March 25, 2004

Terrorists Won in Spain

This is from March 19, 04, but worth looking at, anyway. Imagine the terrorists' chortles of glee
Marcus Gee, Mar. 19, 04

This is a fateful moment for the world's democracies. The question before us could not be plainer. Do we stand together against the mortal threat posed by Islamic totalitarianism and terror? Or do we allow these murderers to divide and defeat us?
For that is quite obviously their strategy: divide and conquer. If the events of the past week are anything to go by, it is working.

The commuter-train attacks in Madrid have succeeded beyond the terrorists' fondest hopes. Not only did they cause shocking bloodshed -- 202 dead as of yesterday, tying the toll of the Bali bombings in 2002 -- they also toppled their first government.
Out went the conservative Popular Party of Jose Maria Aznar, a staunch foe of terrorism who was blamed by voters for dragging Spain into the Iraq conflict and misleading them about the identity of the Madrid attackers.

In came Socialist Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero, who may become the first Western leader to owe his election directly to al-Qaeda.

Imagine the chortles of glee in the terrorist camp when Mr. Zapatero immediately repeated his campaign pledge to pull Spain's 1,300 troops out of Iraq by June 30 unless the United Nations takes over.

Imagine the grins and nods when he declared yesterday that the postwar occupation of Iraq is a "fiasco," and urged Americans to get rid of President George W. Bush. That was precisely what the terrorists wanted, and Mr. Zapatero handed it to them on a platter.

For months now, they have been working to break apart the coalition that is striving to stabilize and rebuild Iraq.

That is why they attacked the Red Cross and the United Nations in Baghdad. That is why they have murdered Italian policemen and Japanese diplomats and Spanish intelligence agents. That is why they attacked British targets in Istanbul, too.
One by one, the members of the U.S.-led coalition have felt their sting.

[. . . .] Whatever Mr. Zapatero and his ilk may believe about the rights and wrongs of overthrowing Saddam Hussein in the first place, it is clear that if the extremists manage to break up the coalition and drive out the Americans before Iraq is ready to govern itself, they will have scored a historic victory.

It is just as clear that if the Americans and their allies succeed in planting a representative government in Iraq, the extremists will have suffered a loss that could turn the tide in the whole Arab world against them.

Al-Qaeda clearly grasps what is at stake. It is time the democracies understood, too. To beat terrorism, we have to win in Iraq. And to win in Iraq, we have to stay united when the bombs go off. There is no other way.


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