It contains no photos of Iraqi voters with ink-dipped fingers. No photos reminding us of Saddam's mass murder and destruction of his enemies. No reminders of the successful surge that Bush backed despite Reid saying the war was lost. No pictures of American troops and diplomats helping millions of Iraqis building roads, schools, power plants, providing medical care, jobs and stability. No pictures of the Sunni Awakening and the defeat of Al-Qaeda in Anbar province. In short - no pictures telling the whole story or providing any real balance.
Just pictures fitting the SPIEGEL ONLINE anti-American far-left narrative: The American military is evil. The war was all bad. The Iraqis only suffered at the hands of the terrible invaders.
With the Iraq war's apparent conclusion, one can only say of SPIEGEL ONLINE that - for a publication and readership that styles itself as so utterly nuanced and intelligent - the coverage has - in fact - been utterly one-sided and hyper-simplified propaganda - with very few exceptions. The magazine's coverage was designed to sell magazines to and please an anti-American audience from beginning to end, and the German readership will never have more than a very narrow and self-satisfying view of the conflict that in no way reflects reality.
Oh - and here's a shocker - the article and gallery are not featured on SPIEGEL ONLINE's English site homepage. Wonder why? Perhaps the English-speaking audience demands at least a fig-leaf of intellectual honesty - apparently the German audience does not...
"I must admit that I was astonished when I recently read in the
newspaper that a German parliamentary delegation was visiting Iraqi
Kurdistan and that the head of the delegation, Herta Däubler-Gmelin,
had made critical remarks about the situation of human rights in the
region. I was equally astonished that our Kurdish politicians accepted
this criticism without protest. (...)
But Ms. Däubler-Gmelin evidently did not think for a second of the
liberation of Iraq from this dictatorship. And after 2003, it was
people like her – and so many others in Europe – that showed no concern
for the changes and developments underway in Iraq. We did not have the
impression that the terror unleashed by Al-Qaeda upon the people of
Iraq gave them any sleepless nights either. On the contrary, for years
they seemed to welcome the suffering of the Iraqis as proof that the
overthrow of Saddam Hussein had been a mistake.
Despite all this we say to such people: Welcome to the new, democratic Iraq!"
Report: Austrian rifles supplied to Iran have found their way to Iraqi insurgents
LONDON: Sophisticated rifles supplied to Iran by an Austrian arms
company in 2006 are finding their way into the hands of Iraqi
insurgents, a British newspaper reported Tuesday.
American troops have recovered more than 100 "Steyr .50 HS" rifles
in Iraq, part of an Austrian consignment of 800 such weapons delivered
to Iran over American protests that they could be given to insurgents,
the Daily Telegraph reported.
The Austrian government approved the sale of the rifles, made by
precision weapons maker Steyr Mannlicher GmbH, after it concluded in
2004 that they would be used to fight narcotics smugglers. (source)
Just more evidence of the non-violent superiority of the European way-of-life. Trade anything to anyone. Who cares if they are genocidal thugs or out to build a nuke or wipe Israel off the map? Who cares if they use the rifles to kill Americans? This keeps Austria's unemployment down. Don't you just love pacifism?
The Austrian "statesmen" most responsible for approving the deal. From left to right: Former Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel, Interior Minister Guenther Platter, Foreign Minister Ursula Plassnik, Ex-Interior Minister Ernst Strasser.
By the way: Where's Michael Moore when you need him? Here's a documentary idea: Take the family members of the American soldiers killed by Austrian rifles in Iraq and confront former Austrian Chancellor Wolfgang Schuessel and ask him how any sane human being could have approved shipping hundreds of these killing machines to Iran. Were the measly profits involved worth the potential damage to US-Austrian relations?More here...
Endnote: We strongly suggest our American readers contact the press office at the Austrian Embassy with their thoughts and opinions on this:
Embassy Telephone: 1-202-895-6700 (listen to the recording and then press 1 and then press 4 for the press department - you may be asked to record your message) Embassy E-mail: email@example.com
The members of the then Schuessel cabinet most responsible for approving the sale can be reached here:
You can also contact the firm that produced and sold the rifles to Iran. Apparently, Steyr-Mannlicher boss Wolfgang Fuerlinger has gone on the record as saying that Iran is "a market of the future" and that "more is coming" in the way of business with Iran for his firm:
Nina Rehfeld's Attempted Hit Job - Or How it Backfired
A small German blog recently chronicled a particularly suspect article authored by correspondent Nina Rehfeld for the FAZ (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung - one of Germany's most respected daily papers). The piece, entitled "Debacle for the Online Sniper" can only be described as a hit job gone terribly wrong. The "online sniper" in question is none other than journalist and top blogger Michelle Malkin:
FAZ Caption: "Converted Blogger: Michelle Malkin"
The FAZ piece reads as follows (our translation - this is the entire article):
"Blogs Debacle for the Online Sniper By Nina Rehfeld, Phoenix
A few days ago a witch hunt called out by conservative bloggers in the United States against the news agency AP came to an end. The starting point for the hysteria was an AP report according to which six Iraqi Sunnis were doused with gasoline by Shiites in front of a mosque and burned alive as Iraqi soldiers looked on. As a source, AP named a Baghdad police captain by the name of Jamil Hussein, but the American military and Iraqi Ministry of Interior denied for a long time that there was a policeman by that name. No one else could confirm the report, yet the story went around the world.
