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Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Calling a spade a spade

David Brooks:

Three years after Sept. 11, too many people have become experts at averting their eyes. If you look at the editorials and public pronouncements made in response to Beslan, you see that they glide over the perpetrators of this act and search for more conventional, more easily comprehensible targets for their rage. The Boston Globe editorial, which was typical of the American journalistic response, made two quick references to the barbarity of the terrorists, but then quickly veered off with long passages condemning Putin and various Russian policy errors. The Dutch foreign minister, Bernard Bot, speaking on behalf of the European Union, declared: "All countries in the world need to work together to prevent tragedies like this. But we also would like to know from the Russian authorities how this tragedy could have happened." It wasn't a tragedy. It was a carefully planned mass murder operation. And it wasn't Russian authorities who stuffed basketball nets with explosives and shot children in the back as they tried to run away. Whatever horrors the Russians have perpetrated upon the Chechens, whatever their ineptitude in responding to the attack, the essential nature of this act was in the act itself. It was the fact that a team of human beings could go into a school, live with hundreds of children for a few days, look them in the eyes and hear their cries, and then blow them up.
I will repeat: It was not a tragedy. It was not a mistake. It was murder. 9/11, Madrid, Bali, Breslan, and many equal acts in Israel. These were not mistakes. They were not failures of the West to understand. They were not accidents. They were acts of barbarism that must be answered. If you still need convincing go here or here.


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