So Chatham House, a non-partisan think tank comes out with the startling revelation that maybe, just maybe we shouldn't reject out of hand the notion that the UK's alignment with G-dub had something to do in precipitating the Underground bombings.
And then . . . the predictable outrage.
Sez Jack Straw, British Foreign Secretary:
'I'm astonished that Chatham House is now saying that we should not have stood shoulder to shoulder with our long-standing allies in the United States.'
Well, actually, Chatham house didn't really say those words, that the UK "should not have stood," blah blah, they just said that a consequence of that action might be the increased risk that Britain would be a target for terrorism.
But really, how could any educated individual really reject the idea that any terrorism on ANY coalition nation from the point we engaged in Iraq to now is directly related to that nation's involvement in the Iraq war? How could any smart person reject the link between what we are doing in the Middle East and any attacks by Islamic extremists?
Mr Blair has rejected any link between Iraq and the London bombings, saying on Saturday that the terrorists were driven not by opposition to particular policies but by "an evil ideology" that could not be moderated, only opposed. It would be a "misunderstanding of a catastrophic order" to believe they would change their behaviour if Western countries changed theirs.
Luckily, the British are much smarter than their leaders.
A selection of letters to the BBC on the subject:
Security, Terrorism and Our own secret service reports before the Iraq invasion said it would increase terrorism. Millions of UK people, many of them Muslim, demonstrated against the war before it started. Close childhood friends of the bomber state Iraq was a major source of their anger. Now the government tells us there is no correlation!
Ralph Williams, Cambridge
I agree that we were a target before we invaded Iraq. However the government trying to deny that the war in Iraq has had no effect on the threat of terrorism is ridiculous. The fundamentalists would have wanted to bomb us anyway but Iraq has created a situation where recruitment and support for the fundamentalists is greater.
When asked about the resistance met during the occupation of Iraq, George Bush said: 'Bring 'em on.' It seems that his wish has been granted, in London sadly. Anyone who denies the link between what happened in London and what happens in Iraq is in self-denial.
Of course the war in Iraq made terrorist attacks on the UK more likely. It amazes me that the government (and some of the public) seem to think that these terrorists have no agenda other than to 'destroy our way of life'. We may not agree with their goals or motivations, but obviously throwing our weight around in what they consider to be Muslim countries is bound to influence their thinking. As Osama Bin Laden himself said, if he was simply against our way of life, why doesn't he attack Sweden? The answer is simple - it's not our way of life, it's a direct result of our actions that have caused this.
Dominic Tristram, Bath, UK
Of course, much of this rhetoric is a little too little, a little too late. There is really no use wondering whether or not the attacks would have happened if the UK hadn't gone into Iraq, since such retrospection is only satisfying in a kind of "we told you so" way. But showing the "War on Terrorism" for what it really is- a strategic power play, rather than any real attempt to quell Islamic extremism- is a step in the right direction.