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Hey, David, what about the "winning the hearts and minds"-predictions? That Americans would be greeted with flowers and sweets by the Iraqi people?

Why do Americans even today have to hunker down in their bases and can only leave in full protective gear, if only some Green politicians made false predictions? Was it the same in Nazi-Germany one year after war, in 1946?

The truth is a difficult subject and seldom black and white. But it's more fun to point fingers just in one direction, no? :-)

Just to be clear, the goal of the article is not to deny that the US made some incorrect predictions or statements before the war. The goal of the article is to point out that the incorrect predictions made by German politicians before the war have been largely ignored by the German media, which chooses to focus instead (many times in a polemic, one-sided and inaccurate way, see Stern and Spiegel) on the mistakes and miscalculations of the Americans.

If the German media is going to mercilessly berate Bush and the USA day after day because of their incorrect prewar predictions, why not also be fair and balanced (perhaps that's too much to expect from the German media) and criticize the (sometimes highly cynical) prewar attempts of members of the Red-Green government to frighten people in Germany into opposing the war with bogus, incredibly inflated predictions of casualties, refugees, humanitarian disasters and the Middle-East exploding into a massive war zone, perhaps into another world war. Let's not forget that the SPD and the Greens widely exploited the issue to get elected in the first place...

The bias is obvious, and it is our job to point it out.

This blog quoted German ministers with citations. Please quote one article in which an American government official or solider (not a journalist) prophesied that the liberating forces would be greeted with flowers and sweets.

Similarly, you draw the inference that Baathist terrorist violence in the hot zones of Bagdad and the Sunni triangle around Tikrit Bagdad represents popular resistaance to the American forces. This is clearly not supported by the recent poll eveidence.

British forces have been patrolling the South of the country without full protective gear for most of the past year.

Don't feel bad about getting it wrong. You probably watch too much ARD.

"Was it the same in one year after the war in 1946." No, mainly because most of the remnants of the German army was dead or being starved to death in Russian POW camps. Would you recommend that route to stability?

Aidan

@Ray D.: If you pay attention to the German media, politicians have been confronted their false predictions, at times directly in TV-appearances. But of course, one tends to notice only those things which fit into one's world view - it's only human to all of us, myself as well.

And you don't seem to understand SPIEGEL: Being polemic is their _concept_. Read SPIEGEL's past trashings of Kohl or Schröder's politics - Bush gets only the same treatment from them which anyone else gets. "SPIEGEL is great, anyone but us sucks".

I can not say the same from the likes of the right-conservative US-Media: They seem to praise universally in one direction, but trash anyone opposing them. If critizising Bush is "anti-American", John Kerry is viewed as a bad person by you? (Actually, many conservative Americans do view Kerry even as a terrorist-appeaser - says a lot about radical PR)

My point is: Of course there is bias from parts of the German media. But it is just as much true for the US-media, it's a problem on all sides.

@Adian: You asked for one, here is one. From Paul Wolfowitz, March 11th 2003: "Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator".

And we both likely know the emotional images from old newsreports which automatically spring to one's mind when reminded of the welcoming French population upon US-liberation - so my comment with flowers and sweets was actually an understatement by me, as liberation of France in the 1940s was so much more overwhelming in emotion than just flowers and sweets.

And British troops also deal differently in approaching Iraqis, partially due to the difference in local population (as you rightly mentioned), but also partially due to a different concept in handling things. (British also don't believe in a Guantanamo or Presidential privileges to lock people up without legal charges in the name of national ecurity)

"differences in handling" between British and US-troops meant on issues like raids, arrest-styles (the constant hooding of people), tone in negotiating with public leaders, etc.

There *were* instances of soldiers being greeted with cheers, kisses, and flowers ("Bush good, Saddam bad!"). No sweets, although some troops have been invited to Iraqi homes for dinner--which, if you ask me, is a better deal.

The liberation of Khaneqin met with lots of "flowers and sweets," although that was mostly for the Kurdish forces.

@ Neutraler:

The "confrontation" of German politicians with their incorrect Iraq predictions by the German media is a small drop when compared to the ocean of criticism given Bush, Blair and other coalition poltiticians, governments and nations. I haven't seen any ten-plus page articles about "How Red-Green Lied to the World." Let's not deceive ourselves.

And as far as the Iraqi people not cheering goes, first of all, thousands of Iraqis did cheer (a fact that went under-reported by the German media, guess it didn't fit into their "worldview") And as for those who didn't have the courage to cheer, maybe they were a bit afraid to because of the presence of Saddam's Fedayeen and secret service spies everywhere who had intimidated them into silence for so many decades. Of course, some Iraqis didn't cheer because they benefited from Saddam's murderous regime, but they were a small minority.

Your comparison to France is also absurd, remember, the French were occupied and oppressed by a foreign power, they had nothing to fear once the Germans were gone, the Iraqis were oppressed by a domestic tyrant and his governmental network of thousands. Today, many of Saddam's thugs and Islamo-fascists are still murdering innocents who want to work together with Americans to make their country a democracy.

Plus, we never wrote an article stating that fair criticism of Bush is "anti-American." We respect everyone's right to fair and balanced criticizm of anyone and everyone.

