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When the Europeans flee the Muslims in a decade or so, they should consider Bolivia instead of the U.S. They'll feel at home there.

Commenting on the article in the WALL STREET JOURNAL:

It tells the story as it is in America. Fortunately, we are so busy with ourselves and the world at large that the constant sniping at America from the German mass media and German leftists is barely noticed in this country. After all, Germany is still an industrial power to reckon with but it has lost already its standing as an all important ally of ours.

However, should the American voter become fully aware some fine day of how deep the political, religious and cultural chasm between Germany and us has grown since 1968, the result would be quite disasterous for the Germans in areas of trade and tourism. We would also be extremely reluctant to come to Germany's (or France's aid) again if they would ask for our assistance. The way I see it, Germans live on borrowed time waiting for the moment when America finally discovers that it shares very little in values with that Socialist country. Long gone are the days of Chancellor Adenauer and Ludwig Ehrhard in Germany. The anti American polarization by the Social Democrats and other leftist parties has progressed unimpeded in Germany over the last 37 years. The German reunification with Communist East Germany infused further leftist intellectual influences into this mix. Therefore, a continued estrangement of Germany from America should not come as a surprise to us.

USA

Europeans should worry that their moral hauteur may well be repaid by American popular opinion the next time they call on the Yanks to put down one of their homegrown fascists

This would imply some practical forward thinking, and I believe in all seriousness that practical forward thinking in vital matters (not, say, EU-Tiertransporte) is almost completely missing in the EU. I said "practical", and not utopical, like the Lisbon Strategy or Kyoto.
I believe homegrown fascists is one of the last things Europeans worry or care about. I guess most of them believe they are above that by now, but this comes also from their moral hauteur.
The schism between the US and EU will continue and as far as Germany is concerned, I don't believe Merkel will be able to improve the situation dramatically, even if she wanted to. She may lead, but if the people, influenced by "elites", don't want to follow there isn't much she or anyone can do.

The cold war was fought with American money and resulted in a socialized Europe. Many europeans gained free medical care, six week vacations, a thirty five hour work week, and generous welfare and retirement benefits by not having to pay for any military costs.

The new cold war is between the U.S. and continental Europe. The anti-American Euroscum have created enormous trade barriers by writing new rules that ban many American products. This has seriouly damaged American farm exports, cosmetics and aircraft, to name just a few.

Not only should the U.S. refuse to provide military aid in the future, we should immediately reduce spending our tourist dollars in europe and stop buying european products.

These same countries are on a collision course with history because they are increasingly unable to provide jobs or fund their welfare based societies. They are beginning to fear their immigrant populations. Several movements are in progress to stop additional Muslim immigrants and to return those that are not integrating. Some of the original citizens are leaving for safer countries. They should not be welcome in the U.S.

Americans need to take a new look at Europe and begin treating them as at least as poorly as they treat us. Parting makes the heart grow fonder.

More and more the Opinion Journal (not the WSJ) is turning into a babble room of rightwing nutjobs and an echo chamber of the Bush Administration.

So what's with waterboarding?

"And the most aggressive interrogation technique authorized against such men is "waterboarding," which induces a feeling of suffocation. That's rough treatment, but the technique has also been used on U.S. servicemen to train them to resist interrogations, and we suspect many Europeans would accept it if they believed it might avert another Madrid."

and a few lines later:

"Meanwhile, the claim that aggressive interrogations of these hard cases are unnecessary and unproductive is simply naive. On Monday, ABC News reported that "Of the 12 high-value targets housed by the CIA, only one did not require waterboarding before he talked." The exception was Ramzi bin al-Shibh, who "broke down in tears after he walked past the cell of" KSM. "Visibly shaken, he started to cry and became as cooperative as if he had been tied down to a water board," ABC's sources said."

If it's so effective, it seems amazing that it's just some rough treatment that U.S. servicemen are trained with. Just wait until terrorists start to "train" waterboarding.

