The straggling remains of tropical storm Cindy are deluging Manhattan. A gloomy backdrop for a look at this morning's New York press.
The Daily News headlines 'Brits will rise above their 9/11'. Corky Siemaszko writes:
In New York, the deadly attacks across the pond churned up memories of Sept. 11, 2001, of the blue-sky day when the world changed forever.
If mass panic was what the terrorists had hoped to inspire when the struck central London, then yesterday's attack was a miserable failure.
Londoners reacted to the horror with the same remarkable resolve that New Yorkers displayed four years earlier. But even then they had far more experience with terror than we did.
Brave London carried on when the IRA tried to terrorize the city with its own bombing campaign during the 1970s.
At the height of the Nazi aerial onslaught, Winston Churchill urged Britain to remain steadfast so that one day, "men will say, 'This was their finest hour.'"
Little did he know that London would one day be sorely tested again.
The New York Post reports that:
- U.S. officials boosted the homeland-security level one step, to Code Orange, for trains, buses and subways, but not for airliners.
- In the New York City region, subway and rail lines were flooded with bomb-sniffing dogs and extra cops to calm jittery commuters whose memories of 9/11 are still fresh.
Its editorial pulls no punches, and loses no time in attacking the Democrats:
Focusing America won't be easy.
Democratic attacks on the president, his party and his was policies come in two basic categories - essentially self-serving and insidiously subversive.
Sens. Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton indulged in a little of the former yesterday evening - indecently demanding more money for New York before all of the bodies in London had been identified.
Howard Dean & Co., meanwhile, have been taking advantage of America's historical impatience with foreign entanglements - to say nothing of the media's fascination with the Iraqi butcher's bill - to undercut the president's moral authority to wage a just and necessary war.
In another time, that would be called giving aid and comfort to the enemy - or something a bit more harsh.
It is one thing to serve as the loyal opposition - but it is quite another to undermine an anti-terrorism policy that was ratified by the American people a scant seven months ago.
The venerable grand dame of US newspapers, the New York Times, is a bit more measured in its editorial:
Fear was another inescapable response - the natural fear that this kind of attack, carried out by people with no regard for their own lives or anyone else's, could happen anywhere.
That fear has already led to questions about why the British security agencies did not anticipate the attacks, why the wealthy nations have not done enough about the root causes of terrorism and why Al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden continue to function after almost four years of the so-called war on terrorism. Many will wonder why the United States is mired in Iraq while Al Qaeda's leader still roams free.
There are no easy answers to these questions, just as there is no easy defense against acts of terrorism. What ordinary people can do is to carry on. Just as the world leaders kept meeting in Scotland yesterday, we can go back into the subway (and the London Underground when it is reopened), back onto the streets and back to work.
Terrorist acts are meant to show us how thin the veneer of order and decency in the world is, but they can demonstrate just the opposite if we use them to deepen our commitment to the richness and civility of our lives. That sends a message to the terrorists: You have failed again.
Douglas Murray in the New York Sun has a clear view of what to do:
There is no opt-out. The only way to stop more terrorists from walking onto London buses and blowing them up is to get the terrorists before they get us. On the international scene, that means removing and replacing the regimes that harbor, train, and support terrorists. This job is being done. But on the domestic scene it means winding up the groups and mosques that have made Britain the central Islamist-terror meeting point in the West. For too long we have afforded rights, which we have fought for generations to achieve, to people who do not believe in such rights and only use them to abuse us and our society. Like all of the West, the British are tolerant people, but we must no longer tolerate groups within our midst that preach hatred against us. ...
We have to wake up to the threat within our borders. Ignoring it any longer implies that the threat is so serious that there is nothing to be done. But there is something to be done, and we must do it. Because this is not the culmination or completion of the jihadist wars within the West. These are just sickening and hate-filled opening skirmishes.
Last word goes to Ian McEwan, who has written an essay for the New York Times. He describes the reaction of the 'machinery of state, a great Leviathan' as moving with 'balletic coordination' in response to the attacks. But he concludes:
It is unlikely that London will claim to have been transformed in an instant, to have lost its innocence in the course of a morning. It is hard to knock a huge city like this off its course. It has survived many attacks in the past.
But once we have counted up our dead, and the numbness turns to anger and grief, we will see that our lives here will be difficult. We have been savagely woken from a pleasant dream. The city will not recover Wednesday's confidence and joy in a very long time. Who will want to travel on the Underground once it has been cleared? How will we sit at our ease in a restaurant, cinema or theater? And we will face again that deal we must constantly make and re-make with the state - how much power must we grant Leviathan, how much freedom will we be asked to trade for our security?