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[P]
(11-M) A chronicle of the four most intense days in Spain

By malkuth in Op-Ed
Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:30:57 AM EST
Tags: News (all tags)
News

A personal chronicle about the four most intense days many of us in Spain have had in our whole life: from the 11-M killings, through the government disinformation, to the final results which kicked the Popular Party out of the government.


On thursday, we soon knew about what happened in Atocha, El Pozo and Santa Eugenia. At home we were unable to react: it is so much, to think something like that has happened. As time passes tears and horror for what has happened come. We don't understand anything, ETA has put Titadine explosives in several trains in Madrid, the death toll is higher and higher. We watch the images, all that has happened in this black morning. I remember I've been in that station, Atocha, hundreds of times to go to my university, in those familiar trains which I could mentally describe without any effort: and I know there are lots of tragedies everywhere, but the pain is unbearable as I only have to close my eyes to imagine the faces of the people who travel there with me daily,...

I remember I was a bit upset about the motto of the demonstration that was called for the next day: the 'for the constitution' part was a way to try to exclude some separatist democratic parties in Spain when the important thing was to be all together after this. Anyway, a friend tells me, the government could have used it much worse.

As the day passed, and friday dawned, it seemed Al-Qaeda terrorists had claimed the killings in a letter to a british newspaper. Otegui, leader of an illegalized political party near to ETA, says it has not been ETA, but the government discredits every opinion against the ETA theory, even as a van with a cassete with koranic verses is found on thursday afternoon. Something smells really bad, and friday there is the official march in Spain streets.

Soon in friday afternoon, the ABC (right-wing, pro-gov) newspaper and some others tell that the police says the explosives weren't Titadine as the government told us: the explosives composition and detonators have been analyzed, they do not come from ETA. Albeit, the government insists again it has been ETA though they do not discard 'other possibilities'. However, the only proofs for the present tell us it has been islamic terrorism: and we realize that the government has been lying us since the first time the Security Minister told us it was Titadine, which is why we were convinced it was ETA. They've been consciously lying us from the beginning, because they fear an islamic attack will make them lose the Prime Minister and parliament polls on sunday (they went to the Iraq war opposed to 90% of the spanish people who were against)

I go to the anti-terrorist march with a few friends, which is like a strange reality: the march is anti-ETA, and we are surrounded by people shouting things like "Otegui, get in the train". I have a placard which reads "no more lies", we distribute pamphlets, we talk with the people and tell them the Titadine thing, and all the reasons why they've been lied to: that we have to ask questions.

Saturday, it is our "reflection day", in which voters think about the polls and it is forbidden to make any political propaganda. Late in the afternoon, the Security Minister Angel Acebes tells five people - three arab, two hindu - have been arrested and are related to the bombings, but that still ETA is the main investigation line. Acebes is quite nervous, he avoids the questions he is asked on if isn't it logical to discard the ETA theory, as also ETA has denied it officially. In TVE (national public television), they cut the images before the journalists ask any questions. In Navarra, a policeman has killed one person related to ETA jailed support organizations, as he didn't hang a spanish flag with a black ribbon: what I know is, it is the hate that is being spread from the government through all their media since the killings what has provoked this spark which has led to yet another death.

It is too much. A friend calls me about eight o'clock, there are spontaneous marches in all Spain in front of the headquarters of the party in government (PP) to demand the truth; there is no political party behind the demonstrations, they've been started by SMS and Internet forums.

We get to the PP headquarters in Genova Street, Madrid, at about 9 o'clock. While on the bus we talk with people who is outraged on what the government is doing. When we walk up the Paseo del Prado street we hear someone shouting from a car: "Voto util!!!" ("useful vote", which means, voting the main opposing party to the PP). In Genova Street there are about five thousand people. We shout we want the truth, "your wars, our deaths", "liars", "we want to be on public television", "The bombs of Iraq explode in Madrid". The behaviour is civilized: shouting and asking for answers, but without any incidents. Some moments it is too much; nervousness, uncertainty, all the things that have happened these days come to my head; the deaths, the lies, everything is just too much, and there are some moments I think I just can't bear it anymore; but I compensate it with the enormous love to all the people that is around me wanting to know, sharing with them the beauty in moments like when a Samur Ambulance passes through the people to assist someone that has fainted and we let it pass making a clear line for it around which we give them a strong loving applause.

The elections legal organism decides we are illegal. Mariano Rajoy, PP candidate, the same one that has given an interview in the "reflection day" to the "El Mundo" newspaper requesting from people to have a sound victory, appears outraged on the public television, and demands us to leave: tells us we are illegal, we are pressing for the polls. When we are told that, the people react and all shout, "¡si esto es ilegal, lo vuesto que sera!" ("if this is illegal, how do we call what you're doing?")

We then go to Sol Square, at 0:00 we continue the demonstrations in Madrid there. It is absolutely full, several thousands of people. As midnight comes, people shout to ask for a minute of silence for the victims, which will happen as the Sol clock bell strokes sound alone in the square. Meanwhile, in the public television TVE, a very popular program (Noche de Fiesta) is suddenly replaced by a movie-documentary about ETA terrorism. We go home at two o'clock, and as we go up Alcala, there are lots of people which are going to Sol to continue the march: they will go to Atocha then, then to Genova and the PP headquarters again, I read they end at six o'clock in the morning.

Pressured, fearful for the will of their people who want to know, who have organized themselves against their lies, the government tells us before dawn that a video was sent on saturday to Telemadrid TV station (regional public Madrid one): in it, islamic terrorism tells again they are the ones who bombed Madrid.

And the next morning, we've got to vote.

On Sunday, the Popular Party is kicked out from the government: the Socialist Party wins, and we breathe. Because a victory of the PP would have confirmed governments can lie in this democracy and avoid paying for it, that you can continuously lie and people will not ask. That media coup d'etats can be done. The confrontation politics that they've practiced these four years governing alone can get to an extreme on which they consciously lie about the most serious terrorist attack to Spain in its whole history: they lied about it to stay in power, and they did it even as they knew on monday we would know what really happened. Their only concern were the polls, from the beginning.

But the people have said we have enough: we don't want any more lies from those who got us into a criminal war we opposed and now play with those who have died in Madrid when the bombs got back. As we shouted on saturday, "The bombs of Iraq explode in Madrid".

The media coups d'etat by which the PP tried to silence us and conceal the truth from our eyes, was combatted against by our words in the streets, in every place where it was possible. Now, the elections are over, and our message is clear: no more lies, no more wars.

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(11-M) A chronicle of the four most intense days in Spain | 421 comments (393 topical, 28 editorial, 11 hidden)
This "11-M" thing worries me. (2.87 / 16) (#4)
by mcc on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 07:56:03 PM EST

Just a thought.

Al-Qaeda's chief distinguishing feature is their realization that the fields of terrorism and marketing really are not very different, and techniques from the latter can be applied directly in the former. Their multimedia-presentation recruitment videos and their synergy with Al-Jareeza and other regional media outlets were at least as important as their training camps.

Now we have terrorist attacks with brandnames. 9-11. 11-M. They didn't just cause a disruptive and merdurous event, they created a symbol of uncertainty and fear that will live on in the western memespace probably forever-- and unlike those impacting but difficult-to-market images from, say, the Oklahoma City bombing, it's "catchy".

Now terrorists have synergy with the western media outlets as well, and they did it without the western media even being clearly aware of it. Whether they've figured out how to do it on purpose yet is uncertain, but in the last few years "The Terrorists" have shown us exactly how to play the western media for all it's worth. Now all Al-Qaeda has to do is provide the event, and the media will do the marketing for them-- do things like figure out these oh-so-catchy nicknames for terrorist attacks, and do it all of their own accord and for what they believe to be their own benefit.

And the nicknames are probably just the beginning. Selling fear looks to be a growth market again for some time to come; where do things go from here?

---
Aside from that, the absurd meta-wankery of k5er-quoting sigs probably takes the cake. Especially when the quote itself is about k5. -- tsubame

Close (2.88 / 9) (#18)
by blackpaw on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:43:13 PM EST

but no cigar - I don't believe its the terrorists marketing their acts but the media/governments, they're the ones coming up with the catchy names (9/11 etc) and using it to push their agendas.

<P>
Net results of these terrible bombings in Australia so far - the police have been granted the powers to monitor and/or arrest anyone they suspect of terrorist activity with no need for evidence.

[ Parent ]

mass media (2.60 / 5) (#24)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:41:11 PM EST

That's a rather interesting thought. I think it's related to the drop in cost of mass media, fueled by technology and deregulation. There are so many channels, magazines, internet sites who have discovered a voice, compared with the old system of a few government backed channels and a few radio programs.

I don't think this information warfare is limited to governments and terrorists, as your post perhaps suggests. It's becoming chaotic. If terrorists, who always work on the cheap, can put out their messages this way, others can too. The old certainties (ie gov is always right etc) are becoming harder to hold on to, and people have to put more effort into educating themselves and ignoring junk.

There's no telling where this will lead, but if you believe in the old ideas from the Enlightenment, then a more active, better educated, critical population is most desirable.

[ Parent ]

The Terrorists ~ (none / 0) (#59)
by Cardenio on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:08:27 AM EST

Were calling it " Operation Death Trains " ( ! ) There are sure to be sequals.

[ Parent ]
hm (none / 1) (#85)
by EMHMark3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:17:21 PM EST

Dude that movie sucked so bad, it's nothing like the actual bombi-- oh. Right.

T H E   M A C H I N E   S T O P S
[ Parent ]

I'm troubled by... (none / 2) (#216)
by lowmagnet on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 09:24:44 PM EST

...the fact that both March and May start with M. Just like when they report on something on indymedia, they try to attach a similar moniker, like 9-A or something. Which is it? April, or August? Or J-15, which could be January, June or July. Hello, people.

[ Parent ]
Synergy with who? (none / 1) (#370)
by Gully Foyle on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 10:20:39 AM EST

I can think of a few Al-Jazeera reporters who'll be surprised at their new corporate relationship with Al-Qaeda.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Not to sound callous, but (1.95 / 23) (#16)
by regeya on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:30:36 PM EST

How does it feel to go from being played by your government to being played by a terrorist organization?


[ yokelpunk | kuro5hin diary ]

that opinion is why I posted it ;) (3.00 / 5) (#19)
by malkuth on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 09:59:44 PM EST

I know there is a widespread opinion on that it was Al-Qaeda killings which changed our vote; however, that is a reason for posting this article. In the elections, the PP only lost 1 million votes, while the Socialist Party won 3 million: Zapatero, the socialist leader, recognized many of his votes come from the left-wing party (Izquierda Unida) voters. In my opinion, the main reason for the government change wasn't just the killings (we knew that could happen when the government forced us to go to war), but the way the government managed the situation. In the national public radio station, today someone said that "Al-Qaeda won the elections": in an extremely sarcastic comment in the socialist-related SER radio station, someone said "then just imagine how sick we are of you that we vote Al-Qaeda rather than the Popular Party". Of course, a sarcastic comment not to be taken literally, but it gives you an idea.

[ Parent ]
You actually believe that? (2.40 / 5) (#21)
by /dev/trash on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:13:26 PM EST

(we knew that could happen when the government forced us to go to war)

You actually think that you were bombed because you went to war in Iraq?  Even though al Qaeda and Saddam were polar opposites?  Maybe all the Muslim extremists want their country back.  Maybe they want your excellent olives.  Who knows.  Certainly the terrorists don't.

Also now you have to REALLY worry about ETA.  They'll bomb but deny it, pointing the finger at al Qaeda.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]

I think that's a given (2.85 / 7) (#26)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:56:32 PM EST

You actually think that you were bombed because you went to war in Iraq?
I think that's a given nowadays. Al Qaeda may not have been related to Hussein, but Hussein is gone and Al Qaeda has partly filled the void in Iraq.

There have been several announcements, and several targeted bombings by Al Qaeda on specifically US-coalition targets around the world. Whether you like it or not, this isn't a world war so much as a private matter between AQ and the US.

That's not to say it could not escalate, which attacks on several EU countries has the potential to do. But right now, it's basically US-AQ. I don't think it's productive to treat the terrorists as dumb, blood crazed fanatics without aims.

Also now you have to REALLY worry about ETA. They'll bomb but deny it, pointing the finger at al Qaeda.
I don't think so. ETA is known for particular political goals. While the Madrid bombings did play into their hands indirectly, they aren't gaining anything from it. Certainly no goodwill, and no new investors.

If it turned out that they were in fact responsible, there would be an incredible backlash among their constituency. Al Qaeda's constituency is in the middle east, and middle easterners don't really care about Madrid. It's not like they don't have equivalent bombings in their own backyard to worry about.

[ Parent ]

wait wait wait. (1.00 / 9) (#117)
by /dev/trash on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:08:08 PM EST

You aren't one of those that think of ETA as "separatists" fighting for a small piece of land do you?

They're terrorists, they have no political goals, they want people to die.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]

Even Al Qaeda have political goals ... (none / 2) (#186)
by pyramid termite on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 06:14:24 PM EST

... no matter how misguided they are.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
oh sure.... (none / 1) (#228)
by /dev/trash on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 12:09:51 AM EST

I mean after killing all Westerners and infidels, they have to settle down sometime.

---
Updated 02/20/2004
New Site
[ Parent ]
Oh well (none / 1) (#238)
by Quique on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 05:43:50 AM EST

You aren't one of those that think of ETA as "separatists" fighting for a small piece of land do you?

In fact, they are.

They're terrorists,

Yes, they are that, too.

they have no political goals, they want people to die.

I can't agree with that. They are using terrorism as a (sick) way to defend some ideas. If all they wanted was killing people, they could kill people by milliards (as Al Qaeda or the US army do).

I disagree with their goals, and strongly reject any violent means, but I still believe basque separatists should be able to defend their ideas in pacific ways. There used to be a party who defended those ideas politically, but now it's illegal.

[ Parent ]

Well (none / 2) (#147)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:00:37 PM EST

Peace For Our Time

How does it sound in Spanish ?

[ Parent ]

McCarthy rides again (2.83 / 6) (#200)
by ka9dgx on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:40:50 PM EST

I'm an so sick of this "you're either with us or against us" crap. The world isn't simply black and white, good and bad. If you'd bothered to read the artice and the comments you'd realize the people of Spain voted against the lies of the media and the government. They took action against a corrupt regime, and did not act out of fear.

Regime change begins at home. We, the people of the US have to take our country back from the Neofascistconservatives as well. We're going to repeat this lesson for our own supposed "leaders" in Washington.

Regardless of the crappy candidate the Democrats chose for us, we're going to vote him in to start the clean up. In due course, we're going to get rid of the rest of the corrupt oligarchy that maintains the illusion of power in this country.

--Mike--

[ Parent ]

We have an angry white male here ... (none / 1) (#217)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 09:44:48 PM EST

Uh .. are you going to do that with guns ?
Cause sure like hell you gonna have a hard time doing it with votes alone. Not in a country where your average European style politician like Kucinich cannot even break 5% in a primary.

Face it dude... what passes as a majority point of view in Europe is definitely in minority in US, so your little rant about "talking back this country from fascists" sounds pretty ridiculous to people who don't frequent your little liberal discussion groups.

It is not us who are out of place, it is you.

[ Parent ]

Another and perhaps clearer way to state that (none / 1) (#336)
by Emissary on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 11:36:11 PM EST

According to you, the majority view in Europe is in a minority in the US. So, on the international scale, the majority politics of the US are out of place.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
International scale (none / 1) (#338)
by kurioszyn on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 02:03:54 AM EST

"So, on the international scale, the majority politics of the US are out of place."

Thank God.

I don't see many Americans emigrating abroad.
On the other handy , it seems we are having problems handling all these people desperately trying to join our little "Neo-fascist-conservatives" hell ( yeah, mostly from 3rd world nations but also from Europe )

I would say that is a pretty darn good argument in favor of keeping our current social system.

[ Parent ]

Europe has worse immigration problems than America (none / 1) (#339)
by Emissary on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 03:56:40 AM EST

Look at the situation in France, for instance. Sweden, according to P. J. O'Rourke who is certainly not unbiased, is going to collapse from the legions of shiftless immigrants taking advantage of its free housing, food, and medical care. England's got similar problems as well. I would venture to say that when America talks about its "immigration" problems, it's talking primarily about migrant workers from Mexico and southward, who send their money home to support families and hope to go back eventually, whereas migrants to Western Europe are more typically refugees, Sudanese, Iranian, or from iron curtain republics, who are looking for a new home, not a new job. 400000 grad students who can afford to go to school in America aren't going to cause any violence, unless they're black and a policeman sees them.

Let me also say that I think it's a little twisted to measure the worth of a country, as you do, by the problems it has with those who want to be part of it.

Anecdotally, I know seven or eight Americans who have emigrated, all to Europe, although I'm not sure where Katya is now. They include my aunt, who is a college professor, my friend Rocky and his parents who live in Austria, I'm not sure what they do, two actors, and Katya, who's a political organizer. So there's the Americans emigrating. Oh! Our very own, if erstwhile, Dirty Liberal Scumbag emigrated to France. He's got two degrees, I believe.

Finally, I find it interesting that you are so fervently thankful that our system isn't the one used by the rest of the world. America, like most bullies, has a persecution complex; your attitudes seem to back this up.

"Be instead like Gamera -- mighty, a friend to children, and always, always screaming." - eSolutions
[ Parent ]
Of ourse you don't. (none / 0) (#390)
by Vesperto on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 07:14:33 PM EST

I don't see many Americans emigrating abroad.
That's 'cos americans don't know beyond their borders, they probably can't even pinpoint the country their gov recently invaded. :-)

If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
I share your opinion (none / 1) (#236)
by Quique on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 05:25:40 AM EST

In the national public radio station, today someone said that "Al-Qaeda won the elections"

The national public radio and TV stations, controlled by the Popular Party, have been extremely disinformative and manipulating these days, experts from Universities say.

in an extremely sarcastic comment in the socialist-related SER radio station, someone said "then just imagine how sick we are of you that we vote Al-Qaeda rather than the Popular Party". Of course, a sarcastic comment not to be taken literally, but it gives you an idea.

I heard that intervention. It was El Gran Wyoming who said that.

[ Parent ]

No vale la pena (none / 3) (#260)
by sic on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 09:35:01 AM EST

Malkuth, colega, it's not worth worrying too much about what the followers of Pepe and Bush are going to try and spin this. As far as I can tell the only people that are convinced by this offensive argument are the same ones who were convinced by Bush's offensive lies arguments to bomb Iraq in the first place.

It's also worthless to argue that the terrorist attack didn't affect the election, as well as everything else in our country from now on. However, what lover's of democracy see as a triumph of the democratic system (77% participation) the fascists will try and paint as a victory for al-Qaeda, BECAUSE THEY LOST. How long has the partido popular been saying that any opinion, vote or act that was against them is a vote, act or opinion pro ETA, pro Saddam Hussein, pro plan Ibarrexte, etc.?

Now we will see how they interpret the meaning of "loyal opposition" for the next four years. You and I know exactly what these fachas are going to do...

Desde Tenerife un abrazo....

[ Parent ]

How does it feel to be played by neo-con pundits? (2.25 / 8) (#68)
by JohnnyCannuk on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:32:43 AM EST

When the Spainish government joined the "Coalition of the Willing" and went to war with the US in Iraq, 89% of the population OPPOSED the government. In most parliamentary democracies, that is a hell of a lot of popular dissent.

You are making the assumption that had it not been for the terrorist attack, the government would have been re-elected. That is a big assumption. It's probably false. Given the very large opposition to the war from the onset and the ongoing casualties with the other Allies (US and Italy in particular, as well as the UN headquarters bombing), I think it's likely the government would have been voted out anyway.

But when they tried to use the tragedy for political ends they just put the last nail in the coffin, if you'll pardon the expression. They WANTED the bombings to be by ETA because that would have given them a boost in the polls. Al-Queda would confirm what most people already believe - they should not have gone to war. So they pushed the ETA angle, even in the face of obvious evidence to the contrary, because they wanted to be re-elected. All this did was to determine the size of the electoral lose, not the fact they were likely to lose anyway.

So why would Al-Queda do this? Because neo-con reactionaries would say "See, Al-Queda is still dangerous, they even changed the mind of the Spanish voters. Maybe we should postpone the US Presidential elections, so a terrorist act doesn't scare the US voters. We don't want to play in the hands of the terrorists...". And poof, PATROIT ACT III requiring a National ID card and internal travel restrictions is enacted. Habeous Corpus is just too dangerous, so Gitmo becomes the norm in the US and for American citizens....

Al-Queda would get more publicity, spread more fear in the west and get free recruiting material - "See, we were able to force the infidels to vote out those who oppose us. Look how powerful we are. Join us!" to unknowing and unsuspecting Muslims. "Look the US is not upholding democracy. They are not holding votes. They are not your friend, they are the evil oppressors of the world. Join us!"

I think Al-Queda saw the obvious (that the Spanish government was going to lose) and timed the bombing to get the effect I just described. They are a bunch of demogogues and vicious killers, but they aren't stupid. Don't be surpirsed that there is another major attack or attempted attack in the US or possibly Canada the week of November 1, 2004.

So, How does it feel to be played by Al-Queda?
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

Trust (none / 1) (#202)
by ka9dgx on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:44:57 PM EST

If you can't trust the current administration to tell the truth, it doesn't matter WHO the terrorist is, they might as well BE the government. You have to have a Government you can trust to act in the interest of the people as a first step to cleaning up the mess, and dealing with terrorism.

--Mike--

[ Parent ]

better.. (none / 3) (#122)
by alma on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:32:12 PM EST

.. being played by terrorists then by people you trusted and voted...

[ Parent ]
who plays who? (2.75 / 4) (#205)
by gdanjo on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 08:01:55 PM EST

How does it feel to go from being played by your government to being played by a terrorist organization?
In an election there are only two possible outcomes for the party in power - continue, or halt. The govornment says "if continue, we win" and the terrorists say "if halt, we win".

Where is the possibility that neither won? Theory unfalsifiable, therefore rejected.

It is you, my friend, that is being played - we are all being fed bullshit from both organisations; the assumption that you must choose either "thems" or "us's". I'm not buying it.

I say the real winners are the non-combatants - those that choose for their own reasons, and ignore the childish games of the pseudo-powerful.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Reflection Day? (2.77 / 9) (#20)
by TheOnlyCoolTim on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:13:21 PM EST

"Saturday, it is our "reflection day", in which voters think about the polls and it is forbidden to make any political propaganda"

Is it forbidden by laws and penalties, or by custom?

Tim
"We are trapped in the belly of this horrible machine, and the machine is bleeding to death."

By law, I think (2.75 / 4) (#23)
by srn on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:39:18 PM EST

It used to be that way in Australia too, many years ago (well, more than 15).

[ Parent ]
By law. (none / 3) (#71)
by pik on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:47:10 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Nothing else and nothing more? (none / 0) (#419)
by Enocasiones on Wed Mar 24, 2004 at 06:58:16 PM EST

Being this a shorty response,
it's accurate, but mostly incomplete,
since law is nothing else than plenty of tons
of customs stablished or poured down in ink.

So, could someone enlighten us any further as to why we have this day? (besides being a stop to what used to be pretty noisy political campaigns; this time I only heard a car with loudspeaker roaring "Lega-Lega-Lega-li-za-ción, can-na-bis" of the Cannabis Party)

[ Parent ]

I'm curious ..... (1.86 / 15) (#25)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 10:55:41 PM EST

I'm curious as to what you think your nations response should be?

I can understand why you would like to vote out a government that you believe has been dishonest.

However, assuming it was actualy Al-Qaeda that was responsible, what should Spains response be?

If Al-Qaeda planted the bombs against Spain for it's cooperation in the U.S. led Coalition and Spain responds to the attacks by pulling out of the Coalition what sort of message does that send to terrorist groups the next time they decide they want to influence Spain to take some course of action?

I'm sorry, but I can't help but think that course of action could set a very bad example.

The other thing that struck me as odd was that you seem angrier with your own government then with the organization that did the bombings.
While you might disagree with the war in Iraq, surely you can't believe that your countries involvement is proper justification for bombing trains full of innocent civilians?

Finaly, if indeed it was discovered that Al-Qaeda was responsible and the organizers of the attack were hiding in a "neutral" country which refused to arrest the parties responsible and refused to allow Spanish authorities access to effect an arrest themselves what course of action would you suggest Spain pursue?

The reason I ask is that I recall the U.S. getting alot of heat in Europe for going into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11th attacks...yet that was exactly our situation at the time.

small point (none / 3) (#27)
by martingale on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:06:53 PM EST

I'm not spanish, so won't address any of your questions. However I think your lumping together of terrorists as one big amorphous worldwide group is counterproductive.

I don't see the election result as a message to all terrorists world wide to invite attacks on Spain.

The spanish homegrown terrorists are probably not affected, because if they try (or did) this themselves, and it becomes known, then their supporters will turn their back on them. And without supporters, no terror group lasts very long.

The local terrorists in other countries (e.g. IRA, Japanese cults) are probably not affected because, frankly, what's the point of bombing Spain for them?

It may encourage Al Qaeda to step up attacks on its targets (ie US coalition). But then it's not like they've been quiet recently. They have a history stretching back ten years, and this is just one success.

[ Parent ]

just to make clear what Zapatero has said (3.00 / 8) (#29)
by malkuth on Mon Mar 15, 2004 at 11:37:23 PM EST

Of course this government change doesn't mean we're just giving the terrorists a handshake and forgetting about it: that is not going to happen, and we would not let that happen.

However, what this means is that we're not going to support, for example, a Siria invasion "because they're hiding the WMD's that were in Iraq and there's a very clear Al-Qaeda link our secret services know about". Furthermore, Zapatero said he would get out the troops from Iraq if not backed by the United Nations, though he would of course work against terrorism. Zapatero's idea is getting closer to France, Germany and european positions.

As for the anger, mind tells me Iraqi civilians deaths are as absolutely unfair and criminal as the deaths in Madrid are: heart tells me I feel more pain for the ones in Madrid. Of course it has been an extremely savage thing to do, and I want to see those who did it captured. The evolution from the pain of the killings to the anger against the government was due to what happened in the days after the bombings, as the ruling party didn't show any respect for those who died, by trying to use the killings with their conscious lies to strengthen their political position, or to avoid losing it: of course, all the feelings were mixed up, which is why saturday night we were extremelly burdened emotionally.



[ Parent ]
Yeah but... (none / 1) (#34)
by Skywise on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:49:03 AM EST

"...as the ruling party didn't show any respect for those who died, by trying to use the killings with their conscious lies to strengthen their political position, or to avoid losing it..."

Isn't that what Zapatero's doing now?

[ Parent ]

not really.. (none / 2) (#45)
by vivelame on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:48:55 AM EST

he's using the PP's mishandling of the case.

The PSOE reminded people that it was the same government that sent Spain to war in Iraq, and regularly put Spain at odds with the rest of Europe, against the will of 90% of the population.

Zapatero seems to want to realign Spain's foreign policy toward Europe.


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]

So your answer is..."yes" (none / 1) (#60)
by Skywise on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:22:21 AM EST

"The PSOE reminded people that it was the same government that sent Spain to war in Iraq, and regularly put Spain at odds with the rest of Europe, against the will of 90% of the population."

The bombing was used politically by both sides...

[ Parent ]

Thanks (none / 2) (#52)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:38:45 AM EST

Thanks for the honest and intelligent answer. My heart goes out to your country. I know how emotionaly devastating an attack like this can be.

Frankly, I think Spain is in a pretty tricky position. It's government aught to follow the will of it's populace. At the same time, it's pretty important that Spain sends a clear message that terrorist attacks will not be effective in changing it's policies.... otherwise it's an open invitation for groups that disagree with Spanish policy in future to follow suit. Unfortunately it's a natural thing for people to form the conclusion that the attacks did affect policy.

On a side note, I support my countries actions in Iraq, I think the majority of Iraq's civilians suffered far more under Hussiens rule then from the Coalition attack.... but time will tell. Anyway, I don't want to dilute the discussion... honest people can disagree and your country has every right to do what it thinks is in it's best interests.

[ Parent ]

It's not a natural thing (none / 3) (#190)
by pyramid termite on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 06:25:34 PM EST

The only reason people are "forming" the "conclusion" that the attacks affected the election is so they can turn around and accuse those who will vote against Bush of doing the same thing. It's a transparent attempt to smear the opposition in the U.S.

I would hope that people realize that the Spanish have their own reasons, some of which have nothing to do with the attacks, for voting as they did.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Please no conspiracy theories (none / 1) (#287)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 12:20:02 PM EST

You are being WAY TOO PARANOID. Not everything revolves around the U.S. presidential elections and no one is going to lambast you for voting for whatever candidate you choose.

The reason why it's a natural thing to draw that conclusion is that the polls had the incumbant party in the lead before the attacks... after the attacks the opposition party gets a dramatic win. It's a natural thing to assume there is a cause and effect relationship.... even if the reality happens to be a good deal more complex then that.


[ Parent ]

I'm being paranoid? (none / 2) (#312)
by pyramid termite on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 04:01:59 PM EST

There's editorials claiming that Spain gave into the terrorists in the Chicago Tribune and the L.A. Times. Looks to me like the spinning's already started. Everything's in place for people to claim that a vote against Bush will be a vote for terrorism, should an attack occur in the U.S.

If you can't see through the propaganda here, that's your problem.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
PROOF I'm not paranoid (none / 1) (#316)
by pyramid termite on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 04:27:49 PM EST

Right here. People are already trying to manipulate the election.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
hahaha (none / 1) (#360)
by kjb on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 07:57:57 PM EST

That guy's funny.

Quote:

Senator Kerry can come forward now and state clearly and unequivocally that he will not accept personal political gain from the murder of Americans.

Apparently he doesn't have a problem with Bush doing exactly that, judging from the next sentence:

John Kerry can make it known that if terrorists kill Americans before the election in a bid to unseat the President, he will bow out of the race.

--
Now watch this drive.
[ Parent ]

Unfair deaths (2.50 / 4) (#111)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:53:42 PM EST

"mind tells me Iraqi civilians deaths are as absolutely unfair and criminal as the deaths in Madrid are"

Which Iraqis are you talking about ?
These that were killed during USA invasion or rather the untold hundreds of thousands that were terminated in years of Saddam rule when people in Europe ( and US) preferred to look the other way ?

While European powers were bickering over the best approach to handle the crisis , tens of thousands Bosnians were being raped and mutilated by the Serbs,  a process that was finally put to a sudden stop by an "illegal" ( no UN sanction and over France/Russia protests) unilateral action of Clinton.
Were their deaths unfair as well ?

There were 10 thousands French civilians killed during first days of D-Day as a result of allied military action in Normandy.
Should we try to indict Allied command on this one as well?

[ Parent ]

Say what? (2.88 / 9) (#41)
by Kwil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:37:51 AM EST

The reason I ask is that I recall the U.S. getting alot of heat in Europe for going into Afghanistan after the Sept. 11th attacks...yet that was exactly our situation at the time.

You sure about that one? The way I remember it is that not to many people in Europe were keen about it, but the US wasn't getting heat about it either. It was considered understandable.. perhaps not the best move, but certainly understandable.

The heat came when Bush turned his eyes toward Saddam and tried to manipulate the world into attacking a chained dog.

As for this recent move, a lot of pundits are seeing this as a dangerous statement that terrorism works. To me, the danger lies in the pundits making that connection, when what we actually are seeing is that democracy works.. if a ruling party doesn't follow the will of it's people, it gets the boot. Period. Going to war when a sizable majority of your citizenry don't want you to is a good way to find yourself out of office. All Al Qaeda has done is time their bombings to make the inevitable results look like their personal victory.

