April 19, 2004


In a surprise announcement, just one day after being sworn in and one day before the first new cabinet meeting, Spain's new Prime Minister, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, has officially announced the immediate withdrawal of Spanish troops from Iraq:

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero said Sunday he had ordered Spanish troops pulled out of the U.S.-led occupation force in Iraq as soon as possible, fulfilling a campaign pledge and acting to salve his uneasy nation.

Wrong: his campaign promise was that he would pull off unless the UN took over on June 30. And just last Thursday, during his confirmation debate in Parliament, he added "...or another international organization", prompting many to think he might be thinking of the World Chess Federation, or sumthin', just to save face. So he's actually breaking his campaign promise and even more recent pledge in Parliament, let alone betraying Spain's allies even further than expected; something for which, I'm afraid, we Spaniards will end paying badly.

Zapatero, who swept to victory in elections three days after 191 people were killed in terrorist commuter-train bombings in Madrid last month, said he acted after deciding the United Nations was unprepared to take over the occupation of Iraq -- his condition for keeping Spanish troops in the country.

So he singlehandedly decides that the UN is unprepared, having barely opened his new office door and without even holding any official meetings with Kofi or other parties involved? Boy, and they call Bush an arrogant unilateralist who never listens to the international community or the UN!

Hey, maybe it's a po-mo way of preparing next week's meeting:

Two Spanish newspapers have reported that Zapatero's foreign minister, Miguel Angel Moratinos, will meet in Washington this week with Secretary of State Colin Powell and Rice.

The newspaper ABC reported that Moratinos hopes to show U.S. officials that Spain wants to maintain its current good relations with the United States, despite Zapatero's plans to pull Spanish troops from Iraq by June 30 unless the United Nations takes over political and military control of the occupation.

Somehow I don't think that starting by wildly topping off the gazpacho-eating surrender llama status, breaking the solidarity with allies way beyond the expectation of anyone (except Osama and his guys, of course), will help much. But then again, maybe it's just me.

[Posted by Franco Alemán from HispaLibertas]


Australian Prime Minister John Howard has condemned the decision by Spain to pull its troops out of Iraq.

Posted by Tim Blair at April 19, 2004 04:54 AM

I never did get the "unless the UN takes over by June 30." Aren't the Iraqis supposed to take over on June 30? Why in the world would it be better for Iraq to be occupied by the UN rather than governing itself if the occupation is the problem?

Posted by: Donald S. Crankshaw at April 19, 2004 at 05:05 AM

Not bad picking the World Chess Federation as an example of multilateralism. Their motto is:


"We are one people".

Posted by: Theodopoulos Pherecydes at April 19, 2004 at 05:32 AM

It is a classic excuse for occupation "but their government was a puppet" but only if it is an american puppet.

Posted by: Scottie at April 19, 2004 at 05:34 AM

Well that sucks. Has he been getting pressure to just get them out ASAP? I thought he was going to do the opposite and say leave them until June 30th... then say the UN has a more significant role and extend it a little more.

The people that voted this guy in really f'd up.

Posted by: Dash at April 19, 2004 at 05:35 AM

Oh, Tim! Where's your editor!?!

Both gazpacho and llamas are LATIN AMERICAN, not Spanish, in origin. While Spain is a bit poor in uniquely indigenous wildlife, you could have done better...

How about "paella pounders" or "tortilla tarts"?

Maybe you're just having a snoozy Sunday.

Posted by: hatcher at April 19, 2004 at 05:41 AM


It wasn't Tim, it was me who wrote this post. You're half right: llamas are latin american, but gazpacho categorically not; it's a typical cold soup from Andalusia in Southern Spain. I kept the llama because I thought it was better to build upon an already created meme.

Posted by: Franco Alemán (from Barcelona, Spain, New member of the Axis of Weasels) at April 19, 2004 at 05:51 AM

Massive thanks to Franco for his continued posting here.

Posted by: tim at April 19, 2004 at 05:55 AM

Besides, monkeys aren't French, but instead (often) African. Ah, the joys of colonialism... Hehe.

Posted by: Aaron at April 19, 2004 at 05:57 AM

Did he clear this with OBL before he announced it publicly? It seems to me that this is a direct answer to last weeks taped message. If Zapatero stayed with the June 30th date it would be construed as part of his election campaign. By making it a.s.a.p., he has given the impression of caving in to the OBL taped threat of last week. The readers of Tim's blog would certainly not view it that way, but some of the more easily swayed people would read it that way.

