Spain: Osama bin Laden wins an election
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington gave a good description of what caused Spain’s voters to throw out the government of Jose Maria Aznar. It was, he said, “a rapid deflation of courage” among the voters.
Since Aznar’s Popular Party had been expected to win, it can safely be assumed that the election was altered by last week’s terrorist attack in which nearly 200 Spaniards were killed on exploding railroad cars at Madrid.
The attack has been linked to al-Qaida, the terrorist network that was responsible for the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Presumably, Spain was marked because it is a U.S. ally, a member of the coalition that attacked Iraq. Spanish voters apparently blame Aznar for making Spain a target for terrorist attacks.
If frightened Spaniards were influenced by the strikes, the real winner of the election was not Aznar’s opponent, a Socialist party led by Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. The real winner was Osama bin Laden.
And the real losers were not members of Aznar’s party but people all over the world who now may be subject to attack for standing up against terrorism.
This is a horrible precedent. Al-Qaida apparently has, for the first time, caused a change in the government of a free country. Having one notch in its gunhandle, it is bound to go for more.
The best way to deal with terrorism is never to give in to it. As long as terrorists know they can gain something by killing, they will never stop killing.
Rodriguez Zapatero said that his first objective will be to fight terrorism. But words are cheap. He has also said that he will bring home the 1,300 soldiers that Spain sent to Iraq.
Don’t be surprised to see al-Qaida try again to influence his government — and the governments of other European countries. Deflation of courage is not confined to Spain.
Published in Editorials on March 18, 2004 11:55 AM