From an editorial at the Guardian after the Madrid bombing:
Life stopped in the winter drizzle of Madrid yesterday. Offices, shops and cafes emptied, as funeral candles were lit in moving scenes of solidarity…If cities across Europe were waking up to the fact that they were as much in the crosshairs of an attack on this scale, as New York or Washington were, the Israeli mass circulation Yedioth Ahronoth could not restrain itself: “Welcome to the real world”, it declared unsubtlely.
But which real world? The world in which neighbourhoods are razed, water supplies cut off, children shot, in thinly disguised acts of collective retribution? …
We need to get beyond the them and us, the good guys and the bad guys, and seek a genuinely collective response.
Andrew Sullivan responds:
Notice how the Guardian instinctively, viscerally, blames the victim, Israel, for the terrorism that has plagued it for so long. For in the Guardian’s view, the democracies are always wrong; and the terrorists always have a point. Alas, the measures the Guardian refers to are a few of the most extreme tactics that the Israeli government has deployed in an attempt to stop the constant stream of atrocities wrought upon the only democracy in the Middle East. They are not acts of indiscriminate “collective retribution”–nor, as the Guardian implies, deliberate attempts to kill children–but bids to stem the tide of murder flooding into Israel’s streets and mass transportation systems.
In Europe, there are no bad guys, even those who deliberately murdered almost 200 innocents and threaten to murder countless more. Ask yourself: If the Guardian cannot call these people “bad guys,” then who qualifies? And if the leaders of democratic societies cannot qualify in this context as “good guys,” then who qualifies? What we have here is complete moral nihilism in the face of unspeakable violence.
Glenn Reynolds: “It’s not complete moral nihilism, alas. It’s not as if they show the same unwillingness to pass judgment where American actions are concerned.”
Or Israeli actions, of course.