In Internet forums doubts were quickly raised about the authenticity of the AP story and the reliability of sources in Iraq in general. But what should have been a debate about the pitfalls of reporting from war zones turned into a vanity fair. Led by the prominent conservative blogger Michelle Malkin, the AP story was presented as proof that the "liberal mainstream media" were intentionally distorting the situation in Iraq to turn people against the Bush government: "MSM credibility, R.I.P.," wrote Malkin.
The Outcry is Silenced
The talk quickly turned to "AP scandal"; All AP reporting on Iraq was brought into question. Liberal websites like Media Matters struck back at the "warbloggers." And because the mainstream media in America leaves the field of reporting on the background details to the bloggers, they were able to smash journalistic porcelain undisturbed. In the meantime, AP stuck with the story that its reporters had spoken with Jamil Hussein.
A few days ago the Iraqi Ministry of Interior confirmed the existence of Jamil Hussein and announced that he may be subject to a fine - because he spoke to journalists. The outcry is silenced. Michelle Malkin accepted a challenge to visit Iraq from CNN news boss Eason Jordan where she has meekly reported on danger, violence and corruption, but also on signs of hope in Iraq that the mainstream media is allegedly happy to overlook. Nobody is talking about the policeman Jamil Hussein anymore."
Because Rehfeld and her FAZ editors are clearly aware of Michelle Malkin's blog (see caption above), it is hard to believe that they simply overlooked the two contested elements of the original AP story. This appears to be yet another case of a major German media outlet omitting and twisting facts to vilify those (conservatives - bloggers - Americans) it perceives as political enemies. The arrogant, frothing-at-the-mouth tone of the piece is, taken by itself, a clear sign of journalism gone bad. Beyond that, it is difficult to conclude that Rehfeld is anything more than a cynical liar. Her work is particularly disturbing because it is directed at a German audience that, with a language barrier and lack of alternative sources, will likely never know to what extent it has been defrauded and misled.
This much is clear: To avoid future "witch hunts" and journalistic "debacles", FAZ would be well advised to drop Ms. Rehfeld and her particularly destructive brand of character assassination. Instead of cutting Michelle Malkin down to size, Rehfeld has succeeded only in shooting herself and her publication's reputation in the foot.
Wem die oberflächliche Berichterstattung deutscher Massenmedien, die Bush's Rede zur neuen Irakstrategie im wesentlichen als Truppenverstärkung darzustellen versuchen, etwas seltsam vorkommt, kann sich glücklicherweise an kompetenterer Stelle über ein paar hierzulande - natürlich rein "zufällig" - übergangene, aber weit wichtigere Punkte des amerikanischen Strategiewechsels informieren. Weit entfernt davon, nur Schadensbegrenzung zu betreiben, scheint Bush nämlich wieder in die Offensive gehen zu wollen und den Kampf endlich - wie schon seit Jahren von neokonservativer Seite angemahnt, von den Realpolitikern aber immer wieder ausgebremst - auch auf die ausländischen
Majorities in USA and Europe Favor Saddam Execution
The recent results of a poll conducted by Novatris/Harris for the French daily Le Monde on the death penalty shocked the editors and writers at Germany's left-leaning SPIEGEL ONLINE. When asked whether they favored the death penalty for Saddam Hussein, a majority of respondents in Germany, France and Spain responded in the affirmative. Here the results by country:
Percentage of respondents in favor of executing Saddam Hussein:
Clearly, there is a gap between the United States and the European nations polled. On the other hand, the western Europeans polled demonstrated that there is majority support for the death penalty in particular cases. In other words, the gap that exists across the Atlantic is not at all the clear-cut, "black-white" divide that some in mediamake it out to be.
Die Zeit: "The Europeans condemn the use of the death penalty" / Do they? The poll numbers above contradict that assumption.