On another topic, I would like to run a poll in any country in the world with the question being, "Would you support your country sending troops to Iraq to aid the Americans and risk a terrorist attack on your country or would you rather leave it to the Americans to fight alone?"

That is the proposition being sold to the people in almost every non-muslim country.

And that is exactly what was behind the OBL tape of last week.

Posted by: Ted at April 19, 2004 at 06:00 AM


I'm not sure and Franco didn't comment but aren't tortillas also a New World food product? Corn (Maize) tortillas were an indigenous bread.

This confusion reminds me of the so-called Sanctuary movement in the US in the early '80's that sheltered leftist illegal aliens from right wing El Salvador. It seems that the "well meaning" (read: anti-Reagan) Yankee lefties would provide Tex Mex meals of tacos, burritos, etc., to Latin Americans, regardless of the fact that this cuisine is virtually unknown to them.

It's like giving eel pie to a Kansas farmer because she's white and so are Cockneys.

Posted by: JDB at April 19, 2004 at 06:07 AM

First of all, Zapatero promised that he would withdraw unless occupation forces in the country came under UN command. There's been no indication of that happening. Secondly, he stated that the Defense Ministry did engage in consultations, "Public statements by the principal actors involved in the conflict, as well as exchanges made by the Defense Ministry at my request during the last month, don't augur a substantial variation in the political and military situation in Iraq in the time frames or in the way that's demanded by the Spanish people." Thirdly, his promise was that he would pull out by June 30, not on June 30. He seems to be keeping his word.

Posted by: Dick O'Brien at April 19, 2004 at 06:17 AM

Dick O'Brien,

Zapatero was sworn yesterday. Bono, his defense minister, has been sworn in this morning, and actually is the only of the new minister who hasn't been in his new office yet (the 'transfer of power' from the old minister will take place tomorrow; all other have done this step). It's true that he had a secret meeting with Rumsfeld a couple of weeks ago (talk about the promise of transparency! it was known only after there was a leak in one newspaper). In any case, Zapatero promise during the campaign, which he reiterated in the confirmation debate in Parliament last week) was that the deadline would be June 30th. There's lots of people working for a new UN resolution, and it's not impossible there's one. So there's no way he can be sure that nothing will happen, and in effect he's preemptively deciding.

Posted by: Franco Alemán (from Barcelona, Spain, New member of the Axis of Weasels) at April 19, 2004 at 06:27 AM

Franco, so is there any chance that Rumsfeld told them that he would consider granting the UN command of occupation forces? I doubt it. Why wait?

Posted by: Dick O'Brien at April 19, 2004 at 06:31 AM


The reason to wait is to make sure that it does not appear that he is caving in to OBL.

And he did cave.

Posted by: Ted at April 19, 2004 at 06:39 AM

I can't decide what will hurt worse: when Osama & Co. get around to resuming their crusade against infidel Spain, or when Osama & Co. congratulate the Spanish for being good dhimmis and behaving themselves.

Posted by: Rebecca at April 19, 2004 at 06:42 AM

Rebecca gets it.

Posted by: Ted at April 19, 2004 at 06:43 AM

Because he had said the date was June 30th, that's why. Because if you want to be a serious player it's important to keep the international commitments which said that the mission of the Spanish troops was going to end on June 30th (Aznar would've renewed if he had won), even when they may have been adopted by a previous government, that's why. Because it will look like to OBL and AQ guys that he's accepting the truce offer and therefore, seeing the success, they will be tempted to repeat 3-11s in other countries.

That's why.

Posted by: Franco Alemán (from Barcelona, Spain, New member of the Axis of Weasels) at April 19, 2004 at 06:44 AM

Franco, I have to say it's a good thing to get them out right now and not wait. In fact, as soon as Zapatero announced the troops would go (day after the election, I think) I hoped that Abazaid and Co. would transfer them to Kuwait to guard piers or something.

Consider the situation from the ground - their morale and effectiveness has to be shot, since they all instantly, with the utterance of a few syllables, became short timers. No offense to the Spanish Army, but I personally would not want those guys on my flank right now.

