According to a story in Tuesday's International Herald Tribune, it would appear that Prodi would like to be to Italy what José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is to Spain: if elected to power, the head of Italy's largest opposition coalition (who is also the president of the European Commission) would make a huge contribution to the advancement of mankind by… ending Italy's military role in Iraq.
Meanwhile, Le Monde can hardly disguise its glee. After the ouster of José Maria Aznar (ah, zose Madrid bœmbs, quelle bénédiction!), another Washington ally and opponent of the European constitution (as it is now), Poland's Leszek Miller, is out of power. My, aren't we lucky! As for Ségolène Royal, since the French socialist party leader's long-time companion defeated Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin's stand-in, she is being hailed by the rank-and-file as "la Zapatera" (i.e., "she who brought down Raffarin"). Goes to prove that as long as you oppose America and/or the society and economy it symbolizes, you will be hailed as a hero(ine), whether in France, Spain, Italy, or elsewhere, and whatever the circumstances.
(Isn't it strange that nobody in France ever seems to complain of Zapatero, or those of a like mind, being France's poodle(s)?)
Which brings us back to the IHT's piece on Italy, which ends with an appeal to common sense:
"Withdrawal today, just like that, of our troops from Iraq would be a catastrophic decision", the head of the lower house of the Italian Parliament told a political convention on March 27, before denouncing what he called unilateral pacifism in the war on terror. Added Pier Ferdinando Casini: "Shouting 'Peace, peace' is nice, but it's not enough."Amen to that.