THE PHILADELPHIA INQUIRER
Thursday, October 5, 2000
Greece and terrorism
Jeffrey Fleishman mischaracterizes Greece's "November 17" group as "among Europe's most lethal terrorists" (Inquirer, Sept. 20).
Greece is wrestling with a low-grade urban terrorist problem common to most Western countries and is not the terrorist mecca misleadingly portrayed by government reports. Almost all of the attacks cited by these reports were directed exclusively against property and resulted in marginal damage.
Most troubling was your portrayal of Greeks as "the most anti-American population in the European Union." As evidenced by Greece's support of NATO during its Yugoslav campaign, Greek opposition does not stem from anti-Americanism but from anti-war and humanitarian concerns regarding an intervention that triggered consecutive campaigns of ethnic cleansing against Albanians and now Serbs in Kosovo, and that bombed close to 2,000 civilians to death.
Rather than simplistically branding a close ally as "anti-American" or "terrorist," we could learn much from a European democracy with far greater insight into its own neighborhood.
Moreover, such irresponsible accusations undermine U.S. credibility and deprecate sincere concerns regarding terrorism. If American policymakers cry wolf too often, or improperly pressure democratic allies for short-sighted political objectives, our capacity to counter genuine terrorist threats will be compromised and our foreign policy will sustain further damage.
American Hellenic Media Project