What should Spain do in response?

What’s the best course of action for Spain?

I think that if the new Spanish government says a lot of words but does little, more bombs in Spain will be forthcoming from emboldened terrorists… perhaps next time really the ETA or other group. As an example of such is the USA’s response to the bombing of their warship Cole and the first bombing of the Twin Towers. Both of which were responded to lightly and yet 9/11 still occured.


First of all they should remain in Iraq. They supported the war in the first place, now they have to pay the price. They owe it to the Iraqi people, I mean, what would the consequences be for the Iraqis if suddenly the Coalition withdraws all their troops?
I know I sound pretty harsh here but this is my opinion. On the other hand I do understand perfectly well if they choose to call home their boys and girls, this would after all be a perfectly understandable reaction. But if they should choose to stay, however unlikely that option looks today, then it would greatly honor their nation.

Pay the price for what, exactly?

Spain Shall: [list=a]
[li]Roll over & play dead.[/li][li]Apologise for being Bad Evil Imperialists 'Cause Were European.[/li][li]Say “Hi Opal” & then be ignored by OpalCat.[/li][li]Beg.[/li][li]Convert to Islam at gunpoint.[/li][/list]

“They” being the Spanish electorate? I don’t think they did, you know.

I was wondering what Spain should do to try to prevent this from happening again.

How much power and political will do they have to pursue the group(s) which caused this?

It seems they must do something or else they will be seen as an easy target.


This is a really good question. One of the best ideas for a debate we’ve had around here in a long time.

I’m assuming in my response that Al Qaeda or a closely related group is responsible for the bombing.

Exiting Iraq or staying there is a decision the Spanish people should feel free to make. I see no reason to say they must stay in Iraq. But Spain needs to take some **active ** steps to affirm its position on terror-- that it will not negotiate with terrorists and will not be intimidated. One way to do this (and I’m sure there are many others) would be to redeploy the troops in Iraq to Afghanistan. Perhaps even stepping up its troop involvement in that country.

Spain should do what every parent faced with bad behavior from a child does: nothing. Or at least very little.

Spain should take steps to plug any obvious holes in security without recreating the Inquisition and then get back to daily life. The police should continue to look for co-conspirators and keep an eye out for new cells and the like. The people should ride the trains.

When a toddler throws a fit, it would be height of stupidity for the parent to either give in or to punish the child in such a way that ends up punishing the parent more than the child. An example we in the US are currently experiencing is a significant loss of freedom in exchange for an indeterminant (likely very small) increase in safety.

Acknowledge the hit, take steps to punish the wrondoers, and make damn sure that you get on with business as usual in such a way as to point out the fact that no attack will change your way of life. If this means suffering additional attacks, then so be it.

Spain is being unfairly accused of appeasement in the present situation when their reaction is quite understandable. To me, voting the ruling party out office after this latest attack is not at all different than firing the babysitter after having had to deal with a late night tantrum caused by too much mountain dew given to one’s child by the sitter in direct contravention of the parents instructions. Or maybe the soft drink is not the issue but rather the sitter’s suggestion that it was a sibling who provided the soft drink when the sitter knew it was s/he.

In either case it is reasonable to take action against the sitter. What would not be reasonable is keeping the sitter around just to avoid the appearance of appeasing the misbehaving child by punishing the sitter.

As this analogy is a bit too long as it is, I’ll leave it there.


Your analogy would make sense if children routinely lobbed bombs at their parents and their parent’s neighbors. If your child killed someone, would you “just ignore him”?

Comparing a terrorist to a child throwing a fit in a supermarket is just too much or a stretch.

Blame the US, of course.

Does anybody do anything else?

The main advantage with a democracy is that, if the public for some reason don’t approve with what the representatives is doing, the public have the option to replace them. However, I believe that in some cases democracies also have the responsibility to take the long term effects of their actions into account before shifting to a new path. Just because you have a new government, it does not mean that you could neglect the actions taken by the former. You still have to honor business contracts and agreements between states.
Going to war is a mighty thing to do, and even though it was done in disagreement with 90% of the Spanish people, I do believe that Spain as a country have at least a moral responsibility to clean up its mess. Simple ignoring the acts done by the former government without at least trying to repair the damage is not a very nice thing to do.

This of course goes to every country that initiates a war. Leaving the country sacked and in a state of civil war is not morally accepted.

That said, I also want to make clear that I in no way meant that Spain deserved to get its people blown up, that was not my intention. My apologies if my clumsy way of expressing myself has offended anyone.

