Spain: The New France

I was reading Jim Henley last night when I came across this

The Socialists have apparently won the Spanish elections. So! How many of those who were falling all over themselves with solidarity and compassion yesterday will suddenly discover, and unburden themselves on, deep weaknesses in the national character of our Spanish brethren? I haven't felt savage enough to start looking yet. Maybe it's already begun.

—and I immediately thought “Instapundit!” Sure enough, District Attorney Reyonolds was already building the prosecution’s case, replete with all the obligatory amicus briefs from Jeff Jarvis, Andrew Sullivan, Mark Steyn, Tacitus, etc. And from National Review, here’s Denis Boyles and Canadian David Frum. The most hysterical–and strangely exultant– comment I’ve come across so far is this passage from the American Spectator:

[W]e had better visit Europe soon, and imprint on our minds and eyes and hearts the images of those gorgeous cathedrals and museums and public works of art, so vulnerable in a civilization that will not defend itself. The whole fabulous mosaic of Western civilization has moved a step closer to the fate of the Bamiyan Buddhas. These 1500-year-old giant statues, carved into a mountain in Afghanistan, were dynamited by the Taliban -- in March, 2001.

Continue reading “Spain: The New France”

Canadians: Bush Lied

Canadians overwhelmingly believe US President George W. Bush lied to justify the Iraq war and their own government was wise to stay out of the conflict, according to a new poll published Monday.

The poll, conducted by Ipsos-Reid for the newspaper the Globe and Mail and Canadian Television (CTV),showed that 67 percent of adult Canadians agreed with the statement that Bush “knowingly lied to the world to justify his war with Iraq” a year ago.

Moreover, 74 percent of the poll respondents said the Canadian government made the right decision by not joining the US-led coalition that invaded Iraq.

The poll suggests that most Canadians are pessimistic about the chances of democracy ever taking root in the Middle East.

The poll conducted last week shows a sharp increase in the percentage of Canadians who think the United States made a mistake in going to war. Sixty three percent now say the United States blundered, compared with 47 percent who felt that way when polled last December.

People in countries that stayed out of Bush’s illegal, immoral invasion feel far more secure than those who live in , as Billmon put it, the Coalition of the Progressively Less Willing.

The Fly Paper Theory?

What ever happened to the fly-paper theory of invading Iraq? I was wondering about that before the Madrid bombing, but it seems an even more pertinent question now.

“The surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans,” Bush said. “We are fighting that enemy in Iraq and Afghanistan today so that we do not meet him again on our own streets, in our own cities.”

“This is what I would call a terrorist magnet where America, being present here in Iraq, creates a target of opportunity if you will,” General Sanchez told CNN.

“But this is exactly where we want to fight them; we want to fight them here, we prepared for them,” Lt. Gen. Sanchez said. “And this will prevent the American people from having to go through other attacks back in the United States.”

Mr. Bremer avoided answering whether the Bush administration set Iraq as a deliberate trap to capture terrorists, although he previously has stated that it is “better to fight it here than to fight it somewhere else, like the United States.”

Would any WarBots like to explain why the “terrorist magnet” in Iraq failed in the case of the Madrid bombings? The Spanish government apparently relied on your assurances that invading and occupying Iraq would assure them that they wouldn’t have to “fight the terrorists” at home. So, is that working, or what? Is Iraq the “main front in the War on Terror” still? If “fighting terrorists in Iraq” was such a brilliant idea, why are so many warfloggers writing things like this:

When the next bomb goes off–perhaps this time in Poland–the families of the dead should blame the people in Spain who voted to run from terrorists and cower before them instead of standing strong against them.
Let there be no mistake or misunderstanding about this – the vote in Spain absolutely guarantees there will be a major attack, here, in the States, prior to the November election.

Not only will Islamic fundamentalists run wild all over Europe killing and creating mayhem, they will activate groups here and their attacks will be specifically carried out to alter the outcome of the election. They want George W. Bush out of office. He is their biggest threat. Perhaps, he is their only threat.

The pattern is now set in stone. The machine is in motion and it is unlikely anything can stop it. There will be a massive attack here, somewhere, with many casualties and the opposition will blame President Bush for the attack. Count on it.

The surest way to avoid attacks on our own people is to engage the enemy where he lives and plans…….” Spain?

