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An excellent new article entitled:
The Beginning of a New Cold War

From the desk of Martin Helme on Wed, 2007-04-04 12:46
An article by H.E Mart Helme, Estonia’s ambassador to Russia 1996-1999

appears in brussels journal and is apropos this topic. (Lengthy excerpts deleted - please just link pieces)

These are our allies

Peace through disarment.

To accuse the US of this must mean that if the tables were reversed then this would be what the germans would do. Interesting.

*note to self - these are our allies.

Unfortunately, this type of accusation is nothing new. When I lived and worked in Germany in '81-'82, a colleague said that placing the Pershing missiles in Europe would turn Berlin and Hamburg into nuclear targets. I told him, they were already targeted by the Soviets and that the US has put New York, Washington DC and Los Angeles on the nuclear line, in order to protect Berlin, Hamburg and his lilly white butt.

No answer from him on that. And that's the problem with the German media, it's totally one-sided. There's no counterpart to US talk radio, conservative blogs or the fair and balanced Fox News. Germans get the choice between Pravda or Izvestia.

Even if the warhead would explode after destruction of the missile (which seems unlikely), the destruction would probably at least not be in the midst of a highly populated area. The "expert" also only talks about ICBMs. It indeed will probably take rogue states some more years to develop them. However, attacks against (American allies in) Europe are easier to accomplish and maybe even more likely.

Anyway, that's our media for you: Bias masked as journalism, one-sided opinions in the form of seemingly neutral reports, careful selection of "experts" who confirm the wanted picture, and the exclusion of other experts and opinions.

I predict: When a major terrorist or rogue attack against Europe happens, Spiegel and other propagandists will be the first to a) blame America and b) ask: Why didn't the US prevent it? They will suddenly "forget" their stupid lies and distortions and make it look like the Americans had prevented defensive solutions.

Heh. A highly relevant read here:

http://www.interesting-people.org/archives/interesting-people/200302/msg00186.html

Vilmos

"Please don't preach to us about the dangers of anti-Americanism before you clean up your own act at SPIEGEL ONLINE. Better yet - tell our bosses at SPIEGEL ONLINE they can "take this job and shove it." You are far too honest and professional a journalist to work for such frauds Mr. Malzahn."

Could you let up on Mr. Malzahn? The guy's already gone out on a limb.

My opinion of "Spiegel" has improved since reading his article--I even bought a copy this week, something I haven't done in years.

His article shows that he and probably others on the editorial staff--because I can't imagine that he would do what he did without testing the waters first--are finally beginning to consider other points of view and to restore a modicum of sanity to very stressed transatlantic relations.

As far as I'm concerned, the "Spiegel" can continue to criticize U.S. foreign policy--they should have that right without being called propagandists. Just as it is ridiculous to call the "New York Times" a "traitorous organization" as it has been by DMK readers.

I just feel that this vicious, one-sided lambasting of America and Americans, particularly the racist-sounding stereotyping of Americans, has to stop. No serious, professional media organization should tolerate that sort of thing, and perhaps the folks at "Spiegel" are starting to realize that.

But given the errors of the present administration in Washington--the strategic ineptitude in fighting terrorism, the fiscal irresponsibility, the attacks to our system of government checks and balances--to be frank, I can't get worked up about German MSM criticism of George Bush. Their coverage should be more balanced--even the "New York Times" has its token conservative, Brooks--but as far as I'm concerned, let 'em rip.

This blog makes a few fair points about not sufficiently sourced and sometimes biased reporting, however, the underlying premise of many readers here (and sometimes the blog author himself) seems to be that criticism of US foreign policy is wholly unjustified per se. This, of course, is an even graver error because the US clusterfuck in Iraq certainly is worthy of most of the criticism it is getting. The anti-US sentiment in Europe is predominantly due to counterproductive and harmful US foreign policy (like, d'oh, starting wars of aggression based on lies and deception which lead to prolonged civil war, slaughter and millions of refugees, go figure), not on some deeply seated racism or irrational hatred. The majority of the Western European population has always recognised the positive US role in World War II and countering Soviet might during the Cold War. If support for the US is eroding now, this is mostly due to US foreign policy choices, not the idiocy or ungratefulness of the German population and a deceptive media.

So yea, good on you if you point out where criticism overshoots into hyperbole and hatred. But you in turn should sometimes question your own anti-anti-Americanism.

> fair and balanced Fox News.

Fair and balanced Fox News? You got to be kidding. Fox News is a disgrace to anyone interested in factual reporting. Just look at their constant lies and smears about democratic politicians such as Obama's alleged muslim education, or Hannity's ridiculous program on Gore (the list goes on and on and on).

@ John Mortons

Unfortunately, you are wrong. This fact doesn't change through posting your comment 3 times. Let me ask you a few questions, although I believe you won't answer them anyway:

1. Who signed the Iraq Liberation Act?
2. Why?
3. Who said: "Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them."?
4. How many of Iraqis were murdered by Saddam?

4. What was the reaction of many in old Europe in regard to Ronald Reagan's policy?
5. Who was right, as confirmed by history?

6. What do you think of CNN?

Paul

"As far as I'm concerned, the "Spiegel" can continue to criticize U.S. foreign policy--they should have that right without being called propagandists."

Just curious - do you regard the current Spiegel article as criticism?

> 1. Who signed the Iraq Liberation Act?

You seem not to understand that "regime change" does not equal a full-scale invasion as it occurred, throwing the country into civil war, directly and indirectly propelling the excess deaths into the hundreds of thousands and leading to untold numbers of refugees. The Iraqi Liberation Act never mandated the foolish policy that Bush and his cronies followed. So what is your point?

Even if the Iraqi Liberation Act had mandated war (which it did not), such a policy would still have been counterproductive. Do you think I care whether Clinton signed it or not? You sure are caught up in US partisan games.

