Sueddeutsche Zeitung and other German dailies today - August 3rd, 2006 - reprint a dpa story on the war in Lebanon ("The unsuccessful war"). (dpa is Germany's number one press agency.)
The basic message of the story: Olmert is losing the support of the media - "reputable experts" contradict Olmert's optimistic outlook for the war - army generals criticize the military strategy - the former head of Israel's secret intelligence service even demands talks with Iran.
dpa wants Germans to believe that Israel cannot win the war against Hezbollah, and that self-doubts and critique within Israel are mounting. Since the Israelis (including the media) are virtually united behind the government's Lebanon strategy, dpa has to rely on "experts" with dubious political positions to proof its point. Take, for example, the "reputable history Professor" (dpa) Zeev Sternhell, who is extensively quoted in dpa's story. In an awfully one-sided polemic ("The most unsuccessful war") in the left-wing daily Haaretz Sternhell calls the Lebanon war a "serious blow to the government's credibility", and speaks of "cynicism being demonstrated by government spokesmen, official and otherwise, including several military correspondents, in the face of the disaster suffered by the Lebanese".
What dpa doesn't say is that Sternhell is a card-carrying member of the looney left, who - according to Wikipedia - "has long been a supporter of the Israeli peace camp and writes critically in the Israeli press about the Occupation and his government's policies toward the Palestinians". In his book "The Founding Myths of Israel: Nationalism, Socialism, and the Making of the Jewish State" Sternhell complains about the lack of socialistic vigour in Israel's labor party. Sternhell's interpretation of Israel's policies vis-a-vis the Palestinians ("colonial policing, which recalls the takeover by the white police of the poor neighbourhoods of the blacks in South Africa during the apartheid era") is approvingly quoted by none less than Noam Chomsky, another German media darling.
What we have here is another example of a "reputable" German media outlet to introduce left-wing "experts" in its reporting of foreign affairs, the same procedure that served the German media so well in its reporting on the Iraq war.
Call it "the Americanization of Israel's image in the German media". I'm sure, we will see more of it in the next couple of weeks.
Update: A must-read for our German speaking readers: Henryk M. Broder's latest article ("Sit-in blockades against Hezbollah?" - our translation) in SPON.
Top White House aide Karl Rove has been told by prosecutors he won't be charged with any crimes in the investigation into the leak of a CIA officer's identity, his lawyer said Tuesday, lifting a heavy burden from one of President Bush's most trusted advisers.
Not a happy day for SPIEGEL ONLINE and the likes... For weeks and months on end they painted a grim picture of the Bush administration's policies in the Valerie Plame case. Karl Rove's chances to survive the investigation politically seemed virtually nil, and Bush - of course - had to bear the dire consequences.
Hard to say what was worse for the German media in the last week: the early demise of Mr. Zarkawi or Rove's vindication. In both cases, the positive fallout for the Bush administration is hardly bearable für the anti-Bush media crowd in Germany.
Ah well, never mind. BUSH IS IN TROUBLE AGAIN!This just in, from the "independent experts of the British Oxford Research Group" (quote Tagesschau): The war against terror is bound to fail!
Never mind that the Oxford Research Group is a well known left-wing entity, much praised by peace initiatives for their aim "to assist in the building of a more secure world without nuclear weapons and to promote nonviolent solutions to conflict." Of course, the Oxford Research Group has a proud history of denigrading the anti-terror policies of the U.S. One of the study's authors, Paul Rogers, is a fervent critic of the U.S. policy toward Iraq. "Independent experts"? Hmm...
On a day like this the German media accept any warm body critizising George W. Bush...
Update: ScrappleFace has a solution for the desperate German media.
Juergen Todenhoefer is one of those German self-proclaimed experts on Islam who regularly blame the U.S. for all the evils that have befallen the world, and in particular the near East.
In his latest polemic "Der unbekannte Feind" (The unknown enemy) in the February 4, 2006, edition of the left-wing daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Todenhoefer presented his usual agenda: Iraq war is practically lost; hundreds of thousands of Iraqis killed (pre-war and during the current Iraq war) as a result of the disastrous policies of the U.S.; the Iraq war is a trigger for terrorism, etc., etc., etc....
I don't want you to read the full article - it's pay content, and it's definitely not worth to pay for his meandering ramblings. Regular readers of this blog will remember that we quoted this simple minded anti-American expert's Iraq war critique already in 2003: "We must fight against evil. But evil lies not only in the Middle or Far East. It also lies in the West, it lies in us." This pretty much summarizes what Todenhoefer has to say in his 2006 Sueddeutsche piece.
