Did the Terrorists Win in Madrid? German Views

Tuesday, March 16th, 2004

As you all well know, almost-simultaneous bombs set off in several Madrid commuter trains during the morning rush-hour last Thursday killed over 200 people, and wounded many, many more. Then Spanish general elections followed on Sunday; in a result that took many observers by surprise, the Spanish Socialist and Workers’ Party, i.e. the opposition, emerged as the winner, with that party’s leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, posed to take over as prime minister instead of the hand-picked successor (Mariano Rajoy) to José Maria Aznar of the ruling (right-wing) Partido Popular.

Aznar of course had been one of US President George W. Bush’s stoutest allies when it came to the War in Iraq, and 1,300 Spanish troops are still stationed in the Polish sector there. Mounting evidence suggests that last Thursday’s massacres on the rail-lines of Madrid were the work of some sort of Arab-linked terrorist organization; so that the thought has come to not-a-few that Spain was being punished for that support for the US with these attacks, and that the Spanish electorate reacted to them drastically by removing the regime that would bring this sort of punishment down on them.

So: Is Aznar’s loss a victory for terrorists? That question is posed in an on-line article by Kathleen Knox from Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. It is answered in the affirmative in today’s New York Times by regular columnist David Brooks – he asks in his column Al Qaeda’s Wish List “What is the Spanish word for appeasement?”, although he also claims to be resisting the conclusion that “swing Spanish voters are shamefully trying to seek a separate peace in the war on terror.” That’s basically the same answer given by Edward Luttwak, on the very same NYT Op-Ed page, in Rewarding Terror in Spain, which starts out “It must be said: Spanish voters have allowed a small band of terrorists to dictate the outcome of their national elections.” (But the NYT editorial board disagrees.)

But that’s all English-language; you already know about all that. Let’s check what the German press has to say. (more…)

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