In Old Madrid

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New at Reason: Doug Bandow wonders what the Spanish elections mean for America's ability to keep a coalition together.

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  1. The Spanish voted correctly — too bad we have to wait until ’05 before Blair has to call an election as well…you hear me Charles Kennedy?

  2. Instead of yet another round of “Should we have invaded Iraq?”, I’d like to pose a slightly different question:

    If (for the sake of argument and/or honesty, take your pick) it was in America’s national security interest to invade Iraq , does it immediately follow that it was in the best interests of other countries to join that invasion?

    It seems to me that a good anti-war case could be made for other countries: Even if the invasion of Iraq would yield security benefits (to prevent development and/or use of WMD, or to transform a region, or because Saddam and Al Qaeda were in league, or whichever other reason(s) you consider compelling), might it not make sense for a rational statesman in another country to decide to let the US do the job, bear the costs, and take any blowback? No matter how necessary this job is, some costs (both in money and casualties) will be incurred, so why would any self-interested country join this effort once somebody else is already committed?

    Don’t get me wrong, if it is a necessary endeavor, then before somebody steps up to the plate the cost-benefit analysis will favor invasion. But once somebody with sufficient resources agrees to do it, doesn’t the cost-benefit analysis favor staying out?

    Sure, the costs of staying out of it could include loss of American good will, but if a country believes there will be other opportunities to repair that relationship in the future, then wouldn’t a self-interested analysis suggest staying out?

    Anyway, I guess the point is that it shouldn’t be all that shocking that most of the rest of the world either outright opposed this war, or else sent token support (with a few exceptions). If the war was necessary, they could reap the benefits of a world without Saddam while avoiding the costs of achieving that goal.

  3. The Iraq invasion was based on lies and everybody knew it. “Everybody” meaning any person who could read a newspaper.

    The political blowback in the US and the fellow traveler countries will be due to the dishonest way this thing was carried out. When the Spanish Prez immediately blamed ETA despite evidence to the contrary, he lost the election.

    Voters hate liars worse than thieves.

  4. Doug,

    You say: “America’s war received popular support in no countries other than Kuwait and Israel.”

    That really says it all. These are the two countries who lived in constant and direct fear of Saddam, having been the victims of his aggression. Probably military action had strong popular support in both Iran and Iraq itself too.

    Just goes to show that people don’t generally really GET IT until its just about too late.

  5. canada ex quebec also supported the war…

    but quebec has always opposed any war

    canada faced conscription riots in quebec over WWI and WWII and nazi armbands were rather popular amongst (french) protesters against WWII in Quebec.

    furthermore, the english population of quebec (once very significant, now only a substantial minority) was inline with the rest of the country, while the french population was almost uniformly against the wars…

    a less charitable person would say that you can take the french out of france, but you can’t take the france out of the french

    The US needs to ensure that all those responsible for the attacks on Madrid are eliminated. They should not be handed over to Spain, as leftist european governments have a policy of releasing terrorists (see Labour release of IRA killers, Italian release of PFLP and Abu Abbas, etc etc etc). If those responsible are handed over to Spain, the US should ensure that they end up dead if ever released.

    no quarter!

  6. I supported removing Saddam Hussein from power. That was my position before 9/11, however, and I freely concede that the White House’s WMD-based argument for the war was wholly unconvincing. Whether one supported the Iraq war is an independent, though conceptually related question to whether one supports the larger “war on terror”. The latter remains largely vague and undefined by this administration, despite conservative protests to the contrary.

    The conservative and “warblogger” reaction to the Spanish elections has largely been obscene. Reading National Review Online, you get the impression some conservatives think the Spanish now deserved last week’s attack because they turned out the Bush-friendly government.

    Andrew Sullivan (who has virtually no credibility in my mind) said the Spanish election was a choice between George Bush and al-Qaeda. If you actually believe that premise, then you’re beyond rational argument.

  7. “It is bad enough to take a nation into war based on a mistake or lie. It is horrific to do so when the result is to bring war back to the homefront.” Tim

    That proves the case. There can be no more war by any country by that logic. There had to come a point in history when the last war was fought. I always thought it would be because no one was left alive, well, no two!

  8. A disgusting load of rot worthy of Mother Jones or Harpers.

  9. As I said long ago and affirm now, Dubya should start grabbing his ankles in preparation for kissing his ass goodbye come November.

