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Spanish lessons

 
 
Fedral
 
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2004 01:01 pm
Spanish lessons[/u]
Clifford D. May
March 18, 2004

The other night, I attended a reception at the Embassy of Iraq. Virtually all Iraq's communities were represented: Sunni, Shia and Kurd, Muslim and Christian. There were women in modest veils and not-so-modest cocktail dresses. There were men in designer suits and others in desert robes. They seemed to get along fabulously. At least they had this in common: None of them would have set foot in that building so long as it belonged to Saddam Hussein.

I was among the few non-Iraqis. Nevertheless, I was made to feel very welcome by Ambassador-designate Rend Rahim Franke and her guests. But then, I have known many of these individuals since their days of exile, when they struggled to communicate the brutality and menace of the regime they had escaped.

I do wish that Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero could have been there. Mr. Zapatero, of course, is the leader of Spain's Socialist Workers' Party which was swept to victory in last weekend's elections following the worst terrorist attack in Spain's history.

Mr. Zapatero plans to withdraw his nation's 1,300 troops from Iraq. By so doing, the government of Spain will be telling the people of Iraq they should not have been liberated a year ago, and that it is a matter of indifference whether next year they live in freedom or tyranny.

Spanish voters already have sent a message to the terrorists who slaughtered more than 200 of their countrymen. Those terrorists intended to have an impact on Spain's elections - without airing a commercial or publishing an op-ed. They succeeded. Those terrorists also intended to widen the gulf between the United States and Europe -- to divide, the better to conquer. For now, at least, they have accomplished that goal as well.

The view of too many Spanish voters may be gleaned from a banner displayed by protestors in Barcelona. It showed outgoing President Jose Maria Aznar with President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair. The banner read: "Did this picture cost 200 lives?"

So it is the picture, not those who planted the bombs, not those who sent them, who are to blame?

Another Spanish protestor was quoted in The New York Times: "Maybe the Socialists will get our troops out of Iraq, and Al Qaeda will forget about Spain, so we will be less frightened."

The terrorists are not likely to forget about Spain - centuries ago, it was part of a grand Islamic empire that the jihadis have vowed to restore.

The most distressing comment, however, came not from a Spaniard but from Romano Prodi, chief of the European Commission. He told Italy's La Stampa: "It is clear that force alone cannot win the fight against terrorists."

So in his very European view, what non-forceful means should we be employing -- that we are not now employing -- to fight terrorists? Should we, perhaps, sit down and negotiate with Osama bin Laden? Perhaps Munich might provide the appropriate venue.

Keep in mind that bin Laden claimed two primary reasons for attacking Americans on September 11, 2001: (1) American, infidel forces were stationed on holy Saudi soil, and (2) the US had imposed painful sanctions on Iraqis. Today, our forces have left Saudi Arabia and sanctions have been lifted - indeed, were in not for the terrorists, Iraqis would be well on their way to unprecedented prosperity.

The truth is al Qaeda seeks more than it demands. It is intent on nothing less than the West's defeat and destruction. Are there really people in the West - even Europeans -willing to negotiate that?

My Iraqi friends grasp all this - and are puzzled when others fail to. They were similarly perplexed a year ago when protestors held signs reading "No War On Iraq!" when it was so obviously Saddam who had been waging war on Iraqis for decades. The question was whether anyone would try to stop the carnage - either out of altruism or enlightened self-interest.

Most of the Iraqis I know are only too eager to tell anyone who will listen how grateful they are to America, how fully they appreciate the sacrifices Americans are making, how fervently they pray that Americans will not abandon them this time.

And there are millions of Arabs and Muslims like them - millions who want the freedom to select their leaders, to speak their minds without fear, to worship as they choose.

But in their home countries, even to give voice to such desires is perilous. And Arab/Muslim freedom fighters in the West - Farid Ghadry of the Syrian Reform Party, Agha Jafri of the Universal Muslim Association of America, Mohamed Eljahmi of the American Libyan Freedom Alliance, Ali al-Ahmed of the Saudi Institute, to name just a few -- seldom have the resources to compete effectively with the "angry Arabs" funded by Saudi Arabians and others determined to preserve the oppressive status quo.

