“Their cause is not founded on injustice. It is founded on belief, one whose fanaticism is such that it can’t be moderated. It can’t be remedied. It has to be stood up to.”
– Tony Blair, London, Saturday 16 July 2005.
In every point in that statement, other than the first one, Tony Blair is correct. In saying it is not founded on injustice, he makes a fundamental error. Injustice, in fact, feeds their cause.
Back in the Autumn of 2001, I was seriously impressed with the way Blair went around the capitols of the Middle East and Asia, persuading the kings and the sheiks and the generals and the dictators that, if they would not openly support the imminent American onslaught on Afghanistan, then at least not to publicly oppose it. He learned passages from the Qur’an to support his case with Muslim leaders. For a time I actually wondered if Blair could do 2nd Tier thinking. What he did was certainly way beyond the red/BLUE simplistic black & white thinking of George W Bush.
However, Blair’s support for Bush’s 2003 war on Iraq showed a distinct dearth of global or strategic thinking. Defeating the military of Saddam Hussein, seriously degraded by the Gulf War of 1991, proved deceptively easy. Managing the occupation of Iraq and the transition to a Western-style democracy has so far proved beyond the capability of an Anglo-American coalition seemingly bereft, when they entered the country in March 2003, of a plan for what they would do with post-Saddam Iraq.
Millions of British voters protested against the intention to go to war with Iraq. Even more millions of voters have been appalled since by the political and military quagmire that Iraq has become. Labour, with no concerted credible opposition, was punished for Iraq by the voters in the May 2005 General Election by having its huge parliamentary majority significantly reduced. Blair was widely regarded as finished, a ‘lame duck’ prime minister waiting to hand over power to Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.
However, through skillful handling of European issues – the constitutional crisis, Jacques Chirac’s gastronomic gaffes and the budget rebate row – and support for measures to combat African poverty and climate change, Blair’s ORANGE has enabled him to bounce back considerably. (Getting photographed with Sir Bob Geldoff just before Live8 was very clever!)
His star has risen again so much there is even rumoured to be talk in Downing Street of Blair staying on to fight for a fourth term. So far he’s handled the London bombings with an appropriate mix of grit and flair. The last thing he needs now is for them to be linked in the public eye to the mess in Iraq.
Identity – who do you belong to?
They say 7 July 2005 – designated ‘7/7’ to emphasise the 9/11 similarities – has changed everything for Britain.
British nationals became suicide bombers and slaughtered their fellow commuters in the morning rush hour.
It’s interesting that much of the media tends to refer to the 4 bombers as ‘British nationals’, rather than ‘Britons’ – as though they’re not really ‘true Brits’!
It’s almost as though we now have an ‘enemy within’. Of course, the media points out that the vast majority of the 1.6 million Muslims in Britain are peaceful and law-abiding. Yet there is a sinister undercurrent – a sense of potential ‘witchunt’ – lurking beneath the platitudes about the ‘majority of Muslims’.
On Friday (15 July), Sir Ian Blair, Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, told Muslim leaders in Romford that the Islamic community in Britain had been in denial about the ‘lunatic fringe’ in their midst for far too long. Then he went on to say: “Now, it is your problem…. We have to seize a moment in which the Muslim community changes from your state of shock and disbelief into active engagement in counter-terrorism.”
In other words, Muslims must root out the terrorists living in their communities. (And the unspoken sanction if they don’t…?)
The following day (16 July) Sir Iqbal Sacranie, Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Great Britain, while urging Muslims to be “absolutely vigilant”, expressed concern about the singling out of the Islamic communities in this way, saying, “This is a major burden that cannot be passed on to the community – the capacity to police themselves in terms of finding out the criminality is not on…. The Muslim community is no different to any other community in this country and they should not be treated as any different. Once you treat a Muslim community differently in the way it is being perceived, as though it is a criminal community, a troublesome community, then we will not get the support we would want from them.”
Wittingly or not, Sacranie is being a little disingenuous. The very fact that the Muslim community is a religious community makes it distinctive and requiring some different considerations from a non-religious community. Of particular importance is the emphasis Islam places on brotherhood.
The Qur’an says: “The believers are but one single brotherhood” (49:10) – with a purpose: “Verily, this brotherhood of yours is a single brotherhood, and I am your Lord and Cherisher: Therefore, serve Me and no other” (21:92).