As to the origins of "evil" I strongly recommend the serious attention of Mr. Todenhoefer to the speech Donald Rumsfeld held this last weekend at the Munich Conference on Security Policy:
Today, there is a threat to our community - to our very way of life. Violent extremism is a danger posed as much to Europe as to America and elsewhere. (...) Unlike previous struggles, the enemy today is not a country, or even one particular organization. While
Hans Sponeck was United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Iraq from 1998 to 2000 when he resigned in protest against the sanctions policies toward Iraq. One of his major responsibilites during his Iraq job was the distribution of goods under the Oil-for-Food programme and the verification of Iraqi complicance with that programme. He reported to the Executive Director of the Iraq Programme, Benon Savan.
Von Sponeck is frequently quoted in the German media (and sometimes in non-German media) as "expert" on the Iraq war. His criticism of President Bush and the U.S. Iraq policy is aggressive and polemic, and as such of course highly welcomed by his journalistic counterparts. In 2003 he received the Bremen Peace Award for the resignation from his UN post in protest "against the sanctions policy of the Security Council and in particular the USA, responsible for the death of several hundred thousand Iraqi children" (no mention of Saddam's responsibilities, of course).
As it now turns out, Hans von Sponeck also pursued other interests in Iraq after he left the UN:
"Mr. von Sponeck solicited financial contributions for his sanctions-related work from corporations seeking to do business with Iraq under the Programme (Oil for Food) ... (a business partner of Mr. von Sponeck) recalled that - after he enlisted Mr. von Sponeck's assistance - Iraq granted his request for additional oil under the Programme. ... Mr. von Sponeck's activities should have been subject to post-employment restrictions in order to safeguard against a possibility of an actual or apparent conflict of interest..." Source: Independent Inquiry Committee into the United Nations Oil-for-Food Programme: Manipulation of the Oil-for-Food Programme by the Iraqi Regime, p. 508-509
The Washington Times reports on von Sponeck's Iraqi business affairs under the headline "$addam and hi$ enabler$" (mentioning von Sponeck next to George Galloway).
In the light of the revelations in the Volcker report I fully understand von Sponeck's opposition to the Iraq policy of the Bush administration. After all, as a result of the invasion, he must have lost a steady source of income...
I just wonder why nobody from Saddam's administration ever contacted me! Just a few million barrels of oil, and I would have eagerly turned into an anti-war, anti-Bush, anti-American activist, fiercly denouncing the evil American assault on the treasured Iraqi democracy under Saddam.
I definitely would have made a brilliant expert for the German media.
BTW, not much is reported on von Sponeck's Iraqi business activities in the German media. Well, it's not Halliburton stuff, I guess...
This will please our readers: The "Berliner Festspiele", one of the many not too interesting cultural festivities in Germany with no apparent goal ("The Berliner Festspiele bring together a seemingly endless variety of arts and culture under one roof") on October 16 had organized a lecture on the important topic of
The War on Terror, the Rule of Law, Civil Liberties and Human Rights
A topic that as lecturer certainly deserved only the best of the best. Luckily, the organizers found this noted expert of international law:
This former rock star groupie (Mr. Jagger moved on to other venues in the meantime) is a reliable source of wild and incoherent anti-American bile, which makes her a prime target for invitations from the German left. Her original credentials seem to be more or less gone, as P.J. O'Rourke already observed in Nicaragua 1990: " "Here we had a not very bright, fortyish, discarded rock-star wife, trapped in the lonely hell of the formerly cute...". (And then he went on to a scathing attack on her political teachings. Read the book!)
The "Berliner Festspiele" proudly presented Mrs. Jagger's accomplishments in seemingly neutral terms: "For many years, Ms. Jagger lectured at colleges and universities in an effort to inform the American people of the tragedies occurring in Central America." Also, she made it a flourishing business to lecture the American people of the tragedies occuring in case they reelected George W. Bush. Which didn't hurt her at all in the eyes of the organizers of the "Berliner Festspiele", of course.
In her lecture Mrs. Jagger preached the expected sermon, according to Berliner Morgenpost: "Europe a paradise of enlightenment ... Bush is a sheriff from a cow town...".
I guess this makes Mrs. Jagger a likely recipient of next years "Peace Award of the German Book Trade". After all, there aren't that many anti-American peace activists available who haven't already been honored by German cultural institutions...
To add some flavor to our posting on Bertelsmann of last week: the Jagger event's moderator was Manfred Lahnstein, a former Bertelsmann top executive. Lahnstein - who also happens to be a former German finance minister and member of the SPD - sits on the board of the "ZEIT Stiftung", a foundation closely linked to the Bertelsmann group. ZEIT Stiftung has financed the Jagger lecture.
