Friday, March 11, 2005

11-M

Our man here in Spain, Barcepundit, honors the victims of the 11-M attacks.

He also cites this report from the AP:

"In the year since 10 dynamite-filled backpacks exploded on Madrid commuter trains, Spaniards have shifted some blame away from the Iraq war and onto themselves.

"Immediately after the March 11 massacre, most Spaniards saw the attack as al-Qaida's revenge for sending Spanish troops to Iraq. Today there's a realization al-Qaida's footprint in Spain is much older and deeper: the country had long been a haven or transit point for Islamic militants."

Meanwhile, the New York Times examines the political infighting that has erupted between the socialists and the conservatives over Spain's proper response to Islamic terror. One thing I was not aware of was this:

"The most recent sign of the split is the refusal of the opposition to endorse a series of parliamentary findings about how the March 11 bombing happened and how to prevent future attacks. The parliamentary commission was to deliver its preliminary findings today but without that crucial endorsement.

"While the Sept. 11 commission in the United States was bipartisan, Spain's version was dominated by the Socialists and rapidly dissolved into a forum for political grandstanding and attacks." [my emphasis]

This is rather unfortunate. America's 9/11 commission was certainly not without its flaws but its findings and recommendations were welcomed by both parties and the entire public. Their report is a best-seller and a treasure-trove of information on al Qaeda terrorism, intelligence, and homeland security issues. In the case of Spain, it looks as if both sides are to blame for this unnecessary impasse. I'm sorry but this is pretty pathetic. A country's national security is at stake at the two parties cannot even agree on the government's terror report. What's even more worrying is the drivel coming out of the Madrid "anti-terror" conference. Weakness in the face of this threat is uncalled for.

There's a reason why U.S.-Spanish relations are reduced to: "Hola. ¿Qué tal, amigo?"

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