“No Muslim territory should ever become non-Muslim…..Let the whole world know that we shall never accept the tragedy of Andalusia (the name of the Arab Empire in Spain between the 8th and 15th centuries).”

Osama Bin Ladin

“The Death Brigades penetrated into the European Crusader heartland, and struck a painful blow at one of the foundations of the Crusader coalition. This is part of a settling of old accounts with Crusader Spain…”

Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades of Al-Qaeda, claiming responsibility for the March 11, 2004 bombings in Madrid that killed over 200 persons

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On March 11, 2004 ten terrorist bombs ripped through Madrid’s four train terminals slaughtering over 200 Spanish commuters and injuring 1,500. A video left by Al Qaeda explained that Spain’s support of American efforts to democratize Iraq was the cause of the tragedies. Two days later the Center-Right government of Spain was defeated at the polls by a community still mourning its dead. To terrorism experts in America and around the world, the defeat of the Jose Maria Asnar government in Spain was a victory for Al Qaeda. That enemy has now “learned” that fomenting catastrophes immediately prior to major elections in Europe or America can change the course of history. At least, that is what they believe, and that belief represents a mortal danger to our way of life.

For Europe, March 11th was an epiphany. Europeans now realize that they are part of a tragic living reminder that the only contract one can make with terrorists is that of ending their capacity to kill. On that date, Europeans learned (as Americans did on September 11, 2001) that there is no place to hide in the Age of Terror. For the past two and a half years, Europeans have looked askance at Islamic terror in America and Israel as a purely “Arab-American affair.” Western Europe, for some reason, thought itself protected. Immune. It won’t happen to us, the Europeans said, we are not in terror’s gun sights. After all, we are not part of imperialistic America or Russian imperialism or Zionist imperialism. We are enlightened, post-modern, progressive. But on March 11th, Europe discovered that there are no ‘root causes’ that can explain away Islamic terrorism only historical vengeance and the dream of renewing past glories and ascending to paradise. That event marked the end of the age of European arrogance – the same arrogance the United States demonstrated prior to the events of 9/11 – that, somehow the oceans that surround us could protect us and that our technology could hermetically seal us off from the global conflicts and ideologies that are tearing our world apart.

The perpetrators of the Madrid massacre are unlike terrorists of the past who were careful to temper their savagery lest they lost public support for their cause. Today’s Islamic terrorists cannot be so easily pacified. They have no immediate desire to convert the West to Islam. They are prepared to destroy the West piecemeal, country by country. They are prepared to strike massively, ruthlessly, and without warning with chemical, biological or suitcase nuclear weapons in a Tehran minute and then disappear into the international sewer system that spawned them.

And they suspect that if they can strike hard enough and long enough and kill enough infidels, they can sap our national spirit and conquer our lands as the Crusaders conquered theirs a thousand years ago. For Spain, March 11th was part of “reconquering Andalusia,” and much more. They are not interested in winning the hearts and minds of Western nations. They are not interested in negotiations, summit meetings, d?tente agreements, cultural exchanges or non-aggression pacts, as we all were during the Cold War. That is because they represent an ultra-state, an ultra-government, an ultra-treasury, an ultra-supreme court legitimized (in their own eyes) by the words of the Koran. And by their reading, the Koran determines for them who shall live and who shall die. In their eyes, we are infidels and all marked for death. Hussein Massawi, former leader of Hezbollah – an ideological soul mate of al Qaeda – summed it up very pithily: “We are not fighting so that you will offer us something. We are fighting to eliminate you.”

That is why we have no choice but to destroy them before they destroy us. To paraphrase Sir Winston Churchill, the Spanish believe that by feeding the Islamic crocodile, it will consume them last. They are wrong. The successful defeat of a staunchly anti-terrorist government will only wet the appetite of the crocodile to consume more.

Europe is now part of the Age of Megaterror. As British Prime Minister Tony Blair said in an ominously prophetic speech only days before the Madrid tragedy: “These zealots have declared unlimited war on our world…. Europe still refuses to internalize what happened. It still refuses to open its eyes wide and to accept the fact that every trip by any child to any school in Europe on public transportation is a trip into the heart of darkness, filled with fear and trembling – whether it be in Madrid or in Jerusalem.”

The Madrid attacks of March 11, 2004 (like the attacks on September 11, 2001) were intended to be the opening salvo of a large-scale campaign to bring America and Europe to their knees; to drive the infidels from all lands lost to Muslims over the past millennium; to overthrow corrupt tyrants and despots supported by the West; and to prepare the ground for what they believe will be the final Islamic conquest of Europe and America. For Islamic fundamentalists, the madness of their mission represents the imperviousness to reality that only fanaticism can confer. That’s what makes them so dangerous. Democracies place great value on human life; Islamic fundamentalists value only the afterlife and its promise of paradise. Terror is their strategic weapon. Unity against terrorism must be ours.

Thus, there is no alternative but to preserve our liberty, democracy and the values that define our way of life. In this war on terrorism, these values, and our determination to fight for them will be tested. None of us is safe until we have won and we can only win by concerted, coordinated military and financial action together with the other free nations of the world. If we cannot integrate our strategies and intelligence gathering efforts with our European counterparts to combat this obscenity, then we shall remain divided to the end and our children will witness the dawn of a new Dark Age.