“Bicycles Sell Out In London”

Somehow that headline says it all about the calm courage with which Londoners have greeted the bombings.

I don’t think this is going to turn out as well as Madrid for the terrorists.

There are two must-read pieces on the reactions of the Brits to the bombings.

The first is National Review’s editorial on England’s courage under fire:

“The third great assault by Islamist terrorists on a great Western city produced not panic and disorder but calm on the part of ordinary Londoners, the customary courage of the emergency services, and efficient management by those directing them.

“This is actually more significant than the bombings themselves. We do not write that lightly — we know that several hundred homes in and around London will be darkened tonight and for many days henceforth by this cruel crime. Fathers have been murdered, mothers wounded, sons gone ’missing,’ daughters orphaned. We will not even know how many victims have perished for days — the bus packed with passengers was all but vaporized a moment later. Our first response should be to kneel down and pray for God’s mercy on the souls that were ripped so untimely from this life. We are horribly aware of the magnitude of the crime and the tragedy of the lost and maimed.

“Yet Britain is not ’burning with fear and terror,’ as the group claiming to have murdered these innocent people alleges on an Islamist website. That allegation represents what the terrorists hope and calculate will be the response of its victims. The victory of the Spanish socialists in last year’s general election, two days after the Madrid bombing, at least seemed to validate that calculation. Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq shortly afterward in what the terrorists inevitably concluded was a concession suing for peace. Nothing like that has happened in Britain. In addition to the self-disciplined response of Londoners on the spot, the remarks of Prime Minister Blair, opposition Tory leaders, and other public figures have all struck a note of determined defiance.”

The second piece is a more personal one by Brit-born journalist Christopher Hitchens, which begins:

“My son flew in from London at the weekend, and we were discussing, as we have several times before, why it hadn’t happened yet. ’It’ was the jihadist attack on the city, for which the British security forces have been braced ever since the bombings in Madrid. When the telephone rang in the small hours of this morning, I was pretty sure it was the call I had been waiting for. And as I snapped on the TV I could see, from the drawn expression and halting speech of Tony Blair, that he was reacting not so much with shock as from a sense of inevitability.

“Perhaps this partly explains the stoicism and insouciance of those Brits interviewed on the streets, all of whom seemed to know that a certain sang-froid was expected of them.”