David Brooks put together another beauty yesterday. The right is all up in arms over the people of Spain appeasing al Qaeda and turning Madrid into Munich. It's 1938 and Osama is Hitler. Spaniards gave into al Qaeda when they elected the man who made fighting terrorism a central piece of his platform. Spaniards gave into al Qaeda's demands when they ousted a liar whom they no longer trusted to protect them or to represent their will to the world. Confused yet?
See to Brooks and Kagan, fighting terrorism and Mr. Bush's War are one and the same. Brooks: "The terrorists sought [Aznar's ouster] because they understand, even if many in Europe do not, that Iraq is a crucial battleground in the war on terror." Kagan: "Responsible heads in Europe must understand that anything that smacks of retreat in the aftermath of this latest attack could raise the likelihood of further attacks. Al Qaeda's list of demands doesn't end with Iraq."
To me and many, many other people (including the majority of Spaniards) the fisaco in Iraq and destroying al Qaeda are two different fights. They require different personnel, tactics and arms. Mr. Bush's War has made it harder for the US to fight terrrorism. It has also made it harder for us to engage our allies in this fight. Spaniards seem to have felt that Aznar's approach to combating terrorism was tragically ineffective. So they want to give someone else a chance.
For many on the right, toppling Saddam was step one in the great dream of reforming the middle east. 9/11 provided a nice way to prod Americans into supporting this dream. It was sold to us that toppling Saddam would be a great blow against al Qaeda. Many people thought this line of thinking was bullshit. The point was not that Saddam should have been allowed a free pass, but that we should have dealt with al Qaeda and its offshoots exclusively first. Brooks, et al. took great pains to obscure the lines between Saddam and terrorism. They twisted language and logic in their writing to such an extent that they no longer know what is al Qaeda and what is Iraq. It is all, the enemy. It is all Hitler, it is always 1938 and we are always in Munich. Can they see reality in their own heads? I don't know; but that they are so detatched from the world in their public musings is a danger to our national security. It is imperative that we vote out this administration that tracks so closely such specious reasoning.