On this basis, does nationality count? Can one be both a Muslim and a Briton? And, if you can, does being a Muslim take priority?
In Gravesian terms, Islamic brotherhood meets PURPLE’s need to belong and enshrines it in BLUE’s compliance with doing ‘the right thing’.
This powerful meme of belonging, of all being brothers in the faith, is common to most religions – for example, the Bible New Testment tells Christians to “Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God” (1 Peter 2:17). Fundamentalist Christians face the same dilemma of choosing God or their country when they are in contradiction – “Give therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21). Since God clearly is greater than man, the true, or fundamentalist, believer will usually choose God over man.
The question comes then: can a Muslim betray his ‘brother’ to non-believers without betraying the brotherhood – without betraying God?
I’m not that familiar with the history of Islam; but certainly the history of Christianity is littered with examples of Christians who refused to betray their brothers when they had contravened the laws of the country they were in.
Of course, the Christians who hid their ‘brothers’ (and ‘sisters’) in the Roman catacombs 2,000 years ago justified their actions by saying that the government was acting immorally and in contravention of the laws of God. Therefore, it was ‘right’ to disobey the laws of the government. Yet the Roman government saw the early Christians as a threat to the Roman way of life in a manner not too dissimilar to the way many in the modern West view fundamentalist Islam.
The nature of fundamentalism
Not every Muslim who attends a mosque believes the Qur’an is the undiluted ‘Word of God’ any more than every person who calls themself a Christian believes every verse in the Bible is the absolute Truth.
When the BLUE vMEME is in the ascendant, however, the tendency is towards absolutism and rigidity in belief.
Over 50 years ago Theodore Adorno, one of a number of sociologists and psychologists researching why hundreds of thousands of people from a sophisticated and highly-developed nation like Germany allowed their country to be turned into a police state and at least supported – if not actually participated in – some of the worst attrocities of the 20th Century. From their research Adorno et al (1950) came to believe that some people have an Authoritarian Personality with rigid beliefs in conventional values, hostility towards other groups, intolerance of ambiguity and submissive attitudes towards authority figures – all traits associated with unpleasant manifestations of BLUE, all characteristics of fundamentalism, whether of the Christian or Muslim flavour..
Adorno devised a tool for assessing the Authoritarian Personality: the Fascism Scale (or F-Scale).
Those American commentators who have started to use the term, ‘Islamofascist’, are closer to what is driving the fundamentalists than perhaps they know.
“The mindset of many young Muslims across the world is being framed by images of the shock and awe bombing of Baghdad, of the massacres in Fallujah, of torture in Abu Ghraib, of the orange-clad, chained prisoners in Guantanamo Bay and, of course, the continuing oppression of the Palestinian people.”
– John McDonnell MP, London, Saturday 16 July 2005.
Their BLUE has them responding as Authoritarian Personalities to imams who seem more holy and pious than others and who are very certain of the Truth, enabling them to take the Qur’an at face value. Their PURPLE groans for the travails of their ‘brothers’ around the world and their BLUE tells them that the right thing to do is to wage jihad on those who are mistreating, abusing and killing their brothers.
In the Hadith, the Prophet Mohammed said: “The similitude of the believers in their kindness, mercy, affection and compassion toward one another, is like a body, when one organ ails, the whole body is drafted to take care of the problem.”
From the fundamentalist point of view, the true believer is effectively obligated to help his ‘brothers’ wherever they are in trouble.
In truth Islam offers many ways of helping out – with a big emphasis on charitable works – but parts of the Qur’an, like the Bible Old Testament, can be used to legitimise violence – viz: “Slay the unbeliever…wherever you find him” (9:5).
In its editorial last Thursday (14 July), the Daily Mirror said: “Already a mountain of words has been written and spoken in an attempt to explain how they could have done what they did. But the truth is that we will never understand. There is no explanation for an insane act.”
How wrong could they be?!? The BLUE certainty of knowing that you are doing the right thing – and feeding your PURPLE sense of belonging by helping out your brothers at the same time – these are the drivers. Maybe, for some, their RED system gets excitement from a bombing venture – but the dominant vMEMES in the vMEME stacks of the young jihadis are most likely to be PURPLE and BLUE.