>3. Who said: "Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction"

Who cares who said that. You conveniently disregard the most important point: that in 2003 when the war was started to allegedly remove these weapons of mass destruction, none remained in Iraq. Why? Because the policy of international pressure, inspections and threats had evidently worked without making an actual war and the destruction of the whole country necessary. I am sorry, but there is no getting around the fact that the war was based on blatant lies and deception. And this is a valid point to hold against the current US administration.

> 4. How many of Iraqis were murdered by Saddam?

Very many and I certainly don't regret his removal, but what is your point? The situation in Iraq has evidently not improved since the US invaded it. To the systematic extermination of ethnic groups can now be added random violence on such a scale that the country is completely disrupted and disfunctional. And god knows what will follow once the US withdraws from this adventure, which it evidently will in the next few years.

> 5. Who was right, as confirmed by history?

You have a very simple conception of history if you think that the Soviet Union collapsed just because of Reagan's missles in Europe. There were valid grounds of opposing that particular aspect of American foreign policy. By the 1980s the Soviet Union was already close to breaking point because of its inherent political and economic weakness and the necessity of provoking a last-minute arms race and international crisis could therefore be doubted.

In any case, even assuming you are right and those missiles and Regean's aggressive rethoric were the crucial ingredient that brought the Soviet Union down, that doesn't necessarily imply that the Bush administration is correct about Iraq. Pretty weak "logic" you have there.

> 6. What do you think of CNN?

A major US newschannel. I don't buy into that "liberal media bias" nonsense at all. Just look at the right-wing bigots that get airtime on CNN such as Glenn Beck. CNN faithfully reproduced all the Bush administration's lies about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, mushroom clouds and all that other nonsense without questioning it far into the invasion.

@John Mortons

"You seem not to understand that "regime change" does not equal a full-scale invasion as it occurred"

Whats to understand about a forced overthrow over a mass murdering dictator? You seem to want to split hairs over semantics while ignoring the real issues.

"that in 2003 when the war was started to allegedly remove these weapons of mass destruction, none remained in Iraq. Why?"

Some believe WMDs were moved to Syria.
http://www.nysun.com/article/24480
http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=48827

"Because the policy of international pressure, inspections and threats had evidently worked without making an actual war and the destruction of the whole country necessary."

Which was verified only after the invasion. How quickly you forget Saddam throwing out weapons inspectors at his leisure. The oil-for-food scandal really showed the corruption and weakness of international "pressure"-- buidling palaces while children starved. Great policy.

"The situation in Iraq has evidently not improved since the US invaded it."

You know this how? From the polls I've seen, that is completely untrue, but why don't you ask the Iraqis themselves. Would help if all the arms and support for terrorists would stop pouring in from Iran and Syria.

CNN, like all the others, is a DNC mouth piece. The international addition gives the anti-American vile of the BBC a run for its money. People hate Fox news simply because it allows a conservative platform to be aired at all.

@ John Mortons

"This blog makes a few fair points about not sufficiently sourced and sometimes biased reporting, however, the underlying premise of many readers here (and sometimes the blog author himself) seems to be that criticism of US foreign policy is wholly unjustified per se."

Absolutely untrue. In fact, the blog's authors believe that it is media's job to criticize US foreign policy and anything else that has earned legitimate criticism or scrutiny. That is a view we have repeated quite often on this blog. The problem is that wide swaths of German media have been engaged in insufficiently sourced and biased reporting for years now.

Further, I would agree with you wholeheartedly if the reporting was critical yet constructive. This blog would not exist if that were so. The problem is that much of the reporting on the United States in German media is neither constructive nor "fair and balanced" nor filled with honest debate. It is rife with stereotypes, pre-packaged viewpoints, one-sidedness and sometimes (as is the case here) outright fear-mongering. Frankly, the underlying attitudes that drive this form of reporting on the United States will not change much if a Democrat (or "anyone but Bush") takes office. Things may calm in a superficial sense if a new administration changes a few policies - but the fundamental attitudes and resentments will remain. To believe otherwise (that everything will suddenly be roses when Bush leaves office - or that Bush is even fundamentally the cause of the problem) may be comforting - but it is also delusional.

@ Paul

"Could you let up on Mr. Malzahn? The guy's already gone out on a limb."

I agree. He's gone out on a limb before. I appreciate that - but it is also little more than sporadic tokenism (as are the Broder articles) designed to give SPIEGEL ONLINE a thin veneer of objectivity. If Mr. Malzahn truly believes his own arguments (and we do appreciate them greatly) - he would hand in his resignation and look for a job with a publication that does not engage in this sort of systematic anti-American bias.

>may be comforting - but it is also delusional.

While there certainly is irrational resentment of the United States which will remain, I think you misjudge the situation if you think that "stereotypes, pre-packaged viewpoints etc." are completely exogenous and not driven to their current prominence in public dialogue by US policies which are justifiably perceived as dangerous and wrongheaded (by now by a majority of Americans as well, mind you).

It's certainly still laudable to point out stereotypes, one-sidedness and biasedness, but I think you occasionally go far beyond that. For instance, you cite the Spiegel covers on the frontpage collectively as alleged proof of the anti-Americanness of Spiegel. Many, however, are simply a reflection of the most important world-events and some are criticising America very justifiably (such as the US torture in Abu Graheb and the now officially sanctioned use of torture in other situations, "waterboarding" and whatnot). This is not simply irrational anti-Americanism.

>Whats to understand about a forced overthrow over a mass murdering dictator?

Perhaps just that: "Don't do it if you destroy the whole country and de-stabilise the whole region in the process (plus cause excess deaths certainly in the ten-thousands, probably hundred-thousands; plus set precedents for armed intervention against the will of the United Nations)."

>Some believe WMDs were moved to Syria.

