Tuesday, March 16, 2004

The pain in Spain stayed mainly on the train . . . .

(oh, come on, you were all trying to come up with a play on that line - every journalist in America itching to use something along those lines . . . .)

But what's next? Maybe nothing, now that they're new leadership has sworn to remove Spain from Iraq an no longer support Bush's bad policies.

In today's column, Jim Pinkerton addresses the neocon response to Spain's move - what was one day "we're all spainiards" quickly became "you're soft on terror."

He cites the troublesome fact that Saddam had nothing to do with this incident. So if he didn't, who did? Are we safer now? I don't recall us hanging any Spanish flypaper. So what happens now?

It seems that someone else, a group of someones, has decided to get all preemptive themselves. They don't seem to be Iraqi, but they are defending - at least in their minds - Iraq and other Arab countries from western destruction. So why is their preemption worse than ours? Because there was no warning? Because there were no uniforms?

Certainly there is no moral superiority, or even equality, in randomly targeting noncombatants. But to step, Scout-like, into someone else's shoes: is it really that hard to understand their motives? To understand isn't to condone, or even to tolerate, but it is the first step to unraveling this mess.

It's not hard to turn this into a screen play. David/Goliath stories always sell. The we-can-do-it,we-can-save-Christmas, we'll just have a dance in the old barn, schtick - that's been moving people since, well, forever. It's kind of hard, though, to turn us - the US or the coalition of the still-sorta-begrudgingly-willing - into David in this case.

If Spain is attacked again, it's a victory, sorta, for us. But if they don't - which they probably won't, at least for a good long while - then where do we stand? Alone, it would seem.

So really, though, what's the answer? Are we safer? Are we better off today?

Next up: this has made me think about the "who's in contol of the button" argument, Howard Dean, George Bush, and the Bush Doctrine. More on that in a bit . . . .

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