Friday, March 12, 2004

Madrid's 3/11

What, if any, signification or implication does it have for the United States?

As a nation, are we too egocentric in thinking yesterday's act of terror in Madrid was all about us? Do we think the attack occured because Spain was our ally in the Iraq strike? Do we see it as more of a local act of terror? One thing we know is that none of us can be sure at this time. Here's what Juan Cole at Informed Comment has to say: "The possibility that the bombings were reprisals against Spain for supporting the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq this time last year has led some Spaniards in the Opposition to come out to protest against rightwing Prime Minister Aznar."

We are not safer now than we were then

Yesterday's attack on that Spanish commuter train proved to me we are no safer today than on 9-11. Homeland Security will not be able to stop a terrorist network if they truly want to kill us. No Patriot Act will stop them. The NYT weighed in on the subject today, claiming "We are all MadrileƱos now." They say they believe comparisons to the attacks of September 11, 2001, are inevitable and appropriate. In their words, "terrorism cannot be eradicated simply by driving the Taliban out of Kabul or capturing Saddam Hussein". That statement calls to mind Howard Dean's words in the aftermath (or shall I say afterglow) of the capture of Saddam last December. "The capture of Saddam has not made America safer." Dean, a realist, spoke unappreciated words of truth. He knew, as many of us still understand, that our hardest work is ahead of us.

Copy-Cat Terrorists are emboldened by our lack of unity/lack of unifying leadership

I believe we're seeing a lot of copy-cat terrorists.Potential terrorists witnessed what they saw as a great "success" on September 11, 2001. Perhaps they are now thinking, 'The great America was caught off-guard, leaders asleep-at-the-wheel..just look at how the U.S. has gone off attacking an unrelated nation-state...and how they've dismantled their citizens' liberties... perhaps we can succeed at dismantling Western-style governments getting them to destroy themselves from within when they cannot agree on how to stop us.' I'm beginning to understand the terrorist aims are not to have a political negotiating tool. The terrorists want to see the blood of their targeted enemy without regard to some imagined hoped-for-diplomacy. If diplomacy was what they craved, they'd make themselves known. Instead, they hide and kill the innocent.

"Our people remain politically polarized..something I never would have believed if you'd asked me to predict the future on September 12, 2001."

America's shining moment after the 9-11 attack was the fact that we could unite in a common desire to end terrorism. If you ask me, our leadership has failed to keep us united. This, in my opinion, greatly weakens our resolve and allows the world-at-large to toss us about in a diplomatic sense. Remember, the world watches CNN and FOX news. They read the internet (to the extent their respective governments will allow). When turmoil within this powerful nation is obvious, those who would employ terror against the innocent believe they may have further success in continuing their heinous campaigns of murder. Our people remain politically polarized..something I never would have believed if you'd asked me to predict the future on September 12, 2001. It seems we were headed on the right course after 9-11 until the Bush administration insisted on attacking Iraq. It was a terrible blunder. The great American orator Mario Cuomo appeared on Hardball last night and called it the worst blunder in America's history. That's a very serious charge coming from someone like New York's highly respectable former Governor. [Transcript here].

It's time for politically-educated Americans to understand that we need wise leadership whose primary focus is a reasonably united people. Safety is paramount, but equally important is seeing ourselves as brothers and sisters in the cause against the murder that terrorists perpetrate. From my perspective, President Bush has dreadfully failed at making citizens of these United States feel as if they wish to come together in any common cause. If he was the great leader he claims to be, 50% of the nation wouldn't be thinking about how November seems so darn far away.

Let's remember the words of President Abraham Lincoln as we look to the future of leadership in this country, our America:

"We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battle-field, and patriot grave, to every living heart and hearthstone, all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature...."

- President Abraham Lincoln's 1st inauguration March 4, 1861
Washington, D.C.



The solidarity of the people of Spain in public resolve against terror.. any show of unity you've seen this year in the United States.

"...Two days. That was all it took for the people of Spain to become impatient, to pressure their government for the truth. When they did not get it, they threw that government out on it's ear. For America, a nation approaching the 1,000th day in which their government has not provided the truth of September 11th, this is a lesson to be taken deeply to heart."

--William Rivers Pitt


Note: I added this to my diary at Daily Kos today.
I included a poll. Here are the results thus far (35 responses):

After yesterday's attacks in Spain, do you feel safer from acts of terror in the U.S. today than you would have been on 9-11-2001?

· Yes...0%
· No....94%
· Undecided ...5%