The heroic ethic in Ancient Greece is often stated by historians as, "Help your friends, harm your enemies." In fact it was rather more complicated, and was only one branch of Indo-European heroic ethics. Still, helping your friends and harming your enemies is a good start.
So when we decided to pull our air defenders out of Iceland without giving them time to get defenses of their own up to speed, it was a bad sign. It's true that we need those fighters elsewhere. It's also true that we've had a relationship with Iceland for fifty years, providing their military defense in return for what was, during the second World War and the Cold War era, access to a strategic island of great importance.
The sudden end of the relationship has given Iceland's sons a feeling of betrayal, which earlier this week led to a stabbing involving a US serviceman. The soldier is being tried by Icelandic law, though the US is demanding that he be turned over to face military justice. The report below is from the AFP (I don't have a link):
Washington has based its extradition claim on a 1951 DefenseNo big deal, you say, because who would want to attack Iceland? Our common enemies have noticed. This ran on pro-al Qaeda website Jihad Unspun:
Agreement between the two countries and a long tradition of handing
over servicemen involved in offences in Iceland to the United States
for military trials.
However, the agreement, which calls for consultations between
the two countries, is already up in the air after Washington
unilaterally decided in June to pull out its F-15 fighters and rescue
helicopters from the Keflavik base.
That decision angered Iceland, which has no military of its
own and would be left without air defenses.
And what of Bush saying the United States will help its friends and punish its foes? Well, it seems that Mr. Bush cannot be trusted to take care of his friends. Iceland was one of the countries that signed up to Bush's so-called "coalition." How has Bush repaid the North Atlantic nation? By writing a letter to Iceland's prime minister stating that the United States will, after 46 years of providing for the NATO nation's defense, pull its military forces from the soon-to-be defenseless island state.We are leaving old friends at the mercy of our common enemies. Iceland's sole defense against mujahedeen is going to be its nature spirits. Let us hope that this is enough, if our leaders do not reconsider this unwise decision and make allowances for the sons of Iceland to develop their own defenses. If not, we can only hope that our enemies will meet the same resistance as the warlock sent by King of the Danes, Harald Bluetooth, son of Gorm the Old:
King Harald told a warlock to hie to Iceland in some alteredHail the land spirits. May they do what we ought to be doing, at least until our friends and old allies are equip't and trained to do it themselves. No good comes of the betrayal of friends.
shape, and to try what he could learn there to tell him: and he
set out in the shape of a whale. And when he came near to the
land he went to the west side of Iceland, north around the land,
where he saw all the mountains and hills full of guardian-
spirits, some great, some small. When he came to Vapnafjord he
went in towards the land, intending to go on shore; but a huge
dragon rushed down the dale against him with a train of serpents,
paddocks, and toads, that blew poison towards him. Then he
turned to go westward around the land as far as Eyjafjord, and he
went into the fjord. Then a bird flew against him, which was so
great that its wings stretched over the mountains on either side
of the fjord, and many birds, great and small, with it. Then he
swam farther west, and then south into Breidafjord. When he came
into the fjord a large grey bull ran against him, wading into the
sea, and bellowing fearfully, and he was followed by a crowd of
land-spirits. From thence he went round by Reykjanes, and wanted
to land at Vikarsskeid, but there came down a hill-giant against
him with an iron staff in his hands.