The pundits should be making that connection instead.. that the government in Spain changed not because of the attacks, but because of a government that was not listening and not being honest with its citizens.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
What I'm saying (none / 1) (#51)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:20:29 AM EST

I'm NOT saying that the attack changed the election results. Frankly I don't know enough about Spanish politics to make a comment like that.... And I DEFINATELY agree, a government which ignores the will of its populace deserves to get the boot.

However, it is inevitable that people are going to make the connection. The real key is not whether the pundits believe it's true.... it's what conclusion the types of orginizations that engage in these sort of attacks will draw. If they draw the conclusion that this is a method which can get results, it's a problem for Spain.

Frankly, I think Spain is in kinda a tough position. Thier government aught to respond to the will of thier populace.... at the same time they've got to send a clear a believable message that this sort of terrorism will not be effective in changing policy.

[ Parent ]

Changing policy (none / 3) (#57)
by marx on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:59:50 AM EST

Zapatero pledged long ago that Spain would withdraw its troops if the Socialists were elected. So if they take back that pledge in response to the attacks, then that would be changing policy because of a terrorist attack.

I think Spain is behaving excellently. They are keeping their heads cool and have basically been unaffected by the attack. They detected the lies coming from the government and voted accordingly. I'm not so sure Americans would have dared to do that just after September 11.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Well.... (none / 2) (#63)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:27:27 AM EST

Would Zapatero's party have won the elections if not for the attacks? From what the poster was saying it sounds like they would have won anyway.

The problem here is really one of perception more then anything else.... and it's not really your preception or my perception or that of the pundits that counts. It's the perception of the type of radicals that would engage in such activities that is really at issue. If they percieve that Spain's policy can be changed by conducting terrorist attacks then Spain is in for problems in the future.

It's an inevitable conclusion that alot of those people are going to draw from the attacks and the election results. It really doesn't matter if it's a false conclusion either. Spain has got to find a way of refuting that perception and still following the will of it's populace. That seems like that could be a pretty tricky task.

[ Parent ]

I agree with that last paragraph.. (none / 3) (#120)
by Kwil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:18:55 PM EST

It's an inevitable conclusion that alot of those people are going to draw from the attacks and the election results. It really doesn't matter if it's a false conclusion either. Spain has got to find a way of refuting that perception and still following the will of it's populace.

And this is part of why I say it's the fault of the pundits -- those who have media access -- who are putting out the simple, obvious, and wrong conclusion that the terrorist attacks were what caused the election to go the way it did. If instead, they put out the real reasons, that would work to counter some of that perception, after all, it's not like terrorists don't watch the news either. I'd expect they do more rabidly than most to see what's being said about them.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
what are you on? (1.85 / 7) (#43)
by vivelame on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:07:14 AM EST

Europe supported the US invasion of Afghanistan.
Go take a look at US central command for a list of countries involved in Afghanistan alongside the  US.

moron.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]

I was talking popular opinion not governments(n/t) (none / 0) (#49)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:08:02 AM EST



[ Parent ]
The trollocaust is upon us! (none / 2) (#70)
by DominantParadigm on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:42:40 AM EST

Either that, or you're as dumb as rocks.

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
You were right the second time. /nt (none / 1) (#83)
by tonedevil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:06:08 PM EST



[ Parent ]
well, you're dead wrong (none / 0) (#137)
by vivelame on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:37:08 PM EST

about popular opinion too.


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Point by point: (2.83 / 6) (#99)
by mr strange on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:23:38 PM EST

> I'm curious as to what you think your nations response should be?

Just the same as the American nation's response should have been after the bombings of 2001:
1. Find the perpetrators and bring them to trial.
2. Start to learn how to be more neighbourly in this shrinking world.

> I can understand why you would like to vote out a government
> that you believe has been dishonest.

You'll not be voting for George Bush then?

> However, assuming it was actualy Al-Qaeda that was responsible,
> what should Spains response be?

See above.

> If Al-Qaeda planted the bombs against Spain for it's cooperation in
> the U.S. led Coalition and Spain responds to the attacks by pulling out
> of the Coalition what sort of message does that send to terrorist
> groups the next time they decide they want to influence Spain to
> take some course of action?

Spain is taking part in the illegal occupation of a sovereign country. They should push for the United Nations to establish a legitimate authority in Iraq. As I understand it that's pretty much the policy of thee new government. It was the right policy last week, and it's still the right policy this week. Bombings don't really come into it.

> I'm sorry, but I can't help but think that course of action could set a very bad example.

Obeying the law sets a bad example?? Only an American...

> The other thing that struck me as odd was that you seem angrier with
> your own government then with the organization that did the bombings.

There will *always* be terrorists. It's not a new phenomenon, despite what Fox news tells you. This was a terrible attack, but it's not essentially different from the kind of criminal activity that most of us have been familiar with for all our lives. A friend of mine was blown up a few years ago by some nut who was attacking gays and blacks with nail bombs. They caught him, and now he's in jail. The difference is only one of scale.

We're angry with our governments because they are betraying us. The police aren't hunting THEM down and dealing with them, that's OUR job. That's why we put a lot of emphasis on our governments' misdeeds.

> While you might disagree with the war in Iraq, surely you can't believe
> that your countries involvement is proper justification for bombing
> trains full of innocent civilians?

I don't know who planted the bombs, or why they did it. Do you?

Personally, I don't really care. They need to be caught, and I'm sure the police are working on it really hard.

> Finaly, if indeed it was discovered that Al-Qaeda was responsible and the
> organizers of the attack were hiding in a "neutral" country which refused
> to arrest the parties responsible and refused to allow Spanish authorities
> access to effect an arrest themselves what course of action would you
> suggest Spain pursue?

This is a really hypothetical question. Obviously you think you're referring to the US action in Afghanistan. However, as I recall, the Taliban government of that country offered to extradite Osama bin Laden in the days before the US invaded.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

You recall wrong (none / 2) (#108)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:40:47 PM EST



[ Parent ]
you truly are brain damaged (none / 3) (#125)
by DominantParadigm on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:34:51 PM EST

or a troll

Caller:So you're advocating bombing innocent children? Howard Stern:Yes, of course!


[ Parent ]
Here's the link. (2.60 / 5) (#188)
by mr strange on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 06:14:46 PM EST

Bush shuns latest Taleban offer [BBC]

If the goal had been to bring Osama bin Laden to trial, then it seems odd that the US chose to continue bombing when the Afghan leadership signalled their readiness to hand him over. (Even though the US had never provided any evidence - some evidence against the accused is usually a prerequisite for extradition.)

But this language is all about the law, and normal procedures. You don't want to hear about that - you believe that this case is 'special', that normal procedures don't apply. I think that due process is especially important in exceptional case. That's the nub of the issue.

intrigued by your idea that fascism is feminine - livus
[ Parent ]

Read your own link (none / 1) (#288)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 12:32:25 PM EST

The "offer" the Taliban made was NOT to hand bin Laden over it was to "discuss" sending him to a "neutral" country if the U.S. immediately ceased operations. The offer was made DURING the U.S./Northern Alliance offensive (i.e. AFTER the Taliban already knew they were going to loose).

Bush's response was pretty straightforward. He said that if they wanted the U.S. to cease operations all they had to do was hand Bin Laden over to the U.S. for trial.

A proper analogy would be, if after Berlin had been surrounded the German High Command had offered to discuss sending Hitler to Paraguay if the Allies immediately withdrew all troops from German soil...... in other words, the offer was a joke.

[ Parent ]

So, if they'd handed over bin Laden... (none / 0) (#372)
by Gully Foyle on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 10:43:56 AM EST

... You think the US would have withdrawn? They'd have been stupid to.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

nations response (none / 1) (#126)
by noproblema on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:36:32 PM EST

What about democracy, transparency, cooperation, solidarity, friendness, dialog, freedom, legality, justice.

NOT demagogy, retaliation, vengeance, wrath, bullying, intimidation, manipulation.

what sort of message does that send to terrorist groups the next time they decide they want to influence Spain to take some course of action?

Uh?. Perhaps we must make specific elections to send messages to unknown terrorist groups? the only think that you know is that some guys have put some bombs in some trains?. we don't know who they are, how can we know what they want?.

One of the more importants points for the victory of the Socialist Party was his position against the war. If it change that position, what sort of message does that send to terrorist groups the next time they decide they want to influence Spain to take some course of action?.

[ Parent ]

What I was asking (none / 1) (#130)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:52:02 PM EST

Did the bombings change the outcome of the elections? (i.e. which party won). From what the other posters have said it sounds like it did not.

The point I was trying to make was. That if radical groups PERCIEVE that they can change Spains policy (by affecting election results) by staging a terrorist attack then the NEXT time some group wants to change Spains policy it will try to stage a similar attack.... because it will appear to them that it has worked in the past.

I'm not trying to argue whether your country should or should not pull out of Iraq. Obviously your government needs to follow pursue whatever course of action is the will of it's populace. However, there is a very real issue of how to send a clear message that terrorism is NOT an effective way of changing Spains policies.

As far as actions your country should take. I'm not talking slogans, anyone can come with slogans. I'm talking concrete plans. For instance, what will you do if you discover who the perpatrators are but your police can't arrest them because they are being harbored in a foreign country who is protecting them from your police?

[ Parent ]

I try to answer (none / 2) (#156)
by noproblema on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:09:02 PM EST

Did the bombings change the outcome of the elections?

I think that yes. But we can't really know. Then is irrelevant, we can not say if it changed it we must do one thing and if not then we must do other thing.

if radical groups PERCIEVE that they can change Spains policy (by affecting election results) by staging a terrorist attack

Why radical?. Any group can change any country policy or affect elections results with actions like that. ETA has made that, the IRA too, but secret services, organized crime, or other organizations can do that. Or they can perceive that they have do it, as really nobody can be sure. I remember that Putin, the russian president, was acused of winning the 2000 election thanks to bombings in Moscu that where atributed to chechens but never were really explained.

The only thing that matters is that if a candidate has made a promise they can't be blamed for fulfill it.

what will you do if you discover who the perpatrators are but your police can't arrest them because they are being harbored in a foreign country who is protecting them from your police?
Well, I don't know very well how that works, but I think that they are some things as extradition treaties and international laws, that are made for that. For example, when Great Britain refused the extradition to Spain of general Pinochet for "crimes of genocide and terrorism that includes murder." nobody in Spain or in the world thinked that Spain must invade or bomb London. Some european countries in the past have refused to prosecute or extradite some alleged ETA members. In the eigthies France was qualified as "ETA sanctuary", but nobody was thinking seriously of retaliate.

If your question is: what must do the spanish gouvernment if they are in some really poor country that Spain can win in a war?. Then I think that it must take the same actions that if the country was France, Britain or Belgium.

And yes, anybody can come with slogans, but I was talking about actions.



[ Parent ]

Spain did not "capitulate to terrorists" (2.84 / 32) (#40)
by steve h on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:29:03 AM EST

Many conservatives are voicing the opinion that by voting for a change of government, the Spanish people "capitulated to terrorism". This is a condescending attitude that shows little respect for democracy and disregards the facts. The truth is actually the reverse - the Spanish people voted out the PP not because it was "hard on terrorism", but because it unnecessarily put Spain at increased risk of terrorist attack and then, to make matters even worse, lied to them about the suspected perpetrators.

Conservatives fail to understand this simple fact about terrorism - prevention is far better than cure. It's better not to give people a reason to hate you and attack you in the first place, rather than end up like the US - paying the massive economic and social costs of Orwellian "homeland defence" and an enormous military machine. By supporting an unjustifiable war that killed 10,000 innocent civilians and devastated a nation, the PP made Spain an target of international rage and hatred, heightening the risk of terrorist attack dramatically. The Spanish government endangered it's own people for no advantage other than a cozier relationship with the US with the possibility of preferential trading details.

But the question that really needs to be asked is why so many European leaders acted against the will of their own people by supporting the Iraq war, risking their own electoral chances to aid the US. As has been mentioned, 90% of the Spanish people were against the war. It would really be amazing if the PP hadn't been voted out, seeing as how it so blatantly ignored the will of it's own people. Just like when the conservatives were praising the leaders of so-called "New Europe" for supporting the Iraq war despite the fact that their populations were uniformly opposed to unsanctioned military actions against Iraq, today they are calling the Spanish people foolish for voting out the PP. Yet again, the conservatives only support democracy when it is convenient to do so.


The one thing I really take issue with (2.42 / 14) (#55)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:58:27 AM EST

"Conservatives fail to understand this simple fact about terrorism - prevention is far better than cure. It's better not to give people a reason to hate you and attack you in the first place"

Liberals fail to understand one simple fact about the world. Some people will hate you NO MATTER what you do. They'll hate you because of the color of your skin. They'll hate you because you pray to a different god then them. They'll hate you because you happen to be sitting on a piece of land that they want. They'll attack you NO MATTER what you do. By trying to placate them you will only make them stronger and embolden them.

I hate to bring up the WWII example because it is WAY overused... but it IS a classic example of what I'm talking about. There is nothing the rest of Europe could have done that would have placated Hitler except slitting thier own throats....and by giving in to him over the Rhineland and Czech they only made the war FAR worse when it did come.

Note I am NOT trying to say that is what Spain is trying to do here. I'm simply trying to dispute the misguided notion that giving terrorists (or despots) what they want is an effective way of dealing with them.


[ Parent ]

Let's kill women, and children too! (none / 3) (#66)
by John Asscroft on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:28:25 AM EST

It won't cause terrorism, it'll just scare them so much they'll be scared to attack us, just like those Vietnamese pajama dudes got so scared that we won the Vietnam War.

Napalm Sticks Like Glue

A-10 A-10 flying high
drop that napalm from the sky.
See those kids by the river
drop some napalm watch them quiver.
Napalm (emphasize napalm) sticks to kids!
Napalm sticks to kids!
See those kids by the lake
drop some napalm watch them bake.
Napalm (emphasize napalm) sticks to kids!
Napalm sticks to kids!
See those kids beside the hut
shove some napalm up their butt!
Napalm (emphasize napalm) sticks to kids!
Napalm sticks to kids!

Vietnam-era marching cadence courtesy of The Cadence Page


We must destroy freedom to save it from the terrorists who want to destroy freedom. Else the terrorists have won.
[ Parent ]

What the heck? (none / 1) (#77)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:56:08 AM EST

What the heck does that have to do with my comment?

Was Czech or Poland killing German women and children before they were attacked by Germany?

Was the U.S. bombing Afghanistan or the Sudan BEFORE the FIRST WTC attack?

Was the Kuwait bombing Iraq before they were invaded to start the FIRST Gulf War?

You are making the classic liberal mistake. You assume that because SOME people become terrorists/agressors because they have a justifiable greivance that ALL terrorists/agressors have a justifiable greivances. Sorry it just doesn't work that way.

You know some seriel killers really DID become the way they are because they suffered horrible abuse as kids. That doesn't mean that EVERY seriel killer simply needed more hugs as a kid and he would have turned out ok. Sorry to bring you back to reality but some people are just friggin EVIL.

[ Parent ]

still missing the point (none / 1) (#103)
by Wah on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:28:08 PM EST

and yes, the troll was a bit forward about it, but you make the same point yourself.

You know some seriel killers really DID become the way they are because they suffered horrible abuse as kids. That doesn't mean that EVERY seriel killer simply needed more hugs as a kid and he would have turned out ok.

So as long as we agree on the first sentence there, we can focus now on the 'liberal' idea, which is to not make so many more people suffer horrible abuse as kids.  You remember Ali, right?  Now things are looking up for the kid.

Ali, now 13, is playing football, enjoying school, adjusting to life with his prosthetic limbs and already helping to give something back to the charity which has met the cost of his care in the UK.

After just a few months here, he is quickly making friends and can now even hold a conversation in English, said Zafar Khan, the chairman of the Limbless Association.

Ali won sympathy from around the world after he lost both his arms in a bombing raid early in the Iraq war, which also killed his parents and left him with 60% burns.

Unfortunately you've got thousands of people who want to avenge the actions that blew off those arms.

Yea, sure, you can argue that his life is better now, ya know, with no Saddam and all, but that argument fails on two points.  First point is the facts that limbs are still missing and the second fails in that saving him from Saddam was never the point, it was saving us.

Even with such a cut and dried example of "good" coming from this action (kid gets arms blown off, saved by invaders, preaches peace) is going to be a losing proposition, or maybe break even.  

So, no, you aren't ever going to gid rid of all the crazies.  No one is arguing that you can.  People will always get stung by wasps, but the argument here is about the better way to minimize the frequency with which it happens.

To cut through the rhetoricals, do you believe the some of terrorists that attacked Spain have 'justifiable grievances' (i.e. 'acts of war), or do you think they were planning the attack regardless of the choices of Spain's leaderhsip over the last few years?  

Or to put it in the context of Rumsfeld's memo, were all the people who carried out the attack even terrorists a few years back?
--
sometimes things just are that way and that's it. They're true. Sure, Popper, et. al., may argue otherwise, but they're dead. You get it? Yet?
[ Parent ]

I do get the point (none / 2) (#118)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:12:36 PM EST

Making decisions that reduce the number of people that have reason to hate your guts = good thing.

I get that. What you DON'T seem to get is that in SOME situations people will hate your guts NO MATTER what you do.... and these people are not ALWAYS lone gunmen. Sometimes they have vast popular support, even though it's not called for. Sometimes they lead nations.

Sometimes doing things that SHOULD make these people stop hating you is simply not an option.

What could the Jews in Germany in the 30's have done to make the Nazi's (who had enough popular support to gain power) hate them less? Slit thier own wrists?

What could Kuwait have done to stop Saddam from sending his tanks over the border before the first Gulf War? Surrender thier country?

What could Europe have done to satisfy the German people in 1938? Surrender the Studentenland... They tried that, it didn't work.

Was Iraq the right decision? I don't know. I think in the long term it was. I think there will be alot less suffering for the people of Iraq and the rest of the world with Saddam Hussein and his succesors out of power. I don't think that could have been achieved any other way. Did it come at a horrible price? Certainly. Was it worth the price? Frankly I DON'T know, it may not have been.... time will tell. Was it done for the right reasons? Again, I don't know and I'm not entirely sure I care that much. Could the case have been made for it in a better manner.... undoubtedly.


[ Parent ]

WWII (none / 1) (#373)
by Gully Foyle on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 10:59:33 AM EST

I've heard a pretty good argument that we only had to fight world war 2 because we fought world war 1, and then inflicted crushing sanctions on Germany afterwards. Prior to WW1, Germany was a pretty ordinary European nation. Then there was all that trouble in the Balkans.

Of course, the argument could be wrong, and World War 2 happened because two countries developed decent tanks and high speed mechanised assault tactics before their neighbours.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Things you should have done (none / 0) (#416)
by ttsalo on Wed Mar 24, 2004 at 08:55:23 AM EST

Sometimes doing things that SHOULD make these people stop hating you is simply not an option.

Things US should not have done:

1. Setting up a dictatorship in Iran,
and when that finally failed,
2. Supporting Saddam Hussein in his war to kill masses of Iranians and his own citizens

THESE are the things that made USA the "Great Satan" to the islamic world - and for what benefit?



[ Parent ]

Osama (none / 3) (#73)
by Cackmobile on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:52:16 AM EST

really only has a few beefs with the US. No US troops in the middle east especially Arabia. And stop supporting Israel. The first is easily forfilled, the second not so but the USA can go a long way to placating them

[ Parent ]
America (none / 0) (#116)
by atarola on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:02:54 PM EST

Does not want to placate Osama. We want his head on a plate.


"Always code as if the guy who ends up maintaining your code will be a violent psychopath who knows where you live"
-- John F. Woods
[ Parent ]
yes (none / 0) (#237)
by Cackmobile on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 05:37:29 AM EST

but as the old saying goes. Prevention is better than cure. Even once the US has him the attacks will probably keep coming.

[ Parent ]
Actually (3.00 / 8) (#76)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:55:26 AM EST

Western Europe could easily have ignored the whole thing (and the USA too) and just let Hitler and Stalin duke it out. As it was, Western Europe and the USA joined the war, by aggressively declaring war on Nazi Germany, which of course massively increased the scope of the war..

I'm surprised that a US "conservative" like yourself would be so deeply for waging international wars in matters that little concern the US. I suppose that must be because you aren't a conservative, at all.

Lastly, there's no appeasement involved in Spain's new government. Its very strongly anti-terrorist. Only if you buy the ridiculous notion that invading iraq was an anti-terrorist move, rather than being a pro-al-quada move in effect (seeing as al quada hate Hussein utterly and deeply, and Hussein kept them out of Iraq), is it appeasement. I prefer to see it as a righteous condemnation of silly notions about invading Iraq, and getting back onto the right track of how to deal with terrorism - by not invading nations that have absolutely nothing to do with the terrorists that oppose you, and which oppose them in kind.

It doesn't take an Einstein to work out that 9/11 happened because of America's greivously bad foreign policy, particularly in Israel. Creating a new front in the Middle East is not the way to stop terrorism. The correct and selfish thing to do is to tell Israel to go and fuck itself, and all those savages in the middle east, and get the hell out. Regardless of your fantasy that terrorists bomb people for no other reason than some metaphysical and baseless dislike or jealousy, in actual fact they do it to acheive ends and to fight, in their own warped way, perceived injustices commited by the nations they bomb. In the USA's case, a foreign policy overly entagled with Israel and the middle east in general is to blame.

If you are a conservative, you will remember Washington's take:

The period is not far off when we may defy material injury from external annoyance; when we may take such an attitude as will cause the neutrality we may at any time resolve upon to be scrupulously respected; when belligerent nations, under the impossibility of making acquisitions upon us, will not lightly hazard the giving us provocation; when we may choose peace or war, as our interest, guided by justice, shall counsel.

"Why forego the advantages of so peculiar a situation? Why quit our own to stand upon foreign ground? Why, by interweaving our destiny with that of any part of Europe, entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils of European ambition, rivalry, interest, humor or caprice?"

Of course, modern US "conservatives" are but screaming shills for the exact opposite of Washington's vision. Shills for Empire and global hegemony. Its all a bit sad for the US, isn't it? They get involved, they get bombed to fuck, they take that as a signal to get more involved, they damned "appeasement" with the silly spectre of Munich (the only sensible policy of its day).

Fools.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

WW2 (none / 0) (#84)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:15:28 PM EST

Hitler was NOT duking it out with Stalin. Hitler was gobbling country after country and Stalin was his ally, at least until Adolf stabbed him in the back. Staying out of it was not a long term option.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
You've got to be kidding (1.75 / 4) (#87)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:31:50 PM EST

Firstly, lets correct some inaccuracies. The U.S.A. did NOT declare war on Nazi Germany.... as badly as FDR might have wanted it. In point of fact, Germany and Italy declared war on the U.S., after the U.S. declared war on Japan.... which we did because Japan happaned to be busy blowing up our Pacific Fleet at the time.

The U.K. and France DID declare war on Germany... but only in response to Germany (and it's then ally, the U.S.S.R's) invasion of Poland. The U.K. and France happaned to be in a defensive alliance with Poland at the time (The brilliant French High Command thought the Polish Army could be used as an effective deterent to a German attack of France).

While Western Europe MIGHT have been able to ignore Hitler for a few years while Stalin and Hitler duked it out.... what EXACTLY would that have meant to the Poles and the Czech's .... or is your attitude screw eveyone who doesn't live within 10 miles of your front door?

Furthermore what EXACTLY do you think the eventual victor of the Hitler/Stalin conflict was going to do once they had a chance to rebuild AND HAD ALL THE RESOURCES OF CENTRAL EUROPE AND EURASIA AT THIER DISPOSAL. Yes, Western Europe would have been so much better off letting that happen. They NEVER would have used those resources to attack Western Europe, uh huh!

Munich was an abominable act of cowardice. Thank god Britain and France finally grew some balls when it came to Poland. If they had done so earlier the war would have been years shorter and MILLIONS of less lives would have been lost.

I'm not a shill for "Empire and global hegemony" but isolationism hasn't been a viable strategy since the Age of Sail came to an end (IF it even was then). The world is just too interconnected and interdependent. You can't ignore problems just because they aren't happening on your doorstep.... they'll only grow bigger and worse... and they'll eventualy wind up on your doorstep and much bigger then if you had dealt with them earlier.

I DO believe in pursuing my countries best interest.... but what IS in it's best interest in the long term is to make sure the rest of the world isn't a poverty ridden, steaming cesspit of violence ruled by fanatics and despots. Maybe we haven't been particulary smart about how we have pursued that agenda and we certainly have made some bad choices along the way...but that's no reason to throw our hands up and stick our heads in the sand.

[ Parent ]

Eh (none / 2) (#89)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:42:57 PM EST

Hitler's policy was to attain "lebensraum" in Eastern Europe. He intended to invade Russia all along, of course. In the end - and as Churchill realised after the war with his "we've stuck the wrong pig!" comment - we just traded hegemony over eastern europe by one hellish murderous regime (Hitler) for another (Stalin). And of course murdered millions of our own civilians in the process. Some gain, eh? It seems to me that, in fact, intervention in WWII acheived absolutely nothing but further bloodshed. We created the Cold War and aided totalitarian communism while smashing german fascism, whoop-de-doo. A better policy would ahve been to elt them weaken each other, if you ask me.

Lastly, isolationism works perfectly well for eg Switzerland. I'm pretty sure its not quaking in its boots worryign about being bombed by al quada, unlike New yorkers or Londoners. But that's where a sensible foreign policy gets you.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

You seriously need to work on your history (none / 2) (#96)
by coward anonymous on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:13:07 PM EST

Germany invaded Poland on September 1st 1939, 9 days after signing a non-aggression pact (also known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact) with the Soviet Union. The invasion violated an earlier non-aggression pact signed in 1934 with Poland. It also contravened a more recent French and British public guarantee for Poland's integrity.

Only after Germany had quite handily subdued Western Europe with Britain assumed to quickly follow did it violate the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact and invade the Soviet Union in June of 1941.

Your assertions do no appear to coincide with the reality of the sequence of events as they occured.

[ Parent ]

You need to read mein kampf then (none / 1) (#101)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:26:13 PM EST

Certainly events occured in a different order. That's not to say Germany's foreign policy aim wasn't to gain lebensraum in Eastern Europe, and especially at the expense of the Soviet Union - it was. Political expediencies merely meant that its aims were delayed, as it had to deal with Western Europe first thanks to that declaration of war.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
Based on what? (none / 1) (#112)
by coward anonymous on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:55:24 PM EST

Your authoritative assessment?
Events as they occured simply don't bare out your claims.

Regardless of your claims, it is arguable that the resulting massacres on the Eastern front along with the eradication of Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Russians, homosexuals and generally any category of person that Hitler didn't like (which I would venture to say would also encompass a majority of people posting here) would have occured apace. I suppose this would have been a desireable outcome from your perspective? That is responsible diplomacy?

[ Parent ]

Your second point (none / 0) (#374)
by Gully Foyle on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 11:09:57 AM EST

All that stuff happened anyway. And continued to happen under Stalin after the end of the war. I don't agree with the argument that we should have stayed out of it, but I'm not sure that we saved that many lives by getting into it.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

Almost a million Jews (none / 0) (#378)
by coward anonymous on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 07:41:37 PM EST

Close to a million Jews left the former Soviet Union in recent decades to Israel alone. That is a million better than what the Nazi empire would have allowed for. Gypsies roam the streets of Moscow and the greater Soviet Union was comprised of quite a few peoples that made it more or less intact to today, coercion nonwithstanding.
Stalin killed more people than Hitler did but that was probably because he had more time and leisure to do it in.  

[ Parent ]
Fair enough (n/t) (none / 0) (#388)
by Gully Foyle on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 01:23:48 PM EST


If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

You also forgot to mention (none / 1) (#105)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:28:14 PM EST

That the Soviet Union invaded Poland on Sept. 14th in accordance with it's agreement with Germany.

[ Parent ]
Reality Check (none / 1) (#100)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:25:30 PM EST

Your right, he wanted to invade Russia all along.... just like Napoleon wanted to gobble up the German states. The question is, what happens when they achieve that goal.

In Germany case, had it won (which it probably would have with Western Europe and the U.S. neutral). Western Europe, instead of facing the Warsaw Pact with a millitarized U.S. as an ally would have been facing Germany which included ALL of Central Europe and Eurasia, Italy with it's  African possesions intact, Japan with ALL of China under it's belt and likely Franco's Spain. Oh and Germany likely would have had modern armor, jet aircraft, rockets and NUKES.... oh and they would have done this with the U.S. still isolationist, it's army consisting of 4 obsolete infantry divisions...and no NUKEs. THAT would have been SO MUCH BETTER FOR WESTERN EUROPE.  

[ Parent ]

Er (none / 3) (#106)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:33:43 PM EST

And instead we faced a Soviet Union with nukes, jet aircraft, total dominance in eastern and much of central europe, and of course Communit China backing it up and its tendrils spreading around the world? I'm failing to see how one scenario is any better than the other, here.

I tend to think that foreign policy of the allies during WWII aided the Soviet Union too much, focused as it was on Nazi Germany. Churchill's "we've stuck the wrong pig" comment is appropriate, because he said it in 1945 when the awful realisation that he had focused on assuring the dominance of totalitarian communism, rather than playing one off against the other and tryign to stop one gaining total dominance as much as possible, became clear to him.

That is, Germany's historical role, as far as UK foreign policy has been concerned, is to provide a counterbalance to Russia and contain it. Unfortunately, supporting any one side and favouring the other has disastrous effects in terms of the balance of power in Europe.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

couple side points (none / 2) (#119)
by Battle Troll on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:13:07 PM EST

And instead we faced a Soviet Union with nukes, jet aircraft, total dominance in eastern and much of central europe, and of course Communit China backing it up and its tendrils spreading around the world? I'm failing to see how one scenario is any better than the other, here.

China went Red because the Communists were the most effective anti-Japanese resistance. If you're suggesting that Chinese Communism could have been averted were it not for Russian influence, then considering the internal power and credibility of the Chinese Communist Party, how exactly could this have been brought about without a massive civil war in China? (As opposed to the medium-sized civil war which did happen between Chiang and the Communists.)

Also, considering the immense technological and infrastructure lead of the Germans over Russia, don't you think that Germany with the resources of Russia would have been a more formidable adversary than Russia with the resources of Germany? 150 million people is a lot of slaves, and the xUSSR is nothing if not a resource-rich territory.

I find it hard to imagine a WWII in which a stalemate between Germany and Russia could have occurred. Why? Because Germany had to win right away or else Russia couldn't help but win in the long term. The problem is that Russia had population, food, and space resources dwarfing those of Germany, so Germany had to rely on its temporary armor and war-economy advantages (and the fact that Stalin had just finished purging many of his best officers.) But once Russian production got rolling, Russia put out simply unbelievable numbers of tanks, something like ten times as many as Germany had ever manufactured, in the end.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

I think (none / 3) (#144)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:48:42 PM EST

I mainly get annoyed with the "Chamberlain was a bumbling fool" school of thought. In fact, as far as I can see, he was a very good politicians, with much more realistic goals than Winston. If you consider the situation of Britain in the late 30s, you'll see it was beginning to recover from the economic strains of WWI. All it needed, in the Chamberlain view, was some time, and of course not to get entangled in any more wars, so that by the 50s or 60s, with a quiescent and isolationist US, it could safely recover its pre-1914 position.

There's a lot of similarities between a Richard Perle or a Donald Frum and Winston Churchill. This is why the former hold the latter as their hero, and the savour of Western Civilisation, and tend to hold as a tenet of US foreign policy the answer to the question "What would Winston do?" The answer to that question is always, "Winston would exercise state power" in one form or another.

