The question of how to deal with terror is extremely complex and thorny. Do we do all we can to not arouse the “hornet’s nest,” consciously avoid taking actions that might provoke terror? Did Spain’s military participation in Iraq “cause” last week’s train bombings? Christopher Hitchens provides some perspective worth contemplating:
- it seems that some Spaniards, and some non-Spanish commentators, would change on a dime if last week’s mass murder in Madrid could be attributed to the Bin-Ladenists. In that case not only would there be a root cause – the deployment of 1,300 Spanish soldiers in the reconstruction of Iraq – but there would also be a culpable person, namely Spain’s retiring prime minister. By this logic, terrorism would also have a cure – the withdrawal of those Spanish soldiers from a country where al-Qaida emphatically does not desire them to be.
….Many Spaniards were among those killed recently in Morocco, where a jihadist bomb attack on an ancient Moorish synagogue took place in broad daylight. The attack was on Morocco itself, which was neutral in the recent Iraq war. It seems a bit late to demand that the Moroccan government change sides and support Saddam Hussein in that conflict, and I suspect that the Spanish Communist and socialist leadership would feel a little sheepish in making this suggestion. Nor is it obvious to me that the local Moroccan jihadists would stop bombing if this concession were made. Still, such a concession would be consistent with the above syllogism, as presumably would be a demand that Morocco cease to tempt fate by allowing synagogues on its soil in the first place.
….It cannot be very long now before some slaughter occurs on the streets of London or Rome or Warsaw, as punishment for British and Italian and Polish membership of the anti-Saddam coalition. But perhaps there is still time to avoid the wrath to come. If British and Italian and Polish troops make haste to leave the Iraqis to their own “devices” (of the sort that exploded outside the mosques of Karbala and Najaf last month), their civilian cousins may still hope to escape the stern disapproval of the holy warriors. Don’t ask why the holy warriors blow up mosques by the way – it’s none of your goddam crusader-Jew business.
….French schools should make all haste to permit not just the veil but the burqa, as well as to segregate swimming pools and playgrounds. Do they suppose that they deceive anybody when they temporize about God’s evident will? Bombings will follow this blasphemy, as the night succeeds the day. It is written.
I find I can’t quite decide what to recommend in the American case. I thought it was a good idea to remove troops from Saudi Arabia in any event (after all, we had removed the chief regional invader). But, even with the troops mainly departed, bombs continue to detonate in Saudi streets. We are, it seems, so far gone in sin and decadence that no repentance or penitence can be adequate. Perhaps, for the moment, it’s enough punishment, and enough shame, just to know that what occurred in Madrid last week is all our fault. Now, let that sink in. [Slate]
Meanwhile a word from our jihadis:
- The Islamic militant group that claimed responsibility for the bombings, meanwhile, has warned that its next targets could be the United States, Japan, Italy, Britain or Australia, an Arabic newspaper reported Thursday.
The London-based Al-Quds al-Arabi said on its Web site that it had received a statement from “The Brigade of Abu Hafs al-Masri (al-Qaida)” in which the group reiterated its responsibility for the attacks.
“Our brigades are getting ready now for the coming strike,” said the statement dated Monday. “Whose turn will it be next? Is it Japan, America, Italy, Britain, Saudi Arabia or Australia?” [AP]
The Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade also said it was halting “all operations in the Spanish territory” to give the new government time to honor its pledge to withdraw from Iraq. Generous, that.
By the way, John Kerry is concerned about Spanish appeasement himself:
- Senior U.S. lawmakers have assailed Zapatero’s break with the policies of outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, who sent troops to Iraq despite huge popular opposition in Spain.
“Here’s a country who stood against terrorism and had a huge terrorist act within their country, and they chose to change their government and to, in a sense, appease terrorists,” House Speaker Dennis Hastert said Wednesday.
“The vote in Spain was a great victory for al-Qaida” – the terror group purportedly responsible for the bombings of rush-hour trains, said Rep. Henry Hyde, R-Ill., chairman of the House International Relations Committee.
Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry also said Zapatero “should not have said he was going to pull out of Iraq.” [AP]
He apparently no longer thinks the threat of terrorism is overstated.
The New Orleans Times-Picayune brings up a possible answer:
- Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is promising to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq. That appears to be exactly what the March 11 terrorists wanted.
But Islamist terror groups have a much deeper grievance with Spain: They have made it clear that they still resent the end of Muslim rule in that country in 1492.
If Spanish voters think they can or should appease people who hold such grudges — or people who slaughter innocent people in commuter trains — they are tragically mistaken.
There’s the answer: give southern Spain back to, um, who? I know, give it to bin Laden – then all of the Islamist terror groups can cheerfully congregate there in peace, eat figs, and leave the rest of the world alone. And wouldn’t losing a portion of Spain be worth it for the cause of world peace? It seems a shame to give up the Costa del Sol to Islamists who won’t use the beaches anyway, but the ball’s in your court, Mr. Zapatero.