In the wake of yet another horrendous atrocity, this time in Manchester claiming 23 lives, 'respectable' media once again refused to seriously discuss the extent to which violent attacks against 'us' are linked to 'our' violent attacks against 'them'. Instead, howls of disgust typically arise when anyone mentionsterms like 'blowback' and 'reaping the whirlwind'.
In a headline comment piece in the Guardian, Rafael Behr warned of 'the hazard of moral relativism':
'A well-trodden analytical approach follows the twisted trail of jihadi logic back to political grievance, Middle Eastern wars and blaming the west.'
Presumably, then, Eliza Manningham-Buller, former Director General of MI5, was adopting 'jihadi logic' when she commented in a 2011 Reith lecture:
'whatever the merits of putting an end to Saddam Hussein, the war was also a distraction from the pursuit of al-Qaeda. It increased the terrorist threat by convincing more people that Osama Bin Laden's claim that Islam was under attack was correct... our involvement in Iraq spurred some young British Muslims to turn to terror.' (Our emphasis)
Likewise, former MI5 chief, Stella Rimington, who discussed the impact of the Iraq war on these threats:
'Well, I think all one can do is look at what those people who've been arrested or have left suicide videos say about their motivation. And most of them, as far as I'm aware, say that the war in Iraq played a significant part in persuading them that this is the right course of action to take... I think to ignore the effect of the war in Iraq is misleading.' (Our emphasis)