(By Ray D.)
One of SPIEGEL ONLINE's favorite hobbies used to be smearing Tony Blair as a mind-numbed "vassal" of the United States. Blair was repeatedly lambasted as a poodle, lapdog or underling of the Bush administration...even as then Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was signing billion dollar pipeline deals with Russia, ignoring atrocities in Chechnya and openly praising Vladimir Putin as a "spotless democrat." Since Angela Merkel took office, the "vassal" rhetoric seems to have subsided...or so we thought.
The "vassal" rhetoric is back and this time the perpetrator is Amerika-Korrespondent Gerhard Spoerl. In his most recent article, entitled "Bye, Bye Blockheads" Spoerl celebrates what he describes as the downfall of America's neo-conservative movement. He writes:
"John Bolton was among the subservient ones, the vassals who were increasingly congregating around strong figures like Rumsfeld. Douglas Feith was another one. But does anyone remember him? He was allowed to bully intelligence officials who had the audacity to voice an opinion on weapons of mass destruction that diverged from that of the Pentagon and the office of Vice President Cheney. Bolton ended up as the Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Nations. Yet another irony of fate: Bolton, the blockhead and America First type, as UN ambassador. As a diplomat. And now he has resigned. Finally."
Bolton as a diplomat! How terrible. Damned blockhead. Why couldn't he be more of a gentlemen like German diplomats? Take his German counterpart at the United Nations, Dr. Guenter Pleuger: When confronted (by me) with a magazine cover depicting Americans as parasitic blood-suckers at a talk held earlier this year at Georgetown University, he refused to condemn or so much as distance himself from the caricature. In fact, Dr. Pleuger looked right at the cover as I showed it to an audience of listeners and declared that anti-Americanism is "not a problem" in German media. Then of course there was the other German diplomat in New York who compared human rights in the United States to human rights in North Korea.
Interestingly enough, after deriding Bolton as a "vassal" and "blockhead," Spoerl cannot list a single example of what Bolton did wrong while serving at the United Nations. Apparently, engaging in petty name-calling is enough to engage the SPIEGEL audience.
The article also features another oft-used smear tactic common at SPIEGEL ONLINE:
- The "smear photo": A photo or photo caption that makes the subject look ridiculous, stupid, ugly, aggressive, silly or presents them in a generally unflattering manner. See this gallery of photos that accompanied the Spoerl article: Perle and Kristol are quite obvious examples. The "smear photo" technique has been quite common through much of German media for years now.
The photo gallery also includes Richard Armitage as one of the eight key neo-cons in America. Yet anyone who knows Armitage knows that he cannot stand Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith and other "neo-cons" or conservative "hawks" in the Bush administration who he views as having betrayed Colin Powell, his former superior in the State Department. To label him a "neo-con" at this point is questionable at best.
And like so many other members of the Far Left, Spoerl looks down his nose at his political opponents by claiming that they were fools to believe that Iraqis would welcome Americans in 2003. It has become a given fact for many on the far-left that no Iraqis welcomed the Americans. Unfortunately, reality contradicts this all-too common revisionism. Many Iraqis clearly did welcome the Americans and these videos (and many more like them) prove it:
As we have mentioned before: Gerhard Spoerl and others like him are the true vassals. They are vassals to a special 1968-brand ideology of anti-American Schadenfreude that their sick readers simply can't seem to get enough of. They will twist facts and reality to fit their worldview and have demonstrated their willingness to do so time and again. They are intellectually stuck in the Vietnam-era and see everything through the prism of defeat for America, its military and its President. Right now, they are crowing and thumping their chests in self-satisfaction. What happens to the people of Iraq and what happened to the people of Vietnam and Cambodia after a US withdrawal is something they could truly care less about. If a few million people have to die for them to be right and maintain a firm footing on the moral high ground - then so be it.
And let us close by asking this: How often have you seen people like Gerhard Spoerl lifting so much as a finger to make the world a better place? All they can do is criticize and tear others apart because deep down they are so pathetic, miserable and inadequate. They would rather ridicule and wallow in their own cynicism than spend a moment formulating constructive, measured criticism in an attempt to find a better way forward.
But hey, don't let the innuendo bother you. After all, the good folks at SPIEGEL are just trying to please their million readers.