While Germany is still trying to come to grips with Sunday's elections results (scroll down for postings on the topic), why not take a brief detour to our regular column "Pro U.S. sentiment in the German media".
Which makes him the ideal interviewee for German journalists eager to present the ugly face of conservative, capitalist, religious America.
Aspekte, a cultural TV program on ZDF - one of Germany's two public TV channels -, has undertaken the odious task of proving beyond reasonable doubt the wicked psychology of the Bush administration before and after hurricane Katrina. This interview with Gore Vidal, segments of which were broadcasted on September 9, 2005, is a masterpiece of biased, anti-American journalism.
(Since the original video of the broadcast with Vidal's statement in English isn't available yet at Aspekte's web site, Richard Bartholomew re-translated for us the German version of the interview back into English. Therefore, the English version presented here does not conform to the actual wording of Vidal or Jens.)
Civilization’s broken Levee George W. Bush and Hurricane Katrina
In what condition does the famed American civilization find itself when the state fails its most essential duty to protect the lives of its citizens? Do the blessings of American society accrue only to the rich and successful today? Are Washington’s mighty so focused on world politics that they’ve lost sight of reality in their own country? Tilman Jens discusses it with American author Gore Vidal at his home in Italy.
Tilman Jens: Mr. Vidal, were you surprised when you saw the chaos in American society after Hurricane Katrina?
"Chaos in American society" - this sets the tone of the interview.
Gore Vidal: No, I used to live in New Orleans. ... People always talked about what would happen if the levees broke, what would happen when the water rose. That went through everyone’s mind. Of course that doesn’t go through the US administration’s mind because they don’t have a mind for it to go through.
Tilman Jens: You mean, they didn’t know?
Jens trying to appear surprised...
Gore Vidal: We’re really just a bunch of impulses and the first among them is normally the impulse for preemptive war. But there could be no preemptive strike against nature. Because it was nature itself that threatened us and destroyed one of our cities. We’ve seen that we have an administration that had no plan, no emergency plan. For the last fifty years we’ve threatened the whole world with a world war… Now we not only see how vulnerable we are, but also that we have an administration that is impervious to all reality. The weather really has changes all over the world. We sit here in sunny Italy and it’s hotter than it’s ever been before during this season. Anyway the weather’s changed. Everyone knows that.
Vidal just proved global warming. Probably heard it from a nighbour: It's hotter than "it's ever been in Italy during this season". Period.
Tilman Jens: Is the catastrophe, a starving New Orleans, also a symbol for today’s American society?
The default interpretation of the German intellectual elite.
Gore Vidal: I don’t believe it’s a symbol. It just reflects the fact that you can get elected president if you just show your distaste for African Americans in such a way that it can be downplayed. You don’t have to shout, you can just quietly talk about “welfare mothers” who trade in their food stamps for a couple of bottles of bubbly. That’s all you have to do to get elected president. Hatred of the under-classes, every under-class, but mainly the blacks, is a constant with us. That’s now dramatized and the whole world can see it because we let them fall and pushed them under water.
Next on German public tv: How George W. Bush personally drowned black children.
Tilman Jens: What did the president do in this situation? George Bush came for a very short visit to Louisiana…
Just in case Vidal wouldn't remember...
Gore Vidal: Well yeah, they call that a “photo opportunity” – a photo op. And that’s what he wanted. You can’t turn to him for any kind of leadership, because he doesn’t have any.
Over the last two years, we at Davids Medienkritik have attempted to recognize and identify patterns in the German media that contribute to the deterioration of transatlantic relations. One of the most obvious and harmful patterns is the way in which interviews are conducted. Although we have no studies to refer to, it is clear that interviews with Bush opponents dramatically outnumber those with Bush supporters. These interviews often serve to reinforce negative stereotypes about Bush, conservatives and America in general. Interviews with Bush supporters that might add balance are extremely rare and often conducted in a highly critical tone (if they appear at all.) Additionally, interviews with outspoken Bush opponents are often prominently placed and frequently make the front-pages.
Katja Gloger: Never Met a Bush Opponent She Didn't Interview...
An excellent recent example: A front-page interview at stern.de entitled "We are Injuring the Ideals of America," with David Rothkopf. David who? Never heard of him? Doesn't matter...he's an outspoken opponent of the Bush administration. More importantly, Katja Gloger, Stern magazine's all-star "Amerika Korrespondent" wanted to interview him.
In case you don't already know her, Katja Gloger has already written a couple of real whoppers. In a newsarticle published just after the 2004 US elections, Ms. Gloger labeled Bush supporters "radical activists of the right" and called the Iraq war a disaster - 3 times. One has to wonder what she would have called World War II? A mega-macro-giga disaster? After all, ten times more American soldiers died in the Battle of the Bulge alone than have fallen thus far in Iraq. Does that make the Battle of the Bulge a disaster times ten?
