March 11, 2014, 10:57 pm
It is hard to believe that it was 10 years ago today that an al Qaeda cell blew up four trains in Madrid, Spain killing 192 people and injuring more than 1,800.
It was the largest terrorist attack in the West since the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Three days after the attacks, Spanish voters tossed out the conservative Popular Party led by Jose Maria Aznar in favor of the Socialists led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. There were commentators who argued that Spaniards had been cowered by terrorists. Shortly after Zapatero took office, he withdrew Spanish troops from Iraq.
Yet it must be remembered that the Aznar administration blamed the attacks on ETA, the Basque separatist group which has been responsible for a series of bombings in Spain since the 1960’s. But ETA’s attacks had never involved so many casualties nor had there been simultaneous explosions, an al Qaeda trademark.
If the Aznar government had been more candid with the Spanish people I cannot help but wonder if the Popular Party would have been re-elected to a third term. In 2011, Spaniards returned the Popular Party to power after two terms of Socialist rule under Zapatero.
Sadly, among the reasons Islamic terrorist attacks still occur is because governments are reluctant to call them terrorist attacks much less identify who carried them out. This is no way to honor to memory of those who perished by an act of evil.