And with the certainty that God rewards those who die in battle in His cause, the young jihadis set out to do battle with the unbelievers who are mistreating, abusing and killing their brothers.
Clearly, the understanding I’ve developed in this Blog is basic. There is much more to say about differences between Muslims – particularly between Sunni and Shia – and differences between the impoverished and desperate Palestinian bombers, the zealous foreign fighters in Iraq and the urban bombers who travelled from Leeds to London on 7 July.
All that needs exploring to develop a detailed Integrated SocioPsychology viewpoint of the issues.
However, we also need to ask: what can we do about it?
Tough on terrorism, tough on the causes of terrorism
When Tony Blair said: “It is founded on belief, one whose fanaticism is such that it can’t be moderated. It can’t be remedied. It has to be stood up to.” – he was right.
Until BLUE loses its grip, the jihadis can’t be reasoned with; they can only be fought. That means attacking their resources/funding, prohibiting radical speakers, penetrating their networks and arresting and interrogating suspects, etc, etc – all the kinds of things the Government is all too slowly starting to put in place.
However, that will only slow the recruitment of jihadis; it won’t prevent it. So we’ll only be a little safer – still not safe. To achieve that, we, the West, have to put right the many injustices that feed the cause.
Injustice will probably never be eradicated; it seems to be a part of the human condition. And there will always be those Jews and Muslims whose RED feeds on the excuses for violence offered in the Old Testament and the Qur’an. However, we do need to develop a world where suffering and injustice can not be so easily associated with the particular religion of a people.
Then we might well find that the moderate Muslims will co-operate willingly in exposing the ‘lunatic fringe’.
Tony Blair might possibly be up to developing such a world. George Bush almost certainly isn’t!
Monday, July 25th 2005 at 12:01
Thanks for the compliment. I responded to have the opportunity to learn. So thanks for the communication, by expressing myself I have ample learning opportunities. SD, English, etc. I am cautious to read collective reactions through the gravesian systems. I am able to apply the theory to individuals, and I am not able and willing to apply the theory to entities like nations, and groups of people.
It is however very usefull for (inter)group-dynamics. In case of the London bombings and the ‘we say we are not afraid to avoid to be afraid and get hooked by fear’ I suggest we first need to know why people go to “The ‘we are not afraid’ website”. Second, what other patterns of behaviors can be seen. Third, we would need to verify what the result of this act is for that person. Then we would get a picture that allows for interpretation with the gravesian point of view.
Let me clarify a bit the why-question. People can use tools available from various levels of existence. Which means that someone in purple can go to “The ‘we are not afraid’ website” while believing he is acting to please the unknown powers because that is what others did too. So the Gods will help to unknown powers keep safe or bring back safety to the attacked group/society. You can see people in internet cafes holding on tightly to their ‘lucky charm’, ER might suggest him or herself it is smart to show its independency and autonomy to the attackers.
From a crises-psychology perspective it makes sense that people have a need to express themselves, and that includes “The ‘we are not afraid’ website”, but boy are they ****ed up in the stories they tell themselves why they do it and how it will affect reality or not. More often a behavior like going to a website and using media-talk like Blitz-mentality cannot be explained by the gravesian point of view. It is too thin and too little information for interpretation through the model.
To be honest I rather avoid the answer to your question: “How quickly an idea turns into a collective perception?” In my work the unspoken expectation is that the gravesian point of view might be able to contribute to this process that is implied in your question. How and whether or not that is true, I like to discuss not publicly. In this case the ‘we are not afraid theme’ that we seem to discuss is just another example of talking about media talk. It is journalists and opinion-leaders that raise this theme, it doesn’t mean that people are not afraid. Again be aware of the reason why people pick up the ‘we are not afraid theme’. From a gravesian point of view I think the content that people are not afraid or don’t want to be afraid is irrelevant. The mistake we often make is that because people group together we assume there is purple in operation.
There is a part in your e-mail that reveals a need for knowing and understanding, and finding information about what is going on as a means to avoid what you don’t like. When you write you feel uncomfortable that with “Is ER really aware of who, what and why and running the show at this end?” I feel or assume fear on your side, am I right? The lack of information and understanding the events and the players and their motivations and what we can learn about the future from that seems to cause some fear in you. The good thing about democracy is that for keen observers it is clear what authorities know and what they don’t know. Are we able and willing to include in the process of analysis and interpretation (give meaning) our own perceptions and operational levels of existence. That might have a much bigger influence on how we perceive others and their actions than the naked observation of their answers and actions.
