"PARIS, March 22 -- The Basque separatist group ETA announced a permanent cease-fire Wednesday in its nearly four-decade fight for independence in northern Spain and southwestern France, according to a communiqué the group issued to Basque news media outlets.
The separatist organization said the cease-fire would begin Friday and its objective now will be "to start a new democratic process in the Basque country."
Not all security news is depressing. Too soon to tell if this will hold, but it is a great start. I think in Spain, as with the IRAs move after the Britain bus bombing, the presence of nasty international terrorism likely destroyed what support and tolerance there was for localized separatist terrorism. Terrorism is primarily a problem suffered by democracies, but it does not seem to be an inevitable problem.
For that reason, I don't buy the "Long War" rhetoric. Terrorism is an evil tactic, the distinction between terrorists and freedom fighters is fatuous and I'm annoyed to see people using it in reviewing for V for Vendetta. But while America is at war in Iraq and Afghanistan and with Al Qaeda, this is not a going to be a generational struggle. U.S. policy, even if we lose in Iraq, is no longer going to allow safe havens and from the estimates I've seen by Al Qaeda will probably be significantly degraded by 2010 even at the present pace of successes. Terrorism won't go away then, but fascism didn't go away after WWII. Fixing the Middle East is a generational concern, but crippling organizations of international terrorism can be accomplished on a shorter timeframe. Some day in the future there may be a new Al Qaeda, but between the time we've made Al Qaeda inoperative and that new organizations arrives we aren't at war except in the "War on Drugs" sense. And thankfully, the fight against terrorism is a much more economically viable proposition.