholes improperly. As illogical as it sounds, we must remember that redicalism is not a;ways logical.

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 10:38 PM
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What you are saying in this post is equivalent to saying "A murderer who hires an attorney or has one appointed to his case is acting unreasonably by asserting his rights."

I don't think that works. Regular murder is almost never an attack on a society as a whole, as these bombings were to have been. What's remarkable is that these men were bombing "England" or "the West" and doing so in full cognizance of what's best about those places.

Of course, asserting their rights could just be a ploy. Still, it takes a strange turn of mind to see the power of "rights" and still want to blow up the people who, as citizens, make them possible. I guess the thinking is "what about the rights of the innocent Muslims being killed in Iraq, Palestine, etc."

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 10:46 PM
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Well, what I was thinking was something more along the lines of something that is more common to them saying "This is what they say they stand for, but it's really not! They are lying to everyone."

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 10:58 PM
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But yes, it is really odd. I find myself in a very oppositional mood at the present, hence the argument. As well, I think this goes to show how irrational radicalism is. On the one hand, they despise nearly everything western. On the other hand, they enjoy to an absurd point the rights guaranteed to them under western culture.

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 11:03 PM
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It's mainly startling if you begin from a "clash of cultures" or "clash of civilizations" perspective in which the assumption is that the cultures in question are, and perhaps for a long time have been, sealed off from each other with little opportunity for overlap and exchange.

But I would guess that it's quite rare to find bombers of this type who don't have some kind of understanding of the society they're attacking. It may be, as tweedledopey says, this guy is cynically appealing to rights for personal advantage, or it may be that he's incorporated the language of rights into his own belief system but not to the extent that he's willing to grant his neighbors those same rights.

In any case, it's possible to know that rights are highly valued by the system he's attacking without realizing that they are also what's best about it.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 11:07 PM
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eb, a point you made brought an interesting thought to mind. The rights are not granted by other individuals, rather, they are not denied by other individuals. Rights are granted by the nation-state, and in general, especially in Britain and most civilized countries, it is very difficult to revoke, governmentally, that most basic right of life. The other rights I am not so sure about.

I keep on wanting to say that these men were half-wits who probably didn't give any thought to the rights that they were going to deny others, but gave much thought to their own rights, as evidenced mainly by the fact that, for the most part, they weren't anywhere near the bags when the bombs didn't go off. But I can't find the right words to say that. This also brings up an interesting tangent: a suicide bomber doesn't really have to ever weigh his rights against the rights he/she will be depriving of others because he/she/it will never get the chance to excerise those rights.

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 11:16 PM
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That's well-put eb, but you're the historian, tell me, isn't it a very rare thing for the invocation "I have rights" to hold off a bunch of very angry armed men? In some way, this guy understands the power of the words, and yet is either blind to how amazing it is that they have that power, or thinks that that good is outweighed by other evils. I gather that it wasn't just a rhetorical exercise for him; especially given what happend to the poor Brazilian, there was a real chance that this guy was going to be shot, and in response, he invoked his rights. Yes, part of what startles me about that is how not-sealed-off he is from the culture he's attacking, but not because I expect the bombers to be complete wackos from the mountains of Peshawar, but because he's really inside the culture, and still wants to blow it up.

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 11:19 PM
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isn't it a very rare thing for the invocation "I have rights" to hold off a bunch of very angry armed men

Yes, I think you're right, and what makes it even more remarkable is that the rights are universalized not just across persons but across time (but not in the eyes of the bomber, of course). I suspect you can find in the past situations in which armed men were halted by appeals to particular customs (rules of honor for example, dictating how a fight or a blood-feud should take place, or something like sanctuary - I'm vaguely recalling something from a medieval history class where someone took refuge in a church, and his attackers actually climbed on the roof and threw things at him but would not violate custom and storm the inside of the church) but rights are supposed to be inherent in one's person and prior to the power of the state or any customary set-up.

I'd say that yes, that's fairly new, and definitely rare.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-29-05 11:43 PM
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And I agree: I find it hard to understand that someone who knew, and who grew up knowing, the language and power - if not the value - of rights, would then turn and attack the society that was protecting them. But I don't think this is as unprecedented. There were anarchists from democratic societies. Leon Czolgosz was American-born, for example.

Posted by: eb | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 12:15 AM
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I think it's possible that someone who planned on bombing people would fail to even recognize the logical inconsistancy of one one hand asserting one's own human rights and on the other of planning to deny others their human rights. Perhaps it is just simply selfishness, as suggested above, but I'm leaving open the possibility that they're just not that intelligent, at least not in this respect.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 12:26 AM
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It's better to give this Mohammed dude rights than to not give them to Jean Charles de Menezes.

