JOSE Maria Aznar, the Spanish Prime Minister, was wrong to give the U.S. permission to use their Spanish bases for any attack on Iraq, because he risks a major backlash in his own country and he is already being labelled as another “Bush puppet.” There is major anti-war sentiment across Spain and Aznar should have thought long and hard before giving his full backing. It would have been better if he had waited until the United Nations weapons inspectors had given their report before he took any decision. Now, Spain is firmly part of the “Bush coalition” while the rest of the world is saying wait and see. Aznar told parliament a month ago; who do you trust Saddam Hussein or George W. Bush? While the answer for the Spanish PM was clear the same cannot be said for the Spanish population who looked upon Bush with distaste. Spain is a key ally to the United States and Aznar has made this quite clear. There is a real danger that the Prime Minister will suffer as a result of his pro-Bush stance in the same way as he suffered with his pro-Blair stance at the height over the incident involving the cripped Royal Navy submarine and Gibraltar. Caution should be the by-word at the moment. Iraq is alot nearer to Spain than the United States and you can see why many people are appalled and alarmed at Aznar's antics. His decision will have important consequences and it drags Spain firmly into the spotlight. It was a brave decision but telling Bush to wait would have been braver still and probably more in tune with how the rest of the country is thinking.

Jason Moore

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