The Times on the implications of the Socialists’ triumph in Spain:
Only last week several senior members of the administration said they fully expected that his conservatives would emerge victorious. In fact, months ago a senior adviser to Mr. Bush predicted that should a terrorist attack occur in Europe, it would probably drive the Europeans closer to the United States and its approach to the campaign against terror, not away from it.
So on Sunday evening administration officials scrambled to hide their disappointment. Secretary of State Colin L. Powell, leaving for India, declined to respond publicly to the Socialists’ victory, and the White House drafted a positive-sounding statement saying President Bush looked forward to working with José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, the Socialist leader who will now become prime minister.
But it was lost on no one in Mr. Bush’s inner circle that Mr. Zapatero rode to victory by denouncing Mr. Bush’s approach to the world, and that he pledged to bring home Spain’s 1,300 troops in Iraq in July. “We don’t know how big a factor the Madrid bombing was in the outcome,” one senior American official said. “We don’t know that what happened in Spain marks a broader trend. But I wouldn’t be telling the truth if I said this is the kind of outcome we might have wished for.”
And Nathan Newman responds to the right-wing spin that the left has accepted an Iraq-Al Qaeda bond:
…this does not mean Al Qaeda liked Saddam Hussein’s regime. In fact, they hated him and had denounced him repeatedly over the years, since his Arab nationalism was a direct ideological competitor with their vision of an Islamic theocracy. But despite hating him, they can opportunistically take advantage of his ouster to pose as the defender of Arab nationalism against US interventionism. Iraq and Al Qaeda were not linked, until the US linked them. Having linked them through invasion, Al Qaeda can take advantage of the perception of the link to stoke anger and recruit new adherents from those opposed to the invasion