Following Australia's announcement that it would send another contingent of military personnel to Afghanistan, Prime Minister John Howard had this exchange with Maxine McKew.
McKew's question is so naive that you might think Howard was responding to a student's question during a ministerial visit to Outback Intermediate School or some such place.
MAXINE McKEW: Prime Minister, if as you say you can't rule out that possibility that we could have potential bombers right here in Australia, what if today's announcement, this redeployment to Afghanistan and our continued presence in Iraq is all the provocation they need?
JOHN HOWARD: Maxine, these people are opposed to what we believe in and what we stand for, far more than what we do. If you imagine that you can buy immunity from fanatics by curling yourself in a ball, apologising for the world - to the world - for who you are and what you stand for and what you believe in, not only is that morally bankrupt, but it's also ineffective. Because fanatics despise a lot of things and the things they despise most is weakness and timidity. There has been plenty of evidence through history that fanatics attack weakness and retreating people even more savagely than they do defiant people.
Alas, Maxine McKew is really a grown-up journalist. Her question was part of an interview aired by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. You can read it here.
As the interview ended, McKew seemed no more aware than when it started. Howard was strong, clear, and smart throughout.
Hat tip: Instapundit.com