Posted by: Steve Skubinna at April 19, 2004 at 07:04 AM


Always nice to get an Iraqi perspective.

Posted by: Ted at April 19, 2004 at 07:13 AM

Franco, Your reports are terrific. And disturbing. Given the astonishing speed of both his surprise announcement and accelerated timetable for withdrawing Spanish troops, do you think Zapatero will be as precipitous in his other policy decisions? How reliable a partner will his Spain be for other countries and commitments? What does the business community have to say about future Spanish-American relations now? Or is Spain counting on a Kerry presidency?

Posted by: c at April 19, 2004 at 07:32 AM

A 411 to Zapatero........It wont work.
Your still in Afghanistan. OBL wont stop the bombs untill then, at least until the campaign to free Spain from the infidels can begin.

Posted by: Alien Grey for Haliburton at April 19, 2004 at 07:39 AM


Franco, so is there any chance that Rumsfeld told them that he would consider granting the UN command of occupation forces? I doubt it. Why wait?

Franco and "c" said it best. You have to be reliable. This includes sticking to your word. Zapatero said he would leave unless certain conditions were met. He didn't give the UN a chance say no. Or yes for that matter. What Bono and Rumsfeld may have discussed are immaterial. Zapatero may have killed any chance at a UN resolution on Iraq. Or of Spain being taken seriously in the international community (my regrets to that, Franco).

And, if you think about the subject, at least President Bush gave the UN a chance to act. That the UN sat on their haunches and wailed their disagreement is immaterial. We stood by what we said we would do.

Posted by: JeffS at April 19, 2004 at 07:50 AM

Zapatero may also end up giving ETA the whole of the basque region if they fire a few shots around his head.
So boys , get those firecrackers goin'.
Spain is a large Country, they'l be a little for you too after the Muslims take their share.

Posted by: davo at April 19, 2004 at 08:21 AM

"but aren't tortillas also a New World food product?"

Correct me if I'm wrong, but tortillas are Spanish. Although, they are an egg dish, rather than a bread dish. The colonists just gave the same name to indian breads.

Posted by: Julia at April 19, 2004 at 08:26 AM

JDB, in Spain a "tortilla" is an omelette (you are right, Julia). And I firmly believe that we had eggs in Spain before 1492 (there is a pun here in Spanish, but, thankfully, not in English). Although which is now known as "Spanish omelette" has also potatoes, there were many other kinds.

Zapatero being so reliably unreliable, his having said "as soon and as safely as possible" ("en el menor tiempo y con la mayor seguridad posibles") could well result, coincidentally, in a return by June the 30th.

Not that it would be of any help.

Posted by: Marzo at April 19, 2004 at 08:38 AM

I love to eat waffles in the morning!

Posted by: Asmun Key at April 19, 2004 at 08:41 AM

And I firmly believe that we had eggs in Spain before 1492 (there is a pun here in Spanish, but, thankfully, not in English).

Are you saying Spain no longer has huevos?

Posted by: Angie Schultz at April 19, 2004 at 08:54 AM

C'mon, people, let's not egg him on!

(Sorry, just a little comedian interlude. Please continue with the thread....)

Posted by: JeffS at April 19, 2004 at 09:00 AM

Is there any sense of how the Spanish troops deployed there feel about this? Are they glad to be getting out, do they think this cause is wrong?

Posted by: Dash at April 19, 2004 at 09:01 AM

>Are you saying Spain no longer has huevos?

Apparently not in the right places. Just like heart or brains, for that matter. Which has me fuming.

Posted by: Marzo at April 19, 2004 at 09:02 AM

Don't feel bad, Marzo. We Americans elected Clinton for two terms. And his policy against the terrorist bad guys was just brilliant. ("Bad guys" being the Republicans, you know)

We even might elect Kerry this November. Then you can point right back at us in empathetic derision.

Posted by: c at April 19, 2004 at 09:19 AM

The newspaper ABC reported that Moratinos hopes to show U.S. officials that Spain wants to maintain its current good relations with the United States, despite Zapatero's plans to pull Spanish troops from Iraq by June 30 unless the United Nations takes over political and military control of the occupation.

Sounds like they're putting the wheels in motion to blame the U.S. for the (now pretty much inevitable) worsening of relations.

