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Jonathan Tobin: Defending the Right to a Jewish State

Heather Hale: Compliment your kids without giving them big heads

Megan Shauri: 10 ways you are ruining your own happiness

Carolyn Bigda: 8 Best Dividend Stocks for 2015

Kiplinger's Personal Finance editors: 7 Things You Didn't Know About Paying Off Student Loans

Samantha Olson: The Crucial Mistake 55% Of Parents Are Making At Their Baby's Bedtime

Densie Well, Ph.D., R.D. Open your eyes to yellow vegetables

The Kosher Gourmet by Megan Gordon With its colorful cache of purples and oranges and reds, COLLARD GREEN SLAW is a marvelous mood booster --- not to mention just downright delish
April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review August 29, 2006 / 5 Elul, 5766

What if the London Bombers Succeeded?

By Niall Ferguson


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | MAYBE IT'S because I know I have to catch a transatlantic flight on Sept. 11. Maybe I'm just too fond of "What if?" historical questions. Whatever the reason, I can't get over how quickly the world has moved on since the exposure of the Heathrow bomb plot. Ever since the revelation that a terrorist ring intended "mass murder on an unimaginable scale," I've been finding it all too easy to imagine what it would have been like if the plotters had succeeded.


We cannot assume, for obvious legal reasons, that the suspects who were charged in London are anything other than innocent, as they themselves maintain. Nor should we speculate about those who haven't yet been released or charged. So let us merely hypothesize that some young British Muslims really were plotting to assemble bombs out of liquid-based explosives and iPod-shaped detonators and to detonate them aboard multiple transatlantic planes. Suppose it had happened yesterday. Imagine yourself, in a parallel universe, turning on the radio and hearing the following bulletin:


"Five passenger aircraft have blown up in midair and crashed into the Atlantic. The planes — believed to be operated by American Airlines and United Airlines — left this morning from Heathrow Airport, bound for the United States. There are no reported survivors."


Such a calamity would at once have been dubbed "8/27." But the political consequences would have been very different from those that followed 9/11.


Five years ago, the world reacted with astounding unanimity. "Nous sommes tous Américains," wrote Jean-Marie Colombani in Le Monde. Londoners felt an intense empathy with New Yorkers.


At the same time, 9/11 generated a surge of patriotic feeling in the targeted country. Americans rallied around a president who had been in office less than a year, having come to power by the most contentious of margins.


An 8/27 would have been diametrically different. From an American vantage point, a successful terrorist plot launched from Heathrow would have been doubly Britain's fault. Its proximate cause would have been a lapse in British security. Its root cause would have been the infiltration of British society by radical Islamism.


As details emerged about the perpetrators, Americans' worst suspicions about Britain would have been confirmed. It has been clear for a while that Britain's Muslim communities are proving fertile recruiting grounds for Islamist extremists, and that it is the disaffected sons and grandsons of Pakistani immigrants who are most susceptible.


Perhaps even more troubling, it has been evident since the arrest of attempted shoe-bomber Richard Reid that ordinary British dropouts can also be lured, via religious conversion, into the terrorist network. Imagine if it had been established that one of the perpetrators of the worst terrorist outrage since 9/11 had been the son of a respected Conservative Party official.


Far from editorializing that "We are all British now," the American media might well have reacted to 8/27 by saying, "The British are all suspects now." The Atlantic would have drastically widened.


The domestic consequences within Britain of 8/27 would have been different too. Far from rallying around a beleaguered leader, British voters would have turned on Tony Blair. Even as things stand, there is complete disillusionment with him. According to a poll published Tuesday in the Guardian newspaper, just 1% of voters think that the government's policy toward the Middle East has improved the country's safety, while 72% think it has made Britain more of a target. An earlier poll for the Spectator found that although 73% of Brits agree with President Bush that we are engaged in a "global war against Islamic terrorists," only 15% believe that Britain should continue to align itself closely with the U.S., compared with 46% who favor closer ties with Europe.


Moreover, whereas 9/11 united Americans (albeit ephemerally), Britain would have been torn apart by 8/27. According to a YouGov poll published in Friday's Daily Telegraph, nearly one in five people believe that "a large proportion of British Muslims feel no sense of loyalty to this country and are prepared to condone or even carry out acts of terrorism." Five years ago, only 32% of those polled said they felt "threatened" by Islam; today, that figure is 53%.


The feeling of alienation is decidedly mutual. A recent Pew global survey found that 81% of British Muslims consider themselves to be Muslims first and British second. (Only Pakistan, at 87%, has a higher percentage of people who put their religion ahead of their nationality.)


Last week, New York magazine asked a diverse group of journalists to answer the question: "What if 9/11 never happened?" It inspired some fascinating answers. But the question "What if 8/27 had happened?" is much more important — because sooner or later something like it is bound to happen for real.

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Niall Ferguson is a professor of history at Harvard University. He is the author of "Empire" (Basic Books, 2003) and "Colossus" (Penguin, 2004). Comment by clicking here.


08/15/06: Testing the Limits of the U.N.: Who seriously expects Kofi Annan to stop Al Qaeda terror attacks?
08/08/06: The coming tsunami of trash
07/18/06: Forget the '60s and ‘Make Love, Not War.’ Today's world is facing a Summer of Rage
07/11/06: When will China pull the plug on North Korea?
06/20/06: Hedge funds vs. central bankers: Will inflation, deflation or recession win in the coming months?
06/13/06: Britain's economy is just like America's — minus the entrepreneurs and growth
06/06/06: The X-Men have taken over Washington
05/30/06: Quit protesting, profs!
05/23/06: World markets' wild ride: Economic volatility is back with a vengeance
05/16/06: The Cold Wars are coming
05/09/06: Many commentators are missing dangerous political shift
05/02/06: Put some sugar in your tank
04/25/06: Hu and the dog that didn't bark
04/18/06: Should Americans be less optimistic?
04/11/06: Globalization's second death?
04/04/06: So many ‘special’ friends
03/28/06: Let's get it right about what has gone wrong
03/21/06: Congress is trying to give the world a globotomy
03/14/06: Lame ducks can still bite back
03/07/06: A 19th Century critique of a 21st Century president
02/28/06: The crash of civilizations
02/21/06: Not the president, but close
02/14/06: Want historic trouble? Look south
02/07/06: Greenspan advising Britain? It's housing bubbles, deficits and potential meltdowns all over again
01/31/06: Missing the Cold War
01/24/06: It's a sick, Thick World
01/17/06: Tomorrow's world war today
01/03/06: Scotland, it's over, but keep the accents
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
12/20/05: History, democracy and Iraq
11/22/05: Ghost of Napoleon haunts Tony Blair
11/22/05: Can it happen in Britain too?
11/15/05: Red plus blue equals purple
11/10/05: The fires of disintegration
11/01/05: Triumph of an über-wonk

© 2006, Los Angeles Times Distributed by Los Angeles Times Syndicate

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