    Doing the “right thing” is not simple or easy. Libertarians, of all people, should know governments NEVER do the right thing. It’s sad that some Libertarians hope against hope that certain governments, namely the U.S., are doing the right thing against terrorism. As Joan Rivers would say, “Oh, grow up!”

    Agreed that each and every terrorist thought should be, ought to be, nipped in the bud by an avalanche of old “The Power of Positive Thinking” books. But, sorry, but we’re first going to have to do some back-tracking and suppressing of testosterone.

    Governments are a splinter in terrorism. We cannot begin to heal until governments are removed.

    Spain down, 2 to go.

  10. “committing troubs”

    that should be “committing troops”, sorry!

  11. one more point. Some of the voters thought that the War on Iraq was a diversion from the war on Al-Qaida and to them the bombings in Madrid were a confirmation of that view.

  12. If it was al-qaeda they should be sending troops to Afghanistan.

  13. So the Madrid bombing was somehow the fault of the US for standing up to terrorism and bringing Spain into the war against Saddam (but wait, there could never be a connection between secular Baathists and Islamists right? So how could the Islamists be using the fall of the Baathists as justification….). By the same logic, I fully expect any subsequent attacks on Europe, especially Spain (sorry, we should call it Al-Andalus from now on or they might get mad) will be declared the result of withdrawl from Iraq. Yeah, I’m sure we’ll see that.
    In all seriousness, I have a question for any European readers of this board. What is it going to take? When are Europeans going to realize that when the Islamists call out for death to the decadent infidels, when bin Laden talks about taking back Andalus and punishing Vienna for the defeat of the Ottomans, THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT YOU. They don’t want negotiations. They don’t want concessions. They want the whole world to become Wahabbis or die. When are you going to start taking them seriously? Last time I checked, America wasn’t the only country that allowed women to vote and freedom of religion. One doesn’t see many burqas in St. Tropez.
    Can anyone who supports the outcome of the Spanish election please explain to me if the new government is proposing anything more than “From now on, we’ll let them do whatever they want and pray that they don’t hurt us”? I had hoped that after the train bombings, our fellow children of the Enlightenment would finally wake up and see what Islamo-fascism really meant to the world, but I’m saddened to see that surrender is the order of the day. Tolkien once wrote something to the effect of “Just because you won’t carry a sword, doesn’t mean you can’t die on one”. The people of Europe seem to forget that truth every generation or two. Where will you draw the line? Would you not endure bombs today to save your children from an Islamist fate tomorrow? More than most countries, the Spanish know what it is to live under fascism, and there some who still live that know what it is to live in the hills and fight fascism with nothing more than a knife and a rucksack full of dynamite. The dying generation earned us a world in which it is the fascists who must hide in caves and carry the sacks of bombs. Will you tell them that NOW we must surrender, that NOW the fight is too hard!? I’m proud to live in a country that will continue to fight this evil no matter what it takes, but I wonder how much American blood will have to be spilled in my lifetime to save those who wouldn’t fight to save themselves.

  14. Or Iran.

  15. Dave said:
    “I’m proud to live in a country that will continue to fight this evil no matter what it takes,”

    You didn’t say what country you live in, Dave.
    Wait… let me guess…
    Dreamland?

  16. Dreamland, America, whatever. So I guess it’s just a dream that America has done serious damage to Al Qaeda. Is it a dream that Saddam’s “children’s prison” has been emptied while Saddam himself sits in jail? Or perhaps it is a dream that the Shia, Kurds, and Sunni have just agreed to a constitution. How many times were we told that would never happen. Is it a dream that Bin Laden’s director of operations in Saudi Arabia was killed today? Is it a dream that the circle around Bin Laden grows smaller every day?
    Ah, but when he is captured you will complain about that too. “How convenient” you will say. Well yes, I suppose it will be quite convenient for those of us who would rather he not be living free.
    Of course things are not perfect, but who on Sept 11 would have thought it was going to take the terrorists this long to mount a major attack? The answer is nobody. For months and months we all braced for the next big thing, and when it didn’t come we forgot about it. Everybody wants to go back to thinking it can’t happen to them, but reality is not going to oblige.
    So what is your plan? Do you have anything better to suggest than “pull out of everywhere and drop all alliances with anyone Al Qaeda doesn’t like”? Because nobody who matters, especially Al Qaeda, has said that will end the Jihad. They’re in it for the long haul, worldwide. When God tells you to kill the infidels, you don’t sign treaties.
    Perhaps we should just dismantle all of our weapons to show them we mean them no harm. In that case, Osama will show us what a kind man he truly is. No way would he take that opportunity to stage a massacre, right? Talk about Dreamland.

