The latest European terrorist attack - by Barcelone wolves - hit a country that made a conscious choice thirteen years ago to opt for a quiet life. So much for that. One of the psychological changes that has happened since the Madrid bombings of 2004 is that Spaniards and other Europeans now accept, albeit mostly implicitly, that this is less to do with foreign policy, or foreign soldiering, than with domestic matters, such as immigration and multiculturalism.
I'll have more to say on this subject with Tucker Carlson live on Fox News on Friday evening at 8pm Eastern/5pm Pacific. Meanwhile, here is what I wrote about the Madrid attacks in my bestseller America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It. I think most of it holds up. The mourners in the streets marched under placards bearing the single word "Basta" - "Enough". They didn't mean "enough" terrorism, but "enough" with Bush's wars and being a fully participating member of the "coalition of the willing". So the Spaniards caved, folded, walked away - and, as they learned today, for the Islamic supremacists it still wasn't "enough":
If the critical date for Americans in the new century is September 11th 2001, for Continentals it's a day two-and-a-half years later, in March 2004. On the 11th of the month, just before Spain's general election, a series of train bombings in Madrid killed over 200 people. That day, I received a ton of e-mails from American acquaintances along the lines of: "3/11 is Europe's 9/11. Even the French will be in." Friends told me: "The Europeans get it now." Doughty warriors of the blogosphere posted the Spanish flag on their home pages in solidarity with America's loyal allies in the war against terrorism. John Ellis, a Bush cousin and a savvy guy with a smart website, declared: "Every member-state of the EU understands that Madrid is Rome is Berlin is Amsterdam is Paris is London is New York."
On Friday March 12th, hundreds of thousands of Spaniards filled Madrid's streets and stood somberly in a bleak drizzle to mourn their dead. On Sunday, election day, the voters tossed out José María Aznar's sadly misnamed Popular Party, and handed the government to the Socialist Workers' Party. Aznar's party were America's principal Continental allies in Iraq; the Socialist Workers campaigned on a pledge to withdraw Spain's troops from Iraq. Throughout the campaign, polls showed the Popular Party cruising to victory. Then came the bomb.
Having invited people to choose between a strong horse and a weak horse, even Osama bin Laden might have been surprised to see the Spanish opt to make their general election an exercise in mass self-gelding. Within 72 hours of the carnage, voters sent a tough message to the terrorists: "We apologize for catching your eye." Whether or not Madrid is Rome and Berlin and Amsterdam and Paris, it certainly isn't New York.
To be sure, there were all kinds of Kerryesque footnoted nuances to that stark election result. One sympathized with those voters reported to be angry at the government's pathetic insistence, in the face of the emerging evidence, that the bomb attack was the work of Eta, the Basque nationalist terrorists, when it was so obviously the jihad boys. One's sympathy, however, disappeared with their decision to vote for a party committed to disengaging from the war. And no one will remember the footnotes, the qualifications - just the final score: terrorists toppled a European government.
So 3/11 proved not to be a day that will live in infamy. Rather, March 14th seems likely to be the date bequeathed to posterity. That's the true equivalent to 9/11, in the sense of a day that defines a people, a day to be remembered as we remember those grim markers on the road to conflagration through the 1930s, the tactical surrenders that made disaster inevitable. At least in the two and a half years between 9/11 and 3/11, there was always the possibility of Europe stiffening itself. Now America lives with the certainty that it won't, and can't, until it's too late. All those umbrellas in the rain at those demonstrations of defiance proved to be pretty pictures for the cameras, nothing more: The rain in Spain falls mainly on the slain. In the three days between the slaughter and the vote, it was widely reported that the atrocity had been designed to influence the election. In allowing it to do so, the Spanish knowingly made polling day a victory for appeasement and dishonored their own dead...
On September 11th 2001, the American mainland was attacked for the first time since the War of 1812. The perpetrators were foreign – Saudis and Egyptians. Since 9/11, Europe has seen the London Tube bombings, the French riots, Dutch murders of nationalist politicians. The perpetrators are their own citizens – British subjects, citoyens de la république française. That's the difference: America is fighting a foreign war, Eurabia is in the early stages of an undeclared civil war.
Who'll win it? In Linz, Austria, Muslims are demanding that all female teachers, believers or infidels, wear headscarves in class. The Muslim Council of Britain wants Holocaust Day abolished because it focuses "only" on the Nazis' ("alleged") Holocaust of the Jews and not the Israelis' ongoing Holocaust of the Palestinians.
How does the state react? In Seville, King Ferdinand III is no longer patron saint of the annual fiesta because his splendid record in fighting for Spanish independence from the Moors was felt to be insensitive to Muslims. In London, a judge agreed to the removal of Jews and Hindus from a trial jury because the Muslim defendant's counsel argued he couldn't get a fair verdict from them. The Church of England is considering removing St George as the country's patron saint on the grounds that, according to various Anglican clergy, he's too "militaristic" and "offensive to Muslims". They wish to replace him with St Alban, and replace St George's cross on the revamped Union Flag, which would instead show St Alban's cross as a thin yellow streak.
In a few years, as millions of Muslim teenagers are entering its voting booths, some European countries will not be living formally under sharia, but – as much as parts of Nigeria they will have reached an accommodation with their radicalized Islamic compatriots, who like many intolerant types are expert at exploiting the "tolerance" of pluralist societies. In other Continental countries, things are likely to play out in more traditional fashion, though without a significantly different ending.
Madrid and London – along with other events such as the murder of Theo van Gogh - were the opening shots of that European civil war. You can laugh at that if you wish, but the Islamists' most oft stated goal is not infidel withdrawal from Iraq but the re-establishment of a Muslim caliphate living under sharia that extends to Europe. There's a lot to be said for taking these chaps at their word and then seeing whether their behavior comports. Furthermore, given that a lot more of the world lives under sharia than did in the early Seventies, as a political project radical Islam has made some headway, and continues to do so almost every day of the week: early in 2005, some ten per cent of southern Thailand's Buddhist population abandoned their homes – a far bigger disruption than the tsunami, yet all but unreported in the world press. And wherever one's sympathies lie on Islam's multiple battle fronts the fact is the jihad has held out a long time against very tough enemies. If you're not shy about taking on the Israelis and Russians, why wouldn't you fancy your chances against the Belgians and Spaniards?
~excerpted from my book America Alone: The End of the World As We Know It.
One hopes the Spanish people's reaction is different this time, but Europeans seem inclined to accept passively that their nominal "compatriots" will kill a few of them in shops, restaurants, pop concerts every couple of weeks, and that's just the way it is; nothing to be done, or at any rate nothing that progressive, vibrant, diverse, multiculti, passive, enervated social democracies can comfortably do - except adopt a sorrowful tilty-headed pose and this week's hashtag (#JeSuisYourTownHere). Please join me on the television on Friday for more on this, but, if you're a Mark Steyn Club member, especially one of our Spanish members, feel free to log-in and share your thoughts below.