Thomm Quackenbush, author

Madrid Terror Blast

March 11 - 202 people were killed in bomb blasts in Madrid, Spain and thousands were injured. Let me start off by pointing out that on 9/11, all of Europe rallied behind the United States and was very supportive of us and I have not seen the same outpouring of support by the United States Government or its people for Spain. All I have seen thus far is people using this tragic event for the basis of political argument on both sides of the terrorism issue. I don't think that an event that killed 202 people (so far) is a valid argument for either side. Innocent people died, Period, end of story, no "this proves that Bush is screwing up" or "this proves that we need to be more aggressive in the War on Terrorism". We should mourn the dead before we use it for political gain (cough cough Bush 9/11 political ads cough cough). Okay, so I added a bit of politics but it was well placed.

I am going to compare and contrast this event to 9/11 because, in all truthfulness, it is my only basis for comparison and I do feel that the two events have many more similarities than just happening on the 11th day of a month and being 911 days apart. I don't want anyone to think that I am downplaying either event or saying that what we affected was worse than them or that they faced worse than us. Both events were tragedies pure and simple, none worse than the other.

Since the attack, people with ties to Al Qaida have been arrested and Spain elected a new Prime Minister that has promised to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq. The party that has just been elected to power had run on the platform of pulling troops out but they had been lagging miserably in the polls prior to the bombing. Obviously this is a direct result of the terrorist attacks and the people of Spain are thinking that they will be safer if they are not part of the coalition in Iraq. This brings up very mixed emotions for me. On the one hand I am totally against the war in Iraq and I think everyone should pull out but, then again, aren't they letting the terrorists win? Have I been brainwashed into thinking that almost anything means that we are letting the terrorists win? Dear Jesus I hope not. Now that I think about it and I am trying to imagine what I would have done had there been an election in the first week of November directly following 9/11 - would I vote for the party that wanted to blow the shit out of Afghanistan or would I have voted for the party that wanted us to move more toward isolationism to try and limit the amount of hatred that other countries have for us? I would like to believe that I would choose the latter but I distinctly remember wanting to blow the shit out of someone for what they had done to us. In all honesty, at that point in time, I would have voted for whom ever wanted to blow some shit up the most. I was filled with emotion: hatred, fear, sadness. I asked a few of my friends to imagine that situation and it seems to be split 50-50. All of this leads me to believe that Spain might have benefited from delaying their elections. I feel that Spaniards might have been too overwhelmed to make such an important decision at that point in time. I am not saying that this is 100% positively the case, but I just think that I would have been in no shape to decide on an election on 9/16/01. On the other hand, would a delay in the Democratic process been an even bigger win for the Terrorists?

Spain pulled out of Iraq to make their country safer. Would we be safe if we pulled out of all areas of the Middle East altogether? I really don't think so. I think people would then hate us for not helping people when we have the means and ability to do so. Will Spain be safer? Maybe, I think they have a better shot at it than we would. At this point in history I feel that hatred of America is practically an intrinsic characteristic in parts of the world and I don't think that would change for any reason. I don't feel that hatred of Spain is as ingrained. Maybe I am just having delusions of grandeur and proving why so many people hate America. Damn, I am not even able to win an argument with myself on this subject. So I guess that is as good a conclusion as any - I don't think the war on Terror will ever be won or lost and I certainly won't be of any aid one way or another. Some country is always going to hate another country in this world; it's just a question of who will be on the receiving end.



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