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@ray

Sorry. Considering the analytical source is fee-based paid for by my company, I can't supply a link...

Note from Ray D.: No problem, James. I got you this time. Have a look at your previous post. But please try to provide links in the future or avoid posting long pieces. Nothing against you, it is just to keep the comments section in good order. Thanks.

You need to understand guys - the only crimes worth noting are those committed by the United States or its Allies

And if you protest this kind of single minded attention paid to the actions of the USA then you are immediatly accused of seeking to avoid "any" criticism of the USA when all you are asking is "did you protest the conditions in Abu Ghraib in 1995 like you are in 2005?"

And when you ask this you get the standard - "what, so the US is no better than Saddam?"


Its a very well worn routine - one should get used to it already

Its an odd metality that seeks only to examine the crimes of the "police" while accepting or ignoring the crimes by the criminals, because "thats the way things are"

I read Malte's article and somewhat to my surprise, I found some insights, some interesting comments and some amazing idiocy. Here's my Fisking:

On September 11th, 2001 I was sitting at my desk. The editor called up. I should possibly turn on the TV.

Ah, it’s pretty pathetic, that Malte Lehming has to be told of news going on in the States from Germany.

Whoever speaks today of how cool, ideological and planned the Bush Administration reacted to the attacks, didn’t experience that time.

At least Malte debunks the 9/11 conspiracy jerks.

Across the Canadian and especially the Mexican border, thousands of illegal aliens stream into the country.

Malte’s off the liberal/left/socialist reservation on this one. The MSM and Lefties just spent a month attacking the Minuteman Project, who were demonstrating on the border against Bush and the Federal Government’s lack of action on defending the borders.

Because the sand in the sandbox is old, the city poor, several parents want to renew the sand paid out of their own pockets. Quickly the tasks were split up and the money collected. Simply no complaining, no whining, no acceptance of fate or waiting on the government: What doesn’t suit you, change it yourself.

Damn straight! It’s interesting that Malte recognized this in the American character. We’re proud of this spirit. This is the best comment in the article.

Just as little I want to describe customs of the US.

Then 6 paragraphs later, Malte does just this. I guess boredom of lack of conversation with the Buddha or endlessly waiting for the train to depart got to him.

Laila and Millie are at the kiddie pool, age 1 to 3. They’re the only little girls without a top. All others wear bathing suits. Also at the beach babies and little kids are never allowed to be nacked. And women, who breastfeed in public, should do this discreetly.

This accurately describes American attitudes. So what? Every country has the right to its own culture, except the US. Malte’s paragraph on invites and dresscodes was pretty interesting.

No idea is to radical. Everything is discussed. Should taxes be totally abolished and everything privatized – all the way to the military? Would war be easier to conduct, if soldiers were replaced by machines and robots. Could the US ally with China, against the rest of the world? No where on earth do so many smart people live together in such a small area. Here, who too quickly dismisses an idea as absurd, eccentric or naïve, only proves his own lack of fantasy.

This is another comment I really like. But what happened to Bush controlling the American media and shutting down all opposing ideas. Did Malte ever write about the ideas bubbling up everywhere in America?

Why is the birth rate in the US twice as high as in Europe? Family policy lags in America. There’s no good Maternal subsidy, school and education cost a fortune. In spite of this, offspring count as one of the highest ideals. Many parents go into debt, deny themselves vacations, put their shoulders to the grindstone to make ends meet. The belief in God and family is more powerful than the daily drudgery.

The answer to the question in the first sentence is to be found in the last. And I’ll bet, Malte didn’t hang around much with Red State Americans. This just shows the cultural influence the vast majority have on even the elites in DC.

Headlines: Weather catastrophes devastate American countryside. Of course, the climate can be extreme in Finland, Marocco or India. The only difference: There are no pictures from there.

This has to be the stupidest comment from ol’ Malte. I’ve watched tons of videos from the recent tsunami, even from deepest, darkest Aceh Province. Perhaps if Malte would turn on the TV or go on the internet, he’d find them. The US is the world capital for tornadoes, so much so, we have a “Tornado Alley”. Last December, also very recent, Florida got nailed by 4 hurricanes within a month. It’s been over a hundred years, since one state got so badly hit in so short of a time. When’s the last tornado or hurricane to hit Finland, Marocco or India.

Have I understood the United States in the past four and a half years? No. The deeper I go, the stranger the land became to me.

Is Malte just being cliched or does he really mean this? Sounds like Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness or Apocalypse Now for the newer media folks.

Meanwhile, I believe that the difference between Europe and the US is greater than the greatest differences within Europe. In other words, Sweden and Greece are more similar than Europeans and Americans. Nothing stands still in the US. Curiousity, variety, mobility, desire for change: Such feelings dominate. Europeans in the 20th Century had enough war and revolution experienced. Her hunger for breakthroughs has been satisfied.

To go new agie on everyone, Americans recognize that change is the nature of nature, human and otherwise. You either embrace it or fall behind. Standing still awthart history yelling stop is not an option. I also think the root of Malte's problem here, is that he came with the idea that Americans were just like Europeans, just a little different. Then he has culture shock and uncovers the frightening secret: Americans are NOT Europeans. Holy Sh*t! And they ain't changing into good Europeans. Mama Mia! It looks like Americans are trying not cutting back, they're not slowing down, they really believe this freedom stuff and want to push the limits of liberty.

My respect for American Democracy has grown further. The debates in Congress, in the Senate Committees and Think Tanks occur at respect-creating level. The courts are independent and correct many false developments.

Hmmm, did this make it into Malte’s reporting the past four and a half years.

Almost every German US correspondent complains that many Germans know America, exactly. On top of that, they have a solid verdict. The Bush Administration provides an excellent projection screen for diverse resentments.

I’m not quite sure what Malte means by this: Über Amerika, dieses Leid beklagt fast jeder USA-Korrespondent, wissen viele Deutsche genau Bescheid. I translated as I understood it. Malte does make the good point about people projecting their resentments unto the Bush Administration (and unnamed, America).

Consequently, hardly a German US correspondent has been spared from criticism.

Huh? Mr Foreign Correspondent is active in the arena of ideas. Does he expect that he won’t be or shouldn’t be criticized? I’ll break it to Malte, when criticism of you stops, it means no one reads you. Watch out what you wish for.

Regarding Iraq and Abu Ghraib, here are the thoughts of a thoughtful Iraqi http://iraqthemodel.blogspot.com/:


Sunday, May 01, 2005

Why there are no reports or links for mass graves in Iraq in 2002?
I've noticed this question being repeated more than once on the comment section here and on a few other sites.
I want to know why such a question is being asked; would a report about mass graves in 2002 make the situation any different?
Is it that some people think it's too much for Iraqis to get a year off from being buried in mass graves?
Is the question suggesting that all the mass graves fond so far in Iraq do not count if 2002 was free of mass graves?
Or maybe people asking this question are trying to say that Saddam suddenly became a better person in 2002?

Maybe I'm being oversensitive here and maybe it's just an innocent question; however I'd like to talk shortly about it.

The tragedy of mass graves was associated with certain incidents, namely the uprising in 1991 and the notorious campaign against the Kurds in the late 1980s and a few other cases and I guess most of you already know this.
The other thing is that the absence of mass graves in a specific year does NOT mean that no people were executed at that time because there were always executions carried out separately in different spots in the country and the victims' bodies were either buried separately or sent to their families to be buried.

