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Spain proves NATO is not the right tool

Reader comment on item: NATO Fights the Jihadis

Submitted by Pat (United States), Oct 3, 2006 at 10:25

It's ironic that Prime Minister Aznar is the one calling for NATO to fight the jihadis, given what happened in Madrid as a direct result of his putting Spanish troops in Iraq. Just days before an election, the Spanish people looked at bombed out trains and then the Aznar government was defeated and the new PM withdrew Spain's troops from Iraq.

A report put out by the Spanish police pointed to threats made by Ayman al-Zawahiri to attack countries that joined the US-led coalition in Iraq. The report stressed that the alleged perpetrators of the attacks in Madrid had looked at a document on the "Global Islamic media" internet site which suggested which targets to attack in order to "provoke a change in government" or to "obtain a withdrawal of the Spanish troops in Iraq".

They succeeded on both counts. If Spain, already a NATO country, could withdraw its troops in response to a terror attack, then of what value is any alliance devoted to fighting terrorism? Why shouldn't we believe that any country that is threatened or attacked won't get cold feet? Given its past behavior, why should Americans trust India will be a stalwart supporter in any alliance?

The day after the Spanish election, President Jacques Chirac of France and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany met and reiterated the continental European point of view that the war on terrorism had to be fought not with just brute military strength but with more attention to the roots of the violence. Both leaders referred to the poverty, oppression, and despair brought on by Western-backed Middle East regimes, ignoring the fact that the US under President Clinton spent the better part of eight years dealing with what was supposedly THE root cause: the Israeli "occupation" of Palestine. What good did it do?

We don't need a new or expanded alliance to fight Islamic jihadism. Countries that want to help in the fight against jihadists shouldn't need an invitation. They are welcome to join anytime. The problem with countries such as India is that they won't commit. They've had more than five years to voice their support and lend aid, but they've refused to do so. When current NATO members are unwilling to join the fight or are ready to run when the going gets tough, why should we believe countries like India will be any more supportive as NATO members?

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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