(English Translation by Hartmut Lau)
(Deutsche Version am Ende des Beitrags)
An article by Jeffrey Gedmin, Director of the Aspen Institute office in Berlin, in "Welt am Sonntag" (the Sunday edition the German daily "Welt") made my whole day. It was a breath of fresh air in contrast to the stale anti-American fare coming from the German media:
“I am not convinced, Mr. Barnier!
Even if the Bush-haters don’t like it – Iraq is not lost.
French Foreign Minister Barnier warned the US that the coming ‘transfer of power to the new [Iraqi] government must be comprehensive, genuine, and without any ambiguity.’
The minister added that it was high time that the US behaved ‘credibly.’ We need not, as long as a French politician can make such comments, fear for the survival of cynicism.
In this week’s Süddeutsche Zeitung Wolfgang Koydl piously uttered another widely–held opinion. Koydl wrote, ‘What most of his countrymen would most have liked to hear from their president was a fixed date for the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq.’ Ah yes, the voice of the people. The Americans never understood why the Europeans did not assume more responsibility in Bosnia and in Kosovo. Thus, four years ago, George W. Bush suggested that American troops be withdrawn from the Balkans. Do you remember the howls of protest in European capitals about this example of American unilateralism? And, by the way, since when is the French government interested in the sovereignty and fate of the Iraqi people? If it were up to Jacques Chirac, Saddam Hussein would still be in power in Baghdad.
But pointing out such burdensome little truths isn’t fashionable these days. The two closely related ideologies, EU-nationalism and anti-Americanism like to keep themselves above mere facts…
America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Israel, the Arab world and Peter Scholl-Latour all believed that Saddam had secret, illegal weapons depots. We should ask ourselves what went wrong, what could we have done better, how much do our intelligence services actually know about what the North Koreans and the Iranians have in their arsenals. But “Bush lied” sounds wonderful – so why bother to be at all concerned with unpleasant details? …
The chattering classes are especially obsessed with the so-called neoconservatives. These dangerous ‘neo-cons’ - as we’ve all learned after it happened - gained control over American foreign policy. …
They promoted the use of force to protect persecuted Moslems in Kosovo and today they are engaged in protecting Taiwan from communist China. So when people like that argued for putting an end to the butcher of Baghdad’s rule really shouldn’t have been a surprise. However, they committed an unforgivable sin.
They spoke of the prospect of an Iraqi democracy even though the realists, racists and cynical