This is something that I have been trying to say, but have not found the words for...
Tom Watson at Huffington Post -
On the morning of September 13th, 2001, the officer in charge of the Coldstream Guards Band and 1st Battalion Scots Guards received a call from Buckingham Palace. Banish tradition. The music accompanying that day's tourist-swathed ceremomy at the changing would be different. That day, the band played The Star-Spangled Banner. The Brits were with us.
Four years later, still firmly at the side of the United States in general, and this administration specifically, the British felt the domestic blow of what most Americans and Britons agree is a common enemy - even if we disagree on the prosecution of the struggle against that enemy.
Our President, George W. Bush, was actually in the United Kingdom when terror struck London. He was in Scotland, a two-hour flight from Heathrow. Understandably, he and the other leaders completed the G8 summit, unbowed by the carnage in the London transit system.
And then our President came home.
And in doing so, he knowingly cast a gob of bitter spittle in the face of our constant ally, and disgraced the United States of America.
Why didn't President Bush visit London? Why didn't he walk the streets, take a few questions from the press, show the power of his office to Londoners? Stand at the side of Tony Blair and Ken Livingstone? Why hasn't anyone asked? Why did he fly all the way to Washington, signing the condolence book at the British Embassy - instead of walking a moment or two in Londoners' shoes.
When the band played our national anthem at Buckingham Palace, it showed the power of symbols, and the moral reach of constitutional power. It also caused lumps in the throats of any American who heard the stirrings of the song: written, as it was, to the sound of a British bombardment almost two hundred years ago. The song is a call to the colors, a call to honor.
The President, ducking into the comfort of Air Force One, didn't answer that call.
And James' conclusion -
For months, we've been hearing and reading that Brits no longer discriminate between average Americans and the policies of our government--that the reelection of Bush has made them hold us in something of the same contempt they hold him. Well, they have good reason, and we keep furnishing them with better reasons all the time.
I want to take that one step further. I would not, as James has done, limit the ROW's contempt of the President and Americans as a people solely on the head of the President. Yes, as head of that nation he should take note of the culture and attitude of the countries he visits in determining his responses and actions. I agree with James, but would put it slightly differently.
Once again, the American nation and not just its President has confirmed the caricature penned originally by Graham Greene in "The Ugly American".
To illustrate this take a blog such as this - Half Sigma
When Muslims become more religious, they blow stuff up and kill people. This is why it’s dangerous to have many Muslims living in the country, some of them will become religious like these guys in Britain.
In another post, Half Sigma leads to this op-ed by Thomas L.
But maybe the most important aspect of the London bombings is this: When jihadist-style bombings happen in Riyadh, that is a Muslim-Muslim problem. That is a police problem for Saudi Arabia. But when Al-Qaeda-like bombings come to the London Underground, that becomes a civilizational problem. Every Muslim living in a Western society suddenly becomes a suspect, becomes a potential walking bomb. And when that happens, it means Western countries are going to be tempted to crack down even harder on their own Muslim populations.
That, too, is deeply troubling. The more Western societies - particularly the big European societies, which have much larger Muslim populations than America - look on their own Muslims with suspicion, the more internal tensions this creates, and the more alienated their already alienated Muslim youth become. This is exactly what Osama bin Laden dreamed of with 9/11: to create a great gulf between the Muslim world and the globalizing West.
Not as extreme perhaps, and the selective quotation is there with intent. Selective because Friedman later sounds a warning of this path in western civilisations, an aspect that is ignored in HalfSigma's post..
There is a consistent path through these, and the many other commentaries and opinion that emanates from the US. Rather than state it, an illustration in the form of a quote - the Lord Mayor of London after the two minutes silence today as quoted by the Beeb...
"London Mayor Ken Livingstone was with faith leaders and members of the city's Olympic bid team at Trafalgar Square.
Mr Livingstone told the BBC after the silence: "This city has survived the past week because we didn't turn on each other, which is what the bombers wanted. We supported each other."
There is a quote that opened Half Sigma's piece, taken from this article/op-ed. What is omitted (I will keep suspicions to myself) is the remainder of the article including...
Local people note, for instance that when race riots erupted in 2001 in nearby Bradford, Leeds remained relatively quiet. Even in the more downtrodden neighborhoods where the suspected bombers lived, residents proudly stressed the harmony between various faiths and races.
"It's quiet here," said David Talbot, a convert to Islam and a longtime resident. "We don't have the demonstrations and troubles that other places do. The coexistence with the wider non-Muslim community is usually good in Leeds."
Zahir Birawi, chairman of the Leeds Grand Mosque, said: "We could have never imagined that there are people here who could have been involved in something like this. There is clearly a group willing to ruin the reputation of the community here."
Yet despite the shock, some people said there may be a silver lining of sorts.
"Both the Muslim and non-Muslim community here will have to deal with issues that we have been sweeping under the carpet," Mr. Talbot said. "Our crime rate amongst young people is disproportionate, and there's a higher percentage of kids going into prison for drugs. As a community, we're not bringing this up. Religion has nothing to do with it, so the question is, what does?"
There, I hope, is the contrast.
Between people lashing out in blind rage and hatred on the one hand, and trying to understand motives and causes on the other.