It is the unfair and unbalanced media coverage that concerns us. And for you to imply that the German media criticizes false German prewar predictions on the same level with false American prewar predictions is truly somewhat delusional.

@Neutraler Beobachter:

Just two things:
The situation in immediate post-war Germany 'looked' different, but in fact there was a similar sheme: After Germany was conquered, the question arose "What belongs to whom?" Two sides clashed over Germany after it was neutralized, and it ended up in the Cold War. Just like there are two sides fighting for Iraq now: The Coalition forces and the (mostly) terrorists. Had there not been the big-scale nuclear capability and readiness to use it on both sides in the case of Germany, we WOULD have seen a war over Germany between those two sides at one point, like there was a war for the face of Korea relatively shortly after the second World War.

Also the approach of the occupation forces in the immediate post-war situation in Germany was a bit different: There were many death penalties, captures, and the German people tired of 5 years of war and busy rebuilding their homes, their cities. Other than Iraq, Germany had REALLY been bombed into the stone-age. The situation for the individual was A LOT more chaotic and bad than it is now in Iraq. I don't think you would have welcomed that kind of situation in Iraq now. It's far better. Those who really jepardize the future of Iraq now are the terrorists, not the Coalition forces.

And just as a short closing note, because I think people don't consider that very obvious fact enough:
You always hear: "Oh yes, Saddam was a cruel dictator, BUT...". Had there been live media coverage of the tortures, the killings, and the surpression during all those years of the Saddam regime, what you see now in TV would be A LOT more in perspective. And I'm mostly talking about the shortcomings of the coalition forces now. Not about the terrorists attacks. Because for this, no one else is to blaim other than the terrorists. It's just as insane as blaiming the US for the attacks on the WTC, like many people like to do. And it becomes mind-boggling when a country like Spain now wants to pull out its forces, because they "do not agree" with the Iraq war. This now is not operation Iraqi Freedom anymore. It's a war over Iraq between the coalition and the terrorists. Pick your side. Removing the Saddam regime and then pulling back out is the worst thing one could do. THIS is something one should get blaimed for. But I believe it's just that what many here in Old Europe wish for. When you look at where the opinions over Israel for example differ here from the ones in the US, they would rather have another Anti-American regime back in Iraq than a Pro-American one. I believe, in their hearts, many Europeans are afraid of a more pro-American middle east. Sad times.

Regards
Alex N.

Surely the above prognoses were based on Germany's past strategy of terror against civilians as a means of perpetuating their occupation of other countries.

Ich verstehe den Standpunkt des Kommentars nicht: Ist es wirklich unfair, dass die Berichterstattung sich ausführlicher mit den (sagen wir freundlicherweise einmal: schlecht recherchierten) Kriegsgründen einer Weltmacht befasst, als mit den eher diletantischen Prophezeihungen einer Regierung die sich eh rausgehalten hat? Als Bürger einer Demokratie sage ich sofort Nein. Die Tatsache, das der UN-Sicherheitsrat und über 350 Millionen Menschen getäuscht wurden ist weit sensationeller und beunruhigender als die peinliche Nabelschau von Claudia Roth.

@Neutraler Beobachter, A slightly less selective version of Wolfovitz's quote 11 03 2003, from

www.useu.be/Categories/GlobalAffairs/Iraq/Mar1103WolfowitzIraqTerrorism.html

>>He quoted the words of an Iraqi American attending a White House meeting recently, who said that "war with Saddam Hussein would be a war for Iraq, not against Iraq," adding that the Iraqi people understand what this crisis is about and realize that America will remain only as long as necessary and not one day longer. "Like the people of France in the 1940s, they view us as their hoped-for liberator," Wolfowitz said.<<

So, Wolfowitz did not remotely say that Americans would be "greeted with sweets and flowers". He said their presence would be understood not as an occupation but as liberation. And he takes care to point out, by quoting an Iraqi, that this trust is based on the belief US troups they will withdraw in due time.

In the recent Iraq poll the majority, 49% of responders, said the invasion had been right. As Wolfowitz predicted majority want the troups out but only 15% said the troops should leave Iraq immediately, 36% said they should stay until an Iraqi government was in place.

Was Wofowitz right? Your call.

But what is clear is that He didn't say anything about hearts and minds and "Sweets and flowers" is your interpolation not a quote. Your interpolation is not remotely justfied if one reads the quote in context.

Do you have another? Try the "cakewalk" one. That's another peacenic favorite.

@joaninho. The Security Council enacted 661 (1990) of 6 August 1990, 678 (1990) of 29 November 1990, 686 (1991) of 2 March 1991, 687 (1991) of 3 April 1991, 688 (1991) of 5 April 1991, 707 (1991) of 15 August 1991, 715 (1991) of 11 October 1991, 986 (1995) of 14 April 1995, and 1284 (1999) of 17 December 1999, 1382 (2001) of 29 November 2001 and finally 1441 of 8 November 2002.

None of these were complied with by the Sadam junta. We know now that he was in clear breach of 1441 due to continued research into biological weapons, incomplete declaration of his nuke program and was developing illegal missile technology even while the Americans were polishing their tanks in Kuwaite.