In fact, Churchill was all about exercising British power to attain British foreign policy aims, through warfare, from before WWI. The problem - and this is the important thing that modern-day neocons should really take notice of - is that in exercising power, one has a real tendency to destroy whatever stock of it one has. In the period after the Battle of Britain, Britain had air and sea dominance dominance over Germany, and was thus safely ensconced across the channel from any aggressive invasion. Before that, Britain was a power, albeit one that was about to be rapidly destroyed to a mere sketch of its former pre-eminence. Now, all emotive arguments about the morality of Empire aside, the difference between Chamberlain and Churchill is that one wanted to preserve and indeed restore British power, where the other wanted to exercise it in an orgy of militarism. The result of the latter strategy was that although Britain did not suffer from the deprecations of an invasion, it lost a large part of its wealth through German aerial bombardment. There were many civilian casualties and the country was dislocated. The world's first industrial economy mortgaged its considerable overseas wealth and it abandoned the Empire to its fate. Many of Britain's problems today, from its unworkable integration into Europe, to the dire need for permanent infusions of inward investment are due to the Second World War. Having said that, over the course of the twentieth century, given WWI and WWII and the Boer War, Britain is very lucky and has got off very lightly, and the quality of life of its citizens has improved over that period.

So, yes, I tend to be sympathetic to Chamberlain to some degree, because I don't think he is nearly as big a fool as he is commonly painted. Britain had lots of opportunities to make a settlement with Germany. Its difficult to say what would exactly have happened had Britain made such a settlement. Germany could have won, or lost, or some sort of stalemate and eventual peace could have been arranged. Anything from a fascist regime stretching from Vladivostok to Paris, or a Communist regime the same, could have resulted, but if Britain and other powers had played their cards right, perhaps something inbetween. Who knows? At the time, without the benefit of hindsight, I would doubtless have been for making a peace. Now, with hindsight, the way things eventually worked out isn't the worst of all possible worlds 9though still pretty bad), so why risk alternate outcomes, that could vary from "much better" to "much worse". If we're playing the "What if?" historical game, then a better point of intervention is WWI in any case.

One may hate war; its wastefulness; its loss of the most promising men in a generation; its aid to a despotic state; but it can bring out the finest in a nation. Britain felt a sense of solidarity, victory and gratitude to those who fought that war. It may be mythologised, the doubts forgotten, the fears erased, but to many, even those who were not yet born it makes up a very real part of who we are as a nation. The very fact that Britain stood alone for almost a year against a triumphal Germany was in many senses a military triumph, and deserves to be remembered for that. It may not affect the validity of the factual case for going in to the war, but emotionally it will always have that effect. We are rightly proud of what we, or our parents, or grandparents, did in the war, it is our Fourth of July.

It is also doubtless that entry into the Second World War was not in America's interests. I think it is hard to argue otherwise, at least relying solely on the facts. In Britain, it was not so clear cut. The proximity of Germany; the importance of a Balance of Power; the ability of modern warfare to project itself on all a civilian population all make the Second World War seem more in Britain's interests than it was in America's. Our emotional attachment to the war effort is even stronger than it is in America, and for that reason the case against the Second World War will not be up for debate for a long time in the UK.

Still, I think I am quite sceptical of some of the decisions that were made, the overwhelming commitment to war that Churchill made which, in the process destroyed british power and raised up American and Soviet power, setting the stage for the Cold War. There could have been better outcomes for Britain, but as I said, the eventual result was not too bad.

This reply doesn't much directly deal with your questions, because I don't think they can be sensibly answered. We can only really consider the choices facing Britain and other nations beforehand, and I have a lot of sympathy for the non-interventionist side, and for the interventionist, as I explained above.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Compared to Asquith and George (none / 0) (#241)
by it certainly is on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:04:22 AM EST

Chamberlain was a hard-liner. If it weren't for the Great War, Ireland would be Ireland and we wouldn't be bitching at the Americans for paying the Irish to bomb us.

kur0shin.org -- it certainly is

Godwin's law [...] is impossible to violate except with an infinitely long thread that doesn't mention nazis.
[ Parent ]

China & Russia (none / 3) (#210)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 08:46:06 PM EST

China was a peasant backwater during WW2. They "went Red" because the Communists were the only force that had the political, idealogical and military will to crush the feudal warlords and bring needed reform to Chinese society.

Russia was days away from complete capitulation in 1941. Not only was the vast bulk of her industry under the Nazi yoke, but the country was reeling from the massive losses of military equipment and internal dissent. In many Soviet cities, Nazi troops were met by cheering crowds who lynched Soviet Commisars and burned Stalin in effigy.

Hitler, in a flash of "insight" decides to refocus his efforts on the seiges of Leningrad and Stalingrad rather than going for the throat. (Moscow). The resulting delay allowed newly formed Soviet units to be outfitted with British, American and scavenged equipment and be thrown to the front.


[ Parent ]

You're wrong on all points. (none / 3) (#291)
by tkatchev on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 01:02:48 PM EST

Your "history" is completely bogus. I'm not qualified to speak about China, but you are totally wrong about Russia on all points.

(For example, Hitler was smart to not attack Moscow right away -- at the time, almost all of the industry and government has been relocated to Siberia already; not only would he have suffered tremendous losses, he would have gained absolutely nothing in doing so. St.Petersburg and Volgograd have immensely more strategic value than Moscow. This was the mistake Napoleon made in 1812, BTW.)

   -- Signed, Lev Andropoff, cosmonaut.
[ Parent ]

Not entirely (none / 0) (#305)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 02:37:35 PM EST

He's right about the German troops being cheered as "liberators" when they first arrived... I don't know about Russia proper but it certainly happaned in the Ukraine and the Baltic states.
Alot of Eastern Europeans even enlisted in the German Army... you know the "Ost" battalions. Of course that was before the ethnic cleansing units showed up and people found out that Hitler was every bit as much a bastard as Stalin.

You are right about Moscow though, it would have been a symbolic victory, nothing else. But he has a point about Russia having been pushed very close to defeat. The mainstream historical view holds that the major mistake was that Hitler got embroiled in a pissing match in Stalingrad rather then bypassing the city and going straight for the prize... the Caucasion Oil Fields.

The main thing that turned it around for the Soviets was Winter (big surprise) and the fact that they got reliable intelligence that Japan was not going to attack thier Asian territories... which allowed them to deploy something like 40 Siberian divisions to the West.  

[ Parent ]

oh, sure (none / 2) (#306)
by Battle Troll on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 02:55:46 PM EST

Hitler, in a flash of "insight" decides to refocus his efforts on the seiges of Leningrad and Stalingrad rather than going for the throat. (Moscow).

Look how much Napoleon accomplished with that strategy.

Look, if you wanted to conquer the USA, pretty much the worst strategy imaginable would be to focus your efforts on occupying Washington, D.C., because by the time you got there, the government would be in Colorado preparing a counter-attack. It's ridiculous to imagine conquering a country merely by expelling its government from the capital.
--
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

Incorrect (none / 1) (#209)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 08:38:46 PM EST

The United States was attacking German Naval vessels on the high seas for months before any declaration of war.

The "neutral" American ships bringing ammunition and war supplies to Great Britain at vastly inflated war rates in the face of a total exclusion zone announced in advance by the German Navy.

Isolationism with regard to Europe was the American strategy overseas until 1916. The US imperialist movement started with the annexation of Hawaii and became paramount with the US entry in World War I.

[ Parent ]

The details (none / 0) (#371)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 10:30:50 AM EST

Your description is a little skewed. There was conflict in the North Atlantic prior to the U.S. entry in W.W.II but it wasn't a simple case of American agression. The details are here:

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/ops/docs/m33/m33c4con.html

Essentialy the U.S., being a neutral nation felt it had the right to ship goods to any nation it chose (i.e. Freedom of the High Seas). That has been a principle of U.S. foriegn policy since the country was founded.

Germany felt it had the right to sink vessels of ANY nation carrying supplies to Britain. In practice both sides edged thier way into an undeclared conflict rather then by overt decision.

Nevertheless, formal declaration of war was made by Hitler against the United States on December 11, 1941. Here is a url:

http://www.worldwar2database.com/html/us_war.htm

[ Parent ]

Was anyone here convinced by this? (3.00 / 7) (#79)
by waxmop on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:56:26 AM EST

Dude, you're creating a false dilemma by saying either we can be interventionist or we can be appeasers. Nobody is condoning terrorism or appeasing terrorists when they demand that any military action should be approved and run by the world community rather than one country. Non-interventionism is not appeasement. The Middle East is boiling over with resentment towards the US, but according to your theory, anything aimed at reducing where that hate comes from is somehow taking the coward's way out.

It's true that a few people will always have a fanatical desire to destroy the establishment, but they are only a threat when the masses get behind them. We can either change our foreign policy to get rid of the stuff that the masses are so angry about, or we can embrace a state of perpetual pre-emptive warfare. I know which one I prefer.

Furthermore, nobody in this administration really believes that idea that "they hate us for our freedom." That's just rhetoric for the useful idiots. Usama Bin Laden isn't Cobra Commander. Bin Laden had some very specific grievances against the US: we had military bases in Saudi Arabia, we propped up corrupt regimes (like, oh, say, Iraq), and we meddled too much in Middle East affairs. It's not appeasement to disagree with this pre-emptive war doctrine bullshit.
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
[ Parent ]

Listen (none / 2) (#92)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:07:02 PM EST

I'm NOT saying that interventioism is ALWAYS the way to go.... or that pursuing means to reduce tensions and resentment isn't a good strategy. That would be just as assinine as the position I was taking issue with.

The fact of the matter is that different strategies work for different situations. Some people you CAN reasonably negotiate with and come to a compromise solution. Some people will only use such negotiations to improve thier chances to stick a knife in your back. The trick is being able to identify which is which.

Yes, there are some things we could (and probably SHOULD) do to reasonably reduce tensions in the Middle East and reduce the base of support for radicals. However Radical Islam and Bin Laden are NOT people the West can reach a reasonable compromise solution with. I hate to break this to you, but they really do see this as a battle between Good and Evil, between the People of God and the People of Satan.... and in thier eyes we really are the Devil. They are not going to be willing live in peace with us.

Sure, there are some immediate demands that don't sound too unreasonable... remove troops from Saudi Arabia, stop support for certain regiemes. Those are just todays demands, however, they are a stepping stone toward his eventual goal.

Hitler pulled the same thing, if you recall. First it was "Remove the restrictions on Germany's armed forces", then "Let us reoccupy the Rhineland", then "Give us the Studetenland" the "Give use the rest of Czech", then "Give us Poland", etc   Each demand when acceded to only brought on more demands.

One of the problems with relying on the "world community" to make these sort decisions is that the "world community" rarely agrees on anything. Most nations have thier own vested interests that will trump whats best for the world as a whole.... others simply won't act on something that doesn't intimately involve them. Finaly, if you are refering to the U.N., it is a piss poor representation of the "world community" most of the member states are not democracies.....their U.N. ambassadors do NOT represent the interests of the people of the nation... they represent the interests of the despot who appointed the tyrant in the first place. The Czech's relied on the support of the rest of Western Europe in Munich... look where it got them.

Was Iraq the right decision? I really don't know, I think it was but I COULD be wrong. I think, the U.S., the people of Iraq and the World in general are better off without Saddam Hussien in power. The guy was an inhuman bastard. Was it worth the devisiveness to remove him in the way we did?.... I really don't know.

[ Parent ]

Ummm... (none / 1) (#230)
by JahToasted on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 01:08:05 AM EST

I hate to break this to you, but they really do see this as a battle between Good and Evil, between the People of God and the People of Satan.... and in thier eyes we really are the Devil. They are not going to be willing live in peace with us.

Who is this "they"? the muslims? or is it the Bush administration you're talking about? a few crackpots? and how do you know how "they" think? Do you have ESP?

I think that maybe you should look at why people let Hitler break the Treaty of Versailles and build an army. You know why? because there was this evil country called the Soviet Union and people figured a strong Germany would defeat this "evil" nation.

Now we got some people saying we should support the US because a strong US will defeat Terrorism. First they occuppy Afghanistan, nobody does anything. Then they take Iraq, there is some protest, but nobody really does anything about it.

Hmmm... interesting isn't it? So who is the bad guy in this story?

Let's just drop the history lesson, ok? You can find parallels with anything, so its pretty pointless trying to compare.

Finaly, if you are refering to the U.N., it is a piss poor representation of the "world community" most of the member states are not democracies.

Yeah, the UN isn't perfect. In fact there are a lot of problems with it. But hey, it's the best thing we've got. You know the Cold War didn't end in armageddon, so it can't be all bad.

The UN isn't a world democracy. Its there to keep nations talking and prevent them from shooting at each other. The US doesn't like it now specifically because its getting in the way of their shooting people.

Was Iraq the right decision?

I guess that all depends on whether or not Bush's plan (such that it is) works or not. We can't know that now, but it doesn't stop everyone from acting like they have all the answer.
______
"I wanna have my kicks before the whole shithouse goes up in flames" -- Jim Morrison
[ Parent ]

Answer (none / 1) (#295)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 01:26:02 PM EST

"Who is this "they"? the muslims? or is it the Bush administration you're talking about? a few crackpots? and how do you know how "they" think? Do you have ESP? "

"They" is Radical Islam. Please do not think I am some biggoted moron who thinks all Muslims are raving terrorists. The vast majority of Muslims are no different then the vast majority of Christians or Jews or Budhists or any other religion. But please do NOT try to pretend that Radical Islam is NOT a significant and powerfull faction in the Middle East. It's not just a few crackpot lone gunmen.  As for knowing what they "think", I don't have to.... all I have to do is listen to what they say, preach and write.... not the stuff they do for the consumption of Western reporters.... but the stuff intended for thier own follower. The stuff is readly availble, translated versions too... they don't even try to hide thier agenda.

Check out the post by davidennis in this same article if you want some direct quotes from these guys.

[ Parent ]

Bin Laden's grievances (none / 2) (#203)
by daviddennis on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:47:21 PM EST

After wading through a few of Bin Laden's fatwas, I'm still not sure why he hates our military presence in Saudi Arabia.  We are there, after all, at the invitation of the Saudis.  We are protecting his country against what was until recently the very real danger of attack from the Iraqi lunatic.

One clue seems to be that he offered to use his experience defending Afghanistan to create a similar defence system for Saudi Arabia.  It almost appears like he resents being turned down for that mission, which of course would have brought him much funds and glory.  No glory, he goes turncoat on his ex-friends.

The odds are pretty good that the Saudis were right to refuse him; conditions in Saudi Arabia are hugely different from Afghanistan, and most of them would appear to make mechanized war much easier.

It seems foolish to understate the power of a small, well-organized group of fanatics.  It didn't take the masses to do September 11th; it took (if my memory serves) something like 30 well-organized people and around half a million bucks.  There are plenty of people in the world who have that level of organizational skills and money, and as long as they're at large and keen on proving themselves, we're talking about real danger.

I must give conservative columnist Mark Steyn credit for finding this quote, which summarizes what we're talking about perfectly.  From a recent column of his:


If Islamic terrorism were as rational as Irish or Basque terrorism, it would be easier. But Hussein Massawi, former leader of Hezbollah, summed it up very pithily: "We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you." You can be pro-America (Spain, Australia) or anti-America (France, Canada), but if you broke into the head cave in the Hindu Kush and checked out the hit list you'd be on it either way.        

When you're dealing with that kind of enemy, I'd call appeasement a risky strategy at best.

And I think we did a genuinely great thing to get rid of the Iraqi lunatic.  Conditions from Iraq are not perfect, but a recent opinion poll disclosed that 70% of Iraqis are happy with their situation generally, and 56% see improvement since the war.  It's too bad this good news is so badly obscured by the press, who trumpets every setback and ignores the admittedly less dramatic steady progress in the country.

D
amazing.com has amazing things.
[ Parent ]

It's because they were propping up the Saudis (none / 1) (#375)
by Gully Foyle on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 11:28:22 AM EST

Bin Laden doesn't like the house of Saud. He wants to see regime change in Saudi Arabia even more than he wanted regime change in Iraq. He saw the US in Saudi Arabia propping up the regime (whether they were or not is a different question).

OT You, me, and Bin Laden all thnk we did a good thing getting rid of Hussein.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

I figured it out. (2.00 / 4) (#123)
by Innocent Bystander on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:33:27 PM EST

Conservatives are terrified because they think that everyone is secretly conservative.

[ Parent ]
Making people happy is what counts (2.75 / 4) (#198)
by kcbrown on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:32:38 PM EST

Liberals fail to understand one simple fact about the world. Some people will hate you NO MATTER what you do.

This is true, but it's also almost always irrelevant, at least in the context of dealing with terrorists (or, alternatively, the argument you're making comes from a misunderstanding of the "liberal" position. See below).

The reason it's irrelevant is twofold:

  1. Such people tend to be a very miniscule portion of the population they claim to represent. When deciding upon an action, the opinions that count are those of the majority of people in the affected population, not the opinions of the terrorists themselves.
  2. Because of (1), taking an action that is favored by the larger population but not favored by the terrorists will have two main effects:

    1. to cause the larger population to give less support to the terrorists
    2. to make it harder for the terrorists to recruit candidates from the larger population

You'll never be able to satisfy everyone, certainly, and nobody in their right mind would argue otherwise. But the argument the "liberals" are putting forth is that it's important to make sure that most people are happy with what you're doing. If you do something to piss off a large population, the terrorists will have a much easier time getting sympathy and support from that population and will ultimately prosper from it -- exactly the opposite of what you want. This is true even if your action was against the terrorists in question, and not intended to target the larger population.

Conversely, if you take actions that the target population favors, they will have a much easier time supporting you (note that you need to make sure that the target population knows that you're taking the action and that they do indeed believe it to be a good thing), and will have a more difficult time supporting the terrorists that oppose you -- and the terrorists will thus have a much harder getting support of any kind (money, recruits, etc.) from that population.

People have a much easier time backing someone they truly like, and will be more inclined to give that someone the benefit of the doubt. Remember, we're not talking about the behavior of politicians (who tend to be shallow and duplicitous, and will yank support for someone no matter how much they like them without giving it a second thought), but of people in the general population, who tend to be a little more emotional than that.

So the bottom line is that terrorism would be much less of an issue than it is if the governments targetted by terrorists did their best to do right by the populations their foreign policies affect, rather than to simply do whatever is most expedient in satisfying their own self-interest (and treat the affected populations as mere "inconveniences" and/or "collateral damage").

The Bush administration and their handling of the Iraq situation is proof that it's not enough to do the right thing -- you have to do it for the right reasons. If the Bush administration had declared that every despot was now living on borrowed time and essentially declared war on malevolent totalitarianism, and then (after establishing a track record of eliminating malevolent despotic regimes) invaded Iraq on that basis, the U.S. would be viewed with awe and admiration throughout the entire free world. The U.S. would have to establish a track record by apologizing for supporting such regimes in the past and then proceeding to take out smaller malevolent despotic regimes that clearly had nothing of direct benefit to the U.S. If the U.S. did that consistently and built up a track record of truly spreading and protecting freedom and self-determination around the globe, then terrorism against the U.S. would be almost nonexistent.

None of this should be much of a revelation. History has repeatedly shown that people in general are happiest when they're free to choose their lot in life. This is in large part why the U.S. managed to transform itself from a tiny English colony to the most powerful country on the planet in only a couple of centuries.

Of course, the U.S. should get its own house in order before going off and liberating a bunch of despotic countries. Sadly, it seems to be moving in exactly the opposite direction, towards oppression and fascism.

[ Parent ]

Yes and No (none / 0) (#292)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 01:03:54 PM EST

It's absolutely true that if you unneccesarly piss off a large portion of people that otherwise had no reason to hate you... you are creating problems for yourself.

That's what the whole "hearts and minds" strategy is all about...and it is criticaly important. On the other, don't try to pretend that what makes certain populations "happy" is an acceptable course of action to pursue.

In the 1930's all the U.S. had to do to make the Japanese populace "happy" was to continue to sell thier country oil and bullets so they could go off and slaughter millions of Chinese civilians. Had we done this, they never would have attacked Pearl Harbor and things would have been quite amicable between our nation and thiers. In fact, relations with Japan were quite good BEFORE we started the embargos and protests against Japanese agression in China. By your logic, we should have continued to sell arms and fuel to the Japanese in order to keep thier population "happy", even though they would use it to kill millions of Chinese. That IS the "liberal" arguement.

By the way, check out the opinion polls of the Iraqi people. The vast majority of them approved of the Coalition invasion of Iraq. The majority of them say that they are better off TODAY... even with the occupation forces still there and all the damage wrought by the offensive... then they were under Hussien. Pity stories like that never get much press.

[ Parent ]

Not what's happening in Iraq though (none / 0) (#376)
by Gully Foyle on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 11:32:21 AM EST

It does seem that the majority of Iraqis support the US invasion. The problem there appears to be that state control has disappeared, allowing existing terrorists to prosper. Basically the same thing is happening in Kurdistan, but they're attacking other people.

If you weren't picked on in school you were doing something wrong - kableh
[ Parent ]

on cause and effect (none / 3) (#208)
by gdanjo on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 08:12:22 PM EST

Liberals fail to understand one simple fact about the world. Some people will hate you NO MATTER what you do. They'll hate you because of the color of your skin. They'll hate you because you pray to a different god then them. They'll hate you because you happen to be sitting on a piece of land that they want. They'll attack you NO MATTER what you do. By trying to placate them you will only make them stronger and embolden them.
In each of these cases it was exploitation that preceded the hate. Slaves, mind-control, disposition - all preceded the hate that they fostered. Show me hate and I'll show you the exploitation that caused it.

And your suggestion that "other people suck" is a cop-out - you assume irrationality is a function of "something that I don't have". I am not convinced.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

I'm game (none / 2) (#289)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 12:40:56 PM EST

Exactly how did the Chinese exploit the Japanese people prior to WWII?

How did Jews, Gypsys, Homosexuals and other "undesirables" exploit the German people in the 1930's?

How did Native Americans exploit the Conquistadors?

How did the Kurds exploit Saddam Hussein and his Sunni supporters?

[ Parent ]

in all cases (none / 0) (#354)
by gdanjo on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 05:18:45 PM EST

Exactly how did the Chinese exploit the Japanese people prior to WWII?

How did Jews, Gypsys, Homosexuals and other "undesirables" exploit the German people in the 1930's?

How did Native Americans exploit the Conquistadors?

How did the Kurds exploit Saddam Hussein and his Sunni supporters?

The Japanese and the German's were exploited by their leaders; the Iraqi's exploited by Saddam. (don't know who the conquistadors are, but I'm sure they were after something) Remove the leaders - remove the exploitation - and the hate is removed.

Al-Qaeda is exploiting religion to further their goals, and we're handing them this opportunity on a platter by denouncing them as "irrationally evil" - they point this hate right back to us and say "see? I told you they think we're devils. They're irrational!"

People need a reason to hate - to think otherwise is to have an extremely dire outlook on humanity, and I won't stand for it.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Classic Liberal Bull (none / 1) (#369)
by CENGEL3 on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 09:53:06 AM EST

You're basicly falling back on the classic liberal standby - "No one is responsible for thier own actions."

I guess the Nazi guards who made lampshades out of human skin just didn't get enough hugs as kids?

I suppose the japanese officers who ordered thier men to perform bayonet practice on innocent Chinese civilians were just mislead.

Sorry pal, I won't stand for THAT.

People ARE responsible for thier own actions....and people CAN be capable of horrible atrocity.

It's not just a couple of crackpots pulling the strings of puppets. Hitler and the Millitarists in Japan never would have been able to do what they did if they didn't have popular support. Were people manipulated by propaganda?  Sure but they allowed themselves to be. There were plenty of voices warning against Hitler and the Militarists people CHOSE not to listen.

Now, that is not saying that every German or Japanese soldier was an evil bastard... not even among the senior officers.... but enough of them were.... and enough of the populace was willing to support them.

Finaly, back to the point... what does it matter?
You don't think the Jews tried to say... "Hey we're really not bad people. We're no threat to you... don't hate us"? What would it matter to them if the German populace had been "exploited" or not? It wasn't going to stop the Germans from shoving them into the gas chambers... and nothing the jews could do to appease the germans would stop that.

Same deal with Al-Qaeda. They aren't exploiting religion....they are practicing it. That IS what they believe... and nothing we do will change that. They ARE "irrationaly evil" and there really is only one way to deal with them. The only alternative is for the whole world to submit to live by Sharia law. I don't know about you, but I don't want to live in a world where you have to throw rocks at a woman if she appears in public without a male escort.

[ Parent ]

straw man (none / 0) (#393)
by gdanjo on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 01:39:15 AM EST

You're basicly falling back on the classic liberal standby - "No one is responsible for thier own actions."
And you're falling back on the classic conservative right-wing standby - "I know what you meant to say, I know what's right, and I know you're wrong."

I never even mentioned the word "responsible", and yet it is now at the centre of your attack on me. The German people are reposnsible for their own personal actions by definition! Personal actions are personal, and no "higher being", human or otherwise, can be used as an escape clause to your responsiblity of what you do.

My point, as you obviously missed it, is that if you want to remove the ability for people to "choose evil", you must remove that which tempts them. The other option is to say "no, leave the temptation where it is, if they go for it then there! See! Proof that they're evil! They must be destroyed!"

Would you teach a child in this way?

You don't think the Jews tried to say... "Hey we're really not bad people. We're no threat to you... don't hate us"? What would it matter to them if the German populace had been "exploited" or not? It wasn't going to stop the Germans from shoving them into the gas chambers... and nothing the jews could do to appease the germans would stop that.
But it does not follow that the Germans would still "act evil" if they were not exploited. If there were no reason for them to attack Jews - if there were no higher-order "evils" to goad them into it - then do you still believe it would have happened? If so, why is it not happening now?

You are right that once the ball started rolling then the Jews had very little control of the situation, but this is hardly earth-shattering news - they never had control of the situation at any point. But it does not follow that the situation could not have been prevented. Ergo, the evil is not inherent, it is inhereted.

Same deal with Al-Qaeda. They aren't exploiting religion....they are practicing it. That IS what they believe... and nothing we do will change that. They ARE "irrationaly evil" and there really is only one way to deal with them. [...]
That's because you allow Al-Qaeda to define what their religion is, and ignore all the moderates who say that's not what it is. Another classic conservative folly - define your enemy well so that you can bitch-slap that straw man and look like the hero.

It's quite pathetic, actually.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Your assumptions (none / 1) (#403)
by CENGEL3 on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 11:02:52 AM EST

You assume we (we meaning the West) have a monopoly over what other people think. You assume that we're simply not making an effort to convince people in the Arab world there is a better alternative. Guess what, you are wrong. Not only are you wrong but that's the number one reason Radical Islam considers us a prime enemy. Because we support the moderates, because we support things like education for women, because we offer an alternative to thier fundamentalist view of the world..... an alternative that happens to be appealing to a segment of thier society. We are a threat to them because they consider us a "corrupting influence". They DO "hate us for our Freedoms!". I'm sorry if that doesn't happen to fit in with your own world view, but it happens to be true. Read thier own damn literature if you don't believe me.

They don't hate us because we want thier oil. They don't even really hate us because of our support of Israel. Check out the real history of U.S. - Israeli relations... it hasn't been a history of unambigous support like most people assume. What "tempts them to choose evil" is the simple fact of our existance and the values we hold dear for ourselves. The only way we cam remove that "temptation" is by making women in our country wear burkas and refusing to teach them to read. I'm sorry, but that is not acceptable.

Clue for you... Al-Qaeda DOES define what thier religion is. Just like you or I define what our religion is.... just like moderate muslims define what thier religion is. People define for themselves what thier idealogy is... no one else can control that. Other people can make a pitch.... and WE DO MAKE A PITCH to the Islamic World.... and Islamic moderates DO MAKE A PITCH.... but at the end of the day people are going to decide for themselves what idealogy they follow... and wahibists become wahibists because that is what they've chosen for themselves... not because there is no alternative.

-----------------------------------
"My point, as you obviously missed it, is that if you want to remove the ability for people to "choose evil", you must remove that which tempts them. The other option is to say "no, leave the temptation where it is, if they go for it then there! See! Proof that they're evil! They must be destroyed!"
------------------------------------

Your point is COMPLETELY INVALID. Because guess what.... the real world is IMPERFECT. There are ALWAYS going to be temptations. There is ALWAYS going to be the ability to "choose evil". It is a practical impossibilty to remove that option. Being human means having the ability to make choices... that includes the possibility to make bad choices too. Being a decent and responsible  human means making decent and responsible choices... even when there are temptations.

I know the liberal utopia is to coat the entire world in safety foam and treat everyone like a 3 year old with no possibility of making choices for themselves.... aside from that being a completely hellish and dehumanizing existance, it's also a practical impossibility. You can't make a world where those sort of temptations don't exist.

[ Parent ]

righteous (none / 0) (#406)
by gdanjo on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 09:12:08 PM EST

Clue for you... Al-Qaeda DOES define what thier religion is. [...]
So the bible-thumpers define what your religion is? Can you see how easy it would be for non-christians to hate you if they assumed you're a bible-thumper? It's as easy as us hating "them" for the beliefs of Al-Qaeda. You're giving Al-Qaeda more "power" then they deserve, because you need to justify our hatred for them, as well as all other Arabs.

Al-Qaeda can define what it wants - the Koran defines what most muslims beleive their religion is. It is not for you to decide who's interpretation is "definite."

Your point is COMPLETELY INVALID. Because guess what.... the real world is IMPERFECT. There are ALWAYS going to be temptations. There is ALWAYS going to be the ability to "choose evil". It is a practical impossibilty to remove that option. [...]
Does your definition of freedom include the freedom to have all-pervasive evil constantly tempt us, and only the Righteous who Deny their Temptation are right? That people must be "tested" against this temptation for them to be "worthy" of not being called evil? Sounds familiar... doesn't the christian God do this on a regular basis in the bible(s)? Looks like your glasses are coloured Christian. Some people believe there are other ways to deal with Evil - that it is not inherent in any person - rather than assume everyone is evil and only the Righteous may "break out of it."

How about this: it's practically possible to remove the temptation - Hitler was removed, the hatred was removed. It hasn't gone 100%, but it's practically gone.

You allow that the world is imperfect - why do you not allow my definition of "removing the choice" to be imperfect?

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Defining religion (none / 0) (#409)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Mar 23, 2004 at 09:11:55 AM EST

So the bible-thumpers define what your religion is?
No, but they define what THEIR religion is. The extremists, whether Christian, Muslim, or whatever, truly believe the stuff their spouting. To Bin Laden and his followers, suicide bombing is part of their religion. My neighbor, Achmed, might not agree with that, but we're not talking about him or the other peaceful Muslims. They aren't the problem. The extremists are.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Like talking to a brick wall (none / 1) (#410)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 23, 2004 at 12:32:30 PM EST

People define for themselves what thier own idealogy is... that goes for you, me and everyone else on the planet. What part of that do you not get?

I'm not saying that Al-Qaeda defines religion for ALL Muslims. ALL Muslims aren't the problem. ALL Muslims don't hijack airplanes and fly them into skyscrappers full of innocent people... Al-Qaeda's followers do. Al-Qaeda defines religion for the people who chose to follow it. It's not because they haven't been offered any alternatives, that's the alternative they've CHOSEN for themselves. You, I and the moderates can tell them that's not what the Koran preaches until we are blue in the face... it doesn't matter to them. They have thier minds made up and they aren't going to change them.

You CAN'T remove that temptation from them..... anymore then you can remove the temptation of racism from the human species. Why? Because it is an idea which exists in peoples minds. As long as people have control over thier own minds and thoughts they are going to have the facility to chose to succumb to those temptations. You can offer people an alternative idea... and hope that it is convincing enough that they'll buy into it.
But at the end of the day, everyone will make the choice for themselves..... and some people will make the wrong choice. Some people will choose to hijack planes and fly them into skyscrappers full of innocent people.... and the only thing you can do about those people is eliminate them.