In another article on Condoleeza Rice entitled "The Voice of Her Master," published on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Ms. Gloger condescendingly implied that George W. Bush is the "master" of the first black woman ever to hold the office of US Secretary of State. Gloger portrayed Rice as a loyal, obedient Bush underling. To make her point unmistakably clear, the Stern correspondent used an unbelievably demeaning photo that portrays Rice next to Barney the dog. The title of the article is also a reference to a dog. (Read more here.)
But let's get back to the Rothkopf interview, because it has all of the essential elements of a Gloger masterpiece: Bush opponents (the only sort of people Ms. Gloger interviews) are never asked tough, critical questions. Those with strong anti-Bush opinions go unchallenged and are even encouraged to deride the President. The Iraq war is described as a disaster and failure as often as possible. Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are held up as proof that America is a nation of hypocrites. Bush and his supporters are repeatedly portrayed as ideologically-driven, fanatic religious zealots who believe God has ordained them to rule. And on and on...
Here is the introductory paragraph from the Rothkopf interview:
"The victory of the US in the "war on terror" seems to be further away than ever. The Washingtonian political insider and author David Rothkopf spoke in a stern.de interview about the mistakes of the Bush government and the most powerful committee in world history."
A perfect intro: Start by declaring the "war on terror" an unwinnable quagmire (why didn't she mention Vietnam though?) Then proceed to introduce the latest resident expert on the mistakes of the Bush administration. The interview begins as follows:
"Question: Mr. Rothkopf, why should people in Germany be interested in the National Security Council in the USA?"
Rothkopf: "The Security Council is the most powerful committee in world history. The President, the Vice President, the Defense Minister, the Secretary of State and the National Security Advisor belong to it. It is a very small group and most of them have known each other for many years. Additionally, there are 200 employees on staff, experts for every nation in the world. And factually, the National Security Council rules the world. Its decisions influence the lives of billions of people. This small committee can decide to topple a government on the other side of the world. Or to send an aircraft carrier somewhere. Or to impose economic sanctions. No one can stop it. Neither the UN nor allies."
Exactly...this is what the German media has been trying to warn us of all along...a small, scheming cabal of radicals are, in fact, running the world. Mr. Rothkopf's statements are undeniable proof of that. And the scary part? The neocons have their fingers on the trigger and no one can stop them...
Wait a minute...is this all sounding slightly paranoid yet? Even Jacques Chirac has the power "to send an aircraft carrier somewhere" or "impose economic sanctions." So what?
And what about the claim that the President and his neocon committee run the world unchecked by anyone? Has Mr. Rothkopf ever heard of the United States Congress? Right now, the supposedly omnipotent George Dubya can't even get Social Security reform passed or his nominees to the UN and federal courts approved without a struggle of epic proportions. So much for being all-powerful...
A later segment reads:
"Question: Can the war against terrorism be won through the export of democracy?"
Rothkopf: First off: Terror is a tactic - terror is no enemy. Yes, we can topple a dictator like Saddam Hussein. But we can't force our system on a country. Democracy must grow on its own. Afghanistan is a different example: The land is factually an American protectorate and at the same time the largest producer of heroin in the world! We are protecting a land that produces heroin. What does that have to do with the war on terror?"
Of course. What nuance! "Terror is a tactic, not an enemy." It all goes back to "root-causes" and "cycles of violence." How could we possibly morally judge someone who blows away innocent civilians without first understanding his or her pain? How about a little empathy for Osama? And perhaps if the Jews had just understood why the Nazis were so angry and could have avoided the gas chambers. Can't we all just get along...?
And how about that heroin gaffe. Afghanistan was a large producer of heroin well before the US ever toppled the Taliban. Mr. Rothkopf makes it sound as if the US is supporting or defending the production of heroin through its presence in Afghanistan. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, the US government is spending hundreds of millions of dollars annually ($780 million this year according to the Christian Science Monitor) to fight the drug trade in Afghanistan.
A further passage reads:
"Question: However, even internally criticism is growing loud - obviously to the dislike of President Bush. Does the USA need a new strategy?
Rothkopf: "Bush has indeed summarized his strategy in one sentence: "With us or against us." With that he is ignoring a lesson of history. Because if we continue on so, we will never win back the trust of other states and people. Secretary of State Rice can travel around the world as much as she likes, Laura Bush can jet off to crisis areas - it will always be clear: We are cooperative and friendly as long as you share our opinion. Otherwise not. We have allies, but they change according to our mission. That is pragmatic and extremely dangerous at the same time.