The failiure to identify WDM stockpiles is neither here nor there as a Causus Belli. (That it has implications as to the accuracy of intelligence and the honesty of politicians is another issue).

So what is your point? Because of inaccurate pre-war intelligence, nobody should point out Claudia Roth's dire shortage of the same? I don't get it.

@Alex N. I agree with your points about the naivety of comparing Germay 1946 with Iraq one year after liberation. The difference between the actual and projected German census figues from 1946 to 1950 was -5,700,000 people. Nobody knows how many starved to death here in the 40s but you can draw your own conclusions.

That many Germans (including those fond of quoting Micael Bore's sniggers over American Geographic fuzziness) are excruciatingly vague about history is clear, but how do you forget starvation of millions of your own landsmen and construct a past where Germany moves effortlessly from Stunde Null to Adenauer era prosperity with not so much as a glitch in between?

Have any of the "war was a mistake" crowd read the post on the main page from the Iraqi?
Doesn't the fact that you in germany or the "eu" were not shown this video footage mean somehting to you? Is anyone looking at that possibility that your state run media outlets have bitch-slapped your brains into numbness?
I saw sweets handed out to US troops, I saw grown men kissing the cheeks of US troops, I saw the bringing tea out to the soldiers. Then a saw the sandals flying off the head of saddams statues.
When woman who do laundry for US troops at their base are shot by bearded jihad monkeys on the way home from work, it does tend to make people hide any overt affection these days.
German people LOOTED their country after allies came in as well. I can provide factual links to any who want them.
To anyone who thinks that the billions the UN STOLE from the iraqi people, and the millions that mr brave frenchy Sevan accepted, and the 100 billion dollar ELF contract for the frogs if saddam HAD been left in power.
Since the 1930s the german govt has shared their ideologies with the muslims and they embrace each other in their collective causes.
The german arming and funding of the kosovar albanian muslims was OK for you damn fools? What have YOU done to solve that situation today you hypocritical and primitive thinking imbeciles?
The UN funded itself at the expense of the Iraqi people. What keeps you fools from realizing that?
here is a great link to detail the child-like and decietful "eu" policies-
http://www.nationalreview.com/europress/boyles200403191015.asp
The german media and all of those who subscribe to the modern day socia-fascist shit that comes out of the german media will find yourselves disgraced when history details your insanity and foolishness.

This is the "eu" today- let's say you take a chunk of real estate the size of a small continent, devastate it with two of the biggest wars in the history of human conflict, then add a couple of massive genocides, a near-total collapse of most social structures, a megadose of intolerant secularism, a decline in educational standards, a flat-line birthrate and a truly impressive brain drain. Now try to imagine what kind of ideas would survive to emerge from the wreckage. That's right. You get nihilism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism, the three knee-jerk, irrational sentiments — they fail to rise to the level of actual "ideas" — that inform the modern intellectual life of Europe. In other words, you get cockroaches.
http://www.nationalreview.com/europress/europress200310170948.asp

This is the "eu" today- let's say you take a chunk of real estate the size of a small continent, devastate it with two of the biggest wars in the history of human conflict, then add a couple of massive genocides, a near-total collapse of most social structures, a megadose of intolerant secularism, a decline in educational standards, a flat-line birthrate and a truly impressive brain drain. Now try to imagine what kind of ideas would survive to emerge from the wreckage. That's right. You get nihilism, anti-Semitism, and anti-Americanism, the three knee-jerk, irrational sentiments — they fail to rise to the level of actual "ideas" — that inform the modern intellectual life of Europe. In other words, you get cockroaches.
http://www.nationalreview.com/europress/europress200310170948.asp
1. Saddam Hussein was in violation of the cease-fire agreements that put the 1991 Gulf War on hold by firing at British and American airplanes in the no-fly zones.
2. Saddam Hussein was in violation of more than a dozen UN Security Council resolutions, including one that threatened the use of force if he did not immediatly surrender all relevant documentation to Hans Blix regarding the production of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

3. Saddam Hussein was a brutal dictator guilty of genocide and other crimes against humanity.

4. Saddam Hussein publicly threatened to finish Hitler’s job by destroying the state of Israel.

5. Saddam Hussein was an obstacle to long-overdue political liberalization and democratization in the Arab Middle East.

6. Saddam Hussein’s support for Palestinian terrorists made a peaceful resolution to the Arab-Israeli conflict impossible.

7. Saddam Hussein was an ongoing threat to Saudi Arabia, and due to Saudi support for Al Qaeda and Islamic fascism generally, the United States was not able to continue protecting the House of Saud indefinitely, nor could the world afford to have Saddam Hussein in control of Saudi oil and the holy cities of Mecca and Medina if we abandoned the Saudis to their fate.

8. In the post-911 era of apocalyptic terrorism, mass-murdering anti-American dictators who align themselves with terrorists and who have produced and deployed the weapons of genocide are too dangerous to be allowed to remain in power.
Those in germany simply get the hell out of the way and STOP your phony idealism and hypocritical "politik for pussies" approach to the world.

