The Right Coast

December 07, 2005
WSJ on Europe's moral preening
By Tom Smith

Another perfect Journal editorial. Some highlights:

One of Europe's moral conceits is to fret constantly about the looming outbreak of fascism in America, even though it is on the Continent itself where the dictators seem to pop up every couple of decades. Then Europe dials 9-11, and Washington dutifully rides to the rescue. The last time was just a few years ago, as U.S. firepower stopped Slobodan Milosevic, who had bedeviled Europe for years.
In return, it would be nice if once in a while Europe decided to help America with its security problem, especially since Islamic terrorism is also Europe's security problem. But instead the U.S. Secretary of State has to put up with lectures about the phony issue of "secret" prisons housing terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans.

And this:

Meanwhile, the claim that aggressive interrogations of these hard cases are unnecessary and unproductive is simply naive. On Monday, ABC News reported that "Of the 12 high-value targets housed by the CIA, only one did not require waterboarding before he talked." The exception was Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who "broke down in tears after he walked past the cell of" KSM. "Visibly shaken, he started to cry and became as cooperative as if he had been tied down to a water board," ABC's sources said.
The broad reality, of course, is that European intelligence and security services have been helping the CIA in fighting terror, both before and after 9/11. There have been arrests of terror-cell members, and even successful prosecutions. The failure has come at the level of political leadership, where elected officials refuse to acknowledge such cooperation, or to defend its moral necessity.
The danger here is less to America--which will continue to protect itself in any case--than it is to Europe. The phony outrage over American anti-terror practices will only make it harder for European governments to take the actions required to stop terror on their soil--witness French paralysis in the wake of the recent riots.
More dangerous for the longer term, the Continent's preening anti-Americanism has also been duly noted on this side of the Atlantic. Europeans should worry that their moral hauteur may well be repaid by American popular opinion the next time they call on the Yanks to put down one of their homegrown fascists.