The Great Western Retreat

On March 11, 2004, 192 people were killed and 1,400 wounded in a series of terrorist attacks in Madrid. Three days later, Spain’s Socialist leader, José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, was elected prime minister. Just 24 hours after being sworn in, Zapatero ordered Spanish troops to leave Iraq “as soon as possible.”

The directive was a monumental political victory for extremist Islam. Since then, Europe’s boots on the ground have not been dispatched outside Europe to fight jihadism; instead, they have been deployed inside the European countries to protect monuments and civilians.

Opération Sentinelle” is the first new large-scale military operation within France. The army is now protecting synagogues, art galleries, schools, newspapers, public offices and underground stations. Of all French soldiers currently engaged in military operations, half of them are deployed inside France. And half of those are assigned to protect 717 Jewish schools. Meanwhile, French paralysis before ISIS is immortalized by the image of police running away from the office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo during the massacre there.

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