I still have to admit that 2002 was relatively less bloody than the years that preceded it; at that time I noticed that people would express their anger on the streets with less fear from punishment, not because Saddam became a nicer guy or decided to allow free speech (God forbid!) but mainly because he was more concerned about a greater threat coming from across the Atlantic so he partially ignored the war on the "internal front" against the people.

In spite of that, executions continued until the last days in the regime's life and there are stories about people executed even in the 1st week of April 2003 (sorry for not providing links).
More over, many doctors who served in Abu Ghraib before 2003 confirmed that an average of 40 prisoners were executed weekly in that prison alone in two execution sick festivals each week, every week on Saturday and Tuesday if I didn't forget, which gives a total of around 2000 executions/year in Abu Ghraib alone (sorry again for not providing links).

I read some report a week ago about the number of executions in different countries and China ranked 1st with a total of approximately 3400 executions/year and the Chinese government is being severely criticized for that.

And considering that the population of China is more than 50 times that of Iraq; a total of 80 executions/year would more or less put Iraq in the same rank of China's when it comes to declaring an execution crisis.
But Saddam being keen on fulfilling his responsibilities towards his people was able to finish the assignment of one year in a matter of two weeks.
- posted by Omar @ 22:28

Hey, Pague Mahone, when are the US troops planning to leave Germany to set up base in Poland? Or was that another Rumsfeld lie/childish tantrum. You say I'm being childish....from Rumsfelds comment, if one didn't know it was him making it, one would think he was still in puberty, making threats he was not willing to follow through on, because Germany wouldn't play with him.

And really, how childish it is to expect the president to be educated enough to be able to correctly speak his own language. Why should we expect this. Only a child would want that.

And lastly, Pague, you were right. I couldn't find sources for the relative number of anti-Bush protesters versus pro-Bush rallyists because the only thing that was all over the web was the anti-Bush protest. The pro-Bush rally was just covered on this site and friends of this site. And we all know they aren't exactly reliable sources.

More from Iraq: http://afreeiraqi.blogspot.com/ check the May 2, 05 post referring to WMD.

@ Ray D

"If you and your compatriots on the Angry left REALLY did care about torture or abuse, you would be out protesting Chechnya and China, but you aren't. Why not? Is an abuse only worth protesting and getting outraged over if it is perpetrated by Americans under a Republican President? Looking at the Angry Left, you would think so."

Well, the "Stark Raving Mad" Left does complain that there are many other places where atrocities being carried out, Ray. But the "Blind Disciples" of the Right answer back with "what do you think, we should invade every country on this planet?" So it appears one cannot win with you guys.

And also, if Bush had always mentioned freeing the Iraqi people as the reason for invading Iraq, why did this come at a time when the main agenda was fighting terrorism? Does the US care more about the Iraqi people than it does about its own safety and the fight against terrorism. We all know that the war against Iraq has not made the world a safer place from terrorists. In fact, there are terrorsits now have clout where they never had clout before. Or are you still going along with that Al Qaeda and Saddam fantasy.

To sum up for those who believe Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo constitute "crimes against humanity", many of Hussein's subjects would have preferred to have panties put on their heads or being held for several years (but fed and not REALLY TORTURED) rather than having their children raped before their eyes or being executed with no due process.

Can you make an effort to understand the difference between these two realities? Afghan women couldn't even be heard speaking or laughing on the streets of that nation without risk of being flogged by the religious police, yet you are outraged by Guantanamo? Many Taliban fighters were camped out in the mountains sleeping in caves in the freezing cold. The weather in Cuba is like a fantasy vacation compared to that shit. You people need to catch a ride on the clue bus. Move to Iran or North Korea and get the real flava of tyranny before spewing it out your piehole.

Jason, I think you need to read some more about YOUR SIDE from another FREE Iraqi blogger: http://hammorabi.blogspot.com/. You are sick man. Really sick.

@Jason..
yeah Bush mangles the language and could not be classified as one of the world's great orators.
However he does sometimes surprise.. his speech before the UN after 9/11, his speech before the German Bundestag.. both brilliant.
but does being eloquent and being a good orator.. are these qualities ALWAYS necessary for a good leader? So one cannot be a good leader without having these qualities?
Does that mean that Hitler was a good leader (Führer)? He was a brilliant gifted orator who fully mastered his native language.
A Cuban I know said that Castro is also a brilliant gifted orator.
So these two men meet one of the qualifications of being a great leader for you? What significance does that have?
Bush isn't a great orator and mangles the language..
SO F..... WHAT?

A great example of American due process:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/4190965.stm

BRAVO

Jason, I am sure you are probably a nice guy. It's likely you work for a living and that you want to make a better life for your family whom you love and care for (or forget about and expect the state teat to do it for you).

I won't waste much more time or bandwitdh on you. If you think this is all about oil peruse this: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/. Pay particular attention to the pre-Iraq war speeches.

Jason, have you ever been to LA? Well, neither has the BBC. What does that have to do with the price of rice in pre-liberation Iraq, or the price of a UN oil voucher stealing food from the mouths of the starving Iraqis people who were lucky enough to live through your hero Saddam Hussein's crazy bullshit? You have serious problems, dude.

@Jason,

A great example of American due process:

I'm sure that you're more informed than any other person on the case, in particular: members of the court... Typical for the left, they always claim omniscious insight on all matters. But then again, Jason, what did this have to do with any posting on this thread so far? Or are you just on a rant? Grabbing at straws...

when are the US troops planning to leave Germany to set up base in Poland? Or was that another Rumsfeld lie/childish tantrum

I wasn't aware that the US was planning on moving out of Germany, although I would support it. Considering Bulgaria and Romania supported the US and since they're nearer the Far East, it would make more strategic sense to do so. Furthermore, since the USA spends more than all other members of NATO combined, I think they should have the most influence over decision making regarding this issue. Alternatively, I think a decision to just pull-out of NATO and leave Europe to deal with European problems has definative merit. Personally, as an American, I'm tired of my grandparents/father and friends defendeding such a historically troubled continent when you see such contemptous posters like yourself surfacing all of the time. And your attitude is not new or unique to the arrival of George W, it has been around since I first started making note of it around the time of Ronald Reagan.


@Jason.
I am sure the people from Poland would love to have the American troops there..
after all they have a history of being swallowed up by those two peaceful neighbors of theirs.
I live in Germany (i am an ami) and I was visiting a friend in Poland. I made the remark that I don't trust the German government.. because the average American doesn't trust government in general. It was not meant to be an anti German comment, but an anti goverment comment.
my Polish friend (younger than 30) interpreted it as a mistrust of GERMANY. to which (imagine my surprise) she wholeheartedly agreed.

@ James

Wow,
the land of the free and the home of the brave i know.
You should better read a history book and judge a little more carfully.
Every country or government follows their interests or what is seen as the interests of the country. The US and the foreign policy is a very good example of that. People like Schröder or Bush have to make decissions to the benefit of their people and the americans judge Bush and we Schröder for their work. Schröder is first of all german chancelor and not an allie of another nation. The germans agree with him and supported his decision on Iraq as a majority of americans do in terms of Bush. So everything is fine.

China policy:

We all know the problems of having relations to China but if you are an american you know the benefit of cheap products made in China and use it very often if you look at your unbelivable trade deficit with China.
China is important and gets more and more important and every nation and company knows that. That´s the way capitalism works ( and it gets so much support on this blog).

Every company or country doesn't want to sell High Tech NATO weapons to China, just Germany and France. Stefan. Do you think China will put high tech weapons to work for the benefit of it's people? Do you think they will be used to build up the well being of Chinese people and to give them more freedom?


