Bastards... simply bastards...
March 14, 2004 5:10 AM   Subscribe

"You love life and we love death" Al Qaeda video found in Spain claims responsibility for Madrid bombings. (NY Times on first link.) How can we tell if a group claiming a terror act actually were the bastards who did it?
posted by zaelic (16 comments total)
"You love life and we love death, which gives an example of what the Prophet Muhammad said." - what the hell? That makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

I'm just waiting for the conspiracy theories...
posted by kaemaril at 6:42 AM on March 14, 2004

Shit, I don't speak the language, but I'm pretty sure he's misquoting there.

Unless two groups are claiming responsibility for the bombing, why is it in dispute? Usually the group claiming responsibility gives a detail known only to the perpetrator of the crime, as proof.

But with the ETA denying it, and Al-Qaeda claiming responsibility, where does the debate come from?

The ETA took a LOT of heat for their biggest confirmed bombing of a supermarket (21 dead), and lost them support across the globe. This attack, with ten times the mortality rate, would be designed for what effect? If the crackdown against them were reciprocated equally to the magnitude of this attack, the Basque could expect to be driven into France...
posted by Busithoth at 6:55 AM on March 14, 2004

I'm just waiting for the conspiracy theories...

kaemaril, IANACT, but since you asked. On a historical note, the bombing of Bologna railway station in 1980, with 85 killed, was carried out by Italian fascist terrorists with help from various renegade Italian secret service and NATO black ops types trying to get a more authoritarian government elected. Plenty more of this via Google, most of it from left/ultraleft sites tho.
posted by carter at 7:09 AM on March 14, 2004

And interesting analysis here. (Several, but the one that catches my eye is about halfway down the page.)

Preliminary Analysis - Madrid Bombing
By C. L. Staten, Sr. Analyst

Some interesting theories, some *involving* ETA, some not.
posted by kablam at 7:43 AM on March 14, 2004

Anyone notice the weird Toys R Us/HP flash ad with the article? The Toys R Us giraffe going up an escalator surrounded by crosses? It's a corporate crusade!

Two points on the message:

1)"We love death..." Bwahahaa. Sounds so Dr. Evil and absurd on its face. Nobody thinks they're evil. They think the people they are killing and torturing are evil. This is the sad tragedy of humanity. Anyway, this sounds like the words you would put in your enemy's mouth. You know, "we hate you for your freedom and love of puppies. death to puppies!"

2) Then again, Islamofascists say some pretty crazy things. They view our secular society as corrupt and clinging to the surface carnal pleasures as opposed to taking glory in god. For the greater glory of god, mere life is nothing, and great reward awaits those who leave this world in the name of god, fighting for god and his believers. And this is the message of many religions: For he who believes Mel's vision shall not die but shall have everlasting life. Fear not. And the Buddha would diagnose our great malady as loving life so much, being so attached to it, that we fail to realize our true enlightened nature. On days like these, with so much bloodshed, it is hard to see what he meant. You just want to strike back. Karma's a bitch for all involved.

In some sense, it doesn't matter who did it. What matters is how you respond. Do you continue trying to grind them into dust and kill their children, so that they grow more terrorists, and your own society becomes meaner, crueler, less free in order to wage a battle against the invisible enemy within?

Or do you try to find peaceful ways to share the world's wealth, to promote goodness, without destroying the values of other societies, even as some of those values (gender discrimination, harsh treatment, lack of free speech etc) are repugnant to you, and even as those who feel threatened by you continue to lash out periodically? What if we brought the world food and water and clothes, on a huge marshall plan scale? Wasn't that how we fought communism at the start? Didn't it work a lot better than what we did in Korea and Vietnam? It was a long hard slog of a different sort, but shouldn't the goal in 20 years be what happened with the Poles and the Czechs, not to have much of the world awash in poverty and disease?

I am interested by my own emotional response to this 3/11 attack. Back on 9/11 and a while after, I was annoyed by those a great distance away who philosophized and intellectualized, who either did not share in the anger and hurt as deeply or who seemed to shrug off what happened here as one might shrug off an earthquake in a distant place or one of those third-world bus plunges that used to get a short write-up inside a US paper.

It is so much easier to be numb or philosophical about the horrors that befall others far away. And while I gained some satisfaction at the time by the attack on Afghanistan, I know that many innocents suffered there too so that we could strike a blow at al Qaeda. And it seems that their sacrifice, and ours, accomplished little: Al Qaeda's leaders, many of them, got away, and Al Qaeda lived to fight another day (or at least be a credible suspect in acts of terror), while destabilizing other countries. So what did our war there accomplish? Very little, except perhaps create more people with grievances against us. This administration seems incapable of follow up.
It doesn't know what to do once it's done dropping bombs.

I do wonder, will we be waging wars under Kerry? Would Al Gore have done it differently? How would it have been different? How will it be different? I have not seen a credible answer from the Democrats.