Posted by: PW at April 19, 2004 at 09:28 AM

Dash, I can't say about how Spanish forces in Iraq today feel about the new situation, but they and other coalition partners have been highly motivated about the mission in the past. For several partners like Poland, according to a friend who spent the spring/summer with the USMC in their south-central area, there was bitter competition to get on the Iraq contingent -- it's seen as a highly prestigious to work with the US military on this important assignment, understandably for small countries (as incomprehensible as it may seem to nuanced, sophisticated, ignorant war-skeptics). Similar high motivation was seen among the Latin American contingents, including those from El Salvador and Dom. Rep. (a few spec. forces types from the DR).

Salvadorean units guard the CPA office in Najaf, have taken casualties this past week, and the Spanish exchanged fire with convoy-ambushers yesterday near Diwaniyah.

Posted by: IceCold at April 19, 2004 at 09:29 AM

Hoja Franco,

"Bono, his defense minister, has been sworn in this morning..."

You've got to be joking, right? Is Sting the new Finance Minister and Bob Geldof the Minister for Transport?

Tio Leche

Posted by: Uncle Milk at April 19, 2004 at 09:51 AM

" there was bitter competition to get on the Iraq contingent"

In case of Poland it was because the soldiers were getting paid twice as much for duty in Iraq.

Posted by: warmi at April 19, 2004 at 09:54 AM

"it's seen as a highly prestigious to work with the US military on this important assignment... Similar high motivation was seen among the Latin American contingents..."

B-b-b-b-b-but... Latin Americans hate the Yanqui imperialist because for centuries he has been screwing over their peoples. ?That must be true, because Chompers says so, no?

Posted by: Uncle Milk at April 19, 2004 at 09:55 AM

Thanks IceCold, my brother is a pilot in the USAF and he was telling me everyone he met was very proud to be there. The only ones he mentioned were the Brits and Australians who he enjoyed the company of very much.

Lot's of good natured teasing and so forth. I would imagine the Spanish troops would be proud to serve, but I'd like to hear what they think.

Posted by: Dash at April 19, 2004 at 09:57 AM

Llamas are from Peru, not Spain.

And although Hondoras has pulled out troops, El Salvador, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua still have troops there. They don't have llamas either but don't shame a proud South American beast because some Spanish are weaklings.

One problem is that these Spanish speaking troops were essentially under Spanish command. However, since General Sanchez and many other Americans speak Spanish, I suspect they will be replaced by a bilingual US Battalion...

And yes, I speak Spanish fluently (and Tagalog, German and ChiKaranga)...but I am Filippino...

Posted by: NANCY REYES at April 19, 2004 at 10:05 AM


"In case of Poland it was because the soldiers were getting paid twice as much for duty in Iraq."

You are clearly not familiar with US pay benefits. Our military personnel assigned to combat zones get several, including combat pay (not that much), and relief from income tax. I can't help but think other nations take care of their people in similar manners. Poland should be no exception.

And what else would you expect for sending someone into a combat zone? That they work for free because they volunteered?

By the way, just how much pay is a soldier's life worth? Think carefully before answering.

I hope you aren't some left winger dropping an insult for the fun of it, 'cause you sure pushed my button. A gentle hint: blogs like these tend to have veterans in them. Be sure of your facts before spouting off.

Posted by: JeffS at April 19, 2004 at 10:33 AM

What does this hasty withdrawl say to the families of those Spanish troops that died in Iraq? That their sacrifice was all just a mistake? What of the troops there today who are being asked to tuck tail and get out as fast as possible. Will they be respected for the job they did when they get home or get the Vietnam treatment? Their new government obviously doesn't value the job they are doing as much as making political points.

Everything I have read from the MilBloggers indicates Spanish forces in Iraq were both professional and motivated. They deserve better from their government.

Posted by: Sasquach at April 19, 2004 at 11:07 AM

The Spanish think they have bought a free pass in the War against those Muslims who want to recreate the Caliphate and spread sharia. They are more than willing to have America pay the price for them.

When FDR and JFK invoked liberty and freedom as a national goal and committed the US to bear the cost of defending the free world, they were cheered and their speeches became history book quotations. And Europe adored them. Of course we were protecting Europe from either Hitler or Stalin at the time. We were their ally.
And now Europe doesn't feel threatened. So they cop out and play a double game.We fight and they play up to the oil barons. At the same time, they are becoming more diligent than the US and Britain in rooting out the domestic cancer planted in our nations.

