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it's everyone's war

I'm so glad I get the EuroNews channel. CNN, FOX and MSNBC gave the tragedy in Spain a couple of minutes and switched to more important things like recipes, Kobe Bryant and American Idol. It's not every day that 200 people are killed and 1,000 injured in a terrorist attack. Terrorism affects all of us, not just the immediate victims. We don't even know if ETA is really to blame for today's blasts in Spain. The whispers of al-Qaeda have gone from sounding like conspiracy theories on sites like DU to being seriously given a voice from major media sites. U.S. coverage should be better. They should react to this story the way they do to Scott Peterson type stories. Gather some experts. Give us information. Send some reporters. Tell us about ETA, explore the al-Qaida connection and hey, how about just spending some time talking to witnesses and expressing some outrage and sadness? The world stopped for us on 9/11. It amazes me how our major news channels seem to brush international news aside. They did the same with the coup in Georgia and the Chechnyan rebels and they do it all the time with Israel. Five minutes of breaking news time and then back to celebrity secrets and fashion advice. We will never win the war on terror if we go on thinking that the only terror that matters is what happens here.


Listed below are links to weblogs that reference it's everyone's war:

» Spain's 9/11 from Babalu Blog
Today is Spain's September 11th. Over 107 dead confirmed in cowardly terrorist bombings of civilians. Reports on who's responsible vary, but terrorism is terrorism, regardless of who pulls the trigger. The Spanish people deserve our support and solidar... [Read More]

» EVERYBODY'S WAR from The Protocols of the Yuppies of Zion
Michele at a small victory has some choice words for the US news networks following their lackluster coverage of the hundreds of people murdered by terrorists today in Madrid: "U.S. coverage should be better. They should react to this story the way the... [Read More]

» A Familiar Evil from Matthew J. Stinson | weblog
A Cuban friend of mine, who considers himself a Galician, instant messaged me from halfway around the world tonight and asked, "Did you hear what the bastards did?" The bastards, in this case, were the terrorists who, as of this... [Read More]

» Standing with Spain from Nickspace Blog
Spain is the most recent victim of a massive terror attack. The terrorists have not yet been identified, but initial suspicions have focused on the ETA terrorists and Al Queda (or some similar group). It didn't get much coverage on... [Read More]

» ATTENTION U.S. NEWS AGENCYS: There's This Thing Called "The Rest of the World" from it comes in pints?
And we'd like to hear about it, if it won't hurt too much to pull yourself away from Martha Stewart for an hour or two.... [Read More]

» Who you calling 'unilateral'? from BoiFromTroy
While the world mourns the nearly two-hundred Spaniards who perished in today's terrorist attacks, it appears more likely that the attacks were not from 'separatist' group ETA, but from Al Quaeda-linked terrorists seeking revenge for Spain's participat... [Read More]

» News that's less than enthused. ;( from Who Tends the Fires
It's too depressing to write much about the Madrid bombings. Instead, I'll just link you guys to what a few others have written: Frank is Pissed. Glenn has info on where to send flowers and condolences. Nice touch, Glenn. Michelle:... [Read More]

» Bombs in Madrid from the Limey Brit
Since I don't have cable to show me how little the networks are covering yesterday's train bombing in Madrid, I've... [Read More]

» Attacks Of A Different Stripe from Feste...a foolsblog
Sen. John Kerry slammed Republican "attack" squads. Is he kidding? These are the attack squads I'm worried about, not partisan American political operatives. How about you? The attack in Madrid occurred exactly 2 1/2 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist... [Read More]

» 3/11/2004 from Feste...a foolsblog
Sen. John Kerry slammed Republican "attack" squads. Is he kidding? These are the attack squads I'm worried about, not partisan American political operatives. How about you? The attack in Madrid occurred exactly 2 1/2 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist... [Read More]

» Lest We Forget from Feste...a foolsblog
Sen. John Kerry slammed Republican "attack" squads. Is he kidding? These are the attack squads I'm worried about, not partisan American political operatives. How about you? The attack in Madrid occurred exactly 2 1/2 years after the Sept. 11 terrorist... [Read More]


Curious but could you tell me how we "win" the war. I mean in traditional warfare it seems pretty much cut and paste but I dont think this war will ever be won.

Dell, you win the war by making terrorism more expensive and difficult. If you hunt down the terrorists and kill their leadership, if you freeze their accounts and the accounts of those who support them, if you punish the people who give them succor, terrorism becomes more expensive and harder to carry out.

Can terrorism be eradicated? Of course not, but that doesn't mean you can't minimize these kinds of acts by reacting decisively and aggressively in return. Destroying Hitler didn't completely end anti-Semitism or fascism, but it was still a necessary thing, no?

