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October 20, 2004
Guardian Criticizes Me For Criticizing Spain

It's not often that an American blogger finds himself mentioned in the foreign press, but yesterday the Guardian's (UK) blogger Simon Jeffery took me to task for criticizing Spain. In my post yesterday, I noted that Spain had captured seven Islamist terrorists planning a major operation in Andalusia, demonstrating that their precipitous withdrawal from Iraq did nothing to improve their security. Appeasement should have been discredited six decades ago, I argued, and Jeffery decided that them's fightin' words, by golly:

Taking the temperature of the more right wing blogs, you cannot help but wonder if they were rather the US was fighting its war on terror against France or Spain. The foiling this week of a suspected bomb plot in Madrid led to another round of anti-Spanish outbursts. "Perhaps the Spanish electorate will understand now that appeasing terrorists only leads to more terrorism, a lesson that Europeans learned the hard way 60 years ago," writes Captain Ed on Captain's Quarters. "Maybe this will wake the Spaniards to the dangers of withdrawal and appeasement."

If that's what it takes for Jeffery to declare a hot war between America and Spain, then the Guardian's editorial policy must indicate a state of nuclear war between Britain and the US. Having this moderate criticism extrapolated to the level of armed conflict with our weak-kneed Spanish "ally" has to be the silliest notion I've seen printed in the British press -- although I don't read the Sun often enough, it's true.

Even more silly is Jeffery's equating CQ with Slate on the political spectrum, which is where the French reference originates:

What riles is the policy shift instead of the country but the same cannot be said for France, it just riles on its own. In this context John Kerry's French relatives and command of the spoken language are something of a rallying point for Republicans - a "Barneycam" at the party's New York convention showed the president's dog in debate with a beret-wearing poodle sock puppet. There is therefore some surprise that the senator dared to speak French to Haitians in Florida. "Let's see: Your opponent is characterising you as an effete internationalist willing to 'turn America's national security decisions over to international bodies or leaders of other countries'," observes Chris Suellentrop at Slate. "In particular, he suggests, in all seriousness, that you want to call up Jacques Chirac for permission before deploying the military [] How should you defend yourself against these slanders? By speaking French on the stump, of course."

I met Chris Suellentrop (nice guy, by the way) and enjoy his writing, but if you told him that he and I represent the same point on the political spectrum, I suspect he'd laugh as hard as I did. Again, Jeffery not only confuses criticism with armed assault -- an odd position for a newspaper to take -- but demonstrates a cluelessness on American politics that is so complete as to question why the Guardian allows him access to a computer terminal.

And if you read this, Simon, I'm criticizing you, not assaulting you. You can get out from under your desk now.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at October 20, 2004 7:11 AM

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