message from Madrid

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Mar 19th, 2004, 08:59 AM
  #1
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message from Madrid

<hi
<Just wanted to let everyone know that Madrid is fine to visit. We have been here since yesterday and although the city is somber, it is still wonderful to visit. Will have full report when we return. Thank you everyone for your help, especially Maribel.
jparis is offline  
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Mar 19th, 2004, 10:39 AM
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Thank you for keeping us informed.

I've been following this closely and the spirit of the Spanish people is remarkable. I was thrilled when I read on the first page of the Seattle Times yesterday:

"Spain's new leader labels Iraq `a fiasco,' gives backing to Kerry" !!!

Yet another reason I love Spain...(as if I needed another one!)

I hope you continue to have a great trip...I'm already planning another one!

Te quiero espana!
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Mar 19th, 2004, 11:46 AM
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Agreed, artlover. That is yet another of many reasons to love Spain.
Lo quiero Espana mas que tu.
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Mar 19th, 2004, 01:50 PM
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""Spain's new leader labels Iraq `a fiasco,' gives backing to Kerry" !!!

Yet another reason I love Spain...(as if I needed another one!)"

Yet another reason to avoid Spain. Who cares what the ruler of some minor European country thinks. Anyone who thinks that that getting rid of possibly the world's most vicious tyrants and attempting to bring democracy to a region of the world ruled by tinpot despots is a bad idea has no grasp on the real issues in the world.

I must say, however, that his support for Kerry is great. Everytime a foreign government expresses support for Kerry, it drives more voters to Bush. American don't like being told what to do by foreigners.
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Mar 19th, 2004, 02:09 PM
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platzer, could not agree more. Just what we need, another Kennedy bleeding heart in Washington
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Mar 19th, 2004, 02:14 PM
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Platzer:

I'm not sure I'd put it your way.

But every single thing that's happened in Spain in past week - from its Government's hysterical obsession that the bomb was ETA's, to Zapata's pointless withdrawl of troops - has been a loud shout to Al Queda "Come and bomb some more cities".

The people of London, Paris (yes, Paris) and Rome are under far greater threat now than they were before the Spanish people crumbled.

But what else do you expect from just about the EU's most immature democracy?

Americans who call for troop withdrawal (theirs or anyone else's) might just ponder that the one thing that certainly encourages terrorists is the discovery that they're having an effect.

When hundreds die in London, it's the Spanish I'll blame. And their naive American supporters.
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Mar 19th, 2004, 02:29 PM
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Re: the one thing that certainly encourages terrorists is the discovery that they're having an effect

Can't argue with that.
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Mar 19th, 2004, 03:00 PM
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It has been reported in Spanish media but few people outside of Spain know that a member of the socialist government in Cataluyna (Barcelona) had secretly met with the ETA terrorists at their HQ in France to strike a deal so that bomb carrying terrorists would by-pass that spanish province in the future. And only 10 days before the Madrid bombing spanish police stopped an ETA vehicle in northern Spain headed to Madrid with 1000 lbs. of dynamite!
Looks to me that the majority (but not all!) of spanish voters have capitulated following the Madrid bombing.
But I think at least for the near future Spain and foreign tourists there will be very safe from terrorism.
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Mar 19th, 2004, 04:04 PM
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platzer -
"getting rid of possibly the world's most vicious tyrants"
... who were of course kept in power for years by the US - remember who the US supported with armaments, etc, during the Iraq-Iran war? Not to mention the many despicable regimes propped up over the years in your own Central American backyard.
As for Americans not liking being told what do to by foreigners - well, hey - the feeling's mutual. Double standards, methinks, all around.
And as for the Spanish people - good on 'em.
Now if you guys could just get rid of Baby Bush and his very unsavoury henchmen (Rumsfeld and Cheney spring to mind) you would be doing us all a big favour. Not that I envy Kerry (if he wins) the task of attempting to clear up the mess Dubya has made.
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Mar 19th, 2004, 05:33 PM
  #10
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artlover, what part of the "fiasco" are you thrilled about? The dead Americans, the dead Iraquis, the continuing brutality against innocent men, women and children. The recent killings of civillian volunteers trying to help people build a new and better life.
alice 12-we kept them in power, we took em out of power. We made up for our mistake. Rejoice and be glad.
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Mar 19th, 2004, 07:09 PM
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re: platzer's "Americans don't like being told what to do by foreigners."
Perhaps, but we certainly like telling them what to do. Puede decir "hyprocrisy" ? (Can you say hypocrisy?"
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Mar 19th, 2004, 07:28 PM
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All you guys should take this discussion to some other forum. Outside of the first 1 or 2 msgs the rest don't belong here.....
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Mar 19th, 2004, 08:39 PM
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"When hundreds die in London, it's the Spanish I'll blame. And their naive American supporters." ,wrote flanneruk.

