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Very good to hear that Otto is at least talking some sense. One must remember, however, that Schily was the legal mouthpiece for the Red Army Fraction and the Baader-Meinhof gang. He didn't show a great deal of sympathy for the USA or for Judeo-Christian values at the time. If he's actually changed, great.

Remembering Otto the seventies radical prompts a further thought. Operations like the RAF and the Red Brigades were largely financed by Soviet intelligence agencies. Maybe the most effective way for the USA to get better treatment from European politicians is simply to bribe some of them. It seems to have worked for Saddam.

This really is a disconnect for Schily. I think he sees Schroeder going down in flames and wants to be on the Good side of history...

Bravo for Herr Schily. I wish this were less of a rarity among the German intelligentsia.

People grow up. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt. I did some rather stupid things when I was young too. I grew up. Thank you for not delivering yet another knee-jerk mindless attack Mr Schily.

Some leopards do change their spots. An American radical at Berkley in the sixties, David Horowitz, is now an out spoken conservative speaker and brilliant author who now exposes the left for the charlatans they are.

Jane... Horowitz was the first person who popped into my mind when I read this. I thought, "Welllll... someone else has come around..."

For now, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt :).

And he certainly gave the media an a@@-whoopin'...

Too late. The German lefties in the government and press were successful in destroying the accumulated frienships between the U.S. and Germany.

Stop talking about "friendship" between 2 different countries or nations! Every country will do what is best for its own people, no matter what other nations think about it!
Friendship can be between people from usa and germany or germany and france etc. but not between the nations!

So, anonymous, you want to tell us here there is no such thing as "alliances"? Where have you been for the last 60 years? Alliances can come together when two or more countries figure out they both would benefit from one. The question is only why and which benefits. Frankly, what you are saying here sounds very much how people were talking short before WWI broke out. Though, even there you had alliances. How about thinking before posting instead of just talking bull? I could as well go and tell you the earth is flat, in four sentences, each with an exclamation mark. Would I have a point? No.

del.

Note from David: r, first thing Monday morning I will contact DTAG to check your IP address 84.176.225.46 (and some other IP addresses your are using).
Perhaps we can then meet in person?

my guess is this randlose guy is just another left-wing idiot not knowing about the specs of comment management systems...

The situation is absolutely simple. The ramifications are not, but when are they?

We Americans have helped Germans a lot, for a long time and at enormous expense. When we asked for your help, you told us to fuck off and die and called us nasty names. Even for Germans that's a bit raw, so you have to go back and try to rationalize that; thus "Bush planned 9/11" and other idiocies.

We'll remember.

Regards,
Ric

"Stop talking about "friendship" between 2 different countries or nations! Every country will do what is best for its own people, no matter what other nations think about it!"

Okay, you can be a hard core realist, the question is whether the current German government is correctly recognizing the "interests" of the German nation in order to do what's best for Germany and the German people. Was Schroeder "No, never" to assisting the Coalition in Iraq the correct decision? Was sticking his finger in the eye of America the right thing to do?

Schroeder could of said no on Iraq in a friendly way and not do anything to make America's job harder to accomplish. No, he had to actively work against American policy, which was set under Clinton. He can't use Bush as an excuse.

I think this question is the whole point of David's blog. Is the German government (and media) benefiting the German people or leading them into a cul de sac?

To anonymous and Ric Locke: I think the key to understanding what Mr. Schily' speech as a genuine expression of friendship--and the thing that should keep us from falling into the ditch of politics as pragmatic calculus on one side of the road, or of keeping and settling scores on the other--is what he said about our shared roots.

This great struggle in which we are engaged will not ultimately come down to bullets and bombs--as necessary as those will be at times. It will come down to our embracing with gratitude and hope the great tradition of the Judeo-Christian west, which so many of us have disdained for so long in our self-indulgence and unbelief. If we do, we can stand the Islamists or any other threat. If we don't, we'll destroy ourselves without any threat at all. Mr. Schily is one of the few politicians on either continent who seems to grasp this concept. And as an American who serves in my country's armed forces, I am deeply grateful to him for that.