SO US special forces from task force 120 have killed al-queda number two bearded coward monkey zawahiri today in pakistan. perhaps this virgin seeking scum bag who sends his youth to slaughter will now not have the ablility to direct any additional attacks.

dna proof coming tonight.

Neutraler Beobachter doesn't get it.
It doesn't matter.

Clean-up on aisle sev---

Wow, the webmaster is really on the ball... already taken care of!

(Sorry, I accidentially posted my replies first into the earlier September-posting of the Adenauer-Studie - I used two browser-windows to be able to see what I reply to)
+++

@Ray D.: Right, of course the criticis against incorrect predictions from war-critics is somewhat smaller compared to the criticism of projections and pre-war "evidence" coming from the Bush-administration:

Because the actions following any of these rethorics carried a far greater weight on the side of the Bush-administration: They actually are now occupying forces in Afghanistan and Iraq, changing history.

We could perhaps agree on saying "the left barked false predictions, but was irrelevant", but you can not deny that it is more important to look at the pre-war rethorics of those who actually change other countries by means of war than loooking at those who don't actually sit behind the trigger.

And it wasn't me who made the France comparison, but Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Please tell him it was absurd.

Since another replier seemed to take issue that my Wolfowitz-quote was a "selective version", where can one find the surrounding passages from your quotes of German politicians?I couldn't even find the original article at the Adenauer-Stiftung - your google-cache link in the earlier article went dead (Adenauer-Stiftung is, btw, - the "coincidence"! - close to the Conservative party in Germany)

You say you are concerned about unfair and unbalanced media. You are partially right that some German media indeed goes a bit overboard and there are leaning from few folks to a rubbish "anti-Americanism", but the same could be said for US-conservative media, which displays at times an "Anti-Europeanism". And these same conservative sources ironically tend to not only bash the German media for being too Bush-critical, but also blame large parts of the British media ("biased BBC", etc.) or even the US-main TV-networks, etc. as "too liberal" and too Bush-critical.

So I wonder if it is the German media which is isolated in its views or perhaps a certain conservative media-tone (though this conservative media is certainly a growing trend). It seems at times anything short of a enthusiastic Bush-support isn't welcome these days.

@Adian: Weak reply. Obviously nothing selective about it - Wolfowitz did indeed bring up the images of French liberation in his quote. Thank you for confirming it.

And interesting how your quote talked about "words of an Iraqi American" - if you and me shall start nitpicking on selective wordings, I would be interested if this person indeed held double citizenship or if it was an American citizen of Iraqi origin. (Is Henry Kissinger a German American then? And Arnie an Austrian-American citizen?).

Also noteworthy that you called my quoting selective, but then this "Iraq American" becomes an "Iraqi" in your own words?

And polls are a method of manipulations. One tends to quote polls only if they prove one's own point, but bash them if they produce unpleasant numbers. Let's not get into poll-fights, I just wanted to note an apparent political partisanship which I am beginning to sense here, far from the objective ideals of "only wanting to point out unfairness in the media". :-)

@Neutraler:

“Hey, David, what about the “winning the hearts and minds” – predictions? That Americans would be greeted with flowers and sweets by the Iraqi people?”

In citing this bogus American “prediction” that was never made, you show you missed the point of the post, Neutraler. In a nutshell, it was to point out the self-satisfied smugness of Ms. Roth, a typical representative of the German left. Both sides obviously made wrong predictions, but can you give us an example of an American politician of similar status striking such a mock-pious pose while making a statement that was so demonstrably false?

“And you don’t seem to understand SPIEGEL: being polemic is their _concept_. Read SPIEGEL’s past trashings of Kohl or Schröders politics – Bush gets only the same treatment from them which anyone else gets. ‘SPIEGEL is great, anyone but us sucks.’”

That’s very comforting, Neutraler. It’s as if someone put a pistol to my wife’s head and pulled the trigger and said, “don’t mind me, I just do that to everyone. It’s my style.” The idea that SPIEGEL treats Schröder the same as it treated Kohl, or that it treats other countries the same as the U.S. is, of course, absurd in itself. That’s really beside the point, though. I think it’s ridiculous to suggest that Americans should simply accept SPIEGELs hate-mongering, their constant stream of scorn, hatred, and venom, because that just happens to be their “style.” That “style” has led to countless wars in the past by embittering peoples against each other. Sorry, Neutraler, but I don’t accept SPIEGELs “style” of hate-mongering, and I’m glad David doesn’t either. SPIEGELs only significant contribution to German “culture,” Neutraler, has been to develop the ability to express scorn, contempt, and hatred in the German language beyond anything ever seen before. I’m sorry, but I guess I’m too narrow-minded to consider that a positive contribution.

“I cannot say the same from the likes of the right-conservative US-Media: they seem to praise universally in one direction, but trash anyone opposing them.”