Hmm.

Not that I think assigning blame to anyone other than the actual perpetrators accomplishes much of anything...

but...

If I were a Briton, and god forbid a horrible al-Qaeda attack occurred, I would hope to be clear-minded enough to first undertake a long, hard review of my very own PM/governments' stance and actions before placing blame on other countries.

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Mar 19th, 2004, 11:26 PM
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With apologies to Fodors, who'd no doubt prefer we keep to the topic of travel, and to jparis (thank you for the update):

Removal of Spanish troops from Iraq was always central to PSOE's platform. It had nothing at all to do with the 11 March bombings. The majority of Spaniards feel (and always have) that an invasion and occupation of Iraq without a UN mandate runs counter to the goal of combatting terrorism, if only because it used up finite resources and hindered the coalition countries in acting quickly and effectively to break up and neutralise Al Qaeda and to respond to new and newly-realised threats. This has nothing to do with "appeasing" terrorists, and everything to do with understanding that terrorism MUST be dealt with effectively and decisively, and that this past year's adventures in Iraq have contributed nothing toward reaching that goal, and possibly have detracted from it.

No one is telling Al Qaeda to "come and bomb more cities". Al Qaeda doesn't need an invitation; as they have already demonstrated before 11 March, they will threaten anti-Iraq-war France as happily as pro-Iraq-war Britain, if it suits their purposes and if they have the opportunity. No one in Spain (or the UK or Poland or Italy) thinks that withdrawing troops from Iraq will keep their country safe. They think it will allow them to address more effectively the real and immediate problem of Islamist terrorism - which Zapatero has already said is his government's primary concern.

As for Al Qaeda influencing the Spanish elections - PP has been losing popularity in Spain for a long time, not just because of its stance on Iraq, but because of various domestic issues. Pre-election polls showed PP ahead of PSOE by about 4%. (Believe it or not, polls have been wrong in the past - such as the ones that predicted Gore the winner of the 2000 US elections, or Dean as the shoe-in for Democratic candidate in the US elections of 2004.) Many Spaniards believed, before 11 March and despite the polls, that PSOE would have a decent showing in the election, albeit not as good as that of the incumbents, PP.

The increase in eligible voters who actually turned up at the polls this time is more than 7% + higher than in the last national election. Every European media outlet has reported stories of those who said they did not plan to vote, but the terrorist attacks and the PP response to them changed their minds. Assuming most of this 7%+ showed up to vote PP out of office, they more than carried the balance between victory and defeat for the party. (For the most part, those who had already planned to vote said the bombings had not impacted their choice of party.) Unless you believe the perpetrators of the bombings are pro-democracy terrorists, how can this be considered "giving in to their demands"?

If you check the regional election results closely, you will see that PP did not (for the most part) lose votes or seats directly to PSOE, but rather lost its majority by ceding seats to regional - some of which (especially in Catalunya and Pais Vasco) was a direct result of the PP's apparently unsupported scapegoating of Eta between the bombings and the election. This left PSOE with a win over PP, but neither party with a majority. It will be much easier for PSOE to form an effective colaition with one or more minority parties than it would have been for PP - as every credible party in Spain EXCEPT for PP opposed the non-UN-sanctioned war in Iraq from the beginning.

In sum, it's pretty clear that Spain voted to deal more immediately and effectively with terrorism, rather than to appease it. If Fox News and SkyTV tell you otherwise, perhaps it's time to learn to be more critical of your sources and to analyse what stake they may have in the matter - and even consider (eek!) whether this position might possibly be more prevelant in the US and the UK than these tabloidesque media sources like to admit.

Travelerone - the Eta truce with Catalunya was widely reported in the European press, including the English-language press in Britain and Ireland.
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Mar 20th, 2004, 06:06 AM
  #15
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Thank you, Kasja, for your incisive and comprehensive analysis. I hope voters in the U.S. will oust Bush for the same reasons -- his deception in telling us that Iraq had WMD and his continuing waste of billions of dollars and human lives on a war in Iraq that has accomplished nothing when instead he should have been focusing on alliances with other countries to stop terrorism.
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Mar 20th, 2004, 06:22 AM
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Kasja, that was a very informative and insightful post, so thanks! However, the thread's political tone now puts it as risk of being deleted by the Fodors editors

Hopefully they will take the less extreme option and simply "close" the post to more replies, as they have done on other occasions.
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