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An Axis of Valor
[January 30, 2003]

By Nicholas Provenzo

Today, the leaders of Britain, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Hungary, Poland, Denmark and the Czech Republic publicly declared their support for America against Iraq. Joining together in a letter published in the Wall Street Journal, The Times of London and other European newspapers, the leaders said Iraq's regime represents a continued threat to world security.

The text of the letter is contained below:

"The real bond between the United States and Europe is the values we share: democracy, individual freedom, human rights and the Rule of Law. These values crossed the Atlantic with those who sailed from Europe to help create the USA. Today they are under greater threat than ever.

The attacks of 11 September showed just how far terrorists — the enemies of our common values — are prepared to go to destroy them. Those outrages were an attack on all of us. In standing firm in defence of these principles, the governments and people of the United States and Europe have amply demonstrated the strength of their convictions. Today more than ever, the transatlantic bond is a guarantee of our freedom.

We in Europe have a relationship with the United States which has stood the test of time. Thanks in large part to American bravery, generosity and far-sightedness, Europe was set free from the two forms of tyranny that devastated our continent in the 20th century: Nazism and Communism. Thanks, too, to the continued cooperation between Europe and the United States we have managed to guarantee peace and freedom on our continent. The transatlantic relationship must not become a casualty of the current Iraqi regime’s persistent attempts to threaten world security.

In today’s world, more than ever before, it is vital that we preserve that unity and cohesion. We know that success in the day-to-day battle against terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction demands unwavering determination and firm international cohesion on the part of all countries for whom freedom is precious.

The Iraqi regime and its weapons of mass destruction represent a clear threat to world security. This danger has been explicitly recognised by the United Nations. All of us are bound by Security Council Resolution 1441, which was adopted unanimously. We Europeans have since reiterated our backing for Resolution 1441, our wish to pursue the UN route and our support for the Security Council, at the Prague Nato Summit and the Copenhagen European Council.

In doing so, we sent a clear, firm and unequivocal message that we would rid the world of the danger posed by Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction. We must remain united in insisting that his regime is disarmed. The solidarity, cohesion and determination of the international community are our best hope of achieving this peacefully. Our strength lies in unity.

The combination of weapons of mass destruction and terrorism is a threat of incalculable consequences. It is one at which all of us should feel concerned. Resolution 1441 is Saddam Hussein’s last chance to disarm using peaceful means. The opportunity to avoid greater confrontation rests with him. Sadly this week the UN weapons inspectors have confirmed that his long-established pattern of deception, denial and non-compliance with UN Security Council resolutions is continuing.

Europe has no quarrel with the Iraqi people. Indeed, they are the first victims of Iraq’s current brutal regime. Our goal is to safeguard world peace and security by ensuring that this regime gives up its weapons of mass destruction. Our governments have a common responsibility to face this threat. Failure to do so would be nothing less than negligent to our own citizens and to the wider world.

The United Nations Charter charges the Security Council with the task of preserving international peace and security. To do so, the Security Council must maintain its credibility by ensuring full compliance with its resolutions. We cannot allow a dictator to systematically violate those Resolutions. If they are not complied with, the Security Council will lose its credibility and world peace will suffer as a result.

We are confident that the Security Council will face up to its responsibilities."

José María Aznar, Spain
José Manuel Durão Barroso, Portugal
Silvio Berlusconi, Italy
Tony Blair, United Kingdom
Václav Havel, Czech Republic
Peter Medgyessy, Hungary
Leszek Miller, Poland
Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Denmark

This letter is a powerful statement. Notice the letter's reference to "We in Europe" despite the absence of the leaders of France, Germany and Russia as signers. This is totally appropriate; France, Germany and Russia's refusal to appropriately meet the threat of Iraq has caused them to be eclipsed.

In the 20th century, Europe allowed the fascism and communism to run roughshod over its people. It is heartening to see that in the 21st Century, the vast majority of Europe has learned from the lessons of the past.

Contrast the letter by the European statesman with today's comments by Nelson Mandela. According to Reuters, Mandela told an audience in Johannesburg, "It is a tragedy what is happening, what Bush is doing in Iraq."

"What I am condemning is that one power, with a president who has no foresight, who cannot think properly, is now wanting to plunge the world into a holocaust." Mandela later accused President Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair of being racist, saying that "Both Bush as well as Tony Blair are undermining an idea (the United Nations) which was sponsored by their predecessors. Is this because the secretary general of the United Nations is now a black man? They never did that when secretary generals were white."

Mandela also attacked the United States's record on human rights, criticizing the use of atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II.

"Because they decided to kill innocent people in Japan, who are still suffering from that, who are they now to pretend that they are the policeman of the world?..." he asked.

There is no gentle way to put this: Mandela is off his rocker.

 

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