  17. but wait, there could never be a connection between secular Baathists and Islamists right? So how could the Islamists be using the fall of the Baathists as justification…

    The same way they used the sanctions against Iraq as a justification for 9/11. The same way they descended on Iraq to fight the occupiers after Baghdad fell, whether or not they were in bed with Saddam beforehand.

    Anyone who thinks this is a contradiction in the antiwar argument has devoted no mental energy to understanding the antiwar argument.

  18. Dave makes that the argument that we either conquer Iraq (or any other country we don’t like, I guess) or do nothing. No in between. If we don’t go invading countries we are wimp, pacifist appeasers who do nothing to defend ourselves.

    Dave, you are wrong. We have the ability to isolate and eliminate any terrorist threat on the planet. We make that job a lot tougher, though, when we use up our resources on the wrong targets, use dishonesty as a political way of life and happily ridicule and piss off our friends.

  19. Andrew (Bigot),

    One wonders when you will create your own material. Or least when you will cut and paste someting interesting.

  20. hey,

    “canada ex quebec also supported the war…”

    Not really true; opinion polls against the war ran about 65% in Canada. 65% of the population does not live in Quebec.

    “canada faced conscription riots in quebec over WWI and WWII and nazi armbands were rather popular amongst (french) protesters against WWII in Quebec.”

    Likely because the British and English Canadian governments always treated them like shit and like second-class citizens; “Canadian niggers” was the term oft used for them.

    “a less charitable person would say that you can take the french out of france, but you can’t take the france out of the french”

    France gave 1.6 millions men in WWI; fuck off. And to be blunt, as I, a Frenchman, fought with the 82nd Airborne in GWI, you are to be blunt insulting your own soldiers by trying to insult me and other French soldiers.

    “…as leftist european governments have a policy of releasing terrorists…”

    And the U.S. doesn’t release Cuban terrorists (the ones that oppose Castro with car bombs that kill innocent Cubans); or sell arms to terrorist regimes (Iran)?

  21. . . . what the Spanish elections mean for America’s ability to keep a coalition together.

    So does the antiwar side now admit there was a coalition?

  22. gadfly,

    Dave is presenting a false choice; its a typical argument of the pro-war crowd. Fighting terrorism does not require that one support the war against Iraq; indeed one can very reasonably conclude that that war was a distraction at best, and provocation at worst.

  23. BTW, I find it interesting that the pro-Bush crowd goes insane over free, open Spanish elections, where the Spanish people chose to turn their backs on the failed Bush policy; yet they are silent on the rising autocracy in Russia, which just had what can best described as a sham election. It gives one an indication as to their real priorities; which clearly have nothing to do with “planting democracy.”

  24. I don’t make the argument that we conquer anyone we don’t like. I do happen to think that deposing Saddam was the right move, but I certainly do think there are cases where a more indirect approach is better. For example, many who opposed the war in Iraq repeatedly tried to make the case that Saudi Arabia and North Korea were greater threats, and that it ought to be them we were going after. Aside from the fact that if the US had been going after one of those countries first, it would have been THAT war they protested, this is a legitimate point. The Saudis have at least as much, if not more, 9/11 blood on their hands than anybody else. An invasion of Saudi Arabia would be extremely counterproductive though. First of all, you couldn’t pick a worse place to try to build an Arab democracy based mainly on secular law. Secondly, a population raised to believe “martyrdom” for Islam is the best way to go would make our troubles in Iraq (carried out quite often by non-Iraqi Jihadis) look like child’s play. Thirdly, disruption of of the Saudi Oil fields could be disasterous for the world. Now wipe that smug “of course, the oil” grin off your face and think about everything you drive, live in, eat, drink, and earn money from that in some way uses oil. Ready to watch all that go away? How many Neanderthals do you think your neighborhood park can support? Destruction of the Saudi oil infrastructure could plunge the entire world into a depression that would make you forget about your outsourcing troubles real quick. And hold any arguments about solar power and hydrogen please, this is 2004 and for the time being our world needs oil like it needs oxygen (don’t get me wrong, i’d love to see development of new energy sources, but the world we actually live in still runs on oil). Yes, we could take Saudi Arabia, but I don’t think anyone would like the iron fist we’d have to wield.
    And North Korea? Well the place is hell on earth, where you either starve to death or end up in the Asian version of Auschwitz. Terrible stuff. But back in the 1990’s when they told us “Give us free stuff or we’ll build nukes”, we f’d up terribly by bending over when we should have told them we’d blow up any factory that looked like it might try. And who is America to decide this? Well is the world better off because we didn’t? And now Kim Jong Il, arguably the worst human on the planet, is free to do whatever he wants because he MIGHT have nuclear weapons. Bravo, so glad someone gave those Americans what-for. Sorry your family was gassed in the gulag today, Mr Choi. If only we had done something about this dictator BEFORE he built up this weapons capability. I mean, we knew he had worked on it in the past. Why did we trust him to play nice, we should have played it safe and not given him the benefit of the doubt….but that brings us back to the beginning of this argument, doesn’t it?

