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His answer was how related to Iraq?

Rumsfeld could have given the exact same answer had no Iraq-invasion at all happened, only with the countless measures against terrorism and the demolishing of terror-camps in Afghanistan. Would have nicely fit as well.

Regarding Iraq, you could extrapolate these views from Rumsfeld's comments...

Iraq was part of the 'War on Terror,' and that matters to the WoT because the US removed a known supporter of terrorism (Hamas, ADF, Saddam's terrorist training camp at Salman Pak, etc.).

Or maybe...

Iraq was not part of the 'War on Terror,' but that doesn't matter to the WoT because the terrorists therefore had little interest in the country, and will cite whatever as an excuse to bomb civilians anyway.

Why is it that we never read anything on this site about the media outlets that promoted falsehoods in order for America to legitimise its war in Iraq? See https://www.salon.com/news/feature/2004/03/30/fox_news/

@SalonReader: David mostly focuses on articles from the German media in his blog and we don't wanna steer his attention away from Spiegel Online or other German media - so much critical journalism in Germany these days and so little time. ;-)

@Jeffrey, You think Rumsfeld should have mentioned terror-connections? Do you really believe support for Hamas is today weaker - because of withdrawal of Saddam's financial support of Bomber's relatives? So are Israelis safer now from Hamas, a full year past Saddam? That would be great indeed.

And on the "terrorist-links"...yeah, I know DoD still hasn't withdrawn on Salman Pak claims and all that, but it seems lame, as there is nothing concrete to follow up with other than the original hyping from exile Iraqis, only more critical research-articles pouring out. Like these two:

Iraqi exile group fed false information to news media
https://www.kansascity.com/mld/kansascity/news/special_packages/iraq/8194211.htm?1c

Doubts cast on efforts to link Saddam, al-Qaida
https://www.realcities.com/mld/krwashington/news/columnists/john_walcott/8089829.htm

And to save you the searching for counter-arguments (hey, I am slowly figuring out how online-arguing works!), here is the link to the Freeper-discussion of the first article:
https://freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1098742/posts

Though I am still not convinced. I think it's time indeed for Rumsfeld or Bush to adress again in a bit more detail the existance of these terror-links.

Ok, sorry for my tone. I am just tired for all this lame fishing of post-war arguments. The pre-war argument was because of WMDs and resolution 1441 and none have been found. And more important, the real reason for war was a strategic one, the location in the middle of the Middle East (haha). So why can't people honestly argue on the basis of Western strategic reasons (and there might be indeed merits for invading Iraq), cut these fishing expeditions on false exiles informations, WMDs or human-rights (as we are hypocrites on human rights in other countries), and be honest like Wolfowitz (paraphrased): WMDs were just a convenient reason to name for war and we invaded. End of story.

Herr Lehrer, Sie langweilen!

Yeah, truth is boring indeed.

. Iraq al Qaeda link.

The below was not very well reported in the US media. I wonder if it was in the European press.

"Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian linked to al-Qaida and suspected of heading a terrorist network in Iraq, is now believed to have been the brains behind the deadly Madrid railway attacks," the Associated Press reports, citing "a French [!] Private investigator."

The link to this article is. https://smallbusiness.yahoo.com/merchant/?p=ft30

The Associated Press reported it on 03/27/04

One can chose not to believe the US. Now one can chose not to believe the French too. The logic, which some people seem to want to use is a terror network some place else, is not my concern. I would be the first to admit that was the view in the US prior to 9 11. I would think it was also true in Spain prior to 3 11. What we are witnessing are terror operations being planned in one nation, supported in a different nation and carried out in a third nation.

What is interesting to me is how there are now so many terror experts. Yet it seems so many of these new experts misunderstand the very nature of terror. Terrorist attacks are to do that cause fear and terror.

After 9 11 and 3 11, I for one am more convinced than ever that should terrorists gain possess of WMD’s they will use them. Iraq was a source for such weapons.

Terrorists do not need a large amount of a chem bio agent to bring terror like we have not seen. All one has to think of is the subway systems in London or Paris or Berlin at the end of the day. Any number of chem bio agents in a quantity of less than a litter, think beer bottle, placed in air movement system of an underground station would kills hundreds and hospitalize thousands. It would bring that city to its knees.

I fully realize that my viewpoint is not shared by many. I simiply do not trust the terrorist not to use WMD’s. I hope all who do disagree with me are right and that I am wrong.

@Joe
FYI: You had apparently a wrong URL in your paste buffer - some merchant-store from Yahoo came up.

And yes, Zarqawi was quite widely mentioned here as being the possible Madrid-mastermind, also in connection with the old Collin Powell-reference of this guy as a possible link between Saddam and al-Qaida. https://news.google.de is usually the easiest to do quick news-searches in the entire German media. Plug in Zarqawi and Madrid, you'll see the recent articles on it.

Actually i think it was a bad response. I have seen far better ones from him.
He should not have linked WTC to the iraq war.

Iraq is not directly related to WTC and if one were to use WTC here then other countries would come to mind.

Oberlehrer wrote:
"The pre-war argument was because of WMDs and resolution 1441 and none have been found."

You clearly show that you didn't understand what Res1441 was about. And don't let yourself get confused with the fact that the UN was not ready to act upon yet another of their own resolutions. That's the usual business you get with an instituation that tries to make positions and things compatible when in reality there is no way.

"And more important, the real reason for war was a strategic one, the location in the middle of the Middle East (haha). So why can't people honestly argue on the basis of Western strategic reasons (and there might be indeed merits for invading Iraq), cut these fishing expeditions on false exiles informations, WMDs or human-rights (as we are hypocrites on human rights in other countries), and be honest like Wolfowitz (paraphrased): WMDs were just a convenient reason to name for war and we invaded. End of story."

Wolfowitz did not say it like you did here. It was not "just" a convenient reason, but it was a CONVENIENT reason. Or was it? Obviously it was CONVENIENT enough to let the SC agree on Res1441. When resolution 1441, that called for an immediate, thorough cooperation to be testamony for a change of mind in the regime, got not fullfilled (and it didn't), it was fully logic to consider further actions in the context of the Middle East. The Middle East is where the enemy comes from. Never mind you could talk that all day long to people and they won't understand - there are too many of them who believe that with the end of the cold war (some even missed out on that one - those who were demonstrating against nukes in Western Germany, e.g.) , immediate world peace has broken out. How dumb. They must not be able to comprehend the history of mankind even vaguely. And the best part is that they live in countries where they owe their freedom to people who were ready to face the enemy instead of believing in some abstract "you can solve all problems by discussing - there are no enemies" lines. Those lines are of little use and should be quickly dropped when your enemy does not consider them as a serious option. And Saddam Hussein, just to give an example, never has.

Regards
Alex N.

(alright, cheap fun ahead. ) I just looked at Ray D's cover of Spiegel with MM (well-made), about MM loving Germany so much. Well, then I directly went to michaelmoore.com for the first time, clicked on the headline-story "Dude, where's my country".

The following page has three horizontal background-colours: Black, red and yellow/gold. (order from top to bottom)

That's the German flag! ROFL. Does this guy recognize my IP or does everybody see black-red-gold as background on Moore's page "Where's my country?"

@oberlehrer: same colors when clicking from Switzerland. He knows where his money comes from, actually?!

Axel wrote:
You clearly show that you didn't understand what Res1441 was about. And don't let yourself get confused with the fact that the UN was not ready to act upon yet another of their own resolutions.

It was the other way around: Only Bush was ready to act upon older resolutions. It was mostly Tony Blair, who pushed for 1441 (and nearly caused his own toppling within his labour-party doing so) and the US would have been in rather dire times with their Allies without 1441 for the invasion.

Yeah, 1441 wasn't even neccassary, but since Blair has to endure living in Europe, he did go for it ;). Gerhard "International Law" Schröder didn't even bother to get an UN mandate pre and during the time he sent the Luftwaffe when there was a war going on in our backyard. He got it afterwards iirc - same thing that was laughed about here when some circles in the US considered it for short. Funny indeed. Isn't that what we blaim "Cowboys" like Bush for? Shoot first, ask questions (permission) later.
Seriously...it was just a cease-fire after 1991 Operation Desert Storm...Saddam has broken it on many occasions, by opening up on planes patrolling the no-fly zones for example - let alone the jobs on weapons of mass destruction that WERE found during the 90s...

Regards
heartc

RUMSFELD: You know, I know there are things I don't know. And some of those things you've been asking me about, I know I don't know.

"oops, i did it again" (britney spears featuring d.p.rumsfeld)

https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/donaldrums148142.html
https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/c/confucius134028.html

"I know. You know I know. I know you know I know. We know Henry knows, and Henry knows we know it. [smiles] We're a knowledgable family." -- Prince Geoffrey, The Lion in Winter

I am not sure if this post has any value what so ever. It is a summary of actions and events, which created so much of the current disagreements and distrust we all seem to sense. Having said that, I am not so sure we would not be where we are anyway to some degree. Instead of war, disagreements on the ICC, of Kyoto or trade or any number of issues might have brought us to the same place.

“When Saddam was defeated, in 1991, a cease-fire was put in place. Then the U.N. Security Council decided that, in order to prevent him from continuing to start wars and commit crimes against his own people, he must give up his arsenal of "weapons of mass destruction

Recall the way it was to work. If Saddam cooperated with U.N. inspectors and produced his weapons and facilitated their destruction, then the cease-fire would be transformed into a peace agreement ending the state of war between the international system and Iraq. But if Saddam did not cooperate, and materially breached his obligations regarding his weapons of mass destruction, then the original U.N. Security Council authorization for the use of "all necessary force" against Iraq -- an authorization that at the end of Desert Storm had been suspended but not cancelled -- would be reactivated and Saddam would face another round of the U.S.-led military action against him. Saddam agreed to this arrangement.

In the early 1990s, U.N. inspectors found plenty of materials in the category of weapons of mass destruction and they dismantled a lot of it. They kept on finding such weapons, but as the presence of force declined, Saddam's cooperation declined. He began to play games and to obstruct the inspection effort.

By 1998 the situation was untenable. Saddam had made inspections impossible. President Clinton, in February 1998, declared that Saddam would have to comply with the U.N. resolutions or face American military force. Kofi Annan flew to Baghdad and returned with a new promise of cooperation from Saddam. But Saddam did not cooperate. Congress then passed the Iraq Liberation Act by a vote of 360 to 38 in the House of Representatives; the Senate gave its unanimous consent. Signed into law on October 31, it supported the renewed use of force against Saddam with the objective of changing the regime. By this time, he had openly and utterly rejected the inspections and the U.N. resolutions.

In November 1998, the Security Council passed a resolution declaring Saddam to be in "flagrant violation" of all resolutions going back to 1991. That meant that the cease-fire was terminated and the original authorization for the use of force against Saddam was reactivated. President Clinton ordered American forces into action in December 1998.

So inspections stopped. The U.S. ceased to take the lead. But the inspectors reported that as of the end of 1998 Saddam possessed major quantities of WMDs across a range of categories, and particularly in chemical and biological weapons and the means of delivering them by missiles. All the intelligence services of the world agreed on this.”

President Bush, in ordering U.S. forces into action, stated that he was doing so under U.N. Security Council Resolutions 678 and 687, the original bases for military action against Saddam Hussein in 1991.

Those who criticize the U.S. for unilateralism should recognize that no nation in the history of the United Nations has ever engaged in such a sustained and committed multilateral diplomatic effort to adhere to the principles of international law and international organization within the international system. In the end, it was the U.S. that upheld and acted in accordance with the U.N. resolutions on Iraq, not those on the Security Council who tried to stop it.