MY definition of freedom is the freedom to make choices for yourself. But that is irrelavent. You act like you think we have some control over whether people will be "tempted to evil".... we don't. You act like you think we CAN remove those temptations.... we CAN'T. It's not me or anyone else that is stopping you.... it's REALITY that is rearing it's ugly head.

We CAN and SHOULD remove specific practitioners of evil. We CAN and SHOULD present alternative arguements to evil. But if you think that removes the temptation itself, even "practicaly" removes the temptation you are living in a fantasyland of your own imagine.

[ Parent ]

belief (none / 0) (#414)
by gdanjo on Tue Mar 23, 2004 at 06:11:31 PM EST

This thread is contorting far beyond it's original intent; and it seems you're reading far more from my words than I state or intend.

In fact, I have never offered an opinion of what should or shouldn't be done - I was merely stating that no-one is inherently evil and to think so it intelectual lazyness, or just out and out cynicism. It means you are not looking deep enough for reasons of why shit is happening around us.

So before you put more words in my mouth, let me state what I do and do not believe - I believe we, the west, have contributed to the hatred of us in many and varied ways. I do not believe we "deserved" the terrorist acts. I believe that we can prevent further terrorism by easing the pain felt by the moderates that surround the terrorists. I do not believe we should lay down and surrender our freedom or lifestyle. I believe that the terrorists that currently hate us will probably always hate us, but thankfully they will one day die and take their hatred with them - just as the "power people" in the west will one day die and bury their black-and-white glasses and cynicism with them. This, however, will not happen if we allow the hate to transpose from the terrorists to the children. I do not believe that the children of the terrorists are inherently evil, but we need to prove to them that the teachings of their fathers is wrong - not by telling them, but by showing them - by helping them get an education, not by hunting their father's - unless they held the box-cutters.

I am an optimist, and am merely trying to disprove your lazy cynicism (that some people are evil, no matter what).

We CAN and SHOULD remove specific practitioners of evil. [...]
And to stop us creating more specific practitioners of evil, we should do more - and assume less (like, not assume that their kids will be evil).

Evil is a contradictory concept. Be very careful when using it, cause it's powerful stuff.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Furthermore (none / 1) (#411)
by CENGEL3 on Tue Mar 23, 2004 at 12:52:03 PM EST

What makes you assume I "hate all Arabs"? Clue for you, I don't... not even remotely.

I do hate those Arabs who choose to plant bombs in railroad stations and fly planes into skyscrappers.... and I hate those who choose to support them. A small but significant subset of the Arab population.  You're trying to pretend like those people are going to go away if we just close our eyes and make a wish. You are trying to pretend that all it will take for them to stop what they are doing is for some-one to walk up to them and give them a big hug.

It doesn't work that way. The only way to convince them to stop what they are doing is for us all to die.....or for the entire world to submit to live under thier rules. Neither of those are acceptable options. But if you are so enamored of that concept, by all means please roll over and bare your throat to them.... just let the rest of us know where to send the remains.

[ Parent ]

huh? (none / 0) (#415)
by gdanjo on Tue Mar 23, 2004 at 06:13:45 PM EST

What makes you assume I "hate all Arabs"? Clue for you, I don't... not even remotely.
Again, you put words in my mouth. Where did I say that you hate arabs? I said we - the west - hate them.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Well then.... (none / 0) (#417)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Mar 24, 2004 at 10:08:19 AM EST

YOU are wrong. WE do NOT hate ALL arabs.... and as a constituant of WE (i.e. the West) I take considerable exception to your blanket characterization of OUR attitude.

It MAY have held some water in the 13th century (although not even uniformly then) but this is hardly the 13th century.

Oh and in case you haven't noticed, WE also happen to number a fair number of arabs among our own ranks. Including, coincidentaly, the officer currently in command of Coalition operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.... Gen. John Abizaid.  

[ Parent ]

feelings (none / 0) (#418)
by gdanjo on Wed Mar 24, 2004 at 05:37:13 PM EST

YOU are wrong. WE do NOT hate ALL arabs.... and as a constituant of WE (i.e. the West) I take considerable exception to your blanket characterization of OUR attitude.
As a contituant of the west, you do not get to say how the west "feels" about Arabs. You get to put in your two cents - your "vote" if you like - by the actions you take, and the attitude you have on the Arab people. How the west "feels" about Arabs is a function of how we treat them and how they feel we treat them, as a whole. Otherwise, we can "say" what we want and "do" what we don't say, and just keep perpetuating the hate "we" have for them by continuing to treat them like shmucks - which is kinda what the west does all the time, but anyway ...

Oh and in case you haven't noticed, WE also happen to number a fair number of arabs among our own ranks. Including, coincidentaly, the officer currently in command of Coalition operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.... Gen. John Abizaid.
Again, I'm not saying it's a personal hate based on some internal feeling - we can always feel one way about a person and treat that person completely the opposite; you know, hurt the one you love? Well, you don't get to do that when you amalgamate millions of people's feelings into one conglomorate called "the west" - here, "we" are judged by "our" actions.

And please don't start on about how "good" we treat them - "like, we liberated them and stuff! They're freedom now!" That won't wash with me so don't even bother.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

Well put! Politicians follow the money not votes (none / 3) (#90)
by jcarr on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:00:01 PM EST

I agree with what you posted. Perhaps the EU leaders that acted against the will of thier people did so because that's how politicians are. They know one thing: they luckily got into power and if they appease the current money interests for they time they are there, they can be setup with lucrative jobs after they are out of office. The populous is fickle and can turn on anyone.

If the republicans were consistant, they would have bombed Michigan and the US Army headquarters after Timothy McViegh blew up the Oklahoma City building.

[ Parent ]

That *is* capitulation. (none / 2) (#134)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:27:25 PM EST

Sorry, but if your idea of a prudent foreign policy is to do whatever it takes to keep you on the periphery of the target zone for terrorism, then you are advocating capitulation of terrorism. Why? Because terrorism is not defined by a focused set of demands. If terrorists for one cause see the success of terrorists for another cause, then terrorism becomes the predominant means to various ends, and staying on the periphery of that becomes a full time job.
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[ Parent ]

*We* are being stupid? (none / 0) (#183)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:50:47 PM EST

That's an endless, pointless argument that you make. Which stupid act was the first: Iraq War II, Afghan War II, 9/11, Iraq War I, Afghan War I, etc., etc.
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[ Parent ]

Re: Stupid acts (none / 1) (#207)
by ka9dgx on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 08:09:24 PM EST

Uhmmm... training Tim Osman a.k.a. UBL.. a.k.a Osama Bin Laden, and giving him support.... that was just plain stupid.

--Mike--

[ Parent ]

Why? (none / 0) (#218)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 09:50:59 PM EST

He was proving to be a useful ally against the Soviets in Afghanistan. Is it the USA's fault he turned out to be an untrustworthy son-of-a-bitch? People like you are quick to attribute bad decision-making to the USA, but you treat UBL and his ilk as if they were predestined to become evil. In this way, you forgive them and hold America culpable. That's idiotic, IMO.
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[ Parent ]

WW2 (none / 0) (#268)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:09:26 AM EST

It would be like siding with Germany in WWII, because "It would prove to be a useful ally against the USSR and Stalin".
We actually did the reverse. We KNEW Stalin was an evil SOB, but he was our ally against Hitler.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Congratulations, Spain (2.41 / 12) (#44)
by imrdkl on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:34:29 AM EST

The power of democracy has rarely been so clearly evidenced. The truth cannot be hidden, and will not be delayed from those who seek it with determination. Hold on to the truth now, and avoid the hatred and rage which can only tarnish your great victory, and disrespect the memory of those who died.

now (none / 2) (#72)
by Cackmobile on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:49:11 AM EST

If only the people of the US can do the same!

[ Parent ]
By the way... (none / 1) (#135)
by SPYvSPY on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:31:45 PM EST

...this is the best thing that ever happened to GWB. If there was any curiosity brewing the USA that would motivate people to vote the left into power, it will be entirely deflated by the utter and total failure of the new Spanish government to protect its people from the demands of terrorism. Simply put: Spain votes, terrorism wins, the left outside Spain suffers, GWB wins. Quote me on it.
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[ Parent ]

Haw Haw Haw! (none / 2) (#140)
by imrdkl on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:40:10 PM EST

You pathetic, simpering little sleazebag. Here's a quote for you,

Cockroaches Run from a Bright and Shining Light

Now, you and your bootlicking friends can scurry away and think about that for awhile.

[ Parent ]

Interesting to see... (2.81 / 11) (#47)
by mjfgates on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:12:19 AM EST

This article makes it sound as though the PP government managed to damage themselves by insisting that the bombings were committed by Basques. If they'd started by saying, "We need to figure out who did this," and then simply reported new evidence as it turned up, would there have been demonstrations in the street? I can't tell, but it doesn't sound like it.

I'd say something about how it's harder for politicians to lie these days, but I live in a country that has passed the "No Child Left Behind Act" and the "Cleaner Skies Initiative" in the past year, so it kind'a sticks in the throat.

I think we would have not marched then (3.00 / 4) (#50)
by malkuth on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:14:35 AM EST

I'm quite sure we would not have marched if they had told the truth from the beginning: the marches were illegal (as it was the "reflection day") and there was a high risk on being detained: it was an extreme reaction against the government as they were trying to hide by all means the truth of what happened before the elections day. It would have not been justified to break that rule if we didn't feel the democratic rules were already broken by the strong propaganda against the islamic link, even in that same "reflection day". It was a way of pressing the government to admit the truth.

[ Parent ]
Was it really illegal? (2.80 / 5) (#56)
by lordpixel on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:59:50 AM EST

It sounds to me that you were not personally marching for partisan reasons. I'm sure some in the crowd were, but the way you tell it the crowd mostly wanted the truth from the Government.

There's a difference between a march on "reflection day" promoting the opposition party (clearly illegal), and marching to ask the current government to tell the truth about an attack (not directly political).

I'm sure that argument would not have prevented anyone from being arrested, but it may well have held up in court later.

I am the cat who walks through walls, all places and all times are alike to me.
[ Parent ]

Yes, they were illegal. (none / 3) (#242)
by Quique on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:35:45 AM EST

The marches were illegal because of two reasons:
  • they had not been communicated to the authorities (they were spontaneous, not organized by anyone)
  • the Central Electoral Committe said these demos couldn't be held on the reflection day, and said they should be investigated (and punished).
IMHO, this time ethics and law didn't come together.

[ Parent ]
Al Qaeda has done the right thing (1.00 / 12) (#53)
by Pig Hogger on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:47:56 AM EST

Al Qaeda has done the right thing: prop-up Democracy the right way: away from supporting puppet governments that suck-up to the USA.

People who suck-up to the powerful deserve no respect, and they get none, especially from the ones they sucker-up to.

Of course, then there will be the usual american/anglo-saxon/bourgeois destabilization campaigns against Spain, for the bourgeois cannot stand that the people would want make their OWN DECISIONS, especially if those decisions do not bring more money/power into their pockets.
--

Somewhere in Texas, a village is missing it's idiot

what b-movie world do you live in? (nt) (none / 3) (#54)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:51:13 AM EST



The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
propaganda at work (1.66 / 18) (#58)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:07:51 AM EST

if the 11-M bombings never happened, the conservatives in spain would still have had their asses handed to them

why?

tracking polls clearly showed the conservatives were deeply unpopular with the people due to aznar's support of the war in iraq

so what did al qaeda do?

they planted a bomb a few days before the vote, and the inevitable happened: all of the armchair low-intelligence assholes out there are saying this: "spain capitulates to terrorists"

or: "The bombs of Iraq explode in Madrid"

you fucking morons: al qaeda wins the propaganda war for all of the idiots out there, pro- and anti-war in iraq, when you see al qaeda controlling the polls in spain

the fact is if al qaeda had done nothing, the exact same results would have occured in spain, see?

al qaeda can never be seen as powerful, and they are powerful in this case only if you feed into a low-intelligence cause and effect reading of events in spain

so what really happened? al qaeda threw a rock at a skyscraper that was long scheduled to be demolished, and when it fell, they say "see! look how powerful al qaeda is! we can demolish a building by throwing a rock!" when in fact they did nothing but noted that the building was scheduled to be demolished

it's like right before a long-scheduled eclipse all astronomers knew about months before, al qaeda says "today, al qaeda will block out the sun!" and when the sun disappears due to the long-scheduled eclipse, all you stupid assholes go "ooooh! look how powerful al qaeda is!"

only in the mind of low-intelligence assholes everywhere, eager to feed into simple cause and effect propaganda that heightens the role of al qaeda in the world, is al qaeda seen as powerful and controlling spanish elections

pro-america? anti-america? whatever

pro-aznar? anti-aznar? whatever

pro-bush? anti-bush? whatever

pro-war in iraq? anti-war in iraq? whatever

whatever your ideology: YOU SHOULD ALL BE ANTI-AL QAEDA, obviously, and you should stop fucking feeding into the al qaeda propaganda machine so eagerly

that's what al qaeda wants, to be seenas powerful, and in your hatred for the us, you happily give it to them

fine, hate the us, it doesn't matter, but please hate al qeada more and do NOT GIVE THEM A FUCKING VICTORY IN THE PROPAGANDA WAR

if you read the real situation in spain, you can see what al qaeda wanted to do, what it did, and you see all the low-intelligence types jumping on the al qaeda hype machine

if your hatred of the us is greater than the hatred of al qaeda, and there are enough of you low-intellgence types out there, then terrorism really does win, and more innocents will be murdered, because you show how easily you can be manipulated by terrorism and how eagerly you are to buy low-intelligence propaganda

please hate al qaeda more than the us, and deny them this propaganda victory, if only for the sake of victims of terrorism to come


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Simply Not True (none / 2) (#61)
by the trinidad kid on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:23:56 AM EST

You said:
tracking polls clearly showed the conservatives were deeply unpopular with the people due to aznar's support of the war in iraq
Actually opinion polls showed the PP on 41-42% throughout the start of this year, and the PSOE on 37-38% (Source todays Financial Times - paper edition, not online).

The final result was almost exactly reversed PSOE 43%, PP 38% - which is a massive swing of 8% - 10% over the last few days.

[ Parent ]
Irrelevant. . . (none / 1) (#64)
by Pop Top on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:28:02 AM EST

The original point still stands.

We MUST refute the allegation that the vote was for appeasement, otherwise we encourage further terror. Government lying is a better explanation, anyways.

[ Parent ]

Wow! You are spot on, dude! (none / 2) (#62)
by Pop Top on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:26:09 AM EST

If pundits spin the election as "appeasement" al Qaeda will have won a great media and public relations victory.

If the final story gets spun showing the election as turning on Spanish outrage at their government LYING (by too rapidly saying the Basques/Eta were responsible) and thereby milking a tragedy for political gain al Qaeda gains nothing in the media or public relations campiagn.

How we tell the story matters as mucha s what happened.

Right wing pundits are bin Laden's best tool in the current situation.

[ Parent ]

What I think. (none / 0) (#69)
by darthaya on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:40:06 AM EST

Do you think Spanish government doesn't know that appearing "appeasing the terrorists" is a BAD thing? Do you think all other European governments don't know?

I would think that they would start rounding up the terrorist suspects in their own countries now, because they can not appear to be weak, they can not afford to.

[ Parent ]

Right! This calls for immediate discussion! (none / 2) (#138)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:37:12 PM EST

Yeaahhh ..

Yeah, Europeans are getting tough ..

http://abcnews.go.com/wire/World/ap20040315_421.html

They are going to formulate an official common definition of the word "terrorism".

Hehehe.

I can't escape the thought that their newly found resolve is a bit reminiscent of this : http://www.mwscomp.com/movies/brian/brian-21.htm


[ Parent ]

you know nothing (2.75 / 8) (#78)
by noproblema on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:56:26 AM EST

about Spain, al Qaeda and the world in general. That is a FACT.

But you feel free to insult all the people that don't think as you.

fucking morons
stupid assholes
idiots out there
low-intelligence assholes
Also you think that you can recommend us that we (low-intelligence guys) must think, say and do. Thanks, we can arrange from ourselfs. We can get our own conclusions and we can fix our own priorities.

Talking for myself. I don't need a war. And specially I don't need a war agains an enemy that I can't see, that I can't talk to, and that I don't know if it exists really. I don't think that al-Qaeda or terrorism is more dangerous or have a higher priority than wars, powerty, famine, disease, forced migrations (economically or politically)

About the US, one thing, the elections in Spain have no relation with the United States. No party has made mention of the US in the campaign. Nothing. NADA.

[ Parent ]

i don't think (none / 2) (#159)
by vivelame on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:12:15 PM EST

he xas insulting the spanish people... if i got him right (and sometimes it's hard), he was refering to the republicans out there who think that Spain has caved in to Al Qaeda.

I may be wrong, tho.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]

what you said: i wasn't insulting spanish people (none / 1) (#357)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 06:29:49 PM EST

i was insulting the low intelligence lemmings who happily buy into the lowest common denominator propaganda about al qaeda affecting the spanish elections

some are spanish, some are french, some are american, etc...


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

i'm sorry to inform you that (none / 1) (#380)
by vivelame on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 05:37:00 AM EST

while, indeed, some low intelligence lemmings are french, those one don't buy the "al qaeda won the spanish elections" line.


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
i've travelled the world and the seven seas (none / 1) (#397)
by circletimessquare on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 12:37:11 PM EST

and i've found that stupidity is equal opportunity

everywhere you go in the world, there is an equal ratio of smart people to dumb people


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Somewhere in there... (none / 2) (#86)
by JohnnyCannuk on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:31:37 PM EST

...amongst the gravel and sand of four-letter words and troll-bait are a few nuggets of golden truth..

Shit, that's twice in one year I have agreed with circletimesquare. Something strange is happening...I'm actually starting to like the guy!

Next thing you know, I'll have a goatee and be talking about getting apromotion by assasinaing my boss....

See my earlier post, I think you've got it bang on brother...
We have just religion enough to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another - Jonathan Swift
[ Parent ]

how did you know i have a goatee? (none / 1) (#356)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 06:27:52 PM EST

(looks over shoulder in paranoid fear)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Mate, (none / 2) (#133)
by CaptainZapp on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:12:33 PM EST

You should stop listening to Ann Coulter.

[ Parent ]
i hate that bitch (none / 1) (#273)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:32:28 AM EST

you confuse me with someone else

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
propaganda (none / 1) (#204)
by gdanjo on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:53:36 PM EST

if your hatred of the us is greater than the hatred of al qaeda, and there are enough of you low-intellgence types out there, then terrorism really does win, and more innocents will be murdered, because you show how easily you can be manipulated by terrorism and how eagerly you are to buy low-intelligence propaganda
The funny thing about "propaganda wars" is that, unlike "real wars", the little guy has the bigger arsenal - inversly proportional to the "real" arsenal of the opposition.

Welcome to the real world, my friend - where every X has an equal and opposite X. The west in general is reaching the limits of power, and is facing a gambit - that of when to use such power; that while "being powerful" is obviously advantageous, using your power can be a disadvantage, as all powers in history have found out (the hard way).

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

al qaeda is not robin hood (none / 3) (#286)
by circletimessquare on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 12:17:58 PM EST

al qaeda is not robin hood you dumb fuck

if the us disappeared into a lake tomorrow, al qaeda would not throw a party and then become pastoral sheep herders, they would go right on with their purderous bigotted agenda

imagine that: al qaeda with an agenda all of it's own, not some mirror image of the west

i hate stupid low intelligence fucks like you


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

emotion (none / 1) (#353)
by gdanjo on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 05:08:26 PM EST

You obviously misunderstood what I was saying. I'm merely stating that the "little" guy has power that is inversely proportional to the "big" guy, due to the fact that big guys have a tendency to overuse their power. I make no moral judgement on it.

i hate stupid low intelligence fucks like you
Myself, I like low intelligence fucks ... they're fun.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

i am an arrogant ass (none / 1) (#355)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 06:25:49 PM EST

and proud of it

i am also right

the "little guy" you are referring to in this context can be no other than al qaeda

in a different discussion, in a different place, i would agree with you wholeheartedly

but in this discussion?

in this thread you shall hear nothing but expletives from my mouth in your direction for what you say and not understanding it's inappropriateness and flat out being wrong in this context

you stupid fuck!

;-P


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

but (none / 1) (#363)
by gdanjo on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 09:26:32 PM EST

in a different discussion, in a different place, i would agree with you wholeheartedly
Do you find this even a little scary? What you're saying (in a computing metaphor) is that function A applies to all numbers except 42. No reason, just don't use 42.

I too find myself having a list of "exceptions" to my "philosophical rules", but the problem is that I cannot justify them, and getting rid of the exceptions leads bizzare and scary conclusions.

This is all fine and well, until you realise that the exceptions themselves are arbitrary - suddenly, you can understand why the rich fucker is such a prick; you can understand why some countries step on others; you can understand why we fuck this world up so much - it's the exceptions to each person's "philosophical rules" designed to keep (and add to) the momentum of their success. The US does it, the terrorists do it.

Hence my conclusion that somehow, even amid all these exceptions, the universe tends to iron out inequalities by skewing the rules as required - the big guy, who theoretically should be able to keep his "power momentum" go on forever, is always defeated; the little guy is given an unusual "boost" to help their cause. It's a strange fucked up world - but perhaps it's trying to tell us something: you can't hold on to everything all the time. Or, the harder you hold onto something, the further it moves from from your grasp.

But that's just my ranty opinion.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

life and morality is fractal (none / 1) (#364)
by circletimessquare on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 10:03:21 PM EST

there is an exception to every rule

and in fact, there should be an exception to every rule: not out of expediency or selfishness, but for reasons of morality

so morality is fractal: an endless infinite series of exceptions to rules and exceptions to exceptions and exceptions to exceptions to exceptions, etc...

those who adhere to a few strong rules are not moral, they are intolerant, dumb, stupid, they make the world less beautiful with their unbending allegiance to a rough template for life that does not fit life's fractal reality

you never nurder someone, right?

well, there is an exception: you murder them if they are going to murder you

and there is an exception to that: you don't murder someone who is going to murder you if you have a pathogen in you which will kill billions if you live

and there is an exception to that...

etc...

life and morality is fractal

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

exceptions (none / 1) (#365)
by gdanjo on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 11:37:23 PM EST

you never nurder someone, right?

well, there is an exception: you murder them if they are going to murder you

But this is no longer murder, it's killing to prevent murder - you're confusing "kill" with "murder". Yes, there are always exceptions to rules that are not actually rules (thou shalt not kill cannot be a rule since we need to kill plants and animals to survive). The special case of "kill" - to murder - has no possible exceptions.

The tendency to accept exceptions - "oh come on, be pragmatic!" - is a fallacy that we do not accept in our most successful endevours - science, mathematics, etc. - why do we accept it in "reality"?

life and morality is fractal
Life and morality is a sphere - fractals do not terminate.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

morality is fractal (none / 1) (#367)
by circletimessquare on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 02:16:11 AM EST

it is an infinite set of rules

you cannot live your life perfectly, therefore, you cannot be 100% moral

it is impossible: you are human

most of us attempt to go from 99.99% perfect to 99.999% perfect our entire lives

it is those who dumb things down, who see only the big dumb rules without exceptions to them, that ruin the beauty of life, ruin it's complexity

when you oversimplify life, you destroy it, you destroy beauty, you lay waste to all around you

simply because you have no appreciation for how complex life and morality is


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

beauty (none / 1) (#394)
by gdanjo on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 02:45:08 AM EST

it is those who dumb things down, who see only the big dumb rules without exceptions to them, that ruin the beauty of life, ruin it's complexity
Complexity is not beautiful. A fractal is not complex, it is simple - it just happens to repeat and so looks complex. It is the very people who "dumb things down" that allow more people to see beauty in the seemingly complex. Dumbing things down should makes things more beautiful, not less - if not, then it wasn't beautiful to begin with.

when you oversimplify life, you destroy it, you destroy beauty, you lay waste to all around you

simply because you have no appreciation for how complex life and morality is

So it is the fault of dumb people that the world sucks? That's bullshit. If intelligence is required to appreciate the beauty in complexity, then you'll need to convince everyone to be intelligent. If you need intelligence to be convinced that you need intelligence, then intelligence is not the answer - you cannot prove X to be true by assuming X is true.

Perhaps, instead of just complaining about how everyone should change to appreciate your worldview, you should "dumb down" your morals to appreciate the beauty of "unification" - that we can have simple, robust rules to govern our morality instead of accepting that complexity and unpredictable, arbitrary changes are somewhow "beautiful".

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

in a society of regimented rules (none / 1) (#396)
by circletimessquare on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 11:43:14 AM EST

where everyone must abide by a certain behavior, everyone is the same, nothing is interesting

in a world where rules are fractal, and human behavior is allowed to follow it's natural course, so that every individual grows a different organic behavior, then the world is beautiful: complex, interesting, where some of those individuals discover great things, do great art, great science, beautiful things... only in this complex world is there beauty

in a world where society is regimented into simple behavior, a world that is stagnant, dead, ugly, sad, dreary: you can only be heterosexual, you can only be catholic, you can only be moslem, here are the ten commandments, you can only be a true german member of the fatherland, work only for mother russia never for yourself, do not disober the cultural revolution you counterrevolutionary, do not defy the spanish inquisition, allah ackbar abide by the intifadah... ugliness in the world, simple minded men insisting everyone in the world act a certain way, instead of allowing them to be who they want to be, who they were meant to be, organically, fractally, without a rigid, unyeildingh template for "good behavior"

these are the formulas for the end od civilization, for a new dark ages: regmented, simple behavior (usually from religious fundamentalism nowadays)

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

rules (none / 1) (#398)
by gdanjo on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 05:30:10 PM EST

in a world where society is regimented into simple behavior, a world that is stagnant, dead, ugly, sad, dreary: you can only be heterosexual, you can only be catholic [...]
You mistake my interpretation of beautiful, simple moral rules. What you list are the rules of status quo, which is to "keep the rules as is, cause I have power and I want to keep it." These rules are not simple as I define it - they're complex because they're full of intricate self-contradictions which must be ironed out. What you list is the exact complexity that I abhor.

My view of "simple" rules is just that - simple generic rules as the basis of other more specific ones, but all conforming to a standard set of goals such that we avoid the inconsistencies and self-contradictions. This can't be done "fractally."

these are the formulas for the end od civilization, for a new dark ages: regmented, simple behavior (usually from religious fundamentalism nowadays)
Bullshit. Wild animals have (in my opinion, complex) fractal rules (since they differentially change as time passes by) - ie. there are no fixed rules. When we monkey's figured out to place arbitrary, binding (and, at the time, consistent) rules, through the concept of "God's," we literally inherited the earth.

Perhaps what you mean to say is that the old rules will "hold back" civilisation in the future, and here I agree - the "fixed" complex rules of theism won't do. But it does not follow that we should break them up into arbitrary fractal fragments, cause then we're following the old-old rules of the jungle.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

rules (none / 1) (#401)
by circletimessquare on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 03:14:48 AM EST

no simple set of rules is without contractions

there is no such thing as a set of simple rules to live by that does not have contradicitons

you cannot ever give me a simple set of rules that does not bludgeon an aspect of human existence in order to propagate itself, thus enforcing it's ugliness

you iron out the contradictions in a simple set of rules by allowing for exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions, ad nauseum

you start with your simple rules, you apply the fractally digergent exceptions, and you begin to approach perfection, beauty, as close to perfect justice and morality as human beings can get... just going from 99.99% perfect morality to 99.999% propbably might mean a tenfold increase in complexity of rules

and this is necessary, and this is good: complexity begets beauty begets wealth begets happiness

simplicity is simple-mindedness, fundamentalism, closed-mindedness, narrowness, reactionary life


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

exceptions (none / 0) (#404)
by gdanjo on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 05:53:40 PM EST

you cannot ever give me a simple set of rules that does not bludgeon an aspect of human existence in order to propagate itself, thus enforcing it's ugliness
You mean like "don't murder" bludgeon's our instict to want to murder? And where does "don't murder" have any contradictions? It should be a universal law.

Now, if you introduce "don't murder, unless the person is bad" then you begin your slippery slope descent with your complex contradictions - what's "bad"? Is it eye for an eye? Or can we gouge an eye for an leg? Is there an age limit to when we should be able to start to murder someone? And so on.

Simple: "don't murder", complex: "except ...".

you iron out the contradictions in a simple set of rules by allowing for exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions, ad nauseum
What rules govern the exceptions? Or are they arbitrary?

The problem is that the exceptions will invariably favour the ones in power - this is how those in power keep the momentum. This is how stupid ideas, like "how to think" (e.g. religion), are able to keep keep and propagate momemtum over millenia. Each time we find a way that the prominent thinking is contradictory, a new exception is added.

[...] just going from 99.99% perfect morality to 99.999% propbably might mean a tenfold increase in complexity of rules
"99% perfect" is the same as "100% imperfect." Perfection is not a goal.

and this is necessary, and this is good: complexity begets beauty begets wealth begets happiness
Complexity begets momentum.

simplicity is simple-mindedness, fundamentalism, closed-mindedness, narrowness, reactionary life
Simplicity exposes contradictions in the complex - which must get ever-more complex to keep ahead of the simple. The simple, sublime, elegant always wins in the end.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

simplicity is injustice (none / 0) (#408)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 23, 2004 at 12:34:09 AM EST

perfect 100% justice requires fractal rules... rules with exceptions, exceptions with exceptions... ad nauseum

let me demonstrate:

"do not kill"

a simple rule

now someone is threatening your life... ah, an exception to the rule, it's ok to kill someone who is killing you

ah... but they are threatening your life because inside you is a pathogen which will kill millions if it escapes you... it's ok to let someone kill you in this case

ah... but that pathogen might be used to cure cancer... there's an exception to that exception to that exception

etc...

get it?

in each example, i am trying to capture the meaning of justice

we should always strive for 100% justice in our lives

however, we are human, we are fallible, we cannot encapsulate infinite exceptions to rules because we are of limited mental strength

therefore, we can go to 99.999% justice, ortr 99.99999%, but never 100%, but that doesn't mean we stop trying, that just means we accpet we are weak fragile human beings just trying to do our best, we are humble

and going the other way, that is, cutting down on the rules and the exceptions means we move in the other direction... 80% justice, or 20% justice...

if you say "thou shalt not kill", and apply no exception to that rule, then when someone threatens to kill you to take your wallet, and you simply lay there, you are committing and injustice because you are not fighting an evil man, you are not defending your right to live

with exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions, and exceptions to exception to exceptions, you gradually and logarithmically approach perfect justice, but never quite get there, just very, very close

your impulse: simplifying the rules, simplifying the exceptions, that is called fundamentalism, and it leads to more injustice in this world

that is why religious fundamentalists are among the most evil people on the planet

their blind adherence to simplicity in the face of a complex world leads to an increase in injustice

all for the sake of simplifying things?

that's a bad impulse, a dangerous impulse

accept that life and the world is complex, that you will never simplifiy it, that you should never try, and you have taken the first step towards tolerance and justice

it is those who oversimplify things, who dumb things down, who make things less beautiful, who increase injustice in this world

all in the name of keeping it simple?


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

perfection (none / 0) (#412)
by gdanjo on Tue Mar 23, 2004 at 05:41:45 PM EST

"do not kill"

a simple rule

now someone is threatening your life... ah, an exception to the rule, it's ok to kill someone who is killing you

I have already demonstrated the fallacy of this argument. "do not kill" is not a rule, for if it was we would be dead - we need to kill to survive. "do not murder" is a rule, and if someone tries to murder you then you stop them by any means - including killing. But then the killing is not murder, so there are no exceptions. This means that capital punishment is wrong for we have other means of prevention of murder - incarciration.

