Spain and Iraq, Four Years On

Former Prime Minister Aznar dragged Spain into a war of aggression by the United States and the United Kingdom against Iraq. Shortly afterwards, his political party lost the elections thanks to Spain’s illegal and damaging behaviour. But the final account has yet to be squared.

Hundreds of thousands of dead, millions of refugees, a country wiped out over four years (and counting) demand that the Azores photo-op be repeated, but this time with the same actors in the dock before a tribunal for crimes against humanity.

Prime Minister Zapatero helped Spain avoid the moral collapse and political and military failure that the United States has sought out in Iraq. In better keeping with its international weight and with the old tactic of lighting one candle for God and another for the devil, he abandoned his predecessor’s imperialist dream and limited himself to proposing to the world an alliance of civilizations–while sending troops to Afghanistan and Lebanon.

The proposal was withered before it was born. It is a mystery why his advisers go on drawing salary despite failing to let him know that a billion Muslims are in no mood to listen to his conciliatory words when Judaeo-Christian bombs kill their children daily as they head for school. Nor have speeches on international peace and aid to the affected peoples helped the troops protect themselves against the attacks to which they are subject from those very peoples.

Mr Zapatero is in fact more agreeable than Mr Aznar. Unfortunately, the days are gone when Europeans could dole out glass necklaces and a Bible to the inferior races while they stole their riches and turned them into slaves. Bad luck. You did try. But Westerners can no longer do what they like with the disinherited of the earth, with or without UN authorization, mostly because that organization no longer enjoys credibility with them.

Please, don’t misunderstand me, nor abandon your gifts as a communicator. You are going to need them. Europe’s Presidents now have to explain to their citizens that their armies and multinational businesses have been killing, despoiling and destroying Arab and Muslim countries for years, both directly and also via their support for Israel in its genocide against the Palestinians.

Those citizens have been deceived, something that cannot go on cost-free for ever. Some few individuals, outraged at this unwanted imperialist policy, apparently handed down from God to Bush, chief of the crusader armies, are opening people’s eyes via bombings. It could hardly be any other way : who lives by the sword dies by it.

Things are not going well and could turn much worse, but perhaps it may be possible to learn something: each attack hands back to the imperialists their own earlier attacks and humanizes the aggressors by making them suffer the same grief as their victims. Were it not for that vengeance, the West would go on producing victims indefinitely. That is what the endless war on terror brings.

AGUSTIN VELLOSO is a lecturer at the Spanish National University for Distance Learning. He can be reached at:

translation copyleft by Tortilla Con Sal