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John Howard On Buying Immunity from Terror

Via Instapundit - Australian Prime Minister John Howard on what effect will Australia's involvement in War on Terror Operations have on inspiring terrorists to strike down under...

...MAXINE McKEW: Prime Minister, if as you say you can't rule out that possibility that we could have potential bombers right here in Australia, what if today's announcement, this redeployment to Afghanistan and our continued presence in Iraq is all the provocation they need?

JOHN HOWARD: Maxine, these people are opposed to what we believe in and what we stand for, far more than what we do. If you imagine that you can buy immunity from fanatics by curling yourself in a ball, apologising for the world - to the world - for who you are and what you stand for and what you believe in, not only is that morally bankrupt, but it's also ineffective. Because fanatics despise a lot of things and the things they despise most is weakness and timidity. There has been plenty of evidence through history that fanatics attack weakness and retreating people even more savagely than they do defiant people.

MAXINE McKEW: But this must be a factor in your thinking. I mean, you make a decision - or Cabinet made yesterday a decision - to go ahead and put extra troops into Afghanistan. And as compelling a moral and strategic reasons as there are for that decision, there could be some people out there who seek to do us harm, who will see this as just the excuse they need. That must weigh in your decision, so you're saying basically that's a risk we have to take?

JOHN HOWARD: Well, Maxine, you cannot conduct the foreign policy of a country as if it were shadow-boxing with fanatics. You just can't do that. You have to take decisions that you believe are in your country's best interests, and I believe very strongly it's in this country's best interests in 2005 to do the things we are doing in cooperation with our allies and our friends. I cannot look you in the face or the Australian public in the face and say, "This country is guaranteed immunity from a terrorist attack." I hope and pray it never happens, but it's a possibility. We have to understand that that is the world we're living in, and it's fair to say that the people who died on the London Underground, they were certainly not all white Anglo-Celtic Christians, they were a combination of people of different races and of different religions and it just undermines the fact that murderous fanatics are the enemies of us all, not just the enemies of a stereotypical idea of what a Westerner represents.