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ISSUE 117 VOL 14 PUBLISHED 3/19/2004

Train bombing tragic on many levels

By Melanie Meinzer
Contributing Writer

Friday, March 19, 2004

Many have likened the train bombings in Spain on March 11 to the terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11. Indeed, both days brought grief of almost unbearable proportions. But the reactions of the citizens of these countries will determine whether the future will continue to hold such tragedy. The timing of attacks on Spain in correlation with the election was not accidental. Before the attacks, the election was too close to call, with a margin of only three to five points between the candidates.

There is no doubt that the bombings inspired the citizens to elect the Socialist candidate over the formerly ruling Popular Party. Many people concluded that al-Qaeda executed the bombings in retaliation toward outgoing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznars support of the coalitions efforts in Iraq. This may be a viable theory, even though many still deny the link between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. But the next leap in logic is where the fault lies. The people of Spain voted against the party who supported the war on terrorism  the party that took a firm stance against the kind of violence to which they have so recently fallen victim. There is no doubt that this was a reaction of fear. Unfortunately, this reaction was exactly what the terrorists wanted: the ruling party in Spain will now allow such bombings to continue without taking action to stop them. Following Sept. 11, Americans mourned but declared that they would never forget the devastating results of terrorism. In the following months, the majority did not forget, and they supported their president in his war against terrorism. Two and a half years later, however, as a new election season is underway, Americans will decide whether or not to remain resolute. They will have the opportunity to reelect a leader who will continue his firm commitment to put a stop to the violence. They will also have the opportunity to elect a leader who will only support such actions immediately after they occurred, but forget so quickly the effects of a terrorist attack on his nation. Let us not give in to fear or complacency. Let us accept the task to end the terror. It will be a long and difficult undertaking. But if the United States will not take a stand, who will?

Megan Blair 05

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