LGF has up a translation of an editorial by former Spanish prime minister Jose Maria Aznar:
THE WAY TO FIGHT TERRORISM IS TO KEEP OUR GUARD UP
by Jose Maria Aznar
When faced with an act of extreme cruelty such as the one perpetrated in London on the 7th of July just past, the first thing to do is to care for the victims. Nothing can justify ?- still less rationalize ?- the pain and destruction that have been caused. And it is equally ridiculous to second-guess the decision recently taken in Singapore to give the 2012 Olympic games to London, or the decision to hold the G8 summit in Scotland, where it was in progress on the day of the attacks. Any pretext is good enough for Bin Laden to strike at us however he chooses ?- or rather, whenever he can ?- and we have, alas, more than one piece of proof. Obviously, the London attacks have recalled to my mind those that we Spaniards suffered on March 11, 2004, in Madrid: bombs exploding simultaneously in the public-transportation system, home-grown terrorists, scores of dead and hundreds of wounded ?- unspeakable emotional trauma, followed by endless recrimination and theorizing. But all this notwithstanding, in spite of all the suffering and pain, I am optimistic about this conflict?s ultimate outcome. There is no alternative to victory over terrorism. I will go farther: even with the horror of London before my eyes, I sincerely believe that we are already winning the war against the followers of Bin Laden.
To begin with, if our objective is total victory over terrorism, we must first understand what sort of people we have to deal with. The adversary who stands before us is an enemy who has declared war on us: very simply, he has declared it and he has acted on his declaration. Just like Adolph Hitler in his day, Bin Laden has written and repeated very clearly what his objectives are and what his vision is for the world: a theocracy capable of bringing about the restoration of the Caliphate and imposing Koranic law from Al-Andalus (the name the Arabs gave to the Iberian Peninsula in the long period of their dominance), all the way to the Philippine Islands. Bin Laden hates everything that is Western, not only for historical reasons but also for what he sees in the West: a civilization which promotes prosperity over poverty and equality over injustice; a civilization which, in the place of intolerance, advances the ideals of religious pluralism and the separation of Church and State. He hates us, in essence, because of what we are. It is irrelevant, therefore, to connect the London bombings with any other concrete action or event. Islamic terror operates on a very different set of motivations in determining when and how it will strike. Whether we like it or not, the fact is that Al Qaeda is at war with us. And in time of war, one must necessarily change one?s mindset.
There are two main points to come out of the London bombings: the first is that although we are aware that we are at war, the vulnerability of all our Western societies remains extremely high, since they are, by nature, open societies. Stopping a suicide-bomber is practically an impossible task if it is attempted at the last minute ? the usual time-frame in which police operations are carried out. Islamic terror is not exclusively a police problem: it reaches into areas well beyond the realm of policing on account of its roots, its resources, its strategies and its objectives. For this reason, it is entirely useless to think that it can be eliminated by the forces of civil order alone. On the contrary, the events of London, like those of Madrid and of New York before them, underscore the necessity of taking action long before the terrorists have decided on blowing themselves up and gotten themselves ready to do so. Moreover, action of this kind must be carried out in places thousands of miles from where we live. Terror knows no frontiers, so the fight against the terrorists must be carried out on a global scale and in a preventive manner. The second point may appear paradoxical, though it is, in fact, not so. The London attacks give the impression that Islamic terror is weaker today than it was, say, one year ago (just to name a date). It is true that the terrorists succeeded in striking a city which had begun to protect itself as of several months ago, knowing that it was one of the fundamentalists? primary targets. It is also true that although other attacks had been foiled in the past, this time no one was able to stop the terrorists, a fact that demonstrates that passive defense is plainly inadequate as protection. That said, it must be recognized that the London attacks have lost the element of strategic surprise so evident on that infamous Eleventh of September, [though] it is highly possible that they may prove just as deadly as those of the Eleventh of March. This is not because the terrorists aren?t interested in topping their previous accomplishments. If Bin Laden hopes to go on being seen as the supreme role-model for his coreligionists, he must be capable of inflicting ever-heavier physical and moral damage upon us. This is the logic that was born out of the events of September 11. Since that time, he has scored tactical victories ?- the March 11 bombings and the change of government in Spain ?- but he is losing the war. Today he does not have the capacity to mount another September 11, neither in terms of strategic surprise nor, most likely, in terms of physical destruction. And there is another thing to be stated very clearly: if Al Qaeda, in spite of recent events, still is weaker today than it was in the past, this fact is due to the aggressive action and constant pressure applied by the United States with the cooperation of the international coalition in places as remote as Afghanistan, the Philippines, Mauritania, and Iraq. Yes, Iraq. The activities of intelligence agents, soldiers, and special forces have substantially reduced the ability of Bin Laden?s men to plan and carry out new attacks. Without a doubt, Al Qaeda is weaker today because it has not left us waiting for a new strike. [The war in] Iraq [as a justification for the London attacks] is a pretext that has nothing to do with the agenda of Al Qaeda, except for the fact that the arrival of democracy in that land must constitute a heavy blow to the [Al Qaeda] organization. For this reason, it is absolutely imperative that the coalition forces bring the work they have begun to a successful conclusion. To leave Iraq before this occurs would be to commit an exceedingly grave strategic error.
