German political campaigns certainly have their fair-share of mud-slinging and low blows. But even we at Davids Medienkritik did not think that German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's SPD (or any other major Germany political party) would fall this low during the election campaign. We have learned that one of Gerhard Schroeder's senior ministers and a top SPD man in eastern Germany, Rolf Schwanitz, is using the following poster in an attempt to win votes:
SPD Campaign Poster: "She (Merkel) Would Have Sent Soldiers"
This is truly sick. How could anyone exploit the images of fallen American soldiers in flag-draped coffins for political gain. Haven't those soldiers earned the right not to be exploited by some European politician? We honestly didn't think anyone in the SPD would resort to this. This is truly over-the-top to put it mildly. How desperate must Mr. Schwanitz be to even consider allowing this sort of a poster to run?
All we can say is that this is yet another sad chapter in the deteriorating transatlantic relationship. The entire SPD should publicly apologize for this and demand the recall of the poster immediately.
You can reach the office of Rolf Schwanitz at this link. (Scroll down to the blanks at the bottom, enter your last name, first name - first line; your email address - second line; your message - big space).
We also suggest readers contact the SPD's "Coordinator for German-American Cooperation", Karsten Voigt. Mr. Voigt can be reached at: KO-USA-Vz@auswaertiges-amt.de
Readers may also contact the German Embassy in Washington, DC on this matter at this link.
Media contact: Anyone in the media wishing to contact us on this story (or any other story on our site) should email us here.
Check the following links for the latest on German elections, media and politics:
Note for our readers: SPD = German Social Democratic Party
Endnote: SPIEGEL ONLINE (one of Germany's largest weekly magazines) is wringing its hands about the "shrillness" of Mr. Schwanitz's anti-American election poster...as if the publication had nothing to do with creating a culture of anti-Americanism in Germany.
+++UPDATE+++: The SPD has now apparently deep-sixed the poster online after Medienkritik ran the story and was linked by Instapundit. The poster and accompanying text have suddenly disappeared from Mr. Schwanitz's website. Now why might that be? Fortunately one of our alert commenters noticed it and we have a screenshot of that on file along with a link to the page in the Google cache.
This is a sudden change from Mr. Schwanitz's earlier statement to SPIEGEL ONLINE and on his website that he stood behind the poster and had received "only positive reactions" to it. Mr. Schwanitz even bragged that opponents should "bring on" the angry emails of protest. Well, we are happy to oblige him and, as his removal of the poster from his site demonstrates, we have clearly changed his attitude on this...
(Article by Ray D., Hattip Lou M., cdj)