Frankfurter Allgemeine: "President Bush praised the execution, from Europe came sharp criticism." / A tempting -and in the media oft used- opportunity to again pit "Europe" against Bush. A more intellectually honest headline would have pointed out that the majority of the criticism coming from "Europe" has emanated from a tiny media-political elite. The rest of society is evenly divided.
ZDF Heute Online: "Bush Welcomes Saddam's Execution - Criticism from Europe: Divided Reactions to Death Penalty: US President George W. Bush greeted the execution of Saddam Hussein as a milestone on the way to a democratic Iraq. In contrast, criticism came from European countries and human rights organizations - they reject the death penalty as a matter of principle." / ZDF is clearly attempting to create an "us versus them" - "Europe versus Bush and America" wedge issue out of the death penalty. This piece also totally ignores the opinions of the average German.
Deutsche Welle: "Europe condemns death penalty" / But what about the more than half the population in Germany and other European nations that does not condemn it in Saddam's case? Do they simply not matter? Do they somehow not exist for certain media-political elites? Why are their views systematically ignored?
Sueddeutsche published a piece entitled: "Worldwide Sharp Criticism of the Execution." The piece goes nation by nation and lists criticisms as if they represented the view of the entire country. It does not mention poll results that indicate majorities in many of the same countries actually favored Saddam's execution.
Other media outlets, including Financial Times Deutschland and even SPIEGEL ONLINE have actually treated the death penalty question as a debate instead of falsely claiming that an imaginary, monolithic "Europe" has "sharply criticized" Saddam's execution. Another major theme in most of the Western media is that Saddam's execution does not help Iraq - in other words, more of the usual pessimism.
Additionally, there has long been a heated debate on the death penalty in the United States. Several U.S. states do not legally permit executions or do not make (wide) use of them. From the mid 1960s to the mid 1980s, executions came to a near standstill in the United States, in part because of legal challenges which culminated in the Supreme Court's 1972 Furman vs. Georgia decision. Recently, a botched execution in Florida led Republican Governor Jeb Bush to suspend the death penalty as a federal judge in California imposed a moratorium halting executions in that state.
Put another way: There is a lively debate on the death penalty on both sides of the Atlantic, with significant numbers and powerful factions on either side. Unfortunately, many in the German media have made death penalty out to be a divisive, "good versus evil" wedge issue. This stems in part from the transatlantic legal contrast: Most European nations have banned the death penalty while it remains legal in much of the United States.
The desire in influential segments of German media and society to reduce the death penalty to the level of a transatlantic wedge issue is also deeply rooted in another key factor: Ideology. The far-left in Germany is a political force to be reckoned with. Its representatives dominate wide swaths of the media, academia and certain political parties including the SPD, Greens and the PDS. Not only do representatives of the far-left reject the death penalty in all cases (putting them at odds with many ordinary Germans), they also oppose American-style free-market capitalism, smaller, less restrictive government, and the projection of American power in the world. This movement consists largely of an assortment of 68-radicals (including ex-Maoists, Leninists, RAF sympathizers, and your run-of-the mill Socialist demonstrators); ex-eastern-bloc-Communists; young people radicalized through academia, media and far-left political parties and movements; and out-and-out America-haters. Quite honestly, these folks would have rejected the execution of Hitler and Eichmann just as they reject the execution of Saddam. Ironically, they see the issue as a "black-and-white" - "with us or against us" issue. (Sound familiar?)
Nonetheless the death penalty remains contentious. Conservatives, libertarians and European Liberale, who traditionally favor a less powerful, less intrusive government, must ask themselves if they trust the state to determine who should live and who should die. Furthermore, they must consider whether the death penalty in the United States has become so legally contentious (filled with endless appeals, challenges and expenses) that it is practically (if not also ethically) questionable?
These are the debates that citizens on both sides of the Atlantic should be having with one another and not against one another, as many on the far-left would have it. The real "wedge", in this and many other cases, is not a transatlantic one. The real "wedge" is and has long been firmly lodged between the Angry left and the rest of society.
As the poll numbers above demonstrate, the peoples of the United States and Europe are not nearly as far apart on the death penalty as some would have us believe. Sadly, in a media culture that thrives on creating new controversies and divisions and exacerbating old ones (whether real or imagined) you might never know it.
UPDATE: Watch the full Saddam execution here:
A quick and painless death for a tyrant responsible for the murder and torture of so many.
Linde investigated over alleged bribery in UN Iraq aid programme - report
Linde AG (one of Germany's largest companies) is being investigated over bribery allegations linked to the UN Oil-for-Food programme in Iraq, the weekly Focus reported in a prerelease of its upcoming edition, citing Munich's head prosecuting attorney Anton Winkler. (...)
