Spain and War Analogies

I had a debate with a friend of mine the other night about the wisdom of Spain’s decision to pull out its troops. I was defending the new spanish government’s decision and she was saying it was a disaster. So she pointed me to Tom Friedman’s column where he makes her argument, as my friend put it “more elegantly”.

I like Friedman and usually agree with him. But something doesn’t feel right about this one where he uses a bunch of WWII analogies. The spanish people were lied to by their government, pulled into a war with an enemy they didn’t want to fight, and now have elected a government that is doing what they want. That’s democracy.

Jeff Jarvis has a good debate going on over at Buzzmachine (read the comments) on this Friedman article that is worth browsing as well.

I think the problem with the war in Iraq is that the world didn’t and doesn’t support it. Our current government never learned the lessons of another war, Vietnam, which was that you can’t go fight an invisible enemy in a hostile land thousands of miles from home, do nation building, etc, without the support of a significant part of the world with you. I recommend the movie Fog of War to anyone interested in learning the lessons of Vietnam.

If we had continued to fight terrorism straight up, instead of trying to settle old scores in a part of the world that wasn’t the center of terrorism (but is now), then i think we would have had the support of the world in that war. But our current government didn’t do that and screwed up the whole post 9/11 coalition against terrorism. And spain’s decision is just the most recent sign of that screw up.

That’s my feeling on the matter and hopefully i’ve stated it more elegantly here than i could to my friend the other night.