Posted by: ogmb | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 12:40 AM
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14 comments and no one's noticed the word "suspect" yet? Sheesh. This guy *may* be a suicide bomber, or he may be innocent. As you don't know that he's a bomber, you also don't know if he's being hypocritical. Let's remember that the police make mistakes before we start kicking dark-skinned guys in the nuts.

OK, I realise that Ogged actually said, "If that's really what he said, and he was involved ..." but still, sheesh.

Posted by: Backword Dave | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 6:37 AM
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While I don't know anything about these particular men, or have a sense of the psychology of copycat non-suicide bombers as opposed to glorious martyr types, if he were the latter I would be inclined to think he's cynically and self-interestedly invoking the language of rights, but does not respect the state that would grant them. It is selfishness, but not stupidity, to recognize that if you are at war with an honorable opponent you can exploit your opponent's honor without exhibiting any of your own, or even respecting that honor; you can interpret it as weakness. One presumes that if glorious martyr types lived in the kind of Islamic state they pine for, that state would respect some rights of some people, but not other rights of others, and perhaps least of all the rights of enemies of the state. But then again, it's very possible that these bombers don't have such lofty political goals, that they're just very alienated and thus hostile and violent, but I still suspect that they recognize that the society values the rights of suspected criminals, and are willing to use it, without placing that respect very high on their list of things they'd value about a society.

Posted by: Tia | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 6:56 AM
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It's an interesting point, but I think you're expecting a bit too much logical rigor from this guy. If police surrounded your house, you'd start yelling stuff you heard on Cops, too.

Posted by: tom | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 9:09 AM
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is Cops broadcasted in the UK?

Posted by: larrybob | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 9:53 AM
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That's what it all comes down to, isn't it?

Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 10:26 AM
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To pick up on the last sentence of the article - that's what really interests me as well. I'm keeping my eyes open for good thoughts on the subject, but if others are finding things, we could share in this thread.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 12:25 PM
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This comes to you from Yorkshire. I live a mile away from the school which was attended by one of the July 7 suicide bombers. I don't know where you get the idea that the four who were rounded up yesterday were not suicide bombers. One of them threw himself across his backpack in a subway train. London's poilce chief Ian Blair (no relation to Tony) has not the slightest doubt that they were suicide bombers. The likehood is that the home-made explosive in their bombs had deteriorated and therefore did not blow.

Of course they should have their civil rights. And I hope those rights will result in them being charged, tried i and jailed for ever and ever.

Posted by: Peter | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 1:32 PM
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From the reports over here (across the pond), we heard stories of these guys dropping the bags on the trains and then running off. At least, that was the only story that got through to me.

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 1:36 PM
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Not so. They were not copycat bombers. Part of the same mad group. There are a number of links between the July 7 bombers and those rounded up yesterday. And Ian Blair warns us there are more out there.

Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 1:42 PM
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"Remember Ogged, these weren't suicide bombers."

Um, what? They made faulty bombs, which they set off while wearing them, say all the reports so far; what makes you think they expected to survive that?

Posted by: Gary Farber | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 3:41 PM
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The report I had heard (only one really) was that the guy threw a bomb on the tube at one of the stations, and ran out. The passengers tried to stop him, but he was able to run off.

I made the assumption that the rest were like this, especially since they weren't caught at the time.

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 4:05 PM
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Very interesting that you should be prepared to believe reports on TV and in newspapers - rather than the London police chief.

Journalists get it wrong. I know. I've been one for more than 40 years.

Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 4:06 PM
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I actually heard this from the BBC or Sky News when it had happened as a report from an eyewitness IIRC. While testimony from eyewitnesses is no doubt fragile in court, I still have a tendency to believe that guy on the train.

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 4:42 PM
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Looking at the BBC reports no, I can see that the eyewitness report had a weird time lapse between the guy getting on the tube and leaving. So I'm wrong, and apologize. They were suicide bombers. My mistake.

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 4:59 PM
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I am convinced that religion rather than politics resulted in the London bombings and attempted bombings. Or rather a perverted view of what the Koran says. One of the July 7 four, a young lad with a West Indian mother, was educated at Rawthorpe High School, Huddersfield. Some of those who went through school with him describe him as an ordinary sort of boy. Good at sport. Then he "got'' religion. Became a Muslim. A fundamentalist. Those who knew him as a schoolboy are shocked almost to the point of disbelief that he should have been involved.

Iraq gives the disaffected Muslim youth an excuse - though not a good reason - for turning against the society in which they grew up.

Here's a thought. The biggest enemy of Al Quaida was Saddam Hussein. He was the guy with most to lose if they had gained influence in Iraq. Of course Saddam was an evil b......, but he was an enemy of Al Quaida.

Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 5:28 PM
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Very interesting that you should be prepared to believe reports on TV and in newspapers - rather than the London police chief.