It’s amazing how often we see this kind of hand-waving about the supposed “right-conservative” bias of the American media. There is never any attempt to quantify this “bias,” or to demonstrate that it exists using any method that might even loosely be called “scientific.” That’s because the “right-conservative bias” of the American media is nothing but a myth that the German media has long been trying to fob off on the German people, obviously with some success. No one with any real understanding or insight into the nature of the U.S. media could believe this ludicrous claim. That the bias of the mainstream media in the U.S. is to the left, not right, has been amply demonstrated in many books and papers on the subject. It is well-known that the major American newspapers, the “New York Times,” “Washington Post,” “Los Angeles Time,” “Chicago Tribune,” etc., are very much anti-Bush, and it’s perfectly obvious from their coverage of him to anyone with an open mind. The same goes for the major wire services. The idea that the major network newscasters, with the exception of Fox, are “rightists,” contradicts the known facts about their political outlooks. If the U.S. media are in “lockstep” with the Bush Administration, Neutraler, why do you suppose they became utterly hysterical and defeatist as soon as sandstorms delayed the progress of our forces for a few days” Why do you think they gave massive coverage to peace demonstrations, despite lying claims to the contrary in “Der Spiegel?” This goes, by the way, for Foxnews, bete noir of the German left, as well as the others. Why have they constantly agitated to have the right to film the bodies of slain American servicemen when they are returned home? Why are their stories on the front pages of our major newspapers and on the nightly news virtually every day covering negative news about Iraq and the deaths of U.S. soldiers, but, as in Germany, virtually no coverage of the good things that are happening in the rebuilding of the country, in health care for children, alleviation of hunger, and rebuilding of infrastructure? Sorry, Neutraler, but repeating the same piece of misinformation and propaganda a thousand times doesn’t make it true. The major difference between the U.S. and the German media is the real existence of an alternative to the “party line.” The mainstream media’s coverage of the news is challenged and contradicted constantly by influential speakers on radio, and major bloggers like Instapundit, Andrew Sullivan, and many others, who, together, command daily audiences of many millions. The result has been more honesty and less polemic in the reporting of the news, a development that has been very healthy for us all. The problem in Germany is that, at least as far as coverage of America is concerned, no such alternatives exist. The coverage is uniformly one-sided, biased, negative, and self-righteous. I can only hope, for your sake as well as ours, that David and many more like him appear, and add a little real democracy to the coverage of the news in Germany.


Let's just put it this way, if people like Ms. Roth in the "anti-war" crowd had had it their way, history would have been different too, so what's your point? Don't try to tell us the statements above were insignificant, the Red-Green government even shamelessly exploited the entire Iraq hysteria here in Germany to win re-election in 2002 and keep its grip on power.

And just like I said in my article:

Saddam Hussein could still be filling mass graves, prisons and torture chambers with Iraqi men, women and children. Thousands of children could still be starving to death in Iraq, and Saddam could still be making a mockery of the UN while siphoning off tens of millions of dollars from the “oil for food” program.

It is a good thing we didn't let the knee-jerk pacifists in Europe make the decision. It was good for Iraq and it was good for the world.

Another point...do you honestly think Libya would have given up their Nukes and WMDs had the USA caved-in on Iraq?

So yes, we do need to hold both sides EQUALLY accountable. A decision NOT to go to war likely would have had even more serious consequences, and those who lied to us and made ridiculous predictions need to be held fully accountable, regardless of what side of the debate they were on. Unfortunately, the German media doesn't see it that way.

@Ray D. said: "Another point...do you honestly think Libya would have given up their Nukes and WMDs had the USA caved-in on Iraq?"

I love this shift on emphasis, whenever it fits one's own case - something the right has in common with the leftists! :-)

The main argument today to justify Iraq has quietly shifted from "giving up and finding WMDs" to "liberation and bringing democracy to the Iraqi people". But in Libya, which happens to cooperate, the emphasis remains on WMDs and no one talks about "bringing democracy" there.

So one trims one's main emphasis/goal depending on the cooperating willingness of a dictator and the actual findings or non-findings of WMDs? Just curious.

@Helian: Did you even read my posting? I didn't talk about the entire US-media, I talked about the US-conservative media, which is not a myth by German media.

I am well aware of a liberal US-media, and I even quoted that in another posting further down as evidence that perhaps not the German (or the British) media are the isolated ones, but the right-conservative might be the isolated one, depending on the viewpoint.

You say the US has real alternatives to the "party-line", unlike Germany. I would view that more differentiated - while true today on Iraq, it depends very much on individual issues and timing. (And I am not going to mention France!). When you look at US-pre-war media coverage, you'll find that the so-called "liberal" big networks played an important role in drumming up the urgent danger of a Saddam-regime in their nightly news reports, often bringing stories about alleged horrors from Saddam-regime or alike.

Wasn't there even this week some whining from liberal media, how they feared critical reporting because of fear of being labelled "unpatriotic"? Or was that in connection with 9/11? Too lazy to dig it up.

@Neutraler

Mentioning Libya's decision to disarm and give up its WMD/Nuke programs is not a shift in emphasis, but a direct and necessary result of what happened in Iraq.

And you yourself just mentioned the fundamental difference for going to war with Iraq and not Libya. Libya cooperated and continues to cooperate on WMDs, Saddam did not for over 12 years and 17 UN Security Council resolutions. That was, in fact, the whole point of all of the UN resolutions. Resolution 1441 was explicitly contingent on Iraq's immediate cooperation.

