You tell ’em, Prime …
You tell ’em, Prime Minister.

Prime Minister John Howard has condemned Spain’s decision to pull its troops out of Iraq, saying it would encourage further terrorism in the country.

Mr Howard said Spain’s decision was wrong and would not change Australia’s determination to help rebuild Iraq.

He brushed aside suggestions Australian troops might be sent to fill the gap. “Spain’s decision will give heart to those people who are trying to delay the emergence of a free and democratic Iraq,” he said at Traralgon in eastern Victoria.

“Every time a country appears to be retreating from a difficult situation, encouragement is given to those people who have created the difficulty.”

Exactly as I’ve said, and that encouragement makes it more dangerous for those that stay. We don’t need to embolden terrorists, we need to defeat them. Turning tail and running is not the way you win a war against people like these, who live for instilling fear to get their way.

But [Spanish Ambassador to Australia] Mr [Jose] Baranano said Prime Minister Zapatero would not change his mind. “He would be supporting any other ways to help, stability, democratisation, territorial integrity and reconstruction in Iraq,” he said.

“Spain is absolutely committed in the fight against terrorism in the world.

“But this is independent of being part of the coalition.”

How do can you support the withdrawal of troops in direct response to terrorism, and then go on to say you’re “absolutely committed in the fight against terrorism in the world”? How can you hand terrorists a major victory, then turn around and claim to be fighting them?

These are mutually exclusive choices.

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