In Washington, President Bush condemned the attack as ``a cowardly act designed to create terror and chaos'' and offered U.S. help in finding the perpetrators. ``The world must confront this global menace, terrorism,'' he said.
U.S. Ambassador Ralph Boyce told The Associated Press that it was not possible yet to pin the Bali attack on al-Qaida, but noted that increasing evidence in recent weeks has confirmed al-Qaida's presence in Indonesia and reaching out to local extremists...``In recent weeks, we have been able to put an end to a year of speculation as to whether al-Qaida might be in Indonesia, or relocating to Indonesia, or using Indonesia as a base of operations, after the fall of Afghanistan,'' Boyce said.
Bush said the United States has offered Indonesia assistance ``to help bring these murderers to justice,'' and a senior White House official said U.S. investigators already were at the scene.
I guess I should give our government officials the benefit of the doubt. The Times article may not have reported everything that Bush and Ambassador Boyce had to say. But it is striking that nowhere in the article is there any hint of an expression of sympathy for the victims or a mention of offers of humanitarian aid. It is all "we told you so, we know who did it even before the investigation has begun, and if you don't get them, we will." I certainly hope our government didn't have anything to do with the bombing (including foreknowledge without warning the Indonesians), but this immediate harsh response certainly makes me wonder. It is similar to the Bushies immediate glee when the short-lived coup happened in Venezuela in April.