  25. Andrew,

    BTW, I see now that you are eschewing your follow the majority’s opinion doctrine; hung by your own petard I see. That is the sound of me laughing at you.

  26. Don,

    The Bush policy is a failure; Iraq proves that. No WMD; no serious links to terrorist groups; a continuing drain on real efforts to combat terrorism; etc. A person seriously intereste in combating terrorism would not have invaded Iraq.

  27. The Bush policy is a failure; Iraq proves that. No WMD; no serious links to terrorist groups; a continuing drain on real efforts to combat terrorism; etc. A person seriously intereste in combating terrorism would not have invaded Iraq.

    Well, Jean, I’d argue that you’re correct, but only if you take the Middle East microcosm that is Iraq into account. So far, no WMDs (just some pesky undeclared programs) and no concrete links to terrorism (other than support of suicide-bombers). However, if the larger goal of the “War on Terror” is to eliminate terrorism by the spread of democracy, with Iraq presumably being the vehicle for the introduction of said democracy, then we’ll have to wait a bit before passing judgement on Bush’s strategy. To be sure, we’ve seen mixed results so far, but it appears that its steadily moving forward as witnessed by the signing of the Iraqi interim Constitution.

    Time will tell which one of us is right.

  28. JB:

    By the way, pay attention. My reference to the ?dominos? falling post-Spain was a direct quote from the Islamist web site. It’s their theory. It could well be wrong, I hope it is wrong, but it has zero to do with Americans misunderstanding Southeast Asia.

    Thoreau:

    Interesting post about understanding the Spanish reaction. I suspect that a number of voters had precisely the same thought process you explain. Unfortunately, I think, they did not have enough time to get past that initial, emotional reaction and consider the potential ramifications of essentially rewarding Islamist terrorists for killing or maiming thousands of their fellow citizens. Obviously, that was not their intention when they went to the polls, but I fear it is the clear and dangerous result.

  29. Strangely enough, whereas an election-week attack in Spain was enough to topple the government, an attack in the US may be the only thing that will keep George Bush in power, owing to the American tradition of circling the wagons around the President, whenever it appears that someone else has sucker-punched us. As his campaign ads illustrate, GWB the politician never had it so good as immediately after 9/11. I find that realization to be profoundly disturbing.

  30. John Hood,

    “I am not going to dignify you any more with responses after this.”

    You mean that you are an intellectual coward.

    “Perhaps you disagreed with Aznar because he was a devout Catholic…”

    Hmm, whether I agreed or disagreed with Aznar is really beside the point; and is a red herring to boot. Actually I compared religion to communism; not Catholicism specifically.

    “I have appreciated some of your points in the past, and your advocacy of a different point of view in these forums, but in retrospect I should have had higher standards for my appreciation.”

    I’ve never appreciated anything that you’ve written; and my standards have always eschewed taking your fascist ravings seriously.

    “This one sentence encapsulates what I mean, as does your continued ravings that ‘Bush lied’ and so on.”

    When did I ever write that “Bush lied?” You have me confused with someone else it appears.

    “Bush is not seriously interested in combating terrorism? He might be mistaken, but such a charge is ludicrous and beneath contempt.”

    He is more than mistaken; he is almost criminally negligent in his actions.

    “No serious link to terrorist groups? No, such links are not in dispute; what was in dispute is whether the Iraqi-backed terrorists were directly in cahoots with al Qaeda or not, about which controversy continues.”

    The best your side ever had was the funding of families of suicide-bombers.

    “No WMDs? True, no operable weapons have been found but if you read David Kay’s report and thinking about its implications, the threat of biochem or nuclear know-how and materiel getting into the hands of terrorists out to destroy the West remains compelling, as Kay himself continues to argue.”