Posted by: Ted at April 19, 2004 at 11:29 AM

The UN is irrelevant, remember?

Posted by: Miranda Divide at April 19, 2004 at 11:47 AM

God no, not the World Chess Federation.
They're run by Kirslan Ilumpwqoitwhatsit, (Can't remember his last name), known Saddam Hussein sympathiser and President of some dodgy post-communist backwater country called Kraplachistan or some such.
(Too lazy to do fact checking on Google!)

Posted by: TimT at April 19, 2004 at 11:53 AM

Miranda, if the UN is not relevant, that is because the UN made it so. Check out the "Food for Oil" scam sometime.

Or look at Rwanda. The UN sure was relevant there, eh?

Posted by: JeffS at April 19, 2004 at 11:57 AM

Yes Miranda, the UN was, is and always will be irrelvant! It's the Spanish PM not keeping his word that is not irrelvant. Can't you read, it has been pointed out at great lenghth on this thread he had and obligatiopn to stay until 30Jun04?

Posted by: mike rogers at April 19, 2004 at 12:18 PM

Honestly I think Europe is afraid of the US as the lone superpower acting "unilaterally" in the world and perhaps is used to being much more relevant in world issues. Yeah I do sound like an arrogant American huh? Not intentional, I wish our traditional European allies would support us more. I feel the US is less "cowboy" than they seem to think.

Seems to me everything was fine with the power of the US when there was Germany to worry about and then Russia. Now the bad guys are more ethereal and they have no nationality. They can't occupy a country or take it over in the traditional sense. America is the only nation to be really HIT hard, so it's our problem just like Hitler was Europe's problem until Pearl Harbor.

Just my take on it.

Posted by: Dash at April 19, 2004 at 01:34 PM

Miranda, your next entry here will be transformed into parrot-speak. In other words: don't bother commenting here again, as it is obvious you have nothing more valuable to contribute to the discussion than a retarded macaw.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 19, 2004 at 01:40 PM

WOW. He said he was going to do it and he certainly didn't waste any time. I really expected to see some form of diplomacy through the UN before he "did the deed".

It seems reckless, but having it over and done so quickly keeps it out of the news once the troops are home. If the withdrawal became part of an international dispute it could have dragged on for months, nearer to the US elections and our own.

Posted by: John Abercrombie at April 19, 2004 at 01:42 PM

The only problem I have with all you pro-war rightwingers is that you seem to be working on the assumption that somehow you can win! Win what? Do you seriously think terrorism is going to just curl up and die because of whatever final result gets revised as some kind of western victory? Do you seriously believe that terrorism even truly CARES about Iraq?

Isnt it time that if you are so ready to jump to a military solution that you address the actual enemy? If you must fight leave the poor bloody Iraquis alone and get on with it! Take on Osama et al at the coalface. Talk about right wing cowardice...but then bullies have always attacked the weakest opponent they can find.

Posted by: AJ at April 19, 2004 at 02:25 PM

Well I guess the good ole' USA (along with Afghanistan, Albania, Angola, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bulgaria, Colombia, Costa Rica, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Eritrea, Estonia, Ethiopia, Georgia, Honduras, Hungary, Iceland, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Moldova, Mongolia, Morocco, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, Oman, Palau, Panama, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Qatar, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Slovakia, Solomon Islands, South Korea, Thailand, Tonga, Turkey, UAE, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom and Uzbekistan) will just have to "go it alone," and just not worry about building a broad consensus regarding international action.

Thank you, Spain, for your past support. It was sincerely appreciated.

You've folded your cards, are out of the game. Well, it is hoped.

Posted by: Timothy Lang at April 19, 2004 at 02:36 PM

[sarcasm]The unilateralism of Zapatero's action is stunning. Not even to consult with the Spain's allies on the matter.[/sarcasm]

Eric Anondson

Posted by: Eric Anondson at April 19, 2004 at 02:42 PM

>If you must fight leave the poor bloody Iraquis
>alone and get on with it! Take on Osama et al at
>the coalface. Talk about right wing
>cowardice...but then bullies have always attacked
>the weakest opponent they can find.

Are you retarded?

