In the aftermath of the London massacre, theories abounded as to the identity of the attackers. Some speculated that Iraq had become a breeding ground for new terrorists who had somehow traveled to London. Liberal Boston Globe columnist Thomas Oliphant hinted that if in fact that turned out to be the case, the political fallout for the American and British intelligence agencies would be severe.
More informed and less partisan observers mused that all the hallmarks of Madrid were about the bombings, and that the Madrid network had its origins in the Afghanistan training camps of Osama bin Laden and the leadership of Iraq-based Zarqawi.
When the portrait began to emerge of native Britons, barely in their 20s, the worst possible outcome was dawning: Native sons of England had embarked upon the murder of their fellow citizens.
When Timothy McVeigh coldly murdered Americans in the Oklahoma City bombing on April 22, 1995, a stunned America asked itself what poison had entered his mind, and quickly set about marginalizing the hate-filled ultra-right.
Now Great Britain will have to embark upon the same path. "In the streets around Colenso Mount, Colwyn Road and Stratford Street, where houses exactly like their own were being taken apart by experts in boiler suits," The Times of London reported, "they racked their memories for signs they had missed. 'The thing that frightens me most is that this would have been the last place I'd have looked for a bomber,' said a man called John, watching from Tempest Street. 'I don't know much about these lads but by all accounts they were OK, nice people.'"
"OK, nice people" infected with the deadliest of viruses. Has that plague jumped the Atlantic? Will we know before a bulletin crosses our screen?