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Μερικά από τα λόγια του U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates
απευθυνόμενος στους λαούς της Ευρώπης λίγο πριν 20 λεπτά.
“I am concerned that many people on this continent may not comprehend the magnitude of the direct threat to European security. For the United States, Sept. 11 was a galvanizing event, one that opened the American public’s eyes to dangers from distant lands.”
“So now I would like to add my voice to those of many allied leaders on the continent and speak directly to the people of Europe. The threat posed by violent Islamic extremism is real and it is not going to go away.”
“Just in the last few weeks, Spanish authorities arrested 14 Islamic extremists in Barcelona suspected of planning suicide attacks against public transport systems in Spain, Portugal, France, Germany, and Britain,”
“I am not indulging in scare tactics,” Mr. Gates stated. “Nor am I exaggerating either the threat or inflating the consequences of a victory for the extremists. Nor am I saying that the extremists are 10 feet tall.”
He said the task facing Europe, the United States and allies around the world “is to fracture and destroy this movement in its infancy — to permanently reduce its ability to strike globally and catastrophically, while deflating its ideology.”
The “best opportunity as an alliance to do this,” he stated, “is in Afghanistan.”
“Many Europeans question the relevance of our actions and doubt whether the mission is worth the lives of their sons and daughters.”
But they “forget at our peril that the ambition of Islamic extremists is limited only by opportunity,” he added.
Mr. Gates said that in Afghanistan, “the really hard question the alliance faces is whether the whole of our effort is adding up to less than the sum of its parts.”
Και τέλος δύο ατάκες όλα τα λεφτά!
During a lively question-and-answer period after the speech, a member of the Russian Parliament, Alexey Ostrovskiy, asked Mr. Gates whether the blame for Al Qaeda did not lie at the feet of the U.S. intelligence community for funding the mujahedeen in Afghanistan who resisted the Soviet occupation during the 1980s. Many of those anti-Soviet fighters went on to become Islamic extremists and members of the Taliban or Al Qaeda.
“After that, when the Soviet troops left, for all intents and purposes, people who were created by you were idle,” said Mr. Ostrovskiy.
“If we bear a particular responsibility for the role of the mujahedeen and Al Qaeda growing up in Afghanistan, it has more to do with our abandonment of the country in 1989 than our assistance of it in 1979,” Mr. Gates answered.