Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta seems an unlikely person to be chastizing Spain for their pulling out of Iraq. However, he has a brilliant piece in the Wall Street Journal doing exactly that. He argues that such actions bring an entirely false sense of safety and only ensures that terrorism as a strategy pays off. An excerpt:
The new Socialist government in Spain has caved in to the terrorist threats and withdrawn its troops from Iraq. So have Honduras and the Dominican Republic. They are unlikely to be the last. With the security situation expected to worsen before it improves, we have to accept that a few more countries–which do not appreciate how much the world has at stake in building a free Iraq–will also cut and run.
No matter how the retreating governments try to spin it, every time a country pulls out of Iraq it is al Qaeda and other extremists who win. They draw the conclusion that the coalition of the willing is weak and that the more terrorist outrages, the more countries will withdraw.
He’s exactly right – what Spain has done has only ensured that al-Qaeda and other groups know that a few bombs can change the course of Spanish policy. Their gripe with the West has as much to do with the Reconquista as it does with the fall of Saddam Hussein. The left believes that compromise will buy safety – what they fail to understand is that such compromises come at the cost of innocent blood, both in places like Iraq and in Spain. They have not prevented attack, but encouraged it.
Considering that even the Spanish troops who are returning from Iraq find the actions of the Spanish government in this regard distasteful, it’s clear that Zapatero’s spinless decision will have reprecussions that will be felt for a long time indeed.