Here's another gem:

"If not, they certainly ought to explain the other realistic options. One possibility is sending terrorists to the likes of Egypt and Saudi Arabia, where their intelligence services can do the interrogating. Clinton National Security Adviser Sandy Berger once memorably explained this policy as sending suspects to countries where justice is "streamlined"--which is putting it mildly. This kind of "rendition" strikes us as far more morally problematic than taking responsibility for interrogation ourselves."

But wait, didn't Condi just tell us that the U.S. does not send a detainee to "where he or she will be tortured." Ah ok, we are just shocked, shocked, that gambling goes on here. We'll just throw then into a pool of sharks but we never meant that the sharks would eat them.

But chill, the U.S. "does not authorize or condone torture." It just happens and the administration defines it as that which causes "an organ failure, impairment of bodily function, or even death." Happy now?

Next thing we hear is that it's not torture when it's performed on you. And of course it depends on what the meaning of "is" is...

@Verquerdenker:
Obviously, the "other gem" addresses people that want the US to ask no harsh questions - hence "they ought to explain the other realistic options". It then goes on to describe a nasty concept described by a Clinton admin official. Whether this concept was used under Clinton, I don't know (it's been a while).
Condi says "we don't do that [under this administration. We do the dirty work, if any, ourselves.]."

WTH is your problem?

ABC News reported that "Of the 12 high-value targets housed by the CIA, only one did not require waterboarding before he talked."

Querdenker reads this and almost suffocates in righteous indignation and moral disapproval. I read this and I am happy that the CIA can make high-value targets talk. Now, if high-value targets would mean some petty thief, I would condemn waterboarding. However, as long as high-value targets means just that, high-value targets, then I have no problem with that. Getting those people to talk won't necessarily save Manhattan, but it will save lifes. While agreeing with waterboarding does leave marks on my consciousness, I agree with it as long as there are no other means of getting vital information.
The new German, reversing from extreme war monger to "Kein Krieg, nirgends"(H. Broder) doesn't want anything to trouble his newly found peaceful state of mind. Not reality and especially not extremely unpleasant, but painfully needed decisions.
It is said that torture is not moral. Of course it isn't ! In war, the moment the first shot was fired, morality is pretty much gone. Taken care of war prisoners is just a way of mitigating the effects of low moral standards, but morality, in a strict sense as we know it in normal times, is gone. The beginning of war is the end of (much of) morality and only the end of the war is the beginning (or return) of full morality. This does not justify everything, that's why I emphasize high-value targets, but it does justify actions, which would be unjustifiable in normal times.
Nobody, no normal person likes it, but some accept the changed reality and try to adjust. Some don't want to give up their noble standards, which actually can not be uphold in abnormal times. And of course, others, like Quer-denker(?), are out there just taking cheap shots at everything, big or small, that moves with an US flag on it.

Maybe I've been watching too many James Bond movies but is there anyone who honestly believes European government officicials don't know anything about CIA activities in Europe? And is it really that unlikely that European intelligence agencies, too, kidnap people and use questionable interrogation methods? In other words, what's all the fuss about? We're doing the same thing.

Well excuse me but if Condi Rice says that the U.S. does not send a detainee to "where he or she will be tortured", it's a bold faced lie because "extraordinary rendition" has happened and is happening. Or are you saying that nobody has been transported to Syria, Egypt, Uzbekistan and other places pure as the driven snow when it comes to torture? What for? The waters? ("I was misinformed...")

As for your "high value targets", who's to decide on that one? Was Mr Masri a high value target?

And as for the "normal" times, when have we ever lived in those? During the Cold War where we faced nuclear annihilation within 10 minutes notice? When will we ever live in "normal times"?

And does the law only apply in normal times?

Btw, it makes no difference whether a Clinton official says that or a Bush official. It is wrong. And if European officials tacitly condone these practices (which is quite obvious), it's equally wrong. And hypocritical. You can't say that the European press has been ignoring that fact.

Oh and the "rift" between Europe and the US on questions like this is certainly not bigger than between Maine and Texas.

