Monday, March 15, 2004

Una sorpresa española 

I was pretty shocked to see the results of the spanish elections this morning. After all, all the opinion polls were unanimous in declaring Aznar's Popular Party as the runaway winners. That was before the Madrid blasts. In a post I made that day, I had wondered out aloud why the Spanish government was that quick in pinning the blame on ETA, though the modus operandi seemed distinctly un-ETA. Turns out my instincts were probably right and that it was in fact an Al-Qaeda operation.

What I had not mentioned in my post were thoughts in my ultra-cynical head as to why the Aznar govt would want to pin the blame on ETA. After all, if it were ETA, Aznar would probably win by an even bigger margin, given his strong anti-ETA credentials. Of course, if it were Al-Qaeda, the blame might have fallen on Aznar because the attack would then be seen as Qaeda's retribution for Spain's involvement in Iraq -- involvement that over 90% of the spanish public dissaproved of (not that any of that bothered those paragons of democracy, Blair and Aznar). So, in a way I was not surprised when I read these lines in the Economist.

On Saturday there were protests in a number of Spanish cities by anti-war protesters, accusing the government of holding back information on the bombings to manipulate the election results. This came as one of Spain’s leading newspapers, El País, revealed a memo that it said the foreign minister, Ana Palacio, had sent to Spain’s diplomats. In it, she instructed them to “use any opportunity” to blame ETA for the attacks, “thus helping to dissipate any type of doubt that certain interested parties may want to promote.”

If El Pais is right, this is truly disgusting and ranks right up there with Andrew Card not wanting to introduce new products (the Iraq War) in August. And a good thing Aznar is gone. Both Aznar and Blair are guilty of providing more alcohol to alcoholics. Too bad Blair hasn't paid an electoral price for his lies as well. Of course, there's also Berlusconi, but I am sure the courts will take care of him at some point. Seriously though, I think this is very bad news for Bush, assuming at least some American voters are paying attention to whats going on in Spain. If only a majority of the American voting public would come to their senses and throw Bush out as well!! Then, the United States and the world-at-large could actually fight the *war* on terror where it needs to be fought -- in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia.