From The Australian, with thanks to Stevez, Jean-Luc and Nicolei, a call not to react to the Madrid bombings the way the Spanish people did — like dhimmis:
THE terrorist murders in Madrid have but one message for all Australians: we must stand firm against those who wish us harm for no reason other than their hatred for our way of life. It now seems likely the Madrid bombs were the work of Islamic terrorists linked to Osama bin Laden and his al-Qa’ida terror network. As Prime Minister John Howard has warned, there is every reason to fear these madmen will try to kill Australians, either at home or abroad. It is a danger we must confront. There is no other path that would end the terrorists’ dream of slaughter.
Those who say we have brought the threat upon ourselves, and that renouncing the war against Saddam Hussein and abandoning the US alliance would take us off the target list, ignore the lessons of history, and defy commonsense. Such arguments are directly descended from those of the European appeasers in the 1930s, who were willing to give Nazi Germany whatever it wanted as the price of peace. But bullies feed off fear, and for the three years before World War II every concession by France and Britain only generated another demand for more territory or changes to treaty terms. The appeasers were doomed to fail in the face of their foes’ contempt for their very reasonableness. As Winston Churchill put it in 1940, “an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile hoping it will eat him last”. We face a similar situation today. Hitler dreamed of European dominion and of slaughtering millions of ordinary people – Jews, Gypsies and Slavs – on the basis of a grotesquery of ignorance and hate. For Australia to seek peace in our time by pandering to the similar objectives of Osama bin laden and his confederates would be treason to our foundation ideals of democracy and equality.
And why are those who say we have created this threat so wrongheaded? In the first place, even if the terrorists were to target us because we helped liberate Iraq, that would not make our decision wrong. And second, the line of reasoning that says Spain was targeted because of its role in the coalition of the willing, and hence we will also be targeted, is flawed at every step. We were already targeted – in Bali – months before the Iraq invasion. And as the comments of the Bali bombers made clear, that was because of who we are, not because of anything we have done. Values such as secularism, equal rights for women and even allowing the consumption of alcohol simply make us unfit to live in the eyes of the Islamofascists. Which of these values would the appeasers have us sacrifice first, when abandoning the US alliance – a true act of suicidal madness in any case – failed to do the trick? The brief of Mantiki 4, the branch of Jemaah Islamiah responsible for Australia, is not to change the direction of Australian foreign policy, but to incorporate Australia into the group’s messianic vision of a pan-Islamic state, spreading from Malaysia to the southern Philippines, in which values such as freedom and tolerance will simply no longer exist.
If participation in the war on terror or in the war against Saddam Hussein are now what make countries a target for terrorists, how does that explain the devastating attack on the Marriot Hotel in Jakarta last August, which killed 12 people and left another 200 injured? Most of those victims were devout Muslims, citizens of a Muslim country that fiercely opposed the Iraq invasion. Russia, like Germany and France, opposed the invasion of Iraq, but that did not help the 39 commuters killed by a bomb on the Moscow subway last month, an act also linked to al-Qa’ida. Among international institutions, none threw more obstacles in the way of the Iraq invasion than the United Nations, but that did not save Sergio Vieira de Mello, the veteran UN official, or the 16 others killed last August when the UN headquarters in Baghdad was bombed.
In Turkey, another Muslim country, a bomb in November killed dozens of innocents. Critics of US policy will say that is because Turkey allowed its air-bases to be used in the invasion of Iraq, but just how far do they want to lower the bar of what is permissible for a country before it is targeted? Even Saudi Arabia, the origin and stronghold of the strain of Wahabbist Islam practised by Osama bin Laden, and a country with intricate links to the September 11 terrorists, did not meet the required standard: a series of co-ordinated suicide bombings in Riyadh last May slaughtered dozens.
Nor is there any reason to believe Madrid was bombed last week solely because of Iraq or the war on terror. Spain did not even participate in the invasion of Iraq: it is one of 30 nations that have sent troops since the war ended. The fundamentalists’ argument with Spain is far crazier. In October 2001, a videotape by Osama bin Laden broadcast on the Al-Jazeera network began as follows: “Let the whole world know we shall never accept that the tragedy of Andalusia will be repeated in Palestine. We cannot accept that Palestine will become Jewish.” In other words, bin Laden has still not forgiven Spain for turning back the tide of Muslim expansion in 1492. The hardline Islamist program, in all its raging madness, is to throw into reverse every historical event that has resulted in a Muslim country becoming a non-Muslim country, or even resulted in non-Muslim troops being stationed on Muslim soil. There can be no reasoning, no compromising with such a vision. because, far from being a rational political program, it is not even a fanatical ideology: it is a millenarian religious doctrine which believes that through vicious and random violence it can wind the world back to the Middle Ages.
Because such a doctrine can never fulfil its aims, but is nevertheless being prosecuted by murderers who believe they will go straight to heaven if martyred in its service, appeasement is a fatal mistake and can only result in more bombs. Sunday’s election result in Spain can be read in many ways, including some that have nothing to do with appeasement. For example, voters were clearly and understandably unhappy that the conservative government rushed to blame Basque separatists before any hard evidence was in. One grave danger in the result, however, is that it will be read as a success by the terrorists: “We bombed the Spanish government out of power.” Another danger is that, throughout the West, political opportunists on the far Left or far Right may take the Spanish example as a cue to ramp up their campaign to blame terror on the very leaders who have taken a strong stand against it, such as Tony Blair, George W. Bush and John Howard. This will also provide great solace and hope to the suicide bombers-in-waiting.
We have no option then but to stand firm against our enemies and accept that the risk of a terror attack in Australia is a fact of life, just as the people of London, Moscow, New York and Tel Aviv have done for years. The grim reality is that Madrid’s fate can be ours. But while there is no price we can pay that will buy peace, this does not mean we are defenceless. We need a bipartisan approach to national security. Labor must support any further legislation that strengthens the ability of the police and security services to hold and question suspects. As international terror expert Rohan Gunaratna warned yesterday, the fact that the local head of JI left Australia legally a week after the Bali bombing demonstrates the need for tougher laws to restrict the movement of suspected terrorists and their confederates. And we must increase the resources we devote to defeating terrorists so they do not have a chance to strike. The only thing that can protect us from terrorism is our vigilance and understanding that we are at war with an enemy as remorseless as it is irrational.