@Querdenker

Why do you insist on continuing to speculate based on questionable media publications. Who the hell are you to call MS Rice as well as some of your Government officials liars?
While we may be able to accept that Mr. Masri has been detained, the use of torture has not been confirmed. He is now seeking damages in US courts, which if they agree will give him compensatory damages far in excess from those a German court would dish out.
The fact that CIA flights occured over Germany is nothing new, just like the BND and other agencies use flights all the time. The purpose is, guess waht, secret and so it should be. No government agency needs to ask your permision for their flight actions, German or American.
To assert that these flights were used to torture people, using secret prisons are nothing but conjecture on your part. We do have a good court system and the truth will emerge. I have a feeling that it will be different than the Media in Germany portrays since they only want to fester Anti-Americanism.
That will one day cause Germany to suffer dearly. Once our broad population becomes aware of the hideous anti-americanism practised by the majority of Germans, the Americans will definately rally around the flag and start returning fire with fire. So far there isn't much reporting on German behaviour against the US, just hope i stays tht way. The reverse won't be pretty.

I see SPON has put the whole WSJ article up on its site. A translation check would be interesting. The virtuous indignation meter must be going off the charts at the SPON forums. I can't bear to look!

@Querdenker
>> It is wrong

Sometimes yes, sometimes no.
They murdered a U.S. hostage today.

I his life could have been saved by waterboarding a jihadi or two, I have no problem with it.

I think one has to consider intent.

If I had to waterboard half the Islamists on the planet and shit-can the other half into the same hole currently occupied by Noriega in order to prevent an attack on, say, Germany? Go for it.

Not France tho'.

And I also am a bit surprised that you treat allegations of torture as proof thereof.

@Querdenker: You might as well give it up. No one in America cares what Europe thinks anymore. You're just wasting keystrokes.

Quer-denker(?)

You sure don't seem to be doing too muck denken. It's clear that you are in the category "Kein Krieg, nirgends" when it comes to torture, and all you do is nitpicking, not talking substance.

Anyway, I am willing to waste a small portion of my time to answer you.

As for your "high value targets", who's to decide on that one?

Not you, not me, the people who have the prisoner. If he is known to be a top guy, I repeat, if it is known that the prisoner is say, Ahmed, a high ranking terrorist, then he is a high value target. If he is just some Ahmed picked up on a street with an AK-47, or maybe even distributing AK-47's, then he shouldn't be tortured just because he might be someone who might know something.

This distinction is actually, in most cases, quite easy to make, but as long as there will be no open debate because of noise like yours, the limits will be unclear and the door for lax use of torture remains opens. That's why people like you not only don't stop use of torture, but in a pervert way you keep the issue open.

And as for the "normal" times, when have we ever lived in those? During the Cold War where we faced nuclear annihilation within 10 minutes notice? When will we ever live in "normal times"?

Sorry I assumed you're intelligent enough to realize that when I spoke of "normal times", I didn't mean some biblical paradise, but a time when democracy is not under attack. My bad, I overestimated you and I won't make that mistake again.

And does the law only apply in normal times?

Again, sorry for overestimating you. Certain laws do not apply during war times (unless you're a completely hopeless idiot who thinks that all soldiers should be convicted of crime).

Listen, we could talk about it forever (I bet you would love that). The fact is that it is war and some prisoner enemies are known to have a lot of vital intel because of their position. Those and only those prisoners should be subjected to torture.

Let's be clear here: if the terrorists attacked only soldiers and military objectives, I would oppose torture in 99.999% of the cases. Period. As long as they target civilians in Iraqi and US cities, high ranking terrorists are open season.

P.S. Sorry for all the bold and italic, but Quer-denker(?) needs it, even though it doesn't help him a bit.

@americanbychoice

You know that "if it walks like a duck... etc

Please give me one reason why US authorities would transport a detainee in their custody against his will and without any legal basis to a third country? This is called kidnapping. Why to a country like Syria, that is on the US list of nations that sponsor terrorism? Why on earth would you do that? And did all people who lived to tell their story, bloody liars? All of them?

Mr Masri was said to be a liar. No such abduction occurred. What a tall story. We now know that it occurred. We know - if we believe our own chancellor - that Ms Rice has acknowledged the "error". Of course Mr Masri will seek damages from the US government. It's not Germany that abducted him after all.

