Now we'll see if Zapatero earns his obedience school diploma.
Much as I'd like to see him say "In that case, we'll leave our troops in Iraq," it isn't going to happen. The best thing he can realistically do is point out that he's been talking about pulling out of Iraq during the whole election and the fact that the terrorists got what they want is an unfortunate accident, rather than a direct effect of the bombing.
If he's as dumb as I think, Zapatero will use this letter as yet another excuse to rant about Bush and Blair. If he's even dumber than I think, he'll use it to pat himself on the back for "making Spain safer" or some such, thus strengthening the notion that countries can, and should, accomodate themselves to terror.
Update: The authorities are skeptical of the letter. Maybe Zapatero will just ignore it, which would at least not make things worse.
As disappointed as I am about the results of the Spanish election, I think we should cut the Spanish Electorate some slack. A large minority voted for the PP and that the vast majority of the people who voted for Zapatero were already planning to vote do so before the attack. In the end a relatively small portion of the electorate -- perhaps enough to sway the election, but still a small percentage -- were affected by the bombing in one way or another. The number that were actually voting for appeasement or out of fear is unknown (and probably unknowable) but likely rather small.
Every voter takes a personal constellation of priorities into the booth with them, and most votes are a compromise and inherently ambiguous. To label the entire Spanish electorate or population as cowards or appeasers is an unfortunate slur.
To call Jose Luis Zapatero a fool and an appeaser is, on the other hand, completely appropriate.
The election result itself was ambiguous, and had Zapatero just focused on domestic policies until the wounds from the 3-11 attacks weren't so raw, he could have softened the connection between the bombings and changes to Spanish policy. Even if he later chose to remove the troops in Iraq the link to the bombings would have been tenuous enough that some doubt would always have remained.
Instead, Zapatero wasted no time resolving any ambiguity with his short-sighted and disastrous grandstanding. By immediately promising to remove troops from Iraq and very publicly spewing bile at Bush, Blair and Aznar, Zapatero made it crystal clear that he would dance to the terrorists tune and that his victory in the election was a triumph for the murderers who carried out the attacks and for terrorism in general.
The people of Spain did not choose appeasement, but Jose Luis Zapatero did.
Innocent victims around the world will be paying the price for his choice for years to come.
Update:This is what I mean. Don't blame all Spaniards for the folly of a few.
It seems to me that the underreported rest of Kerry's "foreign leaders" quote is actually more damning (though less entertaining) than the part that's getting all the play. The way I read this, John Kerry is openly and actively encouraging foreigners (worse yet, foreign "leaders") to launder donations to the Kerry campaign through expat intermediaries.
From the Opinion Journal:
Kerry: "I've been hearing it, I'll tell ya. The news, the coverage in other countries, the news in other places. I've met more leaders who can't go out and say it all publicly, but boy they look at you and say, you gotta win this, you gotta beat this guy, we need a new policy, things like that. So there is enormous energy out there. Tell them, wherever they can find an American abroad, they can contribute," a reference to donations, prompting laughter from the crowd.
Having lived in Europe for years I have no doubt that there are plenty of expats who would happily "pass along" donations from locals who want to unseat Bush, but that doesn't make it legal or right.
:: Erik | 3/16/2004 02:57:00 PM | | ::
"Support me, I'm Gullible" Glenn's suggested slogan for John Kerry ties in nicely with something I've been thinking for the past couple of days.
It's fun to speculate about Kerry's imaginary friend the "World Leader," but to me it's at least as bad if his claims are actually true.
What exactly does Kerry think that world leaders are telling President Bush in their "private conversations"? That they hate him and hope he loses?! I'm sure that any world leader that talks to either of the candidates is schmoozing for all he's worth, just to keep the bases covered (except maybe Zapatero, who seems to be channeling Chavez and who wasn't a leader yet when Kerry made his claim).
Is Senator Kerry naive enough to genuinely accept statements like that at face value, without considering the possibility that he's being schmoozed? Or is he politician enough to know better and just assuming that the American people are dumb enough to blindly accept that sort of assertion?
If he's coming to a "town hall" near you, could you do me a favor and ask him for me? It doesn't look like he'll be in my neck of the woods (greater Seattle) any time soon, or I'd ask him myself.
Slowly coming back to life... Sorry for the unannounced long hiatus. I had a near-job death experience in June, followed by an intense job search that ended in a great new position that's also a lot more demanding (read: time consuming) than the previous one was. Add a new baby to the mix (she's adorable!), and more than six months of "no time to post" passed in the blink of an eye...
I've been getting that itch again, though, and time is loosening up enough that I should be able to sneak in a few hours here and there.
:: Erik | 3/16/2004 11:57:00 AM | | ::