Lebanon-Israel War Linked to Airline Terror Plot?

Plus: A British politician plays "the tough-on-terror card so familiar in the United States."

Reporter Alan Cowell's "Letter From Britain" gloats that, as the headline summarizes, "The Latest Crises Do Little for Blair's Political Standing."

While Cowell, as usual, focuses on strugglingPrime Minister Tony Blair's allegedly too-close ties to President Bush, he gets some licks in at British conservatives as well with this cynical, unflattering description: "And the terror alert provoked criticism by David Cameron, leader of the opposition Conservatives, who broke an unspoken compact with the government in a time of supposed national crisis to play the tough-on-terror card so familiar in the United States. 'I do not believe that our government is doing enough to fight Islamist extremists at home or to protect our security,' he said Tuesday.

"What linked the two debates was an assertion by some Muslims that Britain's actions as an American ally in the Islamic world - in Iraq, in Afghanistan and in Lebanon - had contributed to the rage of young British-born Muslims, goading them into conspiracies of the kind said to have been uncovered last week."

As TimesWatch has noted before, linking Lebanon to the airline plot is ridiculous. The plot to blow up trans-Atlantic airliners was months in the making, long before Hezbollah went to war on Israel.