Just asking. I really don’t expect the neocons and hawks in the US government to break their perfect record of stonewalling every question and never admitting they were wrong about anything.

Spanish Election Tallies

Alan at SoutherlyBuster has added up the gains and losses by each party:

  1. PSOE +39
  2. PP -35
  3. CiU (Catalan centre-right) 10 -5
  4. ERC (Catalan leftists) 8 +7
  5. EAJ-PNV (Basque moderates) 7 deputies, -0
  6. IU (left-socialist) 5 deputies -4
  7. CC (Canarian centrists, would have entered a coalition with the PP) 3 -1
  8. BNG (Galician socialists) 2 deputies -1
  9. CHA (Aragonese regionalists) 1 deputy, -0
  10. EA (Basque separatists) 1 deputy -0
  11. Na-Bai, 1 deputy -0

All parties, except ERC, EAJ-PNV and the single-member groups, have lost deputies to the PSOE. This is a very broad victory.

That is confirmed when you look at the regions. The PSOE won a majority of deputies in 3 regions, half the deputies in another 7, and minorities in 8. The 8 regions where the PSOE has a minority include the tiny exclaves of Melilla and Ceuta with only 1 seat each.

See this Hesiod post for a survey of the WarBlogger reactions.

Losing what, exactly?

As I mentioned Thursday, the extradition of two Croatian generals to the Hague Inquisition has occasioned comments in the media about how Serbia now needs to arrest and extradite its own “indictees” in order to remain in the Empire’s good graces. In the words of Associated Press, “The country risks losing badly needed financial support from the United States and the European Union if it fails to bring suspects to justice.”
The sort of “justice” the Inquisition metes out aside, what exactly does Serbia stand to lose? Continue reading “Losing what, exactly?”

Revolution on Internet Time

Stirling Newberry has a great post analysing the effect of the internet and cellphone on the Spanish election today.

What happened was that evidence came to light that the PP had been told on Thursday, just after the bombings, that Morrrocan extremists, linked to Al Qaeda had claimed responsiblity. A television station was told that a video tape could be found in a public trash bin. The news exploded across Spain – not just through normal channels – but on through the informal channels of email. Protesters sprung up everywhere – the same cat call lines used against PP politicians in different cities.

The internet allowed the public to “break the news” – cut through the attempts to fog the issue, and once it was clear that they had been lied to, strike back. Within moments of the bombing – black ribbons appeared everywhere on internet sites – and on doors, lapels. They were on web cams and even in chat rooms. There was, instantly, a communalization of grief.

But this same electric ability of community to form did not, as some thought, lead to a rallying behind the leadership – but quite the contrary, as the BBC Reports:

At the peace marches and at “spontaneous” protests outside PP headquarters in Madrid on Saturday, thousands demanded “Who was it? Tell us the truth” and held up banners warning “Don’t play with the dead”.

And notes that the demonstrations, while not called by any organization, are not exactly “spontaneous” either. The technological revolution of dissemination of information, married to the “flash mob” cellphone revolution has wrought an opposition forming, even though the major political opposition party – the PSOE – has not lead or attacked the government directly.

“Quienes Fueron?” Asked one demonstrator’s sign. Internet chatter centered around a round up of supsects – and then yesterday Europa Press broke the news that one of the Morrocans arrested was linked to the 911 plot and bin Laden. Retuers quoted an anti-terrorism expert saying that Al Qaeda struck because of the participation in the “War on Terrorism”. Spain’s anger exploded.

The government had bet that it could simply delay a few days, collect the mandate, and then, when it was too late, admit the truth. Or that if the truth would leak out, that the response would take to long to organize.

This is not what happened. Instead, the personal communication revolution brought on by the internet and ubiquitous cellphones – made it so that the public was acting as fast as the government. The government found itself under constant pressure, with demonstrators seemingly as well informed as the ministers they heckled. An aggressive press pushed the government, the government, while it tried to fleisch its party line, released information in a timely fashion – the bureaucracy undercutting the political appointees’ attempts to spin the story.

Read the rest…..

This is similar to the phenomenom that happened February 15, 2003 when millions worldwide marched against the Iraq invasion. The internet throws an unpredictable new ingredient into the political stew, and at least for the moment, the politicians don’t know how to deal with it.