Coward or Hero?


A lot of people are flipping this guy crap because he wants to pull Spanish troops out of Iraq. Few seem to be taking note that he wants to do it if and when June 30th rolls around and the U.N. hasn't taken military control of the situation. Most articles have concentrated on opinions circulating that Zapatero is giving in to the terrorists.

But is it "giving in to the terrorists" if...

  • 90 percent of the population of your country never wanted to go into Iraq in the first place?
  • An ally you trusted gave you inaccurate information as justification for invading Iraq?
  • You're tired of pretending that the ends (a Saddam-free Iraq) justify the means (invading under false pretenses)?

Furthermore, a lot of blogs I've been reading lately have given Zapatero flak because he has gone on record as saying that the occupation of Iraq "hasn't generated anything but more violence and hate." Some bloggers claim that since anti-war activists have been claiming that Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terror that using increased risk of terror attacks as justification for pulling out of Iraq is invalid.

I don't buy it. Remember that the Spanish went into the war with its leaders believing that Iraq did have ties to Al Qaeda. Osama bin Laden has been motivating terrorists by claiming that any western presence in the Middle East is an affront to Islam. I'm not saying this is a view that should be respected, but the following certainly holds true:

Spain may have judged the increased risk of terrorist attacks to be a justifiable one if indeed Saddam Hussein had ties to Al Qaeda. After all, that was one of the reasons given by Bush and Blair for invading in the first place. But when it was found out that Hussein didn't have such connections, the risk was taken for no good reason. Any responsible leader would realize that invading Iraq put his country at risk and that the reasons for doing so have completely changed, thus changing the value equation and making it necessary for a leader to reassess his country's commitment.

Attempt to justify the Iraq war all you want by saying that the "coalition of the willing" liberated the Iraqi people from a ruthless dictator. That was not the reason we were given for the invasion going into it. And any government that committed support to the invasion has a right to reassess those commitments in light of the fact that moral choices were made based on faulty information.