A year after the war on Iraq:Spaniards teach a lesson [Archives:2004/721/Viewpoint]

March 18 2004

The Spanish people have taught us all a lesson in the last elections when they have chosen a new Prime Minister to take over the government and to change the way the country has been run, especially in foreign affairs.
Spaniards conveyed a message of anger and frustration towards the former government of Jose Maria Aznar for holding on to a very unpopular stance. According to polls in Spain, the public wanted to state a clear message that Spain was better off not in the war on Iraq because as they said, they believed Spain had no purpose to or benefit from being there except to satisfy the US government.
Some have criticized the election results by saying that it was a victory for al-Qaeda, which is increasingly being viewed as the perpetrator of the attack. Those critics have suggested that if the attack was never carried out, the results would have been totally different.
The USA is now in a tough situation, especially as other elections are also on the horizon in other European allies, who composed the majority of US-support in the war, and fear is now mounting of the possibility of losing then one after another if elections take place in them.
The lesson that one should learn from all this is that governments should always think about their own people's opinion on international as well as local issues and should not sacrifice their people's choice for other narrow interests, or else they will be putting themselves in the position Aznar has put his government in.
The fact to admit here is that no matter what happens in Iraq one year after the war started; there can be no reasonable justification for it. People have come to realize that the weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are closer to a myth than a reality, and many have come to believe that the USA had other agendas in the region besides ridding Saddam of his alleged WMDs.
What we need to do now is to learn from the Spanish experience and the results that have shocked the world, especially the governments that supported the US war and sent troops to Iraq. This could serve as a basis for a possible collapse of the US pro-war alliance, unless other substantial developments take place.
The Spanish people have proven that their will and determination can change the policy of their country, whose former government failed to meet their expectations, and hence failed to win their trust for another term.
This could be a turning point in the occupation of Iraq, and who knows, may be a beginning of a series of collapse for many other pro-war regimes.