Your last question: “What life conditions do you think Blair is operating from?” I leave for later contemplation. Do you mean what life conditions he is operating in? Or are you asking what grvaesian systems are dominant in his thinking?
Have a good day
Sunday, July 24th 2005 at 18:59
Hello Rob – thanks for an excellent insight and explanation of SD. I need to read and experience a lot more! I’m kicking off debate with a great lack of personal SD knowledge here, and hopefully learning as I go!
The ‘we are not afraid’ website has supposedly had X million hits (& huge ER support.?) How quickly an idea turns into a collective perception ? I realise that beliefs are usually created quickly out of limited sensory input, and are thus not the key point (other than we destroy each other very quickly – by acting on the meaning we give to our realities) The ‘we are not afraid theme’ is built on ‘unprocessed realities’ and ‘meaningless facts’, and contributes to direct a mood. So if the media asks us ‘why are dark skinned young men planting bombs on tube trains’? Is ER really aware of who, what and why and running the show at this end ? I don’t feel that comfortable with those thoughts.
What life conditions do you think Blair is operating from ?
Sunday, July 24th 2005 at 18:30
Hi Mr. Lowe and Keith It is nice to see some SD-related notions about the so-called terrorist attacks in London. Thanks for doing this. Keith thanks for your view on 07-07.
Mr. Lowe it is an important notion you expressed in the following words: “I’ve always thought that people adapt in every way to their current environment (which for some people hardly ever changes ?) – and that we shift beliefs & values when the environment changes…” Important because I think you are right and at the same time missing the elegancy and incomparable power and beauty of the SD-model (better said: the gravesian point of view).
The Gravesian Point of View is not about values and beliefs. It is about neural capabilities that are ‘automatically’ part of the process in which our conceptions of the sensory input (‘unprocessed realities’ and ‘meaningless facts’) are created and stimulated. The creation of these conception are the meaning we give to our realities… call it beliefs, values or conceptions of psychologically healthy adult human beings.
So forget the content of beliefs and values… it is the underlying neural dynamics that are expressed. These expressions are time and location bounded. With changing time and location the expressions can change original (level of existence) unrecognizeable for the untrained or the uncritical eyes and ears.
Now that leads me to your next point: “Are we capable of appearing to be one thing when we are another? Is it possible for us to pretend to be in a purple system – when we are really in an orange system ?” The answer is NO, but those who observe might not be able to see the difference, because the energies of the levels of existence can only be assumed and very often misinterpreted. And by the way especially ‘orange’ is able to play games, too bad though for ER, it is incapable of guarding the revelations of the ER dynamics. Just check out the ‘why’ and look for the spontaneous outings that are not part of interactions… check out the gossip of people, and their original emotinal responses (‘original’ meaning not influenced or evoked by media-events, etc.)
That leads to the next remark to which I like to add a little naughty comment: “My question was how ‘real’ is the ‘Londoners in the blitz mentality’- and is that a good strategy and message to give to the rest of the world?” The Blitz mentality is actually not something to be proud of at all. Remember many citizens banging on subway entrances demanding access to the deeper tunnels, which was denied for so long, until the locks were broken and the authorities had to give in. Of course there was the stiff-upper lip mentality, but there was so much well meant ‘safe myself’ mentality going on as well. Don’t judge the collaborators until you know the arguments for their actions and decisions including their life conditions… And here comes in handy ER… it makes good press coverage to connect back to the already open WWII nerves, the commemoration of fighters for freedom and nation was only recently.
By the way I think it is bad tactics, especially against whoever are the attackers… because fear will creep in many of the crowd… it is already, and wisely so. But ER might not really like that others see fear… he thinks for this he might lose friends and business related acquaintances – those who are useful to scratch their backs so they will scratch yours all for your personal advantages.
But the one to blame is close to the altar… Blair, not because he is the cause but it comes in handy for other reasons as well.