Mr. Rothkopf would have us believe that President Bush is ignoring an important lesson of history. But in fact, he himself is forgetting history altogether by reinforcing a favorite pet-belief of the German left: Namely, that George W. Bush said that you "are either with us or against us" in an historic vacuum with no context or background. In fact, Mr. Bush made the "with us or against us" statement immediately following the September 11 terror attacks and was saying that you are either on America's side or on Osama bin Laden's side. Of course that context is something that Bush opponents all too gladly ignore and forget because it neutralizes their criticism of Bush as a mind-numbed, black-and-white-thinking automaton.
Oh and by the way: The last time we checked, the US still considers Germany to be a partner and ally despite its opposition to the Iraq war. And as far as dangerous pragmatism goes, perhaps Mr. Rothkopf has already forgotten how his former boss, Bill Clinton, formed his own coalition of the willing without UN approval to go into the Balkans. And guess what? The current Schroeder government also completely backed that action, without a UN mandate! (Of course Mr. Rothkopf was far less critical of the entire approach back then.)
The interview's conclusion is a true highlight:
"Rothkopf: (...) We are so two-faced. We talk about justice and allow Guantanamo. And even in one hundred years people in Arab countries will hold up the pictures of abused Iraqis in Abu Ghraib prison when they talk about the USA. This mistrust will not subside."
Question: How can the lost credibility be successfully won back?
Rothkopf: We need new legitimacy. Our first President George Washington once said: America should be a land that pays respect to the rest of the world. Because we can't rule the world, we should lead it. For that we must ourselves be an example. We can encourage others to change. We can support that, together with others, but we cannot force it. Otherwise someone will soon appear somewhere in the world who can propagate a real alternative to our system. As once Karl Marx did, that man from the German province."
Fabulous Karl Marx reference. Indeed. We cannot force democracy on other nations. Just look at history: Nazi Germany and Japan would have become democratic if we had just supported them a little more in the 1930s and not resorted to barbaric violence. We should have simply tried to understand why the Fascists hated Jews, Slavs, Americans and pretty much everyone else and empathized with them...oh yeah...where's the love?
And let's not forget that during World War II, America forced its democracy on other nations while it interned innocent Japanese-American citizens without so much as a trial. How unforgivably hypocritical... And today after sixty years, all we remember are the internment camps and no one cares about democracy or freedom...right? And the worst part of it all...American troops are still in Germany and Japan...it's a never ending quagmire...how right Mr. Rothkopf is. Why won't Bush just listen?
America Invincible or Collapsing: So What is it for the Angry Left?
This single interview illustrates an interesting point: The entire picture of the United States government delivered by the German media is remarkably inconsistent. One day the US is the supreme unilateral giant capable of toppling anyone anytime. The next day the US economy is in serious trouble and the military is demoralized, degraded and so short on recruits that it supposedly can't engage in another campaign even if it needed to.
The confusion about America in Germany is due in large part to the fact that the German media is totally failing to provide Germans with balanced coverage of the United States. Conservatives, as we see in Ms. Gloger's work, are regularly written-off and smeared as "radicals, religious nuts, gun nuts, reactionaries, right-wing extremists, etc. Conversely, the loudest, most prominent Bush opponents are frequently interviewed, often in a very uncritical way. These Bush critics are almost always presented as mainstream, middle-of-the-road, knowledgeable and moderate experts.
Again, the number of interviews done with Bush skeptics and the time allotted to their points of view also dramatically outweighs that given to Bush supporters. This imbalance is in part the result of a vicious cycle: Unfortunately, anti-Americanism and anti-American stereotypes sell well in Germany. Furthermore, many in the German media are already ideologically inclined against the Bush administration and have a financial incentive to offer readers media that confirm stereotypes and reinforce bias. Only a few lonely voices dare to speak-out against the majority view, Broder, Doepfner and Malzahn come to mind...but they are little more than shouters in the desert.
The bottom line is this: Until Germans hear the other side of the story in a fair and balanced way, until they understand why over 60 million Americans, (most of whom are moderate, everyday people) voted for Bush, the deterioration of transatlantic relations will only worsen. And we have biased, ideologue journalists like Katja Gloger to thank for that.
Poor Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad. He's such a nice guy, but unfortunately the Syrian military won't allow him to transform the country into an Arabic version of South Korea.
I am not making this up. This is what Michael Lueders claims, one of Germany's foremost Arabia experts, in a comment in the left-wing daily Frankfurter Rundschau. According to Lueders Israel and the U.S. government try to "demonize" Syria.
And there's another culprit next door (you won't guess it): "What is Israel keeping from realizing the 50 year old dream for a life in peace and security? The answer has two words: Ariel Sharon."