There are several things that I find troubling. The above does not seem to be understood on either side of the Atlantic. Those who want the UN to play a greater role in world affairs seem not to support what the UN does. Either what the UN does has meaning or it does not. At no point during the debate after the passage of UNSCR 1441 and before the actually war in Iraq did any member of the UNSC state that Iraq did not have weapons of mass destruction. .

Those who claim the war was illegal have a weak case, factually. This does not mean they do not have an emotional one.

I would say that the emotional case rests almost soley on the fact that at this point in time no weapons of mass destruction have been found.

The US saw a link between the supplier and the buyer of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. They viewed Saddam Hussein government a threat to both the US and the wider Middle East in general. Germany did not share this view. France on the other hand viewed this situation as a need to restrain the US with the apparent goal of gaining greater influence in both Europe and the world. What France did was to split NATO, the EU, the UNSC and to give Saddam Hussein a sence of false security that force would not be used against him.

I think my posts might all be wrong. I need some quidance here. What should I be posting? Should I limit my posts to the orgionial press post or to the comments others post. As much as possible I try to keep my posts factual and when it is my opinion I try to make that clear. I enjoy the comments because even if I disagree I find the perspective to be interesting. Unfortunately they never seem to long enough to give the reasoning behind them.

@joe Speak your mind, whatever the angle it takes in relation to any of these topics.
Your content and perspective are refreshing.

Hey, OK - try this conspiracy:

https://www.laweekly.com/ink/04/18/news-crogan.php

The Secrets of Timothy McVeigh

As to connections, well:

https://www.techcentralstation.com/092503F.html

--Iraq is not directly related to WTC --

And Morocco was not directly related to Japan, but it was our 1st stop in WWII, so, what's your point?

BTW, jury's still out on that, read Laurie Mylroie and Jayna Davis.

From Christopher Hitchens' 3/29 Slate article:

...The Benjamin-Simon book contains a long account of the first bombing of the World Trade Center in 1993 and also a stern defense of Clinton's decision in August 1998 to hit the Al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant in Sudan with cruise missiles. What is interesting is the strong Iraqi footprint that is to be found in both episodes. Abdul Rahman Yasin, one of the makers of the bomb that exploded at the World Trade Center, was picked up by the FBI, questioned, and incredibly enough released pending further interrogation as a "cooperative witness." He went straight to Amman and thence to Baghdad, where he remained under Saddam Hussein's protection until last year. As Clarke told the Sept. 11 commission last week: "The Iraqi government didn't cooperate in turning him over and gave him sanctuary, as it did give sanctuary to other terrorists." That's putting it mildly, when you recall that Abu Nidal's organization was a wing of the Baath Party, and that the late Abu Abbas of Klinghoffer fame was traveling on an Iraqi diplomatic passport. But, hold on a moment—doesn't every smart person know that there's no connection between Saddam Hussein and the world of terror?

Ah, we meant to say no connection between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden. Well, in that case, how do you explain the conviction, shared by Clarke and Benjamin and Simon, that Iraq was behind Bin Laden's deadly operation in Sudan?...

https://politics.slate.msn.com/id/2097901/
---

There's a big I-told-you-so coming down the line for one side or the other. Who's horse are you willing to bet on?????

If nothing else, you, too, can be the life of the party if you bring these niggling little conspiracy theories up. I'd love to be a fly on the wall when you do. They'll probably accuse you of watching FoxNews......and of going over to The Dark Side.

Sometimes it's not the direct links which will bite you in the ass, it's the indirect links. We were effectively nuked on 9/11. The WTC is gone. Anything is possible, you guys need to start watching the periphery.

IRA's now involved w/FARC in Colombia.

They want the US and the Jews gone. They didn't stop at Andalusia the first time, they were stopped at the gates of Viennia between 9/10-9/12 1683(?). I don't care how many "moderate" muslims you know, but we have a saying here in the states, "the crickets are chirping." They've had 2-1/2 years to help, scream from the rooftops, change, help route the people in their mosques, they haven't, their silence is deafening. Words are pretty, but actions speak louder.

There were Pakistani kids who knew before 9/11 what was going to happen, a reporter got fired for reporting it and it just faded away. Do you really think no one knew what was going on in London?????

@ joe

Good overview of the events. Not that you are saying anything new; anyone can find out how things got to where they are today. The big problem is that people don't CARE about the facts.

The US Administration has always openly stated that its goal is (some) democracy in the Middle East. Saddam's removal was never an end in itself, it was just ONE of the steps towards that goal. Why was Iraq the first step and not someone else ? I don't think it really matters, the beginning had to be done. Will they succeed ? No idea, but I think they deserve our support.

The total irony of this is that it was always the liberal left having great dreams of freedom for all. And what does the left do today ?? It denies the conservatives the right to work for what they always claimed to stand for.

Does none of the liberals see that ? Are they so caught up in their Bush-hate that they wish that EVERYTHING Bush tries to achieve will fail (including helping democracy gain ground in the Middle East) ??? Do those 'liberals' expect normal people to listen to them ? What do they have to offer, besides removing Bush ? Is removing Bush an end in itself ? It definitely looks like that right now...

Following exchange is not my imagination:

We removed Saddam, a definite gathering threat.
You haven't found any WMDs.

We made other dangerous regimes in the region rethink their policies (best example Libya, Syria looks like they would like to follow, Iran is having internal problems).
You haven't found any WMDs.

We freed Iraq and its people.
You haven't found any WMDs.

We made a small, first step toward showing the people in the Middle East that the West (at least the US) is not happy anymore with buying oil from their rulers and, in exchange, ignore the suffering of the people. We want to change that (as Bush declared), it will take time but we are commited.
You haven't found any WMDs.

Maybe we shouldn't have done anything, maybe we should have let the resolutions deal with Saddam ?
Are you crazy ? You haven't found any WMDs, you can't just sit and watch Saddam playing with the inspectors. EVERYBODY knows he has WMDs. You'll have to do something !!!

Is there really nothing wrong with this picture ??? Bush obviously made mistakes, but is "Bush lied" the ONLY conclusion ? I can hear the answers: 'Bush lied is not the only conclusion, BUT...'. Can we forget the BUT and move ahead toward the bigger goals ? I can guarantee one thing: there will be more mistakes along the road, but should the fear of mistakes paralize our will ?

There will always be people (on this forum as well) who will not be able to let go of "Bush lied" and will not be able to move ahead, even while claiming they move ahead.

Americans don't have to vote for Bush, but for now he is the President and he has a vision (not pre-emptive action, but democracy and freedom), which I think is not SO weird (again, it's more of a leftist vision). When did the left loose interest in freedom ??? Or do they like freedom only when they themselves deliver it ?

Everybody talks about 'moving ahead', and most of them are unknowlingly stuck in the past.

@WhatDoIKnow

Bush obviously made mistakes, but is "Bush lied" the ONLY conclusion ?

So Bush made mistakes? Now that's a refreshing comment. And hopefully not an empty PR-shell.

So could you list the mistakes made by Bush?

Joe
Those who claim the war was illegal have a weak case, factually. This does not mean they do not have an emotional one.

And these emotions are just as crucial in times of war as the military actions are. But have been shamelessly ignored apparently. The war was badly sold and lost on the media-front. The Army did great, but Bush and his staff did a lousy job on Iraq, displaying a huge arrogance in both pre-war at the UN and in their preparations for post-war nation-building (see the chaos in the first weeks - from looting to the Garner-fiasco).

The yapping Western leftists are not important. What is important are the over 1 billion Muslims and how they perceived the war on Iraq. And how many of them might have said in the process "I am tired of Western arrogance" and attend now perhaps a more fanatical mosque in their town instead of their old one?

The poll-numbers on the Western image in muslim countries are frightingly low and part of that blame goes to Bush, not to "evil liberal media".

He might have a vision, but will be mostly remembered for his grinning smirks in his rare open press-conferences instead of a serious tone. Bush divided instead of closing ranks behind him, not only amongst Allies, but also within his own country.He should take lessons from a President Bartlett on how to sell himself and his views much better to the world. ;-) Clinton or Bush sr. were also much better diplomatically.

@Oberl

I do believe that Bush made mistakes. That's the truth, not PR, I have nothing to sell :-) No, I won't comment on that. I thought that's your job on this forum ;-)

While I am 100% convinced that analizing past real and imagined mistakes and failures are crucial in avoiding repeating those mistakes in the future, I also think that one year or so of this blaming game should be pretty much enough. Mind you, we should not forget the mistakes but should learn from them and MOVE ON.

Dear Oberl., what did you get from my previous post ? The part on Bush's mistakes... Very telling :-( While you claim to be a neutral observer, you fit PERFECTLY the description of someone stuck in the past, very much engaged in the blaming game.

I'll repeat again, just for you. Bush-criticism is valuable in confronting mistakes, making criticism an end in itself is something I abhore. I guess that's one of the differences between us. At some point, without forgetting past mistakes, I draw the line and get moving ahead. You seem to be pretty much engaged in a favorite German passtime activity: endless discussions.

Good luck in your quest !

@WhatDoIKnow
Dear Oberl., what did you get from my previous post ? The part on Bush's mistakes... Very telling :-(

No, hold your horses. You misinterpret now. I also "got" the other parts from your posting. And - hello? - I mostly *agreed* with those other parts, and even more so with Joe's posting.

Do I have to make a political correctness-posting in first quoting everything you wrote and say "Yes, probably right" every second line or may I be allowed to only quote back the crucial part where I would see differences or feel additions necessary?

So say instead: "Wow, great, he had no objections on all the rest of my posting".

And I am still highly interested, WHERE exactly you would see Bush's mistakes - I had laid out already in my other posting to Joe where I would see them and why I view Iraq ultimately as a mistake. Only fair to ask you where you would see Buh's mistakes, no?

OK - Time to educate me.

I would agree emotions are important in this situation as they are in lots situations. It seems for many they completely obscure logic, facts, and rational thinking.

I have heard this term arrogance used both from people in the ME as well by some people who were interviewed in Spain after the election as part of the rationale for their vote. In the ME, it is also used in conjunction with Arab pride. I am not sure what these people mean when they use it.

I am sure if the perception were that the US was not so arrogant emotions would not be so high and the opinion of the US would not be so negative. I do not think the US is arrogant but I realize my opinion really does not count as what is important are the perceptions of others. I can not understand why either Germany or France would not be well thought of in the ME as they both strongly and openly did not support the US, they do not support Israel, they provide aid to many ME countries.

I am not sure I can fully agree with your comment about the war being badly sold. It depends on where you were selling it and what you were selling. I think President Bush and PM Blair did a good job within their own nations. Equally I think President Chirec and Chancellor Schroder did as equally well in selling their positions. As for the leaders in the ME, the best one could ever have hoped for was for their position not to be so supportive of Saddam Hussian as to openly employ an oil embargo, break relations with the US, or support Iraq with direct military aid. Having said that, however; does not change the fact the “soft power” side of the equation was much weaker than the “hard power” side.

Several of the mistakes I think the Bush Administration made were: going back to the UN after the passage of UNSCR 1441; failing to determine the position of the Turkish government prior to ships arriving off the coast of Turkey; not informing NATO earlier in the process; allowing France and Germany to play political games inside of NATO; failing to mount a PR campaign with the central theme “the UN needs to enforce its resolutions are become one more failed international organization much like the League of Nations”; failing to express in clear and unobvious terms to various nations that the US viewed Saddam Hessian as a threat to the security of the US and his removal was in the vital interest of the US; to confront in open debate in direct contact and in the media leaders like the German PM who opposed direct conflict to present an alternative solution and then be prepared to support the implantation with the necessary resources for it to be viable; in this same vain forcing a discussion of what constitutes a flagrant violation; asking the leaders of the democratic nations why they do not support democracy for the ME and in particular Iraq; and probably the biggest was failing to make clear that while it was OK not to support the US to work against US interests would have a direct and long term impact on relations between those respective nations.

