What else, when one thinks of the Beslan school tragedy in Russia, which has produced more than 350 dead victims, can one think of Chechen separatists other than that they are the most evil swine imaginable?
In response to the heartbreak, Russians have become mobilized in their opposition to terrorism. As if two passenger planes exploding and crashing, killing 90, and a bombing of a Moscow subway station, killing 10, wasn't enough.
The violent seizing of a school in Beslan, North Ossetia (next door to Chechnya, in the Caucasus region), in which children and others were held hostage on September 1, is now believed to be the work of Chechen terrorist Shamil Basayev, and their deplorable tactics spurned on by their outrage at Putin - and those who vote for him. (When asked by a parent why they were keeping people hostage and strapping bombs all around the school gym, a militant responded, "Because you vote for your Putin.")
There will be an internal investigation held by the Russian government to discover how the tragedy and huge loss of life could have been avoided. Many are convinced that Putin's policy toward Chechnya culminated in the plane, subway and Beslan school bombings. But Putin is right to denounce any suggestions for dialogue with Chechnya.
"Why don't you meet Osama bin Laden, invite him to Brussels or to the White House and engage in talks, ask him what he wants and give it to him so he leaves you in peace?" an angry Putin countered. "You find it possible to set some limitations in your dealings with these bastards, so why should we talk to people who are child-killers?"
Russia did not support the War in Iraq either, but has had plenty to deal with concerning Chechnya, which Putin smashed in order to keep the region in line and part of the Russian Federation. Chechens feel the time is now to break away from Russia.