Not Getting It, Part II

This time, Salon bites the big one over Spain vs. al Qaeda. They claim that since Spain is taking away European support for the war, it is undoing al Qaeda’s raison d’etre.

Contrast this with Virginia Postrel’s link to a Washington Post piece by Fareed Zakaria (linked to her post because the WP tends to expire pieces quickly) that states, in part:


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.

The point being that our Yemeni friend doesn’t really care if his specific demands are met; only that his larger goal of provoking a war between radical Islam and everybody else is met, with him becoming the Caliph of the Umma, or body of Muslim believers. So all Spain is doing is saying, “Hey, Osama, you’re right, it works! Do it some more!”

People at Salon might want to review the history of aircraft hijackings, particularly in the 1970’s. Left uncontested, they grew more popular as they were a safe and easy way to make money. Then, as stricter security measures were put into place, they declined. Vigorous prosecution and international cooperation did them in until September 11, 2001 saw more hijackings in one day than had taken place in the previous ten years in the U.S.

You don’t have to say “Bush is right” to acknowledge that capitulating to terrorist demands is counterproductive–tragically so. I beleive the U.S. was wrong to go into Iraq since the claims of WMDs have proven false. That doesn’t mean I think that prosecuting terrorists by military as well as legal means isn’t valid, or that part of that means not being seen to give in to their demands. Like it or not, the Bush administration wasn’t seen to be giving into their demands when it pulled out of Saudi in the wake of the Iraq war. It may have been, but it wasn’t seen to be, since it was busy cheesing them off in other ways.

Nor does vulnerability in Europe depend solely on a country’s stance on Iraq. France has already been warned that, despite its very public support of Palestine and opposition to the U.S. on Iraq, it faces terrorism in response to its decision to ban head-scarves and other overtly religious symbols from public schools. Spain’s move makes it more likely that France will suffer for its secularism.

Is that what people at Salon really want? Seriously, guys, stop and think about it for just a second. You can be internationalist without bending over and spreading ’em for every armed thug on the planet.

Update: The link to Virginia Postrel’s piece was wrong; I fixed it.

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