Schröder is just being Chiracs suck boy anyway. Perhaps the Chinese have promised him a few cases of that shoe polish he uses to die his hair and a case of bootleg Viagra.

The US is withdrawing some of its forces from Germany as well as ROK. The plan will presented on Friday.

When you have a Marine Corps general as the CIC of EUCOM, who happens to have been raised being deployed on ships for most of his military career, the then idea of being stationed at a less than fully developed base in Eastern Europe is not a hard concept to understand.

There is no logical reason for the US to continue to have so many troops stationed in Germany. So over the next 5 to 6 years you are going to see a huge draw down of current troop numbers.

You may view this as idle talk but it surely is not.

I like many Americans question the use of NATO as a military organization. It might be time to close the chapter of this part of history. Of course, the french and Germans seem to care less if this should happen and would welcome it. I am not so sure the Poles or other Eastern European nations would.

They have had experience of being protected by other European powers. Then again I think the EU constitution outlaws war, so they really do not have anything to concern themselves with.

@stefan,

the land of the free and the home of the brave i know.
You should better read a history book and judge a little more carfully.

What does that mean? I read a lot of history books. Don't get pedantic with me, twerp.

Schröder is first of all german chancelor and not an allie of another nation

So you mean to tell me that you're fully aware of the desire of Schröder to sell weapons to the Chinese who in the same week jingoistically decalared democratic Taiwan a rouge state. This is a big difference from buying crap from China. AND as I said in my previous post, I question the wisdom of Clinton's descision to let China into the WTO.

Considering Schröder rhetorically talks about democracy and responsibily and pushes for a seat on the Security Council, his actions demonstrate otherwise. His economic policy is a complete failure (or his failure to have one) and attempts to correct it by selling German products to anyone around the world. Irospective of their system or intended use. This is because the US has always come to the rescue in Europe and a childish Germany never needs to be responsible for the rest of the world.

The behaviour of Schröder really echos the same behaviour of Chirac. Is it fair to say that he is a lapdog of Chirac?

We all know the problems of having relations to China but if you are an american you know the benefit of cheap products made in China and use it very often if you look at your unbelivable trade deficit with China.

I am an American and I live in Munich, and I read newspapers. The deficit is due to the fact that Europeans and the rest of the world still regard the US the savest bet for investment and therefor lend money to American consumers. Additionally, China pegs thier exchange rate to the USD, not the EUR. I wonder if you knew that has a detremental effect on the US trade deficit...

The latent strategy of America's trade deficit with China mirror the example of Chile. Pinochet didn't particularily have an economic policy but had several advisors who had studied in Chicago (the world's leading school of Economics). Milton Friedman advised the Chilean Advisors to deregulate the economy and knew that this would also liberalise the political situation, which, because I read history books, happened.

China, unfortuately, demonstrates the opposite, they belive that they can use Capitalism to make money without necessary political reform. In fact, they are willing to kill people and represss people (Tianamon square). Furthermore, their leaders are obsessed with Taiwon, a COUNTRY that has stability, democracy and growth for the last 60 years.

As I said, I question the wisdom about letting in China into the WTO. There is no question about shortsightedness (and contempt) of selling arms to a country like China who :

1) surpress liberty and freedom
2) hasn't left Tibet
3) threatens other stable democracies
4) doesn't play fair in free trade (Wong pegged to the USD).

@ sock

germany is not the US. We don´t export more than have of all weappons on this planet and don´t have a big weapon industry and so not much to export there. It´s more a symbolic thing and in my view helpfull for Germany and the geman economy.

@James

The trade deficit with China has nothing to do with the will of anyone to invest in the US.
It is simply a result of importing more from China than the Us exports to China. The fixed echange rate of the yuan ( but more or less also the yen) helps chinese exports to the US and that´s one of the reasons why the Euro has to take the burden of the dollar decline alone.
The trade deficit or the budget deficit and the way it gets financed or balanced are two different things. The chinese have to invest their dollars they get from their exports to the US and if they are not willing to buy real assets like a ralf lauren shirt ( and that seems to be the case because the us produces not enough products the world needs) they have to invest them in bonds etc or change into another currency but that whould bring additional pressure on the dollar and increase the chinese currency and now we are on the top again

God, Patriotism is blind. You talk of selling wepons. The Americans criticising the Europeans for selling wepons. I never thought the day would come.

Iran, Iraq, Afgahinistan. Ring a bell? Support of the Taliban. Ring a bell?

Isn't history hilarious.

@Jason

Iran, Iraq, Afgahinistan. Ring a bell? Support of the Taliban. Ring a bell?

You're really a hypocrite here aren't you? And then you have the audacity to tell me that I need to read history. Talk about patritism being blind or just you being completey uninformed yourself...

Support for the Taliban? What are you talking about? What money, weapons? The Taliban came to power in the 1990s, the Mujahadin stopped receiving CIA financing in 1990. America it could be said, completely ignored them for years till 9/11.

Suggested reading material Taliban, by Ahmed Rashid, Charlie Wilson's war

Iran, yes the USA sold weapons to Iran under the Shah, gee that ended when? In like, 1979?

Iraq. So hypotrical, I don't know where to start. Nuclear reactor, Mirage fighters and radar systems from France. Bunkers and chemicals from Germany. And the largest supply of Tanks, guns and ammunition from the Soviets. The Americans were at the bottom of this list...

Your ironic gesture about suggesting that I read history is so typical of German besserwissers. It typifies that arrogant attitude that they know everything better. When in reality, then don't know a phucking thing.

Also, ponder this for a moment: the US also supplied weapons to the Soviets during the second world war to defeat Nazi Germany. Something even Schröder has to celebrate. But when the Soviets were causing problems all around and selling weapons to: Iraq, Syria, North Korea, North Vietnam, Cuba, Egypt, Angola, etc. one country must act. We also sold weapons to you germans, and also fed your capital city of Berlin for 1 year. The selling of weapons then was at a minimum to justify limiting Soviet influence, similar to the formation of NATO.

Schröder cannot justify weapons sales in his pursuit of this demented agenda as described in the linked analysis. Other than Germany is not capable of solving it's economic problems at home, and must export itself out of it. Futhermore, it hasn't any interest in concerning itself with what those weapons are used for like invading a democratic stabil Taiwan. It likes to cause problems around the world, but isn't interested in cleaning them up....

I am looking forward to the unveiling of the plan on to withdraw troops from Germany on Friday.

@sockpuppetofdoom

"Every company or country doesn't want to sell High Tech NATO weapons to China, just Germany and France." Yeah, you just sell weapons to Iraq, Iran, and the Taliban. None of these being a part of the "axis of demon-people"

@Tom Penn

"Jason, I am sure you are probably a nice guy. It's likely you work for a living and that you want to make a better life for your family whom you love and care for (or forget about and expect the state teat to do it for you)"

I love this argument Americans always give when someone mentions that the HealthCare system in the US stinks, and that there are millions of Americans living below the poverty line, and that only sons of doctors can afford to study medicine anyways. I don't expect the state teat to do anything except provide assistance and keep me off the streets if I happend to lose my job. Here is an excellent example of American taking care of the citizens who it loves the most (after the rich), it's soldiers:

http://todaysseniorsnetwork.com/no_coverage.htm

Boy, what a great nation.

