Before the dust settled from the explosions that killed and wounded so many in Madrid, Spain last week, the debate had begun on who was responsible. The Spanish government and the United Nations were quick to point toward the ETA, but information from the scene pointed to Islamic terrorists. Analysts and pundits, both professional and amateur, analyzed the pattern of the attacked and said it was not characteristic of the ETA. Likewise, Arabic documents claiming Al Quida responsibility were examined and found not to conform to normal Al Quida communication patterns.
Quite frankly, I don’t see that it matters. The response should be the same. Whatever group was responsible should be hunted down and captured or killed. If they are found to have had state sponsors, those sponsors should find themselves in an undisclosed location in the cell next to Saddam Hussein.
After 9/11 the United States began the War on Terror. It is not, and has never been, a war against Al Quida. The end game of the conflict was not the elimination of one terrorist group but the elimination of terrorism as a means of conflict. The first target was the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, sponsor and protector of the terrorists who attacked on 9/11. The second target a brutal dictator with ties to numerous terrorist organizations and history of developing and using weapons of mass destruction.
Following the Madrid bombing, President Bush presented a wreath on behalf of the American people at the home of the Spanish Ambassador. His next visit should be with an offer and promise to aid Spain with the full force of American power in dealing with whoever it is determined was responsible.
If the world is ever to be free of the scourge of terrorism then no act of terror can go unanswered.