    I am sure you can spin tales of threats all day; but after a while it sounds as shrill as the global warming folks.

    “…some basic level of respect for one?s antagonist…”

    You have to earn my respect.

    “Plus, there’s that bigotry thing.”

    Yes, I know, Andrew is a bigot; it really bothers me as well.

  31. I just heard a comedian point out that if Al Qaeda really is behind the attack (a plausible hypothesis) and if it really was retaliation for Spain helping us in Iraq, then this is proof that outsourcing is good for the US: Outsource the war, and somebody else can take the heat 🙂

    Hey, just trying to inject a little humor to yet another round of “You stupid liberal wimps just don’t get it!” vs. “You stupid lunatic hawks just don’t get it!”

  32. John Hood-

    It is indeed possible that the Spanish voters are rewarding Al Qaeda unwittingly, but my main point (which you seem to agree with) is that their intent was to punish their government for (real or perceived) mismanagement of security policy, not simply to say “Whoa, we better back off or they’ll bomb us again!” If the Spanish electorate was really so easily cowed, I suspect that the Basques would have their own independent nation already.

    Too bad that a lot of American conservatives don’t get that distinction. To them, the Spaniards capitulated, when in fact most of them were probably punishing their government. There IS a difference between capitulating to terrorists and punishing a government for (real or perceived) errors in security policy.

  33. thoreau,

    They were real errors; the PP’s handling of the news concerning the attack itself poor and mismanaged. It is striking just how clumsy and foolish they looked in their efforts right up until Sunday.

  34. thoreau,

    This was the PP’s election to lose; and they lost it by their own actions which alienated segements of the electorate, and angered people who generally did not vote.

  35. John Hood,

    “I have appreciated some of your points in the past, and your advocacy of a different point of view in these forums, but in retrospect I should have had higher standards for my appreciation.”

    This is essentially a rather strange version of the logical fallacy known as ad hominem tu qouque; or at least one can infer such. BTW, even if some of my comments are over the top (and none of them are), it seems rather strange for you to attack me solely on these boards for such. Do I smell a wiff of hypocrisy and sulfer coming from your direction? Yes I do.

  36. Oh, Jean Bart

    You mean like the ad hominem attacks you perpetrated on Rand, myself and her followers?

    Good work…Hypocrisy feels great, huh?

  37. Ayn Randroid,

    What ad hominem attacks? Ayn Rand did despise libertarians (indeed, she wrote essays on the subject); she did fuck around with Nathaniel Brandon; etc. I as not being hypocritical; I was being truthful; a trait you seem to lack (see my above comments on your original comment).

  38. Ruthless,

    Now that Spain knows what to do in response to terror bombings what do you propose they do if Al Q. wants them to insist all women wear head scarves?

    Suppose Al Q. decides that Spain is not killing enough homosexuals.

    At what point ought Spain resist?

    If I understand you correctly since all governments are illegit then fascists are no worse than republicans. Hitler is the same as Churchill. FDR=Franco.

    Does better/worse enter your calculations or is it all utopia or death?

  39. Jean Bart,

    Do you suppose a really good bombing would change French electoral calculations?

    Thanks to the Spanish I’m sure France will have the opportunity in the next election.

    My advice: surrender now and avoid the bombs. This is traditional French policy and ought not be abandoned. Especially if Americans might benefit.

    BTW just how much French territory do the Muslims claim? How much are you willing to give back?

    When values are in conflict here is how you get a world without war: surrender.

  40. JB:
    keeping this brief for having plenty else to do:

    “Certainly I do; indeed, I would be far more aggressive than Bush ever thought of being. I just would not waste my time chasing phantoms and idiotic theories in Iraq.”

    WHAT exactly. Yeah, you got the condescending rhetoric and are all over everybody’s ass for what they do, but where is your program? “Far more agressive” HOW? And getting back to my question, which you did not answer, What would you do with Iraq NOW.

    Any pinhead “intellectual” can sit back and criticize those who act, but if he can’t offer an alternative, he is a blathering, nagging, pest of no use to anyone.

  41. You know the moslems may have a point.

    Crusaders and settlers out of Palestine.

    Crusaders and settlers out of Spain.

    Crusaders and settlers out of France.

    Crusaders and settlers out of the Balkans.

    Crusaders and settlers out of Austria.

    Return the lands of sharia to sharia. Justice for Islam now.

