Friday, March 19, 2004

Foiled By the Internet

There has been a rush of politicians and pundits trying put their own stamp on the recent Spanish elections. Most of them find themselves unable to resist one last opportunity to use their tired (and ridiculous) analogy of Saddam Hussein as Hitler and "old Europe" (and now Spain) as Neville Chamberlain. But like most conservative sloganeering, these claims were catchy and spread quickly. However, in my online discussions, while I found these "appeasment" claims widespread initially, they rapidly collapsed under the unstoppable destructive power of actual Spanish people, who, it seems, also use the internet. Imagine, manufactured spin having, for once, to compete with actual reality. It was really quite enjoyable to see. So I thought, for fun, I would have a side-by-side comparison of some of the things said by American politicians and pundits versus comments made by a number of actual Spanish people on a couple of forums I visit.

"There is no neutral ground -- no neutral ground -- in the fight between civilization and terror, because there is no neutral ground between good and evil, freedom and slavery, and life and death.

"No concession will appease their hatred. No accommodation will satisfy their endless demands."

--Pres. George W. Bush

"Thanks, but the fact that we had a tragedy hasn't clouded my judgement, thanks anyway. What I think about Aznar I've been thinking it for the last 6 years. This has done nothing but re-afirm me in my beliefs."
--Actual Spanish Person

"[Spaniards] chose to change their government and to, in a sense, appease terrorists."
--Rep. Dennis Haster, Speaker of the House of Representatives

"The votes against them were mainly because they lied about who made the bombings, it appears that they knew a few hours after the bombings that it hadn't been done by ETA and they hide that fact for political reasons only."
--Actual Spanish Person

"As you look back through history, and you look at situations that required people to stand up for principle, to stand up and lead and be counted against various threats, appeasement just hasn't worked.."
--Gen. Richard Myers

"The Elections' results would vary a lot depending on the terrorists involved. Many people in Spain was against going to war with Iraq; joining the alliance with USA and UK was a government's decission, it wasn't shared by most of the democratic parties. On the other hand, if ETA is behind this, spanish would vote Aznar's succesor."
--Actual Spanish Person (before the election)

"People are not always strong. Sometimes they indulge false hopes that by lying low, truckling, appeasing, they can avoid danger and strife ... And this is what seems to have happened in Spain."
--David Frum

"We have been fighting against terrorism for more than 20 years, inside the national and international laws. US for 2 years. We have lost more than 250 in "your" war against islamic terrorism. The american citizens lost against against ETA is zero. We have jailed a lot of islamic terrorist, while none of the groups that support ETA in some states like Iowa is in jail... . Maybe you have to read more about history to understand it. For other side, the french has helped us invaluable last 10 years against ETA"
--Actual Spanish Person

"I call on Prime Minister Zapatero to reconsider his decision and to send a message that terrorists cannot win by their acts of terror,"
--Sen. John Kerry

"If we started to talk about USA not helping us, [it] is because some guys started to call us cowards because we retire from IRAK, but all you must have in mind that 80% of Spanish ppl didn't want the war as we don't see the ties betwen IRAK and muslims terrorist and we saw that war more like an economy fact and the attempt to control the petrol production. Also all the lies about massive attack weapons don't help a lot to believe on Bush, Blair or Aznar (and i have [voted for] Aznar twice, but not last time)."
--Actual Spanish Person

"This is beyond appeasement. This is decadence: Terror rages and we tend our garden."
--Charles Krauthammer

"I understand the upset in some of you, fellows, but the main reasons of these elections are internals, and not by the fear of the bombs (we were receiving attacks of the terrorist long before you thought it was a problem)."
--Actual Spanish Person

"In other words, will Madrid be remembered as Pearl Harbor or as Munich? For now the response of too many Spanish voters looks more like Munich."
--Sen. Joe Lieberman

"We have been fighting against terrorism since 1978. We have used the force, we have negociated. We tried to solve the problem without surrending, even when the rest of the world called them 'freedom fighters'. The US has only help us when they saw the problem at home."
--Actual Spanish Person

"The voices of appeasement are being heard in Europe."
--Rep. Henry Hyde

"The main reason. The [disinformation]. In Spain the public tv channels (and radio) are very important, and their actuation has been horrible. The popular members forced all the situation (media, institutional speeches, embassadors) to blame ETA, even the proofs that point AlQuaida. When the people knows it (internet and cellulars), there was a lot of Anger. We felt like the government was cheating us. And doing this the day before the elections is not a very smart move, when more than 25% of people haven't decide to vote until these day. Personally. I had decided to vote PP, but the way they tried to cheat me, I voted in blank. I change my vote not the thursday, but the sunday morning."
--Actual Spanish Person

"Nonetheless, it was still the cowardly alternative. And today Spain has chosen it -- having suffered not Europe's 20 million dead of World War I but 200 dead in the Madrid bombings."
--Charles Krauthammer

"Trust me, guys, it's not Al Qaeda who's made the Socialist Party win the elections, but Aznar's own arrogance, stupidity and Franco-like usage of public television."
--Actual Spanish Person

"the trend in Europe is now either appeasement of terror or active alliance with it."
--Andrew Sullivan

"As far as I am concerned...of course I'd like to see legal actions being taken against [Al-Qaeda]. But I don't think that us being [in Iraq] does any damage to [Al-Qaeda], and for once -which hasn't happened for the last 8 years- I'd like to see the government do what the entire population demanded from them, same population that put them up there."
--Actual Spanish Person

And the final word:

Today, in a local newspaper, there was an article where the author said: "To those that are coming: Remember, without our votes, you?re nobody".

This is what Aznar and his party forgot. This is why they lost the elections.

--Actual Spanish Person

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