As for the flights, dear americanofchoice, you are wrong that no government agency needs to ask permission for their flight actions, German or American. If the CIA uses German airspace, it has to ask permission. And it's Germany's right to deny that permission, if the CIA uses German airspace to commit illegal acts. More so, when airbases in Germany are used.

The US requires passenger identification of commercial airliners which cross US airspace, even when they don't touch down on US soil (flights from Frankfurt to Mexico do that, for example). And if the US thinks one passenger is dangerous (right or wrong) they can (and have) refuse entry of their airspace. Ask KLM or Air France.

Secrecy is sometimes indispensable, but it does not mean non-accountability. Otherwise, kiss fredom and democracy goodbye.

It's during my years in the U.S. i was taught to be sceptical about the government. I was told that in Europe the government tells people what freedoms they have. In the U.S. people tell the government what freedoms it has.

And believe me, I'm all for the U.S. way.

@Pamela

I'm in the U.S. every month for a few days. I do not share your assessment.

The WSJ is all gloom and doom but in fact the risk of the emergence of fascism in Europe has decreased in comparison to a few years ago. Mostly, the frenzy has made way for paralysis. If I think back to the time when Generation Arafat was at the zenith of its power the risk was much less visible than it is today but also much bigger.

@FranzisM: "The WSJ is all gloom and doom but in fact the risk of the emergence of fascism in Europe has decreased in comparison to a few years ago. Mostly, the frenzy has made way for paralysis. "

Are you sure about your conclusion? It seems to me that the Weimar Republic's paralysis was one of the things that set the stage for Hitler. And before that, the pointless cruelties of the Jacobins in France was one of the things that set the stage for Napoleon. In times when leadership is directionless, and citizens suspect that the government cannot or will not preserve their rights, that's when people will rally to anyone who can project an image of strength. That always winds up being a crapshoot as to whether a good guy or a bad guy winds up claiming the title. Future facism isn't inevitable in Europe, but the possibility is there. Consider: J-M. le Pen has gotten a popularity boost in France as a result of the French government's non-response to the riots. I could see him running on a platform of law and order, and strongly re-invigorating French nationalism. We know from history that that's a possible set-up for creating a facist state. What happens if he succeeds in winning the next election, and turns out to be as bad as some people say he is?

From the BBC

Lords reject torture evidence use
Secret evidence that might have been obtained by torture cannot be used against terror suspects in UK courts, the law lords have ruled.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4509530.stm

The thing that gets me about all this is that, if faced with similar circumstances, I haven't the slightest doubt that France would do whatever is neccessary--it's not like they are squeemish about such things. This is a country which knows how to follow it's own self-interest. France followes fewer of the EU's directives than any other country. This is the country which sank a Greenpeace boat and has no trouble inking trade agreements with every brutal dictatorship on the planet.

Self interest in international politics can be a powerful and wonderful force. France knows this and acts accordingly.

That's actually true. This is what many people are ignoring: The example of the U.S. shows that ANY democratic country can fall into that trap.

I think we'll learn about more ugly things in the next weeks.

The example of the U.S. shows that ANY democratic country can fall into that trap

Quer-denker(?), you sure love to construct you own little realities. The US haven't "fallen into a trap". The decision to use torture is made being fully aware of the implications. It is evil, but it is the lesser evil. It sure isn't a "trap", it is a conscious decision.

I think we'll learn about more ugly things in the next weeks.

We fully agree on something, it is ugly and degrading for a democracy. It is also something else. Practical.

@Cousin Dave - "Are you sure about your conclusion?"

The paralysis I'm talking about is not so much a paralysis of leadership but a paralysis of the base. The mass movements are losing their visions and their momentum, while on the other hand Angela Merkel seems to have a quite unambiguos compass. This might change again at some point in the future, but currently populists playing on the fears of their clientele are not very relevant in the political climate of Germany. But the possibility is still there, of course.

Le Pen is a bizzarre phenomenon in itself. If France is stupid enough to elect some tool longing for the golden age of Vichy, then the German left will be as eager as the Marquis de Sade to play with its willing Nazi puppet. And a French anti-immigration populist would not have the option to develop himself into a staunch Atlanticist, such as Berlusconi did when the mass media tried to dress him up as a Nazi.