Well, not everyone has tender feelings for al-Assad, though:
Franka Potente is a modestly talented German actress who - probably in hope for greater challenges - moved to LA. Her looks aren't impressive and her IQ ranks somewhere between that of a cooked vegetable and Jane Fonda, if you know what I mean.
Now she left LA and came back to Germany - disillusioned and disappointed. Poor Franka apparently wasn't noticed by anyone of importance in LA which upon her return to Germany caused her to grant this interview to Zitty, a Berlin magazine. The interview is full of the anti-Americanism that has become the rallying cry of the German Left.
Here are some excerpts:
What do you miss about Los Angeles? Nothing. ... there is nothing which I miss.
What is about Los Angeles that is different? ... If one wants to meet one in the evening, one has to call that morning. The same people say also when telephoned "You know what? Let me call you right back. I'm in the car right now ". Then they call back 15 minutes later. "I don’t know. I’m gonna get into the shower. Let me call you right after the shower." And then again: "I'm on the other line now. I'll call you right back." One must telephone up to 15 times, before one can arrange something. And then they call again and say, they are "stuck in traffic" or have only just now left. That drove me nuts. This noncommitment attitude....
In the USA one must be simple, a little more tolerant, you can not ... talk about the Ukraine elections for example.... You need another approach: "This is where the Ukraine is." One must bring one's expectations down. You cannot expect that someone has a large knowledge of this, all you hope for is to find someone who shows some curiosity. You have to lower your expectations and be delighted if someone is interested. Someone who at least will listen, because they usually have a rather short attention span. ...
... when I was in Los Angeles, the USA marched into Bagdad. When Schroeder said, we will not participate, I was glad. At that moment I missed Germany.
... when you are in a country (USA), where each idiot hangs up the flag, and people have a bumper bticker with "Go Boys" on it, and the tv praises always the army. ...
80 per cent of the jobs (in the USA) are minimum wage jobs, where a 40 year old man makes advertisements for pizza in a ridiculous costume...
And so on... Franka Potente is certainly not a very bright lady, as I indicated above. But I'd like to refrain from further comments on beautiful Franka, because...
...we have this(you have to scoll down the page) delightful comment by Pato:
Interview with Austrian Elfriede Jelinek, Literature Nobel Price winner 2004 in the NYT:
I consider the current (U.S.) presidency to be dangerous to the world. I am really afraid of Bush, actually less of him than of the deputies standing in the shadows behind him. Compared to their activities, even Thomas Pynchon's paranoid conspiracy theories are just children's books.
Another interview with another “expert” conducted by ZDF (a major state owned television network) has resulted in yet another series of outrageously biased statements aimed against the United States and President Bush. This week’s “expert” is one Hans Leyendecker, "investigative journalist" and author of a book entitled “The Lies of the White House: How the Bush Government Misleads the World” which claims that: "lies, misrepresentations and manipulation have become an integral part of American politics. Members of ultra-right wing circles, who have made it to the controls of power, are trying to realize their political visions."
Leyendecker, formerly a correspondent and office chief at SPIEGEL, agrees that America "needs a change not only because the majority of Europeans thinks it does, but because it is also in America's own interest." Leyendecker proclaims that with John Kerry as President, “the US would again be more reliable” because under Kerry the country would apparently realize that “America needs allies and their support.” I suppose Mr. Leyendecker has chosen to selectively ignore the dozens of allies America currently has actively helping it both in Afghanistan and Iraq. For Mr. Leyendecker, America’s “needing allies” implies that America needs the United Nations (i.e. the approval of France, Russia and China) to approve its every action, something that even John Kerry is not willing to commit to.
Mr. Leyendecker also remarks:
“It was already recognizable before the war that one would create an uncertain situation there. Of course it is good that a dictator lost his power, one should have simply done it differently.”
Reading this one can only wonder what Mr. Leyendecker would have suggested as the alternative method for removing Saddam Hussein. Should we have collectively waved our magic wands, clicked together our ruby slippers and wished him away? More inspections? Another CIA operation? Hadn’t we already tried that all to no avail?
Mr. Leyendecker now claims that the world is less safe because of the Iraq war. I guess that is true if you don’t take into consideration the safety of the hundreds of thousands of victims buried throughout Iraq in Saddam’s mass graves.
He also goes on to claim that the US media was blinded “by patriotism” after 9/11 into passively going along with Bush’s call to war. He points out that members of the German press “could never imagine themselves as patriots and not as journalists,” thus implying that the German media was and is more objective. How, then would Leyendecker explain the widespread success of Michael Moore, Susan Sontag, Noam Chomsky and Paul Krugman in the U.S. media if everything is driven by "patriotism"?
