The Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard has a great, common sense response to a father’s question about why his son was killed in the al Qaeda Bali attack.
Some highlights:

You asked me: “Why did [my] son die?” I don’t have a perfect answer to that but I will do my best.
He died at the hands of a murderous group of Islamic fanatics who despise the liberal democratic, open life of Western nations, such as Australia. He died because there are people in the world who believe that indiscriminate violent murder is a justifiable political instrument.

I agree fully with you that Australia did the right thing with its intervention on behalf of East Timor. You will be aware that Osama bin Laden has twice identified that very act of Australia’s as a reason for hostility to our country from his terror network. That surely does not mean that we were wrong to intervene in East Timor.

You are right in saying that boys of your son’s age are always the ones to go to war. It has sadly ever been thus. That is why peaceful resolution of differences should always be sought.
Ignoring terrorism, however, will not make it disappear.
History is strewn with examples of countries not taking a stand on something in the hope that the problem would go away, only to find that, at an infinitely greater cost, that challenge must ultimately be confronted.

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