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Why the London Car Bombs Failed

That a few doctors aren't terribly good with their hands helped, but Anne Applebaum says a functioning civil service infrastructure deserves most of the credit:  [T]he London bombs failed because open, Western societies are more resilient than we sometimes think … Read More

By / July 3, 2007

That a few doctors aren't terribly good with their hands helped, but Anne Applebaum says a functioning civil service infrastructure deserves most of the credit: 

[T]he London bombs failed because open, Western societies are more resilient than we sometimes think they are. The police found one of the Piccadilly car bombs because an ambulance crew, responding to an unrelated call, saw smoke seeping from its trunk and alerted the police. The other car was illegally parked, and London's supervigilant, much-hated traffic wardens towed it to a parking lot, where someone noticed that it smelled of gasoline and alerted the police. That Britain has functional ambulance services and working traffic wardens, all of whom are civic-minded enough to call the police when they suspect something is amiss, may not sound extraordinary. But these are precisely the kinds of institutions that are missing in many places, among them Baghdad, a city where parking isn't exactly a public preoccupation, and where the civic-minded avoid police who are, fairly or unfairly, suspected of everything from ethnic cleansing to taking bribes.

Point well taken, but let's not forget that Britain, which has one of the most lax immigration and asylum policies in the world, is by no means an entry point for advertised jihadists from Syria and Iran.

Londoners got lucky this time. They likely won't the next time; nor will we.

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