  42. M. Simon,

    Even your trolling is boring.

    mike,

    “WHAT exactly.”

    First, America has thrown most of its assets into fighting terrorism as if it is a “traditional war” (and this despite Bush’s statements otherwise); this is the really folly of invading Iraq and why the Bush administration is truly not serious in this area.

    What you need in this war is exactly what France has emphasized a long time concerning capturing or killing members of para-military organizations like terrorist organizations (and we have done a great deal of this over the years – covertly and overtly). One must stress such factors as mobility and quick striking ability (including long-distance strikes), infiltration (covert and overt), and small-unit autonomy. Formal armies are not neccessary in this war, and are indeed a burden when used. What they do when set into action is burden your military’s bureaucratic structure and take the various institutions involved off the reall mark.

  43. mike,

    “And getting back to my question, which you did not answer, What would you do with Iraq NOW.”

    Do you mean for France or for America?

    If the former, nothing; we have more important concerns such as fighting terrorism to consider.

    For the U.S., I think you should withdraw; it plays to your weaknesses and keep resources away from the real battle; it also saps domestic popularity (not a thing to do in a time of conflict). By the end of this year you should withdraw.

  44. France is next.

  45. M. Simon,

    I like I wrote; even your trolling is boring.

  46. Thoreau:

    Too bad that a lot of American conservatives don’t get that distinction. To them, the Spaniards capitulated, when in fact most of them were probably punishing their government. There IS a difference between capitulating to terrorists and punishing a government for (real or perceived) errors in security policy.

    Yes, there is a difference in intent. Unfortunately, there may be little difference in practice. I think you’re right to castigate American conservatives for resorting to accusations of cowardice when they should be delving deeper.

    JB:

    I do think I erred in implying that you specifically said the phrase “Bush lied,” as I meant only to refer to the expression of the underlying sentiment. Otherwise, though, you illustrate my point (again) with your “responses.” You talk a good game, attempt to provoke and bully, call some names (thanks for establishing beyond dispute your Chomskyite credentials by calling a libertarian a “fascist”), but remain either unfortunately or willfully ignorant of the real issues and arguments being advanced by people outside of your fantasy world, people who disagree but do so amicably and respectfully.

    Just to take one instance, if your belief is that the only link between the Ba’athist regime in Iraq and international terrorists involves payments to suicide-bomber families, you are embarrassingly misinformed. Actual terrorists, not just papers, were captured by coalition forces in Baghdad. Actual testimony, not just speculation, is now available about the role that Saddam and Iran, somewhat as rivals, played in sustaining the Ansar al Islam group (now linked, according to new reporting in today’s Wall Street Journal to one of the suspects in the Madrid bombing). Again, these issues remain the subject of legitimate debate among libertarians and freedom-loving folks everywhere. Such a debate will surely continue in this forum no doubt, but not with you.

    Congratulations, however, on being such a wriggling worm that I cannot seem to stop myself from biting.

  47. John Hood,

    “I do think I erred in implying that you specifically said the phrase ‘Bush lied,’ as I meant only to refer to the expression of the underlying sentiment.”

    So one of your specific examples you now recant; finally, some backbone.

    “You talk a good game, attempt to provoke and bully, call some names…”

    Actually, I am the one being provoked; and I dish such in return; what you can’t stand is someone willing to put up with your tirades.

    “…but remain either unfortunately or willfully ignorant of the real issues and arguments being advanced by people outside of your fantasy world, people who disagree but do so amicably and respectfully.”

    When you start disagreeing amicably and respectfully, hell will have frozen over.

    Actually, I never wrotte that there was just one link; I used that as an example of the sorts of links involved.

    “Again, these issues remain the subject of legitimate debate among libertarians and freedom-loving folks everywhere.”

    Actually, to you there is no debate; there is either your position, or nothing. You’ve readily demonstrated this time and time again.

  48. Jean,

    Are you actually telling me that if Al Q. bombs France over headscarves France won’t chane it’s policy in a flash?

    Yer jokin’. Right?

    Now personally I think it is a bad policy. But if some terrorists bombed to change it I would insist that the repression be stricter.

    You start changing policy based on bombs going off and you will be continuously bombed.

  49. Jean I sincerely want to know what France will do about headscarves if bombs start going off on this issue.

    Can France’s policy be influenced by not defeat but mere attacks?

    Will France surrender before it even fights?

