One voice against terrorism

Series Title
Series Details Vol.7, No.34, 20.9.01, p11 (editorial)
Publication Date 20/09/2001
Content Type

Date: 20/09/01

The European leaders meeting in Brussels tomorrow evening will have a huge weight of responsibility on their shoulders. Their support for President Bush in the immediate aftermath of last Tuesday's attacks on New York and Washington was unequivocal in its language.

But in the past few days there have been signs of cracks emerging in the coalition that Tony Blair, in particular, has been working hard to shore up.

It is crucial that Europe maintains that coalition and speaks with one voice. The EU's leaders cannot risk a split that could be interpreted as their being 'soft' on terrorism.

By demonstrating that they are united with Washington, their calls for a calm and measured response are far more likely to be heeded by Bush and his White House advisors.

The investigation into who was behind last week's attacks could be a lengthy one. Although the finger of suspicion points at the Saudi dissident Osama bin Laden, the evidence presented so far to link him directly with the crime appears less than conclusive.

In such circumstances it was perhaps unwise of Bush to order his capture "dead or alive", as if he were the town sheriff in a cowboy movie. (His earlier reference to those "folks" responsible for the attacks also caused many to wince.)

The EU is right to resist the urge to act like a 'possee' baying for blood. Their calls for caution over a military intervention that could result in more innocent lives being lost are well-founded, given recent experiences in the Balkans.

However Europe's leaders must continue to give their total support to America in apprehending those responsible and ensuring that justice is done. The 5,000 victims of last week's outrage and their grieving families and friends deserve nothing less.

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