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Jewish World Review March 22, 2004 / 29 Adar, 5764

James Lileks

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Bloodied Spain Rejoins Old Europe | How do you vote when both hands are raised in surrender? Perhaps some Spaniards used their noses, or made an X on the ballot by gripping the pencil between their knees. We may never know, but one thing is apparent: You can take the country out of Old Europe, but you can't take the Old Europe out of the country.

Bloodied by an atrocity, many Spaniards sought comfort in the arms of socialist multilateralism, and they changed the balance of power in Europe. The new Spanish government will soon meet with Germany and France to craft a "European" approach to terrorism. Topic No. 1: How big should the white flag be? Oak or cedar for the pole?

It wasn't as if 99 percent of the voters went socialist. Observers have noted that the government's handling of the post-March 11 situation cost it legitimacy. The government blamed Basques even after it clearly appeared to be the work of Muslim terrorists, making one wonder if they were afraid of religious and ethnic profiling. (The Islamists aren't the only ones who commit terror, you know. Timothy McVeigh's ghost could have joined the IRA to help Hindu radicals bomb Spain for no particular reason.)

Even so, it's difficult to understand how a voter infuriated by the government's refusal to blame the obvious source would hand power over to the party least likely to do anything about it, and send the signal that nations can be bombed to nudge the voters the proper way.

One placard at the anti-terrorism rally said, "The bombs dropped on Iraq fell on Madrid," and many in the anti-American camp would agree.

But let's unpack the logic: The United States unilaterally invades Iraq under the false assumption that al-Qaida has ties to the Saddam Hussein regime; in retaliation, al-Qaida attacks a U.S. ally.

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You can believe the first part or the second, but not both — unless you believe somehow that the tender sensibilities of the terrorists were so inflamed by that unprovoked attack on the Hero of Tikrit that they shelved their plans for world domination to redress the grievances of the Iraqi people. And by "Iraqi People" we mean about 2,000 guys who got all the good cigars.

Getting bombed by al-Qaida because you helped topple a fascist regime is a stark reminder that you did the right thing. You have the right enemies. A country should worry when al-Qaida doesn't regard it as a target, because that would mean it appeared to be a house of rotten wood, easily collapsed when the time is right.

The question now is how the rest of Europe will respond when its time comes. And it will come. Al-Qaida knows now it can influence elections better than a last-minute ad barrage or a leaked DUI arrest.

France? Well, France would be outraged; an attack against other nations is regrettable, but an attack against France is an attack against humanity, don't you know. The world won't see the gendarmes wading into the projects with batons. The world will see a nice trial, with a 22-year-old glowering man sentenced to life. The world will not see an American city extending citizenship to that fellow, as Paris gave citizenship to convicted cop killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

Germany probably won't be hit for a while. Germany is thick and tired and confused. Germany is a canned ham in the quicksand pit of Europe.

England — well, Tony Blair is a brave, good man, but his party is a different beast. History may well remember him as a leader in the mold of Churchill — except Churchill wasn't thrown out before the war was won.

Italy might respond much like Spain, unless the attack levels Vatican City. Expect some reporter to note that the pope was Polish, and Poland was a solid ally in the liberation of Iraq.

What an insult to the Islamist fascists. Italy's practically begging for it.

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JWR contributor James Lileks is a columnist for the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Comment by clicking here.