Yea, some believe the Nazis built UFOs in Antarctica. Others believe that 9/11 was a government job. You seem to use similar crack-pot sources to fit your own preconceptions. Maybe you should stick with reliable information. Even the White House doesn't push that idiotic Syria story anymore.

>Which was verified only after the invasion.

No, in fact Blix and the rest of the inspectors said that they could find no WMD and opposed an invasion on these grounds prior to it occurring.

>CNN, like all the others, is a DNC mouth piece.

Yea, right. Tell that Glenn Beck or old Wolfi wolfoblitz. "Moutpiece of the DNC", too funny.

>buidling palaces while children starved. Great policy.

Whoever said it was a "great policy". Better than the war and complete and utter chaos and violence that followed, that's for sure. And we're not even at the end of it, just wait what happens when America finally can't be bothered anymore.

But debate about this if you want; I'm only saying that you are kidding yourself if you think that all criticism of the United States is simply irrational hatred that cannot be justified at all. Here's a tip: Whenever you think that you are all right and the other side all wrong, you're probably deluding yourself.

@ John Mortons

>>I don't buy into that "liberal media bias" nonsense at all.

See, that's part of the problem. You allege there may be a somewhat pro-Republican reporting at FNC, but at the same time you completely deny that the same thing can be said about CNN (towards the opposite direction). Why? Because it fits your worldview, because you WANT CNN's news to be "the truth". Did you notice? I have no problem to admit that Fox max sometimes be more friendly towards Republicans. That's the difference between us.

The same is true about the cold war: I have no problem to admit that Democratic presidents and governments lead the free world through these difficult times mostly just as well as Republicans (Dhimmi Carter was an exception though). Your side of the political spectrum seems unable to ever give credit to your opponents. Why is that?

>> Who cares who said that.

I do. In fact, everyone honest and rationale person does. It was Bill Clinton who also believed that Saddam had WMDs. In fact, many Democrats thought so - and voted for the liberation. Now they don't want to be reminded of that? Not as long as the internet is there, oh forgetful Democrats. By the way: People like you are fast to throw the word "lie" around, but in fact many people believed in the existence of the weapons, only disagreed on the use of force to solve the problem. If the inspections had worked (and they didn't), then were is the evidence about what happened to the weapons that are still unaccounted for?

The political balance whose loss is feared is fiction.

It seems the nuclear catastrophy in this case is not of the Hiroshima type, but inested fried electronics and permanent internet blackout within the visibility horizon of a high-altitude explosion, and whatever consequences such a scenario may imply (remember Al Qaeda´s advice to Muslims in Europe: "take precautions and live in Muslim areas, have enough food to last a month").

See, paranoid ministers planting trojan malware aren´t the only threat to your PC, an electromagnetic pulse from a high altitude nuclear detonation is as well. But who would like to choose between losing a city and risiking an area-wide civil war?

The point is, a successfully working missile shield leaves hazardous waste (more on these countries where the counter-missiles go up than on those behind them). Europe isn´t buffered from the current threats by large oceans (which might be why the waste issue seems to be less problematic to America). I suppose in this respect a missile shield is not different from any other kind of nuclear technology: If the proponents do not explaim themselves where the waste is going, the opponents will find no speculation too nasty to draw it on the wall.

> was Bill Clinton who also believed that Saddam had WMDs.

Firstly, the question that matters is whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction in 2003, NOT 1998. This was the whole rational for the war. Not "Saddam once had WMD", but "we KNOW that Saddam has WMD NOW and is ready to launch any minute/45 seconds/Mushroom cloud". Secondly, if Clinton did in fact believe that Saddam had WMD in 1998, he clearly judged the actual threat that tin-pot dicator posed to the overwhelming might of the west as not worth the cost in lives, regional stability and money to actually overthrow him in an invasion. Quite rightly so. After 9/11, of course, the Bush administration tried to link the threat of Saddam Hussein to the WTC attack (another deception), but that doesn't make it any more true.

Moreover, I am certainly not defending the Democrats who went along with authorising this war.

>Your side of the political spectrum seems unable to ever give credit to your opponents. Why is that?

"My side"? What are you talking about. I am more than ready to give credit to Republican presidents. Eisenhower, for one, was a pretty good president. Bush number one did a pretty decent job as well. Then again, Nixon was a crook and so is Bush II.

>Because it fits your worldview, because you WANT CNN's news to be "the truth".

No, it's just that I never see headlines like "Democrats are legislating defeat in Iraq" and similar straight-out propaganda on other channels. There is no left-wing equivalent to the hate spewed daily by the Glenn Beck's (CNN), Bill O'Reilly's, Sean Hannity's etc. on any of the major news channels. Perhaps that Olbermann guy, but he's the rare exception and hardly proof of a larger "left wing bias".

>in fact many people believed in the existence of the weapons, only disagreed on the use of force to solve the
> problem.

Yea, and it turns out they were right in being cautious.

>> There is no left-wing equivalent to the hate spewed daily by the Glenn Beck's (CNN), Bill O'Reilly's, Sean Hannity's etc. on any of the major news channels.

Oh yes, there is. Of course, it's nothing compared to the hate from other left-wing groups and sites. And the MSM have learned. Just like our German media, CNN, BBC and others disguise their bias as reporting, their opinions as facts. Maybe FNC is just more honest with their more open (and well-deserved) criticism of the Democratic party? And anyway, the Republicans also get their share of criticism.

>> "Democrats are legislating defeat in Iraq"

Sounds like an accurate description to me. Of course you won't hear it on other channels. Bias can not only come in the form of reporting something, but also in choosing to NOT report something.

PS: What did you like about Bush I?

PPS: The WMDs were NOT the only reason for the liberation of Iraq. You know that.

If I was an Iranian; I’d try loading up some small business jets with the weight of a bomb, extra fuel and see if they couldn’t make fair cruise missiles out of them. Then of course there are trucks, yachts, and ships.

