Minutiae
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"Chuck Norris doesn't read books; he stares them down until he gets the information he wants out of them."
- ChuckNorrisFactsdotcom

Sunday, March 14, 2004
What if it wasn't Basque terrorists or Al Qaida? What if it was both? ETA members went to
Afghanistan to train with Osama. ETA members went to Iraq to fight the US.

It seems like the issue of different groups and different agendas is pretty moot. You DESTROY people who deliberately target civilians in an attempt to effect political change. You have to if you want to ensure the survival of our way of life. We MUST NOT give in and decide that it easier or safer to live under the gun. You fight bullies. You don't give in to them.

This article makes the point quite well.
"For Whom The Bell Tolls

Now that war has come to Europe we can look with more sympathetic eyes at the magnitude of the tragedy which they had hoped to avert. Unlike the United States, whose Islamic population is growing but still small, the peoples of North Africa and the Middle East have sunk their roots deep into the Old Continent's soil. It was natural that European leaders had hoped this cup would pass away. They knew the challenge, if it came, might be beyond the limit of their waning strength. Sapped by two world wars, cynical, burdened with an aging population and with no horizons left it was overcome with an immense desire to slip away in peace.

It now awakens to the very nightmare which it hoped, in its uneasy, guilty holiday from history, never to face. Now face the horror it must, exactly 911 days behind America, lagging in all things, and most of all in hope. Whether the culprits of the Madrid train bombing are the ETA, grown monstrous on the assistance of Al Qaeda or the Al Qaeda itself makes no palpable difference. If a handful of Marxist terrorists can be responsible for the worst carnage on European soil since World War 2 it is almost comforting to hope that a more practiced demon, rather than a resurgent imp, had been the culprit. In the blackness of despair one can distinguish between shades of night.

The strategic choices facing Europe are stark. They can, like France, continue their policy of appeasement. Yet while the status quo may hold out that hope, it is forlorn. Maybe not this terrorist attack, but the one afterward and those still yet to follow will dash any expectation that a little more money siphoned from depleted coffers or a little more toadying will buy any more years. The months now will come too dear. Rather better, some will say, to face the enemy while some strength remains. Yet there can be no joy even in the most militaristic of hearts for what lies ahead, beside which the horror of the Balkans was but a small foretaste. The battle against Islamofascism will be fought on Europe's borders and Europe's soil.

In this hour the figures of Schroder and Chirac occupy the same relative positions as Chamberlain and Petain. Little men overwhelmed by events. Tony Blair, alone among the major leaders of Europe had both the wit to see the danger and the fortitude to face it. He is a flawed figure, beholden to the social policies of the British Labor Party, yet for all that the only one with a sure voice, the only captain fell and terrible now that the issue is joined. And like another British leader thrust unwilling into the crucible he can count on the immense potency of the United States of America on that dark plain whose end he cannot see. In this trial God send us wisdom that we may triumph, not under the banner of hatred which is the enemy's own standard, but under our own, mournful but unashamed."
I had hoped for more time.

To my readers: I will say one last time, get ready. Remember the duct tape scare? That was only in response to a government recommendation. Imagine what will happen when the next attack happens. If you don't have a way to look out for your own welfare you may be bitterly disappointed when the hour comes.

I dearly hope that I'm wrong. I hope that I can look back at this in a year and laugh at my paranoia. But I don't think so. I think the only question will be the magnitude of the attack.

posted by Rachel 3/14/2004
. . .
Oh Spain. What have you
done? As one person notes:
"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 agressive pursuit and elimination of terrorists and their accomplices and enablers. Anything else is giving in to fear and wishful thinking."
Then there's this:
"The message is: This is the price you pay for helping the Americans. That is a message many Europeans will listen to. The question is how many there are of them. Terrorism always turns some people against you, but it also turns other people towards your preferred point of view, and the terrorists are counting on more Europeans of the latter than the former kind. That preferred point of view is not approval of terrorism or support of the terrorists' goal. All that's required is for many Spaniards to reach the conclusion that the price is too high, and who are they to risk their lives for some insane American imperialist adventure? European anti-Americanism is a powerful tool in the hands of skilled propagandists. I don't have al-Qaeda's belief in the power of random slaughter, but I'm not confident that they're wrong about how Europeans will react, especially if they manage to make a campaign out of this. (Another bomb failed to go off earlier today.) Everyone will claim to stand united against terrorism. Everyone always does. But there's "yes we stand united against terrorism in all forms" and then there's "yes we stand united against terrorism in all forms, but what are we doing in Iraq anyway, and haven't we brought this on ourselves by aligning ourselves with the insane policies of the Bush administration?"

That is the real test here. Will we settle for the usual condemnations of terrorism, then continue as before, apologizing for, understanding and downplaying the threat of Islamic terrorism, while we reserve our true outrage for the Americans and Israelis, or will we update our maps to reflect the post-9/11 terrain? Words of sympathy are not enough. Al-Qaeda counts on sympathy to increase our fear that we're next in line. Anger is actually more appropriate. It's the ingredient we've been missing these last years, for while we always condemn terrorists attacks and show sympathy for their victims, we never really get angry with the monsters who are behind it. I noticed that prime minister Kjell Magne Bondevik described yesterday's attack as an example of "evil" on TV2, using a word (ondskap) that is quite strong, (big-E evil). That may be a good sign, and I'll be watching for more."
Meanwhile it certainly looks like it was Al Qaida. It's possible that Aznar's handling of this is what turned the voters off. It doesn't really matter. What matters to me is the lesson that terrorists will draw from this. If they conclude that they can influence elections we are in for a very tense year.

posted by Rachel 3/14/2004
. . .
Well
this is good.

posted by Rachel 3/14/2004
. . .
Oh this is hysterical beyond
hysterical. That joke has been making the rounds for at least 10 years. I passed it around in high school.

Though if I was a voter out there this would be a terrifying sign of the care and effort put into making the laws that I'm expected to obey.

posted by Rachel 3/14/2004
. . .
Wow. Colin Powell just told Kerry to put up or shut up. This is going to be so very interesting.

posted by Rachel 3/14/2004
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