As for President Bush doing a better job in the run up to the war, of course more should have been done. Having said that I am not really sure what could have been. In the US, Americans look to their leaders to make decisions. The more difficult the decision the more we expect them to show leadership. We also expect our leaders to communicate those decisions to the citizens.

When the UNSC split, this gave great support to those who opposed the enforcement of the various UNSCR. This opposition was both organized and lead by France. The general consensus was that France would have abstained had it found herself alone or without other members of the UNSC also willing to cast a NO vote.

Prior to the passage of UNSCR 1441, France assured the US that they would support the use of force and would vote for that use in a future UNSCR. When it came time to vote on this France took the position that is now well known. For this reason many in the US no longer look at France as an ally of the US. The damage France has done will last for a very long time even if in the most public of forums it will appear to be healed. During this time, the focus of France, Germany, and Russia was not what to do about Iraq but was on how to restrain the US.

The leads one to wonder and think how things might have been different and emotions might be different had another UNSCR been passed? What if Germany had taken a different position?

Of course, this leads me to wonder why Germany took the position it took. I surely do not see it as a moral position. So I for one question and continue to question the motives of Germany on this particular issue.

Having said that I equally feel that it was the right of Germany to vote the way she choose and to do anything else that is her self interest.

.


.


I opposed the war. I still think it was wrong. When I was formulating my opinion, I rationalized it to myself with the mental argument that it was illegal. But that argument was inconsistent with my support for the first Gulf War. In that case, I realized I would have supported using force against Saddam Hussein regardless of the technical question of its legality. The reasons I supported the first war and opposed the second are the same. I think we must insist on the principle that wars of agression are simply no longer tolerable, because, in a world full of nuclear weapons, condoning them amounts to promoting our own self destruction. You can quibble about whether the war was indeed one of aggression, bring up U.N. resolutions, etc., etc., but, in fact, it was up to the U.N. to interpret U.N. resolutions, and how they should be enforced, not the U.S. Thus, the war was perceived by many in the world, and, I think, rightly so, as a war of aggression. Some would argue that the risk to the U.S. of leaving Saddam in power was unacceptable. My reply is that the risk to the U.S. of attacking him was even greater.

I think we must insist on the principle that wars of agression are simply no longer tolerable, because, in a world full of nuclear weapons, condoning them amounts to promoting our own self destruction.

No, it is appeasement towards rogue states that amounts to promoting our own self destruction. It is not upon us to decide whether we want to have an enemy. It is upon us to decide whether we want to fight the enemy, or if we want to bow down. The Enemy is not an intellectual concept that can be debated away. There are real enemies out there, and they do not care about your reasoning or legal arguments that it might be a bad idea to attack us.

You can quibble about whether the war was indeed one of aggression, bring up U.N. resolutions, etc., etc., but, in fact, it was up to the U.N. to interpret U.N. resolutions, and how they should be enforced, not the U.S.

The UN cannot enforce any resolution. The UN has no troops on their own. As for the implication that UN were capable of resolving conflicts by means of borrowed armed forces, well, the Rwanda massacre just had its 10th anniversary. No troops sent there. Why? Oh, I know - the risk.

Thus, the war was perceived by many in the world, and, I think, rightly so, as a war of aggression.

How do you define aggression? Or is it just a term you picked up from the anti-war crowd without any further reflection?

Some would argue that the risk to the U.S. of leaving Saddam in power was unacceptable.

You put it in a very abstract way, I guess to misconstrue the real threat. (And please, no more so-quotes from US administration officials about imminent threats.) The real threat was that in the next 10 years Saddam or his offspring would have required nuclear arms.

My reply is that the risk to the U.S. of attacking him was even greater.

Just as risky as bombing Serbia, or the First Gulf War, or Somalia. What's your point here, rather than implying that war always feels like a bad thing compared to peace? (And please, no off-the-shelf "they should have tried diplomacy" yadda-yadda reply here.)

Exchange "required" in the second paragraph from the bottom with "acquired".

Finally someone I can fully agree with about the Iraq war and the UN.

The UN I think many would agree is a failed organization, which either needs a major restructing or needs to be dissolved. It has in its history done little to preserve peace and security or for that matter to promote those two objectives. In fact, in the entire history of the UN there have only been two wars that were not wars of aggression if one is to use approval by the UNSC as a form to make wars not illegal. Those two wars were the Korean War and the first Gulf War.

I agree the UN should be able to interpret its own resolutions. I would also agree, and would hope others agree, that once resolutions were passed, interpreted and action required the UN would in some way enforce those resolutions. I am a bit confused, however; as to how or when the UN declared the last Iraq war a war of aggression. It would also be true, to follow this same logic, the war in Afghanstain was also a war of aggression. It would have to be true all actions NATO took prior to the passing of a UNSCR in the Balkans were also illegal and that was a war of aggression too. It would hold true that most actions France has taken in the last 50 years were also wars of aggression or if not wars of aggression then acts of aggression. In fact, the very nature of wars is that of aggression. So all wars are illegal.

This concept does raise several interesting questions. One of the first that comes to mind is does a nation have any rights of self-protection. At what point can it act to protect itself? If you take the position that it first must be attacked, then the current UN charter must be rewritten. Is there to be some threshold of destruction or loss of life that would allow it to defend itself with or without UNSC approval or authorization under this revised charter? Would once a nation having been attacked, have to seek approval of the UNSC to defend itself? Could it expect military support from the UN in this case? How would transnational terror organizations fit into this, as they are not nation states? Or are we to consider only the aggression of nation states? How are nations, which allow organization to plan and support attacks on other nations, be treated? Should these nations allowing these organizations to function within their territory be held accountable? Would allowing this to occur be considered an act of aggression?

If I were to concede the point that the second war in Iraq was in fact a war of aggression by the US, then question becomes what should be done about it. What should be done to the US as an aggressor nation? I would support the idea of the UN voting the US out as a member or at least striping it of its veto power. I think we all agree once the US was stripped of its veto power it would leave, as it would see little use for the UN.

I would present to you that the current nation states, which are known to possess nuclear weapons, are not the real danger or not the danger you might envision. It is those nations, which are seeking them that are the real danger. These nations include North Korea and Iran.

A greater danger than nuclear weapons are chemical and biological weapons, which are also weapons of mass destruction. The reality is this class of weapons are more targeted toward civilian populations of the world than toward militaries. What makes these scarier, or at least scarier to me is that to have sufficient quantities of these weapons to cause massive loss of human life does not require a large amount. To hide and conceal, to transport and to deliver these chem-bio weapons is not difficult. The difficult part is in their production both in equipment, technology, and knowledge levels. If there is a danger then this is the danger and this will be what will bring self-destruction.

It would seem war has already been outlawed or made illegal in much of Europe. One only needs to look at the defense budgets of the EU nations to see that. I personally think this great as I have too many friends who are either now in harms way or will be at some future point. Wars, especially for those who must fight them are hell.

I would then submit to you the idea of things like NATO and security agreements should be tossed on the same junk pile of history that contains so many organizations and ideas and theories, which are no longer valid. The UN could or possibly should also be added to this pile as wars have been outlawed and are illegal.

I would hope that as the EU has make war illegal then they would openly and aggressively lead a campaign to get the US out of NATO and NATO out of Europe for NATO is no longer needed as wars are now illegal. I firmly believe the French would be happy to lead this campaign with full support from Belgium, Luxemburg, and Germany and evenly possibly Spain. I am equally sure the Europeans would be amazed at the level of support a campaign of this nature would have in the US.

I can see all types of advantages to this not only for Europe and the US but also for the rest of the world at large. I am sure everyone can see these same advantages such as the EU having an extra 143 billion annual to spend on social welfare programs and not on defense. What might not be as clear are those advantages, which would occur outside of Europe. China could take over Taiwan. North and South Korea could reunify much like East and West Germany and be a nuclear power. Of course, this would force Japan to go nuclear too, which would not necessarily make the world safer but would make the Japanese feel safer. Events like Somalia, Rwanda, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Sudan would not be of concern as they are not wars of aggression and even if they were they are localized and present no threat to the larger world. I am sure there are many more advantages that others can identify.

I am equally sure that without organizations like the UN, NATO, WTO, IMF, etc that the world would not only be a safer place but more of its inhabitants would be a lot more happier and feel a lot more secure than they do today. . I add these last organizations to the list for I believe that once nations start down the slope of reviewing their policies many will find these are not necessarily fully in their benefit.


The UN I think many would agree is a failed organization, which either needs a major restructing or needs to be dissolved. It has in its history done little to preserve peace and security or for that matter to promote those two objectives.

No, that's still too favorable. I'd rather say that ...

Terror Stings Its Pal, the U.N.

Money quote:

There are numerous occupied peoples around the world seeking statehood or national liberation, including the Tibetans, Kurds, Turkish Armenians and Palestinians. Only one of these groups has received official recognition by the U.N., including observer status and invitations to speak and participate in committee work. That group is the one that invented and perfected modern international terrorism — namely, the Palestinians. These rewards were first bestowed in the 1970s when the Palestine Liberation Organization was unabashedly committed to terrorism. In fact, Chairman Yasser Arafat was invited to speak to the U.N. General Assembly in 1974 at a time when his organization was seeking to destroy a member-state of the U.N. by terrorism. By rewarding Arafat and the PLO for such behavior, the U.N. made it clear that the best way to ensure that your cause is leapfrogged ahead of others is to adopt terrorism as your primary means of protest. The Tibetans, whose land has been occupied more brutally and for a longer period than the Palestinians, but who have never practiced terrorism, cannot even receive a hearing from the U.N.

@Joe
Your postings carry too many issues at once. :-) I reply a few thoughts to the main issue perhaps.

A perception of arrogance certainly indeed also adds to the emotional side. I think it will be nearly impossible to grasp for Americans what this problem is because they are on top. As an example, I felt myself a stinging arrogance upon realizing that European suspects ended up in Guantanamo basically lawless, while the one American suspect got full legal rights. Europeans as second class.

Perhaps imagine it vice versa: Somewhere a French Army is arresting suspects and the European suspects get legal rights by France, but the Americans get thrown into a legal no-man's land and kept for years by the French. How would Americans feel over this? One could also mention international courts - Milosevics ends up in The Hague with US-assistance, yet US shies away from allowing themselves ever being judged by others. In short: No higher authority for Americans than their President and their own court-system, but it's okay for foreigners?

Short sidenote re: Israel. While I acknowledge that the US has a different position, Germany does support Israel as well. You perceive German politics to be anti-Israel?

Re: Bush/Blair: Was Bush really so convincing domestically on Iraq or did he mostly use the momentum of the 9/11-trauma with the underlining feeling of "We must do something". I am too far away to fairly judge that, but I note that he was smart enough to get quite early full approval from Congress and that Dean revived the Democratic spirit partially with the Iraq-issue.

Blair is a good example of a Bush-mindset (including the important Christianity-driven background) on Iraq, but a far more skilled politician on the intl. stage. He was vital for Bush in many ways (like gathering Allies within the EU) and without him, I doubt even 1441 had existed. It was a remarkable difference in their public appearances.

Schroeder, on the other hand, is a good example for a caculating political opportunist. (Funny to see him called in Freeper-Forums a "socialist" - yeah, right. *g*) He knew he couldn't sell Iraq to his junior partner Greens anyways, so he made "Aus der Not eine Tugend", as we say and had "No unjust war" as re-election slogan. And Germans are still quite conditioned to vote Yes to an argumentation like this because of our fresh war-trauma. (And Schroeder in his slyness might even sway a bit on Iraq, as he always talks of "no _combat_-troops" instead of a general "no troops". Also not to forget his deployment of several thousand German troops in March 2003 to guard US-installations to relieve the US)

So of course, Schroeder was just an opportunist - like you mentioned the classic counter-example of the Balkans. Even this entire WMD-talk was just as much a smokescreen misused by Schroeder/Chirac as it was for Bush/Blair.