Have you ever heard of Afghanistan? It was run by a gang called the Taliban. They were sheltering OBL and al-Qaeda. When we were beginning our plans to take them out, all you heard from the "experts" and the media was how the Afghanis had never been defeated and that Afghanistan was the "graveyard of empires." In 1991, we heard about the "battle-hardened" Republican guards. In the second go-around, Robert Fisk creamed his khakis over the "impenetrable" defenses around Baghdad. These opponents were all supposed to be hardasses who would teach us a lesson. After we wiped the floor with them with shocking - and gratifying - ease, suddenly we're "bullies" who pick on "the weak." Hindsight is 20/20, huh? You assclown.

Posted by: Dave S. at April 19, 2004 at 03:21 PM

AJ's comment above rightly chastises us right-wing pro-war types (even those of us who are neither right-wing nor pro-war) for not going after al-Qaeda instead of Iraq (9/11 was AQ, etc etc and all that). Let's leave the poor Iraqis alone.

Let's go after the HQ -- knock off the Taliban and clean out the AQ infrastructure in Afghanistan. Intimidate states that coddle them, and squeeze Pakistan into cracking down.

Let's kill some senior AQ leaders, and capture others. Let's drive them so deep to survive that they can do little but issue whiny sermons on audiotapes of dubious authenticity requiring 5 cut-out couriers to get to the al-Jazeera office.

Let's go after their far-flung activities, from Basilan Island to the Sahel to the Horn to Panama to Iguacu to the Pankisi Gorge.

Let's pick off any we can't get to with Predator-launched Hellfires.

Let's freeze their funds, and go after their go-betweens and fronts, and do deep pre-emptive stuff like getting into maritime licensing procedures and foreign airline staffing.

Let's be hard-nosed and put the ones we've jugged into limbo they legally merit where we can extract maximum info value without revealing who we've got or what they're telling us.

Let's lash up cooperative intel services and hunt them down everywhere using everyone's info and resources.

Wait -- we've done all that.

Never mind.

Posted by: IceCold at April 19, 2004 at 03:26 PM

Dave S. While I agree with the general thrust of your remarks to AJ I must protest the rhetorical "are you retarded?".

No, AJ is merely one of those unfortunate souls who are a little slow with logic. Lets try a little test.

AJ would you agree that the following steps are in logical order?

1. Wipe arse.
2. Take dump.
3. Pull down pants.

Posted by: Greg at April 19, 2004 at 03:37 PM

Well because he's still committed to the War On Terror, I'm sure Mr. Zapatero will be happy to re-deploy those 1300 troops to Afghanistan, which will make on difference what-so-ever to Spain's postion on the terrorist hitlist, no matter what the ABC spins up!
ps...I agree with you 100% Dash!

Posted by: Brian. at April 19, 2004 at 03:38 PM

12 years of sanctions and no result, 17 (chapter 7) resoutions ignored...who's jumping to war here?
American troops stationed in Saudi were supposed to have ignited this whole Al Qaeda campaign. Diplomacy was tried and it failed. The Left is every bit as malicious and malevolent as you accuse the Right of being. You don't defend the Iraqis, you simply exploit them for your our agenda.

Posted by: Brian. at April 19, 2004 at 03:55 PM

Now, now, Dave S, calling AJ retarded is quite inappropriate. That monicker is reserved for rhactive in his less lucid moments (of which there are many). We mustn't confuse the casual visitors to Tim's blog!

We'll have to think up something suitable for AJ. Let's give him a few more posts to catch his style.

In the meantime, there's oldie but goodie, useless idiot.

Posted by: JeffS at April 19, 2004 at 04:18 PM

Apparently I have an agenda now! Who said blogging had no rewards? Im not sure what imaginary agenda Im supposed to have, perhaps you could fill me in?

It seems I havent clearly made my point.
Although Icecold makes the point well that action has been attempted to combat terrorism clearly far from enough has been done.

And what action was then taken? Diversion of resources and distraction of world attention to Iraq. Its a great way to avoid admitting you didnt succeed on your first goal. It seems to work like this.

1. Declare war on x
2. Realise you cannot win and that you might have bitten off more than you can chew.
3. Declare war on y - then crow about your ongoing victory over x via some spurious link between the conflicts.

Using resources in Iraq is a waste of dollars, time and lives and always has been.

I don't see OBL at the other end of the US army's gunsights!