Long before Iran, or any other Islamic friends of Europe let fly a missile, they’ll have a nice above ground demonstration with lots of cameras and lots of Arab, Muslim leaders in grandstands. (Oh god will the EU diplomats and ministers come rolling in!)

Iran, the Palestinians and others have only just begun to milk taxes from Europeans, whom are well accustomed to, in a phrase, ‘giving it up.’ Having European personal and national wealth transferred to other nation states shouldn’t be felt much more than the present pleasures.

The Islamist will well point out that it is cheaper to give to them then to finance a military, or the cost of conflict. This logic is near nigh gospel amongst European political elite and a large part of the population. I am sure that some of the tax money will circulate back to Arab friendly European leadership. ( Please note, I am not bringing up, nor suggesting, that Chancellor Schroder engaged in anything like that.)

So, for the Arabs, the Islamics and the Iranian there is no real reason to go to all the trouble to attack the physical bodies of semi-conscious Europeans. They have already won on the mental stage, the field of phantoms, fears, and anxieties. Better the Europeans keep working, and sending money. There’s still a lot of wealth in Europe and it should provide for hundreds of years to the Middle East. Meanwhile the internal conquest of Europe by Islam continues in a perfectly satisfactory to the casual sense of time that exists in the Muslim world. 2050, 2100, decades of a few more hundred years, more or less makes no difference to Islam. In twenty years, a left/Islam party will be a political majority in a major European country.

Since, at least WWII the common American defense/war/whatever philosophy has been to fight enemies on their land, and away from American. So, Europeans are somewhat smart in thinking that we would fight in or over Europe. But, can you blame us? Anyways, unless Europe wants to up and go to the moon, it is in this world, as it is. I’ve not been aware of anytime in history where softness was recognized as power, but then I haven’t gone to elite schools. I might have missed something.

The Arab, Islamic world, in spite of constant and gross poverty and mass stealing by its own ‘leaders’ has continued to arm itself, with more, deadlier and nuclear weapons, ever smaller and better and numerous. No doubt the sophisticated idea-elite of Europe have an acceptable solution to this future too. Good luck.

America Willing to "Accept Nuclear Catastrophe" in Europe

Think that is a reasonable position. The Euorpeans are not concerned about a rogue nation like Iran having nuclear weapons. Nor are they very concerned about the US.

To protect themselves might I suggest the easy way for them is to disband NATO. Without NATO they are less threaten because the US would have no military presents in euroland.

The Euorpeans just need to think this through a bit more.

They then can fully develop and deploy hard power to go along with their soft power which they have used to bring peace throughout the world.

@ Chrisimo

"...the Bush government would even be willing to accept a nuclear catastrophe in Europe."

The guy who wrote that is not playing with a full deck. We've been there before: Bush is a second Hitler, Americans couldn't care less about humanity, 9/11 was staged by the CIA....

You might remember that Kubrick film featuring former Nazi Dr. Strangelove, whose black-gloved right hand, still subject to old habits, kept shooting out in a salute to the Führer despite frenzied attempts to keep it under control.

Some European journalists' knee-jerk anti-Americanism reminds me of Strangelove's alien hand syndrome. They just can't help themselves.

After the war , the US had three choices.
1) Continue into Russia,
2)the present scenario, developing the European, especially the German nation through Investments, free money, opening our markets by artificially keeping the dollar value high, sending American compies overseas to provide jobs, protecting the country, etc.
3) Turning over all of Germany to the victorious Russians.
How wonderful it would have been, no Wall, no cold war, no evil American occupation, a just communist distribution of wealth, no greed, no jealousy, no climate change, just brotherly love.
We need to understand the feelings of the Germans and finally release the shackles, let them unite with Mother Russia (it is after all, inevitable) and leave NATO in order for the EU military force to be established.
The USA would save a lot of money and could use these funds to better their own lives.
No matter what the USA does, it will be wrong. There is nothing we can do about that. We are just second rate citizens compared to the superior intellect of the Germans. Every first grader knows that.
Also, wouldn't it be better if the US didn't exist, since we are at fault for destrying the planet poisening it with CO2?
I would love to contribute to the "save the Earth" movement and be taxed out of existance by the European Tax scams. I just can't figure out how to bribe Nature. What currency does Mother Nature accept? Where does all the money in new taxes go? Does Government give it to the innovative Companies who do research to make our lives better? Does Government itself produce innovation, or does it go into a black hole never to be seen again?
We all live longer and more productive lives than ever before, We make our lives richer and easier, yet, everything is evil
Go figure. (some sarcasm included)

I don't buy into that "liberal media bias" nonsense at all

If, after all those years, someone makes such a claim, that "someone" is so blinded by ideology that any discussion will be in vain.


@John Mortons

I don't know how familiar you are with the German media landscape, but the name Eberhard Piltz (amongst a few others) is representative for German journalism (google it). You should read here what he has to say about ideology and US coverage.

If, after reading that, you still claim that everything is fine with German journalism, I think you will be in better company on Daily Kos.

This link is quite OT, but it deals also with EU ideology (via Pajamas Media).

This link is quite OT, but it deals also with EU ideology (via Pajamas Media).

@John Mortons

"This blog makes a few fair points about not sufficiently sourced and sometimes biased reporting, however, the underlying premise of many readers here (and sometimes the blog author himself) seems to be that criticism of US foreign policy is wholly unjustified per se."