@James

"I'm sure that you're more informed than any other person on the case, in particular: members of the court... Typical for the left, they always claim omniscious insight on all matters. "

I forgot that you had the inside track on this. The point is, only in America does an officer who was without a doubt seeing hitting a youth, would be REWARDED.

"My 2cents, is that Germany is a country who defines itself as an ethnic group. Whereas, the US defines itself as an idea. Therefore, Americans tend to see the world and henceforth, foreign policy, through these ideas and Germany as where it is in their interest."

James, are you really this stupid or just a really good Bush impersonator. The US, according to your world reality, does NOT act in it's own interest. I don't think I have ever heard such a brainwashed comment on anywhere, ever.

And while we are talking about torture conducted by Saddam, how about the great US policy of "extraordinary rendition."

http://www.sptimes.com/2003/11/16/Columns/Delivering_people_int.shtml

again, what a great nation.


@James

Economic problems....

you mean like a national debt of almost half a trillion dollars?

@James

export itself out of trouble....

I forget, who is the largest exporter of arms, by far, in the world? And selling arms to Iran was okay becuase it was "like, 1979" Selling arms to Afghanistan was okay, because it was "like, 1980's onwards" and you the Russians were SO annoying. The mujahideen, unlike the Taliban, were completely abiding with human rights, and did not commit any atrocities against women and were not islamic extremists. That is why it was okay to support them. The taliban was an entity that just appeared suddenly, and the mujahideen that preceeded them had no common ground with them, and were good, decent people who deserved lots of weapons.

Ray D. / David,

Thanks for your work putting together a provocative site. It's become a daily must-read for me, even if I don't necessarily share your viewpoint. I know that you can't monitor the comment section in real time, nor should you, but please indulge me for a second.

Jeez, has this thread degenerated into a juvenile pissing match ! Not that my view carries any weight, but some self-censorship would make the comments a lot more worthwhile to read.

There, now I feel better.

Pogue,

Funny, but when I read through your fisk of Lehming, I was struck by how many positive things he said. His comments (or rather you selection of his comments) seemed to illustrate quite well what I see as German fascination / revulsion / admiration regarding America. I don't know his body of work (I was under the impression that he is another Peter Scholl-LaTour), but he seems overall to like the US, even if he doesn't understand it completely or agree with it always. (And, truthfully, who does ?)

I read a comment back in my Heidelberg days that's helped me deal with the di/tri/multi-chotomy of Germany's opinion of American. "Everything you can say about America is true, but none of it is typical."

Sorry, no cite, but it applied then and it applies now.

Cheers,


@Jason

Isreal is the world's largest exporter of Military Equipment per Capita. If you do this comparison, then you'll see the US is not really far ahead of other European countries like, France, England and Sweden. Other statistics like Pakistan and North Korea, strangely are not available...

The US, "by far, in the world" is also the world's largest exporter of Wheat, Medical Equipment, phamaciticals, software, etc. So I don't know what you point is.

Supply arms to the Mujahadin in Afghanistan was a necessary stategic manuver which ended of the Soviet Union and allowed the reunification of Germany. Something most Germans no longer want. No arms were ever supplied by the US to the Taliban or Northern Alliance (till after 9/11).

In either case, it doesn't justify Germany selling arms to China.

@Jason.

To be honest Jason, I, too as an American have my concerns about the uses (and abuses) of American power. But power has always been difficult to deal with wisely - just read the European history books. I would recommend 'MAcht u. Ohnmacht' by Kagan to you.
I have lived in Germany since 98.. I have had the thought, so well summarized by this text from the National Review (which is POSITIVE about Germany, read the whole thing)

'Nor is it fanciful, I think, to see much of the rising tide of German anti-Americanism - expressed most notoriously in the German enthusiasm for the crackpot works of Michael Moore - as an indirect, perverted expression of nationalism. The psychology seems to be that if Germans cannot allow themselves to feel pride in Germany, they can at least demand that Americans feel ashamed of the United States.'

http://www.nationalreview.com/frum/diary050805.asp#062349

That quote summarizes what I have felt about the Germans.. they don't think they can be proud of their country (IMHO they can be), so they feel they have to tear someone else down.

To be honest, I welcomed (to a certain extent) Germany's opposition to the war, even though I supported the war. The US needs historical perspective and different points of view. Even though I disagreed with him, I said 'Go JOSCHKA' when he said ' Excuse me I AM NOT CONVINCED'. What I did NOT agree with was the Volkshetzerei from Kanzler Schroeder.
There were many valid reasons to be against the war as well as many valid reasons to SUPPORT the war. Unfortunately I did not hear the vernunftige reasons.. I only heard, no blood for Oil, Bush's religious crusade, Bushitler, bla bla bla

Schroeder had one main reason to be against the war.. he wanted to get re-elected.. so Germany became the 'Friedensmacht' - except in Yugoslavia, where it was in Germany's interest to wage war and except in China where he wants to sell weapons so China will support his UN Seat bid.
what a f...... loser.

I am (or was) a Democrat and voted for the shrub in 2004 (first time I voted Republican in my life). Warts and all, I will take Bush in a heartbeat over the morally hypocritical opportunistic smooth talking Kanzler.


I don't know who commented that Jason was working and supporting a family - you couldn't be more wrong

The kid is in high school - I guarentee it. His trolling of the standard "Bush is stoopid" crapola is just too typical

His ignorance of history makes it very clear he is in an American high school ;)

Better just to ignore such a tired listing of US "crimes" when coming from someone who basically only see's something wrong if it can be tied to the United States in some way


btw - great posting on Abu Ghraib from IraqtheModel - I am quite sure Jason doesn't visit such sites to find out how actual Iraqi's feel about things

Reminds me of the big Pro-Saddam ( officially anti-war ) demo in London in 2003...when asked if any of the Iraqi exile groups in London would be asked to speak at the event the reaction was a stunned "of course not"

Of course not - they were in favor of ousting Saddam - they weren't welcome at any such rally organized by the self appointed guardians of humanity gathered in Trafalger Square

What happened to those human shields again? Another 60 murdered by terrorists ( not "insurgents" AFP! ) in Iraq today. Where are the human shields who wanted to protect Iraqi's? Isn't Iraqi democracy worth protecting?

http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/0226/p11s02-coop.html

this article highlights the moral hypocrisy of the left on iraq.
was one of the deciding articles that made me support the war.

@ amiexpat

Yes, that asshole Schroeder, that f....loser, all very good comments. Are you a military man? You know, a few people use the military as a way to finance their education. Something to look into, amiexpat.

That loser Schroeder, being against a war to free the people of Iraq (or was it WMDs, or was it for World Security) and representing the will of almost all Germans in being against the War. He should have rather manipulated his people, saying there were WMDs so people would think the Iraq War was a war on terror, (Al Qaeda - Saddam wet dream). But we know the US has a heart of Gold, and is actually putting the wishes of the Iraqi people before the security of its own citizens, by diverting huge amounts of money and resources from the War on terrorism. And if you were to take advantage of an education (perhaps you could not afford one - don't worry, foreign students have to pay the same 200 Euros a semester as the Germans) you would know that terrorists now have clout where they never had clout before.

Morally hypocritical you say.... we know true, unhypocritical, President Bush is. He never claims higher moral ground "God is on our side". You can't spew more rhetorical filth than that.

And we know that every nation opposed to the War had an ulterior motive, while every nation that sided with the US was just carrying out charity through superior firepower.

I'll admit, at least, that Bush is no smooth talker.

Yes Pogue, very mature comments.