Posted by: AJ at April 19, 2004 at 04:54 PM


Every Lefty and his dog has been agreeing that the we have to attack the "root causes" of terrorism. They also agree that these root causes are to be found in the Middle East, specifically in the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians and thier allies.

What is the Iraqi campaign desiged to do? Solve the Middle East problem by showing the likes of Syria, Iran and their fellow travellers that they better cease sucking up to the fundamentalist thugs and act like civilised nations or else they will suffer a visit from the armed forces a large coalition of nations.

Of course George Bush's plan is all a bit too nuanced for your average half-educated lefty to understand. Lefties just seem constantly to sing the on same note, like plain chant, "war is bad". Of course war is bad, but it is also necesasry when you are defending yourself against islammofacist scum.

Posted by: Toryhere at April 19, 2004 at 05:27 PM

Im not a "lefty" - I just dont like BS Govt spin....from Bush or anyone else. If I thought they were genuine they would have my support but whats been said and done to date is so blatantly phony its unbelievable peope are still swallowing it.

AND - its not working! So try something else! Seems obvious to me

Posted by: AJ at April 19, 2004 at 05:38 PM


I said the 'Left' has an Agenda...you don't deny that do you, or that they (the Left!) shamelessly exploit issues like Iraq?
Unfortunately mate, the vast majority of Iraqis don't agree with you that their plight is a waste of resources, but I guess some guy living comfortably in the West knows what's best for them.

Posted by: Brian. at April 19, 2004 at 06:04 PM

I am glad that Howard is keen to stay the course. The war has been a strategic failure.
Leaving before stabilisation would turn failure into a catastrophe.

Posted by: Jack Strocchi at April 19, 2004 at 06:18 PM

Again I reiterate that Iraq and terrorism are seperate issues.

Im not saying pull out, abandon or anything else regarding Iraq other than I beleive its been mishandled.

I would like to see some resumption of the efforts on terrorism, Iraq or not

Posted by: AJ at April 19, 2004 at 06:38 PM


while I don't agree with your position on Iraq. It is good to have an alternative point of view ;-)

Posted by: Brian. at April 19, 2004 at 06:54 PM

Franco, Ted, JeffS - It's not a case of giving the UN a chance to say no. If Rumsfeld told them that the US would not cede command of occupation forces to the UN (as seems likely), then no UN resolution on this was going to be forthcoming. Zapatero kept his word and Spain will be gone by June 30.

As for the notion of it meaning that he's accepting Bin Laden's truce offer, nothing could be further from the truth. A large majority of the Spanish people never wanted to be in Iraq and they felt this way long before the bombing. How can you accede to Bin Laden by doing what you wanted to do all along? It doesn't make sense to me.

Posted by: Dick O'Brien at April 19, 2004 at 07:05 PM


According to Philip Williams of the ABC, Aznar's government was a 'shoe-in' to win the election before the attack. How do you explain that? So much for opposition to the war 'eh?

Posted by: Brian. at April 19, 2004 at 07:16 PM

This pull-out will only encourage the Jihadis.

To paraphrase the hate-America crowd:

Zapatero lied, Iraqis are going to die.

Posted by: Andjam at April 19, 2004 at 07:26 PM

Brian, opinion polls in Spain indicated that up to 90 percent of Spaniards opposed the war. Some opposition, eh?

Posted by: Dick O'Brien at April 19, 2004 at 07:47 PM

But they were all set to vote for more of the same!

Posted by: Brian. at April 19, 2004 at 08:13 PM


you're stuck in 2003 mentality. The war has been done already, and the toothpaste can't be put back in the tube.

Supporting the war or not is a totally different matter to supporting the occupation. There are quite a few people who were against the war BUT are against withdrawing from a post-war scenario.

Being against cracking an egg is one thing, but after the egg has been cracked, it's no use to keep arguing about it. The question becomes whether to fry it or to make an omelette. Uncracking the egg is simply impossible. And throwing the egg in the trash, just because you didn't want the egg cracked in the fist place, is simply stupid. And this is what Zap and his apologists are doing.

Posted by: Franco Alemán (from Barcelona, Spain, New member of the Axis of Weasels) at April 19, 2004 at 08:54 PM

Well, Zapatero just gives the US yet another reason to be wary of the commitments of our "allies". Recently, a few new nations joined NATO, but it's certainly not something to celebrate. NATO is not an alliance; it's an American protectorate. I've always been pro-NATO, but now I'm having a hard time coming up with any reason why the US should spend a single penny or endure a single paper cut for the Europeans.