"It seems to me that the Weimar Republic's paralysis was one of the things that set the stage for Hitler. And before that, the pointless cruelties of the Jacobins in France was one of the things that set the stage for Napoleon. In times when leadership is directionless, and citizens suspect that the government cannot or will not preserve their rights, that's when people will rally to anyone who can project an image of strength. That always winds up being a crapshoot as to whether a good guy or a bad guy winds up claiming the title."

I believe that's exactly how the Taliban came to power, too.

@FranzisM: Thanks for the comments. It's true that populist movements run out of steam eventually; most people can only remain in a highly agitated state for so long. Yours isn't the first comment I've seen recently saying that the passions that drove Schroeder's policies a few years ago seem to be fading. Maybe what's happening to the base isn't paralysis so much as it is the beginning of a period of reflection. Plus, eventually people want to get back to a normal life: go to work, make some money, pay the bills, go have some fun. Living and breathing politics 24/7 gets old for most people.

Forgive the cultural stereotyping, but I've said before here that what's been happening in Germany over the past few years seems to me to be very un-German. Perhaps a bit of the historical German culture, that logical, get-things-done attitude, is re-asserting itself. That would be a good thing.

Queer-denker,

"America must ask permission to cross German air space?" Are you serious?

Reminds me of the old Dakota adage, "never take a knife to a gunfight". Just exactly what weapons would the ex-nazis bring to this fight? Some ancient F-105s (still not paid for)? Maybe you could complain to the U.N.

Germany no longer has the ability to defend itself. They have been running around with their pants down and their mouths open for fifty years.

@Cousin Dave - There certainly are tendencies of reflection, and the more they sink in the more we will see how strong the trust really is. This has to come indirectly. Metaphorically spoken, a landman who has been induced fear of tsunamis will not be healed by teaching him about the sea but by leaving him to the land. The 2005 "fate election" certainly has been a necessary outpouring of fears just like the election a year earlier in the U. S. that brought about its own cultural revolution.

Yet, it would not only be stereotyping but downright self-hating to assert that the emotions and passions which identify this hop of the journey were somehow "un-German". Certainly some of the key figures had been utter frauds, such as Schröder and Fischer, yet with the advent of peace the political animal personalities which make up our watchdog emergency reserve for unexpected situations will not disappear like the temporary shadows they leave in the American imagination. Instead they will find their pacific havens in sex, subcultures and sports until the cycle of anarchy starts anew.

Germany can no longer import these things from California, such as it did for a while in the post-WWII era, so maintaining them locally will be crucial to nurture the self-assertion that is being expected. The bit of historical German culture that is to be applied here is called dialectics, i.e. the fact that the new normalcy is not just a reconstruction of the old one, but a synthesis of the old normalcy and the positive experience from the negation that lies in between. Getting this synthesis done properly takes time and serenity, but as a result the truth will be more solid than any adhoc self-denial.

By now the 1968 cultural revolution has produced enhough own political heritage in this country to exclude any possibility to declare it retroactively as a national taboo. Though it has been wrong on tyranny and globalisation, it has also been right on drug prohibition and homosexuality, and it would be self-hating to put out the baby with the bathwater. The pope as one of the few remaining representants of pre-1968 Germany might at times appear more scared by these achievements than by their cost, but then again the Vietnam thing that came with 1968 has dominated German foreign politics so long that the reconciliation of this three-generation drama might well take until the terror war is won.

@Querdenker Please give me one reason why US authorities would transport a detainee in their custody against his will and without any legal basis to a third country?

So his cohorts won't know where to look for him to mount a rescue operation.

Why is this simple concept so hard for you to understand??? Have you never heard of Occam's Razor? "One should not increase, beyond what is necessary, the number of entities required to explain anything." In other words, the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. This is true not only philosophically, but also logically... by mathematical calculation.

I just gave you the simplest and best reason for rendition... so the enemy's cohorts won't know where to look. If you insist upon embroidering it by throwing in an elephant, a banana, and a couple of pairs of gold earrings, that's your problem, not ours.

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