Terrorists hate our interference, not our way of life

Following the train bombings in Madrid, Labour politicians have been telling us that "terrorists hate democracy and our way of life". However, the evidence I find to support this view relates only to a particularly bad habit of certain Western nations.

Our bad habit manifests itself in laying to waste another sovereign country's essential infrastructure and seizing its key resources, followed by the arrival of banks, businesses, speculators, soft drinks, cigarettes, fast food chains, illegal drugs and bland satellite TV. At its most shameful (US support of the Contras in Nicaragua), the habit works to undermine democratically elected governments on the basis that they refuse to buy into the Western democratic vision of private ownership and profit motive.

Leaders of western democracies won't accept that the hateful cancer which struck in Madrid last week may be the result of their own bad behaviour. In reality, what the terrorists seem to want most of all is for that bad behaviour to change.

Like heavy smokers, leaders of Western democracies seem unable to connect the cancer with the decades of self-indulgence and abuse which brought it on. We urgently need to establish the aspects of our behaviour which make terrorists want to kill us. I question whether it has anything to do with our preference for shopping at Marks and Spencer, working a 40 hour week and voting every four years. Our foreign policy might be a good place to start.

Ends | 16 March 2004

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