Candida Crewe ["The Inevitable; We're All on Blair's Front Line Now," Outlook, July 10] is entitled to her opinion that the attack on London was inevitable because Prime Minister Tony Blair was so much in President Bush's "pocket" and because Britain has been participating in the Iraq war. But the article was biased and inaccurate.

According to a report on the front page of the same day's paper ["In London, Islamic Radicals Found a Haven"], her own nation long sheltered these murderers. Reporters Steve Coll and Susan B. Glasser wrote: "As [Osama] bin Laden's ideology of making war on the West spread in the years before Sept. 11, 2001, London became 'the Star Wars bar scene' for Islamic radicals, as former White House counterterrorism official Steven Simon called it, attracting a polyglot group of intellectuals, preachers, financiers, arms traders, technology specialists, forgers, travel organizers and foot soldiers."

The article explained how London, more than any other European capital, has housed Islamic extremists. It included bin Laden's claim that the British are "the ones who created the Palestinian problem. . . . They are the ones who are starving the Iraqi children. And they are continuously dropping bombs on these innocent Iraqi children." "Until 2001," the story said, " 'Britain was regarded as too valuable a staging area' for al Qaeda to attack."

Those like Crewe who find scapegoats in Blair and Bush should assess and accept their nation's responsibility for harboring radical criminals and even granting citizenship and asylum to them long before Blair or Bush were elected. They should support Blair in his endeavor to rid their country and the world of this threat to us all.

-- Elaine C. Seavey



I cannot remember when an article has incensed me more than Candida Crewe's.

First of all, what are Crewe's credentials as a political prognosticator? Her article read like a self-absorbed, insensitive blog with no real compassion for the many in London whose lives were affected.

I sympathized with her fears about her inability for a time to reach her sons who were visiting museums with their au pair -- but her ordeal was short and had a happy ending.

Her complaint that the "phone network was eternally busy" seemed to ignore the desperation of others trying to reach family or friends. At least she later admitted, "Our story was piffling -- a mere trifle, compared to that of thousands of others directly involved and bereaved."

I am a U.S. citizen who did not vote for George Bush, and I find her comments about her prime minister and our president outrageous. Particularly when she cited her suspicions that "Blair's co-dependent love affair with George Bush and our repellent involvement in Iraq was largely responsible for today's 'inevitable.' " I wonder how much blame she thought should have been allotted to the terrorists who spent years developing their plans and who placed the bombs that killed and injured so many people.

-- Joan Timberlake