According to a UN report, Linde was one of more than 2,000 firms around the world alleged to have made illicit payments to Saddam Hussein's government to profit from the aid programme, the magazine said. It also said that 63 German companies were allegedly involved and that currently up to 36 preliminary proceedings against executives of those mostly smaller firms are pending.
63 German companies? There was little discussion in the German media about bribery charges against German companies doing business in Iraq during Saddam's reign. There were so many other interesting topics to cover...
German politicians (and, needless to say, the German media) are jubilant about the Baker report's recommendations:
Karsten Voigt, the German government's coordinator on relations with the U.S., said on n-tv television that: "We should be happy that there is a course correction in the United States."
"If we as Europeans and as Germans can help diplomatically, then we should," he said. "We are also ready to help with reconstruction in Iraq, if the security situation permits." (...)
Wolfgang Gerhardt, the foreign policy expert for Germany's opposition Free Democrats, said in the Bild newspaper that the report "shows an awareness of reality ... and insight is the first step to improving things."
Former Defense Secretary Peter Struck, now parliamentary leader for the Social Democrats in parliament, said that "the U.S. succumbed to a great mistake in judgment: they wanted to be liberators but were perceive as occupiers. They will get out of this dilemma only with great difficulty."
It would be unrealistic to expect the Germans to pull their weight in international relations, used as they are to freeloading off American strength. But why in the world would they be pleased at the prospect of American retreat from Iraq? The same AP dispatch notes reaction to the ISG report from the Arab world:
Mustafa Bakri, an outspoken critic of the U.S. and editor of the Egyptian tabloid Al-Osboa, told a state-run television show that the report indicated "the end of America."
Bakri, who supports Syrian President Bashar Assad and the former regime of Saddam Hussein, urged Arab countries to "capture the moment as America now is in its weakest period."
The Iraq Study Group's report was the top headline in many Arab newspapers on Thursday, including the Egyptian opposition daily Al-Wafd, which declared: "Bush confesses defeat in Iraq." . . .
Others warned that insurgents and countries including Iran were taking advantage of Bush's failures and the spiraling violence, and their influence would increase if the U.S. leaves.
"Al-Qaida must smell victory, but its a negative victory that comes from the defeat of America in Iraq," said Abdel Moneim Said, head of Al-Ahram Center for Political and Strategic studies in Cairo.
Do the Germans agree with these Arab assessments? And if so, do they think they and their fellow Europeans can somehow escape any consequences if America flees Iraq before the job is done?
Dumb question. The Arabs love Germany ever since AH, for obvious reasons. Following America's defeat, Germany will inherit Iraq's oil from the U.S. and will - again - be able to provide German nuclear technology to Iran.
Irre! Der SPIEGEL kriegt sich ja gar nicht mehr ein vor lauter
Freude über die Entmachtung der NeoCons. Da muß sich ganz schön was
aufgestaut haben in all den Jahren. Anders ist nicht zu erklären, daß
er die Siegesmeldungen jetzt schon im Stundentakt heraushaut. Und eine
besser als die andere. Da will man gerade anfangen, sich angemessen
über Marc Pitzke ärgern, da kommt schon Gerhard Spörl
und schafft es tatsächlich, ihn noch zu toppen, was im Falle von Pitzke
ja nun wirklich kein leichtes Unterfangen ist. Da muß ich jetzt doch
mal eingreifen, so geht das ja nicht weiter. Nicht daß die
Realpolitiker am Ende einen Herzkasper kriegen, bevor sie noch ihr
segensreiches Wirken beginnen können.
es mit den amerikanischen Alleingängen und den bilateralen Diktaten.
Geht es nach der Kommission - und es wird nach ihr gehen, kaum Zweifel
-, dann findet eine internationale Konferenz über die Lage im Nahen
Osten statt. Das schließt Gespräche Amerikas mit zwei Ländern ein, die
nicht zum kommoden Umgang gehören: Syrien und Iran.
lacht der SPIEGEL. Denn eine Welt, in welcher Despoten wie Assad und
Chameini ein Mitspracherecht haben, ist natürlich weit besser als eine
Welt, in der ihnen selbiges verwehrt wird. Der Gedanke, daß westliche
Demokratien die Geschicke der Welt dominieren, ist schließlich die
One of SPIEGEL ONLINE's favorite hobbies used to be smearing Tony Blair as a mind-numbed "vassal" of the United States. Blair was repeatedly lambasted as a poodle, lapdog or underling of the Bush administration...even as then Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder was signing billion dollar pipeline deals with Russia, ignoring atrocities in Chechnya and openly praising Vladimir Putin as a "spotless democrat." Since Angela Merkel took office, the "vassal" rhetoric seems to have subsided...or so we thought.
