The sight of an off duty soldier being butchered on the streets of London is almost too horrific to comprehend. Yet it is a predictable consequence of the failures of recent foreign policy. This is not in any way to diffuse the responsibility of this act from the hands of the callous murderers who were prepared to bring terror to the streets of London. Their twisted ideology is an insult to the God of love, and for them to dare to use God's name for such barbarity is sickening indeed.
It must be admitted though that it is has been our failed occupations in Afghanistan and Iraq that has helped create this kind of warped extremism. Bush and Blair's so-called War on Terror did not prevent such evil, but simply enabled it to spread. It is the years of horror created in Afghanistan and the continued use of drone attacks in only Muslim countries that fuels this madness. Britain is not seen as a nation that pursues peace, but one that perpetuates war. It is this strange truth which must change if we are to avoid further acts of terrorism on the streets of Woolwich or Boston.
Our 'acts of terror' (though we don't like to call them that) has allowed the fanatics to thrive. On the one hand, Political Islamic fundamentalists are able to use our foreign policy to radicalise a minority of marginal young people from within some Muslim communities. Perhaps a far deeper problem is the emergence of far right fanatics such as the EDL, who have also crawled up out of the evil and hate created by the last two wars. The strength of 'Islamophobia' is potentially a greater threat to our national security than the rare acts of terrorism by deranged individuals. A society with such hatred bubbling up all over the place is a terrifying place to be.
Our response? We need to pray for victims of terrorism every where, from London to Kabul. We need to resist people of violence where ever they appear; arms dealers; our own governments; fanatics from the far right; fanatics from Political Islamic Sects.
We need to build up a culture of peace in our communities and cities, and make sure that our foreign policy is never again hijacked by a US agenda fuelled by revenge and militarism.
Against our initial instincts, we will begin to see that peace is a much stronger force than that of violence. This will only happen when a far greater number of us become active peacemakers within our society. We cannot let the agenda be set by those armed with machetes and drone technology.