. . . Tuesday March 16, 2004

Welcome to the Jungle

Europeans have been undeniably dragged into the war with terrorist groups following the March 11th blasts. While it’s probably over-simplifying things to say that Spain’s voters opted out of the war on terror with their vote this week, it is critical (regardless of the real connections between Iraq and the war on terror and regardless of their contempt for our man in the White House) that the new government stay the course in Iraq and stand firm in the determination not to give the terrorists what they want.

- The core storyline, whether we like to admit it, is that terrorism has been remarkably effective in the past few years. Look as Israel and the Palestinians. You can set your watch by the timing of suicide bombings intended to derail Middle East peace talks. The nearterm goal of the bombers is to move the parties away from peace. Thinks it’s working?

- In Le Monde, Sociologist Emilio Lamo wrote: “Can we dialogue with those who desire only our death and nothing but our death? Dialogue about what? The manner in which we will be assassinated?”

- Was this attack merely a punishment for support of Bush in Iraq and will removal of the those troops make peace? Does anyone in their right mind really believe this? (More from Hitch.)

- A bombing just days before an election … Definitely gives us something to worry about

- Zakaria: “Al Qaeda’s declaration of jihad had, as its first demand, the withdrawal of American troops from Saudi Arabia. Osama bin Laden does not seem to have noticed, but the troops are gone – yet the jihad continues. The reasons come and go, the violence endures.”

- Bush on terror: “These are cold blooded killers. They’ll kill innocent people to try to shake our will. That’s what they want to do. [They'll] never shake the will of the United States. We understand the stakes.” That is of course all true. But the “We” in this case represents democracies around the world. Phase one of this war, in the days and months after 9-11, was to stand resolute and defend ourselves. The next phase, presented with yet another wake-up call by 3-11, is a need to unify the world around this critical cause. This is where the tough talk and the strained relations can hurt us. Infighting can be as dangerous as appeasement.

Concentration is important!