And very excellent counter arguments on the extraordinary rendition policy carried out by the US, which, lest we forget, is very opposed to regimes that torture people. Unless they are doing it to people the US sends them.

What was that you said about Hypocritical, amiexpat?

@Jason..
wow you are angry..
I tried to be conciliatory and diplomatic.
Well I will let it rip and then ignore you.
I suggest everyone else do the same.

I am not in the military, never have been and never will be.
But I recognize the need for one..
Auschwitz was not freed with diplomacy.

Let us assume you are 100 percent right. Schroeder is the Friedenskanzler, Deutschland is the Friedensmacht. US - all bad, Germany - all good.

hey Jason, how many world wars did the 'Volk von Dichter u. Denker' have to start before they finally came to the conclusion that war is a bad thing? (remember, I am concurring that your world view is right)
so if it took the 'volk of dichter und denker' so long, couldn't you give the dumb americans just a bit of time? after all we are unkultiviert, hinterwälderisch Kriegstreiber. Let us start two world wars, try to extinguish a whole group of people (here comes the American Indian rant - but hey we didn't do it in FACTORIES), and then we'll talk, OK?

Jason.. get some therapy.



200 EUR per semester is what Mohammad Atta & team had to a pay to get an "education" in Germany?

Firepower, military, war, etc. It wasn't a problem in '61 when we fed Berlin for a year. I guess Churchill was right, the Hun is either at your feet or at your throat.

Kagan was also right: Europe doesn't need America anymore. Perhaps this realisation emboldens Jason will the courage to focus on America's foreign policy issues whilst willfully ignoring Germany's. Germany, of course, never had anything to do with arming and supply any of the world's tyrannts...

Where was Germany's concerns about Iraqis from 1991 to 2003? The UK and US had kept Saddam boxed in at their own expense.

Do tell us Jason - how old are you - where do you live - what do you do?

It seems you are quite upset that the ouster of Saddam from Iraq was not proposed and carried out from a feeling of pure good intentions to help the iraqi people

I understand that it was US and global security that actually drove the decision, but lets say for a moment that it was done in the name of all the good intentions you had wished for - would you then have supported the toppling of Saddam and promotion of Iraqi elections as they have happened?

Lets see if you can answer that one shall we.

@ Jason:

"And lastly, Pague, you were right. I couldn't find sources for the relative number of anti-Bush protesters versus pro-Bush rallyists because the only thing that was all over the web was the anti-Bush protest."

FYI: We were written about or covered by ARD, ZDF, N24,, NTV, Pro7, SPIEGEL ONLINE, as well as numerous other smaller local stations and papers. There was even an entire segment done on our demonstration by a German news program called "Monitor." So saying that we are the only source that covered it is just plain ignorant.

"And also, if Bush had always mentioned freeing the Iraqi people as the reason for invading Iraq, why did this come at a time when the main agenda was fighting terrorism?"

So Jason, when Saddam's regime murdered, raped, tortured and forced hundreds of thousands and millions into exile, that wasn't terrorism? When Saddam sent $25,000 to families of Palestinian suicide bombers that wasn't terrorism? When Saddam's people hunted down and killed Iraqi dissidents worldwide, that wasn't terrorism?

"That loser Schroeder, being against a war to free the people of Iraq (or was it WMDs, or was it for World Security) and representing the will of almost all Germans in being against the War."

Of course Schroeder and Germany had every right not to take part in or support the war. In fact, I don't think the USA really needed much help from Germany and never really planned on asking Schroeder for much. The fact is that Schroeder made a big deal out of the issue and intentionally exploited it to drum up electoral support in Germany. That is the main issue.

As far as hypocrisy goes, I guess you are the only truly pure and moral person here Jason. Unfortunately, torture occurs in all nations at some level. It isn't always state-sponsored, but it happens, in jails, prisons, etc. That doesn't mean that other nations have violated international law and human rights to the degree and extent that Saddam Hussein did. Perhaps only Iran and North Korea can even be put on the same "axis" if you will, but even they have not violated 17 resolutions over 12 years. In other words, no country is perfect, the US has its fair share of problems just like other countries. No one here will deny that. But some countries are clearly worse than others, and the punishment must fit the crimes of each state and the international community must remain engaged and effective in controlling out-of-control states that threaten their neighbors and their own people. If the international community fails, that is where someone else has to step in to maintain order. I personally wish something more was being done in Sudan at the moment.

As far as US arms sales to Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan: First off, the US sold very few arms to Iraq in the 1980s, mainly to help them defeat Iran, which the US viewed as the major danger in the region at that time. In fact, something like 1% of imported Iraqi arms came from the US. By far the largest exporters of arms to Iraq where the Soviet Union and France. Germany also sold Saddam chemical weapons plants and equipment. As far as Iran goes, the US has never sold arms to the current government. In Afghanistan, the US provided support to groups willing to fight the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, including groups that would later oppose the Taliban, like the Northern Alliance. The reason the US could not step in and provide order (and prevent a Taliban) after the 1989 Soviet withdrawal is because the Soviets left a puppet communist government in power that clung to power for longer than expected. It was subsequently replaced by the Northern Alliance under Massoud and then, after a long civil war, the Taliban came to power and drove Massoud into the far north of the country.

No one here will defend every arms sale the US made during the Cold War. But the US had one major, worthwhile goal in that time: Defeat the Soviet Union. Achieving that goal has liberated millions and millions of people from the most repressive governments in eastern Europe (maybe that is why you see huge, cheering crowds whenever Bush goes there) and removed a major threat of world war.

You say:

"In fact, there are terrorsits now have clout where they never had clout before."

Really? Even though much of Al-Qaeda's senior leadership has been killed or captured and scattered? Where is your evidence of that? If that is true, why hasn't there been another 9/11?

"The Soviet Union was SO annoying".

Well, excuse me, but my great-grandfather and tens of millions of other innocents like him were sent to their deaths by the "annoying" Soviet Union and other communist governments like it. My great-grandfatehr committed the crime of being a math professor and was sent to Siberia where he was worked to death at the age of 43. We don't even know where he is buried because he was probably dumped in a mass grave with thousands of other victims. Ever heard of Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Ho Chi Minh, Castro? They have sent millions to their deaths. Maybe you should crack open a history book sometime my friend before you tell others here what to do. You might want to start by reading about the East Germans shot-down at the Berlin-wall trying to leave their country for freedom.

James wrote "Where was Germany's concerns about Iraqis from 1991 to 2003? The UK and US had kept Saddam boxed in at their own expense."

But you must understand James that to the Jasons of the world, struggling through painful bouts of teenage acne and yearning for some feeling of importance in this world, this is a fine solution to Iraq

Saddam was "contained" according to this view

To the man on the street in Berlin or Paris all was well in the world

It wasn't his countrymen getting targetted with AAA radar on a daily basis - it wasn't his taxe's paying to maintain the no-fly zones and finally it wasn't him family getting blown to bits at the pizza shop by a homocide bomber whose family got a $25,000 check from Saddam to compensate for their loss

To our German friends the situation was working pretty damn good

Saddam wasn't directly threatening them and the terrorism he supported only blew jews apart mostly

win win eh


--As far as US arms sales to Iraq, --

The site is SIPRI, Jason, start poking around.

Stockholm International Peace Research Institute

@ James

"200 EUR per semester is what Mohammad Atta & team had to a pay to get an "education" in Germany?"

