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8/25/2004


Italian Courage



"Now, I'll show you how an Italian dies."

-- Fabrizio Quattrocchi, 36-year old murder hostage, said to his captors as the terrorists pointed a pistol at his head in an attempt to humiliate the former Iraqi oil line guard.
It doesn't appear that Italy will end up in The CSC's Flags of Shame anytime soon!

Clifford D. May reports that Italy's governing administration "views what is happening in the world not as French President Jacques Chirac and Michael Moore do -- but as most Americans do. Those who fear that America has no European allies should pay a visit to Rome."

For his part, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi views Iraq as "the frontline in the War on Terrorism."

Berlusconi has many times thanked America for spilling blood to "save us from Nazism, Fascism and Communism." What's more, in these troubled times, he believes, it only makes sense for Europe and the U.S. to be partners, rather than rivals.

Here are some other quotes May has gathered first-hand:
"We are committed to fighting the War on Terrorism. And though it is not easy to say in Europe these days, the other main task we have before us is to help spread democracy in the Muslim world. We have to stimulate, support and reinforce those in the Middle East who believe in democracy and human rights. They are there. They are not so hard to find."

"The problem is that European policy is unbalanced. So many Europeans lean to the Palestinian side, ignoring the terrorism inflicted on the Israelis and never seeing the Israeli perspective. Europe should play a role in the Middle East, in working for a peaceful settlement. But we can't do that if Israel doesn't trust Europe, and Israel doesn't trust Europe because of this unbalanced policy."

-- Franco Frattini, Italy's foreign minister

"Iraq today is a melting pot of terrorist tendencies. Every terrorist faction is represented there. International terrorists are experimenting in Iraq. We simply cannot let them defeat us. If we do, that will not be the last defeat we'll suffer.

Too many of our allies in Europe do not understand this."

-- A top aide to the Prime Minister
Recently, a group claiming links to al Qaeda tried to blackmail Italy. A deadline of Aug. 15th was set. Berlusconi ignored the demand and the deadline. Last week, the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades issued a statement threatening to attack "all targets" in Italy, and warning Berlusconi that he would "pay with his head for the crimes his troops committed and are still committing in Iraq."
"They tell us, if you stay in Iraq we will hit you. They tell us, if you leave we won't hit you. But it's an illusion. If we avoid this fight now, that will only mean that our sons will have to do it later."
-- A Berlusconi spokesman
It's remarkable to hear such talk from European politicians -- such commitment about promoting freedom and representative government in the Islamic world.

Remarkable, because sometimes one could be forgiven for thinking that France is the only country on the continent.

posted by: Dave


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