Even today, while "no WMDs" are an argument for now, the real deciding issue to judge Bush's decision for the history books will be Iraq's future: Will it turn into a Western-friendly democracy? Will it turn into an Islamic state, and if so, of what kind? Will civil war break out? The end still might justify the means.

But I have my doubts and I additionally believe the recruitment effect of Muslims fanatics because of the perception on how Iraq was sold will outweigh any possible benefits. But no one can know now. As you rightly noted, a lot of it is part of the emotional issue and I view this almost just as important to win over public opinion, not only in our Western world, but also just as much amongst the 1 billion Muslims listening in and watching all of our moves.

The UN can never be a military power by itself ("UN-troops"), but always "only" a legitimizing body for military actions. (We saw in Somalia what happens when UN is in charge in combat. You likely know much better than me that military action is best when communication/decision-taking is in as little hands as possible). Peace-keeping isn't military combat.

But UN will hopefully remain an important institution as it is (How would nations find consensus and exchange views with no UN? Bi-laterals would be enough?) and undergo necessary reforms: If "only to provide moral cover" for our Western interests, if I were to be cynical. But I really would like to see a real UN someday and perhaps with a vision for a longer timespan - like not only in decades, but centuries. For the times, when we might have a different country as superpower No. 1. But of course this would mean a larger willingness to compromise for the US, which I don't see happening - why compromise when you are strong enough to do it alone? So we'll likely sadly see less UN and more bi-lateral dealings between US and nations.

Your mentioning of Turkey is interesting. Did you note how it was relatively downplayed by EU- and US-media since? I think it was hugely important and will be in the future, where Turkey is heading to, both internationally and domestically. Amazing how little attention it gets. And of course, both EU and US play their own selfish games with Turkey, though with different interests once again.

@flursn

“No, it is appeasement towards rogue states that amounts to promoting our own self destruction. It is not upon us to decide whether we want to have an enemy. It is upon us to decide whether we want to fight the enemy, or if we want to bow down. The Enemy is not an intellectual concept that can be debated away. There are real enemies out there, and they do not care about your reasoning or legal arguments that it might be a bad idea to attack us.”

I agree we have an enemy, and I am in favor of fighting that enemy. Appeasement and a war of aggression were not the only alternatives open to us in Iraq or anywhere else.

“The UN cannot enforce any resolution. The UN has no troops on their own. As for the implication that UN were capable of resolving conflicts by means of borrowed armed forces, well, the Rwanda massacre just had its 10th anniversary. No troops sent there. Why? Oh, I know - the risk.”

The impotence and incapacity of the UN are beside the point. The issue is whether the US or any other nation has the right, on its own, to conclude that it can take over the power of the UN if it feels that body is ineffective. I don’t agree that it does. This is not just a legal quibble. It is a matter of the legitimacy of using force. Aggression simply cannot be tolerated in a world full of nuclear weapons. When we go to war, we do not need to abide by every minute provision of someone’s interpretation of international law. However, especially in the case of the US, it must be clear that we are acting in self defense, or to defeat aggression. I think it was clear that we were to most of the intelligent people in the world in the case of Afghanistan. It was not clear in the case of the second Gulf War. Unlike so many in Europe who have been duped by the “no blood for oil” propaganda of their mass media, I am far from believing that the Gulf War was indefensible. On the contrary, I think very strong arguments can be made in favor of it, and that failing to act entailed a level of risk to the U.S. The need for David and many more like him is evident from the fact that so many in Europe were unaware of the issues at stake, and the points on either side in the real debate over Iraq, but, instead, perceived the war in terms of ideologically motivated cant phrases. Nevertheless, I think we are now at greater, not lesser risk, because of the war. This goes not only for the US, but for the world in general.

“How do you define aggression?”

In general, the aggressor is the first to attack, and attacks without sufficient provocation.

“The real threat was that in the next 10 years Saddam or his offspring would have required nuclear arms.”

You are far from the truth if you think you can indefinitely prevent dictators like Saddam from acquiring nuclear weapons. In fact, making a simple nuclear weapon is trivial for any competent physicist with a sufficient amount of U235 or Pu. Indeed, the war did not discourage acquisition of nuclear weapons. The world can see that we attacked Iraq, but refrained from attacking North Korea, and they know the reasons why. Dictators know that, once they acquire nuclear arms, they will be able to deter attack by the US. We must live with nuclear weapons. They can’t be “uninvented.” We must do everything in our power to insure they will never be used. Among other things, we must make it clear to every nation in the world that aggression will not be tolerated. Committing it ourselves is a poor way to go about establishing this rule.

“Just as risky as bombing Serbia, or the First Gulf War, or Somalia. What's your point here, rather than implying that war always feels like a bad thing compared to peace? (And please, no off-the-shelf "they should have tried diplomacy" yadda-yadda reply here.)”

My argument has nothing to do with my feelings about war or peace, or any notion that diplomacy would have worked if we’d only given it more time. Obviously, it also has nothing to do with the usual leftist cant about the oil connection, or lurid and now thoroughly debunked claims about civilian casualties. Obviously it has nothing to do with any “harm” done to the Iraqi people. We have done them a great boon, rebuilding their infrastructure and giving them at least a chance for a democratic future. For the sacrifices we have made to accomplish these things they will, of course, be no more grateful than the Somalis, Kosovars, or Muslims of Bosnia. I just look at the massive cost of the war, probably around $200 billion, and think what else we might have done with that money. I also look at the cost in terms of political capital, and can’t help noticing that the people who hate us around the world have been able to exploit the war to ratchet hatred of America to unprecedented levels. Then I consider that we have relaxed international constraints on potential warmongers the world over, who can now hide behind the U.S. doctrine of preemptive war to justify their aggression. When I consider all these things combined with the reality of a world full of nuclear weapons and ask myself if we have really reduced the overall risk to the citizens of the U.S. and the rest of the world, the answer is a resounding no.


Let me start from the end of your post:

When I consider all these things combined with the reality of a world full of nuclear weapons and ask myself if we have really reduced the overall risk to the citizens of the U.S. and the rest of the world, the answer is a resounding no.

That's not the point. Of course Saddam would not have threatened the US with WMD, but rather countries in proximity. Remember the reason for Gulf War I?

Appeasement and a war of aggression were not the only alternatives open to us in Iraq or anywhere else.

What else? Another 10 years of sanctions and food for oil? More inspectors?

The issue is whether the US or any other nation has the right, on its own, to conclude that it can take over the power of the UN if it feels that body is ineffective.

The US never outsourced their power as a sovereign nation to the UN.

Aggression simply cannot be tolerated in a world full of nuclear weapons.

So you don't define torture and slaughter of a tyrant's own people as an aggression? If you do, the war on Iraq was perfectly lawful. If you don't, the war on Serbia was illegal as well, and Clinton should immediately put before a commission.

However, especially in the case of the US, it must be clear that we are acting in self defense, or to defeat aggression.

No, it must be clear that once again when Europe and the rest of the world silently watched mass killings it was the United States that ended aggression against a nations own people. Germany. Bosnia. Kosovo. Iraq. (Oh, I know, feel free to pull the Viet Nam stunt.) So when a tyrant does not refrain from killing his own people why should he refrain from threatening other nations? Especially when it's Saddam who already waged war against two neighboring countries?

Nevertheless, I think we are now at greater, not lesser risk, because of the war. This goes not only for the US, but for the world in general.

Another placeholder. What does that mean?

In general, the aggressor is the first to attack, and attacks without sufficient provocation.

So Saddam did not provoke the US? Or the world? Did not invade Kuwait? Did not wage war against Iran? Did not fire missiles against American and British fighter planes?

You are far from the truth if you think you can indefinitely prevent dictators like Saddam from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Saddam is out of business, Libya is out of business (a joint British and American effort), Syria is soon to follow. So, yes, the new doctrine is working.

We must do everything in our power to insure they will never be used. Among other things, we must make it clear to every nation in the world that aggression will not be tolerated.

How that? By using force? So when to act? When missiles have been fired? Ten minutes before? Ten days before? After they hit our soil? Ten days after they hit our soil? Or not by using force but rather diplomacy? Sure, we can see how that diplomacy works with Iran, which is pacing away producing nuclear bombs.

I just look at the massive cost of the war, probably around $200 billion, and think what else we might have done with that money.

So let's close all theaters right now, disband the NASA, and condemn Germany for signing a purchase order for 180 Eurofighters (tactical fighter aircraft) just some days ago.

and can’t help noticing that the people who hate us around the world have been able to exploit the war to ratchet hatred of America to unprecedented levels

Like what? The Arab street has been seething like that ten years ago, we had the Nairobi US embassy bombing, the USS Cole attack, the first WTC bombing years before American soldiers set any footstep in the Iraqi desert. The murderers and thugs in Iraq have been there before the US came to Iraq, actually the same people that plant bombs at roads have used their evil forces before to torture their fellow Iraqis. It's just that nobody noticed, or did not want to face reality.

who can now hide behind the U.S. doctrine of preemptive war to justify their aggression.

Thugs and murderous regime have conducted their business without citing the US doctrine for years. Remember Bosnia, Croatia? 250.000 people dead. Remember Rwanda? More than 1.000.000 people dead. No, it's not that regimes justify their aggression by outside precedents, but they pursue their goals due to a lack of credible outside force.

The US have made it clear that now there is a bad cop in town. And he will shoot without filing a law-suit beforehand.

Sorry for the multi issues in one posting. I shall try to reform.

Milosevics at The Hague is a perfect lead in for one of my favorite topics, the ICC. In just a few years, someone like him will be tired before the ICC.

I personally do not agree at all with this concept. What I have read it is the court of last resort. In other words should the nation whose citizens committed a crime, which the ICC was established to address fails to take action then the ICC would. It is also a court to try crimes against humanity and can request a nation to turn over one of its citizens to be tired.

The first problem I have with the ICC is it is in direct contradiction to the US Constitution and Bill of Rights. This happens to be documents Americans take very seriously. For the US to allow it citizens to be tired by the ICC would in fact require the Constitution to be amended and parts of the Bill of Rights to be voided. Should a President turn over a citizen to the ICC, it would be grounds for him to be impeached.

As much as anything it is also a sovereignty issue. America has a history of fighting to retain her sovereignty. It rarely gives any of it away. Oh the other hand it appears the nations of Europe are all too willing to do that as witnessed by the EU.

The second problem is how the court would be used or could be used. A good example of how was the indictments handed down in Belgium using similar laws, against the main US leaders from the first Iraq war. A more recent example was the charges brought against PM Blair. The charges and the procedures used by Belgium are very similar to those of the by the ICC. So who is charged and who is not charge is as much a political act as it is a judicial act.

A third problem I have with the court is the make of the jurists. This was done strictly by a quota system broken down by region, race, and sex. Many of the nations who put forth jurists to be considered have no history of law in their own nations. In fact one of the people to be considered to be a prosecutor was the German Minister of Justice. This is the same person who called the President of the United States Hitler. Americans considered and still consider this to the ultimate insult especially coming from a German.

A fourth problem is there is no appeal process. I can think of no nation in the world, which has any judicial system of any history, or standing that does not have some means of appeal.

A good question might be how did we get here. The ICC was very much like Kyoto. When the basic treaty was being developed, the US objected to parts of it explaining that if that section remained in the treaty it would not be ratified by the US. The effort to make these modifications was lead by the Clinton Administration. A finalized treaty was developed which retains the sections the US objected too. President Clinton directed that the US sign the treaty just as the US had signed the Kyoto treaty. This of course made the Europeans very happy.

