a) the fault of the incomptetent and disorganised Russian security forces (cue SAS man in studio to say how much better we'd have done it)
b) anyway, such attacks are inevitable because of what the Russians are doing in Chechnya (© one Lord Judd, who seems to be all over Radios 4 and 5)
c) anyway, Putin, Bush and Sharon are the real terrorists. As Isabel Hilton so rightly points out in the Guardian "As the drama of Beslan was entering its final hours, George Bush was bidding for re-election on the promise of security to the American people, a security premised on the willingness to use overwhelming military force. It was the same promise that Putin gave to the Russians and Ariel Sharon to the people of Israel. All three have used violence freely in pursuit of electoral reward: Sharon's provocative visit to the Temple of the Mount that triggered the second intifada, Putin's reckless adventurism in re-launching the Chechen war in 1999, and the Bush invasion of Iraq."
I'm particularly impressed with her insight into the moral equivalence between a peaceful visit by a Jewish head of state to a Jewish religious site and the deliberate slaughter of hundreds of innocent children, teachers and parents.
UPDATE - Following Isabel Hilton's description of a visit to the Temple mount as 'using violence freely', Joan Smith in the Indie takes things one step beyond.
President Vladimir Putin's contribution to the war against terror, prosecuted with wanton violence in Chechnya, has created carnage: in less than two weeks, Chechen terrorists have blown two passenger planes from the sky, bombed a metro station in Moscow and murdered hundreds of men, women and children at a school in southern Russia.
Leaving aside the valid criticisms that can be made of Russian policy in Chechnya (after Friday's events it's obviously much too soft), such a sentence turns logic on it's head. All the acts of which Ms Smith writes were carried out by Putin's enemies. In Ms Smith's world the perpetrators aren't responsible - Putin made them do it. If only she'd been around in 1940.
Prime Minister Churchill's contribution to the war against Hitler, prosecuted with wanton violence in Norway, has created carnage: in less than six weeks, German forces have overrun France, burned thousands of soldiers at St Nazaire and forced Jewish men, women and children into the Lodz ghetto.
8 hours ago