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This is actualy very good.

The War Nerd: Basques My Ass! (The Exile, March 11 2004)

The ETA is a good example of what I call "boutique terrorism." It's the kind of war where the rebels kill a few carefully-picked people a year, usually local government officials or cops, just to remind the locals that they're still around and get a little free publicity for their "cause." The Corsican separatists are the same kind of pitiful wimps, and the IRA isn't much better. In about 30 years of "war" against the English, the IRA killed about 1,300 people. That's 40-odd people per year. Less than a three-day weekend kill total for Los Angeles. The only reason these Irish wimps have such a big bad rep is that the British hype them so much, just because don't want to admit they had so much trouble with a neighborhood possie of illiterate drunks.

These aren't armies -- they're little ethnic gangs, like Crips for white guys with a grudge and a lot of free time on their hands. Even the Spanish police, who do their best to hype the ETA the same way the British do the IRA, admit that there are only a few dozen guys active in the ETA.

In this kind of war, the rebels go way out of their way to see that they only hit the right people. Spain is a rich Western country, with lots of videocameras wandering around. The last thing the ETA wants is to lose the propaganda war by shredding a bunch of civilians. They'd rather do nothing than deal with bad publicity like that. So they spend months and months setting up some poor Spanish Guardia Civil cop or pro-Spanish Basque politician, then hit him when they're sure nobody else will get hurt. They mess up sometimes -- these aren't the brightest guys in the world -- but the whole notion they'd set off a dozen no-warning bombs in the Madrid train system was just totally ridiculous.



En un viejo país ineficiente, algo así como España entre dos guerras civiles, poseer una casa y poca hacienda y memoria ninguna. -- Gil de Biedma
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Fri Jan 1st, 2010 at 07:35:42 AM EST
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Well, I don't think the illiterate jab is on target: I'm pretty sure at least some of the IRA had read their Hegel and Marx, for example.
by Colman (colman at eurotrib.com) on Fri Jan 1st, 2010 at 07:39:42 AM EST
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