(By Ray D.)
We at Medienkritik recently received the following comment from one of our distinguished readers from Yale University in the form of an email:
“Your website continues to inform and, unfortunately, alarm me. I say "alarm" because the level of loathing of the US revealed in the German sources you cite has come as something of a shock to me. The recent extract from the Greens' position paper on Iraq struck me as especially disingenuous in the way it simultaneously condemned the use of force without UN approval in Iraq while defending it in Kosovo on the grounds that "genocide" was taking place or threatened in the latter. Genocide? Milosevic, while undoubtedly a brutal ruler by European standards, never perpetrated mass murder on the scale of Hussein. Moreover, expelling Kosovar Albanians, terrible as that was, comes nowhere near the crimes committed by Hussein against ethnic and regional minorities in Iraq. My own reading of the situation is not that there is any principled difference that can justify the German government's positions on Iraq and Kosovo, but simply that Germany found it advantageous to have the US assist in solving the Kosovo crisis (and ultimately ousting Milosevic).”
Unfortunately, the loathing for the US has a long history on the German left which predates George W. Bush. In a feature article on the Kosovo conflict entitled, “Division is in the Air,” SPIEGEL described the Green party’s internal divisions over the decision to support NATO-led military intervention against a sovereign state:
“The more the war over Kosovo escalates, the more the Greens will have to fundamentally think about their roots and future. If they have largely already swallowed that idealist pacifism doesn’t float in real politics, then they still have a number of painful realizations which lie ahead. (…) The realization for the Greens is bitter: If they want to live with this reality and remain in the government, they have to depart from their traditional resentment: anti-Americanism. (emphasis added)
That was 1999. Bill Clinton was President. Indeed, after much arm-twisting by Joschka Fischer, the Greens momentarily overcame their anti-American tendencies and supported NATO intervention in Kosovo. This all took place without United Nations approval.
Fast forward to one month ago. The Greens published an article condemning the US war in Iraq with the following words:
“That weapons of mass destruction have not been found up to now in Iraq shows above all one thing: the USA wanted this war. The claim that Iraq was a threat was untrue. Its goal was recognizable for more than a year – regime change. This goal is not allowable under international law as long as there is no immediate threat to the nation’s neighbors or to its own population through something of the dimension of genocide, as was, for example, the case in Kosovo in 1999.” (emphasis added)
If one examines the numbers on the ground however, this sort of logic amounts to nothing short of startling cynicism. In Kosovo, an estimated 5,000 to 12,000 people were killed in the Milosovich regime’s ethnic cleansing campaign. In Iraq, even by cautious estimates from SPIEGEL “experts”:
“Alone in Hilla there are supposed to be up to 15,000 bodies buried. The workers of the human rights organization “Human Rights Watch” estimate that around 200,000 people were murdered under the rule of the Baaths and buried.”
So even if we take the highest estimate for Kosovo, 12,000, and the lowest for Iraq, 200,000, we come to the conclusion that at least fifteen times as many people fell victim to systematic genocide in Saddam’s Iraq.
Yet the Greens continue to insist that military intervention to stop genocide in Kosovo was entirely legitimate while condemning US intervention in Iraq as a violation of international law. A truly remarkable example of hypocrisy and “Doppelmoral.”
In a speech he made to convince Green colleagues that intervention in Kosovo was right, Joschka Fischer eloquently stated:
“Peace requires, that people are not murdered, that people are not driven off (made refugees), that women are not raped. That is what peace requires!”
We couldn’t agree more Joschka, and that is why Saddam had to go!