It was Al-Qaeda that launched these attacks, that changed to the tactics of divide and conquer. Are you saying that 'conservative pundits' gave Al-Qaeda this idea? Also many unanswered questions Jim -why was the ETA spokesman after denouncing the attack so quick to attribute it to the 'Arab resistance in retaliation' for Spain's presence in Iraq? A hunch, or was he tipped off? The Voice of America reported back during those halycon Clinton years in 1996 that ETA was talking to Islamist groups. I know you guys wouldn't believe that secular Marxists would have anything to do with jihadists, but it does happen, and there are reports that ETA sent people to Iraq last year. Now the Baltimore Sun is saying this Moroccan group has ties to northern Iraq's Ansar Al-Islam, which operated in the Kurdish areas of Northern Iraq and just happened to attack Saddam's Kurdish enemies up there.
My point is, just watch the facts roll in before you blame 'conservatives' for giving Al-Qaeda this idea of picking off a member of the U.S.-led coalition. Click on the CNN report which claims that Al-Qaeda was cooking this up back in December.
PRODI AWARD NOMINEE: Well, we have a very quick new entry for the Prodi award, and it's Howard Dean. Blaming the murder of 200 innocents on the Bush administration's liberation of Iraq is a sign of serious moral derangement. "The president was the one who dragged our troops to Iraq, which apparently has been a factor in the death of 200 Spaniards over the weekend." Dragged? As commander-in-chief, he ordered, and he did so with the overwhelming backing of the Congress and dozens of allies. But then you have the real Dean touch: he has the phenomenal capacity to assert something obscene and then refuse to take responsibility for it. Remember the "interesting theory" that the president knew about 9/11 in advance? Here we go again: "Let me be clear, there is no justification for terrorism. Today I was simply repeating what those who have claimed responsibility for the bombings in Spain said was the reason they carried out that despicable act." So he's just parroting Jihadist spin, not endorsing it. Looking back, I was simply wrong to entertain the idea that a Dean nomination would be refreshing for the country. If he were the nominee today, he would have just lost the election. And there would be no more debate.
It's funny how O'Reilly (and the other right-wingers struggling to put a vindictive face on the Spanish election) totally obliterate the distinction between Iraq and terrorism. Al Qaeda got interested in Iraq when we opened the door and gave them an opportunity.
Same deal with democratic socialism (as in Spain) and Marxist socialism (Cuba) -- If it ain't Good Old American Xenophobic Theocratic Democracy, it's pure evil and should be obliterated with Divine Fire(TM).
It's all black or white, good or evil, right or wrong. And if it's not rightward of Shrub it's probably evil and wrong.
Regarding ETA --
There's pretty good evidence that ETA has gotten help over the years from the Provisional Irish Republican Army and other groups; so it wouldn't surprise me if there is an ETA/Qaeda/Zawquiri alliance (this is sort of like the "United Underground" in the old Batman series, where the Joker, the Riddler the Penguin, and Catwoman were all in cahoots).
But, what I consider mendacious was the persistent insistence that the ETA was solely responsible - by both the Aznar government and by their American counterparts - when considerable forensic evidence showed a high probability of Qaeda-esque responsibility. And of course, there is the fact that an Arab group took responsibility...
And then the sudden and rather unfortunate labeling of the Spanish as appeasers by the American media, despite evidence that the vote was motivated by anti-government anger, as opposed to fear of terrorists.
ETA/Qaeda/Zawquiri alliance = Joker, Riddler, Penguin, and Catwoman?
. . . . . and all along I thought Bush was the Joker.
Didn't you guys install an MT plugin to prevent spam bots? At least, this one's easy to spot: It says nothing relevant.
It was Al-Qaeda that launched these attacks, that changed to the tactics of divide and conquer.
Divide who or what? In this context, the policy of the Aznar government regarding Iraq was divided from the wishes of 90% of the populace on this topic. Now the people of Spain will have a government that is in step with public opinion. Isn't that what democracy is all about?
One cannot claim to support the establishment of democracy in Iraq while criticizing the functioning of democratic institutions in Spain. And the same goes for Germany where the SPD/Green coalition won a surprise victory over a year ago by taking a hard line on Bush/Cheney/Rove unilateralism. If we really want Spain and Germany as allies, we shouldn't treat them as satellites.
Toadies only tell you what you want to hear while friends will tell you what you need to hear, whether the news is good or bad.
I think that al-Qaeda is being given far too much credit for trying to influence the Spanish election. If there is any significance to the timing, it's more likely that 11 March 2004 is exactly 2.5 years after 11 September 2001. A friend mentioned that there are 911 days between the two attacks, but that depends on how you count days. If al-Qaeda wanted to impact the Spanish election, why not do it on election day itself?
Frankly, al-Qaeda has been diabolically good at implementing its tactics. But when it comes to long term strategy, one wonders exactly what it is. Republicans who claim to know which presidential candidate Osama supports, must have very close ties to him to have obtained such information. Perhaps the Evil One has given them some insights which they could share with us.
More of my thoughts on this topic can be found down here.
"[A] clash of civilizations that need not be..."
Well, really, it need be.
The Arab nations have far too many people, and not enough resources. Even with petro-dollars, they've had to cut back on the social programmes that used to make work unnecessary, and there's precious little in the way of economic activity outside the oil industry.
The majority of Arab governments are corrupt, unresponsive to their citizens, and incapable of making the adjustments necessary to survive, in the future.
Long term, there are only two choices for the Middle East: Westernize, or implode.
Westernization would mean the end of Arab culture, and of course, civil unrest and starvation isn't much to look forward to.
The terrorists see that the status quo cannot hold, and are upset and angry about it.
Usama bin Laden blames the House of Saud, in Arabia, for what he sees as the weakness and decadence of modern Arab society in Arabia.
Due to the 9/11 attacks, America sees itself as the principle target of Al Qaeda, but the House of Saud is equally at risk.
The only way for traditional Arab culture to survive is to eliminate any society seen as superior.
Otherwise, the Middle East will simply fall further and further behind the West, intellectually, technologically, militarily, and especially financially, as their GDPs stagnate, while the rest of the world grows.