No exceptions.

with exceptions, and exceptions to exceptions, and exceptions to exception to exceptions, you gradually and logarithmically approach perfect justice, but never quite get there, just very, very close
Unfortunately your "perfect justice" looks a lot like "arbitrary justice" which is no justice at all. For if I get into power then I can define any exception to any rule or exception I like and claim I am aiming for perfection.

So, in the absence of "rules" to guide you to what perfection is, how do you know you're getting closer to it? And I've asked you before - what governs the rules of when an exception is to be generated? For if there are no rules to govern the exceptions, there are no rules at all.

your impulse: simplifying the rules, simplifying the exceptions, that is called fundamentalism, and it leads to more injustice in this world

that is why religious fundamentalists are among the most evil people on the planet

It would be prudent for you to not leap such large chasms in your reasoning - follow your own advice and try to reach 100% reason through small incremental steps. To conclude that simple rules is fundamentalist is just whacky.

their blind adherence to simplicity in the face of a complex world leads to an increase in injustice

all for the sake of simplifying things?

Have you heard of Ockham's razor? It applies both ways.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

I saw it! (none / 0) (#405)
by gdanjo on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 08:30:55 PM EST

I went outside for a smoke a little while ago, and I saw your point of view! I understand (I hope) why it is that you find fractals "beautiful."

There's a car in my work's carpark that isn't anything special - it's a nice dark-blue colour with a wanky spoiler. On this spoiler there is a some rust; around 10cm squared of the paint peeling off with rust forming underneath.

And guess what pattern this disintegration of the paint made? Fractal! There was one large "circle" with a smaller circle "attached" to it, and all around it is wrinkly. I'm sure if you zoomed in on the outskirts of the rust you would see the pattern repeat.

Now, if the car was a Ferrari, then this fractal pattern is ugly - but if the car was owned by someone you hate, then it would indeed be beautiful (in a sarcastic sort of way).

My point is that fractals are more suited to describe the pattern of disintegration - the deconstruction of something "whole". If you find the car beautiful, the disintegration is ugly; and if you find the car ugly (e.g. it fucks up the environment, or you hate the owner, or the car ran over your foot) then you find that fractal beautiful, and wish it all the luck in the world in eating the whole thing up!

Similarly, if you find the current "moral laws" beautiful, then the fractal disintegration (exceptions) are ugly; otherwise, if you hate what the current morals have done to society, then you'd cheer "go fractal!"

Now, I agree with you that the current morals of the world - the "simple" morals with "arbitrary" exceptions - are indeed ugly, and so it's disintegration is welcomed. But what would you have replace the well-structered morals of today? Fractal disintegration is only as beautiful as the thing it disintegrates is ugly - what coherent structure would you replace the fractally disintegrating structure we have now?

If fractals do win, and our morals do turn out to be as you have described them, then I submit that people will begin to look for the structured morals once more. In a world of order, some chaos is beautiful - but in a world of chaos, we will seek order.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

simplification, less detail (none / 0) (#407)
by circletimessquare on Tue Mar 23, 2004 at 12:24:19 AM EST

simplification, less detail, is ugliness

complexification, more detail, is beauty

an ecosystem is beautiful

a strip mall is ugly

rust patterns are beautiful

upper middle class sports cars are ugly

sameness and lock step conformity in society is ugly (frightening/ boring)

artistic nuts and wacko conspiracy theorists are beautiful (entertaining)

supertramp, "the logical song"

When I was young,
it seemed that life was so wonderful,
a miracle,
oh it was beautiful,
magical.
And all the birds in the trees,
well they'd be singing so happily,
joyfully,
playfully watching me.
But then they send me away
to teach me how to be sensible,
logical,
responsible,
practical.
And they showed me a world where
I could be so dependable,
clinical,
intellectual,
cynical.

There are times when all the world's asleep,
The questions run too deep for such a simple man
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd but please tell me who I am

Now watch what you say
or they'll be calling you a radical,
liberal,
fanatical,
criminal.
Won't you sign up your name,
we'd like to feel you're
acceptable,
respectable,
presentable,
a vegetable!

At night,
when all the world's asleep,
The questions run so deep for such a simple man
Won't you please,
please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
but please tell me who I am


The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

supertramp (none / 0) (#413)
by gdanjo on Tue Mar 23, 2004 at 05:55:08 PM EST

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful, a miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical. And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily, joyfully, playfully watching me. But then they send me away to teach me how to be sensible, logical, responsible, practical. And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable, clinical, intellectual, cynical.
So, before he was educated, everything was beautiful. Then he was taught about logic, responsibility, and practicality which gave him intelectuality and cynicism. If he knew cynicism before he was "taught" then he could reject this new logic and continue his tree-loving existence. But to know cynicism you need to know what to reject, which means you need logic.

The irony is that he created a beautiful song in spite of all his education - or was it because of it? If he wasn't a cynic, he'd still be drooling over trees and how wonderful, beautiful, complex they are, and we'd be one great song poorer.

The song is self-contradictory, and therefore proves nothing.

Dan ...
"Death - oh! fair and `guiling copesmate Death!
Be not a malais'd beggar; claim this bloody jester!"
-ToT
[ Parent ]

This disgusts me (1.28 / 14) (#65)
by godix on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:28:05 AM EST

Jesus, and people accuse Bush of using a terrorist incident for political purposes. You start blaming the governments support of the Iraq war for this attack the very next fucking day. The PP was wrong to insist so strongly that it was the ETA but at least they were honest enough to admit it might be other sources. Not you though, one day later you're dead positive that it must have been Al-Queda, it must have been because of Iraq, and the PP must be lying because they want to do silly things like investigate terrorist groups known to do bombings and target subways before. Just out of curiosity, what are you going to do if it turns out it actually was the ETA? After all, this wouldn't be the first time they've lied about responsability for an attack and isn't is astounding how the attack just happened to get the PP which was cracking down on them out of power? Are you going to protest in the streets about lies of Socialist party supporters and throw them out like you did with the PP? Somehow I doubt it, I suspect admiting you were wrong doesn't fit in with your narrow worldview and self justified moral bankruptcy.

Congratulations, you have just turned the death of several hundred people into nothing more than just another political tool. How does it feel to use your countrymens still warm corpses as nothing more than a get out the vote rally?

It's dawned on me that Zero Tolerance only seems to mean putting extra police in poor, run-down areas, and not in the Stock Exchange.
- Terry Pratchett

If it was Eta (and even if it wasnt) (2.25 / 4) (#74)
by Pop Top on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:54:23 AM EST

I suspect Basque popular support for terrorism will evaporate in the aftermath of this horror.

And the Eta will follow the road started by the IRA towards simply fading away into nothingness. Now we can worry about the Kurds and Kirkuk.

Which is really the same issue as with the Basque and in Ulster.

[ Parent ]

Not likely (none / 2) (#98)
by Riviera on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:18:32 PM EST

I suspect Basque popular support for terrorism will evaporate in the aftermath of this horror.

My opinion is that all the people among former ETA supporters who have what it takes to admit they are wrong, have already changed their opinion after 25 years of democracy. Those who didn't change their mind after annouced murder of Miguel Angel Blanco won't change it either now.

PS: MIguel Angle Blanco was a PP member of the council in Ermua, a little town in the Basque Country. He was kidnapped on a thursday, and ETA threatened to kill him if the PP government didn't obbey within 3 days. Exactly 3 days later Miguel appeared dead. The demonstrations after that murder were comparable to those last friday, and generated a huge feeling of anger agains all terrorism. Everybody had that memory present in the last demonstrations.

[ Parent ]

You don't get the point (2.66 / 6) (#80)
by pik on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:57:51 AM EST

ETA has never denied explictly its responsibility in an attack twice in the following 48 hours of it.
Arnaldo Otegi has never condemned any of ETA' s attack in the following 24 hours, and less in such strong terms.
The Al-Qaeda related group's letter in the British newspaper was already public.

When all these was obvious for everyone, even for a German friend that called me, public TV was emitting "ETA's greatest hits" and antiterrorist stuff. Please.

[ Parent ]

socialist were not behind the protests (2.83 / 6) (#81)
by malkuth on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:04:56 PM EST

What we blamed the government was about lying from the beginning: we all believed it was ETA, and I'm included. Thursday morning, the Security Minister Angel Acebes said "he had no doubt" it was ETA, and that "ETA had obtained what it wanted". He also said that the explosives were "Titadine", which are the ones ETA commonly use. We believed it, and the other political parties believed it. In that moment, only Otegui said it was more probably due to islamic terrorism, but we didn't believe that, and Acebes said that any opinion saying it was not ETA was an intolerable intoxication and did not respect the victims.

It wasn't until a bag with a bomb which did not explode (police thought it was from a victim, and it had incorrect timing: it was meant to explode at 19:30 instead of 7:30, but they failed programming it: also, luckily the bomb mechanism failed, a police station would have been blown up if it worked). The bomb was analyzed and we were informed the next day by the scientific police through Cadena Ser and the ABC right-wing newspaper that it was not that explosive Titadine. Then is when we started to be pretty sure not that "it wasn't ETA", but that the government had been spreading lies from the very beginning, which was what started making people angry. That is why we wanted truthful answers. There were no proofs supporting an ETA involvement, but the government fastly passed a resolution in the United Nations condemning ETA for the attacks (today the spanish ambassador in the UN has apologized for that), and sent a letter to all the embassies to request them to support that theory.

I'm not a blind supporter of the socialist party at all, and I think neither can be said about many of those who voted them on sunday (I'm not even saying I voted them :) ); many of them did it against the current government and not for supporting the socialists. Even more, the socialists were extremely silent about all this, same as the left-wing Izquierda Unida party was: the demonstrations where we requested truthful information from the government weren't organized by any political party, and even some people thought they remained too neutral as the propaganda was deployed and extremely strengthened on saturday.



[ Parent ]
Well, it seems as though ... (2.25 / 4) (#194)
by pyramid termite on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 06:41:37 PM EST

... you're trying to use the Spanish election as a tool to bash the opposition in the U.S. with. Those bodies are turning out to be pretty damned useful for a lot of people, aren't they?

Hypocrite.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
You are wrong (none / 3) (#246)
by Quique on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:56:10 AM EST

As we now know, the Spanish intelligence services (CNI) said since the very first moment that there were 99% of chances that the attack came from radical islamic terrorist groups.

In just a few hours, Otegi (leader of the basque separatists) strongly rejected the killing (this is remarkable, because it would be the 1st time he rejects an ETA action - usually he simply says it was sad it happened).

In despite of everything, the Popular Party put intolerable pression on the media (including foreign media) to get them say it was ETA, as that would provide them votes.

After all, this wouldn't be the first time they've lied about responsability for an attack

I can't remember any time. They claim responsability on everything they do, because they don't think it's wrong. As a ministry from the ruling party said: ETA kills, but unfortunately doesn't lie.

[ Parent ]

A few remarks: (none / 1) (#391)
by Vesperto on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 08:01:25 PM EST


  • ETA always takes claim for their actions;
  • they don't use the explosives used in the Madrid bombings;
  • they always have specific targets: polititians, judges, cops, etc;
  • they usually use rigged cars to blow up those specific targets;
  • by targeting innocent civilians they'd only get even less support for their cause;
  • pro-ETA "oficial people" condemned the attack;
  • ETA itself denied, twice, responsibility;
  • Al-Qaeda, twice, assumes such responsability.
    Etc.


If you disagree post, don't moderate.
[ Parent ]
Just a note (2.90 / 22) (#82)
by Dracon on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:05:21 PM EST

Zapatero won't retire the troops because fear or capitulation; he will do because it was an illegal war (not legal at least), and he made the electoral promise of retiring them much before bombings. He has also left a door open: if the United Nations take control of the situation in Irak(international legallity is restablished), the troops will remain.

Besides, I don't know why this is understood as a capitulation. War on Irak wasn't against Al-Qaeda, because there are no proofs of alliance or collaboration between Sadam's goverment and islamic terrorism. Spain has been attacked partly because its alliance with the U.S. and this alliance will remain (and should be strengthed) but now it's not "unconditional".

And yes, my english sucks. I hope you have understood something.

Bah. (2.25 / 4) (#91)
by jmzero on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:03:03 PM EST

I'm going to do some speculation, but I don't think I'm being unreasonable.

There's a very plausible chain of causality here:

  1. Bombs kill people
  2. Altered election results
  3. Spanish out of Iraq
It begins with bombs and ends with what the bombers wanted.  It's a powerful, powerful vindication of the effectiveness of killing hundreds of civilians to affect world powers.  

It is irrelevant whether this was intended to be capitulation.  If it begins with "mugger brandishes gun" and ends with "mugger gets wallet", the mugger learns the same lesson.

I'd hope that the same tactic isn't tried before the next American election (in an effort to get rid of Bush), but I almost am without hope.  Heck, I'll bet they purposefully target swing states like Florida.  I'm more scared now for the future than I was Sep 12.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Dog training (none / 1) (#104)
by marx on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:28:13 PM EST

If it begins with "mugger brandishes gun" and ends with "mugger gets wallet", the mugger learns the same lesson.
You talk as if you're trying to train a dog.

Do you think the people behind September 11 or Madrid were stupid? That all that's needed is some carrot/stick, then they'll learn not to be bad?

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

No. No. No. No. No. (none / 1) (#127)
by jmzero on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:39:37 PM EST

I'm not blaming the Spanish.  I'm saying this is very bad news as it reinforces terrorist behavior.  That's all.  

Do you think the people behind September 11 or Madrid were stupid?  That all that's needed is some carrot/stick, then they'll learn not to be bad?

People do things that work.  It's a trait we share with animals to some extent, but really it's a hallmark of intelligence.  Following a carrot on a stick is stupid - but it is not if you actually do get the carrot by walking towards it.  These terrorists conducted that experiment, and found out something about how people and the world respond.  They got the carrot, and this  validates the behavior.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

another way to see it (none / 2) (#142)
by Wah on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:46:33 PM EST

and I'll follow your lead and try to stay objective.

Another way to look at it is an invalidation of the behaviour of the Spanish government.  They were arguing that their agressive actions have made Spaniards safer (relative to 9/11, perhaps).  The terrorist actions trumped that claim, leading to the election results we saw.  

This would be easier to confirm if the election was further away from the attacks, but a large swing in the polls would have to be assumed under such new data, no?

While I think your take is simpler, and therefore basically better, I'm left wondering about the nature of the carrot?

Is the carrot to have less war-like foreign governments?  Is the carrot to have more liberal European governments?  Or is the carrot simply the power to affect change?

If it's that first one, you got it, and I'm voting absentee.  

But if it's that second or third one doesn't that take away the taste of a carrot like this?  Or only show that the starving reach for it, and we should just give them a damn carrot?

I dunno, kinda searching for a lever here, but I do think there is a slight bit of difference between listening to, and empathizing with, the lamentations of someone willing to kill themselves to get you, and someone rolling tanks through your downtown.
--
sometimes things just are that way and that's it. They're true. Sure, Popper, et. al., may argue otherwise, but they're dead. You get it? Yet?
[ Parent ]

Well.. (3.00 / 5) (#196)
by Kwil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:03:00 PM EST

..given the alternative is reinforcing a government that lies to its populace and taking actions that the majority of people didn't want, I honestly think this is the lesser of the two evils.

Terrorism sucks, but there's a good chance it won't affect me.
Government will.

That Jesus Christ guy is getting some terrible lag... it took him 3 days to respawn! -NJ CoolBreeze


[ Parent ]
Indeed (none / 2) (#152)
by GenerationY on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:07:22 PM EST

They seem quite clever to have Americans callously disregarding basic human rights (see Guantanamo bay thread) and in the present one rabid in the face of people democratically selecting the government they wish to have.

Just who is being unduly influenced by terrorists to cast away the values of freedom and decency they used to hold so dear?

[ Parent ]

Inexact (3.00 / 10) (#110)
by Dracon on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:51:42 PM EST

Your reasoning it's too simplistic(mostly because you know nothing about Spain), and you are avoiding some facts:
  1. A Goverment goes to a war ignoring the protests of their citizens. This goverment loses autonomic and local elections (the equivalent of your elections for Governor) if we add all local votes (by a little margin, that's true).
  2. Bombs kill people
  3. The Goverment lies to improve its electoral results.
  4. Altered election results... wait a moment. What means "altered"? Did someone manipulate the validity of some votes? No, in democratic countries this doesn't happen. And, do you know who were going to win? Why are you so sure?
  5. Spanish out of Iraq as they wanted much before bombings.

I'm proud to live in a country in which electors punish the goverment who lied them, when the bodies of their compatriots where already harm. Are you going to punish Bush's lies about WMD and Al-Qaeda-Sadam conexions that have cost the lives to dozens of marines? I don't know and I don't care[1], but don't blame us for doing the only honest we could do.

And you are also ignoring a possibility, why don't simply offer to the UN to lead Irak's reconstruction. That would solve a lot of problems.

[1] Not true. I care, but that something that US citizens must decide by themshelves, and I won't blame them for their decision.



[ Parent ]
Bah. (none / 2) (#129)
by jmzero on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:47:43 PM EST

Your reasoning it's too simplistic(mostly because you know nothing about Spain)

I know a fair bit of the situation, but I don't feel the need to give a full recount in every comment.  Instead, I listed the points most relevant to the terrorist's mindset and behavior.

Altered election results... wait a moment. What means "altered"?

Altered.  Changed.  By doing this thing, they made the results different than they would be otherwise.  You might say one thing "caused" the other thing.  If you don't believe this is the case then you're welcome to disagree with polls and most sane commentators, but feigning bizarre ignorance of my meaning isn't helping the discussion.  Instead, it's convincing me that you're really, stupefyingly dumb.

I'm proud to live in a country in which electors punish the goverment who lied them

That's fine.  I'm not blaming the Spanish.  If you wanted that to be my point, that's really too bad.  My only point is that the whole gestalt of this worked out very well for the terrorists in question and works to reinforce their behavior - and that this is very bad news.  From what you've said, it doesn't sound like you disagree with this point.

And if you want to argue about whether Bush is a bad person, you're really wasting your time.  I'm sorry I triggered your knee-jerk anti-Bush reaction mechanism.  It was a false alarm.  Go about your business.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Cheap shot. (none / 3) (#148)
by GenerationY on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:00:53 PM EST

you don't believe this is the case then you're welcome to disagree with polls and most sane commentators, but feigning bizarre ignorance of my meaning isn't helping the discussion.  Instead, it's convincing me that you're really, stupefyingly dumb.

Reply in Spanish for his benefit next time and then you can have an easier debate through that common language. Your feigned ignorance of the fact that Spanish people don't natively speak English isn't helping the discussion. Instead, its convincing me that you're really, stupefyingly dumb.

Try an reasoned argument next time instead of a cheap shot.

Ta-ta and good night.

[ Parent ]

Oh boo. (none / 2) (#168)
by jmzero on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:52:32 PM EST

It's clear from his level of discourse that he understands English well enough.  He's not claiming the "unfrozen caveman" argument, why are you claiming it for him?  

I am arguing with him and insulting him like I would anyone else.  I wouldn't do so if I didn't respect his ability to speak English.  If I thought he didn't know the language well, I would instead exploit this lack ruthlessly by making up words and spelling things wrong because I'm a jerk.  
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

Rebah! (none / 3) (#154)
by Dracon on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:07:42 PM EST

I beginning to think that terrorists obtained that they wanted. Now people like you will point Spain with their fingers saying It's your fault. You gave terrorists what they wanted. if there's another terrorist attack in the US. And you have said you feel more threatened than before, they also wanted that.

I don't know how to explain better that the relevant fact was Goverment's lies not fear to terrorists, that the difference in polls wasn't too big, that troops retirement hasn't nothing to do with terrorism but international legality and that not doing something only because terrorists said to do it is absurd (and capitulation)...

As you must know(given your high knowledge of spanish politics), there have been terrorism in Spain in the last 25 years, and terrorists never obtained political reward from their actions. Nothing has changed.

You can insult me again if you want, but that doesn't makes you seem smarter.



[ Parent ]
Meh (none / 0) (#171)
by jmzero on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:07:31 PM EST

You can insult me again if you want, but that doesn't makes you seem smarter

If I insult you again, it'd only be because you're arguing against points I didn't make.  I agree with most of what you have to say.  When I insult, it's either to ridicule bad arguing or for my own amusement - not to make myself seem big.

not doing something only because terrorists said to do it is absurd (and capitulation)...

This is a good point.  Spain is 100% not to be blamed here.  It's an unfortunate sequence of events that I think will have horrible ramifications, but I'm not pretending it was some purposeful capitulation or something.  It's just how things worked out.

that the difference in polls wasn't too big

They were big enough - or at least they will be to those who will privately remember this as their victory.  And that will be enough to make them try again next time - perhaps in Canada (where I live) or perhaps in the US.  In the US, even a tiny swing will likely be enough to change their next election.

There were a lot of steps between "kill people" and "Spain out of Iraq" - but those steps won't be remembered by very many.  Most will simply remember that the one caused the other, and that's a dangerous precedent.
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife
[ Parent ]

That's sad, however... (none / 1) (#253)
by Viliam Bur on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 08:14:13 AM EST

There were a lot of steps between "kill people" and "Spain out of Iraq" - but those steps won't be remembered by very many.

This is how media are going to tell the story. The "important" parts will stay, "unimportant" will vanish. The story will look like a victory for terrorism. Sad thing. However, if one would judge all actions by how much can media spin them, one could do nothing... and even that could be explained as the victory of terrorists.

[ Parent ]

Appeasement was and is right (2.69 / 26) (#88)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 12:31:56 PM EST

I'm fed up of reading, here, the painfully illiterate denunciations of the Spanish government as being "appeasement".

You'll be familiar with appeasement, which was the second most wicked thing ever. It's poster boy Neville Chamberlain will naturally be to you the figure of hate and contempt all eternity will surely know him as. He's the villain so bad that even our beloved friend, fellow democrat and all round good guy in the war against terror, "General" Sharon was adjudged to have gone too far when he briefly compared Neville to Dubya a couple of years ago. This, to be precise, is the orthodoxy if you've wanted us to get into this war. Scoot off to National Review or The Weekly Standard, or read that troupe of historians who reach their risible low-point with Victor David Hanson and you'll see why the appeasement of the 1930s is living history - in other words, it's the very thing that teaches us why we have to act as we've acted with the war in Iraq. Appeasement is wrong, it must never happen. Bad, bad things will happen if you appease, or seem to appease, or lay yourself open to the charge of appeasing.

Actually Chamberlain was close to being the most hard-headed politician on the go before World War II, and more than any other, he was a sceptic about what use the United States would be when it came to dealing with fascist revanche. In January 1941 74% of Americans were against war with Germany; weeks later, after the Placentia Bay summit and the Atlantic charter, the figure was still 74%. Contrary to every insulting, ahistorical, dumb French lie of the last few years from cretinous sections of the modern American "right", the American people didn't want to "do their bit for freedom", and indeed their government promised them that it wouldn't make them.

And how do you know that when you're the grown-up world power having to deal with global responsibilities (rather than blub about them, and complain how unpopular you are, as would appear to be the neocon motif)? Just this: you appease too. America stands now where Britain stood before the Second World War, and just like Neville Chamberlain, George Bush wisely cuts his cloth. As purely one hugely pertinent example think on China. Sure the US flew a spyplane within 200 miles of the PRC's coast (a zone which if another country attempted to do the same by the US, she'd shoot the plane out of the sky) and mewled that this was an entirely legitimate thing to do. And absolutely this aircraft rammed a buzzing Chinese fighter out of the sky, killing its pilot, then landed, damaged, on of all things a Chinese military airfield. And indeed, certain American right wing pundits became outraged that the Chinese became just a touch miffed by all of this. But what did the practical men and women who make up the US government do? They ever so humbly kow-towed, they truckled out an apology, and they didn't push their luck. They appeased, because that's grown-up politics outside of neocon fantasy.

Grown-up, responsible governments appease all the time. It's a ridiculous fantasy to claim that appeasement is wrong, and must enver happen, and beat people over the head with the spectre of Munich. Appeasement is something all sensible governments do every day.

I would like to see the USA follow a policy of appeasement to an extent, with "the terrorists". They aren't bombing the USA & its allies out of some metaphysical jealousy, no - its for concrete reasons relating to American foreign policy, particularly in Israel, and now in Iraq. Part of any obvious and workable solution is to think "Hey, perhaps the interest of the USA and the interests of israel are not in fact absolutely identical. Perhaps we should try and reign in Israel. perhaps we should even get the hell out of the whole situation, and out of Iraq too while we are at it."

That would be a sensible policy, and one that would have real effects in stabilising the world against terrorism. Instead, the neocons and pals are going the "No surrender" route and widening the front in the middle east by invading a country that has absolutely nothing to do with al qauda at all. In fact, the USA and allies have aided al quada, by opening the door of Iraq to them and providing wonderful motivations to any would-be terrorist from Istanbul to Islamabad.

In spite of what the wargasmics will tell you, Hussein's Iraq was implacably opposed to al quada, and al quada was fanatically opposed to Hussein's Iraq. Thanks to a rather lunatic foreign policy, we've created a huge new West bank in the centre of the middle east through which al quada agents can filter and recruit and bomb american soldiers with ease, and handed an enormous PR coup to al quada across the middle east. Its as though the US has done everything it possibly can to aid terrorism.

Spain realises this, now. Its old policy had nothign to do with "combatting terrorism" so much as it was about marching in lockstep with the USA 9the same is true of the UK). The costs of this are now becoming apparant, and so Spain "appeases" terrorism by refusing to continue a lunatic, counterproductive policy in Iraq, and instead committing itself to much more sensible and direct means of getting terrorists.

This is entirely sensible.

♥, bc.

Wrong (none / 0) (#94)
by n8f8 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:12:27 PM EST

(a zone which if another country attempted to do the same by the US, she'd shoot the plane out of the sky)

The russians do it all the time.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)
[ Parent ]

wrong (none / 2) (#146)
by vivelame on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:59:24 PM EST

they never do it.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Ahh... wrong... (none / 1) (#179)
by Skywise on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:31:11 PM EST

http://www.super70s.com/Super70s/Tech/Aviation/Disasters/78-04-20(KAL).asp

or

10. Sept. 1, 1983. Korean Air Lines Flight KL007, a 747 carrying 269 passengers and crew from New York to Seoul, Korea (with a technical stop in Anchorage), is shot down by a Soviet fighter after drifting off course -- and into Soviet airspace -- near Sakhalin Island in the North Pacific. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) later attributes the mysterious deviation to "A considerable degree of lack of alertness and attentiveness on the part of the flight crew."


[ Parent ]

non sequitur. (none / 1) (#382)
by vivelame on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 05:54:02 AM EST

what you're taking about is about the same thing that what happened in China. And you can't read english properly, it seems, which is rather sad, since it's your mother tongue (it isn't mine, btw.)
So, let me explain:
the original poster's point was that if, say, China, sent a spyplane, to the same distance of US mainland than the aforementionned incident, the US would take the spyplane out of the sky .. hence the
(a zone which if another country attempted to do the same by the US, she'd shoot the plane out of the sky)

So, now i've explained, do you care to tell me when the Russians flew a spyplane near US soil, and weren't shot down?


--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
LOL (none / 2) (#161)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:20:05 PM EST

Appeasement is something all sensible governments do every day.

I know it is wrong but I will do it anyway ....

- Kurioszyn is Laughing Out Loud -

[ Parent ]

Hmn (none / 1) (#163)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:35:38 PM EST

France has a lot more experience with Islamic terrorism than the USA. Hell, Chirac himself was a tank commander during the Algerian war, if my memory does not deceive me. France has been battling Islamists since the 1950s, and earlier, and has been engaged with the islamic world for much longer and much more than any other Western country in modern times.

In other words, if you are about to invade an islamic country and start a war against islamic terrorism, France is just the sort of country you want to listen to and take notice of. Its conservative Gaulist government may be unwilling to directly aid you in your socialist plans, though. Really, has anybody seen the Iraq constitution? Here's a good clause:

The individual has the right to security, education, health care, and social security. The Iraqi State and its governmental units, including the federal government, the regions, governorates, municipalities, and local administrations, within the limits of their resources and with due regard to other vital needs, shall strive to provide prosperity and employment opportunities to the people.

So US soldiers are fighting for rights they don't have at home! The liberal will be wondering why US soldiers don't have "the right to health care" back in the good old US, the conservatives will be wondering why they are exporting Democratic Socialism to Iraq, and people like me are having a good laugh watching Iraq turn into Yugoslavia Mark II, with Tito replaced by Ahmed Chalabi no doubt.

No wonder lots of pinkos like Blair, and of course 'ex-'Stalinist regimes in Eastern Europe, have been more than happy to provide moral support for the US's liberal "change the world" plans (okay, that's not really why they are providing support, but its amusing).

The US really should have listened to those nice conservative Frogs a bit more. Sigh. I suppose leftists like trhurler can be willful..

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]

Viva la liberte (none / 1) (#166)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:46:50 PM EST

" France has been battling Islamists since the 1950s"

Uhhh .. no my friend, they weren't battling the kind of Islamists we are facing now - they were busy trying to preserve their colonial rule.

"The US really should have listened to those nice conservative Frogs a bit more."

Yeah, French seems to have a lot of good ideas.
Like for example this one

I mean, this isn't even funny anymore - it is simply pathetic.

[ Parent ]

What? (none / 0) (#169)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:54:08 PM EST

I'm not suggesting that they've been facing the exact same terrorist groups, I'm suggesting that their general engagement with the islamic world and their understandign therefore of what sort of policies are successful with the arab street are invaluable. As for your link, I'm not sure I follow. Is it really so evil for France to recognise its foreign policy interests are not identical to those of the US? It seems many on the right in the USA have conniptions whenever a European nation realises this and acts accordingly. "Perfidious France" just means "they're not slavish enough to Western interests" where "western interests" as always is a cypher for "unilateral American interests".

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
Um (none / 1) (#172)
by Cro Magnon on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:08:20 PM EST

If they've been getting whipped by Islamists for 50 years, how does this make them the experts on dealing with them?
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
Well damn (none / 1) (#174)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:17:39 PM EST

Have you considered that they don't want to see the US make the exact same mistakes, which the US seems determined to do? France has been there, done that. It has tried to occupy an Islamic country with the aim of getting rid of Islamic terrorism. Just possibly that's why they know it doesn't work, not for France and not for the USA. We see the US getting mired into the same crap France did, and exacerbating the problems of terrorism in just the same way. Its not surprising France warned against this, and wanted to stay out, is it?

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
France (none / 0) (#173)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:14:39 PM EST

" Is it really so evil for France to recognise its foreign policy interests are not identical to those of the US?"

Nothing wrong with that.
Frankly, I would be surprised if France acted any other way.

On the other hand, this also means that perhaps US should start according them a bit different treatment than it is generally used in relations with friendly democratic nations of Europe.

Like that of an enemy for example ...

[ Parent ]

Ahh (none / 1) (#176)
by bc on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:21:24 PM EST

A country that doesn't have identical foreign policy interests to the USA is automatically its enemy? Fine little neocon you are. Would you care to name European countries with identical foreign policy interests to the USA, and why they are identical? Because you know what, none of them have identical foreign policy interests, that's a fact of life that isn't reducible to some "good V evil" claptrap.

♥, bc.
[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 1) (#180)
by kurioszyn on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:32:21 PM EST

"A country that doesn't have identical foreign policy interests to the USA is automatically its enemy?"

Of course not.
There are many ways to conduct independent foreign policy without endangering good relations with USA.
Joining an oppressive regime in a military exercise designed to intimidate close US ally is not one of them.

