Appease This

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So, among the arguments I make here is that the momentum of public opinion had been steadily against the PP from the outset, to the extent that there's no need to appeal to the logic of "appeasment" to explain the purported upset in Spain, especially when a variety of other factors related to the bombing are taken to account. Via Radley Balko, I see that some 11th-hour polls conducted before the bombing had the PSOE pulling ahead of the PP.

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  1. Just because a vote swings (or swings a little further) only a little doesn’t make doing what a terrorist wants after a terrorist act somehow “not appeasement.” I’m not a fan of the war in Iraq, but that being said, I at least don’t want the appearance of giving in, lest we give them ideas that bombing the Metro in DC on November 1 is a good way to elect Kerry.

    Now if you’re doing something stupid, and in between your decision to undo it and the undoing of it, a terrorist act aimed at getting you to undo it occurs, what do you do? I’m not going to outright condemn Spain for going the way the majority had wanted to all along, but I’m also not going to cheerlead for it and claim it will solve all of Spain’s problems like Salon.

    The important part of appeasement is more in the eye of the terrorist than the victim, and I sincerely doubt al Qaeda will view this as anything other than a resounding success. Which means bad things for France and its headscarf ban.

  2. I won’t condemn Spain for going the way the majority had clearly wanted to go, but Salon is silly when it suggests it’s some sort of victory over al Qaeda.

    It’s much less important whether an American thinks this is appeasement than whether al Qaeda thinks this is appeasement. If their calculus is bomb before election = result we want, they will continue to use those tactics.

    As has been noted elsewhere, our cutely-timed withdrawal from Saudi has not yet led to Osama calling off the jihad.

  3. Oh — drat, my browser timed out when I subbmitted, and when I reloaded the page it didn’t reflect my first posting. I said it better the second time.

  4. Sandy-

    If Al Qaeda finds itself able to bomb the DC Metro then it will do so regardless of how it thinks we will vote. If it thinks it can get us to vote a certain way by scheduling the bombings for a particular time then it will do so. If it sees no electoral advantage from timing the bombings then they’ll do the bombings whenever.

    Indeed, the second-best argument against appeasement is that it won’t work. (The best argument being the related argument that appeasement only encourages even more terrorism.)

  5. File this one under “creating your own reality.”

  6. After reading the rightist response to the Spanish election for the past couple of days, I’m deeply disappointed by hawks’ willingness to let terrorists determine their voting behavior.

    I’m voting for the candidate who I think will make the best president, and letting the chips fall where they may. I hope the rightists have the balls to the same.

  7. joe,

    According to a link at Atrios yesterday evening, the terrorist group claiming responsibility for the Madrid bombings wants Bush to win the election.

    So if America elects Bush, it will be appeasing the terrorists.

  8. This November, if David Palmer is not re-elected, then the terrorists will have won.

  9. Speaking for myself, I feel bad about my first reaction to events. Zapatero was placed in office by the voters, and does not appear to have demogogued the issue any more than his opponents.

    He reasonably could have claimed a mandate to withdraw even more quickly, but apparently intends to stay till June– and perhaps longer.
    Even Aznar’s successor might have pulled Spanish troops out after the transfer of power (Australia left as soon as hostilities were declared over). His actions so far appear fairly moderate, and may be intended not to embolden AQ. I’m not sure it matters anyway. The significance of even an apparent “victory” is probably only marginal for Qaida.

  10. But none of what Julain or Radley say mitigates what Zapatero has been saying SINCE the election.

    ie.
    – Bush and Blair are liars
    – Iraq is a disaster (how’s his pulling out going to help?!)
    – “You can’t just bomb peole” (and he wasnt talking about his masacred fellow country men but about the Iraq war)

    This guy needs to shut up.

  11. Kevin

    In 1964 Fidel Castro endorsed Barry Goldwater. 🙂

  12. Spain elected their equivalent of John Kerry.
    What’s so shocking?
    Look for the US to elect the actual John Kerry in November.

  13. ^Not a good comparison. The Spanish populace was always heavily against the Iraq war, while support in the US was near 80%, and is still over half.

  14. joe,
    Come November, Americans will be so sick of this war they may elect Nader.

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