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Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The terrorists were going to win either way
The execrable David Brooks in the NY Times, many cartoonists, like this particularly obnoxious and racist one, and plenty of other wingnuts are claiming that the victory of the Socialist Party in Spain is a victory for the terrorists.

To which I have many replies, first and foremost of which is: So what? By siding with Bush and Blair in the unnecessary, unprovoked and brutal war against Iraq, Aznar was himself a terrorist. So voting against him, even if it did please al Qaeda, was a better choice than voting for him.

And to follow the wingnut argument to its logical conclusion: Suppose that we knew with absolute certainty, before the election, that al Qaeda had blown up the trains for the express purpose of getting Aznar out of office. Is that supposed to mean that every Spaniard was then supposed to vote for Aznar, no matter what they thought of him? In other words, the bombings were Osama's ENDORSEMENT of Aznar? Millions in Spain opposed the war in Iraq in part because of the potential blowback. When the blowback went from potential to real, is it any surprise that they would reject the warmongering leader who helped to make it real?

I'll go back to my original argument, which I'll confess is highly un-American in the George Bush/John Kerry definition of American. That argument is, so what if the terrorists won? Appeasement, that dirty word, clearly didn't work with Hitler or with George W. Bush, but I think the evidence may point the other way when it comes to terrorism. Hitler and Bush attack because they are insane with power, and the more you give them the more they want, which is why appeasement doesn't work with them. Terrorists attack because they are angry. Make them happy and frequently they stop attacking (see Algerian terrorism against France in the '60's, IRA terrorism against England, and so on--see Pat Buchanan's article What Price the American Empire? for more on this).

And if you define your policy as being "whatever the terrorists don't want," aren't you in effect giving them complete control of your policy? I'm sure that al Qaeda, which considers a bare ankle to be a wardrobe malfunction punishable by death, was in full agreement with Michael Powell and the other wingnuts who were shocked by the Super Bowl halftime show. So shouldn't Bush, Powell and the others be promoting full frontal nudity on all TV because it's not what the terrorists want? It's absurd to let your policy be simply opposing what other people, no matter how horrible, want.

In Spain, I think the issue was fairly clear. Not getting involved in Iraq was clearly the preference of the majority of the country, but Aznar went ahead anyway. This certainly showed the people that he was not responsive to their wishes, which should be a good enough reason to vote him out. If the bombings swayed more people away from him rather than toward him, it just shows that the Spanish are smarter than Americans.