Members of the German media may not be "patriotic." But they are as partisan and as biased as they come. The fact that Mr. Leyendecker speaks with such an air of self-assured confidence about what "is right" for the United States and labels members of the Bush adminstration as "swindlers" is proof enough of that.
(Don't miss your chance! You can still vote on ZDF's Bush-Kerry poll.)
It's official: America has lost. Clearly, finally, and devastatingly. And not against just anyone, not against a nobody.
America lost against - Europe.
How fortunate we are to have the feuilleton of the (conservative German daily) FAZ. For without its willingness to interview the high-tech has-been Jeremy Rifkin - an American America-hater in the same league as Susan Sontag and Noam Chomsky - this discharge of twaddle would not have engaged our attention:
Americans are disposed to swagger, Europeans to despair. But if you want to cleave to reality, you have to grant that Europe has already overtaken American in such important areas as Quality of Life, Education, and Health Care...
Today all the elements of a radical new dream are converging in Europe, a dream that the world finds more appealing than the anachronistic American dream ... Europe must recognize that it has overtaken America because it has been able to couple market economics, the power of entrepreneurial creativity and innovation, with the social welfare of the community... In a globalized world no dream can remain valid that only aims for the improvement of the individual's station. If the whole world believed in the American dream, the world would destroy itself.
There's no point in translating the entire FAZ interview into English, or any other language.
The interview's sole purpose is to rally the spirits of right-thinking Germans in their fevered ruminations on the meanness of American society. As expected, it concludes that anti-American sentiment is fully justified.
And that's why the FAZ interviews and publishes Rifkin.
This just in:
Bloomberg: "German Unemployment Rises to 11-Month High in July"
Germany's unemployment rate rose to an 11-month high in July, reducing the chances that consumer spending in Europe's biggest economy will recover from two years of stagnation. ... The number of people with a job has risen in only one month over the past 2 1/2 years. ...
Falling job numbers in Germany contrast with employment growth in the U.S., where a report to be released Friday will probably show 243,000 jobs were created in June and an unchanged unemployment rate of 5.6%, the median of 70 forecasts in a Bloomberg News survey showed.
Things are tough for Gerhard Schröder these days. In the face of his economic policy’s poor results even his foreign policy, based on distancing himself from the US, isn’t making much of an impression on voters. At best some feel sorry for him.
He has few friends left, either in his own party or amongst the media. Thus he will be especially pleased with support from an “expert,” even if it’s from an almost completely unknown individual who hasn’t finished her training.
Let us introduce Susan Neiman, director of the Einstein Forum in Potsdam. Nieman is an American. She was a philosophy professor at Yale, which qualifies her uniquely for an expert assessment of all aspects of American policies, military strategies included. The Einstein Forum, according to its own literature, is a “center of intellectual innovation” that “examines new, provocative thinking in an open, informal atmosphere.” The Einstein Forum is financed by the State of Brandenburg, i.e. by the German taxpayer. It also receives financial support from private donors, such as several major German banks and IBM Germany (!).
In the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung’s cultural pages, Susan Neiman introduces herself with the presentation of a ground-breaking article, the title of which already answers all questions:
“Thank you, Chancellor Schröder!”
Neiman expresses her deeply felt thanks to Schröder for his fight against evil incarnate – the US government under the George W. Bush administration.
In Iraq almost everything that could have gone wrong went wrong. Even the capture of the tyrant – an event which, according to Hans Magnus Enzensberger, we should always experience as a moment of joy – now has a depressing effect. The only barely acceptable pictures of Saddam’s humiliation at the time of his arrest now remind us of the unbearable humiliations that have befallen other Iraqis. Thus the whole thing threatens to descend into a violent horror that almost puts Saddam’s acts of torture into perspective.”
“…barely acceptable pictures of Saddam’s humiliation at the time of his arrest”? “…unbearable humiliations that have befallen other Iraqis”? Could we carefully remind our gentle readers that – and Susan, please
One of the recurring themes of German left-wing media and countless "experts" in the run up to the Iraq invasion in 2003 was the trouble allegedly caused for the Iraqis by the UN sanctions. Children death's in the thousands per month were attributed to the deficiencies of the "Oil for Food" program of the UN.
Well, another myth that can be laid to rest.
As the New York Times reports, billions of US Dollars were syphoned from this UN program to support Saddam's luxury needs:
In its final years in power, Saddam Hussein's government systematically extracted billions of dollars in kickbacks from companies doing business with Iraq, funneling most of the illicit funds through a network of foreign bank accounts in violation of United Nations sanctions.