Not all Spaniards, not all Europeans seek a comfortable neutrality midway between murderers and the murdered. My hope is that those who know better will make their case forcefully in the days ahead.

Perhaps, too, Spaniards will suffer from buyer's remorse. Perhaps they will demand that Mr. Zapatero stand up to terrorism. He needn't say he now thinks it was wise to invade Iraq. He need only say that those who kill policemen and foreign aid workers anywhere are, self-evidently, terrorists. He should add that Spain, itself a victim of terrorism, will stand with other victims and do what is necessary -- including in Iraq -- to defeat civilization's enemy while helping to bring freedom to Spain's long-suffering neighbors in the Middle East.

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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,420 • Replies: 25
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Umbagog
 
  1  
Reply Thu 18 Mar, 2004 05:01 pm
The situation is pretty clear. Quit invading them and they will stop bombing you. The idea that only terrorists have guilt in this matter is ridiculous. There's a whole lot of killing going on in the name of making a buck. It goes all the way back to stealing your local tribe's fire and denying them access to it. Instead of bones and spears we have tanks and bombs, but the struggle is no different now as it was then. Cooperation is the key to survival AND ending conflicts.
0 Replies
 
PDiddie
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 04:02 am
http://www.comics.com/editoons/benson/archive/images/benson2008133540317.gif
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Wilso
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 04:30 am
Just ignore the fact that Spain is a democracy. Just ignore the fact that the conservative government of that country tied itself to the US against the will of it's own people. Just keep ignoring all the facts that don't fit with your view of the world.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 05:08 am
yeppers...
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NeoGuin
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 07:09 am
I agree wilso. It's been fun to watch AM-Radio/FOX News nation try to spin this into some sort of capitulation to terrorists, forgetting that Spain's PEOPLE were against the Iraq war.

Also it looks like your home nation may be next to make it's displeasure with blindly supporting Bush known in the same way.

Then there'll be some work to be as it may be up to anti-Imperialst activists in the US and UK to try and follow suit.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 07:49 am
http://cagle.slate.msn.com/working/040318/lester.gif
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blatham
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 08:33 am
Spanish citizens were against their country's involvement in a unilateral attack on Iraq by 90%.

The logic in this May argument is so pathetic that I just want to line him and fedral and McG up and give them a big stooge slap.

Attack Iraq so that it's citizens can have democracy (even if that was rationale number eight, and a lie, it is the best of the bunch) and then complain when Spain demonstrates it!

Clearly, to these minds 'democracy' equals something like 'whatever Bush says it is" or 'whatever America says it is'.

The US will NOT permit democracy in Iraq if that democracy looks like it might insist that all US presence leaves. Yet under whatever machinations they engage to effect this consequence, they WILL claim Iraq to be democratic.
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 09:43 am
Zepatero said his first priority was to fight terrorism. George Bush I seem to recall said something similiar. But then he sent 130,000 troops to invade Iraq and sets off a chain of events that intensifies and spreads international terror. Action and reaction. Stop stirring it George you are making me nervous.
0 Replies
 
joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 09:58 am
With the revelations that Saddam had no WMDs, that Iraq had no connections with al Qaida, and that it did not pose an "imminent" threat to the US, the pro-war folks have resorted to the argument: "well, it doesn't matter why we went to war, it only matters that we achieved the right result. After all, isn't the world a better place without Saddam?"

Ironically, however, the same sort of argument is not available to the Spaniards who voted out the conservative government. Even assuming that the reaction to the train-bombings was wrong, the result was right. Who cares about the reason why the Spaniards voted the way they did. After all, isn't the world a better place without one more Bush ally?
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 09:58 am
This ranting nonsense also ignores that Aznar's government appeared to have a lock on the election right up until the time of the bombings, and that many exit polls show the disgust of Spanish voters with the Conservatives attempt to "spin" the meaning of events, and blame ETA, rather than accept that Spain had been a target as a result of the support given to the Shrub's dirty little war. Rodriguez-Zapatero and the Socialists are in power now more because Aznar and company bungled the aftermath of the event than because of any great fondness of the Spaniard for liberal governments. Even a casual perusal of Spanish history shows that the nation has a conservative streak a mile wide. But they are no different than are we in the matter of not appreciating being lied to by government.
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McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 10:02 am
We haven't found WMD's...yet.

