Friday, March 11, 2011

Remembering the Madrid Train Bombings

 Seven years ago today the people of Spain were viciously attacked by members of an al-Qaeda affiliated group. The simultaneous bomb blasts murdered 191 people and wounded over a thousand. The train attacks were an affront to the security of the people of Europe.

The main goal of the attackers: to undermine the War on Terror. The terrorists explicitly wanted Spain to withdraw its contribution of 1,400 soldiers from Iraq. The courageous stand of Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar made Spain one of the leaders in toppling the Iraqi dictatorship. Spain had been under the thumb of the autocrat Francisco Franco from 1939-1975. Aznar did so even though polling suggested that about 90% of the Spanish population opposed the effort.

With the bombings, Aznar's ruling conservative government lost support and fell behind the socialists. With new Prime Minister Jose Zapatero, Spain now sees almost 20% unemployment and massive deficits. One of the first acts of Zapatero's new government was to withdraw forces from Iraq.

Despite this, various other attempts to attack Spanish targets have arisen over the years. This confirms not only that if terrorism is not contained overseas, it will come elsewhere, and that appeasement does not work.

Let this memorial be a fitting reminder.

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