Sunday, August 01, 2004

Three Cheers for Australia

The "Telegraph" reports that "Australia aggravated a diplomatic row with Spain yesterday by accusing the socialist government of encouraging terrorists."

Brushing aside the furious response to earlier comments pointing the finger at Madrid, Alexander Downer, the foreign minister, said he would not apologise.

He said that Spain and the Philippines needed "to face up to the truth" that by withdrawing their contingents from Iraq they had allowed themselves to be exploited by terrorists.

"There is no point in trying to scurry away from the truth," Mr Downer said. "I am sensitive about the fact that terrorists use the examples of Spain and the Philippines to put pressure on Australia.

"If you accede to the demands of terrorists, they will exploit the acceding to their demand. ... We are not going to apologise. We shall let bygones be bygones."

The comments caused great offence in Madrid. Australia's ambassador there was summoned to be told that the comments were "unacceptable."

To which No Pasaran suggests the appropriate response:

I hope that Australia's ambassador answered that he did not see why the smug Spaniards (like the French) should have the right to haughtily disdain coalition members as poodles, and this from their passive, non-interventionist position where they risk nothing (any more); and why the Australians, who, like their coalition allies (i.e., those who have not pulled out their troops from Iraq), face blackmail and terrorist threats (because actively engaged, with troops on the ground) should not have the right to voice their opinion, notably on the threats in question and what these have accomplished among their (former) allies.

... It is true that as far as opinions are concerned, we're back to double standards. (We never left them, did we?) One has the right, even the duty, to ridicule and castigate America and is allies, but let no one even think of putting into doubt the good intentions, the rationality, the humanism, the vision, the love of peace, and the lucidité (as well as le courage) of the members of the peace camp.