This is certainly unfair. You're assuming tweedle had knowledge of the judgement of the London police chief yet chose to ignore it. It's possible he did, but it doesn't change the fact that this is still an assumption.

Of course, if he did choose to ignore it, could you really fault him? How many days did it take for us to get the correct news on the brazilian who was shot by the police? Believing that journalists are always right is naive (though there is no evidence that tweedle holds this belief), but so is believing that police are never mistaken or lie.

Posted by: Michael | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 5:40 PM
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As a journalist I've spent a lifetime being suspicious of the police. In UK, the USA and Africa. But I think the police immediately gave out the facts on the regrettable shoorting of the Brazilian gentleman. I sympathise with his friends and family. So does every right-thinging person. But the police, in stressful times, thought he was a bomber. As things turned out, he was in Britain illegaly and had no wish to be confronted by the police. But blame the terrorists, not the police, for what happend. Three policemen closed in on him. Three young policeman aware that they could be blown up. The London police chief has said there may be other incidents like this. The plice are rightly edgy. BUT BLAME THE BOMBERS.

Posted by: peter | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 5:54 PM
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Actually Peter, that's not really correct. For days (or at the very least, many many hours), the police said he "jumped a turnstile", "was wearing a heavy overcoat", "was acting in a suspicious manner." Of these, only the last one might be true at all. So, if I had known Ian Blair's comments, I might have said, "hmm, I don't know that I can trust him anymore." As it stands, I didn't know Blair's comments about the bombings. I was merely reacting to what the eyewitness had said.

In my lay opinion, I'd think that the two groups of bombers were discrete groups. First, the first group of bombers had working bombs. I can;t imagine that the second groups bombs would have failed if they were connected. I think they saw the first attack, and said, "Here's our chance to make our mark too." Second, actually there is no second. My first thought is my only reason for thinking that they acted along.

I'm not blaming anyone but the bombers. That doesn't mean that they weren't influenced by other things. On that note, I'm going out.

Posted by: tweedledopey | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 6:19 PM
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There was a front page story in the NYT on Wednesday stating that police are considering the possibility that the July 7 bombers did not intend to commit suicide.

The same story says that Ian Blair has refused to call them suicide bombers in public.

Posted by: Lara | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 6:24 PM
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Could he have been misunderstood?

Perhaps he said "I have lice" in a selfish effort to keep the police away.

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 6:38 PM
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But I think the police immediately gave out the facts on the regrettable shoorting of the Brazilian gentleman.

Then you clearly didn't follow the case as it evolved.

Posted by: ogmb | Link to this comment | 07-30-05 8:00 PM
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A couple of years ago, my crazy aunt was mugged. When they caught the guy, she went down to the courthouse to testify, and when she saw him she was possessed with a great fury and literally whipped off her shoe and went apeshit on him, pounding the bastard with her size 9 pumps (and this was the 70's, so these babies were platforms).

He started screaming, "get this crazy lady off me! I got rights! I got rights!"

So, no, I'm not the least bit shocked that bad guys are also huge hypcorites. They're shitty people.

But frankly, this utter lack of awareness isn't limited to the criminal element. It's fairly common. When I was in college, I saw children of legacies pass judgment on kids who weren't white, saying that affirmative action had gotten them in school and it was just appalling. It's terrifically common for assholes to opportunistically appeal to deeply held values in order to justify rights for themselves that they're not willing to give to others--this is what makes them assholes. With guys like this, it's more a matter of degree than anything else.

Posted by: theorajones | Link to this comment | 07-31-05 7:00 PM
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You know, I don't think this is necessarily a case of hypocrisy at all. Such and such a means is available to you; you'd rather it weren't available to anyone, but you haven't succeeded. Why not take it? I recall reading about an notable libertarian who took close advantage of Boston's rent control laws, and why not?

Posted by: ben w-lfs-n | Link to this comment | 07-31-05 7:59 PM
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B-wo, are you being coy? There's an obvious candidate for who would be the notable liberterian who took advantage of Cambridge's rent control laws, he did it, and it probably made him something of a hypocrite (according to his principles, what he's doing is an unjustified harm) though of course has no relevance to the quality of his arguments.

But see Julian Sanchez interviewing him, in which he jokes about the incident, and basically admits he was wrong by his own lights.

Posted by: washerdreyer | Link to this comment | 07-31-05 11:56 PM
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Maybe the terrorist likes the "rights" part, but dislikes, rightly or wrongly, some other part.

Or are you saying "How can you commit a crime against a society and then demand anything from that same society?"

Posted by: Tripp | Link to this comment | 08- 1-05 7:54 AM
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to ring the purchase up then took a closer look at the money video keno craft started to lower itself toward the ground grains of sand flying .

Posted by: Monica Luna | Link to this comment | 01-25-06 3:37 AM
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