Winning the war on terror involves either eliminating all those who would terrorize or eliminate their reason for being terrorists. For either scenario we need help. The US cannot win this war alone. And this proves, yet again, that terrorism doesn't just happen in the middle east.

After 9/11, US asked the UN and NATO for help, only to get stonewalled. We went with a coalition of the willing instead. Spain was among the willing. Michele is right, we owe them much more than "A bomb went off in Madrid today...and in other news..." We owe them at least as much commitment and enthusiasm toward the justice they seek, as they gave us. Even if this attack is in France or Germany, we owe them at least a "NOW will you help us get these fuckers?"

Yes, Dell, it will. It won't end with the signing of a treaty, but most likely it will end on different days for all of us.

One day you'll be in the shower, and you'll think back to the hordes of suicide bombers and islamofacists, and realize you haven't heard of either in a long time. As a matter of fact, the last thing you heard out of Iran was that they had their first women firefighters and CEO's.

When you have to think BACK to a terror attack, it'll be over.

I tend to come down on the pessimistic side of this one. I don't think you can win a war on terror any more than you can win a war on drugs. Terrorism is a reality and it's not going away. Can we take measures to prevent it, or to minimize the damage where it can't be prevented? Certainly. But can we "win"? Will there ever be a day when we declare "we won the war on terror and it's over now"? I'm doubtful.

That was along my thinking as well Dave. You may minimize it but terrorism has been around as long as I can think back. As the weapons get more and more deadly I believe we will see fewer but even more deadly attacks.

I'll probably expand on this on my blog later . . . it is our war and it isn't. If this really is the Basque ETA, they're local and no direct threat to us, like the IRA. Our real war is with the Islamist/Arab terror movements (in some cases there's overlap between them and more localized moevements like the Palestinians, the Chechens, etc., plus the Palestinian problem can't really be separated out anyway).

But if we want other nations to take our war seriously, we have to lend every hand we can to theirs, which means supporting crackdowns on terror groups everywhere, even if (like the Chechens) they have some legitimate grievances. Spain's a key ally, so their problem becomes our problem.

We'll never eliminate terrorism of all kinds - it's too easy for a nutcase or two to do horrible things - but we may be able to eliminate transnational terrorism and make real strides to cutting off organized terror groups within a state's borders. That looks like victory to me.

To be cold and cruel, I am a pubbie, after all, I wonder how the people of Spain will want to handle this?

Aznar's with us, but the majority of the people of Spain aren't, so, are they going to give the ETA what it wants, OR are they going to take a page or 2 out of our playbook, OR treat it as we did in the 90s, as a law enforcement issue?


I believe these attacks were supposed to coincide with their elections on Sunday. While not all of the Spanish people were with Asnar on helping the US combat terror, these bombings will certainly make some folks stop and think.

I think the Spanish are going to "take a page or 2" from our playbooks on this and go after the culprits.

You can win a war against terrorism the same way that you can win a war against piracy. You go after the actors -- the pirates and ships. Then you go after the bases. Then you go after the infrastructure. Soon the pirates start dwindling, they cannot find a port in which to refit and recruit, and finally, they cannot find markets for their goods.

We -- the good guys -- have won wars against piracy in the past. The Romans did it near the end of the Republic, the Brits did it circa 1695-1721, and the US did it 1820-1830.

You win a war on terrorists the same way. First target the actors -- the actual terrorists. It is now open season on terrorists. Where we can, we are arresting them. Where we cannot, we send in Special Forces to take them out, or have the bad guys make the acquaintance of Mr. Hellfire.

Next we take out the countries that support the terrorists. We are doing that. Afghanstan is out. Iraq is out. Pakistan is allowing us to get into their tribal regions. Libya has folded its hand. Syria, Iran and North Korea remain. (They will go down only if Bush is re-elected, which is the reason that Michelle supports Bush even when she disagrees with much of his domestic policies.) The terrorists have fewer and fewer countries in which to train, rest, and recruit.

Finally we are going after the money circuit. Without money, you cannot buy explosives, you cannot buy airline tickets, you cannot buy protection. Even small arms cost buck. Absent cash, you have no movement.

No guerilla war survives without outside support. Terrorism many not require as big a logistical tail as the US military, but it does depend on the tail that it has. Destroy that while engaging the front-line and pretty soon you have no terror movement.

This is not to say that there will be no terrorist actions after winning a war on terror. I think Time McVeigh proved what a couple of dedicated nuts can do. But the incidents will be few, isolated, and unconnected.

You can be sure that what happened in Spain -- even if it was caused by Basque separatists -- has ties to the larger terror movement. The bomb was large and fairly sophisticated. If al Qeada did not participate directly they probably provided sanctuary for those preparing the attack.

