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Thursday, July 07, 2005

What is the correct response to a declaration of war?

Isn't it to declare war in return? I found Tony Blair's "We will not be intimidated" speech insufficient for the moment. That is not necessarily bad. Bush took his time in formulating his response to the terrorists. What matters in the end is only the forcefulness of the response. Still, Blair's speech was almost entirely about not caving in. It said almost nothing about responding, just one almost perfunctory "bring those responsible to justice" line.

This is in a country where half the population does not want to acknowledge that the Jihadi's have been declaring war against them every day for the last ten years. They finally get a declaration of war that cannot be ignored and Blair half way ignores it, issuing a call for "justice" that could suggest the attacks might be treated as a mere crime rather than as an act of war. Unless a country is planning immediate surrender (like Spain), declaration of a state of war would seem to be the necessary response to an act of war. A state of denial is not a firm enough response.

Bush issued his declaration of war when he mounted the ruins of the trade center, put his arm around a fireman, and announced by bullhorn: "the People who knocked these buildings down will hear from all of us soon."

Blair is to much of a Brit not to drop the other shoe.

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