Mr Friedman, as many other 'respected' op-ed writers, parts from the assumption
the U.N. will not obtain the control of the occupation forces, which will then lead to the withdrawal of Spanish Troops, as Mr Zapatero had promised throughout his campaign, before the Madrid bombings.
The issue here isn't what Spain might or might not do, the real
issue should be that Spain, and 90% of its population, does not believe the current situation in Iraq is an adequate strategy in the War on Terror. In the same way that Spain did not believe Saddam formed a direct threat
or Saddam had direct links with Al Qaeda before the war started, Spain does not believe neither the reconstruction of Iraq nor the War on Terror can be conducted successfully with the unilateral approach of the actual 'Coalition' with its simple 'You're With Me Or Against Me' theory.
Terrorism can't be fought successfully by just a minority of countries. If terrorism really is the Number One issue, even the most powerfull nation on earth cannot fight it alone. It will always need a broad international assistance, either now in Iraq, tomorrow in Afghanistan, and perhaps next year in Pakistan or wherever. One cannot 'intimidate' these important international partners by ignoring their
democracies for the sake of a single nation's Foreign Policy.
"At the same time, the Socialists should really rethink about the decision to pull their troops out. There is no doubt that Al Qaeda and other terrorist groups found great encouragement in the Spanish elections.
Over the past few months we both have engaged in different discussions on the legality of this war and the 'real' reason of it. First the 'pro-war' people argued the WMD's was reason enough to invade Iraq. We all know what happened to that argument. Then it was Saddam alleged ties with Al Qaeda and also this argument has disappaered. With the war well underway, all we could hear is how great it was to Liberate the Iraqi people from that terrible dictaror Saddam, not a word about WMD's, not a word about alleged Al Qaeda links.
What I, and many with me, still would like to know is where Iraq exactly fits in in this 'War on Terror'. With both
the accusations of WMD's and Al Qaeda links proven 'shaky' to say the least, the latter already widely known before
the war, many non-Coalition countries before
the war warned overthrowing Saddam, no matter how bad a dictator he was, would give Al Qaeda and similar groups much more support and a reason to increase their activities, not only in the ME
region but also outside.
Before the war, Al Qaeda was limited to only a few areas in the ME
. After the start of the war, Iraq has attracted many non-iraqis willing to fight for either Al Qaeda's cause or that of any other group opposing the invasion. Before the invasion, Al Qaeda had no links whatsoever with Saddam's regime. After the war, former Baathist party officials and Al Qaeda terrorist are actively working together attacking Coalition Forces and Iraqis working with/for the Coalition.
Before blaming Spain's conditional withdrawal could be seen as a victory for Al Qaeda, please bare in mind the above. In my opinion, had the Coalition stuck with the real War on Terror and not invaded Iraq the way
it did 1 year ago, not only had the Coalition been much broader, the War on Terror itself would have been much more successfull. Regretfully, Al Qaeda now is much more powerfull than before the Iraq invasion. It's support is much broader and, as we know, they still have mass-murdering capabilities. With that, Al Qaeda has shown it is winning the War on Terror, not because of Spain's conditional withdrawal, but because of the Coalition's unwillingness to change its methods.
The people of Spain have stood up and have told the Coalition, as they already did one year ago, that the Coalition's War on Terrorism is not only not working, it is creating terrorism rather than fighting it. Slowly cracks begin to appear in this 'Coalition of the Willing'...