The "vassal" rhetoric is back and this time the perpetrator is Amerika-Korrespondent Gerhard Spoerl. In his most recent article, entitled "Bye, Bye Blockheads" Spoerl celebrates what he describes as the downfall of America's neo-conservative movement. He writes:
"John Bolton was among the subservient ones, the vassals who were increasingly congregating around strong figures like Rumsfeld. Douglas Feith was another one. But does anyone remember him? He was allowed to bully intelligence officials who had the audacity to voice an opinion on weapons of mass destruction that diverged from that of the Pentagon and the office of Vice President Cheney. Bolton ended up as the Ambassador of the United States of America to the United Nations. Yet another irony of fate: Bolton, the blockhead and America First type, as UN ambassador. As a diplomat. And now he has resigned. Finally."
Interestingly enough, after deriding Bolton as a "vassal" and "blockhead," Spoerl cannot list a single example of what Bolton did wrong while serving at the United Nations. Apparently, engaging in petty name-calling is enough to engage the SPIEGEL audience.
The article also features another oft-used smear tactic common at SPIEGEL ONLINE:
The photo gallery also includes Richard Armitage as one of the eight key neo-cons in America. Yet anyone who knows Armitage knows that he cannot stand Cheney, Rumsfeld, Feith and other "neo-cons" or conservative "hawks" in the Bush administration who he views as having betrayed Colin Powell, his former superior in the State Department. To label him a "neo-con" at this point is questionable at best.
And like so many other members of the Far Left, Spoerl looks down his nose at his political opponents by claiming that they were fools to believe that Iraqis would welcome Americans in 2003. It has become a given fact for many on the far-left that no Iraqis welcomed the Americans. Unfortunately, reality contradicts this all-too common revisionism. Many Iraqis clearly did welcome the Americans and these videos (and many more like them) prove it:
As we have mentioned before: Gerhard Spoerl and others like him are the true vassals. They are vassals to a special 1968-brand ideology of anti-American Schadenfreude that their sick readers simply can't seem to get enough of. They will twist facts and reality to fit their worldview and have demonstrated their willingness to do so time and again. They are intellectually stuck in the Vietnam-era and see everything through the prism of defeat for America, its military and its President. Right now, they are crowing and thumping their chests in self-satisfaction. What happens to the people of Iraq and what happened to the people of Vietnam and Cambodia after a US withdrawal is something they could truly care less about. If a few million people have to die for them to be right and maintain a firm footing on the moral high ground - then so be it.
And let us close by asking this: How often have you seen people like Gerhard Spoerl lifting so much as a finger to make the world a better place? All they can do is criticize and tear others apart because deep down they are so pathetic, miserable and inadequate. They would rather ridicule and wallow in their own cynicism than spend a moment formulating constructive, measured criticism in an attempt to find a better way forward.
Die Irak-Debatte in den USA wird immer verzweifelter. Weder die Bush-Regierung, noch die Demokraten haben einen Plan für das Land
Wie, die Demokraten auch nicht? Aber ich dachte, die hätten Bush zu einem radikalen Kurswechsel gezwungen? Wohin denn dann, wenn sie jetzt gar keinen Plan haben? Etwa direkt ins Chaos? Aber wieso war es dann gut, daß sie gewonnen haben?
In ihrer Ratlosigkeit kommen Meinungsmacher auf immer absurdere Ideen: Jetzt fordert ein prominenter Kommentator die Rückkehr Saddam Husseins an die Macht - Totalitarismus sei besser als Chaos.
Oha, die Realpolitik-Fans drehen ja noch schneller durch als erwartet. Wenn sie gerade mal drei Wochen nach dem Wahlsieg der Demokraten schon bei der Widereinsetzung Saddams angekommen sind, dann dürfte das in nächster Zeit noch richtig lustig werden.
Als Kolumnist wird Jonathan Chait dafür bezahlt, zu polarisieren und politisch nicht korrekte Meinungen zu vertreten. Aber so weit wie in seiner heutigen Kolumne in der renommierten "Los Angeles Times" sind liberale Meinungsmacher noch nicht gegangen.
Und von den fälschlicherweise liberal genannten Befürwortern der friedlichen Koexistenz mit blutigen Diktatoren ist man ja schon einiges gewohnt, das stimmt.
Was wie ein schlechter Scherz klingt, ist als Kommentar in einer der größten und einflussreichsten Zeitungen des Landes erschienen. Es ist ein weiteres Zeichen der Ratlosigkeit der amerikanischen Eliten.