    Will it get an Army and Naval staff that is equivalently as good as the French soldier – something you haven’t had (other than Suez where you had help from the Brits, and gasp. the Israelis) for 100 years.

  50. M. Simon,

    Troll on. 🙂

  51. M. Simon,

    As to French soldiery, you might want to know that at Cassino, and in the Italian campaign generally, it was French and Polish soldiers consistantly saving the asses of the incomptently led American and British soldiers there. Generals Mark Clark (U.S.) and Alexander (U.K.) consistently demonstrating what fools they were. Historical reality meets your historical delusions.

  52. I take then Jean that you have no answer. That if it is up to you France will surrender.

    As Sam Adams once said: “may your chains be light.”

  53. M. Simon,

    I don’t generally answer trolls.

    But no, I don’t see French policy changing; indeed, an attack would only strengthen said policy – as has the Spanish attack strengthened calls for immigration, border control, etc. reform, and increasing the size and capabilities of Spanish anti-terrorism forces (something Aznar failed to do).

  54. Here is the Islamic fascist’s response to Spain. Now that didn’t take long did it.

    PARIS (Reuters) – France has received threats of a possible attack against French interests from an Islamist group apparently named after a Chechen guerrilla killed in a Moscow hostage-taking in 2002, the Interior Ministry said Tuesday.

    We shall see what France is made of when the bombs start going off.

  55. Jean,

    Thank you for have the courtesy to reply.

  56. Maybe next time around we will let the Germans keep France. Or let the Al Qaida keep France, whichever comes first.

  57. kwais,

    Maybe next around when al-Qaeda kills several thousand of your citizens instead of expressing grief (as Frenchmen did across France), we’ll cheer. 🙂

  58. M. Simon,

    Terrorists send us these notes all the time. *yawn* You see, in France, we foil terrorist attacks; in America, you let terrorists plow airplanes into buildings, blow up buildings with rental trucks, etc. Indeed, every single hyperterrorist attack that has been planned against France has been foiled – 1994 attempt to drive a plane into Paris; 1998 attempted ricin attack on the Paris metro; 2000 attempt to attack a French nuclear attack; etc.

  59. French nuclear plant

  60. Wouldn’t it be ironic if the French caught OBL.

  61. John Hood,

    “‘dominos'”

    Remember the last time Americans indulged in domino theory; disaster.

    “Perhaps not, though, since the incoming PM has already resorted to Chomsky/JB-like ravings in radio interviews rather than acting like a grown-up.”

    Care to give me a few examples of my “ravings?”

  62. John Hood,

    Or is that just another lame attempt on your part to smear be by false-association? The level of your intellectual dishonesty never ceases to amaze me.

  63. Ayn:

    “After all, do ten percent of people change their minds for anything else”

    If the difference between the polls and the actual vote is 10%, then only 5% of the people changed their mind. I take it that math was not your favorite subject in high school.

  64. So Jean Bart comes out insulting everyone who disagrees with him, and THEY have to earn HIS respect?

  65. Geotech,

    From the first posting of this thread I have been insulted and so has been my nationality. Sorry, but your distortion of the facts at hand doesn’t fly.

    Gadfly,

    We’ve been close on a few occassions; and I just hope that we do so we can rub it in the face of folks like M. Simon.

  66. Jose Ortega y Gasset,

    As opposed to the crony capitalism of Aznar?

  67. Yeah, and you really don’t purposely antagonize at all. You’re just such a friendly, down-to-earth, humble guy. And I’m sure the French have been very close to catching Bin Laden, much closer than the Americans, right?

  68. The Europeans have the privilege of hiding in their own homes because they expect to rely on other countries to do the hard work for them: mostly the US and UK. It’s time to let them defend themselves.
    Anyone who thinks hiding from terrorists is the solution is deluded. Anyone who thinks the 3/11 attack was about Iraq is ignorant of the very statements of the proponents of Islamic terrorism, who are focussing on what happened hundreds of years, not days, ago. This is not about Israel or Iraq or any other piece of dirt. This is about dar al islam and dar al harb, we are the latter and they mean jihad in a very literal sense.
    The Iraq war may have been wrong or right, but it is done. Now what is to be done there? Everybody pick up their pieces and abandon the region to the zealots? Look what happened to Vietnam when that happened. This time the zealots aren’t as timid and restrained as the Communists were.

  69. mike,

    “It’s time to let them defend themselves.”

