The current right-wing spin point is to claim that Spain’s decision to withdraw from Iraq constitutes “appeasement” and “a victory for terrorism.”
This, as with most right-wing spin points, is not only inaccurate but is directly in the teeth of the facts.
Spain and Europe don’t want to stop fighting terrorism.
They think it's about time we started.
Or, as John Kerry said, " I don't fault George Bush for doing too much on the war on terror. I believe he's done too little. Where's he's acted, his doctrine of unilateral pre-emption has driven away our allies and cost us the support and critical cooperation of other nations. Iraq is in disarray with American troops still bogged down with no exit in sight."
Most of the world - Spain included - recognizes that the war in Iraq was not part of a war on terrorism, but was a personal vendetta that took attention AWAY from fighting terrorism.
Now, you may think that's far-fetched, but all you have to do is listen to what Zapatero (the just elected Spanish President), actually SAID, instead of what the right-wingers claim that he is thinking:
"Fighting terrorism with bombs ... with Tomahawk missiles, isn't the way to defeat terrorism. ..."Terrorism is combatted by the state of law.
"They [terrorists] will not have a moment of rest."
"I am planning...to finish off terrorism."
Sounds REAL soft on terrorism, doesn't it?
To the Bushies, of course, what Zapatero is saying is exactly the message that they don’t want to hear: the message that the best way to combat terrorism is NOT by endless warfare. The message that our military action in Iraq was NOT about terrorism. Statements like that are statements that the Bush administration wants to silence and quell, at all costs.
Therefore, they are going after Zapatero using the strategy of an American political campaign: they are trying to define him before he defines himself.
And part of that strategy includes using the press to disseminate the message.
Adding to the Bush's sense of urgency is the fact that Zapatero has openly endorsed Kerry, according to the International Herald Tribune:
"We're aligning ourselves with Kerry. Our allegiance will be for peace, against war, no more deaths for oil, and for a dialogue between the government of Spain and the new Kerry administration."
Look for the Bushies to spend an enormous amount of energy attempting to negatively define Zapatero, and, if they succeed, to use Zapatero as a bludgeon with which to beat Kerry.
What should Kerry do?
This cartoon from Political Strikes is right on the money:
Bush will try to use any perceived foreign support for Kerry to stoke the flames of xenophobia.
But that is a weapon that can EASILY be turned against Bush. Alienating the entire world is NOT a positive, and the Democrats should say so. Loud and clear. Again and again.