Nix da, lieber SPIEGEL, es ist ein weiteres Zeichen Deiner eigenen Ratlosigkeit. Denn was hier in bester "Haltet den Dieb!" Manier als schlechter Scherz bezeichnet wird, ist die Rückkehr zu eben jener Realpolitik, die vor wenigen Tagen noch als brillianter Plan B und einzige sinnvolle Alternative zum gescheiterten Idealismus der NeoCons präsentiert wurde. Schon Scheiße, wenn es Trottel gibt, die die idiotischen eigenen Ideen tatsächlich ernst nehmen, was?
"Es hat sich gezeigt, dass es noch etwas Schlimmeres gibt als Totalitarismus, und zwar endloses Chaos und Bürgerkrieg", schreibt Chait.
Wozu die Aufregung? Damit liegt Chait ja nur auf der Grundlinie der breiten Mehrheit der hiesigen Bevölkerung, wie auch Du, lieber SPIEGEL, immer wieder und nicht ohne Stolz verkündest. Denn wie jeder gute Deutsche weiß, war das schlimme an Adolf Hitler der II. Weltkrieg, den er vom Zaun gebrochen und dann auch noch verloren hat, und erst in zweiter Linie Dachau und Auschwitz. Was ist an dieser Denkweise also so neu?
Um die Ordnung wieder herzustellen, brauche die irakische Bevölkerung einen "großen psychologischen Schock".
Logisch, wenn die Iraker was dringend brauchen, dann ist es sicherlich ein Schock. Datteln, Sand und Öl haben sie ja schließlich bereits genug. Die Massengräber und Schädelberge hingegen sind definitiv noch zu klein, ist schon klar. Hauptsache, die NeoCons sind entmachtet. Aber immerhin, knapp 4 Jahre nach Goslar rücken ihre Gegner allmählich mit den Alternativen raus. Sage keiner mehr, das habe er nicht beabsichtigt. Ihr wolltet Realpolitik? Ihr kriegt Realpolitik! Und so wie es aussieht, schwimmt sie in einem Meer von Krokodilstränen.
Die Rückkehr Husseins, "ein Mann, den alle Iraker kennen und fürchten", wäre genau das Richtige, fantasiert Chait weiter.
Also das ist ja wirklich abgefahren, wie der SPIEGEL sich hier genüßlich ein Loch ins Knie bohrt und den Leser dabei ausführlich begründet, warum man so was besser nicht machen sollte. Meine Güte, ist das schräg! Der Saddam, den Chait hier an der Macht sehen will, ist ja schließlich immer noch genau derselbe, denn die werten Kriegsgegner damals vor seiner Zwangsabdankung durch die US-Marines schützen wollten. Aber wahrscheinlich liegt darin auch die Kritik an Chait: Denn Saddams Wiedereinsetzung wäre tatsächlich unsinnig, wenn man ihn erst gar nicht gestürzt hätte, das ist schon wahr.
Er ist überzeugt: Wenn Menschen die Erwartung einer sozialen Ordnung hätten, würden sie sich von selbst "zivilisiert" verhalten.
Und wer kann eine soziale Ordnung besser garantieren als ein starker Mann, der das dumme Volk väterlich mit harter Hand regiert?
Die Nachteile eines Hussein-Comebacks lägen auf der Hand, räumt Chait ein, "aber denken Sie doch mal an das Positive".
Alleine der kunjunkturelle Aufschwund durch die Autobahnen, die er dann bauen ließe - phänomenal!
Hussein würde Irak vor dem Einfluss Irans bewahren.
Wenn nicht er, wer dann? Durch seine bekannt sensible Vorgehensweise im Umgang mit den schiitischen Glaubensbrüdern hätten die ihn bestimmt ganz doll lieb und al-Sadr würde jegliche Unterstützung aus dem Iran sicher empört zurückweisen.
Der Diktator würde sich diesmal wahrscheinlich besser benehmen, meint Chait, weil er wisse, dass seine Alternative der Tod durch den Strang sei.
Besser benehmen, da kommen einem ja die Tränen! Und zwar die vor Lachen. Ist das jetzt Satire? So einen Unsinn kann man wirklich nur noch verstehen, wenn man sich den Stellenwert der freien Meinungsäußerung in den Vereinigten Staaten vor Augen führt. Da glaubt ein erwachsener Mensch, der zudem noch für eine renommierte Zeitschrift schreibt und von dieser sogar Geld dafür bekommt, tatsächlich, Saddam würde sich zusammenreißen, und falls er wieder einen Rückfall hat (kann man sich so richtig vorstellen, wie er über sich selbst erschrocken im Folterkeller steht und voller Verzweiflung ausruft "müssen diese Hände wirklich wieder töten?"), von schlechtem Gewissen gepeinigt zurücktreten und sich freiwillig bei dem für ihn zuständigen Henker melden. Wie bescheuert kann man eigentlich sein?
