It has been exactly one year since the bombing in Madrid, and exactly 3.5 years since the 9/11 attacks. The people of Spain today are marking the tragedy with candlelight vigils, the inauguration of a cyprus tree garden, and tough memories being dredged up again. These sort of events are very familiar for us, as we marked the 9/11 anniversaries in a similar fashion. Sadly, we have forgotten the pain of those attacks all too soon, and have become complacent once again towards such attacks. People feel that additional security takes away from their rights (though it may save their lives). Someone who has had a history with dealing with organizations giving money to terrorist groups are always given the benefit of the doubt, rather than being seriously questioned about such participation. Worst of all, there are a number of people pressuring our govenrment to spend less money on the national defense. Taking risks like these may only open us up for another attack. So far, terrorists have been concentrating their efforts in Iraq, as our military would prefer it (better there with our professional troops then here). But this may not always be the case, and if we are not prepared, another large strike could occur here.
Sadly, right after the attack a year ago, Spain elected a socialist government to power. This was, no doubt, the intention of al Qaeda. They hit right three days before the election, while there was a more conservative power in office, one that was in full support of the United States in their military actions. The socialist change also resulted in the removal of all Spanish troops from Iraq. Fortunately, the USA deiverged here, with the nation quickly getting behind President Bush, which allowed us to do what we needed to do to dissolve much of the Taliban and al Qaeda. But that work is not over; I would just hope that such a sobering anniversary may remind many in Spain that we must stand up to the terrorists and tell them that we will not accept them pushing us around.