At no time while President Clinton was in office did he submit either the Kyoto or the ICC treaties to the US Senate for ratification. This is a very important process as until the Senate ratifies a treaty it is not part of US law and is not considered binding on the US. It is the option up to ratification whether the US chooses to abide by the terms of the treaty or not.

One of the things President Bush did early on in his administration was to call members of both parties in the Senate to assess their positions on ratifying these two treaties. Both Republican and Democratic Senate leaders said neither treaty would ever be ratified as written. Given this clear understanding of the position of the Senate, President Bush de-signed both of these treaties. This created a great deal of animosity in Europe toward the US and epically toward President Bush. Of course, in one sense this action should not have been a surprise to European leaders as they were forewarned this would be the outcome during the development of these two documents.

The US Senate was so incensed by the idea of the ICC that it lead to the passage of the American Service members Protection Act. This bill was passed both by the US House of Representatives and the US Senate by wide majorities. In the Senate the vote was 78 –21 for passage. It should be noted Senator Kerry voted to support this bill. This bill not only does not recognize the ICC it does several other things to protect Americans. It blocks U.S. aid to allies unless they sign accords to keep soldiers on their territory from being turned over to the ICC. It authorizes "any necessary action" to free U.S. soldiers detained by the ICC. It prohibits the U.S. from sharing classified information with the ICC, or even from responding to Letters Rogatory (which ask law enforcement officials for cooperation in investigations).

In addition the US has used the threat of its UNSC veto to obtain a waiver of jurisdiction from the ICC before US forces will participate in any UN operations.
To some this may seem to be arrogant but given the US pays 25% of costs associated with any peacekeeping operation undertaken by the UN, I for one and most Americans do not think this is unreasonable. For those nations, which do object to the idea of US, being granted a waiver, then the option of the US not participating in or paying for UN peacekeeping operations is a viable alternative.

Some closing thoughts on the ICC. The ICC is one of many feel good do good treaties the world comes up. These treaties do not impact most nations who push for and support and later sign at all. In Europe the only nations whose service members might ever appear before the ICC are Britain and France. France has been granted a 10-year waiver of jurisdiction from the ICC. My final comment is a truthism of history. Organizations like the ICC and those, which preceded it in history, are only instructions of the winners of a conflict and not the losers.

I have been taught a valuable lession. If one writes a post with many issues, someone is going to reply with and eqully issue filled posting……..LOL

In keeping to a limited number of topics, this is my second effort. I am going to try to some how answer what Americans think about being on top or being on the bottom and enemy combatants.

This is going to be difficult to explain and even more difficult to understand I am afraid. I surely do not want to add to the feeling that Americans are arrogant because that fire already burns hot and bright to last a very long time. I also do not want anyone to think Americans feel they are better or smarter or whatever than anyone else because I do not think they genuinely feel that.

Most Americans do not think of themselves as Americans. They do not think in those terms. The only time something remotely causes that feeling is when the Olympics occur or maybe now the World Cup. The other times the feeling of being an American is felt is when some outside tragic event like 9 11 happens or their treasure is deployed in some far away land in harms way.

I sense this feeling is much different than one feels in Europe because I think a Brit feels like a Brit when he is in Germany or a German feels like a German when he is France. As most Americans never go to a foreign country they cannot relate to this. When Americans do travel especially to Europe, they tend not to think they are better than the people they meet but different. Most I believe try to make some effort to communicate with the people they meet. Laugh some even think if they say the same thing in English only louder they will be understood.

The closest something like arrogance occurs is when they travel to a different region of the US and someone asks them where they are from. Then they might say I am from the South or from Texas or I am a Yankee. These are as much stereotypes as anything. Southerners think Yankees are loud, unmannered, and in too big of a rush. Yankees think Southerners are slow, talk funny and simple minded. This is really more about pride than arrogance.

Because most Americans do not view themselves as anything but Americans, the idea of being on top is a bit strange to them too. I need to explain that more I know. Americans compete. They like to win. In most things if it is worth the effort it is worth winning if one is to keep score. If Americans are failing they feel a need to some how fix that. This drive, this competitiveness is usually healthy and can be found in almost all areas of American life. Look at space. The Russians put up the first satellite, they put the first man into space. America was behind. The US was able to catch up and pass the Russians, even going to the moon. Yet look at the failures, the Challenger accident. So to compete and to take risks also means one must be prepared to fail. Failure is good in so many ways because from failure comes success. Americans probably fail more at something than most other people.

Americans, and remember with the exception of the Native Indians,all came from some place else, have opportunities that are not found in most other nations. Along with these opportunities come hard work and risks. Most people who come here want to be here. They want the opportunities so they can reap the rewards and are willing to take the risks and to work hard to be an American. The head of NASA’s Mar’s rover program is an Iranian. Hell the governor of the largest state in the US is an Austrian. We assimilate other people.

I use this definition of arrogance - . a feeling or an impression of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or presumptuous claims.

I do think at times people from other nations confuse arrogance with pride. I do believe most Americans take pride in being what they are. Americans tend to do things. They like to accomplish things. They tend to let their accomplishments speak for them. When they are challenged they will listen if there is anything worth listening too especially if it will in some way help accomplish their goals. When they are failing they work harder and trying differnt things.

Now for what might be my most controversial statement. I find those people who most likely feel that Americans and the US are arrogant come from either failed nation states or from nations who have little to be proud of. That statement was in no way intended to be disrespectful to anyone. I hope no one will take it to be disresepectful either. It is an observation.

I am sorry that some view the holding of enemy combatants by the US as being arrogant.

I personally am not sure what to do with them either. I do know they fail to fall neatly under the terms of the Geneva Convention as this treaty was envisioned for the militaries of nation states. As transnational terrorists are not armies of nation-states, then what do you do with them. They are very much members of an organization which has attacked your nation and killed your citizens and they are part of an army. As they killed civilians they surely are not soldiers in the classic sense. Yet, while not soldiers, they are not civilians either to be tired by the courts.

I for one would declare them prisoners of war. They would be released when the war on terror was over. It should also be pointed out that there are at least 4 enemy combatants who happen to be Americans being held in similar circumstances. One American fighting with the Taliban was captured in Afghanistan. He was tired and convicted in the American court system. At the time, I felt this wrong and still feel it was wrong. But I think to find an American in that situation came as a great surprise and there were no procedures on how to handle it. His family feared that the court would rule he had committed treason, which is a crime that is punishable by death in the US.

In some ways, I have no problem with the scenario you outlined about the French capturing Americans some place along with other Europeans and allowing the Europeans to use a different set of rules than the Americans. This would be especially true if they all were doing something like or had done something like kill 3,000 Berliners. They could just rot where ever. Having said that I would expect the US government to do much what the governments of other nations has done for their own citizens. I also do not think the American public would get very exercised about it. The reaction here would be some combination of how stupid, what an embarrassment, and they got just what they deserve.

Bush/Blair.

Most Americans love Blair. They see him in public the way they wished Bush was. There are times if it were not for the US Constitution; I believe Blair could be the first British President of the US. He could run as a candidate from either party and probably win. So to see of the two of them in public and to hear them both speak, Blair makes Bush look as if he had just fallen off the back of a turnip truck. Think of turnip truck as a hops wagon. Blair is smooth and polished. Bush is from Texas. He talks funny, he is slow, and he seems to be a bit simple. Laugh

They both share many traits. They see things with a moral clarity that few of those around them seem to have. They have and display moral courage. They display leadership. They tend to do the right thing as opposed to doing things right. The last time there was a leader in Europe quite like Blair was Thatcher. She too had these same traits.

Blair’s oratory skills are superb. This shows you not only how the Prime Mister Question Time is important to developing these skills but also how they can then be used. The last time the US had someone with the skills that Blair displays was Reagan. Remember too if you are old enough that the Europeans called Reagan a cowboy, felt he had fallen off the back of a turnip truck, considered him to be a danger greater than the Soviets, and in general disliked him.

I would agree with you about Blair bringing some of Europe along. I would in some ways agree with you about UNSCR 1441. This however was much more important of an issue for Blair than it was for Bush. Bush had made his case to the American people who supported him. If any thing Americans just wanted to get on with it.

What many in Europe fail to understand and what drives the democrats nuts in the US is that people really like Bush. They trust him. They might not agree with him but they believe that he believes in what he is saying and that he is honest. They also think he has risen to the occasion.

Yes Bush was wise to gain the approval of Congress before he acted. Of course, Congress had given its approval to Clinton before. That approval was in fact US policy, regime change in Iraq. The difference between Clinton and Bush however is everyone knew that Bush would act. No one really thought Clinton would and even if he had a great number of Americans would have questioned his motives and timing. So in one sense Bush was doing nothing but carrying out the policy established by the Clinton Administration. Also Clinton too when the US invaded Iraq believed WMD’s would be found.

Something else that much of the world fails to understand about America and Americans is the effects of 9 11. It changed the US. It will have an impact on many generations. It probably had the same impact on Americans as World War II had on many in Europe. After the shock wore off, Americans wanted to find those who did this and to punish them. That is still a very strong feeling. Americans felt under attack. They still do in a lot of ways.

Even before Iraq became an issue, for most Americans given what had happened on 9 11, it was not difficult at all to connect the dots that if these people could have done more damage, killed more Americans they surely would have. Given that for the terrorists the nuclear option was not very viable, that left chem-bio weapons as their most lethal weapon. Americans also knew that Saddam had both chemical and biological weapons and had used them. They also considered him to hate the US given that he attempted to assassinate one of our former Presidents. They also considered him to be a bit of a nut case and therefore unpredictable. So the idea that Saddam could and would provide chem- bio weapons to the terrorist was very believable. So for most Americans Iraq was nothing more than a continuation of what had started in Afghanistan.

Blair by committing Britain to stand with the US over Iraq made it not solely a US only operation. Having said that you will note that the US and Britain did not actually fight together. The sad state of affairs is that the militaries of the European nations have fallen so far behind since the end of the cold war that no nation can actually fight with the US. Most of the intreoperatablity has been lost that was once one of the strengths of NATO. So there was never a question of the US wanting combat troops from Germany. To be honest during the combat phase of the operation they would have been in the way. This is in no way to be disrepective to the Germany Army as I have friends who are leaders in it. It is just a statement of the condition of the two militaries and the current differences in their respective capabilities. There are many things that the German Army can do than the US Army.

I want to regress about who Americans are for a moment. The below I think says a lot.

Michael Clarke, director of the International Policy Institute at King's College London, said Europeans and Americans have a fundamental cultural divide. "You're a can-do society," he said, "and there's an American cultural propensity to see terrorism, like other issues, as a problem that has to be solved. But the European attitude tends much more to see it as something that has to be managed."

The second thing I want to add is on Tuesday the Senior Senator from my state gave a speech in the US Senate. This is one of the lines from that speech. BTW he is a Democrat and thinks little of Kerry…

“It's obvious to me that this country is rapidly dividing itself into two camps - the wimps and the warriors," Miller said. "The ones who want to argue and assess and appease, and the ones who want to carry this fight to our enemies and kill them before they kill us. And in case you haven't figured it out, I proudly belong to the latter."

I fear that no matter what might happen in Europe no one will ever hear a speech like that.

@flursn

“When I consider all these things combined with the reality of a world full of nuclear weapons and ask myself if we have really reduced the overall risk to the citizens of the U.S. and the rest of the world, the answer is a resounding no. – That's not the point. Of course Saddam would not have threatened the US with WMD, but rather countries in proximity. Remember the reason for Gulf War I?”

