BAGHDAD — A huge blast ripped through a portion of central Baghdad Wednesday, destroying a downtown hotel and killing as many as 10 people.

Reports said many other people were under the rubble of the Mt. Lebanon Hotel, waiting to be rescued. The hotel is inhabited mostly by Kurds and Egyptians and is located very close to the headquarters of Al Jazeera, the Arab language satellite television station.

It’s not yet known what caused the explosion or whether it was a targeted attack. Some witnesses said it could have been a car bomb, others said a rocket. The blast hit around 8 p.m. local time, noon EST.

Many western journalists and other company workers and those with non-governmental organizations stay in hotels in the area.

I guess at the next election, Iraqis should vote in Ba’athists and kick out the US, eh Spain? I don’t mean to belabor the point, but I really do believe that if you take what Spain did and apply it elsewhere, it become more clear that what happened there did, in fact, embolden terrorism.

Dean Esmay is taking the middle position that neither was Spain’s action a slap in the face to Bush nor a big win for al Qaeda, but I beg to differ. He said, “one member of the largest military coalition since World War II has had a change of policy and plans to leave Iraq in a few months due to a disagreement over how Iraq should be managed”, but that’s not what happened. The ruling party, in agreement with how the war on terror was being prosecuted, had the election won but for a terrorist attack in Madrid. That event brought out the anti-Popular-Party vote, and the Socialists, who wanted to remove Spanish troops from Iraq, won. The turn in the tide wasn’t over managerial issues in Iraq, it was over an issue of fear. If that’s not a win for al Qaeda, what is?

I will agree with Dean that, while democracy may not move quickly, it can and does take corrective action when a mistake is made (although I’m still waiting for reform or elimination of a bunch of big government programs–read: mistakes–here in the U.S. that have been in place for a generation, but that’s another story). In the meantime, however, terrorism appears to work on some countries, the EU is running scared, the French are even being threatened, and the bombs in Baghdad continue to go off. A Ba’athist victory at the poll, were there to be an election this weekend in Iraq, would make about as much sense as the Socialist win in Spain, and would be just as deadly for the rest of us.

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