I don't see how that is trimming anything, there is a clear and fundamental difference between the two for all to see.

And although it is not my wish to defend the Libyian dictatorship and its terrorist past, and I wish as much as the next person that the country were a democracy, I sincerely doubt that it is responsible for as many killings and as much suffering as the Saddam regime.

Finally, we have to ask ourselves if there really were no WMD's in Iraq and Saddam had no ambition of attaining them, why did he risk war and economically stifling sanctions for over a decade??? Just to defy the UN and the US? For the fun of it? That is a question we all have to honestly ask ourselves...

Mind the ductus:

I talked about the US-conservative media

but

I am well aware of a liberal US-media
you'll find that the so-called "liberal" big networks

and

some whining from liberal media, how they feared critical reporting because of fear of being labelled "unpatriotic"?

You really should stop reading Chomsky. That is, unless you're willing to become as paranoid as he already is.

BTW, I like the "Neutraler" in your handle. I think I should change mine to something like "Fair And Balanced", too.

@flursn: LOL. I never read anything from Chomsky. Yet another misrepresentation. Sigh.

Then you should start reading him, you will like it.

@Ray D.: I meant the shift in emphasis on Iraq between March 2003 and March 2004, which is brought to light once again with Libya.

Doing body-counts would be a difficult and cynical issue, as the West was a willing accomplice in Saddam's largest bloodbath against Iran and had instigated the opposition (then abandoned them) to rise up before another big bloodbath.

We should simply agree there both killers. And let's not forget that Ghaddafi went against innocent civilians right in our midst more than once - odd to believe he might even be honoured some day with official visits from the West again.

The question on why they reacted differently is interesting. Both were aging dictators living under sanctions and dreaming to be grand Arab leaders. Perhaps the key would be their sons and the perspective into the future: While one of Ghaddafi's son seems to be West-oriented (like his soccer-time at an Italian club and his many organizational activities), Saddam's sons were only too willing to follow the direct footsteps of monster-daddy.

Why Saddam didn't cooperate evades me. He was a gambler, who bluffed and thought that Bush bluffs as well? And you seem to insinuate that he still might have WMDs in hiding: But if he managed to hide them so well that not even a full year of detailed searches and harsh interrogations of all his top-staff can produce anything, why was he worried abuot Weapon Inspectors? (One thing the left always conveniently forgets is the fact that Saddam only began to cooperate when US-troops began to massively gather outside his borders)

I agree that we shouldn't compare failures, but Saddam's government was clearly one of exceptional cruelty and barbarism. On that point I think we can all agree.

I also don't want to excuse the Western nation's earlier support of Saddam. However, the geopolitical landscape was different in the 1980s (before Kuwait and the gas attack on the Kurds) and Saddam was seen as a bulwark against the fanatical Iranian Ayatollas and the lesser of two evils. And if you are truly still unhappy with the West's support of Saddam back then, why should you be angry that the US chose to finally call his bluffs now? What kind of message would it have sent to dictators around the world had we caved into Saddam?

As for the WMDs, if they still exist, they may be buried, may be in another country. Maybe Saddam was hoping to ride out the UN inspections to restart his program. No one knows for sure, but why he chose to risk war and sanctions if he had nothing to hide is a question that I cannot answer, because it doesn't make any sense...

@Ray D.: I am actually mostly angry at the political incompetence and arrogance from Bush to promote this issue convincingly. It was done in the most amateurish way: The propaganda-buildup, at times riddled with direct lies, for the case against Saddam and the lousy preparations for a post-Saddam-era.

Not only were France and Germany not convinced, but even entire populations amongst Allies, like Spain or Italy. (Bush received the dramatic result for not having convinced the people of his war last weekend in Spain - had the Spanish people fully support that war, they had not reacted in this way. Additionally, Aznar had bad crisic management, which he also demonstrated well prior in the tanker-oilspill)

Hm. According to my statistics every time a discussion reaches the point where all participants agree on "Yes, we all did some bad things in the past, and it's a good thing Saddam is gone", there comes this "but ..." that by any means must reiterate over and over again that there was "political incompetence", "arrogance from Bush", that "it was done in the most amateurish way".

Get real. Just some years ago you've been giving Mr. Clinton a free pass when he could not get his trousers closed in the Oval Office, just some years ago French and German politicians watched when in Bosnia 200.000 civilians have been slaughtered, just some days ago the UN and NATO troops could not prevent a major ethnical clash with more than ten people dead and hundreds injured while their commanders and high ranking EU officials again started babbling about what to do, but now you're complaining that Mr. Bush somehow did it in a suboptimal way? You won't believe how Arab-Streetish you sound.

@ Neutraler,

You have a point. But again, the goal of the article is not to deny that the US made some incorrect predictions or statements before the war. The goal of the article is to point out that the incorrect predictions made by German politicians before the war have been largely ignored by the German media, which chooses to focus instead (many times in a polemic, one-sided and inaccurate way, see Stern and Spiegel) on the mistakes and miscalculations of the Americans. (From my first comment on this article...)

