Will right-wing radio screamers now call for a boycott of Spanish olives?
So now that the Spanish people have spoken, voting out of office the party that led them to war in Iraq, will President Bush give the back of the hand to Spain, as he did last year to our democratic allies in Germany and France? Since Spaniards have decided that invading Iraq under an Anglo-American banner has made them tragically less safe and voted to break with the American diktat, will right-wing radio screamers now call for a boycott of Spanish olives?
The Spanish people, like most of the world, knew all along that the Bush policy of preemptive war against Iraq, which had nothing to do with the terrorist attack of 9/11, was all wrong, but their craven leaders were browbeaten by Bush to ignore their own constituents and instead join the farcically named “coalition of the willing.”
Upward of 90 percent of the Spanish public had told pollsters that the invasion of Iraq was an irrational response to 9/11, but their good sense was betrayed by the ruling party. In his first statement as the prime minister-elect of Spain, Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero declared his intention to extract Spanish troops from Iraq, stating the obvious: “The war in Iraq was a disaster. The occupation of Iraq is a disaster.”
Before reflexive Europe bashers rush to toss Spain into their bulging “coward” bin, they should remember that the Spanish, like our German and French critics, did not come to this position because they lacked a will to fight terrorism. In fact, they speak from much raw and painful experience as colonial powers. As Rodriguez Zapatero put it, “Wars such as those which have occurred in Iraq only allow hatred, violence and terror to proliferate.”
That is the most serious charge that can be leveled at the Bush foreign policy, which has weakened our security as well as that of the rest of the world. Instead of facing up to the threat posed by Islamic extremists and their sponsors and apologists in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the United States sent 200,000 young Americans to overthrow an already defanged dictator in Iraq — a secular nationalist who was himself high on Osama bin Laden’s hit lists — leaving the United States bogged down in a state of near-total disarray and chaos.
What Bush has never grasped is that when it comes to fighting terrorists, the United States’ democratic allies are in an excellent position to be mentors. They have a much better understanding of the Muslim world, for example, and have better intelligence assets there. Yet the hawks in the administration continue to belittle democracies when they dare to disagree with us while embracing military dictators who pretend to do our bidding.
To give just one egregious example of the lack of logic, clarity of goals or consistent methodology in Bush’s version of the war on terror: Before 9/11, the United States had wisely imposed sanctions on Pakistan for being an active proliferator of nuclear weapons technology. Yet, after the attacks, Bush lifted those sanctions to buy Pakistan’s nominal support for coming wars. In recent weeks, however, we have learned that Pakistan’s role in nuclear proliferation was our nation’s worst nightmare: It was selling kits for making uranium-based bombs to such rogue nations as North Korea, Iran and Libya.
Throughout the three years of this Bush administration, foreign policy has degenerated into a deadly incoherence of purpose. The United States undermined the democratically elected leaders of Haiti and Venezuela while continuing to reward any dictator who paid homage to Bush’s lies.
Enough! It is high time for the president to return to the wisdom of his father and rid his administration of the unilateralist adventurers who have left this nation isolated from world opinion, ensnared in the foreign entanglements that George Washington warned us about.
Failing such a sharp reversal, even the elder Bush’s top advisors and other moderate Republicans might find it difficult, in the privacy of the polling booth, to not vote for John Kerry.
Robert Scheer is a syndicated columnist. More Robert Scheer.
More Related Stories
- If Alex Pareene was a cable news executive...
- Portland's senseless war on fluoride
- Graphic video reportedly shows possible London machete attack suspect
- What economists get wrong about the jobs crisis
- Ted Cruz: "I don't trust the Republicans"
- Pa. governor "can't find" any Latinos to work in his administration
- Glenn Beck: "The American people have just been raped"
- "Original Coca-Cola had a very small amount of cocaine"
- Corporations accused of wrongdoing win battle to keep identities secret
- Weak, incompetent Democrats blow another one
- Lois Lerner, IRS disaster
- Cyber attacks could cause the next world war
- Donald Rumsfeld worried that marriage equality will lead to polygamy
- Experts: Fox News spying scandal a game-changer
- Biden cracks Obama teleprompter joke
- IRS official takes the Fifth: "I have not done anything wrong"
- Lessons from Lincoln leave gay immigrants behind
- Los Angeles elects first Jewish mayor
- Peter King: There's "hypocrisy" over aid by Oklahoma senators
- Anthony Weiner announces run for NYC mayor
- How policy nihilists in the Senate doomed LGBT immigrants
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11