The rain of pain fell mainly on the trains
The reaction of the Spanish electorate to the bombings of 3/11/04 invites comparison with the American reaction to the events of 9/11/01. Obviously, Americans are made of sterner stuff. Actually, this should come as no surprise because Ernest Hemingway already gave us a glimmer of what appears to be Spain’s nation-wide shortage of cojones.
In For Whom the Bell Tolls. Hemingway’s American hero, demolitions expert, Professor Robert Jordan, was tasked to stop the enemy’s advance by destroying a key bridge. But Pablo, the Spanish guerilla leader who was supposed to assist Jordan, lost his nerve. Fortunately, Pablo’s wife, Pilar, had more cojones than Pablo. Pilar took over command from her cowardly husband, and rallied the guerillas around Professor Jordan.
America’s reaction to the horrors of 9/11 is to fight and keep fighting. The Spanish reaction to the train bombings of 3/11 was to throw out the Populist Party (think Republicans) and bring in the Socialist Party (think Democrats). In other words, to stick their collective heads in the sand and hope the terrorists will leave them alone. Apparently, the Spanish do not understand that they would have been subject to terrorist attack with or without former Prime Minister Aznar’s support of the War on Terror and his government’s commitment of troops to depose Saddam Hussein.
As part of Western Civilization and a Roman Catholic country to boot, the very existence of Spain (and even France) is an affront to the radical Muslim extremists who want to conquer Spain once again. (In 711 a.d., Muslim armies crossed the Strait of Gibraltar from Africa, put the Spanish to the sword, and occupied the Iberian Peninsula for 781 years. Osama bin Ladens writings indicate he is still angry about the Muslim loss of Spain in 1492 a.d.)
In the wake of the 3/11 train attacks, Spain’s new socialist leader is demoralizing Spain’s 1,300 troops in the field by declaring their mission is part of a “disaster and a mistake.” This is reminiscent of the latter half of the Vietnam War when some of us were still carrying out our orders in Vietnam while the anti-war crowd at home was pulling the rug out from under us.
Mark my words that even the Saddam-loving French will be attacked by al Qaeda someday. Some Frenchmen think a show of anti-Semitism will protect them from Islamic attack. But as long as France is even nominally a Christian nation, it is marked for conversion to Islam, or destruction. I say France is only nominally Christian because the French won’t allow their movie theatres to show “The Passion of the Christ.” History suggests the French would rather convert than fight.
In addition to reading For Whom the Bell Tolls, my only other claim to any knowledge of Spain involved some stopovers at Torrejon Air Base outside Madrid, an overnight in Barcelona (where we were robbed) and a cruise down the eastern Iberian coast where we saw enough castles to centerpiece about a dozen Disney Lands. Oh. Did I mention we were robbed in Barcelona?
Thanks to Spain’s pre-3/11 support for the War on Terror and the toppling of Saddam Hussein, I was just about to forget my post-robbery pledge to never spend another Peseta in Spain. But now that the Spanish voters have waved their white flags (abundantly available in neighboring France), Spain isn’t likely to see Wonder Wife and yours truly helping their tourist economy. The same goes for Mexico. Recently when a Mexican crowd booed the U.S. Soccer Team by chanting “Osama,” Osama,” “Osama,” that ended what little desire we had to spend any money in Mexico.
The lesson just learned by al Qaeda is this: Rain pain on Spain and you can make elections go your way. So, one must wonder if the Madrid attacks of 3/11 were a test by al Qaeda to see if a similar attack on the Washington D.C. Metro system could topple President Bush on November 2, 2004?
William Hamilton, a nationally syndicated columnist and featured commentator for USA Today, is the co-author of The Grand Conspiracy and The Panama Conspiracy – novels about terrorist attacks on Colorado’s water supply and on the Panama Canal, respectively.
©2004. William Hamilton.