Six days after the Madrid bombings left 202 dead and more than 1,400 wounded, a terrorist group linked to al-Qaida declared that Spain will temporarily not be attacked again due to the recent change of government and the declaration of the new Socialist president to withdraw Spanish troops from Iraq. In other words, a pardon for good behavior.
In the March 15 edition of a leading Spanish newspaper, El Mundo, columnist Gabriel Albiac wrote: "The elections were won by the undignified option of surrender. An enemy a thousand times more dangerous than the Nazis, because their leader is God and God has no limits, received the votes of some Spaniards yesterday. To surrender is to be dead. Al-Qaida won. Goodbye, Spain." Albiac's strong statement should cause many Spaniards to bow their heads in shame.
Immediately after his blood-spattered victory, the novice prime minister, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, declared that Spain would withdraw its troops from Iraq. Zapatero has since stated that Spain will "initiate" a new world order and regroup with France and Germany. Osama bin Laden is laughing at Zapatero.
Zapatero has expressed continual support for Sen. John Kerry, and his future Minister of Defense, Jose Bono, was publicly heard referring to Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain with a term that is not fit to print. It is evident that Zapatero and his Socialist sect are amateurs in the international political arena, where extreme discretion is a virtue.
Spain's traditional national celebration is the corrida de toros, or bullfight, which takes place during all significant city and town fairs. The bullfighter's dream is to confront a toro bravo, or brave bull. The opposite is the manso, or cowardly bull, which is extremely dangerous due to unpredictable and treasonous charges that not only do not promote the creation of art but, as Ernest Hemingway illustrated, can end in tragedy and "Death in the Afternoon."
I firmly believe that the majority of Spaniards are a courageous and dignified people. However, the bull that is symbolic of Zapatero will determine the future, the dignity and, as Albiac stated, the life or death of the Spanish nation and its position within the Western world.
A native of Cincinnati and a graduate of the University of Cincinnati, William V. Masterson Jr. has lived in Spain since 1968. He is vice president of an international consulting firm, and has written many articles for Spanish-language business publications.
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