I was very happy to read that piece. It's a great speech. Sure, Otto Schily has been anti-American, as Joschka Fischer has been, but both have understood that they were on the wrong side, and they became deeply convinced of liberalism, as opposed to totalitarism. So what's wrong with this?
For me, the point is that Schily had no chance to fight Schroeders anti-America course openly. Now, as the game is over, he can at least say what he thinks about it. It's a clear sign, and I'm happy to see that he is on the right side - on the side of those who fight totalitarism. Furthermore, Schily is one of the few who have a real understanding of what the islamist thread means. And he is really committed to fight it. He is the only minster in the current German government I will miss. Not for his personality, but for the things he stands for.

PacRim Jim and Ric are right. It's too late, way too late. The Atlantic Alliance is over, so too anythig positive between this country and Germany. Let the Muslims have Germnay, let them have the whole of Old Europe for that mater.

Anon,

"Stop talking about "friendship" between 2 different countries or nations! Every country will do what is best for its own people, no matter what other nations think about it! Friendship can be between"...blah blah blah..."but not between the nations!"

The "friendship" between our "people" and our "nations" is the same. The American people are the American nation. I understand that our "friendship" is not important to you. Thank you for letting me know.

At one time, in the recent past, I thought our friendship was important to me. I thought it was bound with our common blood. That is not important? What do you think the Americans would do if Yugoslavia were to happen today?

Fool, there is an enormous difference between what the American people are willing to do for a supposed or potential friend that we would never do for a self proclaimed enemy. Which are your?

you?

@ulrich-
why would this statement by you be true?
"For me, the point is that Schily had no chance to fight Schroeders anti-America course openly."
Is party-line discourse un-heard of in germany or something?
Any answer would be apprecitated.
Schilly, at this time, is simply trying to save his own ass and trying not to be included in the overall europe that is truly, once again, on the wrong side of history. For a man to make comments like his NOW, means NOTHING in the face of the overall german economic and cultural coma.
Comments like this MAY have helped only during this recent failed german 4 year offensive, afterwards it means nothing.

@ Pato:

The wrong side of history? Says who? Screw what the US thinks of Germany. Screw what YOU think is the wrong side of history, or the wrong side of God. Cultural coma??? Nothing could describe the prudish US better. (Well, coma implies that things were once better, so that is acutually false). I agree with PacRimJim, things are too late, get the message, get your troops the hell out of this country, and screw your crusades.

@Jacko,
I fully agree with your comment to get our troops the hell out of your country. Unfortunately, it is 60 years too late.
I always wonder what would have happened had the US given Germany to Russia? Things would have been so much better for Germany. No unemployment, a wonderful life, good Borscht, no capitalistic Swine like American companies to take advantage of those poor German workers, etc.
The list could go on.
I guess instead of the Marshall plan the Stalin plan would have been preferred.
Yes, get our troops out of this Hellhole. Also bring our American companies back home where they are appreciated.

Memo:

To: Otto Schilly

From: Gerhart Schroeder

Subject: Dude, What the Hell?!!

It has come to my attention that certain members of our coalition have actually been saying that politicial, military, cultural and commercial relations the Unites States of America has actually had a positive effect on Germany. If the SPD is to have any chance of avoiding going the way of Opel and Wim Wender's film career, this must stop immediately!!

How else can we cover our myriad failings of the German electorate if we cannot use such tried-and-true caricatures as "cowboy Bush", "the fat and ignorant American", and lists of American "locust capitalists" to distract the German voter from the political, cultural and economic problems that we have failed to address?

For example:

1. Unemployment. Unfortunately, people do have me on videotape making saying that if the Red/Green coalition couldn't lower unemployment, we would deserve to be kicked out of office. Just goes to show what those hair coloring fumes will do to a guy's clarity the morning after a dye job! But I learned my lesson after that! Now, I just talk about the superior compassion shown by the German social model! Thankfully, with so many people out of work, there are literally millions of examples of "compassion" walking the streets of Germany! Well, they walk the streets when they are not home watching state-supported media. (Note to Meuntefering, can we pitch state-supported media "for the unemployed" as more compassion?"

