I’m sure that you’ve all heard of the Madrid bombings this morning that killed 190 and injured over 1200 people. While the Spanish government initially blamed Basque separatists, new evidence implicates Islamic fundamentalists, possibly cooperating the separatists. I have two observations to make about this:
Unlike Islamic fundamentalists, the Basque separatists are not death-worshipping suicide bombers. They did this expecting not only to get away their act, but also to survive long enough to reap the political benefits. What policies of the Spanish government and the larger war on terrorism led them to that conclusion?
Aside from the lackluster and self-defeating American response to 9/11, the European response to terrorism has been to portray Islamic fundamentalists as victims and America as the aggressor. If the Basque separatists anticipated the same attitude to be extended to them, they now expect a wave of sympathy for their cause, an attack on the Spanish government as the “imperialist aggressors” and a military response designed to capture their “hearts and minds” rather their bloody hearts and splattered brains.
So how did the Spanish politicians react? Did they pledge to hunt down and kill every single terrorist behind this attack? Did they renew their dedication to destroying the global terrorist network that is almost certainly at least partially behind this atrocity?
Three days of national mourning were declared and thousands of people took part in spontaneous anti-terror rallies across the country Thursday. The government called for nationwide anti-ETA demonstrations on Friday evening, and millions were expected.
Not a single article I read mentions anything about the Spanish government’s attempt to hunt down those responsible for the attack. In fact, the only pledge to go after the terrorists was offered by the U.S.:
The U.S. Senate unanimously passed a resolution expressing outrage and urging Bush to “provide all possible assistance to Spain” in pursuing the terrorists.
The Spanish response to today’s bombings is just another example of a larger lesson: terrorism cannot be defeated until we recognize whom it is that we are fighting – something that our enemies have been aware of from the start:
The Arabic newspaper Al-Quds al-Arabi said it had received a claim of responsibility issued in the name of al-Qaida…. This is part of settling old accounts with Spain, the crusader, and America’s ally in its war against Islam,” the claim said.