Chaits Kommentar zeigt, wie schnell enttäuschter Idealismus in einen vermeintlich realistischen Zynismus umschlagen kann.
Gell, lieber SPIEGEL, da staunen wir, was? Kann man sich in der Brandstwiete gar nicht vorstellen, wie so was geht. Wo doch Marc Pitzke immer so erbittert dafür gekämpft hat, die NeoCons gegen diese zynischen Realisten zu schützen.
Im Hauptberuf ist Chait ein einflussreicher Redakteur des Magazins "New Republic". Dessen Eierkurs in Sachen Irak ist symptomatisch für den Verlauf der Debatte in den USA.
Also bei Eierkurs denke ich eigentlich eher an das, was herauskommt, wenn man einen Kriegsgegner nach Alternativen zum Sturz Saddam Husseins durch die US-Streitkräfte fragt. Was dieser SPIEGEL-Artikel mal wieder wunderbar unterstreicht.
Zunächst unbedingte Befürworter des Irakkriegs, schwächten die Leitartikler ihre Unterstützung immer weiter ab, bis sie schließlich zu dem Schluss kamen: "Der New Republic bedauert zutiefst seine frühzeitige Unterstützung dieses Krieges".
Jetzt muß ich nur noch die Stelle finden, wo steht "DER SPIEGEL bedauert zutiefst seine frühzeitige Ablehnung dieses Krieges". Hinweise bitte an den Schreiber dieser Zeilen.
Chait und "New Republic" sind nicht allein. Auf dem konservativen Sender "Fox News" durfte ein ehemaliger Pentagon-Mitarbeiter bereits sein Rezept für den Irak verkünden: "Nötig ist ein starker Mann, die Demokratie ist gescheitert".
Also soweit war Peter Scholl-Latour schon vor vielen Jahren. Und ich kann mich ehrlich gesagt nicht wirklich erinnern, daß der SPIEGEL ihm da öffentlich groß widersprochen hätte.
In der US-Öffentlichkeit herrscht längst die Überzeugung, dass Demokratie eben doch nicht exportiert werden kann. "Amerika kann keiner Nation Demokratie verordnen", fasst es der republikanische Senator Chuck Hagel zusammen. "Das ist die bittere Lektion".
Komm, SPIEGELCHEN, Du wolltest doch nicht herumeiern. Also sag laut und deutlich, was Sache ist. Hat er damit nun recht oder nicht? Und sei so gut und vergiß bitte nicht ein paar Zeilen später gleich wieder, was Du eben noch gesagt hast. Man kann ja gar nicht mehr folgen, so schnell wechselst Du hier die Positionen. Früher hast Du da ja wenigstens noch mehrere Artikel zu gebraucht, aber hier geht das ja in einem einzigen drunter und drüber.
Immer düsterer werden die Prognosen im Mutterland des Optimismus. "Die Invasion des Irak wird in die Geschichte eingehen als nationale Sünde mit epischen Ausmaßen", orakelt Rosa Brooks in der "L.A. Times". "Alles, was wir tun können, ist zu gehen und uns zu entschuldigen für den schrecklichen Schaden, den wir angerichtet haben".
Entschuldigen? Wofür denn jetzt nun? Dafür Saddam gestürzt zu haben? Oder dafür ihn nicht wieder an die Macht zu bringen? Wäre nett, lieber SPIEGEL, wenn Du Dich mal entscheiden könntest, wofür man Dir jetzt die Ohren langziehen soll. Obwohl, nach diesem Artikel am besten auf Verdacht gleich beide. Ist ja auch bald wieder Ostern.
Written by one of our regular commenters Helian, the following is a scathing assessment of the Western world today. Has the cult of defeatism and hysteria surrounding the war in Iraq proven America's enemies right?
"Occasionally, one should step back from ideological truisms, and take a cold, objective look at recent history to try to learn something from it. To begin, it would seem that our enemies were right. At this stage in their history, the American people really are gutless, lacking in will, and can be relied on to throw in the towel as soon as they are called on to make sacrifices in blood and treasure to defeat their enemies. We see the Andrew Sullivans, the Greg Djerejians, et. al., those who once shouted so loudly for war, now so invested in the cult of defeat that they will insist on it regardless of the facts on the ground. They have been chanting the "incompetence" mantra so long that, unless things are done precisely as these brilliant armchair generals recommend, whether it be chimerical schemes for sending over vast reinforcements, or whatever, they will bitterly and fanatically refuse to admit that the Iraq adventure can end in anything but defeat. The broad mass of the American people lack any perception of the significance of the struggle, and will gladly listen to those who glibly transmute abject defeat into "realism." Let's face it, my friends. There is a certain resemblance to Vietnam here. After all, some of us were there. Once again we see the same cowardly defeatism fobbed off as a noble cause. Once again we see anyone who dare to suggest that the situation doesn't really call for abject surrender shouted down as an imbecile and a viewer of the world through rose-colored glasses.
