Since 9/11, the centerpiece of the Bush presidency has been the 'global war on terror' and in particular Al-queda, both first in Afghanistan and now grimly in Iraq (funny how did that happen?) You know the drill, "Fighting them there, so we don't have to fight them here."
The underlying premise of this stuggle is that fundamentalist extreme Islam is already knawing at the foundations of Western Civilization, and that Europe being it's weakest link, with close proximity to the Arab world, presents a soft and inviting target. Bush, using his most messianic prose in the manner more akin to a biblical prophet than a measured statesman, underlined the goal of Al Queda's -- the Caliphate, "a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa."
Wizbang (classic) and rightwing commentator favorite Mark Steyn are alarmed, that the majority of EU countries are weak and effete, and have ignored the wake up call provided by 9/11, that a large fifth column of extreme Muslims are paradise bent on terrorizing Europe. Well, let's just peel back the bombast from Bin Laden and Bush, and their followers, and look at the facts of terrorist attacks in Europe the past year: These are 'the facts':
In 2006, there were 498 incidents described as "terrorist attacks" across the European Union. Exactly 424 of these attacks were carried out by "separatist terrorists" such as the Basque group Eta, operating in Spain and France, and were limited to the Basque region and Corsica...Only one, carried out by Eta in Madrid, was deadly, producing two fatalities.
Where do Muslim terrorists fit in all this? The Muslim extremists were responsible for a single attack in Germany. On 31 July, two suitcases packed with explosive devices were placed on board regional trains in the Cologne area. The devices failed to detonate. Two Lebanese nationals were subsequently arrested and charged. The suspects claimed to have been motivated by the Danish cartoons affair. In addition, there were two planned attacks, one in Denmark and the other in Britain, both of which were allegedly foiled. They do not feature in the 498 total.
I will admit in the previous year 2005, the July 7th 'London Transport' bombing attacks by four Britons, three of them of Pakistani descent, took 52 lives, but as Tony Blair conceded this was a violent senseless protest directed at the British role in the invasion of Iraq rather than an attempt to spread the Caliphate.
Londoners are a pretty tough lot. Having lived through the blitz and the long bombing campaigns steming from the troubles in Northern Ireland, their first response after July 7 was not to rush the barricades. On the contrary, they have decided to withdraw their troops in stages from Basra, Iraq.
In conclusion, Europe which suffered through Two World Wars, and endured a series of nationalist terrorist attacks in the Basque region (ETNA), Northern Ireland (the IRA), and Corsica (FLNC), isn't getting completely bent out of shape because of a small group of lunatic Islamic terrorists, in a conflict that both Bush and Bin Laden are trying to raise to the level of World War 3.
Note: Wizbang Blue is now closed and our authors have moved on. Paul Hooson can now be found at Wizbang Pop!. Please come see him there!