In fact, it’s the essential point. Don’t tell me the issue of increasing or decreasing the nuclear danger in the world is ever beside the point or irrelevant. I don’t buy it. Forget Saddam for a minute and try to look at the big picture. My comment had nothing to do with Saddam. My argument, again, is that by legitimizing wars of aggression, we increase the nuclear danger. We make it easier for nations to pull the trigger. We need to do exactly the opposite. We need to establish as a fundamental rule among nations that wars of aggression will not be tolerated.

“Appeasement and a war of aggression were not the only alternatives open to us in Iraq or anywhere else. - What else? Another 10 years of sanctions and food for oil? More inspectors?”

So if flursn can’t think up an alternative that satifies him after thinking about it for a few minutes the solution is, in every case, to go to war? Not a very good basis for US foreign policy.

“The issue is whether the US or any other nation has the right, on its own, to conclude that it can take over the power of the UN if it feels that body is ineffective. -The US never outsourced their power as a sovereign nation to the UN.”

I never claimed the US outsourced its powers as a sovereign nation. You are the one who brought up the impotence of the UN, not me. You are arguing against a straw man of your own making. In fact, the UN does have an internationally recognized right to use force in some cases. I simply made the point that the impotence of the UN does not justify the usurpation of that right by any country. The point still stands. I have never argued that the US must always have the sanction of the UN to go to war.

“So you don't define torture and slaughter of a tyrant's own people as an aggression? If you do, the war on Iraq was perfectly lawful. If you don't, the war on Serbia was illegal as well, and Clinton should immediately put before a commission.” and “No, it must be clear that once again when Europe and the rest of the world silently watched mass killings it was the United States that ended aggression against a nations own people. Germany. Bosnia. Kosovo. Iraq. (Oh, I know, feel free to pull the Viet Nam stunt.)”

Let’s stick to the point and stop comparing apples and oranges, flursn. If you want to discuss Bosnia, Kosovo, or Vietnam, start a separate thread. I don’t buy the argument that, if other wars in other places and in different circumstances were good, the second Gulf War must therefore necessarily also be good.

“Saddam is out of business, Libya is out of business (a joint British and American effort), Syria is soon to follow. So, yes, the new doctrine is working.” and “Sure, we can see how that diplomacy works with Iran, which is pacing away producing nuclear bombs.”

I see, so Libya and Syria are not making bombs, and that proves your point, but Iran is pacing away producing nuclear bombs, and that also proves your point. Did it ever occur to you that you might have a serious spin problem here? You have a preconceived notion of reality, and simply twist and stretch the facts so they agree with that reality regardless. No doubt it would also have “proved your point” if Libya and Syria had gone ahead full speed with their nuclear programs, and Iran had ended its program and turned over all its equipment. Reality must conform to ideology.

“How do you define aggression? Or is it just a term you picked up from the anti-war crowd without any further reflection?”

I think the fact that I volunteered to serve in the infantry in Vietnam at a time when that war wasn’t particularly popular should distance me somewhat from the “anti-war crowd.”

“I just look at the massive cost of the war, probably around $200 billion, and think what else we might have done with that money. - So let's close all theaters right now, disband the NASA, and condemn Germany for signing a purchase order for 180 Eurofighters (tactical fighter aircraft) just some days ago.”

Right. If the war in Iraq was a waste of money, all expenditures for all purposes whatsoever must therefore also be a waste of money. Good logic.

“and can’t help noticing that the people who hate us around the world have been able to exploit the war to ratchet hatred of America to unprecedented levels. - Like what? The Arab street has been seething like that ten years ago, we had the Nairobi US embassy bombing, the USS Cole attack, the first WTC bombing years before American soldiers set any footstep in the Iraqi desert. The murderers and thugs in Iraq have been there before the US came to Iraq, actually the same people that plant bombs at roads have used their evil forces before to torture their fellow Iraqis. It's just that nobody noticed, or did not want to face reality.”

I never claimed that hatred of America didn’t exist before the war. If you will read what I said, you will see that I argued that the war intensified it and played into the hands of the propagandists who want to vilify us. If you are trying to claim that hatred and distrust of the US are not much greater now than they were before the war, I can only reply that you are very wrong.


Israel - Turkey

Israel and Turkey are two very interesting nations. While they are both different in many ways I believe for both the US and Europe and within Europe especially Germany they are the same too.

Having lived and worked in Turkey for several years I have found Turkey to be one of the most misunderstood nations in world. The Turks are simply wonderful people. They are kind, honest, generous, hard working, determined, have pride in self as well as their nation. When I lived there so many of them were poor as dirt but I never met one who would not willingly share half his dirt with you. I think the Turks are a nation who very much looks to the future and sees great hope. I have the greatest respect and admiration of both the Turks and Turkey.

Somewhere I read the results of a study of values, morals, and attitudes. Americans and Turks were more closely related in their opinion on these than any European nation. I found this to be true also. The only thing, which drove me mad, was being American I wanted to get on with it and the Turks had the attitude if god wills it and therefore never seemed to be in a hurry. During all of this waiting for god’s will one drinks tea, I must have drunk enough tea to fill the Aussenalster in Hamburg twice over.

I say Turkey is misunderstood because few people really know much about it. It is a huge nation. The role of the military in Turkey is very unique. To understand the military one needs to in some ways to understand the founder of modern Turkey, Ataturk. Ataturk is to Turkey what all the historical figures are of a nation rolled up into one man. He was and is truly revered and loved by the Turkish people Ataturk decided that Turkey was to become a modern nation with democratic principles. He sat about causing this to happen. Part of his charge to the military was to insure these principles were followed. This is why from time to time the military ends up running the country. We as Westerners find this to be awful but our opinions are influenced by our own histories and cultures. For the vast majority of Turks when the military takes control of the government they are not upset that they did but are upset because it took them so long to do it.

I read the comment about Germans defending their nation. I know of Turks who are dual US/Turkish citizens who have paid their own way back to Turkey to meet their two-year military obligation. At the time every male had to spend two years in the military. This service was in the military and not like in Germany where one could chose to perform some form of social work.

The US in the run up to the Iraq war handled its relationships with Turkey very poorly. It was as awkward for Turkey and the US as two teenagers having sex for the first time.

They both had some idea of what they wanted but were generally clueless in how to do it. There was a new government in place lead by a new political party who had never been in government before. The real leader of that government was not even a member of the Parliament. This party was more religious than the previous party in power who was in fact in opposition. The US thought it would have the support of both parties and of the Turkish military when it make its request to Turkey to launch a northern front from within Turkey. The military probably more than any segment of Turkish society see the need and have the greatest desire to become part of the EU. For this reason they kept out of the political activity. The Turkish General Staff remaining on the sidelines and the opposition party block voting against the new government surprised the US. The new government only being in power a few weeks was not organized and did not even understand at the time how Parliament was run. The new government also over played its hand in dealing with the US.

So the US really screwed up its part of gaining the support of Turkey. The Turks more because of a lack of disorganization screwed up their side too. The activities of Germany within NATO surely did not help any of this. Combined all of this gave another reason for people to form negative opinions about what the US was doing.

I believe the US considers Turkey to be one of its strongest allies. Turkey is probably a closer US ally than Germany is today. Turkey is really a bridge between East and West. It is a muslin nation, which has embraced the West and its values and principles of laws, government, and institutions. To be this, the only democratic muslin nation in the world with a secular government, I consider to be a bit amazing. (Yes, I know one now could consider Indonesia to be like Turkey. In comparison to Turkey, Indonesia is just starting.) The US wants Turkey to serve as a model for the rest of the ME. Turkey would be a good model, too. BTW Turkey is the only muslin nation to have signed military agreements with Israel.

I realize that many Germans have an entirely different view about Turkey and the Turks than I have. This I want to believe comes from different experiences and I also think in some ways the Turks in Germany are different than the Turks in Turkey. I think the Turks in Germany as well as the Germans share equally in this. The Germans have made it much too difficult for the Turks to assimilate into German society or to become citizens. They have failed to give the Turks a sense of ownership and opportunity. It also appears that ethnic Germans are quick to blame the Turks for a lot of things, which they play only a minor part in. I also realize that the Turks have not always helped themselves either. I do not expect to see in my lifetime an elected head of a German state being a second or even a third generation German of Turkish decent.

The sad part or one of the things I consider sad is that the Turks have such admiration and respect for the Germans, especially in Turkey. An example of this is a bit telling. When I was in Turkey, Turkey was a very poor nation. If there was any nation it tried to emulate it was probably Germany. I think this was because so many Turks had family members who had been to or lived in Germany. One of the things I noticed was some of the most important and visible highways looked much like those in Germany. On each side of the road were the white markers each about 50 or 100 meters apart. I later discovered there was a huge difference in these two. The ones in German were made of plastic and would breakaway when hit. The ones in Turkey were made of steel reinforced concert and painted. Should one hit one of these, they did not breakaway but more or less destroyed your car…. LOL!!

Here, Germany could become a champion for Turkey entrance into the EU. I think Germany says all the right things but when it comes time to do something, Germany tends to help raise the bar to entrance just a little higher. I wonder if Turkey will ever gain entrance to the EU.

I think Turkey becoming a member of the EU would do more to help stabilize and bring peace to the ME than almost any other single action. I think it would give real hope to the millions of people in the ME who seek a better life. It would give them and more importantly a goal and a means to a better future.

Israel – Germany has had enough time to develop a consistent long-range policy toward Israel. I do not see this policy. In many ways, I would think Germany would be a champion of Israel for the same historical reasons the US is. I realize at times it is difficult to have a great deal of personal sympathy toward the Jewish people when they are continuing to bash you about the head and shoulders because of the past.

I would say the German policy toward Israel is inconsistent, lacks balance and of total self interest.

Germany has more in common with Israel than it does with any other nation in the ME, if for no other reason than they have the same institutions and form of government. It is the only nation in the ME where everyone can vote and everyone can hold office. I have written about demographics before. This applies to Israel as well. Israel will in a relative short period of time have a majority of its citizens to be of Arab descent.

Germany tends to align itself more with the PA than it does with Israel. The PA wants to become a separate nation but does not act like a nation state. It refuses to recognize the existence of Israel. It directly or indirectly sponsors terrorist attacks again Israel. It does not control its boarders. It does not govern. If anything the PA encourages all of the terror, which takes place.

My view is the German policy toward Israel is much like German policy toward Turkey. The government says all the right things and so do the Germans but when it comes time to actually do something they fall short. They hide behind a mask of not being racists or of bigotry when in fact this exists to a much deeper degree than they want to admit.

My latest example was the most recent UNSCR about the killing of Yassin. The resolution as written condemned only Israel for the actions it took. It said nothing of the actions of the terrorist who continue to kill civilians. It was a most unbalanced resolution. Germany as a member of the UNSC had an opportunity to cast a NO vote. It did not instead it chose to abstain. One has to ask why. I personally think it was not so much that Germany did not think the resolution was balanced or that the killing of Jews is acceptable but because it feared that should it join the US, it would lose markets in the ME. Therefore, I more times than not tend to think Germany is supportive of Israel when the only costs are euro's and not moral or political capital.

When Germany does things like this I for one thinks it undermines any chance it has ever of ever becoming a permanent member of the UNSCO. In this case Germany took the easy way out. Something I find that it tends to do more and more.

Helian,

My argument, again, is that by legitimizing wars of aggression, we increase the nuclear danger. We make it easier for nations to pull the trigger. We need to do exactly the opposite. We need to establish as a fundamental rule among nations that wars of aggression will not be tolerated.

So once again I ask my question that still waits for a credible answer: What is that rule that you describe? How to sanction nations that do not abide to that rule? By sending fierce letters?