[ Parent ]

A close US ally? (none / 1) (#187)
by tonedevil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 06:14:24 PM EST

Not late last year. Everybody is playing footsie with Chinwa you just like to hate france. Since you don't particularly control US Foreign Policy your opinion is just that your opinion.

did you want freedom fries with that?

[ Parent ]

HAHAHAHAHA! (none / 1) (#211)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 08:57:30 PM EST

Your comment said it all.

"Chirac himself was a tank commander during the Algerian war"

The Algerian war was a fine example of "fighting the last war". France thought that it could adapt tactics used by Britain in the Boer War to defeat the Algerian Independence movement.

The only problem was, building fences across the desert and sending tanks in against a mobile guerilla force is completely ineffective.

The "French experience in fighting Islamic terrorism" was to migrate 2 million Frenchman from Algeria, along with hundreds of thousands of Algerian supporters.

And what is France left with today? A declining population of Gallic French which will be a minority group in 30 years. France will be a Muslim nation in the 22nd century.

[ Parent ]

don't flaunt your ignorance on the issue (none / 1) (#220)
by martingale on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:44:07 PM EST

The Algerian war was a fine example of "fighting the last war".
Actually, the Algerian war is the modern textbook example of how to crack down on terrorism effectively. The terrorists were ruthlessly exterminated, hounded like rats, poisoned etc.

The only problem with this was that by the time the terrorists were basically defeated, the French soldiers had become animals, and the French population was so thoroughly disgusted with itself that they left Algeria for political reasons (not military).

You know about the sort of thing I'm talking about, Vietnam was a similar trauma for the US. Pray your government isn't stupid enough to force us all down this road again.

[ Parent ]

s/terrorists/population/ (none / 1) (#252)
by duffbeer703 on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 08:10:12 AM EST

The French pretty much killed everyone.

If you knew anything about the Boer war, you'd see that the French based their tactics completely matched the Boer war. Concentration camps, fences across the countryside, etc.

[ Parent ]

and you know (none / 1) (#384)
by vivelame on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 06:44:10 AM EST

what the sadest thing is?
that's EXACTLY the war Israel is waging at the moment (fences across the contry side, lmao), and, tadaaam.. the war the US are fighting in Iraq.
Good luck, morons.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
Not really (none / 1) (#385)
by duffbeer703 on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 09:54:31 AM EST

Something like 2 million Algerians died, and like 250,000 Boers were killed. (A huge percentage of the population)

If the Israelis killed that many Palestinians, Palestine would have been a non-issue in 1992.

[ Parent ]

actually (none / 1) (#387)
by vivelame on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 12:30:18 PM EST

most scholars/historians put the casualties of the algerian "events" to 600-700k deads (the muslim population was around 7m people).
On a side note, during this war, few tanks were used, they were quickly proved ineffective. Instead, the french military pionnered helicopter couter-insurgency use, using those for quick troops transportation.

--
Jonathan Simon: "When the autopsy of our democracy is performed, it is my belief that media silence will be given as the primary cause of death."
[ Parent ]
This is an awful lot to read x_x (none / 3) (#170)
by Yori on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:05:34 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Maybe (2.57 / 7) (#97)
by n8f8 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:14:16 PM EST

"there is no political party behind the demonstrations, they've been started by SMS and Internet forums."

The truth of that would be worth investigating.

Sig: (This will get posted after your comments)

It is true (none / 0) (#249)
by Quique on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 07:10:31 AM EST

Political parties (and specially the socialist party) were carefully silent those days, even when they did know the Popular Party was lying.

In the demos there were no calls to vote any party, just requests to know the truth, and reaffirmed rejections to the participation in Iraq's war, in despite of the will of 90% of the population.

[ Parent ]

The terrorism did not wan the elections (2.93 / 30) (#113)
by ersiko on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:55:56 PM EST

First of all, the terrorism did not influence the elections. The manipulation of the information on the terrorist attack did.

The European parliament was forced to include a sentence to ETA in spite of the reluctance of some countries. The minister of exteriors sent cards to all the spanish diplomatics that live out of Spain ordering them to seize any opportunity to throw the fault to ETA. The minister of the interior talked of ETA in every moment, saying that it was the main suspicious, and saying that there was a secondary research according to which they could have been other terrorists. A movie about ETA was on the public TV channel suddenly. The first minister, Jose Maria Aznar "Ansar" called personally every newspaper (EVERY NEWSPAPER) telling that it had been ETA without any doubt.
And we do doubt.
And we see something disgusting on all of this.
And we voted NO.

You must know the Popular Party only lose 700.000 votes (now they have 9.630.512 votes). But the socialist party PSOE won 3.000.000 votes (now 10.909.687, a new record for a party in Spain). This disgusting treatment of the terrorist info made a lot of people vote, when they usually didn't. So PSOE won a lot of votes, and PP lose few.

I'm sure the terrorist attack itself would not be so powerful for the elections.

In second place, WE ARE NOT TERRORIZED. No. We now what this shit is. We have been living with it for 40 years. The city has gone normal. People get the train without fears. And the terrorists have not won BECAUSE THEY DID NOT CHANGE OUR OPINION. Our opinion is THE SAME as six days ago. Our opinion is that they don't deserve live. Our opinion is Ansar was wrong. And now our opinion has won. So you say it's a terrorist victory? I think is democracy's victory: what people want. What we want.

And last: If tomorrow a terrorist group attacks UK and say they will attack until everyone in the world can eat, and nobody starve... What should we do in this case? Should we retire all help to third world? If we give them food, we're vindicating terrorism!!
You think we must do the opposite of they ask for. But this way they can influence us using "negative psichology". I think we must do what we consider correct, without caring what are they saying. This way they lose.

PD: Sorry for my english. I'm too nervous these days.

From an American perspective (1.84 / 13) (#114)
by mstefan on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 01:56:04 PM EST

The ruling party deserved to get the boot, not because they supported us in Iraq or friendly with the current administration, but because they were idiots. From over here watching you via CNN, your government's handling of the issue of whether it was ETA or al-Qaeda looked pretty amateurish to me.

But while you celebrate, also take a moment and understand that you also gave al-Qaeda exactly what they wanted. Their goal was to effect political change in your country; you played right into their hands, putting in to power a government that is hostile to their primary enemy. I'm not sure if that's something really to be proud of.

On a separate note, I hope you've save up for a rainy day. From what I understand, your new beloved leader is a disaster waiting to happen with regards to your economy.



A victory for democracy (2.66 / 6) (#121)
by danharan on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:27:22 PM EST

These people opposed the war in Iraq. Overwhelmingly.

And invading Iraq had nothing to do with al-Qaida, save perhaps swelling the ranks of their new recruits.

And quit your predictions about socialists ruining the economy, and look at the track record of Clinton compared to Dubya. How long will he be able to go on with such massive deficits?

[ Parent ]

And up until the bombing... (none / 0) (#141)
by mstefan on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:42:24 PM EST

... the people supported the now-former government by some huge margin (over 70%, wasn't it). So the war in Iraq couldn't have been the issue on most people's minds of over 90% opposed it. All it took was an attack (that was admittedly mishandled by the government) to throw the country into political turmoil.

I think democracy is a good thing, obviously. But I also think that it's something that should be exercised in an environment of reason and debate, not emotional furor. And it's pretty clear from the polls that that up until that time, the folks in Spain weren't terribly unhappy with the government regardless of the war in Iraq. So their decision was a leftist knee-jerk response and I don't see how that could be construed as good for democracy in general or the people of Spain in particular.

Regardless, I'm just a spectator. The folks over there have made their bed. I wonder if, six months or year from now, people start bemoaning the fact that they acted hastily. Particularly if there's a few more bombs placed on train platforms.



[ Parent ]
Don't let facts get in the way (none / 3) (#151)
by danharan on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:04:55 PM EST

of a good story.

The margin by which the PP was leading the PSOE was very slim. And it wasn't just the attack, it was the way the government tried to lie about it by blaming the ETA.

[ Parent ]

70% (none / 1) (#224)
by martingale on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:24:37 PM EST

If you're basing this on 70% approval for PP, then you're way off. Spain has a lot more than two parties, so you can expect about 20% to go to neither of the two big parties. Of the remaining 80%, the two were not more than 10% apart. So that means PP may have hovered around 45% and PSOE around 35% in the best of cases. As it turned out, PSOE got 42% and PP got 37%.

[ Parent ]
what ever do you mean? (none / 3) (#153)
by Hide The Hamster on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:07:25 PM EST

Bush Jr. is most certainly the biggest socialist we've had since Reagan.


Free spirits are a liability.

August 8, 2004: "it certainly is" and I had engaged in a homosexual tryst.

[ Parent ]
You're not making any sense (2.83 / 6) (#124)
by marx on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:34:35 PM EST

Their goal was to effect political change in your country; you played right into their hands, putting in to power a government that is hostile to their primary enemy.
If the Spanish people would have changed their vote just to make sure they did the opposite of what Al Qaeda wanted, then they would be letting terrorists run their lives, and then the terrorists would have won.

You know what I think? I don't think all this criticism of the election from Americans has to do with terrorism or Al Qaeda at all. It has to do with socialism. Grow up.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

"The terrorists would have won" (none / 2) (#185)
by Ken Arromdee on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 06:05:56 PM EST

Saying that someone is letting "the terrorists win" or "letting terrorists run their lives" means that they are responding to terrorism by doing things that the terrorists want.

To say that someone is "letting terrorists run their lives" by doing *anything at all* in response to terrorism is absurd.

By your reasoning, if you get a burglar arrested, or worse yet, if you convince the police to patrol your neighborhood more when there have been lots of burglaries, you're letting the burglar rule your life.

[ Parent ]

Rather harsh. (2.77 / 9) (#128)
by GenerationY on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 02:45:51 PM EST

The Spanish people can vote for whatever party they choose for reasons private to themselves. Its called democracy. You can debate the issues but don't slam people for enacting their right to choose who they want to govern for them. You want to go after someone, find the people (sadly all too common in both the UK and US) who talk a good game but can't be bothered to walk to the end of their road to vote.

Speaking of pride though, an estimated 8 million people, 1/5 of the entire population were out protesting. I can't help but be impressed with that level popular action.

[ Parent ]

Giving al-Qaeda what they want? (3.00 / 10) (#132)
by NateTG on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:07:26 PM EST

But while you celebrate, also take a moment and understand that you also gave al-Qaeda exactly what they wanted.

Possibly, but that doesn't mean that it's the wrong thing to do. If the government is bad, and al-Qaeda wants it removed, does that make it a bad idea to change the government?

One of the inital stated objectives of al-Qaeda was to get the U.S. Military out of Saudi Arabia, so why did noone complain that the U.S. was giving al-Qaeda exactly what they wanted when the bases in Saudi Arabia were being closed down?

Similarly, the general fear-peddling and policy changes that are supposedly making things more secure in the U.S. are promoting al-Qaeda here. Once again, giving al-Quaeda what they want.

The invasion of Iraq, and especially the diplomatic failures associated with it are also examples of the current U.S. government giving al-Qaeda exactly what it wants. The US has toppled what was essentially the only secular state in the area, has simultaneously lost credibility, and allies. At the same time, there isn't really a big upside for the U.S. that has been shown.

There is a meme war on the horizon where (civil) libertarians, and leftists will be attacked as appeasers. In the U.S. the left surrendered initally, but, is showing some spark with the current election.

Realistically, the incumbent government did not have a well liked foreign policy. In addition, they scandalous handling of the attack is problematic. An election-week scandal can easily tip the scales.

Regardless, if the attack was indeed in response to the Spanish involvement in Iraq, then the Spanish electorate should certainly be justified in voting out a government whose unpopular policy had disasterous consequences.



[ Parent ]
Ever give money to a bum in front of your office? (none / 1) (#212)
by duffbeer703 on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 09:02:43 PM EST

When people ask for something out of left field and get it, they come back for more.

That's why if you donate to a political party, you'll be harrased with direct mail and phone calls for more donations until the end of time.

What will Al-Queda ask for next? Who knows.

[ Parent ]

Another point of view: Let's wait. (3.00 / 4) (#195)
by svampa on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 06:53:02 PM EST

From over here watching you via CNN, your government's handling of the issue of whether it was ETA or al-Qaeda looked pretty amateurish to me.

I agree, but that was just the final touch. Such amateurish way has been common whenever they talk about Iraq war. I don't pretend bashing, but I see the same behavior from Bush, and I can't understand how American people could bought such Iraq=terrorism=WMD nosense before war.

The terrorist attack moved people, specially young one, that were so disapointed of polician that weren't going to vote. But that's was just a part.

In the other hand, I do know, because a relative of mine is inside the PP party, that they were aware before 11-M that public surveys wasn't showing the actual situation, they were playing with a equality 150-150, quite far from their former 183, and quite far from 170 of public surveys, but not so far from 147 the got.

But while you celebrate, also take a moment and understand that you also gave al-Qaeda exactly what they wanted.

Sorry for that, but quiting from Iraq was what Spanish people wanted, before and after 11-M. We can't stick on doing stupid and inmoral things just because Al-Qaeda don't like it.

Spain never was an ally of USA in Iraq war, Aznar was. Such distance between leader behavior and people wishes don't last too long in a democratic country.

USA, and any country, will always have the support of any Spanish government (and Spanish people) against terrorism, but not so clear against an unilateral invasion, that has nothing to do with terrorism.

Nobody in Spain (neither its own party) has ever understand why Aznar was so hot supporting USA, and repeating as a parrot the ridiculous arguments of Bush. Was Aznar bribered? Someone used hypnosis against Aznar? someone found out he had a 15 years old boy lover?. There is promise of help against ETA, and probably USA signed important economic treaties with Spain as reward, good for Spain but shame treaties.

Perphaps now we will know something about it

your new beloved leader is a disaster waiting to happen with regards to your economy

You are right, that's the most scaring thing. I usually like Aznar's economics. Although I think it has give too power to big corporations like Telefonica and banks.

Nowadays, economy ministers are quite similar, no matter the party, that's my hope. Socialism is a nuance of a liberal society, no the Stalin-like comunism I think you see in USA. Besides, I hope EU stops them if they try to do too stupid things. Although, economy is not everything, look at Bush, his economy is a disaster, and may be rellected.

Anyhow, if he does too bad, we will change again in four years, that's what elections are for. Perhaps next elections PP will have learnt we like their economy but we don't like to support the next liberation war USA comes out with.

I think that being a friend of USA is a bad strategy, a suicidal strategy. Europe, in a block, can be a friend of USA, but not Spain alone. There is too huge difference between USA and Spain economy power, bilateral treaties are dangerous when a side has a lot more to loose. Problably, in a short term we will suffer USA economic retaliations, and perhaps ETA will stop being a terrorist organization for USA and will magically will turn into a liberator group, that's the prize of betting everything to a horse. Spain alone is too vulnerable to USA pressions. There is an old Spanish sentence "Get friends among your peers, not among the powerful ones"



[ Parent ]
Al Qaeda might still not get what they wanted ... (none / 0) (#309)
by wastl on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 03:04:39 PM EST

... as the vote in Spain might have many more consequences than they might have imagined. Yes, Spain will probably withdraw from Iraq. But, IMHO much more important is, that Spain will now no longer block the ratification of the EU constitution, which might ultimately lead to a Europe in which the countries are closer, act faster and more often together. This could in the end also make life for terrorists much more difficult and strengthen the western principles of freedom and democracy..

That's of course just a vision, and I might be completely wrong. On the other hand, the EU constitution would make this much more likely.

Sebastian

[ Parent ]

Solidarity (2.25 / 8) (#136)
by rajeevishere on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:37:03 PM EST

I am elated that the Spanish people had the courage and maturity to recognize liars and vote them out. I was pained as will any decent human being would have by the killings in Madrid, and even more so by the blatant political one-upmanship displayed by the ruling conservatives. Evidently it was their desire to turn around public opinion which was against Spain sending in its armed forces to help out America's own dirty war against its erstwhile allies a shadowy group of Islamic fundamentalist goons and criminals - the so called Al-Qaeda , by blaming ofcourse none other than ETA.
Ofcourse the Al-Qaeda should be defeated. They should be tried in an international court and exposed rightly as an American war machine gone astray. The people of Spain have shown us the way - world over the governments that went out of their way to appease the US govt will have to be taught this lesson. Kudos!!

The Tinfoil Hat Brigade (1.40 / 5) (#143)
by mstefan on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:47:19 PM EST

Of course the Al-Qaeda should be defeated. They should be tried in an international court and exposed rightly as an American war machine gone astray.

A what? Because we supported the Afghans against the Soviets, all of a sudden we're responsible for bin Laden's lust for a pan-Islamic state and his homicidal mania to make it so? Fuck man, just go eat some pudding, the mothership is waiting for you.



[ Parent ]
Learn. Realize. (none / 3) (#150)
by rajeevishere on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:02:27 PM EST

I cant blame you really..but then why dont you try reading up some history - and learn about "how supported the Afghans against the Soviets" ..about how CIA had given out all those stingers to the men in beards and propped up training camps all throughout Afghan-Pak border. Learn. Realize. Its never too late. Before your next flame that is..

[ Parent ]
Right (none / 1) (#189)
by mstefan on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 06:18:19 PM EST

It's a concept known as the lesser of two evils. Because we wanted the Soviets out of Afghanistan, and had the general desire to see them as a footnote in the history books, it doesn't automatically follow that we thought that radical fundamentalist Islamists were the greatest thing since sliced bread.

Let me guess, you're the kind of guy who thinks that a woman who gets on the subway wearing a skirt is just asking to be fucked, so when a couple of gang-bangers rape her, she's really just getting what she deserved.

Blaming the victim is pathetic and you are clueless.

bin Laden couldn't give two shits about the people of Afghanistan, Saudia Arabia or muslims in general. He sure as hell doesn't give a damn about Islam. What he does care about is seeing his own psychotic vision of a pan-Islamic state come into power with his hands on the steering wheel. And he really doesn't give a damn how many people he has to blow up to get what he wants.

Christ on a wooden fucking crutch, the next thing you're going to say is that he's really just this poor old "freedom fighter" struggling to help the common man against the big, bad United States.



[ Parent ]
Wrong (none / 2) (#245)
by gabban on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:53:37 AM EST

It's a concept known as the lesser of two evils.

And if you nurture the lesser evil it will eventually blossom to a Great Fucking Evil. Good work!

Here's a novel idea -- instead of caring for lesser evils all over the world, why not support organizations working for peace and human rights? No? Ahh, you wouldn't get the little puppet regime that hands you the contry's resources on a silver platter then, would you?

Let me guess, you're the kind of guy who thinks that a woman who gets on the subway wearing a skirt is just asking to be fucked, so when a couple of gang-bangers rape her, she's really just getting what she deserved.

Blaming the victim is pathetic and you are clueless.


Face it, when it comes to foreign policy the US isn't exactly a victim. A more appropriate anology would be a rapist getting raped in prison -- which I find horrible, but I suspect you find that fair.

[ Parent ]
Bin Laden's motives... (none / 1) (#178)
by skeptic on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:29:09 PM EST

...haven't really changed over the years. Why do you think he was fighting in Afghanistan? He was part of the mujahideen (those who wage jihad). He didn't want the atheist soviets to get a foothold in the region.

So tell me, are you saying that it was a good idea to train and arm the man? Was it not shortsighted to assume that once the soviets pulled out of Afghanistan he'd have nothing to fight for any more?

He's fighting for the same thing now as he was then. The players and the arena are different, but the game is the same...

[ Parent ]
Solidarity... (1.18 / 11) (#158)
by muyuubyou on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 04:11:35 PM EST

...is what the people of Iraq need, instead of this surrendering socialist monkeys pulling the troops back.

  This nightmare is going to last four long years until the people of Spain realize that surrender is not the answer nor the Spanish way.

  Unfortunately there is no way to recall the election. Shame on those who gave in to terrorism.

It worked

I'm with you Franco Alemán. Today, I am ashamed to be a Spaniard too. But remember they may be more, but they are just cowards. They won't make it to next elections.

[ Parent ]

Shouldn't you be busy packing. (none / 2) (#182)
by tonedevil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:43:50 PM EST

You said you were going back to Japan, since it seems you don't like the fruits of Spainsh democracy. Will you be a little more pleasant if I can get the US congress to rename Spanish rice to Freedom rice for you?

[ Parent ]
do you know of legal immigration? (none / 0) (#184)
by muyuubyou on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 05:52:56 PM EST

Takes a looong time to fill Visas.

Of course I'll be voting from wherever I am. You have to honor the memory of all the americans, spaniards, italians, ... fallen in the post-war trying to bring a future for the iraqi people. Not to mention this 200 (201 now) innocent lives lost. They didn't deserve such a shame.

[ Parent ]

I don't know that I understand. (none / 0) (#199)
by tonedevil on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:34:29 PM EST

What you mean by shame, but they sure didn't deserve to be blown to smithereens.

[ Parent ]
Talking points by Phyllis Bennis (2.71 / 14) (#139)
by danharan on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 03:37:38 PM EST

(Phyllis Bennis is a fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies. The following is a copy and paste of her most recent notes on the topic: Talking Points: The Iraqi Constitution & Events in Spain)

After the horrific train bombings, Spain showed enormous political maturity and political sophistication in understanding the necessity to do four things simultaneously and powerfully:

  • Mourn the dead
  • Condemn all terrorist attacks against innocent civilians
  • Mobilize against the government for its support of the U.S. war and for its 3 days of lying to Spain, to the UN and to the world
  • Turn out to vote in unprecedented massive numbers to replace their government, reclaim Spanish democracy and reclaim their country

It is sobering to imagine the consequences of a similarly horrifying event in the U.S. Even if, for example, the Bush administration was caught lying outright, perhaps claiming responsibility belonged to al Qaeda when all evidence pointed to a Timothy McVeigh-style homegrown rightwing terrorist, it is likely that the majority of Americans would respond with paralyzing fear rather than anger and mobilization.

Madrid has returned to the side of global opposition to war; their place in the UN Security Council means that the balance of forces within that very body is shifting, and we have the possibility to imagine reclaiming the United Nations as part of our global mobilization for peace. I am writing from Italy, in the run-up to Rome's March 20th demonstration, and all sectors of the peace movement here are focused on learning and applying the lessons of Spain. We have a great deal of work to do to follow suit.

Smeel the coffee... (none / 1) (#350)
by ambisinistral on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 04:50:19 PM EST

The United Nations is irrelevent. The day France and Germany played the old and tired 18th Century European game of "Balance of Power" politics by backing out on their previous agreement to see the will of the UN was enforced -- that was the same day the UN ended up in the dustbin of history next to the League of Nations. A short term political victory for them, but watch... it will prove to be a very bad mistake on their part in the long run. It is going to take a tremendous amount of effort to coax the US into trusting that worthlessdebating society for tinpot dictators after being stabbed in the back by their own supposed allies.

[ Parent ]
Smeel the coffee... (none / 2) (#352)
by ambisinistral on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 04:50:41 PM EST

The United Nations is irrelevent. The day France and Germany played the old and tired 18th Century European game of "Balance of Power" politics by backing out on their previous agreement to see the will of the UN was enforced -- that was the same day the UN ended up in the dustbin of history next to the League of Nations.

A short term political victory for them, but watch... it will prove to be a very bad mistake on their part in the long run. It is going to take a tremendous amount of effort to coax the US into trusting that worthlessdebating society for tinpot dictators after being stabbed in the back by their own supposed allies.

[ Parent ]

al-Qaeda thinks it's been appeased (1.75 / 8) (#193)
by Lode Runner on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 06:40:47 PM EST

Regardless of what many Spaniards may say and regardless of the truth, al-Qaeda and its allies see the last week as solid evidence that they can achieve their goals through violence directed against civilians.

Al-Qaeda and its supporters believe they've found a new mean of political leverage: the pre-election mega-massacre. And no amount of insisting (however rightly) that the elections would've turned out the same without the bombings is going to stuff the genie back into its bottle.

Were I a jihadi, I'd right now be trying to figure out how to orchestrate similar campaigns in Italy (especially), Holland, Poland, and the UK. Maybe it'll work, and maybe it won't; but it won't take too much effort to persuade al-Qaeda that Spain is a template for success.

p.s. - readers seeking an alternate (i.e. not pro-socialist) view of the Spanish election will find a useful corrective in the blog Iberian Notes.

It's unfortunate ... (none / 3) (#219)
by joegee on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:17:38 PM EST

I completely understand the vote of Spain's citizens -- among other points they were voting out a government that lied to them. How can anyone who believes in democracy not support the right of a populace to remove liars from power, and yet ...

You're right, in the eyes of al Quaeda I suspect this smells pretty strongly of victory, and I would wager money that we'll see similar attempts to swing popular vote before every major election, in every coalition country including the U.S.

I fear strongly that the M-11 deaths will not be the last Western victims of the war on terror. I also don't feel France and Germany are exempt from fundamentalist terror. France just angered its hijab-wearing populace with its ban on head dress in school, and as far as I know Germany's resident alien Turkish population still has problems with their role in German society.

If Europe somehow finds a peaceful, comprehensive solution to terror, I hope the U.S. will learn from it. I was going to write about the U.S. solution for terror, but I started thinking about it and I wasn't able to figure out exactly what my country's solution actually is ...

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
We're not "out", but... (none / 3) (#248)
by malkuth on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 07:05:44 AM EST

Spain would have not been a good unconditional ally to the US policies against terror; 90% of the people were against the war, and that includes a lot of the Popular Party voters. The unconditional allegiance to the United States in the Iraq war was a personal bet of Aznar, who wanted in his own words to "take us out of the corner of history" (you can imagine how we feel about that words) Chirac and Schröder said yesterday they want to combat both "terrorism and the misery that feeds it", and make a strong effort to avoid the civilizations clash. I'm much better with that.

[ Parent ]
except of course (none / 1) (#341)
by Chep on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 07:36:13 AM EST

... that if you believe any of Chirac's words, you are probably naïve. This guy has been trained by the masters (Pompidou, Mitterand), and would solve the world's energy problems if only we could attach his proclaimed opinions to a suitable alternator.

--

Our Constitution ... is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the greatest number.
Thucydide II, 37


[ Parent ]

a couple of things: (none / 1) (#319)
by Lode Runner on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 05:09:50 PM EST

1) Please stop spelling Qaeda with a "u". It's uncouth.

2) Be wary of those who argue that we must treat the disease that causes terrorism rather than the symptoms. Any good physician treats the symptoms first, then moves onto the disease. In the case of al Qaeda, their misery stems not from poverty but from being unable to establish some grand emirate cleansed of infidels. You can't change people's ideology, but you can kill 'em.

[ Parent ]

In the future I'll mind my couthfulness. (none / 0) (#329)
by joegee on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 07:53:06 PM EST

I'll be as couthish as a couthful person can be. I desire to be couthworthy.

As for the second point, I'm afraid you might be right.

<sig>I always learn something on K5, sometimes in spite of myself.</sig>
[ Parent ]
The vote was tragic (2.57 / 7) (#197)
by awgsilyari on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:26:15 PM EST

Spain will be widely criticized for "caving" to terrorism, but it's impossible to ignore terrorist acts. They do influence the choices you make.

Suppose everyone in Spain stood up on voting day and said to their neighbor, "I'm going to vote for the PP, because the terrorists are not going to influence my choices."

Wait a second. You just said, "I'll vote [...] because the terrorists [...]" It's no better.

I personally refuse to vote for or against an issue because some third party happens to agree or disagree with it. If I vote the opposite of my enemy, he still controls me.

Unfortunately, Spain will be widely condemed for "giving in."

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com

What do you need to become a terrorist? (3.00 / 13) (#201)
by DrPollo on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 07:43:51 PM EST

Some time ago I decided to stop thinking what the media told me, as it was clearly that it wasn't always true, specially about terrorism. It's easy here in Spain to read from people that supports the claims of ETA in some form, people that almost always rejects absolutely the methods used.

Well, the question I did me seeing the terrorism worldwide was, could I become a terrorist? what do I need?

In fact I realised that I could become a terrorist in Palestina, for example. I could be a youngster without future, members of my family and friends could have died on an attack from a very superior force, which my people always said that are stealing our lands and killing us.

Here in the western hemisphere we have a lot of stories about that hero that gave his life in the war against the enemy, so we know that giving the life for a cause it's not so horrible, and maybe better than dying as a dog doing nothing to defend your people. So it's not so difficult to become a terrorist in some places (and I'm talking about suicide terrorism, plain terrorism like in Madrid it's much easier I think).

So, I think than instead of thinking how evil the terrorist are, and that they kill us for stealing our freedom (can you take another's freedom for you?), we should start thinking why they have become terrorists, and solve that point (besides punishing terrorists, they are criminals and assasins, no doubt). I don't think a preventive war does any good on the terrorism matter, neither all the other things that are done to many poor countries. By the US and by the EU, there is no much difference.

What do you need to become a terrorist?

P.D: I don't support ETA at all, in my opinion they have no reasons to do terrorism.

Easy answer (none / 3) (#227)
by mstefan on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:58:19 PM EST

If it's something you really believe and want to fight and die for, then you put on a uniform, pick up a gun and go fight enemy soldiers. But when you strap on a bomb and blow yourself up in a cafe, you've done nothing honorable. You've just murdered a bunch of innocent people who have nothing to do with what you're upset about.

When we fought the British for our own independence, a force superior to our own, I don't recall reading about American sleeper cells blowing up women and children in Hyde Park.



[ Parent ]
...you put on a uniform, pick up a gun... (3.00 / 5) (#240)
by DrPollo on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 05:49:27 AM EST

What's the difference? is it the uniform?

Now, being serious, if your enemy is the US, what uniform could you put on? There is no army or country which can oppose to US, (besides China or the EU, but that's another story) this people can't fight a conventional war against the US.

But they want to fight the US, and they are very upset against the US country, not only the soldiers. So I can imagine that any thing they do to harm the enemy is good to theirs.

It's easy to tell that in a war you don't kill civilians, but it's not always true. The US does kill civilians, always, you are going to tell me that the US didn't attack civilians in Vietnam, that no missile hit a market in Afghanistan, that in the First Gulf War no missile blowed up an antiair refuge, that in the Second Gulf War no helicopter killed the assistants to a wedding, and so on...

So go on and tell that it's bad to kill civilians, but don't expect anyone to believe that in a war the US won't kill them.

Terrorism are the guerrillas of our time, dishonorable war that can ignore the enormous difference in resources.

So if you want to fight the enemy, get an uniform and a gun, and join the army, that they will join al qaeda, I don't know what is worse.

[ Parent ]

The difference (none / 0) (#247)
by mstefan on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:58:48 AM EST

The difference is that we don't go looking to kill kids as a matter of policy. Yes, we've had our share of soldiers go off the deep end and kill innocent civillians; it's not something we're proud of. And we don't tell them that they're certain to get their own private lapdance in heaven with some horny virgins if they'd just go murder a bunch of innocent women and kids.

When we go to war, our policy is to destroy the means that our enemy has to make war against us. Not blow up their temples, churches or mosques. Not commit mass murder against innocent civilians. You can argue that it happens anyway, and dead people are still dead; and I'll argue that intent still does matter.

Bottom line, there is a difference in intent between terrorism and war. And when confronted with terrorism, you can do one of two things: you can crawl as deep in your hole and hope they don't hurt you, or you can strap on your boots and look for some asses to kick.

Personally, I prefer the second option. Other people in this discussion have made noises about compromise and negotiation, that we should try to somehow empathize with why these fuckheads want to kill us. Screw that. When you boil off of this liberal, neosocialist bullshit what you're left with is the stark truth: it is either them or us. I vote us, and to hell with their justifications. Or, put another way, once we kill all of the motherfuckers, they won't have a thing to worry about, will they?