And so we have come full circle.

@neutraler
I hope you know that the time of the US france and germany being "allies" is now in the past. Don't sweat about that as you are better off on your own now. france ro china will give you a help with things if ever yo uneed it now.
It is quite strange to hear a german complain about US war preperations and about the fact that we we did not do them "smoothly" enough or in greater "concert" with you. The simple truth is neither schroeder nor chirac wanted saddam removed from power. don't give me that "you must use proper channels" BS and if you do tell me "which" channels should have been used?
It is even more strange to hear your sentiment that you feel as if you would be doing the US some kind of a "favor" by assisting in the toppling of this century's bloodiest dictator, a guy one notch below your creation adolph.
The US has really just been asking that you clean up your own damn back yard. You go out nad take a ride on the Hamburg train line and take a look around at those among you, and then ask yourself who this "favor" is for.
You and the failed french flatter only yourselves with such self promotional nonsense.

Neutraler - you're wrong on the timeline.

The main argument today to justify Iraq has quietly shifted from "giving up and finding WMDs"

WMD wasn't mentioned til 2003.

It was in in the Dec of War, 10/02, but wasn't one of the reasons if you read it.

If you want the UN to work, you're going to have to put its feet to the fire and make it follow thru. We did.

@pato: Right, Germany is no more an Ally. And Spain is also no more an Ally because of the elections, as I read many times last week. Suuuuure. (Chirac is a different story)

This is the viewpoint of fringe right-conservative Americans.

Reality is different of course. Even for Bush's White House.

@Ray D. Well, I only wanted to make the point that this website smacks a lot of partisanship and is only too forgiving on a certain side.

Also - my original argument - I believe this website adds just as much to the divisiveness between continents as the articles which you seem to be placing on a virtual pillory, thus only furthering certain stereotypes amongst conservative Americans as this site is no complete unbiased picture. My 2 cents, as they say.

See your today's article on the business-times of German news-websites - most are simply not occupied at night, I have noticed this many times before. But if Israel is involved, it is a story for you.

@neutraler

You seem to be getting a lot of post :-) Probably because of your 'fair and balanced' views. As someone said before, I looooove it when people say: 'removing Saddam was a good thing, BUT ...' Here you have it, denying all the good things with three tiny letters.

In a normal, ideal and naive world people would say: 'George, you did quite well on this whole thing, keep up the good work and make sure you improve the intelligence work. We're here to help in any way we can. And by the way, George, don't be afraid of admitting mistakes. We ALL make them'. I know, I know, I'm talking non-sense. I told you this was only a naive scenario.

What you were saying was nothing really new and the answers you got were also said countless times before. Everybody has his/her opinion and it definitely looks like nobody will change their minds anymore, no matter what the arguments are.

Now a slip-up from one of you earlier posts, which explains quite well where you stand: 'bringing stories about ALLEGED horrors from Saddam-regime or alike'(my CAPS). I bet you really care about brotherhood in the world ;-) I mean: 'don't kill my own brother, the other ones are fair game ...'. Well, don't worry. You are not the last one who tries to deny the truth because it doesn't fit with your views.

Just a piece of useless advice: be careful with what you say, try to avoid expressing some of your deep thoughts. Otherwise you will loose the Neutralität you claim to exhude...

No matter what will be said a billion times from now on, the unchangable truth is that a dictator was removed, based also on some wrong intelligence analysis. This shouldn't happen anymore. Sorry, I didn't mean we shouldn't remove dictators(this is something the whole world community should act on together). I only meant that the intelligence analysis process should be improved :-)

I am sorry, no matter how you spin it: removing dictators will always be a good thing. (I realize that qualifying 'good' and 'bad' is not politically correct, but let's not go there. It's dark and cold... :-(

@WhatDoIknow: This is were we differ: "Removing dictators will always be a good thing".

You have just issued Bush jr. with your argument a carde blanche to even attack the communist dictatorships of China or North-Korea. The end justifying the means.

My argument will always be a more differentiated one: "Removing dictators is good, BUT there are settings in which it has to be done". Without this BUT you will give room to uni-lateral self-justice basically.

And I believe Bush jr. did so well in Afghanistan, but was a lousy sales-man on Iraq.

@neutraler

I guess(hope ?) we agree that Saddam was an unimaginable evil dictator with a lot of POTENTIAL for even more evil acts, both in his own country and in the whole world. Or you might just say, like Kofi, that Saddam is simply 'a man you can talk to'(or something like that). If you agree with Kofi, don't worry about reading the rest of the post, it's useless.

Now, I'm sorry if I missed in the media the alternative to removing Saddam, besides military action. I might have been at the restroom when they announced it. Would you mind sharing with me and the rest of the world the WORKING alternatives ?

As far as NK and China go, there isn't much to say. I don't think that anyone has heard any war talk from doubleU. Different strategies for different countries. This definitely shows that the WH believes that war is not the ONLY solution, just one of them.

