ONE THING is crystal clear after last week's attack on a hotel and Israeli passenger plane in Kenya - George Bush's 'war on terror' has been an utter failure. One year ago in the wake of the 11 September attacks Bush pledged action to stop terrorist attacks.
The Afghan war was aimed, we were told, at crushing Al Qaida and capturing or killing its leader Osama Bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Not one of those aims has been achieved, despite all the horror and suffering the US war has brought to ordinary people in Afghanistan.
Nor is there is a shred of evidence linking the Iraqi regime to any terror attack on US or Western targets - a fact that even most pro-war commentators are forced to acknowledge. It is the scale of suffering across whole stretches of the world that fuels the deep pools of bitterness against the US and its allies. That bitterness leads some people to lash out in the most desperate manner in response, usually hitting the wrong targets.
The targets in Kenya last week were Israelis - though as well as the three Israelis killed ten Kenyans died in the attacks. Whoever was responsible, you don't have to look far to see why the behaviour of the US-backed Israeli government enrages people across the Middle East and beyond.
In the last month Israeli forces have murdered another 59 Palestinians without a word of condemnation from Bush or Blair. On 22 November Israeli troops shot a 13 year old Palestinian boy. On 25 November they shot an eight year old Palestinian.
Israel has now murdered 2,042 Palestinians in the last 26 months, a sickening killing rate of 20 a week. One in four of the victims are children. Are these lives not worth as much as those of the Israeli tourists killed last week? Are they worth less than the tourists killed in the horrific Bali bombing last month?
Add to that the 42,000 injured or maimed Palestinians, the curfews, the beatings, the bulldozing of Palestinian homes by Israel, and little wonder people are driven to fury. Targeting
When Israel is armed, financed and backed in its murderous assault on Palestinians by the US and Britain, little wonder the fury is directed at them too. The horror can mistakenly lead some to lash out by targeting Israeli civilians, as in Kenya last week.
Many of those civilians have nothing to do with the atrocities committed by the Israeli government. Those killed by the Bali bombing or in the 11 September attacks were in no way responsible for the actions of the US and its allies across the world. While the US and its allies, and bodies like the International Monetary Fund, inflict poverty and suffering across the world, there will be more desperate terror attacks and more innocent victims.
If Bush and Blair rain bombs and bullets on innocent civilians in Iraq in the months ahead then that will only fuel more bitterness, and more desperate people hitting out at Western targets.