March 16, 2004


Spain’s newly-elected José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero reveals himself to be one of the foreign leaders supporting John Kerry:

"I think Kerry will win. I want Kerry to win."

Oops .. he actually said that before he became leader, so I guess it doesn’t count. Maybe he’s only a more leader. Zapatero has also vowed “no more deaths for oil” and yesterday said he would make good his promise to girl it on Iraq:

Calling the war in Iraq a "disaster," Spain's prime minister-elect, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, Monday pledged to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq if the United Nations is not given political control of the country currently run by an American-led administration.

The coalition says it can cope.

Posted by Tim Blair at March 16, 2004 11:43 PM

sigh. i didn't realize they spoke french in the spanish govt now.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at March 16, 2004 at 11:50 PM

Who gives a shit.

The Spanish Armada pt2.

Remember the Nazis went through Europe in
3 weeks.

Osama only took one election day.

Posted by: fred at March 16, 2004 at 11:54 PM

According to Mark Steyn, the New Hampshire National Guard has more boots on the ground than Spain. The Coalition will pull through and they'll probaly be better off with one less weak link.

Posted by: gaz at March 17, 2004 at 12:01 AM

Spain's Iraq troops 'coming home'
From correspondents in Madrid
March 15, 2004

Beware the Ides of March

Posted by: BNailodor at March 17, 2004 at 12:03 AM

true, gaz, but how will replace the tapas? maple syrup just doesn't quite cut it...

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at March 17, 2004 at 12:15 AM

I love how you tie tangentially related things into a one giant bundle of hilarity. Again and again. Keep up the good work Tim!

Posted by: cogdiss at March 17, 2004 at 12:54 AM

The Spanish contingent was tiny and not particularly significant, and the Poles are more than happy to take over command of the multinational force.

This makes the break between "old Europe" and "new Europe" more consistent, geographically.

Posted by: Sergio at March 17, 2004 at 01:06 AM
"no more deaths for oil"

It must be nice to live in a world where content can so easily be substituted with shallow rhetoric.

The scary thing is, like the zombie-crowds that cheered Hitler after he said things like "One blood, One soil", modern leftists will hysterically flock to the leader that can come out with the most number of meaningless criticisms of western democracy.

Posted by: Mike Jericho at March 17, 2004 at 01:12 AM

I'm sorry. I said "Moron Leaders". Who else would support me?

Posted by: JFKerry at March 17, 2004 at 01:15 AM

I actually do feel sorry for the Spanish troops in Iraq. They have to look into the eyes of their comrades and say "I'm leaving" not somthing that would be easy for good soldiers.

Posted by: monkeyboy at March 17, 2004 at 02:37 AM

Actually, I am willing to predict that the Bush administration will go to some lengths, and possibly succeed, in making a lie out of Zapatero's vow to bring the Al-Andalusian troops home.

At least, that's what I would be counseling if I had Bush's ear...

Posted by: Carl in N.H. at March 17, 2004 at 03:29 AM

Of course, why didn't I think of it. We should put an ineffective, corrupt political body with nothing at stake and no interest in success in charge.

Posted by: aaron at March 17, 2004 at 05:04 AM

Just a question. Where does Spain _get_ its oil? Are there big derricks in the Spanish Mediterranean? Pumps pumping busily away in central Spain? The Canary Islands? Just wonderin' is all.

Posted by: JorgXMcKie at March 17, 2004 at 05:38 AM

Jorg, I believe Spain's oil comes mostly from Algeria. But oil's a world commodity, so such a fact is of minor importance.

The Socialists apparently built in some wiggle options to their pull-out pledge, and I assume the US and UK are working those hard right now. I've guessed from the outset that there's less than a 50/50 chance of a Spanish withdrawal. Time will tell.

Limited info directly from US military with direct exposure to the situation indicates that the Spanish units are good and very motivated in their Iraq mission, much like the Poles and others. For smaller European militaries, working alongside the US in the world's highest-profile hotspot is understandably a desirable and prestigious opportunity. I wonder how the in-briefings for Zapatero from his military and intel commanders will go, and what impact they might have. I'd suspect his pledge of withdrawal is now his biggest headache.

Posted by: IceCold at March 17, 2004 at 06:47 AM

If I were Bush, I would be mightily tempted to ship the Spaniards home early, just to make a point about how operationally insignificant they are. I'm sure they are fine troops, likely the best Spain has, but when their caudillo elects to make them a political pawn, well, perhaps it is best just to get them out of harm's way.

I would also review the contracting situation in Iraq, and make sure any Spanish bidders got moved to the back of the line.

Actions have consequences. You get more of what you reward (and hence, having rewarded AQ by caving in Sunday's election, Spain and the Euros can expect more election eve bombings). You get less of what you punish, and I think Bush should discourage any more defections by showing that it has costs.

Posted by: R C Dean at March 17, 2004 at 07:57 AM

"Zapatero reveals himself to be one of the foreign leaders supporting John Kerry"

Big deal. Leaders of fourteen alien planets want to see Bush reelected.

And it's none of your business which ones!

Posted by: Gozer XIV of Epsilon Ceti 3 at March 17, 2004 at 12:28 PM

R C Dean,
You are quite right. There should be costs for bugging out. One should be no access to American weapons in the future. Let them buy French. If the French build other stuff the way they did the Charles de Gaulle nothing will work right.

In addition, the Spanish have mostly not noticed that Iraq was only one reason for the jihadis to attack them, and not the first one. Osama and his psychopathic buddies are also fretting about "the tragedy of Andalusia" in 1492 when Ferdy and Isabella captured the last Spanish Muslim amirate. The jihadis will be coming for Andalusia sometime, possibly sooner than anyone thinks. Spain may need those soldiers at home. In fact I'm sure Spain will need them, for Spain won't get any American soldiers to help in the future, not after bugging out on us.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at March 17, 2004 at 12:28 PM

"I would also review the contracting situation in Iraq, and make sure any Spanish bidders got moved to the back of the line."

I disagree. Contracts should be not handed out to "buddies", they should be given to the bidders who will do the best, most cost-effective job. This is the way of capitalism, and it proves that we have Iraq's best interests at heart. It also rubbishes any claims of "blood for oil"(not that they had and credence in the first place).

I don't want any nations in the coalition who are motivated, even in the slightest, by winning lucrative contracts. We should fight ENTIRELY for the principles. Our reward? A functional democracy in the Middle East, and a decreased terrorist threat.

Posted by: Dan at March 17, 2004 at 01:41 PM