Terrorists Winning in Spain

YahooNews /AP:Polls Show Spain Incumbents Losing Seats

Voters punished Spain’s ruling party in elections Sunday, with many saying they were shaken by bombings in Madrid and furious with the government for backing the Iraq war and making their country a target for al-Qaida.

Exit polls showed the governing Popular Party losing a large number of parliamentary seats, opening the way for a possible victory by the opposition Socialists. Voter turnout was strong, Spain’s electoral commission said, reported two hours before polls closed as being 7.5 percent higher than four years ago.

Many voters said Thursday’s bombings, which killed 200 people and wounded 1,500, was a decisive factor, along with the government’s much-criticized handling of the initial investigation.

“The Popular Party has made me lose faith in politics,” said Juan Rigola, 23, a biologist in Barcelona. “It deserves to lose and to see the Spanish people turn against them.”

So, they vote for the party that the terrorists prefer. Excellent move.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Hoo boy…

    So, the message is: “terrorism WORKS.” Now, the Islamofascists will think perhaps enough terrorist attacks here will help get Kerry elected.

    This Autumn might not be pretty.

  2. Berry De Mussenwurger says:

    Or might it be that the Spanish think that the War Against Iraq does not equal the War Against Terrorism? Clearly having free speech and a provisional democracy in Iraq _the way it has been implemented_ by USA-UK-Spain-Poland does not guarantee homeland security for all concerned.

    So the message might be: “Fight terrorism hard, but the way it SHOULD, and not the way it HAPPENED in Iraq.”

  3. DANEgerus says:

    Lesson learned… 311 was a cataclysmic defeat in the war on terror… and as JFKerry(D) says that war doesn’t exist he is in fact recruiting Al Qaeda to support him with bombings in October.

    When Americans die on buses in October, thank the Spanish Socialists, the newsmedia and JFKerry(D).

  4. Mithras says:

    When Americans die on buses in October, thank the Spanish Socialists, the newsmedia and JFKerry(D).

    Well, that was fast. I expected more time before the “Dolchstoß” argument was used.

  5. akim says:

    I wonder what will happen to Blair if something like this occurs in UK. Remember – his siding with Bush on Iraq was not exactly a decision that would have passed on a referendum there.

    Same story in Spain.

    American voters react exactly the same way when their gov gets into something they didn’t ask for.

  6. mark says:

    I honestly do not think that a Tory government in Britian would behave any differently than Blair’s government.

    What I worry about is attacks here around election time. If the terrorists can be led to think they can affect an election by killing innocents, then we as a people need to begin watching out, since our leader is their number one enemy.

  7. Mithras says:

    While it’s understandable to be concerned about attacks on the US and Britain, keep in mind that Spain presented a unique target. About 95% of its population opposed Spanish involvement in the invasion of Iraq, so Aznar was particularly vulnerable. As mark said, the Tories would not be less militant than Blair has been. Neither would the Democrats. If anything, pre-election attacks in the United States or Britain would guarantee post-election military action, whoever won.

    I would be more worried about this seemingly lull in the tempo of attacks in Iraq. If I were al Qaeda, I would be regrouping and training to develop new tactics.

  8. Jim Henley says:

    90% of Spaniards opposed joining the Iraqi War in the first place. Aznar was simply a fool to take his country to war under those circumstances, precisely because things like this can happen. (Do you imagine that, before the war, Aznar warned his countrymen that “Joining this conflict may make us targets in a way we would not otherwise be. We must be prepared for the worst, and here is why we must go regardless . . . “? Me neither.) And the message of the election is clouded by another factor – apparently a lot of voters suspected the Government of deliberately spreading disinformation with its early “ETA Did It” announcements.

    It’s amazing, given Spanish hostility to Aznar’s war policy, that the election was even close. This probably means that a) socialism is actually deeply unappealing to much of the electorate, and b) industrial countries tend not to sweat seemingly low-cost wars. But there’s no guarantee that wars will remain low-cost, which is why you just don’t do what Aznar did. There IS a cost in “resolve-showing” here, but what it really means is that “the Coalition” would have been better off had Spain not joined in the first place.

  9. Paul says:

    I’ll type this today so I can link it later and look like sage.

    Bush has a problem. If the terrorists try this here, (and we get wind of it) he will have to raise the security level right before the election. The Dems will politicize it, claiming he is raising the threat level to win the election. Bush is damned either way.

    Ain’t we got fun.

  10. Alex Knapp says:

    A lot of the stories I’ve read indicate that a lot of people were angry at the fact that the Spanish government seemed to be blaming the ETA rather than al-Qaeda for political reasons, rather than some kind of appeasement.

  11. jennetic says:

    1. If the USA were would be handily re-elected and more bombs will be dropped. In fact, I am waiting to see the next spurt of polls on Bush’s popularity right now. I suspect that the polls would have more people voting for him, compared with a week or a month ago- but of course this is just speculation. I am really curious to see how 3/11 affects politics in the US.

    2. Many Spanish polls had the PP comfortably ahead before 3/11. I don’t think you can reasonably state that 3/11 didn’t fundamentally affect the elections, and that by all normal appearances the bombings influenced the population to vote against the PP. Thus, a BIG change occurred due to the terrorist actions, in this case in favor of the terrorists (or at least against the party that was actively fighting the terrorists). This is a bad message, and one which will likely have quite negative effects.

  12. Flint says:

    I’m not sure if you really tried to get any information before writing things like these. Things in Spain have been going worse in the last four years. The Popular Party got an absolute majority in 2000 which led them into doing anything they wanted without listening to the Spanish society, which didn’t want to enter the war in Irak, didn’t want oil boats to sink in their coasts and didn’t want politicians in the government which tried to lie to hide their mistakes. Just that simple. We Spaniards DO NOT HAVE FEAR. At least, not at terrorism, after 30 years suffering it from ETA (did someone ever show any interest about that?).