[ Parent ]
Don't be stupid (3.00 / 6) (#251)
by marx on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 07:52:27 AM EST

When we go to war, our policy is to destroy the means that our enemy has to make war against us.
If that means killing innocent women and children, you also do it. You bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to kill a lot of innocent women and children to break the spirit of the Japanese people. And you consider this a heroic act.

There is no difference between the thinking behind America's attacks and the attacks of Al Qaeda. The only difference is that Al Qaeda is weak while America is strong, and the practical methods adapt to that.

Bottom line, there is a difference in intent between terrorism and war.
No there isn't. The intent is to subjugate another people through the use of violence. The difference is in the means.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

It's weird how little Usians know about Hiroshima. (none / 2) (#255)
by waxmop on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 09:14:10 AM EST

I went to public schools and nobody really mentioned the civilian deaths. It wasn't until I read The Myths of August and Hiroshima that I got a sense about the magnitude of the slaughter. 80 thousand people died immediately, then tens of thousands more died later do to the fallout.
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
[ Parent ]
Or about the bombing of Japanese cities (none / 0) (#258)
by nlscb on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 09:23:34 AM EST

I already knew that USia killed millions of Japanese civilians BEFORE hiroshima and nagasaki after reading The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes - awesome book. However, it took seeing the Robert McNamara documentary Fog of War to realize just the kind of carnage we inflicted. Imagine torching 1/2 of NYC in one night. That's pretty much what we did to Tokyo.

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

Agreed (none / 2) (#274)
by whazat on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:36:27 AM EST

But we (the British) tend not to focus on the Dresden firebombing either. Which was equally horrific.

Oh and I second the recommendation of The Making of the Atomic Bomb.

We forget what we can do when we are inured to violence and death, we no longer think of the enemy as people and just want to win no matter what the cost to the other side.

I think we (the western world) are morally superior to the terrorists at this moment in time, but only because our wealth and power allow us to be.

[ Parent ]

Who was involved with the Dresden bombing? (none / 0) (#304)
by nlscb on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 02:32:51 PM EST

It has never been clear to me. Was it just UKians or were USian bombers involved as well? Who gave the order?

Comment Search has returned - Like a beaten wife, I am pathetically grateful. - mr strange
[ Parent ]

AFAIK (3.00 / 4) (#333)
by GenerationY on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 09:26:33 PM EST

The operation was under the command of Arthur "Bomber" Harris and involved both British (Lancasters) and American (B-17) bombers (approx. 2000 all told). It is to be noted that Dresden is just the best known example of Harris's "saturation bombing" approach which was designed specifically to cause large civilian losses and to affect the morale of the enemy (Rostock, Hamburg etc.) At this point, to be fair, it should be said that "precision" bombing was anything but at the time Harris took over at Bomber Command and it would take some time until "blind" bombing was perfected as a technique (with the Pathfinder squadron led by Guy Gibson of Dambusters fame). Whilst it might seem the obvious alternative, high-altitude daylight bombing practiced by the Americans typically had the accuracy rate of less than 50 percent.

Dresden (specifically) was bombed on the orders of both Churchill and Roosvelt following a request from the Russians who were at the point converging on Berlin. Dresden was by that time a major communications and logistics centre. But sadly it was also packed with refugees evacuating from before the advancing Russian army in the East. We know from Harris's personal papers however that part of the reason for the violence of the attack on Dresden was to "impress" the Russians (that is, demonstrate to them the firepower of the UK and US in action).

Questions about the morality of saturation bombing were alive at the time. Harris was never given a peerage and Bomber Command were (shockingly) refused a Special Campaign medal owing to ethical concerns. It is notable that for someone who could reasonably expected to have been lauded as a hero, Harris left for South Africa in 1946 more or less in disgrace.

An anecodte widely attributed to Harris was the he was stopped for speeding by a policemen who told him "you might of killed somebody". Harris replied "Young man, I kill thousands of people every night".

The monster or hero (or pragmatist) question about Harris I find personally hard to come to a view on, but with reference to the proceeding thread, yes, it probably does belong on the same tier as questions about the legitimacy of the American nuclear bombings in Japan.

[ Parent ]

To take this a step further... (none / 2) (#349)
by ambisinistral on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 04:36:40 PM EST

Ironically enough the targeting of civilians was called "Terror Bombing" and it was the doctrine of nearly every major participant in WWII. The German indiscriminately bomber English cities, the Allies bombed Axis cities, and the Japanese Terror Bombed Chinese cities.

Before the Second World War an Italian General by the name of Giulio Douhet developed the doctrine that the Terror Bombing of civilians would eventually break their will to continue fighting. Virtually every country adopted his theories as their air doctrine.

It wasn't until after the war, when the allied military could study the results of their bombing campaigns, that the doctrine of Terror bombing fell out of favor. In fact, it was discovered that Terror Bombing of civilians stiffened the enemey's resolve to fight.

It was replaced with the notion of targeting of military formations, selective key industries, and transportation and distribution sytems. That is the reason, and not some sense of humanitarian concern (I don't really mena to sound as callous as I do with that statement), that the US and NATO forces stress precision air attack.

It is really not fair to single only one of the WWII combatants out for censure for Terror Bombing. That was the norm of European style warfare at the time.

BTW, I think the new style of Terror Bombing will prove to work as well as the last. The problem with the situation of the Spanish reaction -- or more correctly the perception of the cause of the spanish reaction -- to the latest bombing is it looks as if a bomb changed the course of Spanish policy. It looks as if killing people can bend a country to the terrorist's will. That misconception is going to lead to an ocean of blood being shed.

The Spanish government, and most of the rest of Europe, would be wise to remember the end game isn't ever going to end up being the Planet Earth under the sharia. The trick is to shorten the game.

[ Parent ]

True (none / 1) (#359)
by GenerationY on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 06:44:08 PM EST

My source was a couple of books on RAF Bomber Command hence the Brit-centric take on events. Perhaps I should have said within the RAF it was Harris who was the strongest proponet of the approach, to the point of pig-headedness (and thus he is regarded a synonymous with it in popular memory). Anyone who doubts that Britain didn't sustain similar attacks just needs to go to Coventry and try to find any sign of the city's medieval roots. You will instead find an awful lot of post-war concrete. Indeed, Harris claimed to have been "inspired" (if thats the right word) by being present in the London blitz when the Germans first used incendary devices.

I can't agree with you about the Spanish situation for many reasons already articulated in this thread. However, I think you are right that ends up a question of perception. Certainly the European view of the entire issue of terrorism is at variance with the American view. To many the election result in Spain is a show of strength rather than weakness. I guess the real question is whether Al Quaeda are more "American" than they are "European".

[ Parent ]

Right (none / 0) (#279)
by mstefan on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 11:19:13 AM EST

So, it would have been so much better to sacrifice the lives of tens of thousands of American soldiers in a land assault on Japan? To continue a ground war against an enemy who refused to surrender even when they knew they had lost, and vowed to fight down to the last man, woman and child? Yeah, right.

When it comes down to tens of thousands of my own people, or tens of thousands of the enemy, that's not even a hard decision to make. And frankly, if we had really wanted to fuck the Japanese, we would have hit targets like Kyoto, obliterating their people and their major cultural center in a single strike.



[ Parent ]
false dilemma. (none / 1) (#290)
by waxmop on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 12:54:13 PM EST

You're oversimplifying. You're trying to imply that the US was faced with an either/or situation. Most historians don't agree with you.
--
We are a monoculture of horsecock. Liar
[ Parent ]
Not Really (none / 0) (#299)
by CENGEL3 on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 02:05:46 PM EST

The U.S. essentialy had 4 options:

 1) Accept a Conditional Surrender from the Japanese which left the Millitarists in charge - Convetional wisdom said all this would accomplish was a 15 year delay before we would be fighting them in WWIII.

 2) An invasion of the Japanese homeland - Evidence from the invasions of Okinawa and Iwo Jima indicated that the Japanese would NOT surrender and that we would end up having to fight not only Japanese millitary but civilians... down to that last woman and child. This was estimated to cost at least 1 million U.S. casualties and untold numbers of Jaoanese. Plans for this were actualy in place and resources were being assembled when the bomb was dropped. This WAS the backup option if the bomb failed.

     On an interesting note when a school freind of mine visited Japan, the grandmother of the family he stayed with told him the story of how as a schoolgirl of 12 she had been issued a bamboo spear by the local Japanese defense force and instructed on how to use it to kill the American invaders that were expected. The Japanese really were prepairing to fight an American invaders with schoolgirls, if neccesary.

3) A Conventional Bombing Campaign combined with naval blockade - A viable alternative option which would not have cost many allied lives. It would however have extended the war...and it would have cost FAR more Japanese lives then were lost at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In fact, fewer people died from the atomic bomb at Nagasaki then in the Conventional bombing of Hamburg.

4) The Atomic Bomb - Pundits don't like to admit it but this was the option which was likely to cost the least lives on BOTH sides and to end the war most quickly.... which, indeed, it did. The interesting thing was that despite the succesfull tests in New Mexico....many of the senior millitary commanders were convinced that the bomb would fail to detonate.

[ Parent ]

Re: Right (3.00 / 4) (#318)
by wastl on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 04:56:45 PM EST

So, it would have been so much better to sacrifice the lives of tens of thousands of American soldiers in a land assault on Japan? To continue a ground war against an enemy who refused to surrender even when they knew they had lost, and vowed to fight down to the last man, woman and child? Yeah, right.

If you are considering your last posts, that's exactly what you are arguing in favor of. "Put on a uniform and fight".

Some posts earlier you also mentioned that the US never intentionally killed civilians. Now you say, in the case of Japan, it's ok, it saved tens of thousands of american soldier's lives. Somewhat of a hypocrite, aren't you?

When it comes down to tens of thousands of my own people, or tens of thousands of the enemy, that's not even a hard decision to make.

Well, it should be. Yours were soldiers that after your own argumentation are paid to fight and die, whereas the others were civilians that had no other choice than die.

And frankly, if we had really wanted to fuck the Japanese, we would have hit targets like Kyoto, obliterating their people and their major cultural center in a single strike.

This doesn't change a single thing. You intentionally killed civilians in order to fight your enemy. Fullstop. I don't condemn you for it more than I condemn any other country. It's part of war. But be so kind and stop spreading the lie of the American White Angel and the Muslim Black Devil. It's not like this. War kills. And mostly civilians. And terrorism is just the poor man's way to fight a war.

Sebastian

[ Parent ]

The Bomb (none / 2) (#276)
by mstefan on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 11:07:42 AM EST

You bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki to kill a lot of innocent women and children to break the spirit of the Japanese people.

What complete and utter bullshit.

If we really wanted to "break the spirit of the Japanese" people, we would have dropped them on Tokyo and Kyoto. And while that was considered, Truman decided against it because as he said, he wanted to kill soldiers and sailors not women and children. Of course, women and children did die in Hiroshima, but they weren't who we were going after. Hiroshima was a army depot and part of Japan's military industrial complex; they intentionally built workers homes right next to the factories. It was also a good target because of the geography of the region.

And ultimately we gave the Japanese several opportunities to surrender. They rejected each one of them. And in the end, let's not forget who attacked whom to get the ball rolling. Japan started the fight, we finished it.

But, hey, you want to think that we're monstrous bastards, go right on ahead. Don't let the facts get in your way.



[ Parent ]
Facts (3.00 / 4) (#283)
by marx on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 11:48:25 AM EST

Truman decided against it because as he said, he wanted to kill soldiers and sailors not women and children.
And Bush said Saddam Hussein had WMD. You have never considered that he might have lied?

These are facts, taken straight out of the minutes of the target committee:

7. Psychological Factors in Target Selection

A. It was agreed that psychological factors in the target selection were of great importance. Two aspects of this are (1) obtaining the greatest psychological effect against Japan and (2) making the initial use sufficiently spectacular for the importance of the weapon to be internationally recognized when publicity on it is released.

B. In this respect Kyoto has the advantage of the people being more highly intelligent and hence better able to appreciate the significance of the weapon. Hiroshima has the advantage of being such a size and with possible focussing from nearby mountains that a large fraction of the city may be destroyed. The Emperor's palace in Tokyo has a greater fame than any other target but is of least strategic value.

(my em)

I would imagine the targeting discussions of the September 11 attackers were extremely similar. I.e. what target will produce the maximum psychological effect on the people of the USA? What would be the most spectacular attack?

Japan started the fight, we finished it.
How old are you? Am I arguing with a child?
Don't let the facts get in your way.
I will forgive you this once on account of ignorance. If you keep defending the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki then you are supporting terrorism.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Yes, I've read that (none / 2) (#302)
by mstefan on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 02:20:27 PM EST

The thing that you fail to point out is that while Kyoto, and even the palace, was considered as a target because of the psychological impact, we did not bomb them. We felt that the cost in civilian casualties and even the loss of their cultural center (Kyoto) to be too destructive. We wanted the Japanese to surrender, not annihilate them entirely as a people.

Because it was considered, and ultimately rejected by Truman, shows that we did not use the bomb casually and we did have a concern for civilian casualties. And, as another poster has pointed out, if we had chosen not to use the bomb and attack the mainland conventionally, the lost of Japanese life would have been far greater than the lives lost in those two bomb drops.

And by the way, if you don't think Japan started the mess, then you're seriously deficient in history. And I'm not talking about Pearl Harbor here. They started stirring up the shit in the early 1930s with the invasion of Manchuria and the slaughter of thousands of innocent Chinese civilians. So it's hardly the case that Japan was just an innocent victim of US' brutality. Defend the Japanese in the 30s and 40s, and you're defending an expansionist, war-mongering empire. [That's your opening to tell me how the United States is the same thing]



[ Parent ]
Tokyo (none / 2) (#346)
by scorchio on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 01:16:29 PM EST

If we really wanted to "break the spirit of the Japanese" people, we would have dropped them on Tokyo and Kyoto.

The US did bomb Tokyo, with incendiaries. Tokyo was largely a wooden city at the time, and the results were horrific. Similar, in fact, to the bombing of Dresden, and similarly calculated. Of course, the atom bombs got most of the subsequent publicity.

[ Parent ]

Re: Tokyo (none / 2) (#347)
by mstefan on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 03:20:50 PM EST

True, but wrt to the a-bomb, the target would have specifically been the palace. Destroying it would have been strategically pointless, but would have had a devastating impact on the Japanese people at the time. As was discussed earlier, those types of targets -- while considered -- were dismissed because they really didn't attack the military infrastructure.

The point I was trying to make was that when we hit Japan, it was to force them unconditionally surrender. We didn't have a stated goal of wiping the Japanese people from the earth; we didn't want to see their culture annihilated. Conversely, radical Islamist groups like al-Qaeda don't just want the United States out of their back yard. They see us, and western Europe at large, as "infidels" who are in the way of a fundamentalist pan-Islamic state with global reach. More important to them than just short-term goals (like getting us out of Afghanistan or Iraq), they want to see our culture destroyed; to them, were are godless, soulless heathens who must be eliminated for the greater glory of Allah.

This is why there's no "negotiating" here. Fundamentalist Islam and western-style, secular democracy are diametric opposites; one cannot exist within the sphere of influence of the other. To a fundamentalist, there is no compromise because any such compromise by definition means that it is no longer "fundamental"; it has been reformed by some external influence. Fundamentalism by its very nature is hardline, reactionary mindset; compromise and negotiation is not in their vocabulary.

Bottom line, it is not hyperbole when it is said that al-Qaeda wants to destroy our way of life; they absolutely do. That doesn't mean they want to kill every American or European. But they do want to destroy our system of government and drive us towards their religious ideology. And it's obvious from their actions they don't just want to be left alone to their own devices; they want power and influence in the world.

The mistake I think most Westerners make is that they feel that groups like al-Qaeda are "just people like us" and can be talked to and reasoned with; that they can be convinced to take another path. The problem is that they fail to understand that they don't think "just like us"; they have a completely different mindset and perspective on life and death, religion and government. There is no middle ground to be reached here. We would have as much success negotiating with al-Qaeda as we would a snake, trying to reason with it that it should not bite, although it is its fundamental nature to do so.



[ Parent ]
Actually, I fear more the US than al qaeda (none / 2) (#270)
by DrPollo on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:16:48 AM EST

"...you can crawl as deep in your hole and hope they don't hurt you, or you can strap on your boots and look for some asses to kick."

That is what I fear, blind people that only know two options, kill or die, they or us...

This agressive behaviour has led the US to this point, each US president must have its war, and one bad point of making wars is that you make enemies, enemies that can remember the agression a lot of time. I can remember a few, only since the WWII (Vietnam, Korea, Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afganistan, support of Israel, Iraq again, and I'm missing for sure), and if you add not only conventional wars, but operations of the CIA (can you remember Salvador Allende?, or Cuba?), and if you add the economic wars lead by the transnationals (Bolivia? Nigeria? Argentina?) and the people that simply don't like the emblematic buildings of his cities be transformed in McDonald's and Burger King... well, I think that is a lot of enemies I don't want my country to get, I hope we can learn of the errors of others.

So, keep kicking asses, and fighting all over the world, but don't involve the others, Iraq was not our war, and we don't want to pay for it.

Really, read a bit, and make a list of how many countries could hate the US, it's long my friend, very long. I don't think you can defeat them all.

And one thing more, you can't defeat terrorism, as you can't defeat war. Terrorism is not an enemy, is a method, a method that any can use, so if you plan to kill all possible terrorists, well, you have to kill all Humanity. I recommend you instead having less enemies, I think its a more realistic thing to do.

[ Parent ]

Welcome to the real world (none / 2) (#277)
by mstefan on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 11:09:54 AM EST

That is what I fear, blind people that only know two options, kill or die, they or us...

Have you been enjoying your vacation from reality, or what? This is the human condition defined since we've been walking upright and clubbing each other over the head. It's part of our nature.



[ Parent ]
"We don't go looking to kill kids" (none / 2) (#310)
by wastl on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 03:56:32 PM EST

Although you might not realise it, but "you" did exactly this when "you" bombed Germany in WW2 (remember Dresden, Hamburg, etc). Deliberately. To weaken the morale of the public. And yes, Hitler was a cruel dictator, and yes, it was good to get rid of him. Nonetheless it was completely unjustified to bomb a strategically unimportant city like Dresden when the war was almost over. Oh, and don't forget Hiroshima! The terrorists will have to do a lot of suicide bombings to get even close to the number of dead civilians there.

So, please stop telling that killing civilians was never US policy.

Sebastian

[ Parent ]

Intent? (none / 3) (#314)
by pyramid termite on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 04:19:52 PM EST

So, if the intent was for the Soviet Union to build a socialist paradise, then it was alright for them to kill millions of people so they could mold the rest into True Socialist Citizens? And if the intent is to build a Holy Allah-fearing world for the Glory of Allah, it's alright for some innocent civilians to get blown up, if it's believed that's the best way of getting there?

Nope. It's the results that matter. My employer doesn't accept intent and neither do my creditors. You can't resurrect people with intent.

Intent is merely a means of introducing propaganda. If the results of a policy of a state is to kill innocents, then evil has resulted. One can argue about what alternatives might be more evil, but one cannot deny the blood and the guilt. And I've noticed, even in U.S. history, how accidents can slide into carelessness into plausibly deniable state terrorism. Vietnam is an excellent example.

We remain responsible for the dead we create. Period.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
easy, crappy, answer (3.00 / 4) (#284)
by Wah on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 11:57:04 AM EST

When we fought the British for our own independence, a force superior to our own, I don't recall reading about American sleeper cells blowing up women and children in Hyde Park.

Gosh, but I remember so clearly those stories about British Stealth Bombers and laser-guided missiles.  It's amazing our forefathers could just stand there, taking poundings from 2,000lb JDAMS, and just keep whupping British ass.  And how we worked around them completely infiltrating our entire electronic communication grid, just amazing really, in retrospect.
--
sometimes things just are that way and that's it. They're true. Sure, Popper, et. al., may argue otherwise, but they're dead. You get it? Yet?
[ Parent ]

You *are* aware (none / 2) (#298)
by Skywise on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 02:04:30 PM EST

That the British Empire had the #1 army in the world at the time?  And the US... er, excuse me, the Colonialists...had a rogue, untrained, bunch of civilian turkey shooters?

One man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter.. But it doesn't make your analogy correct.

[ Parent ]

errr (none / 0) (#323)
by Wah on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:01:03 PM EST

But it doesn't make your analogy correct.

umm, my analogy was preposterous, so I'm not sure exactly what you are saying.
--
sometimes things just are that way and that's it. They're true. Sure, Popper, et. al., may argue otherwise, but they're dead. You get it? Yet?
[ Parent ]

Well gee... (none / 0) (#334)
by Skywise on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 11:14:32 PM EST

Why didn't you just say so?
(It's so hard to read sarcasm sometimes...)

[ Parent ]
BTW... (none / 0) (#335)
by Skywise on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 11:16:02 PM EST

That was meant to be a preposterous statement as well... :)

[ Parent ]
In comparison (none / 3) (#303)
by mstefan on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 02:26:45 PM EST

The British had the most powerful, feared military in the world of the time. We had a bunch of farmers with muskets and what could be barely called an army; vastly outnumbered, outgunned and underfunded, we still managed to fight them and beat them... and all without shooting some old men in a pub or singing and dancing about how glorious to Christ it was that we blew some mother and her kids' guts all over a sidewalk in London.



[ Parent ]
Yes, I understand that (none / 2) (#322)
by Wah on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 05:57:45 PM EST

I fully comprehend what you are saying.

However, I don't see it as a proper analogy in the slightest.  In fact, IIRC, the British complained about how the Revolutionaries wouldn't come and fight them face to face.  How they changed proper military tactics and attacked from the shadows.

Ya know, that 'little war'

...and all without shooting some old men in a pub or singing and dancing about how glorious to Christ it was that we blew some mother and her kids' guts all over a sidewalk in London.

Jesus Christo!  Remember that errant rocket in the marketplace?

No, not the part where Ahhrnold walks out of the rubble with the girl on his arm.  The one with the guts and stuff on the sidewalk.
--
sometimes things just are that way and that's it. They're true. Sure, Popper, et. al., may argue otherwise, but they're dead. You get it? Yet?
[ Parent ]

The French helped (none / 2) (#345)
by scorchio on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 01:13:11 PM EST

Unpalatable as it may seem, to today's Americans, the French blockaded the British navy, and provided thousands of regular troops to fight the British in America.

For instance, the vast majority of the soldiers at the battle of Yorktown were French. Of course, history needed to be rewritten to encompass the American legend, so the French part in American liberation had to be quietly dropped.

However, if you search in real history books, you could probably unearth a few facts.



[ Parent ]
True (none / 0) (#348)
by mstefan on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 03:21:45 PM EST

Better late than never, I suppose. Of course, the same thing could be said about us and WW2.



[ Parent ]
On being of "Hindu" origin... (2.20 / 5) (#213)
by gmol on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 09:04:54 PM EST

While watching the demonstrations in Madrid (on CNN), I noted (being culturally Hindu) something odd.

The reports consistently called the a subset of the the suspects as

"Spanish of Indian or Hindu origin"

or as

"Spanish of Indian or Hindu descent"

I figured some moron down the chain had written it this way, and all the other reporters were simply parroting, but you'd think that somone at CNN would have a head on their shoulders and realize that those statements do not make a terrible amount of sense, as they could not have any accuracy given the suspects were arrested only hours ago.

Countries of origin/nationality can be (reliably) determined from a passport and/or birth certificate.  Belief in a particular diety cannot, nor is it particularly newsworthy...

How in the world could a news agency believe that  within a few hours of arrest, somone could accurately determine the religous beliefs of a suspect? I can change my religon as fast as I can change my favourite colour.

The only thing that the news agency could have accurately reported was that the some suspects did not have Islamic names.  But so quickly associating names with religon, was poor reporting.

I might very well be wrong, but (2.75 / 4) (#215)
by kralizec on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 09:16:26 PM EST

in spanish language both Indian(Indio) and Hindu(Hindú) can mean the same thing (that is, born in India), even though only Hindú is a valid reference to the religious follower of Hinduism.

---
Un sot toujours trouve un plus sot qui l'admire
[ Parent ]

Here's the problem: (3.00 / 5) (#222)
by Estanislao Martínez on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 10:48:13 PM EST

In my experience with Spanish (which is my first language), "indio" primarily means Native American, and "hindú" means Indian (from the country, India).  To refer to a believer in the Hindu religion, it really helps to say "de religión hindú" ("of Hindu religion").

It's messed up etymologically, but we can be sure that the Spanish didn't mean to say that the person is "de religión hindú". We can trust foreign media reporting Spanish news to miss this detail, though.

--em
[ Parent ]

The bombings didn't affect that much the elections (2.92 / 14) (#214)
by kralizec on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 09:09:03 PM EST

MISINFORMATION did.

In Spain there was a feeling of contained anger against the Popular Party (not accounted in the polls, of course, but I think that it was well-known to the Popular Party who, in fact, did its best to get a quiet campaign), mainly because its way of doing things.
I mean, everybody can make a mistake, but if when you make one, you laugh at the ones pointing it to you, and dismiss them as morons, losers and whatever, people usually sees you as an arrogant asshole. And this doesn't goes for the Iraq war, but as well for the whole Prestige mess

And if you do things against the will of your boss (and let's remember that in a democracy, even in a representative one, the People is the boss), he usually likes to take revenge.

What it happened is that the alternative (PSOE, the center-left party), and its leader Mr. Zapatero, weren't seen as a viable alernative either. So, what the bombings, and more importantly, what the horrible media management got is a lot of people going to vote (and to vote PSOE, just to piss off Aznar) who didn't intend to. This explains the relative small loss in votes PP had, and the HUGE increase PSOE got.

So, it wasn't a single issue thing... it was more a movilization of angry but apathic people than nothing else.

Well, IMHO, at least.

---
Un sot toujours trouve un plus sot qui l'admire

Moroccan relations (none / 3) (#225)
by dzelenka on Tue Mar 16, 2004 at 11:27:29 PM EST

Malkuth, if you are still reading your threads, how is this affecting Spains dealings with the illegal Moroccans in your country? I've been to Spain in the last few years and noticed that there has been tension with the immigrants for several years. This has to make it worse. Have there been any official action, or deportations?

Gracias, y basta ya!
"Are you talkin' to me?"

Incomplete answer (none / 3) (#234)
by Quique on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 05:06:47 AM EST

AFAIK, the only official actions about this were:
  • the government promised that would not take actions against illegal immigrants going to the tanatory to check whether their relatives were victims of the attack (there are still unidentified corpses, most of them apparently of foreign people).
  • the government announced would give the Spanish nationality to the dead/wounded immigrants, and to their families.
These two things are probably the only things that the Popular Party managed right on this crisis.

About popular reactions, I only know that a mosquee in Barbastro (a village in the Huesca province) has been attacked.

The Popular Party has been quite a bit the responsible for the tension with the immigrants on the last years.

On the other hand, Moroccan and Spanish polices are working closely in the investigations.

[ Parent ]

Moroccan relations (none / 2) (#235)
by DrPollo on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 05:21:44 AM EST

For what I know there is not any official reaction against Morocco, and it's not going to be another Afghanistan. Morocco is positively helping us to find the bombers. We have a lot of Moroccans in Spain, both legal and illegal, and it would be highly irresponsive to take any action against Morocco, we don't want a war for this, actually, I hope this government will work a better relationship with them. Will be deportations of illegal immigrants, but there are deportations every day, we won't take the moroccans out of Spain as we did on 1492, these are other times.

[ Parent ]
No official measures, but maybe a bit of fear (none / 1) (#243)
by GaAs on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:42:58 AM EST

There are no deportations, apart from the usual deportations of "illegal" inmigrants, and there won't be any special measures against this population afaik, but it is true that most moroccan people in Spain must be quite frightened.
On Sunday morning in my town (Madrid province), you couldn't see them on the streets, or at least you see only a few in their usual places of meeting. That's really sad.

[ Parent ]
very unlikely (none / 2) (#256)
by malkuth on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 09:17:55 AM EST

As some other spaniards answered, there'll be no special deportations, and socialists are very unlikely to do anything that way, they have a different point of view about immigration, more positive and constructive, which will hopefully reduce the tension.

Also, we're now more concerned with the risk on problems with racism. Madrid mayor Gallardon (from the PP party) had today a meeting with arab community representatives and told through the media not to confuse the killings with the arab community, which also suffered from the killings



[ Parent ]
Morocco is also a victim of terrorism (none / 2) (#368)
by cpghost on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 07:03:24 AM EST

Moroccans were hit by terrorist bombings too, most recently in the moroccan city of Casablanca. The moroccan government is actively fighting terrorism. They are on our side. It is worth noting that Morocco surrepetiously warned the spanish authorities about the main perpetrator of 11-M as early as last year (!). That guy has long been on Morocco's most wanted terrorists list, and was freely living in Spain, safe from prosecution.

The good relations between Morocco and the West are not only a government thing. Unlike most arabic/islamic coutries, the population in Morocco is overwhelmingly pro western. They have a very open society, compared to most other arab countries. That's exactly the reason why terrorists are targetting Morocco and recruiting some criminal moroccan citizens, mostly in Europe. The political goal of the terrorists is to alienate moroccans and europeans, and it's sad to see that this is starting to happen.

Morocco and Spain have a long common history. They are culturally intertwined. Andalusia has been very influenced by Morocco for many hundred years. Spanish is very widespread in the nothern parts of Morocco.


cpghost at Cordula's Web
[ Parent ]
American hypocrisy (2.83 / 12) (#229)
by jimjamjoh on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 12:40:00 AM EST

In major media publications throughout the United States, its ignorant populace has flooded the offices of editors with letters condemning the Spanish for being craven in the face of terrorism. They are spewing forth the unintelligible sentiments that rain down upon them from on high, through all the major dys-information avenues that the Republican majority has at its disposal. The sentiments originate from within the office of an administration cowering in fear of the polls and the imminent regime change that November's elections will bring, much as the Spain's Popular Party was itself a slave to its standing in the polls.

This current American regime decrying the Spanish for reacting to the most egregious home-soil terrorism in its history is hypocrisy in the extreme, for it need only look back 2 years and 4 months to its own day of tragedy, and how its own collected government convened on the steps of its capitol building, singing "America, the Beautiful" as they proceeded to lose their minds.

Scant hours after terrorism reared its ugly head on American soil, America recoiled collectively against terrorism by forgoing their civil liberties for whatever token of security might be offered them, by railroading through such legislation as the USA Patriot Act, et al.

How can the Spanish be decried by these same people for clinging to whatever securities from terrorism they might see available to them?

I do not know if the Spanish have chosen wisely or poorly with these elections, and only time will tell. What I do know is that it is an abomination unto integrity for Americans to condemn the Spanish for seeking their best security in terrorism's wake, when they themselves were but helpless babes crying "save me!" to their masters but a few short years ago...

Querida Espana (none / 3) (#233)
by aguila on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 03:25:17 AM EST

In many ways the period of history we find ourselves
may be well described by the first paragraph of Charles Dickens work, "A Tale of Two Cities".  Our difference is that the struggle this time is strewn across the entire planet.  It is unbelieveable for civilized men and women to concieve that the "enemy" is a cult, not even a core constituent, derived from
Islam which continues to involve itself with practices of behavior which predates Islam by thousands of years.  The subjugation and slavery of men and women, maniacal lust for the death of others which do not agree with its views; this is a hallmark not of Islam but of something older, more pernicious, more rotten.  The origin may be identified with a death cult ancient in the Middle East, reborn into our time with Islam's face.  But the face is the face of the dead, because Islam has also suffered the same onslaught as Christianity.

