Terror, Trust and Bombs

So the terror group ETA of the Basque region in Spain bombed Madrid Barajas Airport, and then tells Spain that the cease-fire is still in effect. Two people were killed.

"Oh, you're not upset at that little bomb, are you?" ETA has, in effect, said to the Spanish government. The ETA has expressed its frustration with the government "ceaselessly putting obstacles in the way of the democratic process.'' See Bloomberg.com for full article.

How about the obstacle of having your negotiating partner blowing up airports? Killing people? What was that? A punctuation mark on a particularly emphatic statement?

What's interesting about ETA's position regarding this bombing is the insight it gives into the thought process of a terror group. The ETA doesn't even consider the bombing a violation of the cease-fire. (Note to ETA: bomb = fire.) It views the bombing as a method of communication. In creating an inherently dangerous situation, it does not accept the blame for the consequences. In their minds, the bomb was an acceptable and managed risk because they warned the airport ahead of time. Perhaps the ETA risk analysis is more akin to our risk analysis before crossing a busy street.

The ETA phrasing implies that the bomb was a statement. That, in turn, implies they haven't yet learned to use actual statements to express themselves. So they turn to bombs.

As a friend used to say, if the only tool you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

In the fallout to ETA's bombing, they will find out there is something more powerful than a bomb: credibility.


Aleksu said...

Econo-girl, any self righteous toughts about the thousands of Basques murdered during the five centuries old occupation and colonization of the Basque Country?

Any words about how the Spanish politicians did absolutely nothing for the Peace Process?

Econo-Girl said...

I know that the Basque people were among the first in Europe and that their unique language is descended from the first languages spoken there.

Thousands of deaths is a terrible thing anywhere, like in NYC in 2001. And that happened in one day, not over five centuries.

Use words. That's what politicians do, and that's what the ETA will become if they succeed in getting their independence.

Words alone can motivate. So can peaceful demonstrations. These are other tools than bombs.

What was so striking about the airport attack was that the ETA didn't even consider it a violation of the cease-fire.

Perhaps you are thinking that the peace process was being stymied by the Spanish government, and honestly, it probably was. But then who fell into the trap? Was it the Spanish government? No. It was the ETA. Now the ETA has lost credibility and has given the Spanish government the excuse to use military tactics against the Basque region.

The use of a bomb by the ETA was a strategic and military mistake. They have lost world credibility and given the Spanish government an excuse for more stringent measures.

Remember, Ghandi also succeeded.