So if flursn can’t think up an alternative that satifies him after thinking about it for a few minutes the solution is, in every case, to go to war? Not a very good basis for US foreign policy.

No, it's up to you to come up with alternatives. Yet you seem to not have any, but insist that we use other means to peacefully resolve such conflicts.

I never claimed the US outsourced its powers as a sovereign nation. You are the one who brought up the impotence of the UN, not me. You are arguing against a straw man of your own making. In fact, the UN does have an internationally recognized right to use force in some cases. I simply made the point that the impotence of the UN does not justify the usurpation of that right by any country. The point still stands. I have never argued that the US must always have the sanction of the UN to go to war.

No, the UN does not have an internationally recognized right to use force in somce cases. The UN does not have any law-enforcement corporations on their own. How often do I need to repeat that?

Let’s stick to the point and stop comparing apples and oranges, flursn. If you want to discuss Bosnia, Kosovo, or Vietnam, start a separate thread. I don’t buy the argument that, if other wars in other places and in different circumstances were good, the second Gulf War must therefore necessarily also be good.

No, I did'n say that those wars were good. In fact they were necessary, and they have build a precedent. The US in Iraq have acted on that precedent. End of story.

I see, so Libya and Syria are not making bombs, and that proves your point, but Iran is pacing away producing nuclear bombs, and that also proves your point. Did it ever occur to you that you might have a serious spin problem here? You have a preconceived notion of reality, and simply twist and stretch the facts so they agree with that reality regardless. No doubt it would also have “proved your point” if Libya and Syria had gone ahead full speed with their nuclear programs, and Iran had ended its program and turned over all its equipment. Reality must conform to ideology.

Sorry, that's BS. Libya and Syria are clearly rogue states. Libya has been financing and plannig terror by themselves, Syria is still doing so (cf. Hizbollah). I'm talking here about state-financed and state-sponsored terrorism which has been facilitated to attack the West (Lockerbie) or Israel. Iran so far has become a dangerous nation, but they did NOT wage war against other nations.

Did it ever occur to you that you simply are unwilling to lose a point and rather rely on pseudo psychological insults than on insight?

Right. If the war in Iraq was a waste of money, all expenditures for all purposes whatsoever must therefore also be a waste of money. Good logic.

Courtesy of Helian. You brought up a point that puts you right in that corner. So sarcasm put aside do you really believe we should base our human rights on economical reasoning? (Oh, I know, the Iraqi liberation was not based on human rights, it was based on [insert favorite here].)

I never claimed that hatred of America didn’t exist before the war. If you will read what I said, you will see that I argued that the war intensified it and played into the hands of the propagandists who want to vilify us. If you are trying to claim that hatred and distrust of the US are not much greater now than they were before the war, I can only reply that you are very wrong.

Sorry, it's up to you to provide hard facts for your own claims. Making an argument based on personal feelings is not sufficient.

I figure if I am going to jump in, I might as well jump in the deep end.

I would like to share with you what I have been able to discover and also what I believe about Shroeder

Prior to the elections in Germany, Bush and Shroeder were not good friends but from Bush’s side he respected Shroeder as the leader of Germany and as an ally. They or Bush felt had a positive relationship. During this period they had several conversations and in one of those Bush told Shroeder that he understood Iraq could be both a touchy and tricky issue for him as he was running for reelection. Bush said that the US would keep this issue off the table so it would not cause him any trouble. They then went on to discuss what type of support Germany could provide the US as it pertained to Iraq.

For a period of time this was how things were going then something happened. Shroeder went off on this NO to war message. This changed everything.

Now this is my speculation and it is also something again I want to believe. I know politicians have handlers whose sole job is to keep them on message. Politicians because most of them like to talk tend to get themselves in more trouble more often when they get off message than at any time during their campaigns. A good example here is Kerry’s comment about being more liked and supported by leaders of foreign nations. I know his handlers when he said this knew it was a major screw up and would come back to bit him. BTW it has and it will again and again.

Shroeder’s comment about NO to war in Iraq was off message but it was well received by the crowd. It got a response I am not even sure Shroeder expected. The German media picked it up immediately. Now there was a new message. This message gave his campaign new hope of pulling off a victory.

Now in one sense the genie was out of the bottle. Before he could contact Washington or make any type of clarifying comments members of his party took this message and started to run with it. This is where we got one of the SPD ministers comparing Bush to Hitler, where comment about Iraq was all about distracting the Americans from the sad shape of their economy, etc.

Shroeder found himself somewhat trapped. So he really had little choice but to play this new message for all it was worth. His actions took the WH and Bush totally by surprise. It took then a while to respond. By the time both sides got together major damage had been done.

I cannot begin to tell you how badly this played with the American public. The comparison of any American President to Hitler especially coming from a German or the comparison of Americans to Nazis was totally unacceptable. In my life time, I do not think I have ever met a native born American who did not have some relative who did not fight in World War II and in fact most of them lost a relative in that war. The damage this caused to German American relationships is beyond belief. It did more to change most Americans perspective of Germany and the German people than any single thing since the end of the war.

I believe Shroeder thought after the election he could make all this go away. He could not and he will not no matter what the public sees or what is said. I think that he could not make this go away has come as a bit of a shock to him.

Having more or less won his election on this NO to War, No to the US, he had to stand by this.

Now this is what I find to be especially sad and it is also very clumsy on his part. The support the US actually wanted and needed with the exception of the UN vote, Shroeder and Germany provided. We are talking about the use of bases in Germany, over fly rights, support in guarding installations as US forces deployed and support within NATO.

I see two things that have resulted from all of this. German Americans relations have been seriously damaged over an election and what the US wanted and needed was given by the Germany government. It in many ways added to and legitimized the anti American feelings that existed in Germany. I say this as much of what was said and what was seen on television here was as much anti American as it was anti war.

What many people fail to understand about Americans and I have seen this over the last couple of weeks, is that it is OK for us to have a food fight with our President, it is an entirely a different matter for someone else to. So while much of Europe was in the streets marching against Bush his support in the US actually was going up.

One of the things this President values and so do most Americans is loyalty. This does not mean one needs to blindly follow. What it means is if you say you are going to do something then you do it. Once you break that bond it is very difficult to reestablish it.

Now for two very personal opinions. First, given Shroeder stated that Germany would not support the war in Iraq no matter what the UNSC voted to do, tells me Germany brings nothing to the UNSC. It surely does not bring leadership. This attitude displays what is currently wrong with the UN. It passes resolutions, which it never intends to enforce.

Secondly, the German people got just what they deserved as a leader. Someone who not only lacks leadership but the moral courage to do what is right over the right thing. Someone who is general unprincipled. Someone who will talk a lot and fail to do take the hard action. It is reoccurring pattern. I only hope it is limited to the SPD and the Greens. I say this not so much as it affects America but how it will affect Germany today and in the future.

Helian,

as I sense that you're gloating over there (and probably hacking right away another fierceful reply), let's take a shortcut here, in plain English:

The United States' current doctrine of preemptive strikes is not a solution to our current problems. But neither is the United Nations modus of endless waffling and preservation of the status quo. Yet one can argue that the UN way is the way to go, albeit being subject to bad execution, not bad intent. That point is futile because it's well in line with those who argue that Socialism inherently is the way to go, only that it suffered from bad execution - and led to the extinction of millions of innocent civilians.

The United Nations still has to prove that she can bring great benefit to those who follow their rule, that it can spread freedom and consensual government across the globe. So far they failed. Contrast that to the history of the United States, with her long track record of bringing peace and liberty to Germany, Japan, South Korea. The US clearly is the bad cop in town, and we all wished there were a good cop in town. But we don't have one, and there's no one in sight, so we stick what we have until a better replacement comes up.

That is what is called pragmatism.

flursn:

That is what is called pragmatism

Pragmatism is the KEY word ! End of story. It defines the differences between the US and the rest of the world. In a way, the discussions could end with this word.

This is exactly what people like Helian all over the world will NEVER understand and they will never grow tired of rationalizing away this 'simplistic' idea.

Make no mistake here. There is a good reason why we need an opposition, and I really do appreciate different views such as that of Helian or Klink (stripped of his bad manners, of course), because it is those people who constantly remind us what the real goal is.

Lee Harris exemplifies this point brilliantly in Civilizations And Its Enemies. When we fight thugs sometimes we must rely on a subset of their methods, i.e. killing. But we must never ever compromise on our values, and we must always return to our civilization when fighting is over. That is the morale of The Seven Samurais. A village's peasants are terrorized by villains. To the rescue come seven Samurais who kill the villains. The peasants fear that the Samurais won't leave after fighting is over and that instead they take the role of the villains, i.e. oppressing the villains and demanding tribute. But the Samurais do leave, because they act on a code of honour. That story has been retold in Last Man Standing (both the original and the Bruce Willis remake). Bruce comes into town and cleans it up, killing the thugs one by one until he's the last man standing. But he never loses his values, he never targets civilians, he never shoots children or women.

That is the core of my bad cop = United States story from above. The US took Saddam out, but it must always remain clear that this war was an exception. Exceptional but necessary. And this is something that the anti-war crowd here in Germany and over there never will understand: there is no end to history, and there is no end to violence and crime. Thugs and villains can't be rationalized away, they can't be talked away. As we must never compromise on our values we must never compromise on the enemy. We must stay prepared to spot the enemy, to fight the enemy, to defeat the enemy. Or we will perish.

Such is the nature of our world. There will never be an end to dying. Yes, we can fight the diseases that nature brought upon us, but not the disease that human nature brought upon us. Learn that you will die some day. Once you got that, learn that there always will be an enemy who wants to kill you. Think about it. Believe it. And once you got that, learn how to live with it.

(exchange "... we can fight the ..." with "... we can extinct the ..." in the last paragraph)

Lileks takes on Kerry

I just have to say a few things about Kerry’s MTV appearance.

"Senator Kerry, in the clearest terms, what would be the principal difference between the foreign policy of your administration and that of the Bush administration?"

Brian, the principle difference will be almost everything. This administration has been arrogant. I think they have been reckless. They have been overly ideological. They have pushed our allies away. I will bring our allies back to us.

By "allies," of course, he means Germany and France. And perhaps our deep long-standing ally Russia. Kerry’s statement indicates that either he doesn’t know about the French government’s vested financial interests in Iraq, or he does know and thinks we don’t. Or he dismisses the story as irrelevant to the larger goal: building a body of international resolve that will meet any challenge by sending diplomats to exchange Frank and Honest Views in conference rooms, with that nice lemon tea they serve. Do they use a zest, or a peel, or just run the lemon along the rim of the cup? Whatever they do, it’s quite delicious. (...)

How will he bring our allies back to us? By waving the magic ally-reassembling wand? No: by doing what they want us to do, not by doing the things they don’t. It’s almost as if Kerry believes that the point of a war is to have allies first and victory second. But I think I know what he’s doing. It’s an appeal to those who always say – always - that we “squandered” the goodwill of the world after 9/11. But in certain quarters that “goodwill” was equal parts pity, schadenfreude and the belief that we would now realize the errors of our ways. And note how no one ever talks about how the Palestinian Authority squandered the goodwill it got from the Oslo Accords. The Squander, it would seem, is a bird unique to our nation, and we alone are responsible for its care and feeding.

We continue:

I will respect the international community — not that we're tying ourselves to it in a way that doesn't allow us to make decisions and protect our own security. But it's important to try and build real coalitions. It's important to bring people to our side. Even the powerful United States of America needs friends and allies on this planet. And I intend to pursue a foreign policy that faces up to realities.

Again: a real coalition means "Germany and France." Would he consider a coalition that included Germany and France, but did not include England, to be "real"? What’s the magic number of nations? Do we weight the nations for population and the nature of the government? If the UN is on our side, and most of the governments are autocracies, does that lend legitimacy to our efforts? "I intend to pursue a foreign policy that faces up to realities." These realities apparently do not include the nature of nations, which is to act in their self-interest above all. Unless he thinks all those Syrian vetoes were done out of high-minded principles.

