War etc

A Voice of Reason

It’s hard not to get dizzy in the blogosphere sometimes with the amount of noisy rubbish bawled from the anti-war left and their mirror images on the Steyn-Sullivan-Phillips right swirling around those of us who reject both extremes.

I am probably as guilty as any other blogger (possible more so) in highlighting the wackier end of debate but I am not going to apologise for doing so. People like George Galloway and Mark Steyn get paid good money (£1700 pounds for each little rant in GG’s case) to print opinion that is supposed to help contribute to serious debate. Both have their groupies and if we amateurs can make our pro gratis contribution to knocking these people down a peg or two, then I don’t see anything wrong with that.

But there is a danger that in focusing on the lunatic fringes of left and right, a rather false impression can be give of what the debates are really about. Again I don’t think this is a huge problem unless you are silly enough only to read blogs.

However I am going to make a renewed effort to be more positive and actually link to sensible and considered arguments, that I happen to agree with.

And a much needed voice of reason on the much-debated Spanish elections comes from Paul Anderson in Tribune, but published on his blog Gauche:

But what does it all mean? Most of the instant comment in the UK on the Socialists’ victory — from left and right — has interpreted the wave of revulsion against the PP as a refusal of Aznar’s support of the Bush administration’s “war on terror”, in particular the deployment of Spanish forces in Iraq.

There is some truth in this: the belief that Aznar’s backing for the US military action in Iraq made Spain a target for Islamist terror appears to have had a big effect on some voters, and the Socialists undoubtedly won support from their promise to withdraw the Spanish contingent from the coalition forces occupying Iraq — a promise repeated by Zapatero (with qualifications) after winning the election.

But to extrapolate from this that the Spanish have collectively decided that the best way of coping with Islamist terror is to withdraw from confrontation — capitulation or considered rejection of a counter-productive US policy depending on your point of view — is utterly ludicrous.

Sunday’s vote was not an endorsement of copping out of opposition to Islamist terror: it was a vote against politicians’ opportunist exploitation of mass murder, a vote for less self-serving rhetoric and more effective action against the mass murderers.

Yes, the Socialists were against the war in Iraq, as were the overwhelming majority of Spanish people. But voters who were anti-war above all else were committed to the PSOE and other left parties long before the train bombings and long before the late swing that pushed them into power. The Socialists owe their victory to people unmoved by their anti-war message but disgusted by the right’s lack of respect for the dead.

If Zapatero is going to retain the suport of those voters, he’s going to have to take as tough a line against terror and terrorists as any other western government leader — though how his “troops out of Iraq” policy can possibly be seen as tough is hard to see.

I think that rather sums things up doesn’t it?