Saturday, July 23rd 2005 at 18:01
Hi Keith – thanks for your comments & info on the technical points of SD ! I’ve always thought that people adapt in every way to their current environment (which for some people hardly ever changes ?) – and that we shift beliefs & values when the environment changes, which is why I have issues with most ‘personality, adaptability tests’. (Which is also why I love westerns and the reassuring clichés they evoke – the useless underdog becomes a hero – just when everyone has finally given up on him. ‘The Fastest Gun Alive’ – Glenn Ford)
On the Spiral – when a person (or group) move down into another system out of fear or confusion, can they genuinely identify with that systems values ? Are we capable of appearing to be one thing when we are another? Is it possible for us to pretend to be in a purple system – when we are really in an orange system ?
My question was how ‘real’ is the ‘Londoners in the blitz mentality’-for the people of 2005, and is that a good strategy and message to give to the rest of the world. (Especially those behind the attacks) – I think I am struggling to clarify what I am thinking in terms of SD !
Saturday, July 23rd 2005 at 14:53
“London Can Take It” was the name of a 10-minute propaganda documentary made in 1940 during the Blitz that captured something of the indomitable spirit of Londoners under siege. The current website set up by a London web designer, Alfie Dennan has been created to demonstrate that same feeling & reputation for a “stiff upper lip” in the face of adversity. Whether this is the right message to give out depends on your view.
Do we meet defiance with defiance; we all know that ‘an eye for an eye’ – leaves us all blinded to other options? So what else can we do, faced with shadowy figures carrying devastation & mayhem inside duffle bags & jackets. Osama Bin Laden is quoted with warning Americans ‘we love death more than you love life’. My belief is defiance may serve to encourage the purple tribal mentality, strength in number and war like resolve, meeting aggressive red with defiant red. But are we really purple people, especially in a large capital like London. My guess is that orange and green people are frustrated & fearful and are masquerading as purple, when they are attacked by a hidden enemy. The culture of the orange individual cannot see a solution to personal attack & danger, so he looks to the past to see what his previous generations did. The result is an expression which he can’t really understand and share. A blue order he has long since abandonded. The truth must be a mix of anger, defiance and fear. Normal life has to change and adapt to new practises. http://www.werenotafraid.com/
Saturday, July 23rd 2005 at 16:55
As usual, Dave, an interesting and thought-provoking post. Some technical points, though, which may add insight to the cultural points you raise.
Beware of typing people as ‘purple’ or ‘orange’, etc. Spiral Dynamics is not a typing methodology, as per the Enneagramme or Myers-Briggs. As both Beck and Cowan, together and separately, have pointed out on many occasions, we’re talking about systems in people, NOT types of people.
So, it’s not a case of “masquerading as purple”, it’s a case of going down the Spiral to access a lower vMEME which is more appropriate to the life conditions/environment. Once the life conditions/environment have changed back, those who had regressed to PURPLE should gravitate back to the ORANGE or GREEN they were comfortable with previously.
Friday, July 22nd 2005 at 16:48
Hi Keith, That’s what I had trouble with back on the training course. If Turquoise sees the bigger picture but is willing to sacrifice people to achieve his aim, then rather than acting in an almost god-like fashion, this is what could happen, isn’t it? It’s more like a god from Terry Pratchett, who acts to solve the big picture to his satisfaction, and couldn’t care less about the poor mugs who get flattened on the way. But that could be a way of seeing Turquoise. Heaven help us!
Friday, July 22nd 2005 at 18:50
We’re being rather theoretical here since there’s not a lot of TURQUOISE about.
Graves had some evidence for an 8th level – enough apparently to infuence Maslow – and Jane Loevinger’s 8th Level, Integrated, matches too.
To my knowledge, there’s been little attempt to define/study the 8th level. So, in my view, we have to be a little careful when attributing characteristics to this way of thinking. However, do remember that, if the collective-individual zig-zag of the Spiral holds into the 2nd Tier, then TURQUOISE will operate as a collective. Which should mean collective wisdom prevails rather than individual myopia. Which probably explains why I really don’t go for the idea of Bush or Thatcher operating from 2nd Tier thinking. There again, who’s to say a TURQUOISE collective wouldn’t be capable of falling into the error of Groupthink?
Thursday, July 21st 2005 at 19:09
I’m with you, Keith. I don’t think either Bush or Thatcher had the bigger picture. However, they don’t seem to me like Blue or Orange thinkers either (and yes, I know they could be several colours at once). Both Bush and Thatcher do seem to have some kind of overview, which would seem to me to put them above the gap. They may see the bigger picture. The point is, if they do, then they don’t CARE about the social effects of their actions. What I’m not clear on is, does this make them Yellow in that they see the bigger picture but are still acting selfishly? Or have I not got the Spiral right? Could they be Yellow/Red or Yellow/Red/Blue?
