Sunday, March 14, 2004
Al Qaeda has won this round. The Spanish, in the wake of the Atocha station bombings, have voted out the Popular Party and have voted in the antiwar Socialists, who have signaled in advance that they will align Spain with the French.
It is hard to avoid the conclusion of Freeper "Dog" in a post on that board today:
AQ won this round....no way to spin it.
Spain got whacked ......and tucked tail and ran.
There were plenty of internal reasons within Spain for the defeat of the conservative Popular Party. For instance, there is a deep divide between Madrid and outlying provinces such as Catalonia, Aragon, and the Basque Country concerning the distribution of resources. Further, Prime Minister Aznar carried Spain into our Iraq coalition against the will of most of the Spanish population (it should be pointed out that Spain did not take an active combat role during the initial invasion-that was mainly an Anglo-Saxon show). Finally, the natural desire to turn out a long-standing government (the Popular Party had been in power eight years) made itself felt today.
However, Al Qaeda and other radical groups in the Middle East will see this as a vindication of their strategy of intimidation and terror. Indeed, there will be a spike in violence against American troops in Iraq, I suspect. Others, especially in Europe, will see the fall of the Aznar government as a signal that it is not politically wise to align yourself with the Americans.
Today's leader in the Daily Telegraph is especially dead-on. Money quote:
The idea abounds that if the West somehow withdrew from Iraq or transferred more wealth to the mases of the Maghreb that all of this would stop. De-ideologised, post-modern man is particularly bad at grasping the ideological nature of its foes. The fact that many Islamists believe in reversing the reconquista of the Iberian peninsula appears to have made little difference to millions of Spaniards. The desire not to take our enemies at face value, in word and deed, is the hallmark of much of contemporary Europe.
The day may come when America may stand alone in this war, like Churchill's Britain before it.
"Iraq: Where we stand on D+365"
...will be posted on the anniversary of that campaign's commencement. I know, I promised you all a "where we stand" post, and I mean to post it. The events of the past week have precluded that effort, however.