Feb. 21, there was a terrorist attack in Uganda. The Lord's Resistance Army, a religious fundamentalist terrorist group, invaded the village of Lira, where it shot, stabbed and burned to death almost 200 people. This story only lasted a few days in the news.??Minimal news coverage was given to the following demonstrations asking for help from the international community.
March 11, there was a terrorist attack in Spain.??Al Qaeda, a religious fundamentalist terrorist group, detonated 10 bombs on four separate trains going to Madrid, killing 202 people.??Extensive coverage is still being given to the search for the killers, the subsequent demonstrations and individual stories of those affected by the attacks.
Why were two very similar attacks, that happened within a month of each other, given such unequal attention'What was so different about them?
After the attacks in Spain, the U.S. government immediately expressed its grief and offered support and expertise to help apprehend the killers. President Bush said, \The United States of America sends our prayers and sympathies to the Spanish people.""??
Why did the Ugandan people not receive the same support'The White House did not even issue a statement acknowledging that the attacks happened.
Perhaps because the LRA is not a direct threat to those living in the United States, while al Qaeda is.?? That is to say that because the LRA does not target U.S. citizens, its actions will be overlooked. This, however, would suggest that we are not fighting to end terrorism, but just those terrorist groups that are a direct threat to the United States.?? So sympathies were not extended to the people of Uganda because there is very little chance of the LRA attacking the United States.
This would mean that United States is claiming to be fighting to fight the War on Terror for the noble reason of spreading freedom, when it is really being fought in defense of U.S. interests.
Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser, seems to agree with this reasoning. In her January/February 2000 Foreign Affairs article, she expresses her belief that self-interests should control U.S. foreign policy.
""There is nothing wrong with doing something that benefits all humanity, but that is, in a sense, a second-order effect.""
What is the problem of having foreign policy based completely on self-interest? The problem is that attacks in Spain receive the attention and support that they need and deserve while terrorism in Uganda is allowed to continue.
This double standard must end in order for the War on Terror to successfully and effectively fight the threat of terrorism in the world.
Michael Shanley is a senior majoring in English and Spanish.