This is a completely bogus charge and you are just another apologist for and rationalizer of hatemongers. People like you never bother to even try and debate the substance of the points about media slant and bias this blog makes. You can't, because the slant and bias are facts, they're right in your face, and they're not going away. Instead, you always try the old, "But, Bush really is bad!" canard. Great! I agree. Bush really is bad. He condones torture, the suspension of habeus corpus, and is otherwise doing his best to dismantle our Constitutional rights in the name of "security," and I don't like him for a whole lot of other reason, not the least of which is his tendency to play right into the hands of glib apologists like you. Does that make it right to use him as a lame excuse for hysterical attacks on the United States, in which only one side of the story is ever told, in which only negative points are ever made, in which the positive is relentlessly surpressed, and which are in no way, shape or form intended to convey the truth, but merely to feed the prejudices of the legions of European America haters? "Underlying premise?!" Give me a break! Get a clue what you are talking about. It's a fact that the tone of anti-American hate peddling in Germany was a great deal more vicious under Clinton than it is now, and, guess what, it's not going to disappear when Bush is gone. Bush won't be a convenient fig leaf for you and your fellow collaborators much longer. What will your excuse be when he's gone? Will you be "shocked, shocked" that anti-American hate hasn't disappeared? I doubt it. You'll just find some other reason to provide moral support to hate mongering propagandists. That's what people like you do.

Franz

Maybe a massive dose of radiation therapy might be good for you.

@ John Mortons:

"I think you misjudge the situation if you think that "stereotypes, pre-packaged viewpoints etc." are completely exogenous and not driven to their current prominence in public dialogue by US policies which are justifiably perceived as dangerous and wrongheaded..."

I never claim they are completely exogenous - it seems you are again putting words in my mouth. I am simply saying that much of the criticism is neither constructive nor fair nor based on a well-founded, balanced argument. The essential problem is that much of the reporting in German media has little to do with real, substantive or constructive criticism. A change to "better" policies - whatever you perceive that to mean - will not change the underlying attitudes of those who run the German press.

"Many, however, are simply a reflection of the most important world-events and some are criticising America very justifiably (such as the US torture in Abu Graheb and the now officially sanctioned use of torture in other situations, "waterboarding" and whatnot). This is not simply irrational anti-Americanism."

It's interesting you bring up that case. We have nothing against legitimate criticism and debate of real issues including Abu Ghraib and torture. Again - it is the media's job to bring those issues to light and discuss them in a professional manner. However, the cover you refer to came out a good two years after Abu Ghraib - apparently because SPIEGEL had nothing better to talk about and needed something to move copy - so what better than to take another shot at the United States by exploiting an old scandal in a completely sensational manner on the front cover. It does help to understand context and the overall tenor of the reporting looking back several years.

I doubt here are many Americans that would relish photos of mushroom clouds over Europe, but on the other hand an increasing number of Americans are wondering why we even bother defending Europe anymore. It started seeming like it was a lot more trouble that it was worth a long, long time ago.

So I'm asking, "Why should I - as an American - be interested in defending Germany?"

So, is JM a boomer still speaking "truth to power" after all these decades, or is he a young punk?

--No, it's just that I never see headlines like "Democrats are legislating defeat in Iraq" and similar straight-out propaganda on other channels. There is no left-wing equivalent to the hate spewed daily by the Glenn Beck's (CNN), Bill O'Reilly's, Sean Hannity's etc. on any of the major news channels. Perhaps that Olbermann guy, but he's the rare exception and hardly proof of a larger "left wing bias".---

hehehehehehehehe - Neither CNN nor FoxNews nor MSNBC are major channels.

That you haven't seen or read stuff like that proves there's left-wing bias, at least in the dead trees.

But there is Rosie. And studies by profs at Norwestern and UCLA, I believe.

Dissecting Leftism out of Australia is an informative site.

BTW, neither Beck, O'Reilly nor Hannity are there to deliver the news, they leave that to Couric.

What's her ratings lately anyway?

Noatak

"Why should I - as an American - be interested in defending Germany?"

I think that the US still benefits from trade relations with Germany and Europe. Of course Europe benefits too, and perhaps to a greater degree. I think this is one of the aims of US foreign policy: To help building stable democratic economies. This has benefits for the US, too. This is of course this is only a theory, as I am mostly ignorant about this matter.

@ John Mortons

"Perhaps just that: "Don't do it if you destroy the whole country and de-stabilise the whole region in the process (plus cause excess deaths certainly in the ten-thousands, probably hundred-thousands; plus set precedents for armed intervention against the will of the United Nations)."

The whole country? There are 17 provinces in Iraq and would dispute the notion. Have you bothered to find out the actual activity or simply stop after reading the NYT headlines? Can you verify the hundreds of thousands? Are you including the deaths of terrorists being killed by the coalition forces? Doesn't the direct support of Iran and Syria have anything to do with the destabiliztion of Iraq or do they get pass for their activitiy? Have you actually spoken to an Iraqi?

"You seem to use similar crack-pot sources to fit your own preconceptions. Maybe you should stick with reliable information."

My sources were articles relating to the comments of Lieutenant General Moshe Yaalon, chief of staff of the Israel Defense Force, former Iraqi General Georges Sada, Ali Ibrahim al-Tikriti - Iraqi regional commander for Saddam Hussein’s Fedayeen militia. Obiously "crackpots." I noticed the US did a formal investigation and buried the matter.

"No, in fact Blix and the rest of the inspectors said that they could find no WMD and opposed an invasion on these grounds prior to it occurring."

Blix and boys were not permitted into all areas. Thrown out, let back in, thrown out. Blix wasn't convincing, but he's a Swede representing a defunct institution playing the role.

"Yea, right. Tell that Glenn Beck or old Wolfi wolfoblitz. "Moutpiece of the DNC", too funny."

So you are saying the US media is "fair and balanced" regarding both political parties? Interesting.

"Whoever said it was a "great policy"."

That was sarcasm. Sorry you didn't recognize it.

"Better than the war and complete and utter chaos and violence that followed, that's for sure."

So leaving Saddam in power would have been preferable says..? You? I think I would let the Iraqis determine that.

"And we're not even at the end of it, just wait what happens when America finally can't be bothered anymore."

