March 15, 2004

Terror Wins in Spain

The people of Spain have spoken, and it appears as if they have chosen to punish those fighting the War on Terror instead of those committing terrorist acts. The consensus in the blogosphere seems to be that the forces of fear and appeasement are up 1-0 over those of preemption and resolve. A sampling of what is being said today:

Andrew Sullivan:

" yesterday's election victory for the socialists, al Qaeda got even more than it could have dreamed of. It has removed a government intent on fighting terrorism and installed another intent on appeasing it. For good measure, they murdered a couple of hundred infidels. But the truly scary thought is the signal that this will send to other European governments. Britain is obviously next. The appeasement temptation has never been greater; and it looks more likely now that Europe - as so very often in the past - will take the path of least resistance - with far greater bloodshed as a result. I'd also say that it increases the likelihood of a major bloodbath in this country before the November elections. If it worked in Spain, al Qaeda might surmise, why not try it in the U.S.?"

Denis Boyles at NRO:

"The thing that made the difference to Spanish voters was the growing apprehension that al Qaeda was responsible for the attacks. In the first few hours after the atrocity, homegrown ETA terrorists were blamed by the government for the attacks...BBC reports from Madrid cast the election as a referendum not just on the war, but on whether or not Spanish voters were willing to face the consequences of joining the war on terrorism.

They were not. Spanish voters went to the polls to apologize for their government's actions. There was no other issue on the ballot. The results bode ill for America's antiterrorism campaign."

David Frum:

"Terrorism has won a mighty victory in Spain. The culprits who detonated those bombs of murder on 3/11 intended to use murder to alter the course of Spanish democracy – and they have succeeded.

In the months since the attacks on the World Trade Center, we have all heard – and ourselves often repeated – much brave talk about how terror cannot prevail, how justice must inevitably win through, etc. etc. etc. The news from Spain suggests how very wrong those hopes were.

People are not always strong. Sometimes they indulge false hopes that by lying low, truckling, appeasing, they can avoid danger and strife. Sometimes they convince themselves that if only they give the Cyclops what he wants, they will be eaten last. And this is what seems to have happened in Spain."

Glenn Reynolds

I'm deeply disappointed with the Spanish decision, and so are a lot of other folks, obviously. But it's worth noting that democracies make bad decisions sometimes -- just like every other form of government -- and that this decision, though deeply wrong in my estimation, is only one decision among many, by many nations, and that it's subject to revision later. (And hey, I could be wrong about its negative impact. I certainly hope that I am.) So don't plunge into despair. It's disappointing, and it's certainly not a good thing, but it's not the end. And as events develop, the Socialists may very well find themselves adopting a less conciliatory approach than they currently anticipate."

Belmont Club

"The victory of the Socialist a victory for the forces of freedom everywhere....It establishes the iron linkage between Eurosocialism and militant Islam...

...The events in Spain show it is no longer possible to embrace both Eurosocialism and national independence; Eurosocialism and national defense; Eurosocialism and survival. The two have become incompatible states. You can have one but not the other....

...The task before the United States and its allies is to redouble its efforts in the War on Terror. It will soon become apparent who the Islamists prefer to blackmail, who the Islamists prefer to intimidate; which countries Islamism will attempt to dominate. And which live free. The more pointed the contrast the better"

Steven Den Beste:

"The people of Spain marched in the streets on Friday.

Then they crawled on their knees into their voting booths on Sunday."

Posted by dan at March 15, 2004 10:18 AM