Spanish Pullout ‘Would Send A Terrible Message’ Wolfowitz Says
By Gerry J. Gilmore
of Spanish troops from Iraq would encourage global terrorists that
their strategy of violence and mayhem is working to undercut U.S.-coalition
resolve, DoD’s No. 2 official recently noted on cable news shows
of people gather in a main square of Valencia, Spain, Friday
March 12, 2004, during a demonstration to protest the bomb
attacks on trains in the Spanish capital Madrid on Thursday
that killed nearly 200 people and injured another 1,400.
Ferrer / AP
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has vowed
he would pull out the 1,300 Spanish soldiers in Iraq by the June
30 transfer of sovereignty, unless the U.N. assumes authority
in the war-torn country.
send a terrible message to terrorists if they think that, by killing
innocent civilians, particularly on the eve of a democratic election,
that they can make us cut and run," Deputy Defense Secretary
Paul D. Wolfowitz told CNN correspondent John King March 16.
Al Qaeda operatives
are suspected of having committed the March 11 bombings of Madrid
commuter trains that killed more than 200 people and wounded more
than 1,500. The attack, which occurred on the eve of general elections,
is thought to have influenced the Spanish electorate to vote out
a government that was a strong ally of U.S.-coalition efforts
pointed out to King that U.S.-coalition resolve to defeat global
terrorism didn’t wane in spite of past terror attacks on the United
States, Indonesia and Turkey.
Wolfowitz asserted, "are failing in Iraq," adding, "I
hope they don’t succeed in Spain."
A new U.N.
resolution that would aid current efforts to establish democracy
in Iraq "could be very helpful," Wolfowitz remarked.
"One of the things it would do is to make clear that for
some period of time, the security of Iraq is in the hands of a
States, he said to King, "is very committed" to have
the June 30 transfer of sovereignty from the Coalition Provisional
Authority to the interim Iraqi government occur on schedule.
praised Spain’s contributions in Iraq and in the overall war on
terrorism during a March 15 interview with Fox News Channel journalist
Sean Hannity. Spain, the deputy defense secretary noted, "has
been a real standup country, and I suppose maybe that’s one of
the reasons they came under attack."
Zapatero has used words like "fiasco" to describe the
nearly yearlong U.S.-coalition occupation of Iraq. Wolfowitz said
he hopes Spanish troops will stay in Iraq, noting he disagrees
"very strongly" with Zapatero’s assessment of the situation.
didn’t support last year’s U.S.-coalition military campaign that
deposed Saddam Hussein. However, "even if people think the
war was wrong, I don’t see how they could possibly think that
letting the terrorists and the killers who are on the loose in
Iraq succeed could possibly be a good thing," Wolfowitz concluded.