One can do one's best to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear, my friends, but these are the facts. What lessons should we learn from them? Perhaps, next time, we should read more closely General Powell's doctrine regarding exit strategies. Perhaps, next time, we should not even think of relying on the courage, will, or determination of the American people. In fact, "these colors do run." Just watch. Perhaps, next time, we should not even think of launching our military on another "nation building" adventure. We must come to grips with our limitations.
What can one say? It's just a good thing that the ideology that rushed in to fill the vacuum left by the demise of Communism was a backward, medieval throwback nourished by the good, old, religious fanaticism that, at least, anyone with some residual grey matter will treat with the contempt it deserves. Communism was a much worthier and dangerous foe. Don't believe me? Just read any political rag from the mid-30's, and see how many of the Andrew Sullivan's and Greg Djerejians of that day were listening to the Siren song of the Brave New World. They aren't nearly as likely to conclude that obscurantist religious fanaticism is the only way out of the "dead end" into which our evil capitalist system has led us. True, many of our modern "progressives" are twisting, turning, and contorting themselves ever so comically to find some way, any way, to justify their sympathy with this new "vanguard of the revolutionary masses," but it just won't play in Peoria, my friends.
In a word, it's a good thing that our foe is so abject, because we are doing our level best to hand them victory. We invite them into our societies in the name of "religious freedom," and "multi-culturism." If anyone has a problem with this, they are immediately shouted down as "Islamophobic." No doubt these people would have slept with Typhoid Mary, too, rather than be guilty of the sin of "discriminating" against her. After all, she was guilty of no sin for being the carrier of a fatal disease.
We will continue to progress, either rationally or catastrophically. Nature doesn't really care. The result will be the same. Humanity has survived the Christian theocracy of Innocent III in the past. It will also survive the Islamic theocracies of the present. The number of people who die in the process will be, as far as nature is concerned, a mere incident. Perhaps we shouldn't take it all so seriously.
This commentary is filled with so many insights that it is hard to know where to begin. We hope our readers sound off in the comments section. This is a discussion that we all need to have. Note: In case you didn't notice from the commentary, Helian is a Vietnam veteran.
UPDATE: One of our readers asks us how we can win and whether it is still worth it. Our response:
Not knowing exactly how to resolve the Iraq conflict is not a
justification for irresponsible withdrawal. Our enemies win by not
losing. Insurgencies typically last a decade.
I think we win this conflict by learning from our mistakes,
coming up with and adapting new strategies, and
muddling through. There are numerous indications that we are learning
to fight an insurgency slowly but surely. It won't be pretty and there
will not be a decisive moment of victory. The fact is, however, that if
Iraq is what you would call a "civil war" now, it can only get worse if
the US leaves the country at the mercy of the warring factions and
Iran, Syria and Al-Qaeda. And then the question becomes: How bad will
that bloodbath be? How much of the region will it engulf? (Right now
the violence is largely confined to within 30 miles of Baghdad.) Who
will be left
in control of the vast oil wealth? (To fund God knows what.)
Again, just because we don't see a clear path to immediate
and just because Iraq is a bloody, frustrating place and just because
we as a society have short attention spans and just because
the coalition has made a multitude of mistakes (along with doing many
good things - and can you name a war in which there have been no
mistakes?), doesn't mean that we have to throw our hands in the air and
declare defeat and
do a Vietnam-embassy-rooftop-type withdrawal.
Should the US choose to prematurely withdraw, we will have proven Osama
Laden correct: The US is a paper tiger that will cut-and-run if you
only bloody its nose and wait it out. Again, the better alternative is
to continue to slog through and make the best of a difficult situation. That hardly sounds attractive in a society used to instant
gratification, but it is a hell of a lot better than the alternatives.
As one of the Generals on "Meet the Press" said yesterday, we simply
cannot sell the people of Iraq down the river as we did the Vietnamese.
There is simply too much at stake and, compared to other wars, the
in men and money are relatively low. The long-term costs of premature withdrawal will be far higher in terms of lives, security and treasure. On that you can bet."