Science and Technology have not only brought wonders, it has brought doubt.  With knowledge comes responsibility and humanity is not happy with coming to the realization that it may very well be alone.  So cults of all sorts have blossomed or exploded from Korean Saviours to Saviours from other planets and galaxies.  Coming to maturity as an individual can be fun and even interesting, but it is never simple, easy or truly pleasant.  Ways of seeing change, and hopefully if one is fortunate bits of Wisdom develop.  As a planet we are in a similar phase, after such a long time in childhood we are collectively bursting through our cultural fantasies and although we may develop new ones, the old ones are dead even though we occasionally still engage their rituals in some mixture of entertainment and seriousness.  Mardi Gras.  Lent.  The Day of the Dead. Christmas.  Midnight Mass.  The tradition still the most lively during immediately prior centuries is dying as well even if it appears lively today; I refer to Socialism.  But the largest institution deserving of the Title, "Dead Institution Walking" (a poor play of an Mid-West US phrase - "Dead Man Walking") is not the Catholic Church as one may reasonably expect, instead it is, "The United Nations".

It was neither a truly representative gathering of all the peoples of this planet, nor was there ever a serious effort in that direction.  That it would expect to have authority over anything so important as the implosion of several countries and attempt to provide lasting remedies to it is as comic and tragic as watching Cantiflas explaining his character's behavior.  The genius of it is that written and thought out it appears the epitome of serious thought but of course it is
a completely unworkable idea.  The United Nations suffers in the same way; no branch of humanity can exclude another and claim to itself a truly global authority.  The United Nations had become little more than a carpet for everyone to walk upon; no help can ever come from such a thing.  

So we made our own community of nations and took care of Sadaam Hussein's Iraq, Afghanistan and several other places which many are choosing to forget about.  Just like it is very easy to forget that dominance of by the U.S. in both military and economics is not due to corporate cabals as Marxist socialist theory would have one believe.  It is solely due to the fact that somebody always fingers us; and because we don't play dead and go home we get it worse.  We got it from Japan, and we got it again from Al Queda.  

What is not clear to you is that there is a strong
feeling in the U.S. where many are awfully tired of the Arab anti-Israel game.  Several Islamic nations against one Jewish one.  After 9/11 some of us really wanted to make the world a real simple place again and balance the Middle East equation by reducing the Islamic world to the population of Haifa.  This emotion comes from a non-Jew; this appalling emotion also stems from being equally appalled that many Arabs refuse to recognize Israel's right to even exist.  Similarly appalling is how Pakistan and India have behaved in the past.  Nation's whose existence stem from no less a luminary as Mohandas Ghandi developing nuclear weapons against one another when most of the population can't afford running water or flushing toilets and they share a border.  

Bush knows how appalled we can get as well as the emotions we tend to feel, and held us back.  Part of what held us back also was Spain's cooperation and Bush's plan for helping Iraq , Afghanistan and others recover a semblance of modern sanity.  

Spain's experience and temperment can balance our own short temper, but Spain's only voice is when we hear her; that means sticking by our side and helping us ensure a reasoned approach to this terrible scourge which is Al Queda.

Bush's views are not perfect, but they are better than the solutions I think of.  Of course, Spain could cut and run home, but then our voting cycle comes up and there is another worse than Bush, but that won't be clear until after the election.

=============== Lakota Sioux: Mitakuye Oyasin English Translation: We are all related.

Simplicity (3.00 / 6) (#244)
by marx on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:50:20 AM EST

After 9/11 some of us really wanted to make the world a real simple place again and balance the Middle East equation by reducing the Islamic world to the population of Haifa.
Great statement, you really made your point.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

Watching America, Watching Spain (3.00 / 10) (#259)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 09:32:36 AM EST

(First up, apologies, I posted this in the queue but as an editorial comment when it is topical, I am a fool and I abase myself, but I have reposted it anyway)

After Spain swung against the PP and the Government was voted out, I took special care to watch Fox News on satellite and read the American papers on the web to see the response and understand what the American media thinks about us Europeans - predictably enough the cry has gone up "Appeasers, Collaborators!".

I supported the war in Afghanistan and think that Al Quaeda need to be rooted out. I opposed the war in Iraq as a needless, politically inept and illegal diversion to the 'War On Terror'.

My Government (in the UK) has committed 2 grevious mistakes, one of commission and one of ommission.

The act of comission was to wage a war against Iraq on terms that were frankly lies and were known to be lies. There was no connection between Iraq and Al Quaeda, Saddam didn't even rule his own country, let alone threaten the region, the Iraqis couldn't keep the lights on, let alone build a nuclear capability. The effect of this war was to damage the international institutions (the UN, the EU, Nato) that are necessary to fight the war on terror. The political consequences of this war has been to increase the pool of supporters for Al Quaeda across the world and the risk of murder and mayhem in our countries.

The act of omission was to have all our troops in Basra when they ought to have been in Bagram hunting down Al Quaeda.

The American/British/Spanish debacle has created a festering sore (and a failed state) in Iraq which is pumping out poison throughout the Middle East and the world. The only political solution is to drain that swamp. The world believes the Coalition is in control of Iraq for the US's benefit - putting Iraq under UN control is necessary to rebuild the coaltion against terror that Bush destroyed with his war on Iraq.

We are not soft on terrorism and murder gangs, the US has failed to make the world safer, the war in Iraq was based on lies and political self-deception. Spain doesn't propose to withdraw from Iraq, the new Government is happy to have troops in Iraq under a UN mandate and UN control. I would support UK troops staying in Iraq under the same conditions, and withdrawl from Iraq is those conditions are not met.

Now, can you convince Tony Blair? [n/t] (none / 0) (#262)
by Pop Top on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 09:57:23 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Inna Aznar-stylee! (NT - redux) (none / 1) (#265)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:02:01 AM EST



[ Parent ]
I just hope (none / 0) (#266)
by Cro Magnon on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:04:00 AM EST

that Al-Queda doesn't try to influence your election too.
Information wants to be beer.
[ Parent ]
We need to be proactive (none / 0) (#267)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:07:50 AM EST

Rebuilding international institutions is the only way to get Al Quaeda under control. Getting Tony Blair out is a necessary precondition to doing that. Al Quaeda's thoughts, wishes, hopes, dreams, misinterpretations, fantasies and underestimation of the Europeans (or the US's ditto of the Europeans) is entirely irrelevant to the course of action we need to be on.

[ Parent ]
The best way to prevent that (none / 0) (#269)
by Pop Top on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:12:28 AM EST

is to deploy more troops in Afghanistan and Pakistan and catch the bastard. Like Bush should have done a year ago.

And, by building up US & Brit credibility around the world.

If 67% of Canadians think Bush lied about Iraq we are losing the media war with al Qaeda and losing it badly. If the newly elected Spanish PM can say openly Bush and Blair LIED, we are losing the PR war with al Qaeda.

[ Parent ]

Media war with al-Qaeda, or with the Media (none / 1) (#311)
by NateTG on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 04:00:44 PM EST

In the time leading up to the Iraq war, it was already clear that Bush, Rove et al. deliberatly and consistently mislead the U.S. Public.

The most obvious of these claims is that there was a need to act immediately in Iraq - a claim that hasn't been brought up recently.  The claim of WMD - at this point, it seems that "WMD" was designed to avoid the specificity of "ABC-weapons" - which is getting more publicity is still much more credible.

Although it's not an idea original to me, it makes obvious sense that the media coverage is cynical - that is, the media coverage is designed to make the media companies money, and not to edify the public.

In more general terms, it's clear that the News programs' customers are not the watching public, but the advertisers.  For a sufficient amount of money, you can buy an issue of a paper, and get a surprising amount of control over the content.  The press isn't free - it's bought and sold like any other commodity.

[ Parent ]

Inna Anzar-stylee! (NT) (none / 1) (#263)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:00:08 AM EST



Parent posted to the wrong place (I'm a fool) (NT) (none / 1) (#264)
by the trinidad kid on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 10:01:13 AM EST



[ Parent ]
Kerry has to speak (1.00 / 7) (#293)
by muyuubyou on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 01:09:47 PM EST

He can save american lives by letting the terrorists now that the same tactics won't work in the USA.


Senator Kerry can come forward now and state clearly and unequivocally that he will not accept personal political gain from the murder of Americans. John Kerry can make it known that if terrorists kill Americans before the election in a bid to unseat the President, he will bow out of the race.

Instead of bowing out, keeping the current foreign policies would do. He should state clear he's not retreating from anywhere whatever they do.

P.S.:rusty or whoever killed my previous comment - I'd like to know just why. I'm ashamed of my country for surrendering and I say that aloud. Can you bring my comment back?

Zapatero has spoken (none / 0) (#294)
by Pop Top on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 01:13:43 PM EST

The International Herald Tribune recently quoted Zapatero as saying, "We're aligning ourselves with Kerry. Our allegiance will be for peace, against war, no more deaths for oil, and for a dialogue between the government of Spain and the new Kerry administration."

[ Parent ]
He never said this (none / 0) (#383)
by sic on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 06:23:57 AM EST

Provide a link or admit that he never said anything about "aligning himself with Kerry". I am Spanish, I watch/listen/read the news every day and have never heard this statement come from the President elect's mouth. He is definitely anti-war, anti-terrorism and pro-peace, but he has never directly endorsed a US candidate. I suspect that this is a complete fabrication on your part or by some journalist with an agenda.

[ Parent ]
he said that (none / 0) (#389)
by muyuubyou on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 04:42:42 PM EST

And I heard it first hand. I'm a Spaniard too.

Soon both Zapatero and the American left will realize they have almost nothing in common. Zappeaser has shown the world his ignorance on American politics. Should have been prudent.

La Razón

Libertad Digital

No es de extrañar que El País no lo mencione, porque la verdad es que es bastante ridículo cuando todo el mundo sabe que Kerry estaba a favor de la guerra y, además, esto no es la guerra sino los civiles inocentes que pueden quedar a merced de los saqueos.

ZP dijo:
"el PP hizo una alianza no con EEUU, sino con Bush y su administración reaccionaria, y nosotros haremos una alianza por la paz con Kerry, que va a ganar las próximas elecciones en Estados Unidos"

y además yo lo recuerdo muy bien.


[ Parent ]

Yes, my wife told me he did too (none / 0) (#399)
by sic on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 05:35:23 PM EST

My mistake. Or should I say his mistake? Well, he needs to go through some growing pains....!

[ Parent ]
¡caveat! (none / 0) (#400)
by sic on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 05:48:05 PM EST

Aunque Kerry, como todos los parlamentarios, estaba a favor de la guerra en principio, aquella opinión se había formado por las mentiras de Bush y Blair. Durante las primarias me parece que Kerry, y todos los demás candidatos demócratas, salvo quizás Liebermann, cambiaron de idea cuando se hizo evidente que les había engañado el Presidente. Por cierto, mentir al Parlamento, como hizo Bush es un crimen federal en EEUU...

Lanzar insultos infantiles, como el muy original Zappeaser, ya está pasado de moda. Desde el día 13 de esta mes vamos a intentar comportarnos con dignidad y madurez. Ya sabes, como adultos.

Lo siento mucho.

[ Parent ]

Kerry sigue apoyando la permanencia de las tropas (none / 0) (#402)
by muyuubyou on Mon Mar 22, 2004 at 06:19:20 AM EST

Lo siento mucho. Yo tenía razón y tú estabas equivocado. Zapatero también. Las mentiras de Bush al parlamento si se demuestran son delito - no me cabe duda. Ya sabes, yo no voté a Bush aunque tengo la doble nacionalidad.

Lo de Zappeaser no es un insulto. Puedes ver lo que "to appease" significa y en mi opinión es justamente lo que Zapatero decía que iba a hacer. Que lo haga o no es otra cosa porque parece que poco a poco entra en razón.

Suerte que la vamos a necesitar, y yo también lo siento mucho por la imagen que estamos dando. La "izquierda" de EEUU (que aquí estaría a la derecha del PP) es bastante razonable y no vende el país con tal de gobernar. En lugar de intentar caer simpáticos a los moros malos de Al-Qaeda a ver si les damos pena, tendríamos que estar colaborando más que nunca con EEUU para acabar con ellos para siempre.

[ Parent ]

It's still there... (none / 2) (#296)
by Skywise on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 01:39:43 PM EST

It's right here and currently at 1.50 so you should be able to see it again.

Your esteemed peers had decided that your comments were unworthy of being seen.

[ Parent ]

weird (none / 0) (#300)
by muyuubyou on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 02:09:17 PM EST

I had it bookmarked. I tried going through the reply's parent and no luck. I'd swear it wasn't there and yep I have it set to see hidden.

[ Parent ]
My reply to them, reposted here (none / 0) (#317)
by pyramid termite on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 04:56:11 PM EST

This is an outrageous suggestion. Does anyone have faith in American democracy or the American people on this board? Aren't we entitled to judge for ourselves who the better candidate is, no matter what circumstances may present themselves? Surely, if it's wrong for one candidate to have a political gain from terrorism, it would be just as wrong for the other one to have it. (And the assumption that only Kerry could possibly gain is interesting. Obviously, if Bush's main opponent were to drop out, HE would be the one to politically gain from an act of terrorism.)

Tell me, were the Republicans told they shouldn't run against FDR in 1944? If it was accepted then, in a time of true world crisis, why shouldn't it be acceptable now?

Allow me to put your proposition in another manner - what you're really saying is that if there is another terrorist attack before November, there shouldn't be an election at all.

For shame. That is NOT the American way.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
What are you talking about? (none / 0) (#320)
by muyuubyou on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 05:46:09 PM EST

No one tries to tell the american people what to vote. I only ask Kerry for a declaration of intentions to continue supporting the troops. Have you read the whole post? it's a short one.

Kerry asks Zapatero to keep the troops (Spanish) "because the terrorists can't win"

Well... this sounds like a good start to me.

[ Parent ]

I am talking about the blog you linked to (none / 0) (#326)
by pyramid termite on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:32:27 PM EST

If you follow the link again, you'll see two posts I have made there, and duplicated here, just in case there is any editorial misunderstanding on Ryan's part.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Ryan's reply, my rebuttal (none / 1) (#325)
by pyramid termite on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:27:41 PM EST

Our good friend from kuroshin has an excellent point. Republicans were not told that they should refrain from running a candidate in the 1944 election. Of course, there were a few differences:

1. Democratic campaign ads at the time asked "How many divisions is a Democratic defeat worth to Hitler and Tojo?" Were they "NOT the American way", or was that permissible because it came from St. Roosevelt. Something tells me that the rocket scientists urging American appeasement a la Spain would howl with pain if the question were put that bluntly to today's electorate.

2. In 1944, the Republican candidate could have gone on the loony path that Kerry's gone down and claimed that a sitting wartime President purposefully lied to the American people to get them into war. The theory was just as insane then as it is now, and the Republican didn't engage in that sort of thing, because it was unseemly, dishonorable, and likely to harm the national security of the United States. John Kerry banks on it every day when he deposits the Deaniac checks into the campaign bank account.

3. Finally, only an idiot would have thought that the Republicans had any intention of not winning World War II. There was no significant Republican "anti-war" or "peace at any price" voter base. John Kerry's most loyal voters share something in common with today's enemyand Osama bin Laden are both interested in Kerry's candidacy because they both want him to step away from the War on Terror. I'd say that's a notable difference.

. . . If you'd like to talk about "NOT the American way", let's talk about remaining silent when its clear that the enemy intends to use the blood of your countrymen to aid your campaign rhetoric. You object to Kerry declaring he would bow out?

Fine.

But when is your man going to say or do SOMETHING to prevent terrorists from murdering me or my loved ones one morning on the Yellow Line in the hopes that Kerry would not feel any qualms about courting the appeasement vote using our corpses as props?

Or are you hoping for that sort of "campaign contribution"?

Posted by: Ryan at March 17, 2004 05:49 PM


Ryan, let's cut to the chase and ignore your attempt to deflect the main point of my post by going on and on about the politics of 1944.

Are the American people entitled to choose a President, even if there is a terrorist attack?

Isn't saying that one person should drop out of an essentially two candidate election, in the event of terrorism, the same as saying that elections should be cancelled in that event? I await with interest your Constitutional and/or legal justification here - after all, I should think a conservative would be quite concerned about that.

You've asked when Kerry is going to say or do something? He did vote for the invasion of Afghanistan, didn't he? He did vote for the invasion of Iraq, did he not? He also voted for the Patroit Act, which supposedly was designed to protect us? Doesn't that count as SOMETHING?

Your rather uncivil suggestion that I would like to see Americans killed by terrorists in order to support "my" candidate has three unfortunate flaws - 1) It's a straw man argument. 2) It is very likely that Bush could be the one to benefit politically from such a tragic event. After all, Presidents do traditionally gain support in times of crisis. 3) I'm not going to vote for Kerry. (I'll refrain from telling you who so you'll be spared from the temptation of making ad hominem attacks, increasing your chances of actually addressing the issues I've raised.)

Do try to answer these two questions this time.

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
Alas, Ryan deleted my post ... (none / 0) (#327)
by pyramid termite on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:52:07 PM EST

... and replaced it with this admission of inadequacy.

Duh-le-ted.

How long did that little rant take, sparky? Took me thirty seconds to delete it. Felt good, too.

This isn't the Dem Underground rant board, this is Tasty Manatees. Posted by: pyramid termite at March 17, 2004 06:26 PM


(he has the "amusing" habit of replacing one's posts with his crowing over deletions)

That's alright, Ryan. The record of your reply, my rebuttal and now your confession of your inabilty to defend your ideas, has already been cut and pasted onto K5, a site with many more readers than your web site.

In fact, I think I shall post a diary entry to further record your cowardice for the entertainment of the groundlings.

It might take you 30 seconds to delete, but it only takes me 5 to cut and paste. But hey, it's publicity, ain't it? (snickers) Posted by: pyramidtermite at March 17, 2004 06:51 PM

Sigh - he also blocked my email and nic. Pity I have more than one, isn't it?

On the Internet, anyone can accuse you of being a dog.
[ Parent ]
what a load of hogwash (none / 2) (#328)
by martingale on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 07:37:54 PM EST

So, why should he keep the US policy exactly the same again? Take a moment to ask yourself that.

Here's what this message means: don't change US policy, because it's optimal.

US policy can be optimal, or not. Suppose US policy wasn't optimal. Then it would make sense to try and improve it, to discuss it in detail, and cut out what doesn't work, and keep discussing what seems to work. If it doesn't make sense to question the policy, as you suggest, then US policy must be optimal. Otherwise (repeat previous sentence).

Now let's look at what you're saying, again. What you want is to keep the current US policy (which I'm calling a disaster, but that's just me) exactly the same under Kerry. You don't want discussion, you don't want improvements. You're saying it's optimal as is.

Now it's patently obvious to a lot of people that the current policy is not optimal against terror. Perhaps you believe it is optimal, perhaps you don't.

If you believe Bush's current policy is optimal, then that's a valid point of view, but a niche point of view. In the overall scheme of things, such a point of view doesn't matter compared to the mainstream points of view.

Perhaps you don't believe Bush's current policy is optimal. In that case, that suggests to me that you don't care at all about terrorism, only about keeping the Bush world order the way it is. That's another valid point of view, but it is both hypocritical, and not mainstream either.

[ Parent ]

Hmm. (none / 1) (#351)
by aphrael on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 04:50:35 PM EST

Wouldn't that encourage right-wing extremists of the timothy mcveigh sort to engage in terrorist activity framing al-qaeda?

[ Parent ]
How not to let the terrorists win (TM) (none / 1) (#301)
by Merc on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 02:10:03 PM EST

See, what happens is there's a bomb that goes off and kills a whole bunch of people. Maybe your neighbor is injured. Maybe your friend's sister's boyfriend is unhurt, but splattered with gore.

Two days later there's an election. Here's how you "don't let the terrorists win".

Stick your fingers in your ears, shut your eyes, and go "la la la la la la la", pretending that nothing has changed. Pretend that everything is exactly the way it was a week ago, and the choice is simply between a government that did an extremely unpopular thing, siding with Bush, and another party. When accusations of conspiracies and coverups are flying about, ignore them completely. See, they're related to the bombings, and so if you pay any attention to them at all, then you're letting the bombings influence you.

This doesn't just apply to Spain either. This November, when the elections roll around in the US, it's important that the terrorists don't win. Americans can't allow the attacks in Spain to influence the outcome of the vote, in fact, they can't allow the events of September 11th to influence the vote. The only way to make sure that terrorists don't win is to make sure that nothing after September 10th 2001 is considered when deciding on a president.

Or, there's the option of being human.

You can vote knowing that if "A" is in power, your foreign policy is likely to be "X", and if "B" is in power, your foreign policy is likely to be "Y". You can then weigh the various factors of "doing the right thing", "making the country safer", and "standing with our allies" and decide what your priorities are.

If on March 10th, the Spanish had all been gung-ho for war in Iraq, and then the bombings had changed all that, then maybe there'd be a case for saying that terrorism succeeded in significant political change. As it is, there's a good likelihood that the bombings had a great influence on the election, but it's nearly impossible to say what that influence was.

Is this what Al Qaeda would have wanted the outcome of the election to be? Which is more helpful to their cause, more foreign troops in the middle east, or fewer? The stereotypical "right" believes with 100% conviction that invading Iraq will hurt terrorists/terrorism. The stereotypical "left" believes with 100% conviction that going war is not going to solve terrorism. So of course the "right" is going to see what happens in Spain as the terrorists winning, but the "left" is going to see it as some sanity returning as people stop provoking the terrorists.

I guess all you can say about Spain is that the "left" appears to have won, and part of that victory may be due to the bombings.



Hmmm... (none / 1) (#340)
by bigchris on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 07:10:50 AM EST

Of course, the government deliberately lying to the populace couldn't have had any effect on the vote at all now, could it?

As for this comment:

You can then weigh the various factors of "doing the right thing", "making the country safer", and "standing with our allies" and decide what your priorities are.

You make it sound like doing the right thing is to stand by your allies is related to making the country safer and is doing the right thing. Is this what you mean? I sure hope not! You should stand by you allies if they do the right thing, not out of some ridiculous sense of duty.

Of course, this is what my country did. What can I say - the suckers who thought that we'd get much assistance from America in trade deals (stupid bastards, blood for money!) should realise that this didn't happen. The US screwed our sugar industry and now it looks like we'll be "harmonising" our IP laws.

Say g'day to the DMCA Australia. Gah! Land of the free? like hell it is!

---
I Hate Jesus: -1: Bible thumper
kpaul: YAAT. YHL. HAND. btw, YAHWEH wins ;) [mt]
[ Parent ]

Naah, they're 3 independent things. (none / 1) (#377)
by Merc on Fri Mar 19, 2004 at 01:43:19 PM EST

You can choose to stand by your allies, even if it isn't doing the right thing, if you think there may be some advantage in you doing so. Or you can risk damaging your relationship with them by doing the right thing. It's all machiavellian trade-offs.



[ Parent ]
The will of the people is the law of the land (none / 0) (#395)
by Pholostan on Sun Mar 21, 2004 at 10:54:56 AM EST

All that matters here. The Madrid bombings haven't changed the will of the people in any major way. Elected public officials that ignore the will of the people and lie to them needs to be punished. If not, there is no democracy.

Simple as that.
- And blood tears I cry Endless grief remained inside
[ Parent ]

Welcome to democracy in action... (3.00 / 7) (#324)
by alizard on Wed Mar 17, 2004 at 06:02:27 PM EST

To my fellow Americans who don't like the results... wait until the Iraqis democratically elect themselves a theocratic government under shari'a law that tells us "thanks, now go home, and by the way, we're repudiating all the sweetheart contracts Bush made with his friends to build new infrastructure."

Democracy is a process. There's no guarantee that anybody outside the democratic nation is going to like the results.

I'm inclined to agree with circletimesquare. A democratic government who sees opinion polls saying that 90% of the population oppose a planned action and goes ahead anyway can't expect to stay in power with or without Al-Queda's help.

Al-Queda is merely trying to take credit for this, amplified by cooperative stupidity on part of the ex-incumbents.

They can try bombing in other nations in an attempt to visibly influence public opinion. However, I suspect that they aren't going to like the results, either. Populations in democracies don't even like the public perception by foriegners that foriegners get to tell them what to do.

If EU pulls out of Bush's Iraqi invasion, this is going to free up public resources for the hunt for the asses of every al-Queda adherent. . . they can spend money on dumping their troops into Bush's meat grinder, or that same money can be spent on counterinsurgency and anti-terrorist measures that might collect some actual heads for a change.
"The horse is dead. Fuck it or walk away, but stop beating it." Juan Rico

Taken for a ride. . . (none / 2) (#343)
by Pop Top on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 09:58:15 AM EST

says Poland

and a mistake says an

Italian minister


The cynics in the Whitehouse are lying already. (2.83 / 6) (#344)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Mar 18, 2004 at 11:10:07 AM EST

They are equating the coreageous decision of the Spanish people with "appeasing terrorism". Cynic colonialists, they only fear that their own people may react and learn something.

And the US pastiche, Mr Tony Blair, has in no uncertain terms branded naive the Spanish people. He and Mr Aznar share the same deleznable tricks to try to get their way in spite of facts and international law.

But no wonder, the liars, the politicians that are dragging this out of either ignorance, political convenience or malice, are afraid that letting democracy do its work, they will all eventually be unmasked as what they really are.

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?

International Law doesn't exist (none / 1) (#379)
by morewhine on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 01:24:49 AM EST

It doesn't exist.  There is no international law because there exists no force behind the law to enforce it.  The term "law" implies "a decree to act or not act in a certain way, and if the decree is not abided by, force will be used to ensure that it is followed."  If there is no enforcement of the law, it is no longer a law, but words on a piece of paper.

Sure, the UN has "troops," but it never backs up its resolutions by force.  The United Nations make paper proclamations that are meaningless to the countries that do no abide to the agreements.

So, rather than "international law," we simply have "mutual agreements between a group of nations to comply with something voluntarily."  Those nations that don't wish to comply with a UN resolution simply thumb their noses at the hollow declarations of the UN and do as they please.

The only real power the UN has is with economic sanctions.  While economic sanctions can have a significantly deleterious effect on a nation's economy, it does not effectively force a dictator or despot (or democratically elected leader) to comply with the "international law" (i.e. voluntary agreements between certain nations) that the UN claims to be legally paramount.

[ Parent ]

Er, nope. (none / 0) (#421)
by Tezcatlipoca on Wed Apr 14, 2004 at 03:59:16 PM EST

According to dictionary.com:

"A rule of conduct or procedure established by custom, agreement, or authority."

Which is the definition most people would understand.

Notice how a law can be reached by agreement, enforcement is not the only means, common interest is a powerful force.

I am sure that if asked now the coalition of the willing if they would prefer to have the UN behind them given the current chaos in Iraq, they would welcome the help.

The invaders are paying the price of breaking a law of international cooperation with the blood of their soldiers and politicial inestability at home .

Might is right
Freedom? Which freedom?
[ Parent ]

My 2 cents. (none / 2) (#392)
by Vesperto on Sat Mar 20, 2004 at 09:12:08 PM EST

I'm gonna be honest: when two towers got hit i didn't care much. Yeah, lots of innocent civillians died due to the attack but death is becoming more and more part of every day life and the friends i have in the US were far away from NYC and the Pentagon (Amusingly, two days after and ever since you barely ever hear mentioning that the Pentagon was also hit and that a plane crashed on its way to the White House (or was it Camp David?). Go media neutrality!) It did surprise me how could someone manage to pull that one off in such an Orwellian country. The attack in itself didn't: the US's foreign policy is well known for its agressiveness so sooner or later something like that was bound to happen.

At the time of the Sept attack as far as i cared about politics it was US vs Islamic fundamentalists. Their foreign policy, their problem. Then came the meeting in the Açores, where the US has a base, where Spain, UK and US decided (oh, wait, Portugal too) to invade Iraq. Oh, great, the ape's gonna finish daddy's work. Sick and hypocritical. Fuck the UN, fuck the lack of proof regarding WMDs, let's just invade 'cos we're the almighty cops of the world.

And then there was the attack in Madrid. That same day i was able to speak to the friends i have living there and was relieved to know they were all ok (physically at least). And then i remembered the Açores. When i heard some bits and pieces all i kept was "Madrid" and "bombings" so i concluded 'ETA hit again' and got on with my life. Then i watched the news and paid attention to it: there were several aspects of the attack that sounded odd. Like me most of the people i talked with that were not living in Spain were thinking along the same lines. But not those living there, though (not even a friend of mine who moved in just a few months ago): they were all blaming ETA on the fly. Probably 'cos ETA's been active for decades, probably 'cos there has been a lot of anti-ETA (and terrorism in general) propaganda and surely 'cos they were still in shock.

Then came some more bits and pieces that further drove the ETA-theory away and added to the Al-Qaeda one, but the spanish gov continued with its media propaganda. One thing i like about the spanish people (besides tapas) is that whenever they don't like something they hit the streets and protest like hell; a trait luckily common in some other european nations. That was pretty clear in the days following the bombings. then it also became clear the gov was lying all along and that it was highly probable that islamic groups may have been behind the attack. And then came election day.

I'm no analist and i won't pretend to be one. If the bombings hadn't occured i think it would be a tough fight between PP and PSOE and, in my opinion (actually for those who didn't quite graps the conept yet, this entire post is my opinion, i'm not claiming to know The Truth), whether PP would win again or not would depend on how short of a memory people have. PP had been proving itself disasterous lately but the Prestige incident was many months in the past - the same not happening about Spanish(gov)-backed invasion of Iraq. i won't repeat the statistics on this one.

But, infelizmente, the bombings in Madrid did occur. Some say the 11th has some sort of meaning for islamics and it happened some years and 6 months after the Sept. attack in the US. I don't have an incide scoop but i don't think Al-Qaeda cares much about elections: their purpose is terror, not politics (although one can go on and and about how "everything" is politics). Of course they had an impact on how the spanish people voted but the way PP handled the situation probably influenced them more. There was a significant increase in voting numbers, people who usually don't care to vote left their house and went to the urns. PSOe got some votes from other left-wing parties ("useful vote") and also from those that usually wouldn't vote. PP surely lost some votes regardless, because of the bombings, Iraq and Prestige (depending on how far people are willing to dig in and rmember).

Of course now some black/white folks are saying that not reelecting PP (wich was always boasting about being oh-so conter-terrorist) is giving the terrorists what they want. I also disagree: i prefer preemptive voting to preemptive war. I still can't believe Bush has a strong chance of wining the elctions again. America has an ape for president, it's so scary to see him talking (or at least uttering sounds) on tv one can only laugh.

What's been on my mind has been the Açores: for those of you who don't know, that's a bunch of islands in the Atlantic. They're part of Portugal. Remember when Asnar, Bush and Blair meet? Remember that asshole that resembles a ferret that was always kissing their asses throughout the meeting? A butler? No! That's my prime minister Durão Barroso trying to be a hotshot and hosting that summit (as well as saying yes to all of the USs wishes). That's the asshole that, besides strong opposition and protests from the people, is (was) supporting the invasion of Iraq. No no, not Asnar (well him as well), Barroso - although we don't go out to protest on the streets as much as our neighbours do, infelizmente.

Oh, and guess where Euro2004 is gonna be held? Yup, in Portugal. Lots of stadiums build just for that event (while in some parts of Portugal some people still don't have plumbing and drinking water) crowded with soccer fans. I'm wondering which one of them will blow up. They're brand new and all, such a shame.

I think if you read my paragraphs one at a time and think of them as separate psots they'll seem more coherent :-)

I like decent critics, trolling and "we ownz ya"-posts are amusing so bring'em on.

If you disagree post, don't moderate.

(11-M) A chronicle of the four most intense days in Spain | 421 comments (393 topical, 28 editorial, 11 hidden)
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