Again, very mature James. You also were maybe unable to afford a higher education. I see that it is a bad thing to have an extremely affordable higher education system, because everyone knows that just mean you educate future terrorists. In fact, the only people who cannot afford an education are terrorists, and therefore it is the only way to fight international terrorism. All this stuff about education being a way to COMBAT terrorist idealogies is just C-R-A-P. Education FOSTERS terrorism.

That is why Omar Sheikh, the murderer of Daniel Pearl and major terrorist, decided to become a terrorist. It is because he recieved an education at the London School of Economics, in the UK.

If you really thought you were making a logical argument there James, then I am afraid you are beyond help.

Nobody of the pro guys mentioned 09/11 until now but at least the palestinians were mentioned some posts ago.

It is good that you american posters here still belive so much in this war as your troops will stay there a little bit longer and you have to pay in the future alone 15 billions in interests every year for that war (just the costs until today).

Its ok Stefan - we have already paid Trillions to win the Cold War and protect your lazy soclialist ass for the past 40 years - whats a few billion more to prevent the spread of Islamic terrorism to the entire world

You can sit back and gain the benefit while protesting the whole affair from the comfort of your local cafe

You should really check the link Amiexpat provided by the way - some good points made there

That goes for you too Jason - whatsamatta - afraid to answer the many questions that I have asked of you?

I notice you simply ping pong from one juvenile "BusHitlerChimpyMcHalliburton" rant to another

Tell us - would you be protesting for the people of Iraq if you could have stopped the war?

@Rofe

“Funny, but when I read through your fisk of Lehming, I was struck by how many positive things he said. His comments (or rather you selection of his comments) seemed to illustrate quite well what I see as German fascination / revulsion / admiration regarding America. I don't know his body of work (I was under the impression that he is another Peter Scholl-LaTour), but he seems overall to like the US, even if he doesn't understand it completely or agree with it always. (And, truthfully, who does ?)”

As we see in the last paragraph of Lehming’s article, that’s exactly the image he’s trying to peddle. He’s an “objective observer,” between the extremes, earnestly doing his best to understand both sides. Sorry, I don’t buy it. Let’s do a little more fisking of Lehming’s article:

“Laila und Millie sind beim Kleinkindschwimmen, Alter eins bis drei. Sie sind die einzigen Mädchen im Schwimmbecken mit freier Brust. Alle anderen tragen Badeanzug. Auch am Strand dürfen Babys und Kleinkinder niemals nackt sein. Und Frauen, die in der Öffentlichkeit stillen, sollten dies sehr dezent tun. In den meisten Medien herrscht ein strenger Sittenkodex. Derbes und Frivoles gilt als unnötig und primitiv. Freidenker mögen es Prüderie nennen, die Amerikaner empfinden es als Gebot der Sittsamkeit.”

Here Lehming maintains plausible denial. He’s not really buying into the “pruede Amerikaner” stereotype. No-o-o-o, not him. He’s just drawing attention to incidents that (to him) seem to confirm it, just fondling and playing with the stereotype a little, making sure everyone’s aware of it. Sorry, but we Americans have been struggling with racism for a long time, and have become quite sensitive to its manifestations. This is one of them. Should I make that more clear for you? Herr Lehming is a racist. Is that clear enough? “Derbes and Frivoles gilt als unnoetig und primitive??” Give me a break. In the episode of “South Park” I was watching last night, a fourth grade class was portrayed watching as their teacher caused a hamster (a rodent similar to a Lehming) to crawl up the asshole of a character named “Mr. Slave.” Is “South Park” imported from Germany? I didn’t think so. Lehming’s “prudish American” stereotype is about as “innocent” and “playful” of similarly racist stereotypes of “funny” blacks eating watermelon.

“Die aber darf nicht nur einen Dankessatz enthalten. Zu Beginn sollte ein besonderes Erlebnis des Abends gepriesen werden, erst dann folgt der Dank. Auf Deutsche wirkt die Etikette streng. Für Amerikaner ist sie Ausdruck ihrer Zivilität.”

“Auf Deutsche wirkt die Etikette streng”?? Surreal! What bubble has this guy been sealed in for the last few years? Most Germans who’ve lived here for more than a few years become unenthusiastic about going back because they don’t want to deal with the “strenge Etikette” in Germany anymore. Could it be that Lehming’s obsession with what he should put on his “thank you” note is more an expression of his “German” obsession with rules than any supposed “American” concern about etiquette.

“Natürlich, das ist ein Gemeinplatz, muss ein Korrespondent Washington verlassen, um die USA zu begreifen. Aber selbst die Hauptstadt fasziniert. Eine unsichtbare Grenze durchschneidet sie. Die eine Hälfte wird von Schwarzen bewohnt, die andere von Weißen. Die Schwarzen leben in Südost, die Weißen in Nordwest.”

Thanks to insightful comments like this from the Herr Lehmings of the world, lots of Germans who think they know all about race relations in the US don’t have the faintest clue. Meanwhile, as they shake their heads sadly about the oppression of minorities in the US, they never seem to pay much attention to the grotesque racism on display in German media and society every day in their dealings with their own burgeoning minorities. No doubt Herr Lehming could cite statistics to support the assertions in the above paragraph. As Mark Twain once said, there are lies, damn lies, and statistics. As usual in German media coverage of the US, the lie in Lehmings comment is in what he leaves out. Any German tourist with an open mind could get a better idea of race relations here by coming to the Washington area and looking around a little on his own. He will notice that housing discrimination based on race is not even close to the problem here that it is in Germany. He can start by visiting me. I am white, but my next door neighbor and neighbor across the street are black. The neighbors on the other side of my property are white. This is hardly an anomaly in Montgomery County, which borders Washington on the northwest, and where I live. When I go to work, not far from Dupont Circle, I find blacks and other minorities on the job with me at virtually every level of responsibility. I’ve seen and worked in a number of other offices, and the same applied there. It’s far from true that there are no race problems in the US. However, Herr Lehmings one-sided “facts” only serve to obscure the reality.

“Der Glaube an Gott und das Familienglück ist mächtiger als die tägliche Mühsal.”

Here Herr Lehming feeds another treasured German stereotype; that fundamentalist religious fanaticism prevails in the US. The truth is that 40 million of us don’t even believe in God, and of the rest, the majority are anything but religious zealots.

“Oder die Medien: Zu Ronald Reagans Zeiten begann der Aufstieg der reaktionären Krawallos. Der erste war Rush Limbaugh mit seinem Talkradio. Er schuf das, was man eine radikalpopulistische Gegenöffentlichkeit nennen kann. Sie hat den Stammtisch hoffähig gemacht. Inzwischen leisten sich fast alle TV-Nachrichtensender einen erzkonservativen Kommentator. Amerikas Rechte setzt bis heute die Themen und bestimmt den Ton. Das intellektuelle Potenzial etwa der Neokonservativen ist hoch. Die Liberalen wirken vergleichsweise uninspiriert und uninspirierend.”

Quite true, and the reason is that an increasing number of Americans have grown tired of being dismissed as morally bankrupt or incorrigibly stupid every time they dared to think freely or question some sacred cow of the left. We see some prime examples of this attitude that has so palpably caused the left in the US to come to grief in the US in Herr Lehming’s final paragraphs. For example:

“Dort tummeln sich all jene, die überzeugt davon sind, dass Bush ein prima Präsident, Guantanamo nicht schlimm und die deutsche Presse zutiefst antiamerikanisch ist. Unter deutschen USA-Korrespondenten gilt „Davids Medienkritik“ inzwischen als eine Art Qualitätskontrolle: Wer dort nicht ab und zu für seine Kommentare verprügelt wird, macht etwas falsch.”

and

“So verwirrend es trotz aller Affären – Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, Irakkriegs-Begründung – klingen mag: Mein Respekt vor der amerikanischen Demokratie ist weiter gewachsen.”