Spain's exit from Iraq will be more symbolic than substantial. The US lost nearly twice as many troops (2400) on one day, June 6, 1944, than Spain has deployed to Iraq (1300). I think that we should insist on a "D-Day Clause" in our treaty agreements with the Europeans, whereby each of our allies are required to deploy at least as many troops as we lost on D-Day.

Posted by: philip at April 19, 2004 at 09:50 PM

Its their right to make snap decisions on foreign policy. If Zapatero want's to withdraw from Iraq he should be allowed to go and turn isolationist its his right as the elected leader of a country and when there is another terrorist attack on Spain (for not withdrawing support for the other half of the War on Terror perhaps?) he will be to blame, history will judge his actions poorly no matter what the outcome of Iraq, if the coalition succeeds then Spain will have been alarmist and should suffer the humiliation of not contributing, if failure occurs Zapatero will be in no small part responsible.

Posted by: JBB at April 20, 2004 at 12:21 AM

Whether Zapatero is withdrawing his troops earlier than announced is due to his socializm and Anti-Americanism or due to threats from Al Q, is immaterial -- it will be interpreted as responding to threats. Sorry, popular support for the war or not, the withdrawal is reinforcing the meme that blowing up a bunch of people just prior to an election will thow the election your way. Thanks Spain, we (along with a few other countries) have an election coming up and I think that the chance of a terrorist act has just increased by an order of magnitude.

Posted by: rabidfox at April 20, 2004 at 01:13 AM

I'm PC illiterate and cannot find an email address for your site. I don't have a comment per se regarding one of your postings, but do have a question.

Ayuda, por favor??? Thanks to ANYONE out there...

Posted by: c at April 20, 2004 at 01:21 AM


I agree with you that we should be doing everything we can to capture Osama and destroy the Al Quida network. The question is how this can be best accomplished. I suspect the current effort to capture Osama is an intelligence operation, using an almost entirely different set of resources that the war in Iraq. Consequently, the war doesn't divert resources from action against Al Quida any more than an orchard in California diverts resources from a steel plant in Detroit. Nor does it matter if the public is "distracted"--it isn't the public who's going to track down Osama, it's the CIA. And why would Bush want to distract anyone from Afghanistan? The reconstruction of that country is proceeding smoothly, and the war there appears to be a success.

More importantly, though, it isn't necessary to create wild-eyed theories about why we're in Iraq because, our action there is fully consistent with the nature of the broader war on terror. President Bush has determined--quite correctly, I think--that the attack on 9/11 was not just the action of a few derranged zealots, but the result of a malignant culture of hate and death sprung from the distorted mutation of Islam cynically embraced by many tyrants in the Middle East. The rise of Osama bin-Laden cannot be analyzed in a vaccum--he is, at least in part, a product of his society. Kill him, and another will just take his place. To prevent another attack, we must change that culture. And that means removing governments that give aid and comfort to terrorists and promote the wanton destruction of human life--whether it be in New York or Tel-Aviv or Bali. This war is bigger than just one man. It is a war of ideas. A war against the idea that it is okay to kill those who do not share your religion or way of life.

Posted by: Nathan at April 20, 2004 at 05:54 AM

Huevos Rancheros, por favor. Y una cerveza mas fria.

Posted by: mojo at April 20, 2004 at 07:54 AM

AJ uttereth: "Who said blogging had no rewards?" Well, Aje, I'm not sure what you're talking about; you're not blogging, you're commenting on someone else's blog. This is akin to participating in a moderated forum. If you truly wish to be able to use that statement with any coherency, you'd avail yourself of one of the many free blogging services and start your own blog.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at April 20, 2004 at 10:10 AM

Bravo, you get it. This has been plain for two-and-a-half years and still there are numerous people out there who are clueless about what we are actually trying to do. It would appear John Kerry is one of them.

Posted by: Michael Lonie at April 20, 2004 at 12:56 PM

Is Spain going to be removed from the lsit of countries allowed to bid for contracts in Iraq? Its less than what they deserve for their cowardice, but probably should be done anyway.

Posted by: HippyKiller at April 20, 2004 at 02:09 PM