I think we would have gone into Afghanistan, but perhaps we would have handled the aftermath better. Perhaps. We are not a nation known for its patience with these things. Our attention wanders. Osama might still have gotten away (though his lieutenants, the ones we don't know much about, are the ones that worry me). We would not have invaded Iraq, or not right away. It is not entirely clear to me what we should do with Iraq now that we have it. Certainly we would not have frittered away the solidarity we had with our allies in a matter of months, people whose help we need to catch these people and ensure our own security.

Nuance does not survive well in this kind of climate. Al Qaeda wants us to be afraid and on a warlike setting, it wants us to show the world how brutal we are when cornered, how we care only about ourselves, and so, alas, do some elements within our own society who want to enhance their own power and welath and show the world who's boss.
The warriors on both sides "win" when the only answer seems to be war. The rest of us pick up the pieces later. If there are any pieces to pick up.
posted by Slagman at 7:47 AM on March 14, 2004

Incidentally, the "we love death" translation is from a Spanish official translation. The BBC has "we want death."

A lot of Islamic fundamentalist rhetoric mentions Spain in the same damning breath as Israel. Both were territories that were once under Muslim political control and Sharia law that have been lost to non-Muslims. It plays a big role in the symbolic labeling of "Islam's Enemies".

Slagman: I would not doubt Kerry's ability to maintain pressure on terrorist enemies. Clinton maintained a very active but much lower key anti terror operation. We have real, nasty enemies out there, but we don't have to dress up in jackboots to deal with them.
posted by zaelic at 8:04 AM on March 14, 2004

Just to point to the phrase "You love life, we love death". I've heard it before coming from various Islamic radicals. "Loving death" or martydom is pretty common among the terrorist groups. I tried to find a source for quotes, but couldn't find any good primary links. Too few old newspapers articles on google. Lots of references to Hamas saying it, among others, though.

I think its basically trying to say, "you are soft and want your worldly ease, while we love God above all and will fight, become martyrs, and go to heaven for what we think it's right." It's a phrase intending to show how determined they are for their cause. I don't think there's a real need for make up bad words or deeds for Al Queda. They provide enough material on their own.
posted by superchris at 10:18 AM on March 14, 2004

You guys are missing out on the original quote. From The Guardian in December, 2001:

On the ground any spinechilling Taliban boast was eagerly recorded: "War is our best hobby. We have no other way but jihad." Or: "The Americans lead lavish lives and they are afraid of death. We are not afraid of death. The Americans love Pepsi Cola. We love death".

Personally, I'll take a Sprite, but the guy's point still stands.
posted by Asparagirl at 10:38 AM on March 14, 2004

One wonders which candidate for president is preferred by Al Qaeda. I think Al Qaeda votes Bush, personally. They want a drunken armed idiot striding across the world killing innocents. It is much better for the propaganda of the movement. We certainly know that the Wahabbists support Bush financially.
posted by Slagman at 11:40 AM on March 14, 2004

If the theory that kablam finds iinteresting is the one I also find interesting. Here is something else of interest:

Some years ago I found myself at a party chatting with a guy who happened to be the head DEA man at the US Embassy in London. He told me that earlier in his career he had been head of intelligence for the LA police department. Our conversation led to his description of the way "the mafia" operates. He said that an individual or small group of criminals makes a plan (a business plan?) and then presents it to the local mafia official who, if he likes the idea, passes it on to higher ups. If they like it, they will provide finance, name their cut and sit back. I wonder if this is the way al qaida works?

Entrepreneurship in spades!
posted by donfactor at 12:12 PM on March 14, 2004

It makes perfectly good sense to me that "Al Qaeda" would elect to use "local talent" for their overseas operations. It's easier to move money across borders than people.

The idea of "Al Queda" sponsored activities in the US isn't impossible either. It isn't hard to imagine some ZOG-hating milita types taking money from "the ragheads" to fund some plot against the "International Jewish conspiracy."
posted by SPrintF at 1:01 PM on March 14, 2004

One wonders which candidate for president is preferred by Al Qaeda

I heard Osama is a Bush supporter, but Al-Zawahiri's for Kerry. Mostly comes down to the outsourcing issue.
posted by superchris at 1:25 PM on March 14, 2004

Of course Osama is a Bush supporter. Bush laid a private plane on for the rest of the family after 911. They may be implacable enemies, but Osama knows the value of a good travel agent :)
posted by kaemaril at 1:59 PM on March 14, 2004

If I was ETA and wanted to change the goverment to a more socialist, less confrontational party, I'd do the bombing and make it look like Al-Queda did it.

If that's the case, it seems to be working.

On the other hand, if I was Al-Queda and wanted to avenge an attack on a regime I had nothing to do with, then I guess I would claim responsibility as quickly as possible.

But I'm neither Al-Queda nor ETA, so who cares?
posted by spazzm at 3:01 PM on March 14, 2004

I'm not Spanish either. This is their business. If you have idiots running your country, you can't really worry too much about what the neighbors think. You can sort that out later.
posted by Slagman at 4:10 PM on March 14, 2004

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