More On Spain

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New at Reason: Cathy Young weighs in on the Spanish election.

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  1. Rick Barton:

    I’m “rts”. No translation software used (except to try and look up “pavor”, which I’m not familiar with).

    I gave a “word for word” translation so as to avoid colouring the result… all translations involve interpretation, and mine may be different from others.

  2. Good column, Cathy. I’m doubting that the Spanish voters went to the polls thinking to themselves, “I want to appease the terrorists!” But, in this case, how al Qaeda reads the election is more important than the reality in Spanish heads: to them, this is undoubtedly appeasement, and because of that, more bombings right before elections will come. I’d put money on it — they’ve found something that works.

  3. RTS

    i second the notion that a translation robot was used. there are NO “objective” translations. when i translate “schoen”, i look for “pretty” or ‘beautiful’, and the english speaker would see a conotative difference.

    Thus, with more than one possibility in the target language, you are not using a “word for word” translation.

    And i put the paragraph into two different translation engines and got pretty much the same result as you did, inluding the word for “mayhem/terror/dread” left out.

    to avoid that next time, see if the translation program has that single word as a synonym or maybe it can translate into english via another language. that can sometime help you

    Karl

    p.s., spanishdict.com/AS.cfm?e=pavor, the second hit on my google search… it translates as “dread”

    schon erwischt

  4. As pointed out above, it was 912 days.

    “After the election-eve revelation that the bombings had been carried out by Al Qaeda to punish Spain for its participation in the US war effort in Iraq”

    Wha? I don’t recall that happening. I recall two statements from supposed AQ groups being found. The first group takes credit for lots of things. The second guy no one had ever heard of. Could CY point me to, for instance, a notarized version of this revelation?

    “The outrage over the attack and the cover-up spurred very high voter turnout?in particular, among disaffected, left-leaning young people”

    There’s a real story here, and it’d be nice if someone could cover it. The Spanish govt has released some of their classified docs about this, there’s not much there, but start here for links to the docs and partial translations thereof. Does that count as a coverup? I seem to recall that as various AQ-oriented facts were discovered statements were made by Acebes that that was an avenue they were now pursuing in addition to ETA. I couldn’t find the full text of his remarks, but he did say something like they were considering other possibilities.

    In any case, how did the opposition get all those people and signs out into the street so quick? And, doesn’t that violate Spain’s laws against electioneering right before an election?

    “the outcome was influenced by anger at the government for getting involved in a war that about 90 percent of the population opposed”

    That’s nice, but that was “in the market” before the attacks. Those who were angry were going to vote one way, those who were not angry or not angry enough were going to vote another way.

    The attacks changed some peoples’ minds, and brought out people who originally weren’t going to vote.

    So, the bottom line is they worked.

  5. The previously classified docs and the translation of some of them can be found starting here.

  6. Mark Bahner,
    I’m with you. I think the Zapatero quote is dead on. I wish someone of influence in this country were spouting such rhetoric. The black and white ‘bomb em all and let god sort em out’ policy only justifies terrorist attacks, and can only serve to inspire more of them.

  7. The black and white ‘bomb em all and let god sort em out’ policy only justifies terrorist attacks

    No, it doesn’t, and by saying that you only give ammunition to the knee-jerk hawks.

    OK, I realize that you didn’t mean it justifies terrorist attacks in some absolute sense of morality or justice. I realize that you just meant it gives fuel to terrorists seeking sympathizers (for every successful extremist there are moderates aiding him by sins of omission). But you put your foot in your mouth, and the hawks will jump all over it.

    It’s like when I see an anti-war protest with “Bush=Hitler” signs or whatever. Just as hawks can alienate moderates in the MIddle East who might aid terrorists by sins of omission, loony statements from anti-war folks can alienate moderates in the US.

  8. thoreau,
    While I don’t make the relative equivalence between the current administration and the Third Reich, I do maintain that their foreign, and anti-terrorism, policies are evil, and do in fact provide a moral justification for terrorist attacks against US targets.

    As for the hawks, of course they’re going to throw a hissy, they are beyond reason. The fact that there are those such as Ms. Young, whom seem to find the suggestion that we (the US) are a source of evil in the world, and should be accountable not only for the suffering caused by our actions cause but also for the predictable response to those actions, so repugnant as to find the embracing of said evil less odious, is wholly depressing.

  9. Yes Warren, you are right, we never should have overthrown the Taliban or Saddam and his Satan spawn. Far better to send Mullah Omar an arrest warrant for Osama and leave Hussein alone to take over the Gulf when he got nukes.

  10. Cathy,
    I empathize with the fact you and Jeff Jacoby are constantly overwhelmed/ outnumbered by your associates up there in Kennedy/ Kerry Country: like the poor woman (name?) on The McLaughlin Group. Or Safire and Brooks at The New York Times.
    This column shows signs of your battle fatigue.

    Even a blind hog can find an acorn. Al Qaeda found an acorn in Spain. So what? Move on.

    Get well soon.

  11. Cathy,

    As dj of Raleigh so eloquently put it in an earlier thread, it was 912 days from September 11, 2001 to March 11, 2004. Yes, I do love to nitpick. 🙂

  12. Warren-

    Are you suggesting that there is any sort of justification for attacking the WTC? If so, that’s exactly the sort of loony rhetoric that just makes other anti-war folks look crazy. NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, can justify targeting all those innocent people.

    And yes, I realize that the die-hard hawks are beyond persuasion. It’s the people in the middle who will be more sympathetic to hawks when they hear an anti-war person talk about justification for terrorist acts.

  13. There another quibble: was the polling data correct? That’s a big question to answer before determining whether or not “appeasement” was the reason for the results.