Millions of Iraqis were struggling to survive on rations of food and medicine. Yet the government's hidden slush funds were being fed by suppliers and oil traders from around the world who sometimes lugged suitcases full of cash to ministry offices, said Iraqi officials who supervised the skimming operation. ...
To some officials of Iraq's provisional government, what is perhaps most insulting is how little their country got for its oil money. Taking stock of what was bought before the American-led invasion toppled Mr. Hussein last spring, they have found piles of nonessential drugs, mismatched equipment and defective hospital machines.
"You had cartels that were willing to pay kickbacks but would also bid up the price of goods," said Ali Allawi, a former World Bank official who is now interim Iraqi trade minister. "You had rings involved in supplying shoddy goods. You had a system of payoffs to the bourgeoisie and royalty of nearby countries.
"Everybody was feeding off the carcass of what was Iraq."
...the only humanitarian programme ever to have been funded entirely from resources belonging to the nation it was designed to help...
...few of us, and I repeat, few of us, could have imagined that those sanctions would remain in place for nearly thirteen years, or the terrible toll they would impose on the health and nutrition of millions of innocent people, particularly the most vulnerable.
We are closing the Oil-for-Food Programme, but we remain determined to continue helping Iraq's long-suffering people in whatever ways are still open to us and we are determined to implement the other mandates you have given to us.
In light of the above mentioned NYT report, this last sentence should be considered a threat...
And our media told us it was "all about oil". In a way, they were right.
Australischer Geheimdienstchef: Irak-Krieg nicht gerechtfertigt
Sydney (rpo). Die kritischen Stimmen aus Geheimdienstkreisen zu den angeblichen US-Beweisen für das Waffenarsenal im Irak mehren sich. Jetzt hat auch der Chef eines australischen Nachrichtendienstes den gesamten Krieg als ungerechtfertigt bezeichnet.
Und hier ist die Wahrheit...
Auszug aus dem Protokoll des Ausschusses für Außenpolitik, Verteidigung und Handelsgesetze des australischen Senats, 18. Februar 2004, S. 85/6:
Herr Lewincamp - Wie der Minister sagte, glaube ich, daß ich der Offizielle bin, auf den sich Mark Forbes (der Journalist, der die Geschichte aufbrachte) in Teilen seines Artikels in "Age" am 14. Februar 2004 bezieht. Ich sage "in Teilen", weil ich niemals eine Reihe von Aussagen, die diesem Offiziellen von Herrn Forbes zugeschrieben werden, gemacht habe noch machen werde. Herr Forbes hat Prof. Ross Babbage von der Australischen National Universität bestätigt, daß ein Teil der Informationen in dem Artikel auf seinen Besuch als Student bei einem Vortrag beruhen, den ich beim Masters Programm Seminar am ANU Strategic and Defence Studies Centre im September letzten Jahres gegeben habe. ...
Bezüglich des Inhaltes des Artikels vom Samstag habe ich vor diesem Kommitee ausgesagt im Juni und November letzten Jahres über die wesentlichen Schlußfolgerungen, die das DIO (austr. Geheimdienst) der Regierung bezüglich dem Stand irakischer Massenvernichtungswaffen mitgeteilt hat. In dem Artikel sind ähnliche Aussagen über latente Massenvernichtswaffen-Fähigkeiten enthalten, die kurzfristig aktiviert werden können, sowie über das Ausmaß unbekannter Bewaffnung. Aber ich habe niemals einige der Aussagen gemacht, die in dem Artikel von Herrn Forbes dem Offiziellen zugeschrieben werden, und ich würde sie auch niemals machen. Zum Beispiel habe ich niemals gesagt, daß die Behauptungen der Bush Administration, die die Invasion rechtfertigten, übertrieben waren, noch sagte ich, daß der Regierung gesagt wurde, daß irakische Massenvernichtungswaffen keine unmittelbare Bedrohung darstellten. Insgesamt stellt der Artikel diese Themen in einer Art vor, wie ich sie nicht teile.
Es gibt darin (in dem Artikel) Schlußfolgerungen, mit denen ich nicht übereinstimme und Ansichten, die ich nicht teile. (Eigene Hervorhebung)
Also, zusammengefaßt: ein Student (!) schrieb einen Artikel über einen Vortrag eines Geheimdienstspezialisten, und in einer öffentlichen Anhörung widerspricht dieser Spezialist der Grundbehauptung des Artikels. Und trotzdem produzieren diese falschen Behauptungen Überschriften selbst im weit entfernten Deutschland.
Was mich immer wieder überrascht: Deutsche Medien benutzen oft dubiose Quellen für die Unterstellung, Präsident Bush habe dubiose Quellen benutzt, um die Invasion des Irak zu rechtfertigen. Was für ein Witz...