Liz Logan provided me with a site that tells just how much that war in Iraq is costing you, the American taxpayers. I'd say international here, but who are we fooling? It's not really an 'international' coalition, no matter how much the current administration wants to paint it that way; one figure I found shows the American presence to be around 140,000 troops, with other nations contributing 23,000 soldiers. (Other figures estimate the Americans at 135,000). The Spanish troops number around 1,500. That's less than one percent. The Hondurans, God bless them, are even less than that at 350; but one could argue that at least they showed up to contribute and see what happened -- now they are going home.
Regardless of the monetary cost or the number of troops each country has contributed to the occupation, the human cost is way too high for what we are accomplishing over there and because of that, I can say that the loss of life is senseless. I point to the Madrid bombings last month and the subsequent withdrawal of the Spanish from Iraq as a prime example. Two hundred people died on March 11 in Madrid in what is probably the work of Al-Qaeda and in response to Spain's staunch support of the Americans in Iraq. By withdrawing now, Spain has shown terrorists that yes, terrorism does work. The time for Spain to withdraw was months ago, before March 11, when the pulse of the population was against the war.
A country cannot give way to the murderers of 200 people, and if anything, Spain should have been more resolute to stay. I'm saying this with a grain of salt -- I never believed Iraq was a prime breeding ground for Al-Qaeda prior to the war compared to other countries (Hello, Saudi Arabia!), but I certainly believe it is now. If this international war on terrorism is to be won, it requires devotion and dedication from all parties involved; giving in to the terrorists means now means Al-Qaeda has won one more battle; let's hope they don't win the war.
You can now add the 200 dead in Madrid to the list of war casualities, as well as Iraqi civillians, at least one hostage, and of course, our brave coalition troops -- bless all of them, whatever country they come from.