As to the op, I have no idea other than not to call home their troops. But I do think that this is significant, not just for Spain but for the whole western hemisphere. A Terrorist can sense the smell blood just as well as you and me.

if i ran spain i would triple my troop commitment to iraq.

then i would take the casualty number and send that many troops to afghanistan (symbolic).

Järnspikar, half my post was removed by the censorship. Who are you? Step forward!

My post was meant for Celyn as well.

John, you fell into the trap I avoided by ending the analogy where I did. Namely, you took the analogy one step too far.

When a child misbehaves, the parents should neither ignore the child nor constrain their behaviors toward the child on the basis of whether the child might think they’ve gotten their way. While not always the case, the parent usually knows what is best for the child and will do so regardless of how it appears to the child.

As I wrote earlier, Spain should “[a]cknowledge the hit, take steps to punish the wrondoers, and make damn sure that you get on with business as usual in such a way as to point out the fact that no attack will change your way of life. If this means suffering additional attacks, then so be it.”

The imperative point here is that Spain should do what its citizens feel is correct in this situation without worrying what Al Quaeda thinks. If sacking the prime minister gets them back their normal lives most efficiently, then so be it. We in the US need to reign in our desire to act like the proverbial mother in law in this tortured analogy and let Spain make its own path.


OK. In re-reading your post, I see that I actually do pretty much agree with what you are saying. Specifically, Spain needs to do what it thinks is best regardless of the wishes of Al Qaeda. My bad.

But I would take issue with your statement that we in the US are experiencing a “significant loss of freedom”. I’d challenge you to demonstrate that many Americans have had **any ** change to their lives whatsoever, other than delays at airports.

press conference x days from now…

[Zapatero] In accordence with the promises of the previous administration we keep our troop deployments in Irak until the 30 June deadline after which we will engage in a total pull out of troops. However this administration is fully committed to the fight against terrorism. Therefore we will increase our current contribution in Afghanistan, this contribution will mostly consist of troops that have previously been used for other activites. We will also strenghten police and intelligence cooperation with… [/Zapatero]

A snub in the face of the bush.

oh well, wet dreams…
But a guess would be. Keep troops until June 30, move out, new gov in Irak, redeploy under UN flag and call them peacekeepers. Oh and take out the cell that bombed madrid. Increase pressure against ETA( police and intelligence coop with france).

How much of a stand against terror is sending Spanish troops to Iraq? I’d make a bet the Socialist Party would have removed the troops if they had won without this bombing.

Also, what ways has Spain combatted terror (international or local) in the past? Has it been effective, and should it be increased/changed?

In the case of 9/11, the United States responded by removing the Taliban from Afghanistan… quite a big thing to do. Does Spain have any resources or will to do something similar, relative to the scale of the 3/11 attack and her power?


Admittedly, this is hard to quantify. But whenever the government takes it upon itself to jail those accused of crimes without allowing them access the courts or even to their attorneys, then I think that all Americans have lost a significant amount of freedom.

Now that I think of it, I’m not sure that its really appropriate to try and quantify loss of freedom in any statistical sense as that is not how we experience freedom. You either have a freedom or you don’t. I used to feel that I was free of the possibility that I could be jailed without recourse to the court system, that I would at least be able to bring a habeus corpus action to get my rights enforced. I might remain in jail as a result of the adjudication, but at least I’d get an opportunity to have my side of the story told. But for a time now, there has been the real possibility (albeit small for most of us) that you could be made to “disappear” for an indeterminate period of time without any recourse whatsoever so long as someone, we don’t know who, labeled you as an illegal combatant.

Again, the likelihood that this loss of freedom might be visited upon any one person is low, but it is a real likelihood all the same and that makes the loss significant in my mind.


No matter how you slice it, no matter how you put it, here’s the reality:

The terrorists have won, Spain has lost.

This is not just appeasment, this is complete and total capitulation. Surrender. They have handed Al-Qaida they’re first real, absolute, undeniable, complete victory. They have shown that terrorism works. Terrorize the people, and they will vote in your favor. And they will pull their infidel soldiers out of the Holyland.

You can never, EVER follow this course of action. Terrorism is just an act of symbolic violence. It’s not strategic or practical. Until you give in.

Thank you Spain…

Please stick to the OP, everyone. The terrorists were successful in changing only a small percentage of the Spanish vote, enough to give the election to the Socialists.

What I would like to know… perhaps there are some Spanish here… what the Spanish should do to respond to this.

I would prefer more action than a UN resolution against violence or something ridiculous like that… what are the chances of more than that?