Sunday, September 26, 2004

"FAKE, BUT ACCURATE", Spanish style:
Spain said on Friday it had demanded an explanation from the White House over President George W. Bush's comment that the withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq had emboldened terrorists.

"We have had contact with the White House this morning," Spanish Foreign Minister Miguel Angel Moratinos told a news conference at United Nations headquarters.
Moratinos explanation of the contact is almost surreal, Marx-esque (as in the brothers, not Karl):
Asked whether the White House response amounted to an apology, Moratinos said: "Not an apology but an expression of understanding that they did not intend to give offense or to damage relations with Spain."
(my emphasis)

Which in the patologically lying mind of Moratinos (after his first visit to the State Dept as foreign minister, he tried to spin the real slap in the face of being alone in front of reporters considering it's customary that Powell appears with his guest; he said to the journalists that the conversation with the Secretary of State had gone great, so much that, he said, Powell had asked him to mediate in the Middle East conflict) it means that someone in his staff probably phoned to the White House and probably didn't pass the switchboard operator. "I'm sorry, no one is available to take your call, but I'm sure the President didn't mean any offense; thank you for calling The White House, goodbye", or something like that.

The incident has been all over the Spanish media, as if it had been a grave offense to Zapatero and the Spanish, during Bush's press conference with Iraq's Prime Minister Allawi in the Rose Garden. But I saw that live and it was a relatively minor comment in passing:
I don't know what the enemy thinks today. But I do know they're watching America very carefully. I do know they want to affect other nations by their acts of murder. I do know they were emboldened by Spain withdrew from Iraq as a result of attacks on election. And therefore, I have a duty to our troops -- for starters, most importantly -- not to send a mixed signal. I want our troops to know that the sacrifices they are making are worthwhile and necessary for the security of this country. And I want -- don't want the Iraqis to fear that, oh, all of a sudden, there will be a change of heart, that there'll be tough times politically, or that a poll might say something and, therefore, cause me to change my opinion. I don't want them to think that, because they have to make the hard choices for freedom. They have to go from a society that has been tortured by a brutal thug to a society in which they take responsibility for their daily lives.
Can't argue with that. But it's been a tempest over here; the government-friendly media are hysterically presenting this 'controversy' as a way to elevate the country stature; in their juvenile minds, if Bush criticizes the Spanish government is because he's irritated by Zapatero pulling the troops from Iraq because, you know, we're such an important country, and Zapaterlain such a great leader with the guts of challenging the hyper-power, bla bla bla.