I read an interesting piece about the apparent fascination of cable news channels with the Kobe, Laci, Jacko stuff. To start, these channels have relatively small audiences. (Blogger-type news junkies, I guess) But when they feature the "junk news" their ratings go up a bit, as normal people tune in. Kind of a sucky dynamic.

During the war, CNN Intl was much better than CNN (US) because they did NOT have all the crappy hometown, "OMG, my child is a POW/in danger" stuff. It was slanted stuff about the war, but at least it was about the war.

"If this really is the Basque ETA, they're local and no direct threat to us, like the IRA."

The IRA, thanks in no small part to the "peace" process in NI, have long been professional consultants to many of the world's other terrorists. Bombs from Bogota to Jerusalem have borne their distinct hallmarks. They do have links to ETA as well, and Spain's growing Muslim population, with its ties to Morocco and Algeria but also Egypt, is thought to have been penetrated by al-Qaeda front organizations, especually Egyptian Islamic Jihad. None of this is ever just local, at least not anymore.

We can hope, Val, but Europeans do act differently than we do. They could vote the lefties in and pull out of Iraq so they don't get bombed again.

We'll see.

I just read your post, and I have to say, Very well put. Terror attacks happen all over the world, but our media only wants to report on the ones that happen here. Why should we not take time for the victims in Spain, when they took the time to mourn our lose on 9/11/01

You cannot prevent terrorism absolutely, since it is a tactic, not an enemy.

You CAN prevent states from sponsoring terrorism, just like you can prevent them from invading other states.

Of course you can prevent terorrism. The way you do it is you hammer terrorists and don't pussyfoot around with them by negotiating with them. It just allows them to re-arm develop new tactics. Terrorists only know force and that is the only thing that will stop their murderous ways: kill them all.

I agree that will work for the most part, hence my caveat, "absolutely."

The pirate analogy was dead-on.

Dave J - That's partially right . . . again, I'm all in favor of wiping out all these SOBs. But it's useful to remember which ones present a direct problem and which are really lower priorities where we can let our allies take the lead out of their own self-interest. I grew up around a lot of people who romanticized the IRA, but they are scum and they have, as noted, had ties to Al Qaeda, international drug gangs, FARC, etc.

Why isn't this getting play? Because to Americans, only brown people are terrorists. Ever notice that when righties recite the list of terror attacks that President Clinton "didn't do anything about", they never include Oklahoma City? It doesn't count when white people do it.

Europe suffered through a wave of home-grown terrorism in the 1970s, the days of the Provos and the Brigate Rossi and the Baader-Meinhofs. This went almost unnoticed over here. Sure, we heard about Munich and Entebbe, but -- again -- those were done by brown people.

"righties recite the list of terror attacks that President Clinton "didn't do anything about", they never include Oklahoma City? "

That's news to me. I thought we executed the sonofabitch, and jailed his cohort. He's playing pinochle with Ted Kaczynski, another white terrorist we nailed after years of pursuit.

I do hear righties recite the failure to catch 'john doe #2' on the list of Clinton lapses.

Your assertion that we only consider brown people to be terrorists is absurd.

"Because to Americans, only brown people are terrorists."

Thlayli, I think you may have topped even yourself on the insulting and unsubstantiated bullshit scale. I'm the last person to defend Bill Clinton, but the reason the list of terrorist attacks Clinton didn't do anything about doesn't include Oklahoma City is because he DID do something about that: he had McVeigh arrested, tried and sentenced to death (although the actual execution happened on GWB's watch).

This isn't getting play because the US media care only for titillating scandal stories rather than anything important. But I wouldn't equate such parochial stupidity with racism.

Project much, Thayli?

Leave it to Flailing -- I mean, "Thlayli" -- to inject something thoroughly juvenile into a serious conversation. What are you, five years old? I don't know where the hell you were in the seventies, but I was in front of the tv set, watching the national news -- and this was before cable, when the only place to get 24-hour news coverage was shortwave radio -- watching all the reports of terrorist attacks by such "lily white" groups as the Red Brigade, the Baader-Meinhof Gang, and our own homegrown lovelies: spawn of the hippyfreelovemarxism paradise of the sixties like the Symbionese Liberation Army. No one thought of terrorism as being an activity only engaged in by "brown-skinned" people except bigots. Are you a bigot, Flailing?

I've noticed the same about US news networks.

Here in Australia, after the Bali bombings, it received a 2minute mention on CNN and Fox.

BBC didn't seem to give it much attention either though.

Andrea: Flailing rabbit-brain isn't a bigot...

ignorant, yes. Proud of that ignorance, check. Petulant, definitely. Those we can pretty well prove.

"brown terrorists" ... gah.

De Doc... whose sister in law picked up an informal ear piercing in an Italian train tunnel bombing, and was lucky not to have bought the farm, courtesy of the Red Brigade.