There's been a lot of chatter in the blogosphere about Spain, the Madrid bombing the election and what it all means. there seems to be a contingent that says that deviating from our failed policy of bombing the bombers and towing the line means giving in to the demands of the Fundamentalists.
This attitude that we can somehow appease Al Queda just underlines the problem with our way of thinking about this conflict and the world in general: it's too conventionally cold war. Too statist. This is not helped any by the label that the president has chosen for this conflict: War on Terror. The word "War" implies that there is a time for fighting and that one day, the fighting will end, one side will have met all their goals, defeated the other side and called out Bingo! The fighting will stop, some sort of peace treaty will be signed and we'll all go on like before. Except that's not what this conflict is about.
Simply put, their is no war. There are no sides. As many have pointed out, you can't defeat terrorism, as it's a tactic, not an ideology or a country or a group of people. You can no more fight a war against terror than you can fight a war against libertarian politics or the tooth fairy. Somewhere, someone will read the books of Ayn Rand or hear the tooth fairy story and take some action because of it.
As Lambert pointed out at Corrente, what we're really fighting is Fundamentalism, which is a profound reaction against modernity. We're fighting disperate groups of people who want to return to the middle ages, who want to destroy civilization (with all its discontents, maladies and shiny new fangled liberties). They aren't trying to change the system of governance or right a wrong. They're trying to undo Western Civilization. They're trying to kill the modern world. So it's not a matter of doing what they want in Spain, Saudi Arabia or anywhere, so they'll stop. Because they won't stop, no matter what we do. So all this blather about the voters in Spain appeasing Al Queda because they got together to peacefully make use of the mechanism of government in order to enact change as they see fit is bullshit. worse than that, it's crass politics. The Spanish people stood up to the Fundamentalists, said, "Fuck you, we're going on being western, civilized and modern, so stick that pipe bomb where Allah doesn't shine." The people of Spain should be applauded for being Spanish, not chastised by chowder headed GOP lapdogs for going against Lord Bush and his lunatic decrees.
And if you can't see beyond Bush and his failed attempts at power and empire than you stumbling into a sort of fundamentalism of your own, complete with a desire to kill those who disagree with you and change the world as you see fit. The "terrorists" aren't just over there, wearing turbans and chanting Wahabi hymns. They're right here too, spitting fire and chewing on brimstone, straitening their ties and quoting Bible passages for all the wrong reasons.