Following on from Chuck's post below, the warning to Italy and Denmark is interesting, if indeed the statement is authentic: Evidently, even if societies opposed the Iraq war, as did those in Spain and the U.K., not to mention Italy, it's pretty irrelevant because their governments happened to support it.
That message is worth remembering by those who argue that American and British actions in Afghanistan and Iraq have provoked a "clash of civilizations." In the case of Madrid and now London, no such distinction was made by the attackers. One expects no better from them, but it will be interesting to watch what the public reaction among the wars' critics will be. Who will be blamed for this latest punishment of societies objectively supporting the goal the terrorists' attacks allegedly promote–namely an end to the Western military presence in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Isn't this proof enough that the only agenda of the perpetrators was to kill many people–as it was on 9/11–and that those trying to read some sense into the murders are making a mistake? By the way, notice how the Al-Qaeda statement–again if it is authentic–failed to mention Palestine. No worries, there will be plenty of self-styled interpreters who will throw that into their own assessments of who was to blame, and why.
Addendum: No sooner had I posted the above than I opened Juan Cole's Web site. Here's what he wrote:
Scheuer believes that al-Qaeda is an insurgent ideology focused on destroying the United States and its allies, because its members believe that the US is trying to destroy them. Al-Qaeda members see the Israeli occupation and oppression of the Palestinians, backed by the US; US support for military regimes like those of Pakistan and Egypt; and US military occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq as evidence of a US onslaught on Islam and Muslims aimed at reducing them to neo-colonial slavery. That is, specific Western policies are the focus of al-Qaeda response, not a generalized "hatred" of "values." […]
All of this seemed sensible to me, and more sensible than most other analysts I heard.
What did I tell you?