Iraq had plenty of ties to terror organizations other tha Osama's pet project. Remember, it's a war on TERRORISM, not Osama.

The world needs more socialists like it needs more holes in the ozone layer. If the Olive pickers want to have a socialist government, that's their choice. After all, they were once a democratic country.
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 10:05 am
Quite right Set. And people don't like being lied to about the necessity for war here either. Think I'll start my own political party with sole policy "UN in charge by 30 June or we do as the Spanish".
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 10:05 am
Please spill your bile elsewhere, McG--"olive pickers?" "once a democratic country?"

I suppose that you claim they could only have demonstrated democracy by re-electing Aznar?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 10:07 am
Steve, where are all the radical feminist, ban the bomb types who used to demonstrate outside American bases in the UK? Could you round them up and sic them on Marc Antony Blair?
0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 10:09 am
"Iraq had plenty of ties to terror organizations other tha Osama's pet project. "

Like....?
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Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 10:14 am
"Steve, where are all the radical feminist, ban the bomb types who used to demonstrate outside American bases in the UK? Could you round them up and sic them on Marc Antony Blair?"

Actually its Antony Charles Lynton Blair (very posh). And the bra burners are all in his cabinet, or MPs.
0 Replies
 
McGentrix
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 10:15 am
According to the Council on Foriegn Relations

Quote:
What types of terrorist groups did Iraq support?
Primarily groups that could hurt Saddam's regional foes. Iraq has helped the Iranian dissident group Mujahedeen-e-Khalq, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, a separatist organization fighting the Turkish government, and several far-left Palestinian splinter groups that oppose peace with Israel. Iraq also hosted the mercenary Abu Nidal Organization, whose leader was found dead in Baghdad in August 2002. Saddam was a secular dictator, and his regime generally tended to support secular terrorist groups rather than Islamists such as al-Qaeda, experts say. But Iraq also supported some Islamist Palestinian groups opposed to Israel, and before the 2003 war, the CIA cited Iraq's increased support for such organizations as reason to believe that Baghdad's links to terror could continue to increase.

What kind of support has Iraq given terrorists?

Safe haven, training, and financial support. In violation of international law, Iraq has also sheltered specific terrorists wanted by other countries, reportedly including:

-Abu Nidal, who, until he was found dead in Baghdad in August 2002, led an organization responsible for attacks that killed some 300 people.
-Palestine Liberation Front leader Abu Abbas, who was responsible for the 1985 hijacking of the Achille Lauro cruise ship in the Mediterranean. Abbas was captured by U.S. forces April 15.
-Two Saudis who hijacked a Saudi Arabian Airlines flight to Baghdad in 2000.
-Abdul Rahman Yasin, who is on the FBI's "most wanted terrorists" list for his alleged role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.

Iraq has also provided financial support for Palestinian terror groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the Palestine Liberation Front, and the Arab Liberation Front, and it channeled money to the families of Palestinian suicide bombers. In April 2002, Iraq increased the amount of such payments from $10,000 to $25,000. Experts say that by promoting Israeli-Palestinian violence, Saddam may have hoped to make it harder for the United States to win Arab support for a campaign against Iraq.

0 Replies
 
Steve 41oo
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 10:32 am
The Council of Foreign Relations?
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Fri 19 Mar, 2004 10:36 am
Steve (as 41oo) wrote:
Actually its Antony Charles Lynton Blair (very posh). And the bra burners are all in his cabinet, or MPs.


That's sad, and scarey . . .


(Post scriptum: I used Marc Antony Blair to draw a parallel between Caesar's toad-eater, and the Shrub's . . . )
0 Replies
 
 

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