March 13, 2004

Lileks on Madrid

The 48 hours without blogging is because this is the annual racquetball tournament weekend. That means six matches and 16 games in a 30 hour period, leaving my 51 year old body feeling like I ran full speed into a wall half a dozen times. Oh wait... I did. As much as I hurt, I feel blessed to be able to compete like that. A couple days ago, a friend, also 51, died of a heart attack while recuperating from injuries suffered in a serious car crash. Carpe diem.

Catching up tonight on news and comment, mostly about the Madrid bombings of course, led me to Lileks' Bleat from Friday. It's all good, but here's one excerpt on how the Spanish leadership called for street demonstrations, while the post-9/11 reaction in America was more subdued..

after 9/11 the media – the American overclass – was all about pain and sympathy and vigils and candles; vengeance and retribution were not invited. Stand up and strike back was not a theme of those awful hours after 9/11. Partly because we didn't know who to hit. Partly because we realized eventually that we would be striking back, hard, soon. The national character best expressed itself by a brief period of introspective mourning, not brutish demands to level half the planet. Bush did not call for massive demonstrations to approve his desire to defeat terrorism. In American terms, that would have been unseemly. Grief first. Then war.

Spain doesn’t have the luxury of 200 years of Constitutional rule. Young adults sitting around the dinner table look at parents who grew up under Franco; they might value freedom more than we do. We cannot possibly imagine losing it. They have heard stories of how quickly it can be lost.

Then there's his already much-excerpted line about so called "sophistication":

I’m somewhat annoyed by the assertion that this act was “sophisticated,” and hence the work of those brilliant stratgerists of Al Qaeda. My definition of sophistication is somewhat different: it’s an unmanned drone flying over Pakistan, piloted by a guy in Florida, dropping a laser-guided bomb into the passenger cab of a truck full of Taliban. That’s sophistication. Synchronizing watches on detenators is not exactly all that tough.

There's lots more at Roger Simon's place, with plenty of reader comments.

Posted by dan at March 13, 2004 11:40 PM