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The attacks in Spain

It took me a while before I felt like I had anything coherent to say about the senseless violence in Spain. At first, I could only sit dumbly and listen to the reports and watch the images. All the old feelings were brought back, familiar and half-forgotten at the same time.

I am assuming, based on the scanty evidence we have, that this was the work of al Qaeda. Many of my fellow hawks are saying that this is a wake-up call for Europe, and that other European leaders will, like Tony Blair, finally "get it".

I hope they're right, but I'm not convinced. Frankly, I think this viewpoint is naive, and it gives the European left too much credit. I think they will be quite happy to blame the entire tragedy on Spain's support of the U.S. in the war against Iraq: "If we had only turned a blind eye to Terror, it would turn a blind eye to us". This attitude is delusional, of course, but I predict that it will become the prevailing sentiment from Western Europe over the weeks and months to come.

I don't deny that Spain's pro-American stance was a factor, but it goes well beyond that. These forces are at war with the West in general, and Spain in particular has long been a sore point for them. The re-Christianization of Spain in the 15th century was a milestone in the rollback of Muslim expansionism, and we know our enemy has a long memory for such indignities. The Wahhabist ideology that spawned al Qaeda places a priority on recapturing Muslim lands that have been lost to the infidel.

In any case, this is a sobering reminder that the war is very real and very present and that much remains to be done. I hope my colleagues are correct about Europe's reaction to this attack, and that I am wrong. Otherwise, we could find ourselves waging a lonelier war than we currently are.