In the first paragraph we see the familiar rush of the intellectually challenged leftist for the moral high ground. No matter that Medienkritik has not attempted to dismiss the evils of Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib. No matter that its goal was to put them in perspective, pointing out their obsessive coverage by a German media that, at the same time was turning a blind eye to an extra-judicial Chinese prison system full of brutally mistreated political and religious dissidents, the continued existence of a Gulag for political prisoners in Cuba, and the atrocities in Chechnya. As for any attempt to actually debate or address Medienkritik’s well-documented claims of anti-Americanism in the German media – fuggedaboudit!

In the last paragraph we get the usual disingenuous bull about respect for American democracy in the very same sentence Lehming uses to emphasize the stories that really matter to him – Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib, and Irakkriegs-Begruendung. So you think Lehming “likes” the US, Rofe? Sorry, but I must insist we be allowed to choose our own friends.

Sorry Jason, but I wasn't the one that brought up the 200 EUR fee:

"And if you were to take advantage of an education (perhaps you could not afford one - don't worry, foreign students have to pay the same 200 Euros a semester as the Germans) you would know that terrorists now have clout where they never had clout before. "

The origin of this mature behaviour is you. By the way, were you not once named Klink or Jo?

@ Ray D

"When Saddam sent $25,000 to families of Palestinian suicide bombers that wasn't terrorism? "

Oh please, what a load of crap. Most Middle Eastern Nations you trade with (Saudi Arabia) and have excellent relations with have donated far more to Al Qaeda causes, and if you look at the top men wanted in the Al Qaeda and other terrorist organisations, a majority of them are Saudi. So don't try and say a 25,000 dollar cheque proves a relationship with Al Qaeda. Even your own government gave up that wet dream.

"Really? Even though much of Al-Qaeda's senior leadership has been killed or captured and scattered? Where is your evidence of that? If that is true, why hasn't there been another 9/11?"

HEHE.....This is another statement that just made me laugh. And you try to be a KRITIK? What is the world coming to? I guess to prove the existence of terrorism, there has to be another 9/11. And once an Al Qaeda member is executed, there is no one else in the Islamic world to take his place. And the many, many attacks taking place in Iraq (today, 61 people have been killed) are not the work of terrorists, they are obviously the work of Saddam supporters.

The reason you will not be able to change people minds here is that they are not so mind-numbingly stupid as the readers, commenters and writers at this site. They are able to see through an argument such as "if there were still terrorists, there would have been a 9/11." I guess now YOU don't count Iraqi deaths as being caused by terrorism.

And about the Russians. So just because the Russians were in control of Afghanistan, it was okay to supply the mujahideen with arms. Because they were legitimate, could be trusted, and were not people who themselves carried out atrocties against their own people (women especially). This approach, supporting someone simply because you share a common enemy, sure helped a lot when these mujahideens later formed the Taliban and alliances with Bin Laden, equipped with weapons handed to them by the US. Very intellegent decision making, arming radical Islamites. (Of course, they are not murderers or evil people when the US helps them, only when they kill Israelis.)

@amiexpat

"Let us start two world wars, try to extinguish a whole group of people (here comes the American Indian rant - but hey we didn't do it in FACTORIES), and then we'll talk, OK?"

What about Panama? You know anything about that? What about being the only nation on this planet to have used nuclear weapons - twice. And perhaps you know that the original plan the US had after WW2 was to split up Germany into several smaller parts, essetially destroying it. It was only after the Soviet decision to turn the East into a powerful pawn that the US decided to help the West, in order that it could develop into a strong counterpart to the communist East. There was no altruism involved here, just as there is none involved in the Invasion of Iraq. And I'm not allowed to bring up the Native Indians (who are living in excellent conditions in the US now, at least as good as the Jews in Germany) because you shot them instead of burned them?!?! And I guess according to you, we should not be allowed to protest an invasion because our nation had declared two wars previously. Or how about in this day and age, a democratic government carrying out a policy like extraordinary rendition. Or being one of the only developed nations that does not want to abandon land mines. Or going against a signed treaty by developing a nuclear weapons shield. Or being the largest polluter on Earth and not wanting to sign enviornmental treaty, thinking it will harm the US economy, but to hell with the economies of those that take part in the treaty. Or setting up illegal imported steel tariffs, repealin them only after the EU threatens sanctions. Or having prisoners held indefinitely, without any resemblance of a trial, in Guanatanamo.

These are all issues that are completely current. All you can do is to simply bring up the actions of a brutal dictator 50 years ago.

@ Pogue

Youre not worth it.

PS. Good answer on the extraordinary rendition program. That applies to all you Ami's.

Pogue writes:
"Great posting on Abu Ghraib from IraqtheModel"

Omar's article from Iraq the Model that Tom posted is recent (and I heartily endorse peoples' enthusiasm for the site and the Fadhils). I'd like to point out a posting by Omar's brother Ali (an Iraqi physician) from the time when the Abu Ghraib scandal was first breaking. Here's the link.

Ali's posting is particularly interesting in that it reveals a first-hand view, as seen by a staff physician within the prison, of the situation inside.

Ali wrote:
Yesterday a friend of mine, who's also a doctor, visited us. After chatting about old memories, I asked him about his opinions on the current situations in Iraq. I've always known this friend to be apathetic when it comes to politics, even if it means what's happening in Iraq. It was obvious that he hadn't change and didn't show any interest in going deep into this conversation. However when I asked him about his opinion on GWB response to the prisoners' abuse issue, I was surprised to see him show anger and disgust as he said:

- This whole thing makes me sick.

- Why is that?! I asked.

- These thugs are treated much better than what they really deserve!

- What are you saying!? You can't possibly think that this didn't happen! And they're still human beings, and there could be some innocents among them.

- Of course it happened, and I'm not talking about all the prisoners nor do I support these actions, and there could be some innocents among them, but I doubt it.

- Then why do you say such a thing?

- Because these events have taken more attention than they should.

- I agree but there should be an investigation on this. There are other pictures that were shown lately, and there are talks about others that will be shown in the near future.

- Yes, but what happened cannot represent more than 1% of the truth.

- Oh I really hope there would be no more than that.

- No, that's not what I meant. What I'm saying is that these events are the exception and not the rule.

- How do you know that!? I must say I agree with your presumption, but I don't have a proof, and I never thought you'd be interested in such issue!

- I was there for a whole month!

- In Abu-Gharib!? What were you doing there!?

- It was part of my training! Did you forget that!? I know you skipped that at Saddam's time, but how could you forget that?

- Yes, but I thought that with the American troops there, the system must have been changed.

- No it's still the same. We still have to do a month there.

- So tell me what did you see there? How's the situation of the prisoners? Did you see any abuse? Do they get proper medical care? (I was excited to see someone who was actually there, and he was a friend!)

- Hey, slow down! I'll tell you what I know. First of all, the prisoners are divided into two groups; the ordinary criminals and the political ones. I used to visit the ordinary criminals during every shift, and after that, the guards would bring anyone who has a complaint to me at the prison's hospital.

- What about the 'political' ones?

- I'm not allowed to go to their camps, but when one of them feels ill, the guards bring him to me.