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03/08/04: Introducing the Kerry Doctrine
02/27/04: Introducing the AWOLs: Angry White Outraged Libs
02/20/04: Sifting the headlines of election year 1992
02/18/04: Guess Which Candidate Our Enemies Want to Lose in 2004?
01/29/04: Every Laptop a Truth Squad
01/27/04: When the battle over artistic freedom goes over the edge
12/31/03: For the Left and Right, Some New Year's Resolutions
12/22/03: Dean's black helicopters
12/15/03: Dems Are Mainstreaming the Extreme
12/08/03: Does Dean Really Want to Be President? One Wonders, When He Opens His Mouth
11/24/03: The real story: Most Brits see U.S. as force for good
11/19/03: The Trouble With Al Gore's Screed on Civil Liberties
11/11/03: Can a fellow win with the Confederate Metrosexual vote?
10/22/03: Let's make Greenpeace pay
09/29/03: Ah-nold & Clark may be on different sides of the aisles, but their supporters are cut from the same cloth
09/19/03: All Hail the Ninth Circuit Court of Surreal
08/26/03: This time, the record industry doesn't stand a chance!
08/18/03: Assessing the Schwarzenegger Factor in Republicanism
08/08/03: No wonder Howard ‘Two Covers’ Dean gets all the buzz
08/04/03: Expect bad news for the foreseeable future
07/28/03: Despot's Deserts
07/21/03: No winners in this game of gotcha
07/14/03: Doing the right thing in Liberia may not be the right thing to do
06/27/03: On feet in Democratic mouths
06/16/03: The real story behind Hillary's book
06/09/03:America's new mission was and remains: Extirpating the flaming nutballs and the societies that nurture them
06/03/03: The Constitution as gag order
05/23/03: Sometimes the theme of world events is chaos itself
05/16/03: Newspapers are only human, after all
05/13/03: What McCarthy messed up
05/06/03: Still think the International Criminal Court was a good idea?
04/03/03: The world is ending, the world is ending! Doesn't anybody care!? Why won't anybody listen!?
03/14/03: Kerry and the Dems are banking on American electorate's tendancy to forget history
02/28/03: Roadmap to peace?
02/13/03: We live in an age where the poet has been cast out from the halls of power --- sob, sob
02/10/03: Found: League for International Justice and Peace talking points
01/30/03: The US can go to war whenever it likes for its own reasons, and all the UN can do is pass more worthless paper
01/23/03: People who'd volunteer for the Iraqi army if they saw Saddam wearing a "Free Mumia" button
01/16/03: One of those head vs. heart things
12/27/02: Whistleblowers?
01/06/02: The second year of this jangled millennium
11/16/01: Attack of the 'Patriotism police' and other Hollywood fare
11/12/01: From the bleats of dismay
10/30/01: Osama and the Genie
10/08/01: "We can stop the Bush Death Juggernaut"
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09/25/01: Do the Europeans actually think that the war on murderous zealotry will be furthered by undercutting America?
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08/14/01: Dubyah's embarrassing presidential vacation
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08/03/01: Constitution: George the Uniter picked a doozy to unify detractors
07/25/01: The real reason why we need missile defense (What those uppity policy wonks won't tell you!)
06/18/01: Paining the egalitarian soul
06/01/01: One of the stranger indexes you'll ever hear about
05/21/01: One man's toke is another man's snort
05/08/01: Republicans want poisoned water
04/23/01: We bleat as we're sheared
04/10/01: Boys will be boys. And that's the problem
04/06/01: Pity the anti-American Left, they're gonna have a hard time on this one
03/26/01: You've been warned
03/16/01: The GOP's inexplicable desire to fold
02/23/01: Will the Jeb Bush administration attack Saddam in 2011?
02/09/01: In search of the the first ashtray thrown by a member of the First Family
02/06/01: Can you say 'Ayatollah Bush'?
01/24/01: The new Executive Orders
01/22/01: Hey, Dubya: Wanna save Ashcroft? Teach him to rap!
01/09/01: Bubba gets his last licks
01/05/01: The low-down on the coming recession (What those snooty economists won't tell you)
12/23/00: Memo to Dubya: Wanna show who is boss? Nuke 'em!
12/06/00: The Count of Carthage
At the Sore/Loserman Transition HQ
12/01/00: The Count of Carthage
11/28/00: Clinton knows history isn't written by the victors anymore
11/17/00: Chad's the word
11/08/00: The strangest political night
11/07/00: Get ready to return to the Dark Ages

© 2003, James Lileks