Friday, July 22nd 2005 at 12:46
Yes, there could be harmonics of YELLOW, RED and BLUE – probably a structure of YELLOW using RED and BLUE. I have to say I struggle with the concept of Thatcher thinking beyond ORANGE – but maybe you’re right. Who knows, given the assertion that TURQUOISE will sacrifice some for the good of the whole…maybe Thatcher realised what her policies would do to the social fabric of Northern England and decided it was a price worth paying. Certainly, in terms of wealth generation, it paid off. But the disaffection of so many has done such damage to our society and the prospects of so many young people, I’d have a hard time buying that one.
As to Bush, well, I want to steer clear of the ‘cartoon cowboy’ image the media tends to subscribe to – and which Dick gently reprimanded me for; but I have difficulty seeing beyond Bush being driven internally by RED and BLUE and manipulated by external ORANGE. My thoughts!
Wednesday, July 20th 2005 at 18:10
What’s truly frightening is that the US pulling out of Iraq or Afghanistan (on which Americans only disagree on the timetable or conditions for withdrawal) will not stop Jihaadists from persuing their long term plan, which includes removing the Saudi Royals from power (economically terrifying) and removing Musharraf’s pragmatic authoritarian government (terrifying in a nuclear way) and switching to a dogmatic authoritarian government. I don’t know how difficult it would be for Jihaadists to take power in Pakistan if Musharraf were killed, or if a moderate or pragmatic group would be able to pick up the slack. The US doesn’t seem to have a long term strategy, which means there may not be a US in the future. I’ll see you all in the Republic of California, in that event.
Thursday, July 21st 2005 at 18:41
For Dick Werling
I have to say that, when it comes to Bush’s foreign policy, I have yet to see anything remotely 2nd Tier about it. Have you seen your countryman Michael Lockahart’s comments? He is of the view that the US has no policy on how to deal with Islamic fundamentalism.
The US had world-wide empathy for 9/11 and, especially thanks to Blair’s intervention, support for some kind of action against Afghanistan – even from most of the Muslim world. That has been squandered in the intervening years – by the use of the most despicable bandit warlords to fight the ground war by proxy in Afghanistan, by Gauantanamo Bay, but most especially by Iraq. I don’t know enough about American domestic politics to comment on Bush in that respect. It looks ostensibly like a standard medium-to-far-right agenda to me. But I don’t know – and Bush does get caricatured as a kind of cartoon cowboy in the media (both sides of the Atlantic). So, perhaps your post is valuable in forcing us to think beyond that caricature.
I’ll suggest an anolgy, though, with Margaret Thatcher who doggedly pursued a medium-to-far-right agenda . Britain’s economic prosperity in the late 90s and the first few years of the 21st Century is, in many respects, built on the reforms she pushed through – destruction of trade union power, production efficiencies and economic competitiveness, privatisation of public services, smaller government, deregulation of money movement, etc, etc. So was Thatcher coming off 2nd Tier thinking? Well, she was most definitely a visionary. But she either ignored or completely missed the damage her policies would do to Britain’s social fabric – especially in the northern manufacturing areas where the old traditional industries disappered very quickly indeed, resulting in almost a generation of low-skill and no skill manual labouring males in those areas spending the rest of their lives on unemployment benefits and doing small jobs on on the ‘black market’. The rich got very rich, the middle class did more than OK and the poor got a lot poorer. Drug misuse epidemics and mass teenage disaffection and street crime in those areas are at least in part due to Thatcher missing or ignoring the social dimensions of her economic policies. Damage to PURPLE cultures in the north of England will last at least 3-4 generations.
So I’m wary of calling reformist agendas 2nd Tier. Yes, the visionary may be determined to reform. But have they really got the biggest picture?
Tuesday, July 19th 2005 at 17:38
“Well, on the assumption that the media reporting is fairly straight, there is increasing evidence emerging of connections to networks which are joined to al-Qaeda at some level. Whether al-Qaeda directly manipulated the 4 young men or whether they simply took their ‘inspiration’ from al-Qaeda, we don’t know at this stage.”
