Monday, March 15, 2004
So a reasonably competent and popular European government has been toppled because the population view it as having taken unnecesary risks with their safety. On the back of Gerhard Schroeder's otherwise undeserved victory in Germany on the back of his opposition to the war it is becoming clear that playing America's hunting dog is a vote losing proposition. Of course we can rely on Michael Howard to ignore this obvious fact.
However we are now hearing siren voices on the right saying that the Spanish electorate were unwise as the Islamic hordes will be out to get them. Are they right?
What matters is why Al-Qaeda bombed Madrid. As far as we know the video sent by Al Qaeda is genuine and the reasons given, as reported by the BBC was this:
In the video, a man speaking Arabic with a Moroccan accent says the attacks were revenge for Spain's "collaboration with the criminals Bush and his allies", the government said.
The reason given was clear, Spanish support of the Yanks and not a distaste for Western culture in general. In a similar vein Al Qaeda has constantly linked it's campaign against America to America's activities in the Middle East - notably propping up the Israeli and Saudi regimes and American activities in Iraq. Sure they think that we're a load of corrupt atheist farts, but that is not the reason they give in their addresses for bombing us.
I'm afraid that one has to accept that these people are horribly rational and that they have certain fixed aims, to take over currently Sunni countries starting with Saudi. They do recognise that they have to prioritise their targets and husband their scarce resources.
The answer is of course to treat terrorism as a domestic concern, to step up spying on domestic Muslims and to stop dead further Muslim immigration. Any exploits in the Middle East are not going to handicap Islamic terrorism, and are going to increase the risk to British subjects.
Of course the survival of Israel or the House of Saud, or the importance of always being at America's side may be worth this increased risk - in much the same way as the wishes of the Basque or Ulster population is worth the risk of terrorism from ultra-nationalists in these areas. The Spanish people judged that this was not the case.
Would the British if given a choice? You can bet they won't be asked.
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