- Are the guards all Americans?

- No, the American soldiers with the IP watch over and take care of the ordinary criminals, but no one except the Americans is allowed to get near the political ones.

- How are the medical supplies in the prison?

- Not very great, but certainly better from what it was on Saddam's times. However my work is mainly at night, but in the morning the supplies are usually better.

- How many doctors, beside you, were there?

- There was an American doctor, who's always their (His name is Eric, a very nice guy, he and I became friends very fast), and other Iraqi doctors with whom I shared the work, and in the morning, there are always some Iraqi senior doctors; surgeons, physicians…etc.

- Why do you say they are very well treated?

- They are fed much better than they get at their homes. I mean they eat the same stuff we eat, and it's pretty good; eggs, cheese, milk and tea, meat, bread and vegetables, everything! And that happened every day, and a good quality too.

- Are they allowed to smoke? (I asked this because at Saddam's times, it was a crime to smoke in prison and anyone caught while doing this would be punished severely).

- Yes, but they are given only two cigarettes every day.

- What else? How often are they allowed to take a bath? (This may sound strange to some people, but my friend understood my question. We knew from those who spent sometime in Saddam's prisons, and survived, that they were allowed to take a shower only once every 2-3 weeks.)

- Anytime they want! There are bathrooms next to each hall.

- Is it the same with the 'political' prisoners?

- I never went there, but I suppose it's the same because they were always clean when they came to the hospital, and their clothes were always clean too.

- How often do they shave? (I remember a friend who spent 45 days in prison at Saddam's times had told me that the guards would inspect their beards every day to see if they were shaved properly, and those who were not, would be punished according to the guards' mood. He also told me that they were of course not allowed to have any shaving razors or machines and would face an even worse punishment in case they found some of these on one of the prisoners. So basically all the prisoners had to smuggle razors, which cost a lot, shave in secrecy and then get rid of the razor immediately! That friend wasn't even a political prisoner; he was arrested for having a satellite receiver dish in his house!)

- I'm not sure, from what I saw, it seemed that there was a barber visiting them frequently, because they had different hair cuts, some of them shaved their beards others kept them or left what was on their chins only. I mean it seemed that they had the haircut they desired!

- Yes but what about the way they are treated? And how did you find American soldiers in general?

- I'll tell you about that; first let me tell you that I was surprised with their politeness. Whenever they come to the hospital, they would take of their helmets and show great respect and they either call me Sir or doctor. As for the way they treat the prisoners, they never handcuff anyone of those, political or else, when they bring them for examination and treatment unless I ask them to do so if I know that a particular prisoner is aggressive, and I never saw them beat a prisoner and rarely did one of them use an offensive language with a prisoner.

One of those times, a member of the American MP brought one of the prisoners, who was complaining from a headache, but when I tried to take history from him he said to me "doctor, I had a problem with my partner (he was a homosexual) I'm not Ok and I need a morphine or at least a valium injection" when I told him I can't do that, he was outraged, swore at me and at the Americans and threatened me. I told the soldier about that, and he said "Ok Sir, just please translate to him what I'm going to say". I agreed and he said to him "I want you to apologize to the doctor and I want your word as a man that you'll behave and will never say such things again" and the convict told him he has his word!!

Another incidence I remember was when one of the soldiers brought a young prisoner to the hospital. The boy needed admission but the soldier said he's not comfortable with leaving the young boy (he was about 18) with those old criminals and wanted to keep him in the isolation room to protect him. I told him that this is not allowed according to the Red Cross regulations. He turned around and saw the paramedics' room and asked me if he can keep him there, and I told him I couldn't. The soldier turned to a locked door and asked me about it. I said to him "It's an extra ward that is almost deserted but I don't have the keys, as the director of the hospital keeps them with him". The soldier grew restless, and then he brought some tools, broke that door, fixed it, put a new lock, put the boy inside and then locked the door and gave me the key!

- Did you witness any aggressiveness from American soldiers?

- Only once. There was a guy who is a troublemaker. He was abnormally aggressive and hated Americans so much. One of those days the soldiers were delivering lunch and he took the soup pot that was still hot and threw it at one of the guards. The guard avoided it and the other guards caught the convict and one of them used an irritant spray that causes sever itching, and then they brought the prisoner to me to treat him.

- So you think that these events are isolated?

- As far as I know and from what I've seen, I'm sure that they are isolated.

- But couldn't it be true that there were abusive actions at those times that the prisoners were afraid to tell you about?

- Are you serious!? These criminals, and I mean both types tell me all about there 'adventures and bravery'. Some of them told me how they killed an American soldier or burned a humvee, and in their circumstances this equals a confession! Do you think they would've been abused and remained silent and not tell me at least!? No, I don't think any of this happened during the time I was there. It seemed that this happened to a very small group of whom I met no one during that month.

- Can you tell me anything about those 'political' prisoners? Are they Islamists, Ba'athists or what?

- Islamists?? I don't care what they call themselves, but they are thugs, they swear all the time, and most of them are addicts or homosexuals or both. Still very few of them looked educated.

- Ah, that makes them close to Ba'athists. Do you think there are innocents among them?

- There could be. Some of them say they are and others boast in front of me, as I said, telling the crimes they committed in details. Of course I'm not naive enough to blindly believe either.

- Are they allowed to get outside, and how often? Do they have fans or air coolers inside their halls?

- Of course they are! Even you still compare this to what it used to be at Saddam's times and there's absolutely no comparison. They play volleyball or basketball everyday, and they have fans in their halls.

- Do they have sport suits?

- No, it's much better than Saddam's days but it's still a prison and not the Sheraton. They use the same clothes but I've seen them wearing train shoes when they play.

- Are they allowed to read?

- Yes, I've seen the ordinary criminals read, and I believe the political are allowed too, because I remember one of them asking me to tell one of the American soldiers that he wanted his book that one of the soldiers had borrowed from him.

- So, you believe there's a lot of clamor here?

- As you said these things are unaccepted but I'm sure that they are isolated and they are just very few exceptions that need to be dealt with, but definitely not the rule. The rule is kindness, care and respect that most of these thugs don't deserve, and that I have seen by my own eyes. However I still don't understand why did this happen.

- I agree with you, only it's not about the criminals, it's about the few innocents who could suffer without any guilt and it's about us; those who try to build a new Iraq. We can't allow ourselves to be like them and we can't go back to those dark times.

As for "why"; I must say that these few exceptions happen everywhere, only in good society they can be exposed and dealt with fast, while in corrupted regimes, it may take decades for such atrocities to be exposed which encourage the evil people to go on, and exceptions become the rule.

What happened in Abu-Gharib should be a lesson for us, Iraqis, above all. It showed how justice functions in a democratic society. We should study this lesson carefully, since sooner or later we'll be left alone and it will be our responsibility to deal with such atrocities, as these will never cease to happen.

-By Ali.
(end quote)

Ali Fadhil has since departed his brothers' blog and begun one of his own, named "Free Iraqi," which can be seen here: http://iraqilibe.blogspot.com/

Ali's motto, revealed on his masthead, is: "I was not living before the 9th of April and now I am, so let me speak!" Anyone remember what the significance of April 9 is?

Michael McNeil

Hmmm, that was interesting. I just stepped outside and saw a couple of F-16's cavorting around over Washington. Thought they were just hot-dogging, but it turns out some chucklehead violated DC airspace. They intercepted him and escorted him up the road to Frederick. Could have been a lot worse. I suspect he won't try it twice.

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