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Sunday, March 21, 2004
The Madrid bombings weren't just about Iraq

In today's Washington Post, Gustavo de Arístegui, a Spanish legislator and parliamentary spokesman for the Popular Party of outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, reminds us that there's more to Islamist terrorism than just Iraq. Understandably an apologist for his party's actions while in power, he does conveniently overlook some of their misdeeds, in particular their misreporting vital information to other European law enforcement agencies regarding the train bombings. But he still makes several valid points.
Already, I sense a worrying confusion between the excuses that terrorism offers to justify itself and what people believe to be the causes of terrorism. Even as terrorist violence tore through Baghdad, Fallujah and other Iraqi cities last week, it became clear that some in Europe believe that if you feed the beast and satisfy its apparent demands, you will calm it. But the beast feeds on surrender and appeasement; it only feels sated if it obtains totalitarian power.
This is a point that many of the "blame America first" crowd (extended into blaming America's allies, blaming the West, blaming anyone and everyone except those who commit these atrocities) miss. Terrorists don't operate from the same moral base as we do. While we may legitimately separate their complaints from their acts, we can never allow their complaints to justify their acts. There is no justification for mass murder. Period. This is a lesson that I try to teach my children: no matter what someone else may have done to you, their acts can never serve to justify, for example, punching or kicking them in retaliation. I guess there are some whose parents never taught them that lesson.


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