"What passing bells for these who die as cattle?" wrote the great First World War poet Wilfred Owen. His famous line might have been written for those who perish in today's secret wars and terrorist outrages.
His generation never used the word "terrorism", but the slaughter they suffered was terrorism on a breathtaking scale, whose perpetrators were not shadowy zealots but governments: men who spoke up for king and country while blowing millions of human beings to bits.
Last week's atrocity in Bali, like the September 11 attacks on America, did not happen in isolation. They were products, like everything, of the past. According to George W Bush, Tony Blair and now Australia's prime minister, John Howard, we have no right to understand them. We must simply get the criminals, dead or alive.
The fact that the Bush posse has caught no terrorist of proven importance since September 11 makes a grim parody of Bush's semi-literate threats and Blair's missionary deceptions as they prepare a terrorist attack on Iraq that will be the horror of Bali many times over. "Terrorist attack" is not rhetorical; the Attorney General, Lord Goldsmith, has told the government it could find itself before the International Criminal Court if it goes ahead.