Juan Sanchez of Reason Magazine asks who really might be giving encouragement to the terrorists:
The electoral motives that led to this result are ambiguous and complex. So why have so many been quick to cry “appeasement”? Appeasement, after all, is largely a matter of perception: What really matters, in terms of encouraging or discouraging future attacks, is not so much whether Spanish voters were trying to appease terrorists, but whether the terrorists themselves perceive the result that way. By insisting that the election results constituted capitulation to terror, the hand-wringers are perversely, irresponsibly bringing about the very result they pretend to decry. Why?
Among the more naive, this rush to judgment may simply be impelled by the smug sense of moral superiority it affords. But this is not the only possible motive. David Frum tips his hand when he writes that “the voters of Spain have indelibly associated the anti-Iraq position with one motive above all: fear,” and goes on to suggest—one might say hope—that a vote for John Kerry will also come to be seen as cowardly capitulation to terror, as appeasing Al Qaeda. It is hard to suppress the suspicion that much of the criticism of Spaniards we’re now seeing is ultimately, if indirectly, about the U.S. election. Fail to support Bush, whispers the subtext of these critiques, and you might as well be some sort of Spaniard.
I’ll take that as a compliment.