We continue:

"For instance, North Korea, George Bush didn't even negotiate, didn't even begin the process for two years. I would never not open the process of real dialogue to see what the possibilities are."

The government of North Korea is made up of liars and thieves who are starving millions of their own people to prop up a crime gang. They rolled us once. There is no profit in “opening up the process of real dialogue to see what the possibilities are” when you know that the process will result in the same old deals: give us oil and food so we can feed our army and keep building nukes while we insist that we’re not. I heard this line back in the 80s, over and over again: it was important to talk to the Soviets, to have lots of summits and sign lots of papers, because at least we’re talking! That’s preferable to fighting, and it has to lead to something good. Okay, well, imagine that Hitler never declared war on the United States, and conquered Europe by 41. Would you prefer that FDR responded by “opening up the process of real dialogue to see what the possibilities are” or sending the smart boys off to a dark room to draw up Overlord?

Warning: when someone says “opening up the process of real dialogue to see what the possibilities are” they have conceded the first round of negotiations, because the other side knows we can be had, and had cheaply. Because we want to deal. Because we want a deal for domestic consumption. Because we want a deal to legitimize the international apparatus of talks, more talks, summits, signings, banquets where the Secretary of State gavottes with the high-haired brute who sits atop his private gulag.

We contine:

[Bush] turned his back on global warming, walked away from a treaty that 160 nations worked 10 years on. We should never have just declared it dead. We should've tried to fix it.

Never mind the ruinous effect Kyoto might have had on the US economy – what really matters is that 160 nations worked for ten years on it. The process is more important than the result. Process is our savior. Again, Kerry must believe that we don’t remember the timeline – how President Clinton signed it but never submitted it. How the Senate voted 95-0 for the Byrd-Hegel bill, which said we’d never adopt it. Kerry voted yea. But as he said afterwards:

It is clear that one of the chief sponsors of this resolution, Senator Byrd . . . agrees … that the prospect of human-induced global warming as an accepted thesis with adverse consequences for all is here, and it is real…. Senator Lieberman, Senator Chafee and I would have worded some things differently… [but] I have come to the conclusion that these words are not a treaty killer."

So he actually voted for Kyoto by voting against it. Or voted in favor of Kyoto before he voted against it. I can't keep track anymore. We continue:

We haven't done what we needed to do for AIDS globally. The president talks about it, but we still haven't passed the kind of comprehensive program that would help the United States lead on one of the great crises of our time.

Hmm:

At a signing ceremony at the State Department, Mr Bush said Aids was filling graveyards, creating orphans and leaving millions in a desperate fight for their own lives across Africa. . . Suprising aid and family planning organisations, rock star and poverty campaigner Bob Geldof has praised the Bush administration's Africa initiative.
"You'll think I'm off my trolley when I say this, but the Bush administration is the most radical - in a positive sense - in its approach to Africa since Kennedy," Mr Geldof, who organised the 1985 Live Aid fund raising concert for Ethiopia, told Britain's Guardian newspaper.
In contrast to the European Union's "pathetic and appalling" response, Sir Bob said neo-conservatives and religious right-wingers who surround the US president are proving unexpectedly helpful. Former president Bill Clinton had not helped Africa much, despite his high-profile visits and apparent empathy with the downtrodden, Mr Geldof said.

And how was this bill passed?

President George W. Bush surprised many in January when, during his State of the Union address, he committed to spending billions of dollars to combat AIDS in Africa. Up to that point, neither the White House nor Bush's conservative backers had shown much interest in the AIDS pandemic.
Last year, however, others on Capitol Hill were working on the problem. John Kerry, the Democratic senator from Massachusetts, along with Republican Senator Bill Frist of Tennessee, won Senate passage of an AIDS bill.

So John Kerry helped to pass the very bill he now decries as insufficiently “comprehensive.” In fact his comments seem to imply no bill was passed at all. “The president talks about it, but we still haven’t passed the kind of comprehensive program that would help the United States lead.” What would such a bill look like? Specifics, please. (...)

I mean, there are countless numbers of things that we could be doing to enhance the world's view of us and to minimize the kind of anger and ... almost recruitment that has taken place in terrorist organizations as a result of the way the administration has behaved.

And that’s the second money quote, right there. We stopped pretending we would ratify Kyoto. We only spent $15 billion on AIDS in Africa. We did not take dictation from Paris. If we had done these things, it would minimize the world’s anger.

Is the world angry at Russia, which spends nothing on AIDS and rebuffed Kyoto? Is the world angry at China, which got a pass on Kyoto and spends nothing on AIDS for other countries?

Is the world angry at North Korea for killings its people? Angry at Iran for smothering that vibrant nation with corrupt and thuggish mullocracy? Angry at Syria for occupying Lebanon? Angry at Saudi Arabia for its denial of women’s rights? Angry at Russia for corrupt elections? Is the world angry at China for threatening Taiwan, or angry at France for joining the Chinese in joint military exercises that threatened the island on the eve of an election? Is the world angry at Zimbabwe for stealing land and starving people? Is the world angry at Pakistan for selling nuclear secrets? Is the world angry at Libya for having an NBC program?

Is the world angry at the thugs of Fallujah?

Is the world angry at anyone besides America and Israel?

But even if you admit that the world is angry at America - so angry that the poorest of them can’t wait to come here and stake a claim – you have to stand in awe at the sheer political idiocy of Kerry’s conclusion. Boiled down:

There are countless numbers of things that we could be do minimize the kind of anger and ... almost recruitment that has taken place in terrorist organizations as a result of the way the administration has behaved.

By toppling the fascists in Baghdad without French seal of approval, we have encouraged recruitment in terrorist organizations. It’s not the invasion that ticked off the Man in the Arab Street, it’s the lack of a 17th UN resolution on Iraq. Right now in a café in Beirut an educated man, a chemist by trade, schooled in the ways of the West, is reading an article about how the US will only spent $15 billion on AIDS and probably won’t reduce its carbon emissions to 1817 levels, and he throws down the paper in disgust: bastards! I must join Al Qaeda, move to Iraq and kill the contractors who are upgrading their outmoded infrastructure!

If there is such a man, well, I'm angry at him. Do I get to be angry at him? No? Okay. I'll sit down now.

---

(emphasis mine)

Joe

First something on your excourse on turkey, as I find this topic more interesting. You laid out a lot of nice and quite true compliments about Turks, but didn't really get to the juicy stuff IMO. :-)

- It's true that Turks are very patriotic and proud of their country, though the Turks in Germany are often not that keen for military service, so many only serve a symbolic military service in Turkey of a few weeks by additionally having to pay a fee (not sure - several thousand EUROS). -

You played down the rift between Turkey and the US as two teens having first sex. I think it was much deeper from the Turkish perspective: The US openly went to bed with the Kurds in Northern Iraq and fueled Kurdish hopes for a fully independent state some day. A big offense for proud national Turks, who will hold on to unity no matter what.

Turkey is on an interesting path IMO. It has right now a muslim-leaning government, which tries hard to get into the EU - also to get rid of their watchdog, the military. EU won't tolerate military involvement in Government and so the EU offers a nice freedom-perspective for the growing muslim influences in Turkey to lean more and more towards Islam (which I don't view as necessarly bad, if done moderately - I only wonder about the meaning for the EU). Religious based groups are growing both in Turkey and here (like our Milli Görös, which is radical nationalist-muslim, though strictly non-violent) and let's not forget that the big terror-attacks in Turkey itself recently were done by Turks.

EU of course keeps shamefully betraying Turkey with hopes for EU-membership. And membership is not gonna happen IMO. We should be honest and tell Turkey "no" to full membership, and offer them a close association status instead (like the conservative CSU wants it - though they sadly play on xenophobe sentiments a bit IMO).

The US pushes for EU-membership to firmly hold Turkey "on our side", but also a bit for their own reasons against EU - to keep the current EU more as an economic association and to prevent that it might be also politically a monolithic bloc some day. Turkey would be one of EU's largest nations and totally change the dominant face of the EU, if included. Great for the US. Great for EU? Not sure - would depend very much on the future path of Turkey.

Turkey – I unfortunately do not have a lot of time right now to discuss Turkey, however; I would like too. I am well of aware of the Kurdish problem.

True the US arrangement with the Kurds was sure to upset the Turkish government of either party. At the same time, in many ways, from my perspective when Turkey said no to a second northern front, the US had few military options left. As it was, the delay of moving equipment from the Med to Kuwait and then off loading there took a huge amount of time and stressed the port facilities already in use. These results of this caused the delay of a major ground combat element being deployed.

As it turned out this delay was not significant as it related to the overall initial operation and mission accomplishment. Having said that at the time no one knew this. So the operators who were charged with conducting military operations took the best of their remaining options, the Kurdish one. This really came down to an operational question. That question we need to protect American soldiers and accomplish the mission. How do we do this? So a commander given the Kurdish option and hurting the Turks feelings or not hurting the Turks feelings and risking US forces lives and overall mission accomplish, it was and is a no brainier.

The Turks will have to get over it. HARD Answer – Yes. PREFFERAL Answer – No. You adapt or you die.

I for one had no trouble envisioning Saddam moving forces from the north to the south and the US taking heavy casualties. I could equally envision Turkey moving deep into the boarder area and the US SPECOPS people being caught in a battle between the Turks and the Kurds. Either of these two scenarios would have been bad for the US but much worse for the Turks.

Had the US had wanted to do something to punish the Turks they easily could have done any of number of things concerning loans and financing, which they did not do.

The real risk is for those in Ankara to over play their hand again.

This is why it is so important for Iraq to remain whole. However, this whole what I guess one would now have to call the Iraq experiment is going to be interesting and difficult. It is not helped by the continued actions of France and Germany and now Spain. I fear that any hand over is going to be too quick. It takes time to grow the institutions needed to give Iraq a real chance.

There have been so many missed opportunities in this and there continues to be.
A real response to the terror act in Spain would have been for all those EU/NATO nations who do not have troops on the ground in Iraq now to each send 200 soldiers. This would have sent a very strong message to not only the terrorists but to the entire world.

I have always considered Turkey to be walking a tight rope between its culture and its desires. Some times this tightrope is near the ground and some times it really is a high wire act. Right now I consider it a high wire act because of because of the government in power in Ankara. I for one depending on what they do and how they in fact control religion or not control religion will be one of the keys to Turkey’s future EU membership or not.

Many think the wildcard is the military. I for one do not. To help Turkey gain admission to the EU it has backed off. I am sure MOD and TGS are going nuts. Having said that the EU attitude shows how little they really understand Turkey and / or is an example of the EU jerking Turkey around on the membership issue.

In some ways the Turkish government and the Turkish military are also staring into the abysses. The government could let religion spin out of control blearing the lines between religious and a secular state. The question for the military is what do they do.

As for the US reasons for Turkey’s admission to the EU, I agree with your statement to keep Turkey on “our side”. I see no other agendia other than Turkey has been a long and faithful member of NATO and is the only NATO member country not in the EU, and to serve as a model of what a modern Islamic nation can do, I see no other truly important reasons for the US to support Turkey’s admission.

As for some type of balance or against the EU, I do not buy that argument at all. I think the EU will collapse from the sheer weight of its own mass. You are already seeing the government in Berlin wakening to the fact of what the new members are being to the EU. Germany now does not want to export jobs but wants to export unemployment. Remember in the EU it much easier to regulate equal outcomes than it is to make the hard decisions of becoming competitive in a world economy.

The EU tends to confuse words with actions.


Italians off.

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