The truly worrying aspect of the London strike, something it has in common with Madrid, is the use for these terrorist attacks of agents already in place within our societies. While it is evident that not all Muslims living among us are terrorists, nevertheless, to pursue an immigration policy that amounts to a wide-open door in its practical effect is, in light of very recent events, irresponsible. Terrorism succeeds when it understands that through its violent acts it has broken the will of individual citizens. I have already stated that we are at war with Bin Laden, and anyone who refuses to see it, preferring to negotiate and make pacts with terror, does nothing else but make more terror a certainty. To surrender without a fight can only cause the deaths of more victims, because terrorism gives no quarter. Islamic terrorism does not want a dialogue of civilizations, because its only goal is to impose its own on ours. Let?s not forget it.
Jose Maria Aznar
translated from the Italian in Il Messaggero (online) of 16 July 2005.
What idiots the Spanish were to let this guy go, instead they elected a ultra-socialist appeaser.
On a related note, there is an article in yesterdays Spectator that details a interview with Jose Aznar:
By coincidence, I was in the office of Jos? Mar?a Aznar, who was prime minister of Spain until an eerily similar attack in Madrid ? multiple, co-ordinated bombs aimed at civilian rail passengers ? destroyed 191 lives on election eve in March 2004. Spanish voters were quick to conclude that Aznar?s support of the Iraq war was to blame.
No matter that he had delivered solid economic growth for eight years, balanced the budget, halved the unemployment level, kept inflation under control, devolved power to the regions, rooted out corruption and anchored Spain at the heart of Europe. Within three days of the Madrid attack Aznar had become al-Qa?eda?s most high-profile political victim. ?That was,? he says sadly, ?a terrible message for all democracies.?
It was ?scandalous, outrageous? that Spain?s socialist leader, Jos? Luis Rodr?guez Zapatero, should have blamed him for the Madrid bombings, and he cannot imagine any political leader in Britain suggesting that his friend and soulmate Tony Blair was responsible for the London attacks because of his support for military action in Iraq. Now, in the minutes after the London attack, he hopes British public opinion ?will strongly support the Prime Minister?.
Aznar recalls with obvious distaste a meeting he attended of the European Council of Ministers about two weeks after the Madrid attacks and shortly before he handed over to Zapatero. His European partners were effusive in their sympathy for, and solidarity with, Spain. But then came what he calls ?the reflection?. And, after reflecting, his partners concluded that they should ?examine the roots of terrorism ? poverty and injustice in the world?.
?That,? he says, ?was the expression of Europe. I thought it was a very serious mistake because it reflected a lack of determination to fight terrorism. So I asked them, ?What is the connection between the attacks on Madrid and poverty and injustice??? It was the terrorists, not poverty or some notion of injustice, that had caused the slaughter. But Aznar?s protests were not considered to be within ?the spirit of Europe?, and were politely turned aside. ?It was easier,? he says, ?for them to look at the sky.?
Still, he dares hope that the possible election of Atlanticists in Berlin (Angela Merkel) and in Paris (Nicolas Sarkozy) will set Europe on a pro-American, reforming trajectory which respects the integrity of its nation states, abandons the ?social model?, embraces economic reform, abides by the stability pact, halts the headlong drive towards further expansion and is less indulgent of terrorism.
Aznar reserves a special contempt for Jacques Chirac?s ambition to transform Europe into a ?counterweight? to America. Such a European model ? appeasing, pacifist, economically shackled, socially stunted, lacking self-confidence and separated from the United States ? represents everything that Aznar abhors. ?I disagree with leaders like Chirac,? he says. ?His ideas are a very big mistake for Europe.
?He and Schr?der seek a world with many centres of power. They think it is indispensable for Europe to shape her institutions, her architecture and her policy in opposition to the US. This is an old question with the French. Chirac is obsessed with the Americans. It?s ideological, a question of power. He cannot support a situation where America is so powerful.?
The problem, he says, is compounded by Europeans who ?do not know and do not defend our own values?. These values, he says, leaving no room for doubt or interpretation, are family-centred Christian values. ?For me, it is impossible to explain Europe without explaining Christian values.?
Yes, he says, Europe should open its doors to immigrants, based on a consensual, coherent policy. But respect for ?the common values in our society should not exceed the special rights demanded by immigrant communities …It?s not possible to coexist in a society with different forms of civilisation, with different rights and responsibilities.?
Nor does he have any time for the notion of an ?alliance of civilisations?, the European code for an accommodation with Islam. ?This is an enormous nonsense. Look, I had an excellent dialogue with Mohammed Khatami [the former president of Iran]. It?s one thing to have a dialogue between civilisations, but an alliance of civilisations …that?s stupid.
Wow, it’s obvious this guy was a unique European politican….something the Europeans need desperately at this point but instead they elect people such as Chirac and Zapatero.