"Why is the German media reporting again about the horrible Abu Ghraib pictures taken by dishonorable US soldiers, but not about the even more horrible Darfur pictures taken by an honorable former U.S. Marine?"
In the repeated rush to judge the United States from the moral mountaintops of Europe, most German media have long forgotten Saddam Hussein's reign of terror. A morbid obsession with American crimes, real and perceived, has replaced most authentic concern for international human rights.
It's much the same with Guantanamo Bay. The American prison has become a perverse national obsession in Germany while most Germans ignore the plight of hundreds-of-thousands imprisoned, abused, tortured, and murdered in North Korean, Russian and Iranian prisons. Where is the balance? Where is the sense of proportion?
In pointing out these contradictions, we need to be very clear on one point: It is not our intent at Davids Medienkritik to quell or discourage discussion on the legitimacy of Guantanamo as a means of dealing with stateless enemy combatants or the very real abuses at Abu Ghraib. The very opposite is true: These are vitally important issues and we believe they must be discussed and debated openly and constructively.
But that isn't happening in Germany.Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo have become little more than populist baseball bats with which leftists media and political elites repeatedly bludgeon the United States and George W. Bush. Why? Because Bush and fellow conservatives represent a massive ideological threat to everything they stand for. Fairness and objectivity have long been replaced by a sick moral relativism, as the cartoon below (from Tagesspiegel) demonstrates:
"I should have also made such pictures of my crimes at Abu Ghraib. Then maybe I also wouldn't have been held accountable..."
This cartoon is just another example of a media mentality grounded in an array of cynical, flawed assumptions. In this case they include:
The false assertion that President Bush ordered or supported criminal acts at Abu Ghraib and therefore must be held accountable. Unlike Saddam, who knowingly ordered the mass torture and execution of men, women and children, Bush has repeatedly condemned the crimes of American soldiers found guilty of torture and abuse.
The equation of Saddam Hussein's systematic, systemic and intentional mass-murder, torture, invasion and aggression with sporadic abuses committed by US soldiers in clear violation of US law.
A lot of well meaning people on both sides of the Atlantic talk about the need for greater dialog. But many of the same people don't understand how much damage the German media is doing. The central question is one of constructive versus destructive criticism. When we look out across the German media landscape over the past three to four years and beyond, we see far too much of the latter and far too little of the former. That has to change. If it doesn't, meaningful dialog will continue to grow increasingly difficult and the German-American partnership will continue to disintegrate.
We all know that several German companies did booming business with Saddam Hussein in the 1980s. And over the past several years, while the German media repeatedly lectured Americans about ties to unsavory governments, German Chancellor Schroeder was busily traveling the world with German industrial moguls, ringing up billion dollar corporate deals in nations like Saudi Arabia, China, Russia and Kuwait.
Shameless Hypocrisy: Outrage over the CIA as Germany Deals with Sudanese Genocide Regime
Right now the German media and numerous politicians are up in arms over alleged CIA flights of detainees that might have landed on German territory, thereby possibly violating German law regarding human rights. But virtually no one in the German media is upset by the story (detailed below) of German business dealings with Sudan, a government responsible for genocide in Darfur that is also on the US list of state sponsors of terror.
Mass Graves in Darfur: No Reason for Germany to Stop Trading with Sudan
And to top it all off, the German government is actually encouraging German trade with Sudan through the Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor. Just this year the ministry sponsored a "German Pavilion" at a trade fair in the Sudanese capital and hopes to do the very same next year because of so much "positive feedback from the German participants." (Here is the floorplan with the names of the German companies and organizations that attended the 2005 trade fair in Khartoum.)Somehow this does not seem entirely consistent with Germany's self-styled role as a "peace power" and force for human rights in the world.
The German media is very critical of any wrong doing by the US government, a few US soldiers and many US companies. Hedge funds were not just characterized as bloodsuckers, but as American bloodsuckers. German companies receive less criticism. Sometimes they even receive government support for doing business with rogue states.
The Sudanese government is complicit in the genocide in the western province of Darfur, but the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Labor sponsored a "German Pavilion" at a trade fair in the Sudanese capital in February 2005 and will do so again in February 2006 due to "the positive feedback from the German participants," according to a chamber of commerce.
The German participants of this year's fair included Siemens AG (capital goods), AgfaPhoto GmbH (capital goods, consumer goods), AutoStar Ltd. (authorized Mercedes Benz dealer for Sudan Automobile Industry), DEUDIAM (diamond tools and machines), KWH (plastic pipe equipment), SMF (liquid goods packaging machines), Vietz (pipeline equipment, welding technology), and WIDOS (plastic welding machines, tools).
Whereas Germany wants to increase business relations with Sudan, the U.S. Senate called last week for multilateral sanctions against the Sudanese government, a strengthening of the arms embargo and accelerated and expanded assistance to the African Union, whose peacekeeping troops patrol Darfur. The U.S. added Sudan to its terrorism list in 1993 because it was a safe haven for terrorist groups."
Read the entire piece here. And the next time you hear some holier-than-thou leftist in Germany bashing the US on human rights and corporate greed, be sure to send them this link. It may not completely shut them up, but it will give them something to think about...
More on this story in German at Neokomplott. Here is another outstanding piece by Ulrich Speck (in German) of Kosmoblog that mentions the Sudan situation and discusses numerous double-standards in German politics today.