    The Spanish people went from sympathetic victims to cowardly appeasers over the course of one weekend. Maybe this change was only a perception. Maybe it was a reality.

    Maybe it’s another example of bad polling data.

  14. I don’t know if this is a quibble, but I recently heard Zapatero claim to have been misquoted. He says he didn’t say terrorism must not be fought “with bombs [and] Tomahawk missiles” but, rather, “by the state of law.” He claims that he said terrorism must not be fought ONLY “with bombs [and] Tomahawk missiles” but, ALONG WITH “the state of law.”

    I don’t know if he was covering for misspeaking or what, but he certainly didn’t want to be seen as a pacifist. And, as Cathy pointed out, he wants Spain to stay in Afghanistan.

  15. I’m reading the accounts in the Spanish press,and unless they all just misheard his radio interview (anyone got a link to streaming audio?) that doesn’t appear to be the case. This is what they’re reporting he said:

    “Combatir el terrorismo con bombas, con operaciones de conmoci?n y pavor, con misiles Tomahawk, no es la forma de ganar al terrorismo, sino de generar m?s radicalidad, m?s personas que pueden acabar en la tentaci?n de la violencia. Al terrorismo se le combate con el Estado de Derecho, con la legalidad internacional, con los servicios de Inteligencia.”

    I guess it’s possible they all misquoted him, but in this version, he’s clearly enough saying “That’s the wrong way; this is the right way.”

  16. Julian,

    A little help please. The point of your post is lost on me. What “doesn’t appear to be the case”?
    May we have the quote in English?

  17. Let’s imagine a hypothetical scenario.

    Let’s pick some foreign intervention which Clinton supported and most people here opposed. To avoid getting bogged down in details, each of you can just pick whichever of Clinton’s interventions you opposed. (I’m making the quite reasonable assumption that most people here opposed at least one of Clinton’s actions.)

    Now, what if during the Clinton administration a terrorist group had attacked the US and claimed that it was in response to that particular intervention that you opposed? And what if that attack had occurred right before an election?

    How many people here would have voted for Clinton (if it had happened right before the 1996 election) or Gore (if it had happened right before the 2000 election) just to avoid letting the terrorists think that they had won?

    Hmm, why are none of you raising your hands? OK, now, how many of you think that the Spaniards should have voted for Aznar, just to show resolve, even though they had opposed his military policy all along?

    Hypocrisy: It ain’t just for politicians anymore!

  18. Rick Barton:

    Here is a “word for word” ultra-literal translation of the quote Julian gave:

    “To combat terrorism with bombs, with operations of commotion and pavor (?), with Tomahawk missles, is not the way to win against terrorism, but rather to generate more radicalism, more people that can end up in the temptation of violence. Terrorism is to be combated with the State of Law, with international legality, with the Intelligence services”.

  19. rst,

    Thank you. It’s my conjecture that you put it into a “translation droid”?

  20. rst,

    Or maybe not..

  21. “Nor is it very reassuring to hear Zapatero say that terrorism must not be fought “with bombs [and] Tomahawk missiles” but, rather, “by the state of law” (whatever that means).”

    It makes sense to me! Terrorism is a *crime,* unless it is actively supported by a government. Crimes are fought by the Rule of Law, not by bombs and missiles.

    For example, presuming the 3/11 terrorists came from Morocco: unless the Moroccan government actively supported the terrorists, Spain should be fighting back against the terrorists by demanding extraditions, not by bombing Morocco.

  22. I can’t shake the feeling that the recent “chatter” concerning France is (at the moment) a ruse. If I were AQ, I would want to gain a bit more experience operating on the Continent before tackling France where (with the POSSIBLE exception of England) security is likely the toughest.
    I would guess the next target for a spectacular would be in Germany-Austria…and the ultimate “target-rich” environment is Rome.
    That said, all the blustering IS committing them, and doubtless AQ wants to “punish” France for the Headscarf Ban, sooner or later (which makes me more inclined to endorse it).

  23. Andrew-

    Are you saying you endorse the headscarf ban because AQ opposes it? That’s basically saying that we must undermine individual liberty just to spite the terrorists.

  24. It seems to me that Spanish voters were in a “catch-22” really; whatever they did would be viewed by some external party as symbolic (indeed, whatever decision they made would be “driven” by what al-Qaeda did, not matter decision they made). I suppose the question is, and this is something Cathy does not address, is whether Spanish policy should be determined by these various symbolisms, or by what Spaniards want. I pick the latter. Furthermore the “appeasement” argument completely ignores Aznar’s responsibility for losing the election; indeed, his party was weak enough that one terror attack could topple it.

  25. Karl Kraus,

    There is this though:

    “PARIS — Letters threatening terror attacks — similar to one addressed to France’s prime minister — were received by French embassies in Muslim countries across the globe, officials said Tuesday.”

    To which I write: “Bring it on fuckers.”

  26. Good Morning Jean Bart,

    That would be a huge mistake the terrorists would make. An Austrian team would win the UFEA Champion’s League before the French would stop fighting. The terrorists would really pay for that.

    (Tonight: Arsenal/Chelsea!!)

    Regards,
    Karl

  27. Warren,

    So did the evil of the Japanese militarists provide a moral justification for the incineration of civilians at Hiroshima? There’s no moral justification for deliberate terror against civilians as a political weapon.

  28. ” There’s no moral justification for deliberate terror against civilians as a political weapon.”

    Neocon scum! I cast thee out of the Vanguard.

  29. Kevin Carson,

    Well, that would be the Bush administration line at least (and the Clinton administration line, etc.), as well as the line of Western governments. And I do tend to agree with you. Its simply that such actions will occur if the desire is weighty enough.

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