Spain Drops Out of the War on Terror

Well, whether you support or oppose the war, this has to suck.

It’s one thing to pull out of Iraq. But to do announce it less than a week after a major terrorist act makes it look like you’re totally caving into the terrorists. You coulda waited a while, so it looks like it’s yourself deciding your own policy, not Al Queda.

Thanks for opening the door, Spain. Japan, UK, South Korea, ya’ll can expect major bombings soon.

Didn’t the socialists run on pulling out of Iraq? Don’t they think Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror?

what the hell are you talking about Woolen?

True, but the timing of the announcement is the key - the way it’s being reported, it sounds like Spain’s new regime is directly responding to the terrorist attacks by pulling out of Iraq, as a concession to terrorists. If anything, Spain’s response might lend more strength to terrorists, because now they know that their methods will achieve results.

Granted, this is from listening to nightly news coverage of the story.

It’s a new regime! They wanted to drop out of Iraq a year ago but they weren’t in power. I think you’re reading way too much into this.

Uninformed bystanders might misinterpret this, but when is that not the case?

So the war on Iraq is now officially the War on Terror ©, TM (or whatever) ?

According to the Bush administration, of course. Shades of black 'n white and all that.

Where do countries like Germany, France, and Canada fit in? Are they involved in the War on Terror because they sent troops to Afghanistan, or are they dirty liberal commie terrorist-sympathizers because they stayed out of Iraq?

Hey there, don’t forget just about every other country in the world.

Ok, in small words:

Yes, the Socialists have been advocating for a pullout for a long time.

Yes, the decision to pull out is not a result of the bombings.

No, the terrorists are not going to see it that way, regardless of what is true.

Yes, the terrorists are absolutely going to bomb somebody else’s election now.

Exactly. The socialists were trailing with 30-something percent in the polls before the bombings. Then they won in a landslide.

Even the SF Chronicle, hardly a conservative newspaper, had an editorial about the “terrorists winning” given the last-second election swing to the socialists.

The Social Democrats were trailing with 4 percent before the bombings, and won by 6 percent. A considerable change, to be sure, but that’s from poll to election.
No telling how many it actually swayed from one to the other, considering that it might have prompted some to go vote and some to stay at home.

The terrorists might well (probably) take it as a victory, but it will only really be if it pacifies Europe further, and I don’t think it will. I hope by abandoning the Iraqi venture until the US decides that “standing united against terrorism” doesn’t mean “everyone follow us”, Spain and Europe will be able to increase their actions against terrorism, even though it won’t be as flashy as invading a country.

I think Anders makes a good point, and I’ve seen similar thought in other threads. The war in Iraq does not equal the war on terrorism, I don’t think it ever really did. The hunt for Osama (which is getting some fire behind it now that the elections are right around the corner)) is definite terrorism, as is the intelligence efforts and the financial moves we made to grab terrorist funds.

I truly hope that this act in Spain galvanizes Europe even more against terrorism, but I don’t think pulling out of Iraq should be seen as a pro-terrorist move. It’s more of a move to re-establish priorities.

So it’s a terrorist victory if what they want happens to agree with what the population wants?

It can be. I think you folks are confusing a couple of different issues here. I agree that the war in Iraq /= the war on terror, and there is little evidence that it ever did. That’s not really the issue, though. The issue is that you have a major bombing in Spain, and Al Quaeda claims that the attack is retribution for Spain’s participation in the Iraq war. Surely you can see how announcing a withdraw from Iraq several days later looks a lot like caving to terrorist pressure? Whether or not that is the reality is immaterial–the concern is not over Spain’s actual motivation for the withdrawal, but rather over how terrorist organizations might perceive the act.

Surely you can see how announcing a withdraw from Iraq several days later looks a lot like caving to terrorist pressure?

Ok, so what should Spain have done, then? Waited a month?

My response to “how terrorist organizations might perceive the act” is “who gives a goddamn.” We’re running democracies here, not a news organization. You’d might as well argue that the US was “perceived as caving in to Iran” when we threw out our President because he couldn’t get the hostages out of there in '79.

I would say no, but in reality who gives a shit what the terrorists want? They get all up in arms over Iraq because we gave them that reason to, but if it wasn’t that, it would be something else.

After 9/11, we went into Afghanistan to look for Bin Laden. That probably would have been their causus bellum if we didn’t do Iraq. So then they’d be pissed off at anyone who helped us crack down on terror. Maybe they would have hit England instead of Spain, maybe they still would have hit Spain because security might have been softer and the previous government still would have agreed with Bush. It really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme because something like this probably still would have happened.

If media pundits and politicians want to talk about how this is a victory for terrorism, they should really think the issue through instead of just intellectualizing it. It’s only a paper victory, at best, if we give it to them. My opinion is fuck them, they would have found a reason to pull this stunt regardless, it’s not a victory for anyone.

Now to get back to the basics of actually tackling terrorism.

Yeah, possibly.

My response to “how terrorist organizations might perceive the act” is “who gives a goddamn.”

Anyone that doesn’t want to encourage terrorism? I mean, the whole doctrine of not capitulating to terrorist demands is based on the assumption that capitulation just encourages more terrorism (because if something works, then people wil continue doing it). I think that’s a pretty sound theory, and I think its worth considering how terrorist organizations might perceive the act because I’d prefer that they didn’t come away from the whole thing thinking “That was really effective.”

I disagree. Terroism doesn’t need encouraging, it’s going to happen anyway just because evil western nations exist. True, giving in might encourage more, not giving in might not directly encourage more, but something else would. Again, I believe it’s irrelevant how they perceive a single act. Either it’s affective and they get encouraged or it fails and they try another angle. Either way, they continue to act.

My personal belief is that terrorists can’t truly win. I can’t think of a situation where the terrorists completely achieve their goals (and what are they to be exact?). Even if they manage to nuke an entire city, they still don’t win enough to stop. So for me, there’s no point in approaching this from a win/lose perspective. In all honesty, I believe just do your best to contain them until you can kill them all (then get the ones that spring up to replace them in a neverending cycle).