- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 20, 2004

How is it a people as honorable as those of Spain can suffer a dastardly attack and three days later vote for capitulation to the terrorists responsible?

Homicide bombings occurred in Madrid last week, killing more than 200 innocent Spaniards. Al Qaeda announced responsibility for the bombings and said it was done because of Spain’s participation in the occupation of Iraq.

On Sunday, the people of Spain reversed political course, voting the ruling Popular Party out of office. The election results were barely 12 hours old when new Spanish Prime Minister-elect Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero announced he would bring the troops home from Iraq by June 30.

Sunday’s vote in Spain, and the intent of the prime minister-elect are attempts to appease the terrorists. The message they send to the terrorists is “we mean you no harm.”

How is it appeasers always think unilateral action on their part will elicit cooperation by all, even killers? These are the same people who protested the war in Iraq, acting as human shields in some cases, and before that the war in Afghanistan.

They have consistently condemned the actions of the U.S., which was attacked without provocation on September 11, 2001, but turn a blind eye to the thugs and murderers who attack innocents and brutalize populations. Had it been left to the appeasers, Iraq and Afghanistan would suffer still at the hands of their former regimes.

Mr. Zapatero said: “The occupation of Iraq has been poorly managed. … If there isn’t a change and the United Nations doesn’t take charge of the situation, and the occupying forces don’t cede political control, the Spanish troops will return and the deadline for their presence there will be June 30.”

Can he really believe the Iraqi people would be freer, or better protected, under U.N. management?

How is it Mr. Zapatero and Spain cannot learn the lesson of Madrid in the same way George Bush and America learned the lesson of September 11, 2001? The terrorists are committed destroying not just America but any society that embraces freedom, Judeo-Christianity or a brand of Islam not their own. President Bush and most Americans realized this on Sept. 12, 2001. How the appeasement crowd does not is a marvel.

What of the lessons of recent appeasers? Turkey refused to allow the U.S. to stage troops and material at the U.S. military bases there, yet bombings occurred anyway, killing Muslims. Saudi Arabia all but showed the U.S. the door during the buildup to the second Gulf war, yet terrorists struck Riyadh. Bali, a Muslim nation, was struck savagely for catering to Westerners.

Even the United Nations was bombed in Baghdad. This is the same U.N. that propped up Saddam Hussein and rejected the final U.S. resolution to explicitly authorize force against Iraq. This is also the U.N. appeasers want to assume control of Iraq.

Based on these examples, how do the people of Spain who voted for the Socialists expect withdrawal of troops from Iraq to ensure peace from the terrorists? Rather, they have given the terrorists something of a victory.

If Spain has chosen appeasement in withdrawing troops from Iraq and criticizing U.S. efforts there, why wouldn’t terrorists strike Spain again to prompt more condemnation of the U.S.?

The terrorists have stated their agenda — the destruction of the West, specifically America, and those who support us. In this effort, negotiation has never been suggested or considered by the terrorists. So what makes the Euro-appeasers believe they can garner good will from these killers?

Many attribute the appeasement mentality to naivety. It is in fact the result of arrogance. It is arrogance and an inflated sense of self-importance to believe one group can declare a peace that all will live by. It is foolishness to believe the terrorists share the West’s respect of sovereignty and self-determination, and goal of peace between different peoples, religions, and political ideology.

Rather, what the terrorists understand and embrace is murder and terror to promote a crazed theocratic vision for world society. Despite the hopes of the appeasers, in Spain’s capitulation there is nothing to dissuade the terrorists; rather, it may embolden them further.

From the terrorist’s perspective, it appears an act of mass-murder is responsible for replacing a government committed to killing them with one committed to appeasement. There is also the added benefit of Spain’s election and the comments of the new prime ministerundermining the U.S.-led coalition of nations committed to fighting terror.

Considering these results, why would the terrorists stop now?

JOHN S. PAPPAS

Mr. Pappas is a Maryland-based writer specializing in sociopolitical commentary.

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