Those Americans are called democrats and they pulled this same stunt over 30 years ago. You not much of a history reader are you?

"Whenever you think that you are all right and the other side all wrong, you're probably deluding yourself."

Thanks for the tip. It seems you don't follow your own advice, so I will leave it on the floor with the rest of your arguement.


And after developing a simple fission bomb of the Hiroshima type, it would take a number of additional years before Iran could develop a high-tech warhead small and light enough to transport on a missile.
****************************************************************************
And of course they couldn't put it on a tramp steamer and sail into a harbor

joe - The bottled sunshine I prefer grows on our haram vineyards.

If you want to terminate NATO, just invite opposition leader Oskar Lafontaine to the White House. That is, ask Nancy Pelosi to invite him so that he won´t decline the pink carpet.

--"Better than the war and complete and utter chaos and violence that followed, that's for sure."--

All hail the alter of "stability."

Cos it messes up his life.

Life is chaos.

We are where we are today precisely because of "stability."

@ Helian

Regarding John Mortons: no disputing, at least on my part, the underlying bias in German journalism and elsewhere. Though German officials deny it, anti-Americanism does exist. Even the Left recognizes the phenomenon: see the "Euston Manifesto" (http://eustonmanifesto.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=12&Itemid=1).

German MSM's reporting is, as you write, Helian, all too often one-sided and negative. Iraq, for example. Baghdad, it is true, remains a hellhole. Yet the fighting in southern Iraq has diminished; the Kurds are celebrating their reprieve from genocide; one of history's cruelest dictators is just that--history. Little about this in the German press.

Nevertheless, John Mortons has a point.

Americans are only beginning to pay the price of the Bush administration's unilateral action. Unlike his father--whom John Mortons praised above--Bush chose military force without persuasive diplomacy.

As a result, U.S. maneuvering room has narrowed. A political solution is called for but American negotiating credibility is at an all-time low. A nuclear Iran; strife-torn Iraq; re-emerging Taliban in Afghanistan; threats to global oil supplies--the U.S. can't deal with this alone.

And then--the fraud, deception, torture, kidnappings. That's what comes into European minds these days when they think of the U.S. While the media has contributed to this image, Helian, they don't bear the main responsibility. Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith do. Here I stand with John Mortons.

I lived in Germany during Clinton's administration and, yes, America hatred was in evidence, but nothing like it is today. True enough, it won't vanish when Bush is gone, but, depending on who replaces him, it is likely to subside to pre-2003 levels.

Let's dispense with the name calling and try to find some common ground. As the Stoic adage goes, "All the seats in the theater are free, but a man has a right to the one he sits down in."

P.S. "Helian." Your name or the title of Trakl's poem? If so, what does "Helian" mean to you? I ask out of real interest.

@Paul

Forgive me jumping in as I know your post was directed at Helian.

"As a result, U.S. maneuvering room has narrowed. A political solution is called for but American negotiating credibility is at an all-time low."

What political solution would you suggest? How much real credibility did the US have before 2000? The EU has nothing to bring to the table as their "soft power" is clearly nothing but a slogan used in Straßbourgh and Brussels with no real consequences. The EU is dealing from a position of weakness and is more dependent on trade and oil imports that will always knee cap them from ever doing anything except lecture the US and Israel.

"A nuclear Iran; strife-torn Iraq; re-emerging Taliban in Afghanistan; threats to global oil supplies--the U.S. can't deal with this alone."

Nice that you dropped off the coalition countries participating. Though the US contributes the most, I don't see why the US should bank on help from anyone. Putin is aggresively consolidating his power, China is upgrading it military and is concerned about keeping the energy resources coming its way to keep its expanding economy going-- who do you want to make concessions too? The EU? The UN? Why? We would gain nothing in return (in real terms-- not fluffy photo ops of "reconciliation").

"And then--the fraud, deception, torture, kidnappings. That's what comes into European minds these days when they think of the U.S."

Which is overblown and perpetuated by the fraud and deception of the media. I agree with your observation-- that what comes to mind, but thats all they see, hear and read. They don't even bother to question the source or they simply don't care. Just believe. Despite the beheading videos on You Tube, no one seems to care what the jihadis do with their victims-- all over the world. Ask a European, or even an American, in the street who the US is actually fighting -- its always amusing. Such an inverse moral imperative has come over alot of the West they are unwilling to see.

@ Paul

What do you think could the US ever do to get some (real!) help from old Europe in regard to the Iranian threat?

Anyway: When the US has another president, the world will continue and probably increase to be a dangerous place. The US will therefore have to continue to act - probably "unilateral". Why? First, because the UN is corrupt and useless. Russia and China will be against every action that would be well in our interest but not in their own. And because most other nations in the free world have lost the ability and the courage to defend themselves. They have chosen submission to and / or appeasement of the evil in our world. May God give that the US will never follow in that path.

"Why should I - as an American - be interested in defending Germany?"

I think that the US still benefits from trade relations with Germany and Europe. Of course Europe benefits too, and perhaps to a greater degree. I think this is one of the aims of US foreign policy: To help building stable democratic economies. This has benefits for the US, too. This is of course this is only a theory, as I am mostly ignorant about this matter.
-----------------------------
Yeah, Chrisimo, you're making my point. The answer is usually some nebulous conceptual vapor like that. Pretty thin stuff - lacking in substance. It feels like a bad value for the investment.

Now the pokes in the eyes and kicks in the shins, that's easier to quantify.

@Paul

"Let's dispense with the name calling and try to find some common ground. As the Stoic adage goes, 'All the seats in the theater are free, but a man has a right to the one he sits down in.'"

I have a problem with people who lack the capacity to carry on a conversation with others on a basis of equality. I consider people who cannot refrain from starting a discussion without such patronizing implications that they are just ever so slightly more virtuous than the person they're talking to insufferable boors. Please don't take that comment personally. It's simply a fact. I normally don't reply to such people out of courtesy, by only if it happens to suit me to make a point.

