There's a line of thought rolling through the conservative media this week that goes a little something like this:
Spain's new leader says the war in Iraq had nothing to do with the War on Terror. Yet Spain posits that the recent commuter bombing of 3/11, whose perpetrators may be terrorists with ties to Al Qaeda, could be a result of Spain's' participation in the Iraq war. Therefore, Spain is contradicting itself -- if the War in Iraq wasn't about terror, then how could the resulting terror be about the War in Iraq.
Conclusion: Spain is acting illogically.
Thing is, it's this conservative message that is illogical, or, more correctly, it's a sort of "false" logic similar to what Max Shulman would have called "Post Hoc." According to these conservatives, if we assume that the terrorist attack against Spain was a result of its participation in the Iraqi War, then the Iraqi War must have been about terrorism. This has the surface appearance of logic, but, while both items are linked through the Iraqi War, they do not have the direct cause/effect relationship characterized by these conservative pundits. This can be shown fairly easily, by examining the Spanish positions that the conservatives find contradictory:
Statement 1: The US-led War in Iraq had nothing to do with terrorism.
Statement 2: The 3/11 terrorist train bombing in Spain is a result of Spain's participation in the War in Iraq.
Conclusion: It is therefore perfectly logical to state that, while the US-led War in Iraq had nothing to do with fighting terrorism, a subsequent terrorist action against a participant in that war could well be a result of that same war and the resulting occupation. Spain's two "statements," while related through the inclusion of the War in Iraq as a central point of each, are not, as the conservatives have stated, contradictory or illogical.
Now, just because Spain's statement about the probable cause of the 3/11 bombing, however the conservatives spin it, is perfectly logical, that does not mean that it is true. Truth and logic are often different beasts, especially when dealing with complex human personal and political interactions (my wife, for instance, loves ketchup, but hates tomatoes -- I ask you, is that logical?). The true, factual motives for the terrorist tragedy of 3/11 can be known only after extensive investigation into the incident, if they are ever known at all.
But painting Spain's new Prime Minister as "illogical" is blatantly wrong. As Dobie Gillis might have said, these conservative ideologues' "lack of information [is] terrifying. Nor would it be enough merely to supply [them] with information. First [they have] to be taught to 'think.'"