Only the terrorists’.
As Spain agonizes over the Madrid terrorist train bombings of last week that left 200 dead and over 1,500 wounded, today’s election there is directly tied into public conception of who is responsible for the attacks. Is it the indiginous Basque-seaparatist ETA or is it an affiliate of al Qaeda?
The evidence is thus far inconclusive, but here’s the thing: from a political and moral standpoint, it shouldn’t make any difference. It is abject fear alone that is causing many to blame the government for the attacks if it turns out to be al Qaeda (a statement purported to be from al Qaeda claims that the attacks were in response to Spain’s participation in the war in Iraq). The only people to blame are the terrorists, not any government that has aggressively gone after terrorists.
Terror is terror and there is no excuse, no moral mitigation regardless of claimed impetus behind it. The victims are just as dead, the killers are just as wrong regardless of their rationale. I am astonished that people buy into any of this terrorist propagandizing: are the vitims of Oklahoma City any less dead than those of the World Trade Center? Is the destruction any less real, the threat any less serious? Of course not, the only possible reaction is to increase enforcement, cooperation among intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the agressive, dogged pursuit of those connected to ALL organizations that count terror as among their behaviors.
I only care what justifications the twisted mass murderers of innocents and civilians make in terms of how they facilitate intelligence gathering and predicting their behavior – all with an eye toward finding and liquidating them and preventing further attacks. The point isn’t to respond to the accusations and justifications of the terrorists, the point is to find and eliminate them as quickly and permanently as possible.
And regarding the Iraq accusations, does anyone notice the screaming, grand irony of al Qaeda claiming that their justification for mass murder in Spain is the Spanish government’s support for the war in Iraq? I thought al Qaeda and Iraq had nothing to do with each other. I thought Iraq had nothing to do with the War on Terror.
I thought al Qaeda’s excuse for blowing the shit out of thousands of innocent people around the world was to further the cause of extreme Islamic fundamentalism: the war in Iraq, from their perspective, only aided the cause of Islamic fundamentalism since Islamic fundmentalism, and any other kind of religious political expression, was ruthlessly supressed by Saddam. Al Qaeda should be damned cheerful about the removal of Saddam and should be thanking any country that helped make it so, not blowing up its trains.
The point of all this is that those who would resort to the mass murder of random civilian men, women and children forfeit any claims to a moral platform by the encompassing evil – yes, I said EVIL – of their actions. “Why” doesn’t matter, only “what” and “who.” The “why” could be literally anything, and to give it any creedence or attention whatsoever is to mitigate the abject evil of the terrorist act, an act that can never be mitigated, excused or explained away.
Terrorists cannot be appeased, negotiated with, reasoned with, or have their attention deflected elsewhere as a matter of any governmental policy: the only appropriate governmental policy is direct confrontation, unambiguous condemnation and aggressive pursuit and elimination of terrorists and their accomplices and enablers. Anything else is giving in to fear and wishful thinking.