Sorry, I forgot to sign the previous post. It's me :-))

@neutraler
This is NOT "fringe opinion" here in the US- neither france or germany are allies of the US. This will be proved even more over the next 8 months. Bush will win and the US public will leave germany and france to fend for themselves. Again your flattery pumping up your self-worth is amusing to say the least.
The majority of US people are aware of the "eu's" perfidy and hypocrisy, the other US minions will have the picture painted for them shortly. The US population is simply shocked at the "eu's" bumbling, the oil scams, the anti-semitism, the toxic anti-americanism, the french exercises with china, the desired german plutonium plant sale to china, and generally has been sickend and truly take by surprise by the overall "eu" appeasement of the jihadists among you, who having become disillusioned with life on welfare in an "eu" country now plan to turn all of the US into a black cloud of death.
Your attacks on the character of our nation and our people make so many of those in the US wonder what would have happened if we had simply contained Germany with Hitler ruling on the inside, while permitting the german people to dispose him. We in the US wonder where you german people would be now. Just imagine 30 years of german rule by hitler, while the US kept him away from poland, norway and all the other brave and currently forweward thinking euro countries... simply applying the german logic of dealing with saddam to the GERMAN PEOPLE to try out for a comfortable fit. We wish it could have been attempted, in the face of your current insanity.
We in the US say loudly- bring it on. To not see you, is to not be able to kill you. Thus the creation of a "war front" in Iraq- the ex-home of the regions most brutal coward and great friend of both german and french govts.
Overall a dis-engagement of germany and france as "allies" would enable the people of the US to see how well the grand standing studio-tanned showboat de villipin perform and how the vertically challenged schroeder and struck apply their loudly shouted ideals and directives. They will see nothing but the same failures over and over again.

proof the US will laugh even more so at the phony french "alliance"-
http://www.nationalreview.com/interrogatory/timmerman200403220851.asp
And for the balance of the EU with emphasis on germany- The eurocentric al queda-
http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/883ehetk.asp
the full eu crisis- http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/003/879efenv.asp

@Pato

I think you are wrong in equating Germany and France and even many US-conservatives might view that similar. (Condi summed it up quite wisely for now: 'Germany shall be ignored, but France be punished').

France's motives on Iraq were very different than Germany's and while the next Federal election in Germany might likely bring a shift in foreign politics once again towards even the conservative Bush-administration (Bush-friendly CDU), I don't see similar for France coming, regardless who is US-President.

I agree with your prediction that Bush will win in November.

You decry German (European) hypocrisy. Please make that universal. Hypocrisy has been running high by all of your leaderships, we don't need to rehash individual events of the last decades of US-politics, do we? (and I won't mention Saddam or Afghan Mujaheddin)

The irony of mentioning China. You are right on the EU-part. But I am also always astounded during my US-visits, how many products carry a "Made in China". While at the same time, US-emotions run high to boycott France. Now which is the freer system and which country is more dangerous in the long run to be financially rewarded with big business - the Republic of France or communist dictatorship China?

The rest of your posting sounds a bit bitter ("Germans aren't thankful enough"), plus I detect a bit of a silly pissing contest here ("My country is better than your country, Europeans are just silly in flattering themselves").

The US wants free-deciding Allies which are convinced in their loyalty to the US. And this means, we might at times not see things the same. And looking at polling, the US not only failed to convince France or Germany, but also the Spanish or Italian people. Also don't forget that the additional effort to get resolution 1441 was only made to be able to convince UK and Poland, who might have swayed otherside.

But you also seem to thrive more on stressing the emphasis on possible differences a bit, don't you? ;-)

@neutraler-
US engagement that you mention was one attempt to thwart communism in afghanistan and the other was an answer for the new mullahs of Iran who'd been holding US embassy hostage for a year. Just years later german chemical and nuke technology poured into iran and iraq, so what is your point? The US the protected the muslims in sarajevo and then in Kosovo. What was our point? Who knows, most likely just appeasing the euros and muslims together and to stop something the in they eu could not, again.
There is no "US better than thou" BS in my post. You won't hear that cheap banter out of me. What you read is disdain at the current climate in germany, bitterness at the state funded press that shapes minds so easily there, and a citizenship that seems to select what it should or what it shouldn't remember regarding history.
It is simply too damn soon to see germany, when it had it's FIRST opportunity to do so, NOT stand up to a dictator to bring him down. You have shocked millions of people here in the US. You blew a good chance to knock down a true asshole, and you played petty games of showmanship.
You talk about "motives" regarding france and germany regarding world events over the last 2.5 years? It is indeed those motives that are suspect. The US could not have been clearer since day one of this limp-dicked jihad was declared against the west, NOT just the US. You in europe coward under your anti-americanism weeks after 9-11, giving into the "US deserved it" mentality just so the falafel guy on your corner wouldn't knife you at some point in your future. Those of us (by the many millions) who have spent time in europe know damn well what is happening there. You simply created a stir among all of you to turn to anti-US mentalities to buy your damn selfish time.
You don't make your motives clear, not you, not germany, not france. Any motives or actions put forth appear to be child like attempts at self flattery at a time of national crisis within germany that does not involve the terrorism portion of it all.
Now 2.5 years later that you begin to factor terror into your situation you will create another speedo wearing commissioner and continue with your anti-US banter. Those are my collective points.

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