24 March 2017

Notes from Norm: Pray for London and Stand Up for Democracy

The Great Britain of Winston Churchill’s time has, like much of the world, changed dramatically since his leadership during World War II.

To be sure the physical landmarks which the world has grown accustomed to seeing remain in all of their remarkable glory underscoring a commitment to endurance and perseverance.

But times are different.  The world is different.

Yet, threats and attacks to Great Britain, and its capital of London, persist long after the final V2 rocket fell upon the city in March of 1945.

After the end of World War II London saw a period of relative calm.  It was time to rebuild after the destruction wrought upon the City and its people by Hitler and his air force.

But, in 1973 the Irish Republican Army (IRA) sensing that its attacks against British forces in Northern Ireland were gaining it little attention and notice around the world began to attack Great Britain’s capitol city and one of the most visible cities in the world.

For more than 20 years the people of London endured multiple terror attacks which killed and maimed innocents time and time again.

History, however, quickly forgets many things about the world in which we live.  For London has not just been the center of attacks by the Nazis or the IRA but by nearly every imaginable group or individuals who have sought a public platform for their violence and mayhem.

All one has to do is do a search for “How many terrorist attacks have there been in London?” to find a Wikipedia page chock full of incidents:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_terrorist_incidents_in_London

It is a punishing narrative of violence against a single city in the center one of the most important allies America has ever had in the 20th and 21st century.

This week’s terrorist attack was different than all of the rest.

Not because it was more destructive than the attacks of Hitler and his Nazi regime.

“The Blitz” as it became to be known cost the lives of upwards of 40,000 Londoners.

The Hyde Park bombing of 1982 killed 11 soldiers.

The difference was, and remains, that unlike the terrorist attack of yesterday the world did not see the results of terror on the 24-hour news cycle.

The world did not see “The Blitz” as it was occurring.  It did hear it, many times, through the words and descriptions of journalists like Edward Murrow.  Riveting and powerful the listener may not have been able to see the carnage but could imagine it and the pain and suffering of the people whose lives were being destroyed by Hitler.

The Hyde Park bombing and so many others would result in more coverage and technology allowed for more immediate access to the acts of terror by people throughout the world.

Still, it was not the constant drone of information and images and sounds and replays and analysis and construction and deconstruction of the event.

The terrorist attack in London suggests a new phase and evolution of the violence of those like ISIS who are committed to the destruction of the West and more urgently the destruction of democracy and all it stands for in this world.

Finding itself losing its ability to become a terrorist state with a country all of its own it is now choosing new forms of violence to instill fear in the world.

Cars and trucks plowing into crowds.  Leaping from stalled vehicles with knives to cause chaos and fear.

These are just some of the new and inexpensive forms of terror that will be harnessed as ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups like them seek to capture our attention.

Which, as the attack on London has shown, they have succeeded.

To achieve their aims, they believe it is no longer necessary to inflict the kind of damage to a country we saw in America on 9/11.  Or that Paris experienced in November of 2015.

Or those in Brussels in 2016.

Or Orlando, Florida in the same year.

Don’t get me wrong.  If ISIS could get their hands on a weapon of mass destruction they would use it and never look back.  There’s not a lack of ambition to their terror.  Right now, it is simply a lack of access to the resources they need to inflict the Armageddon they envision against Great Britain.

Against us.

Against any democracy that values freedom and liberty.

This attack will not cow London.  Any more than any previous attack against the city and its people kept it from becoming one of the most visible beacons of freedom and liberty in the world.

This should be the lesson from the images and reporting we have seen since yesterday.

We should recall the courage of the people of London this week and every day before then in the face of violence that is simply unimaginable for those of us living in America today and becoming much too common place today.

Except for one day on 9/11.

ISIS and other radical Islamic terror groups want free people to fear them and change their lives and their values and beliefs.  They seek capitulation before them.  They hope that those who embrace a world in which people have liberty and freedom will turn from those ideals in exchange for “Peace in our time.”

Such concessions to tyranny and terror failed before on 10 Downey Street in 1938 in the form of a flimsy piece of paper with the signature of Adolf Hitler.

If we fail to stand with the people of London and Great Britain and all who refuse to be cowered by the savagery of ISIS and its terrorist brethren we will effectively make the same failed concessions to tyranny and terror.

In telling the people of Great Britain that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” Winston Churchill made it clear that there were no easy paths to surviving the threats to democracy from Hitler and Nazi Germany.

And that “…in spite of all the terror…” there was only one goal and one aim for his country and its ideals and that was victory at all cost against the forces of darkness, terror and tyranny.

Pray for the people of London.  Pray for the people of every nation, including our own, who are in the crosshairs and windshield of radical Islamic terrorists who seek nothing but our destruction.

Then, stand up for London.  Be proud and stand with every nation, including our own, committed to defending the values of freedom and liberty.

There will be “Peace in our time” but not yet.  Not now.  Has as a result of any accommodation or willingness to bend our principles to fit the demands of terrorists or the terror they commit.

Peace comes in time.  It always has.  It has always come with a price.

For free people freedom is never free.

As Sir Winston Churchill once said, and it has been ever true since, Victory at all costs, victory in spite of all terror, victory however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, there is no survival.”