Lessons from the Bali Bombings?
Once again the terrorists have struck and once again in Bali, almost three years after the first bombing raid killed 202.
Who or what exactly they were trying to target remains somewhat unclear at this point in time but it's likely to be Western tourists and the Balinese tourism industry, which will suffer serious economic damage: prices for holiday packages to Bali have just come down by 50% or more.
No doubt a statement from al-Qaeda or an affiliated group will soon follow and no doubt this statement will be largely ignored by Western media and Western leaders, as well as being dismissed as "extremist Islamic propaganda", as they have done consistently in the past.
Those entrenched in their "Muslims are out to destroy us, that's why they're doing these nasty things to us" mantra will call for even stronger measures of counter-terrorism, for stepping up the pace of the "war on terror". But upping the ante in a war that simply cannot be won is foolhardy and downright dangerous and those who wish to do so should bear in mind they too will have blood on their hands when the next round of bombs goes off.
Of course the terrorists cannot win their war either but in spite of this we've had quite a few terrorist atrocities since 9/11: Istanbul, Madrid, Bali, 7/7 and... Bali. This war on terror clearly isn't working. And for every terrorist we stop in his tracks, gets killed or blows himself up, two more are only too ready to take his place. Against such determination no army or contingent of security measures can be effective.
The stalemate that is ensuing will ultimately cost many more lives, on both sides of the conflict, than the running total so far.
It is time to start considering al-Qaeda's demands and think about negotiating a truce. We've done it many times before: negotiate with terrorists, often quite satisfactorily, without appeasing or simply giving in and by obtaining relative peace and a great many lives saved. Surely that cannot be a bad thing... Those who reject dialogue with this enemy and angrily and in shrilly tones demand more bloodshed in retribution, must remember that they are behaving as extremely and unyielding as they perceive their enemy to be...
Keywords: Bali, Bali bombing, Terrorism, al-Qaeda, Osama bin Laden