Wednesday, March 17, 2004

Greetings . . .

Today's column of the day (thus far) goes to Christopher Hitchens, who, in Slate, argues very persuasively why it is wrong to see the attacks on Spain as retaliation for Prime Minister Aznar's support for the Iraq war. I am not a big fan of Hitchens because his orientation is so fanatically anti-religion, but he has a wonderful capacity to make a good argument from time to time.

My take on the Spanish government, though, is that they deserved to lose. It's quite clear that they consciously lied to everyone and tried to pin the attack on ETA/Basque because that was the most politically useful scapegoat. That says something very bad about the willingness of even democratic governments to baldly lie about matters of the highest importance. And I think that's the reason Spaniards dramatically rejected the Popular Party. Mendacity did the PP in, not their Iraq policy. And that's a positive thing, because it should send the message to other leaders that it is best, in matters of national security, to be as honest as possible. Those who support the Iraq War would make a big mistake if they accused Spaniards of appeasement, much as this is the prevailing European policy stance, it is not the correct analysis of the Spanish election in my view.


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