Monday, March 15, 2004

Spanish election a mixed victory in the war on terror

Just wanted to give my take on recent elections in Spain where the Pro-Iraq war conservatives lost after being accused of warping intelligence about a horrific bombing for political ends. Specifically, former Prime Minister José María Aznar’s party stood accused of trying to suppress evidence which indicated that Al-Qaeda was responsible for the bombing, instead hoping to pin it on Basque separatists more identified with his opposition.

What is interesting is that though is what it says about the Spanish people’s opinions. Though the Spanish opposed going into Iraq in the first place (they accurately perceived that there was little to gain and much to lose) once we had gone and screwed the place up the Spanish understood that we had to clean up our own mess. We know this because the conservative Popular party (great name) was in the lead until they tried to mislead the public. After the cover up and poorly handled political spin job, the Spanish decided that just about anyone is more fit to lead than those who are going to use terrorism for political gain.

Some conservatives have tried to spin this as a victory for Al-Qaeda. They say that Al-Qeada wanted to the bombs to scare the Spanish into pulling out of Iraq. If you are still stuck thinking of Al-Qaeda as some conventional far off country run by logical people with logical goals, this makes sense. If you see Al-Qeada as a terrorist organization with the loopy goal of starting a war between the Islamic world and the West (like some other terrorist organizations want to start race wars), you understand that what they are really rooting for is the election of the most thoughtless, reactionary, unserious, political opportunists. They’re looking for the kind of people that will ramp up separatist rhetoric and attack countries that have nothing to do with terrorists. If they do so while cutting funding for first responders and port security; Hell, you just hit the jack-pot!

While political opportunism is certainly more loathsome, I hope that Spain’s new government doesn’t pull out of Iraq. If we allow it to descend into anarchy, or whatever Bush can scrap together before the July 1st deadline his campaign mangers set, we can look forward to a greater threat from terrorists than before. We’ve got to do the job right, even if it isn’t politically pleasing or easy.

Update: It looks like the socialist party is already indicating that they could be coerced into keeping their troops there. That was fast.

Update: There's a lot more on this subject circulating on the web. Check it out.

Update: Orlando has a pretty witty rebuttle to the arguments I posed in the comments: In his opinion, I am wrong becuase I don't realize that I am wrong.


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