This last quote above is what I am driving at mostly. We don’t know at this stage exactly why these people carried out these attacks. Assuming that they fit the profile of Islamic extremists, and that they carried out these attacks under the belief system of or similar to that of what we know of Al-Qaeda, then I think your SD analysis is very accurate. But, because, as you describe, we just do not have all of the facts about who these people really are, and what their motives actually were, it makes it very hard to do anything except go with our assumptions about who they are.
It seems like a small thing, but knowing where you drew your assumptions from about who the attackers were, and what their motives were helps frame your analysis better for me, anyway. I can understand that in the case of your analysis, that the infosource was mostl likely mainstream media sources, like the BBC, etc. And I am sure that I get most of my information from sources like these, too. These media sources will report the most acurate info that they can get from the government on an occurance like the London bombings. So, I am not accusing you or them of knowingly creating some type of false impression. But, to know what the true motives of the attackers were, we have to know what evidence the government gave us (the public) to work with. And, there may be important details that surface among the different media sources that are overlooked as minor details by most, but that could drastically change the picture of the motives and origins of the attackers. This is a media ecology dimension of your analysis.
Again, though, it is not meant to detract from your analysis. Again, if it turns out that the motives and origin of teh attackers is as reported by most mainstream media sources, then your analysis is very concise in my opinion.?
Monday, July 18th 2005 at 18:59
Keith, I don’t see many problms with your SD analysis of extreme Islam, or of Tony Blair. I also think that your long term conclusion is right on (that the West must correct their wrongs, etc). But, I do have one little hang up, and that is: How do you, or we, know who actually carried these bombings out? I promise it is not a trick question, either.
Monday, July 18th 2005 at 19:45
Thanks for your supportive comments. Not sure, though, I understand the query about how do we know who did it.
If you mean who physically detonated the bombs…. Well, there’s no doubt who was carrying the bombs at the time of the explosions. Forensic evidence and the particular state of the bomb carriers’ corpses are pretty conclusive. They were four young Muslim men. They were caught on CCTV praying together at Luton Station before splitting up to attack their targets. Did they mean to be suicide bombers – or did they think they think they could leave the bombs at the target destinations and walk away, only to be double-crossed by their ‘controller’? There is some evidence for this – eg: car and return train tickets. Did you mean who set them up to do it? Well, on the assumption that the media reporting is fairly straight, there is increasing evidence emerging of connections to networks which are joined to al-Qaeda at some level. Whether al-Qaeda directly manipulated the 4 young men or whether they simply took their ‘inspiration’ from al-Qaeda, we don’t know at this stage.
Care to clarify your query…?
Monday, July 18th 2005 at 18:32
Keith, I’ve downloaded the piece and will look it over later today.
I applaud your site, your vision, and your courage in putting so much good stuff out on the web! However, one sentence got to me right away: Tony Blair might possibly be up to developing such a world. George Bush almost certainly isn’t! I agree that Tony Blair could bring a lot of the stuff that Winston Churchill brought to the UK threescore and five years ago. He’s a powerful and literate speaker. Seems to me that there’s an implicit assumption that George Bush is pretty incompetent and is solidly first tier. I think your comment reflects that widely-held understanding.
That belief fails to account for Bush’s willingness to meet the bandits on their own plane – and to force the beginnings of some monumental change in the battle of civilizations. We know that when we’re expressing Green, we’re impervious to 2nd Tier insights and that we’re hell on wheels on orange and blue. Seems to me that it’s that characteristic that keeps us from seeing what Bush is actually doing. I know that our media paint him as an incompetent (probably some of yours do too) – but that plays into HIS game of misunderestimation. Defuses the opposition, who – in this country, now – are left with the political vision of “Hate Bush”. How many things have we seen in the past 4.5 years that were impossible that Bush and his colleagues have begun? Lots, including tax rate reform, education (a very great weakness of ours), breaking free some of the judgeships that everybody knew would stay bottled up in the Senate, etc.
I know it isn’t a popular view, but I see quite a few glints of second tier in his speeches, writings, and willingness to listen to just about anybody. Neither of us will be here, but I fully expect that the Middle East will in a few centuries have a new icon – St. George!
Maybe more later, after I’ve read the piece ‘Inside the Mind of a Suicide Bomber?’