Morton blew in here with exactly the same holier than thou attitude. For example,

"...however, the underlying premise of many readers here (and sometimes the blog author himself) seems to be that criticism of US foreign policy is wholly unjustified per se. This, of course, is an even graver error..."

and

"...But you in turn should sometimes question your own anti-anti-Americanism."

Right, and no doubt the German Jews should have questioned their own anti-anti-Semitism in 1933. Not surprisingly, collaborator Morton tries the familiar lame diversion of changing the subject from German media bias to the sins of the Bush adminstration. He's what I refer to as a BUT collaborator. After 911, people like him, after a few perfunctory "tut-tuts" about the loss of life, etc., would invariably launch into a string of BUT's. BUT the US had it coming because it is an evil country for reasons x, y and z. BUT it was the fault of the Bush administration. BUT terrorists who murder innocent people aren't really bad. We just haven't treated them fairly. He tries the same MO here. He admits that, yes, there may be some tiny, infinitesimal truth to the claim of German media bias, BUT... And then he pulls out his big dossier of the sins of the Bush administration, changes the subject, and begins preaching the usual pious lectures from the moral high ground we're all so familiar with.

Morton is a remarkable specimen. In one and the same thread he delivers himself of the following gems:

"Fair and balanced Fox News? You got to be kidding. Fox News is a disgrace to anyone interested in factual reporting."

and

"I don't buy into that "liberal media bias" nonsense at all."

When one is suffering from such a yawning disconnect with reality, it seems to me appropriate to give him a little shock in the form of a judicious dose of his own medicine.

This discussion group is one of the better ones I have found on the net. And the present thread has been interesting. But also, so depressing and mostly, I believe, futile.

As I and others have noted, anti-Americans live in a parallel universe, they see and hear a different reality, and you cannot talk someone out of sensing what he/she does sense, through their media, politicians, and peer groups (who also create pressure to conform to group opinion).

The more basic forces underlying anti-Americanism--as opposed to the media of its transference--are many. And we have recently read, in this group, of its history, going back to the very discovery of the New World. These long-lived forces argue against expecting anti-Americans to begin to wonder why 'Bush is like Hitler', 'Guantanamo is like Auschwitz', how a man who was a graduate of one of our best universities, a very successful two-term governor, and achieved the highest office in the nation is 'stupid', why he would lie and mislead the country into war for any conceivable personal gain (does he want to work for Gazprom after his presidency?), why they focus so gleefully on how 'fat' are the inhabitants of a nation which has created so much of the modern world including most recently the transistor, the computer and the internet--comparable at least to the invention of printing, and on and on. A never ending string of anti-American idiocies.

As a final remark, I think it might be more productive to focus less exclusively on Germany and become rather, a medienkritik of European media. When I read the blog 'non Pasaran' which focusses on France, they seem, if anything, worse than the Germans. Is that correct? I would like to hear informed opinion.

Franz,

I am kind of hoping Hil Gal will take care of that with the Frau. I assume with Hil Gal wanting to defund DOD and fund her pet rocks such as socialized medical care and the Frau wanting to have a euro army, they will make some agreement.

You know - we are still allies we just don't support each other. Kind of like how it is now.

Sagredo,

You are correct to note that French anti-Americanism is 'worse' than German anti-Americanism. The reason it doesn't get addressed much is because Americans generally have a negative opinion of France - so French opinion doesn't count for much. We don't care. Americans find German anti-Americanism a bit more perplexing. After rebuilding Germany after the war and holding back the Soviets for decades Americans are disappointed to discover that the old adage 'No good deed goes unpunished' rings so true. But France? the automatic reaction is 'Screw France'.

But confusion over Germany is morphing into a similar reflex anger towards western Europe in general. Bridges have been burned in the past 10 years. It's not a matter of German attitude changing, the well of goodwill has been poisoned.

@Sagredo

"As I and others have noted, anti-Americans live in a parallel universe, they see and hear a different reality, and you cannot talk someone out of sensing what he/she does sense, through their media, politicians, and peer groups (who also create pressure to conform to group opinion)."

In general, you're right, Sagredo. One can pretty much predict the political opinions of about 95% of the people on the planet on just about any significant subject by glancing at the ideological box they live in. That's because most people aren't independent thinkers. They just carry around the ideas of others, repeating them like parrots on demand. Even as they spout out simplistic political "truisms" that are as identical to those of anyone else in their "in-group" as two peas in a pod, they delude themselves into thinking they are "original" and "open minded." Still, occasionally, ideologues can perceive that they have some blind spots and begin squirming their way out of their ideological straight jackets. It's happened before, and it will happen again. This blog would be worth it even if it only made a few people open their eyes. It's done a lot more than that, so, no, I don't agree the effort is futile.

I'm not sure what the best medicine for treating ideological dogmatism and blindness is. If I did, I would cure myself. The truth is elusive, and approaching it takes a constant struggle to tear down the ideological barriers in our own minds. Maybe a sharp rap on the knuckles, maybe the kind and gentle approach, or perhaps a constant insistence on facts that don't go away, I just don't know. I know what has worked for me in dismantling some of my own ideological blind spots. I doubt that what has worked for me will work for everyone.

John Mortons, re: "Firstly, the question that matters is whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction in 2003, NOT 1998."

After the Gulf War Cease Fire (UNSC Res 687), Saddam gave the UN a very long list inventorying the WMDs that he had available to use. It was a HUGE list.

Those were never found, either. NONE of them.

Don't you think it would be a bit smarter to wonder where they went than to simply take the anti-Bush stance that they were "never there", when the ones we KNOW he had, according to the UN, are ALSO missing?

