When you are over the anger, two possible explanations suggest themselves.
One is that this is an example of the sort of self-hatred that Western liberals can fall prey to and that Christopher Hitchens used to complain. Hurt us because we deserve it, the paper thinks its readers will say.
The other is that we tend to assume that their must be something remarkable about someone who commits such a grotesque crime and that his view must therefore be listening to.
That is a fallacy, as Munira Mirza showed when writing of the videos the 'martyrdom videos' the 7/7 bombers left behind them:
What we see in these videos are not soldiers in a war, but self-righteous young men who believe that their own moral certainty absolves them of the need to explain themselves properly.
Nobody elected Khan or Tanweer. As far as we know, they did not have relations with anyone in Palestine, Bosnia or Chechnya. Indeed, these two men did not even bother to ask their family, friends or neighbours what they thought.
At the local mosque near where three of the bombers grew up, one of the committee members, Muhboob Hussein, reacted with anger to 7/7: ‘This is not Islam, this is not jihad, these people are not Muslim. This man [Khan] never came to our mosque....’
Obviously, Khan or Tanweer did not show much interest in trying to win people over to their worldview - they thought that ‘democratically elected governments’ had less claim to act on behalf of people than they did.And we saw just the same contempt for democratic government from the idiot presented on the front page of today's Guardian.
When I blogged about Mirza's article at the time, someone left a comment reminding me of a prophetic piece by Ian Buruma that began:
Does masturbation lead to suicide bombing? One would think not. There is no more direct link to suicide bombing than there is to blindness or schizophrenia. But there may be a connection between sexual inadequacy or frustration and the pull towards violent extremism.Almost as depressing as the Guardian front page was the discussion of the Woolwich murder on Newsnight yesterday evening. One participant, the impressive Maajid Nawaz, spoke of the need for a Western narrative to challenge the world-view of Islamism. But you only had to look at the people with him to see there was little chance we would hear it last night.
There was John Reid who, as a Communist while the Soviet Union was the greatest tyranny on this planet, never bought into the Western narrative in the first place and is now employed by the security industry - though Newsnight never reminds of us during his frequent appearances. And there was Alex Carlile, a Liberal Democrat who long ago threw in his lot with the most repressive elements of Labourism.
And, sure enough, both Reid and Carlile told us that the most important thing is that we give the state more power to inspect the affairs of law-abiding citizens and weaken the safeguards for those it accuses of crime.
If that is the first reaction of those we are supposed to regard as statesmen, then you can see how weak the West's belief in its own values has become.