March 11, 2004

Terror in Madrid

At least 180 people were killed in Madrid by ten or more bombs in commuter train stations. The Spanish government seems certain it was the Basque ETA, not Al Qaeda.

This is huge, by far the worst terror attack in Spain ever.

A few years ago two separate bombs exploded in Madrid the day after I left the city by train to Seville. I remember airport-style security checks in the train stations, and I also remember not worrying much about it. The ETA was far more like the IRA than Al Qaeda; small occasional bombs that seemed more like attention-getting devices that weapons of mass murder.

But it looks like 9/11 raised the stakes. Perhaps Al Qaeda made the ETA feel like pikers. To get the kind of attention they wanted they had to make themselves full-bore enemies of civilization like their Middle Eastern counterparts.

Bastards. They will never get their own state this way. But I can see why they might think it would work. Europe loves the Palestinians.

I, for one, wouldn't be a bit surprised if it was Palestinians or their friends who committed this act. It is right up their alley, and Europeans better think long and hard about where they stand.


UPDATE: When I wrote "Palestinians or their friends" it was a sloppy way of saying "Middle Eastern terrorists." I posted this first thing in the morning before I was fully awake.

SECOND UPDATE: CNN reports:

Spanish interior minister says new line of Madrid blast investigation opened after police find van with detonators and Arabic-language tapes. Details soon.
Someone in my comments section accused me of being an "Internet conspiracy theorist" for thinking Middle Eastern terrorists might have killed 200 people with bombs. Might want to rethink that. I don't know who did it, but it should be clear that it could go either way at this point. The Spanish police certainly think so.

Posted by Michael J. Totten at March 11, 2004 9:30 AM
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