Sorry, but I'm a bit... uh... concerned about the FACT that WMDs that we KNOW Saddam had were never found!

John Mortons; "Fair and balanced Fox News? You got to be kidding. Fox News is a disgrace to anyone interested in factual reporting. Just look at their constant lies and smears about democratic politicians such as Obama's alleged muslim education, or Hannity's ridiculous program on Gore (the list goes on and on and on)."

And here's where you revealed that you can't tell the difference between news accounts and talking head shows.

"News" accounts are when a reporter is standing on the ground in, say, Iraq or in front of the White House making comments on what happened to cause the report to be made. THIS is where reporting is biased in so much of the media... and exactly where it it NOT supposed to be biased. It is biased in that the reporter shows the audience how he or she is supposed to react by smiling, frowning thoughtfully, or sneering at the appropriate moment. They also show their bias in what they report and what they do NOT report. See the lack of news media coverage of the Gathering of Eagles in Washington on March 17, when the Eagles outnumbered the anti-war crowd 3-to-1... a HUGE piece of news all by itself! They DID cover the anti-war side of the rally, even though an anti-war rally isn't news at all these days!

The talking heads on the talking head shows are SUPPOSED to give opinions. That's why they are on the air... they're giving opinions. But on Fox, you know up front which side they're coming from because they generally tell you honestly. The fact is that Fox has more liberal talking heads than CNN or NBC or any other network has conservatives. The fact that CHN has ONE conservative talking head... Glenn Beck... just points out the complete dearth of conservatives on the entire rest of the network.


And an addendum, John-Boy... re: "Just look at their constant lies and smears about democratic politicians such as Obama's alleged muslim education..."

I don't know what backwater you live in, but I would have regarded a Muslim education as a PLUS in a presidential candidate. Such a person would have great insight into what's going on in the ME, culturally speaking. And... yes, I am a "neo-con", thank you!

And why, precisely, do you think Glenn Beck is a "bigot"? Please quote exactly what he has said to lead you to that conclusion. Second-hand reports from left-wing nut jobs are NOT acceptable... I require something you heard personally.

And I am curious about the hate spewed daily by Bill O'Reilly. I would really want to see some links to instances of this "hate".

WhatDoIKnow, you can be forgiven for being a step behind the times. 'Hate' no longer means 'hate' as you and I have grown up to understand the word. 'Hate' now means 'anything that contradicts me' to 'anything that I do not want to hear'. The 'hate' Glen Beck and Bill O'Reilly 'spew daily' are merely effective rebuttals of politically correct nonsense that we have the audacity to question. As we have seen many times now, those who cannot defend their positions turn to smear campaigns and character assassination. 'Either you agree - or you are a hate filed bigot' is essentially what it boils down to.

Evan Sayet brilliantly exposes the mentality behind the argument you are currently engaged in:

How Modern Liberals Think: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eaE98w1KZ-c

@ Buckeye Abroad

"What political solution would you suggest?"

War is the greatest human horror. It must be avoided whenever it can be avoided. A political solution, where possible, is always preferable.

Nevertheless, it would be naive, perhaps lethally so, to dispense with military force in the fight against al Qaeda. In all likelihood the U.S. will be fighting Islamist terrorism for many years to come, and military force, ranging from large-scale clashes to covert raids, will be necessary. The Iraq War is only one of several battles that will have to be fought.

In the present combat theater, the insurgents would achieve a perceived victory if U.S. troops are withdrawn, resulting in further aggression and, probably, destabilization of the region, with all-out fighting centering on control of the oil fields. Despite my pacifist leanings, I see no way around this stubborn reality. A political solution will have to be combined with continued troop deployments.

Conversely, use of military force without vigorous diplomacy is an error. Here, George Bush, unlike his father, has stumbled badly, grabbing the sword extended to him by bin Laden by the blade and not by the hilt.

A political solution means talks in a multilateral framework. Participants in an international conference should include major players in Iraq (Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites) and countries outside Iraq, the Europeans, as well as states with large Muslim populations.

The best outcome may be partition of Iraq into three regions with some arrangement for sharing oil revenues. The latter condition is the sticking point, obviously. Oil-rich Shiite and Kurdish regions will be loath to share their wealth with oil-poor Sunnis.

The coming years will be very difficult for either a Democratic or Republican President. Remember, in the minds of most American people the Iraq War is already lost. But even a President Obama would be compelled by the constraints of Realpolitik to keep some troops in Iraq.

There is reason for optimism. The insurgent strategy is to shatter our cohesion with rapid, unexpected violence to create turbulence and disorder. But they aren’t thinking very far ahead. We can withdraw some of our forces, gather strength, and hit them again when they show a critical vulnerability.

"How much real credibility did the U.S. have before 2000?"

Owing to the current administration’s strategic mismanagement of the Iraq War, the U.S. has less credibility now throughout the world than before 2000. Clinton was not noted for foreign policy successes, but his efforts in the former Yugoslavia did much to heighten U.S. credibility in the Muslim world.

"Nice that you dropped off the coalition countries participating."

True enough, the Brits sent a substantial force. Point made. But the present coalition can’t be compared with the coalition George Bush senior sent in the first Gulf War, which included Arab participation, key to legitimizing the entire operation.

"I don't see why the US should bank on help from anyone."

The reality is that no country, in this Hobbesian world, can count on help from any other country. As in personal relationships, though, sometimes genuine altruism shines through. When I complained not long ago to my sister, who lost her only son in the Sunni Triangle, about European anti-Americanism, her response was: "We helped them in the last war and, you know what, we’ll help them again if they need it."

"Which is overblown and perpetuated by the fraud and deception of the media."

Abu Ghraib may have been a fraternity stunt compared to the practices of Saddam’s torture regime. Nevertheless, the trumped-up WMD charges and digital images of abused Iraqi prisoners will haunt us for years to come.

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