    We of course do defend ourselves; what you are implying is that somehow the US-UK-Australian invasion of Iraq has something to do with Europe’s defense, when it has nothing to do with it at all. Indeed, in the real battleground against terrorism, in Afghanistan for example, a multiplicity of European troops abound. Indeed, French and American soldiers bear the brunt on the Afghan side of the border for hunting Usama.

    “Anyone who thinks hiding from terrorists is the solution is deluded.”

    Who is hiding?

    So you admit that Iraq has nothing to do with terrorism; if that’s the case, then why are you castigating Spain? Spaniards clearly saw the PP as failing on the matter of terrorism; they brought in a new party to see what they could do about it.

  70. Douglas Fletcher,

    We’ve been dealing with and defeating terrorists for thirty years now; indeed, when Algerian terrorists attempted a 9/11 event in 1994 against Paris, we were able to stop them.

  71. Congrats to Phil for pointing out the biggest hypocrisy of this whole Spain situation. They were attacked for going into Iraq with America! America acted unilaterally!
    Pick one. You can’t have both.

  72. Jean Bart,

    In regards to your comments on the Russian elections, Powell did make a rather weak statement about it. In addition, two European watchdog groups made statements in the same vein.

    http://www.dw-world.de/english/0,3367,1433_A_1143566_1_A,00.html

    Other articles I’ve read on the Russian election go to the same point; although they may have been “fair”, Putin’s control of the media and what could be broadcast left a bad taste.

    As far as the Spanish elections go, is there anyway to say with any certainty how the bombings effected the outcome one way or the other?

  73. Alex Resto,

    It is far more certain that the PP’s attempts to gain electoral success on the backs of Spain’s dead bakfired; their move to blame Eta from the start looked calculated to do such. Exit polling bears this out.

  74. “BTW, I find it interesting that the pro-Bush crowd goes insane over free, open Spanish elections, where the Spanish people chose to turn their backs on the failed Bush policy; . . .”

    Failed?

    The Bush administration made it clear that the war on terror was a long term effort. Bush hasn’t failed yet. Of course, if Kerry wins the general election, the Bush approach will fail, not because it is a bad approach, but because Kerry will switch to an approach that is doomed to failure.

  75. M. Simon

    FDR=Franco. Well maybe not. But how about FDR=Mussolini. If you don’t believe that check the history of the New Deal and Mussolini’s corporatist/syndicalist program.

    And look you know I enjoy the Simpsom’s “cheese loving surrender monkeys” jokes as much as the next guy, but in the end they are really lame. Let’s see now: the myth of “Frenchies” as cowards started with the Franco-Prussian war when the “frogs” refused to surrender although Paris was under siege (they were reduced to eating rats). Then in WWI in spite of being outnumbered they held a line (with their allies the British [and the Aussies and Canadians {Lord how I’ve heard that story: what I didn’t hear was the number of Indians, Pakis, and Africans that were there too}) in spite of the fact that common sense would have dictated a negotiated peace (here I question their sense, but not their courage). Then in WWII in spite of being outnumbered they held the line for some weeks (in spite of being denied the chance to occupy forward positions by Dutch and Belgian “allies” [who did what they did for their own reasons]), and then covered the retreat of the British Expeditionary Force (at Dunkirk), and then held out for another 3 weeks before the shame of surrender and the set up of the Vichy regime which you and I know all modern frenchmen are ashamed of.

  76. “The Europeans have the privilege of hiding in their own homes because they expect to rely on other countries to do the hard work for them: mostly the US and UK. It’s time to let them defend themselves.”

    I’d happily accept the chance of defending myself; your childish arrogance and the ridicuously biased perception that you are somehow indispensable is quite preposterous.

    So, I tell you what. Just go! Leave us to ourselves.

  77. “”The Europeans have the privilege of hiding in their own homes because they expect to rely on other countries to do the hard work for them: mostly the US and UK. It’s time to let them defend themselves.”

    I’d happily accept the chance of defending myself; your childish arrogance and the ridicuously biased perception that you are somehow indispensable is quite preposterous.

    So, I tell you what. Just go! Leave us to ourselves.

    Posted by: mstg on May 23, 2004 05:10 PM ”

    ————————————

    Didn’t ya know? America is a two-fer.

    Not only are we the bullies of the world, we are also the spoiled brats, as well.

    “Either play the game the way we want or we take the ball and go home”.

    It’s time Americans stopped acting spoiled brats and bullies. Maybe then we could learn to get along with the rest of the world.

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