(By Ray D.)
Just when you thought you were safe. SPIEGEL has just released another one of its famous hate-America covers. They really can't help themselves. There is an enormous demand for anti-American innuendo in Germany that is simply too lucrative to pass up. The latest edition is a cynical masterpiece:
"America's Shame: Torture in the Name of Freedom"
Torture in the name of freedom? Since when has America advocated torture as a means of promoting freedom? When someone is tortured or abused in a German jail in violation of established standards, does that mean the German government is torturing in the name of democracy as well? When illegal immigrants suffocate or commit suicide in German custody is that also in the name of democracy? It is as if the United States had never addressed the issue. It is as if the McCain bill torture ban had never been passed by Congress and signed by the President.
This is a dangerously cynical equation of two concepts. Particularly in a Europe where the general public is already so jaded that many no longer believe in the concept of freedom. Why? Because instead of reporting on the systematic violation of human rights in nations like North Korea and Iran the German media finds it necessary to exploit two year old photos of Abu Ghraib for profit (again and again). Never mind that Saddam's Abu Ghraib was a thousand times worse or that hundreds of thousands are starving to death in Kim Jong Il's gulags. There is no need for context in the world of asymmetric journalism.
Germany's Shame: Standing By While Dictators Murder Millions
Germany opposed toppling Saddam and his regime of mass graves. It was not Germany or the UN but the United States that ended the killing in the Balkans. And while SPIEGEL lectures us on "America's Disgrace," the German government is out actively promoting business ties and trade fairs with the Sudanese government as the slaughter in Darfur continues. Ex-Chancellor Schroeder favored lifting the EU arms embargo on China, perhaps the world's most prolific violator of human rights. German efforts to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions have proven to be more of the same impotent diplomatic dupery that too many Europeans support at all costs. In the meantime the Iranians have taken advantage of the stalling to advance their insane ambitions to destroy Israel and threaten the world.
The most disgraceful aspect is that Germany has repeatedly coddled, condoned and even assisted regimes of dictatorship and mass murder despite its own disgraceful national history. And then, in an effort to relativize its own shameful history and diplomatic impotency, German media publications like SPIEGEL pump the numb, jaded audience full of the vile America hate to which so many have become emotionally addicted. The irony of it all is that publications like SPIEGEL would not even have the freedom to print this exploitative trash had it not been for the massive sacrifice in lives, blood and toil of American soldiers to liberate Germany from Fascism and defend it from Communism.
No context. No differentiation. Shock value. Manipulation. Emotionalism. Sensationalism. And then the same publication dares lecture us on the dangers of anti-Americanism.
For that there can be but one word: H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-S-Y
UPDATE: One of our regular commenters had this to say:
"The regulars here know that I consider what happened at Abu Ghraib and elsewhere torture. Spiegel’s latest has nothing to do with opposing torture. How could it? It plays into the hands of the torturers, and pulls the rug out from under those who genuinely oppose torture, and want to stop it once and for all. It is really just so much red meat thrown out to the hordes of pathetic, bitter, envious America-haters who are Spiegel’s “core constituency.” The editors know that anti-Americanism is synonymous with big bucks in Germany. It pays. They’ve been a little reserved in expressing it lately, though, because they know they’re being watched. They don’t want to sacrifice respectability entirely in the pursuit of profit. For that reason, the “new” Abu Ghraib” pictures seemed like a godsend to them. They could strike the all usual phony poses with all the usual fake pathos from the increasingly shaky high ground, and convince themselves no one would call them on it, because, after all, they were “opposing torture.” Their imbecile readers will swallow the bait as usual. Problem is, nobody with a brain is buying it this time around. It’s just to easy to see the money trail leading up to the “moral high ground.” (emphasis ours)
UPDATE #2: If you have the stomach, you can read the entire four-part feature on "America's Shame" on SPIEGEL ONLINE's English site. The sub-headlines tell the entire story, the magazine's objectives remain the same:
"The images from Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib will endure, and they will haunt America for decades to come. A global power can make mistakes and give in to folly, but when its moral foundation begins to crumble, it is constantly forced to deal with the images of its own humiliation and disgrace."
That is what it is really about for SPIEGEL: Long-term humiliation and disgrace for the United States. Abu-Ghraib as the new Mai Lai. This is not about thoughtful, constructive criticism. This is not about genuine, collegial interest in seeing America right its wrongs. This is not about transatlantic dialog and understanding.
This is about a harmful, vindictive rush to the moral high ground at America's expense. Americans should recognize this shameless bashing for what it is and become extremely wary of any and all criticism they hear blaring from across the Atlantic. Americans must begin to tune-out and turn-off the hateful voices that seek only to profit from their misfortune.
By the way, don't ever expect SPIEGEL to dedicate a cover to this story (no it doesn't matter that it's actually current and not over two years old): America's Pride.
Here's a great cartoon from Cox & Forkum.
Endnote: For more on this topic, see our recent posting: "Valley of the Wolves Iraq: "Today I hated Americans more than ever." Time for SPIEGEL to go back and reflect on our earlier suggestions, particularly point #6. Politically Incorrect has a highly worthwhile German-language post on reactions to the release of more torture pics. We changed the translation of "Schande" from "disgrace" to "shame" to match SPIEGEL's English translation. Both "disgrace" and "shame" are acceptable translations for "Schande."