Bloggers do a post-mortem on the mercifully unsuccessful London car-bomb plot and wonder what’s up with Bush and Putin in Kennebunkport this weekend.
Piccadilly peril: A Mercedes loaded with about 15 gallons of gasoline, nails, and gas cylinders was discovered just outside the nightclub Tiger Tiger on the Haymarket thoroughfare in Piccadilly Circus early Friday, bringing London into heightened state of alarm and vigilance. Had this apparent car bomb detonated, the fatalities and injuries might well have exceeded those of the 7/7 bombings two years ago. CNN and other outlets are reporting that a second Mercedes loaded with explosives materials has been discovered.
Andrew Sullivan worries that the foiled attack might have something to do with Mesopotamia: “It may well be that this attempted attack is a consequence of the Iraq war and occupation, which has fueled anti-Western sentiment and given al Qaeda a new base. But this leads to the harder question: would redeploying out of Iraq sooner rather than later make such attacks more or less likely? I’m not sure we can truly know the final answer to that.”
Righty Allahpundit, who’s vigilantly been updating his roundup of news and blog links since the story broke, says: “The target isn’t so strange either, according to the Daily Mail: a nightclub in Southwark was on the hit list of the [al-Qaida] jihadis convicted in Britain earlier this year. The club in this case, the Tiger Tiger, apparently has a capacity of 1,700 people. And last night was ladies’ night.”
Patrick J. Lyons at the New York Times’ The Lede thinks there’s a good chance that, given London’s panoptic video surveillance, the perpetrators were caught on film: “It’s hard to imagine many people objecting if all those cameras help quickly apprehend a would-be mass murderer. But many people are still apprehensive about those same cameras’ pervasive intrusion on the privacy of ordinary people, and are still brought up short to find themselves in video images available on the internet for anyone to see…”
But military tech junkie Noah Shachtman at Wired’s Danger Room suggests that cameras do nothing to deter would-be jihadist bombers: “After all, the average British citizen in snapped by spycams more than 300 times a day; there are more than 4.2 million of the mechanical eyes, scattered around the UK – one for every 14 people. Which means the Picadilly bomber(s) could almost certainly count on being caught on tape. And yet, he (or she, or they) went ahead with their plot, regardless.”
Craig Murray, a former British ambassador to Uzbekistan and failed candidate for parliament backed by George Galloway’s RESPECT Party, asks who benefits from today’s abortive attacks and concludes: “[W]hoever did this, the only people who can possibly benefit are the vast and ever-burgeoning security industry of all kinds, and those who want discord between the Islamic World and the West. Unfortunately, the extremists on all sides are strengthened by this incident.”
To which David T at democratic socialist blog Harry’s Place responds: “Attaboy Craig! That’s the way to go if you want to carve out a career for yourself as a nutter conspiracy theorist!” Also, Murray’s speculation that this latest bombing attempt might have been the work of native English fascists, who previously exploded a nail bomb in London, is met with zero credence from David: “[T]he Admiral Duncan bomb went off as part of what was evidently a neo-Nazi campaign. Bombs were also aimed at black people and asian people. This attempted bombing does not take place in the middle of a neo-Nazi bombing campaign, so there is no special reason to think that it is such a bombing.”
Read more about the thwarted London bombing.
Bunking with the Bushes: Vladimir Putin seems to have checked his neo-Brezhnev bluster for the summer, as he’s en route for a fun-filled weekend with Presidents Bush 41 and 43 at the Bush family’s Kennebunkport compound. Bush 41’s attendance is fueling questions as to whether this feast of reason and flow of the soul will feature as much realpolitik as it will Caspian caviar.
Conservative Gordon Chang at Commentary’s blog contentions writes: “[N]o amount of eye contact between the two men will settle the differences between America and Russia. They seem to be meeting more—they last got together earlier this month at the G8 conclave in Germany—and accomplishing ever less. Of course, there is no harm in the occasional chat in a shoreline setting, but it is time for our President to begin thinking more about how the world is changing—and how the U.S. can continue to lead in a new and much more difficult environment.”
Monica Smith at Democracy for New Hampshire speculates on the purpose of the seaside holiday: “Perhaps, upon reconsideration, the George Bushes have decided to take the Russian President up on his offer to participate in setting up missile defense facilities and Kennebunkport is the ideal location for the former head of the KGB and the former head of the CIA to put their heads together and reach an historic agreement.”
Apparently, the geopolitical snafus have already begun. A few of Putin’s security agents tried to buy whiskey at a local liquor store using a bogus $100 bill. Carolyn O’Hara at Foreign Policy’s Passport smells a bad omen: “First, it’s too bad the guys didn’t just go down the road to the restaurant offering ‘Hootin Putin’ cocktails in honor of the visit. Perhaps those guys wouldn’t have detected the bum cash they’re trying to pass around. And second, frankly I’m suspicious that these guys weren’t set up. I mean, it seems so implausible: two bottles of whiskey for five Russians? Tell me that doesn’t have the makings of a frame job.”
Read more about the Kennebunkport summit.