Let's hope that the average German voter doesn't look at the numbers indicating that between falling employment, expanding numbers of retirees and a shrinking working age population, the average German worker will be paying 843% of his income in taxes by 2050!

(Note: By the way, I have started planning our media campaign for when the number of retirees and unemployed exceeds the number of working Germans. At that point, we will rename the Red/Green coalition the "Gray/Pink Slip coalition". Since the focus of the Gray/Pink Slip coalition will be draining the pockets of remaining productive workers, we will brand them with the tag "locus capitalists" and accuse them of being agents of that excessively hark-working American economic model. I mean, really! Imagine the nerve of these workers taking only 6 weeks a year off, compared to the 52 workless weeks the rest of our population will enjoy as a result of our caring social democracy!)

2. Europe. OK, the rumblings are beginning from those who remember that most Germans were against abandoning the Deutschmark for the Euro. How were we to know that the Italians and Greeks would make no effort to reform their finances and economies? I swore that asking them to do so was placed on Romano Prodi's to-do list! I clearly remember Romano saying "The Paisan love me! Just let me handle this. They will do anything I say!"

Unfortunately, I think his to-do list was confiscated by the police when they served a search warrant on his apartment, during one of those EU corruption scandals. The to-do list was lost, oddly enough with all the other evidence the police got during the search, from the Brussels P.D. property room.

And now we have this whole French referendum thing! It's embarrasing as hell to think that the French can have a referendum for their people, when they were the ones who dreamed up the idea of Europe being run by unelected commissioners backed up by a court whose members are not vetted by any democratic body and a parliament that inspires 30% voter turnouts whenever there is a Euro-election. Meanwhile, Germany has no referendum at all! Well, thankfully, the French leadership seem to have no interest in following the suggestions of their voters when it comes to the EU, just like us Red/Greens!

In the meantime, since the SPD doesn't have any original ideas on what WE would like the EU to do differently, we will continue to follow our traditional policy of "If Paris spits, we swim!"

3. Culture. Boy do I feel superior that the FBI can go Muslim-American communities in places like Dearborn, Michigan and Orchard Park, New York, conduct thousands of interviews and find nothing more than a few immigration cases and some unpaid parking tickets! It seems that Muslim Americans actually LIKE being Americans! For some reason, they feel that their religious beliefs are generally respected by their fellow Americans, that they can make a place for themselves in American society, and that they can actually make a better life for their families by becoming small businessmen and professionals!

Thankfully, in Germany, we have moved beyond having respect for ANYONE's religous beliefs, that immigrants can ever be accepted as "real Germans", that professional status can be achieved without a process involving 15 years of your life and the donation of a couple of surplus organs, and that small business owners have anything to offer society other than employment opportunities for the army of bureaucrats, tax collectors and labor representatives that now make up the majority of our economy!!

Meanwhile, we have positive polling numbers from our own Muslim minority--currently 7% of them feel that Goethe, Guttenberg bibles, Beethoven and Bauhaus are relavant to their lives--up from 6.9% in 1965!! We are increasing our efforts to disseminate our culture to Muslim communities, under the new "7.1 by 2071!" initiative.

On the downside, the number of those in our Muslim communities who feel disenfranchised by such superior German customs as the Church tax, and the exclusion of religous beliefs and faith from political decisions and social behavior remains stubbornly high. Our survey results indicate that 90% responded favorably to the following statement "I'm just waiting for these smug, clueless buffoons to finally really make this country into a little visited economic and cultural museum, instead of a working society! And when they drive themselves into a ditch, I am taking over!" Asked on what they plan to do in Germany are until then, 75% said "What's the name of that new building they are putting up at Ground Zero in New York?".

I'm still trying to figure out what that last answer means...

So, in conclusion, that we really do need the Americans--without them, the politically invaluable population of scapegoats, that is so necessary for German political biodiversity, would collapse! Then there would be nothing between us and our electorate except the truth. (Well, maybe we could bash those Poles and Turks a little more) We simply cannot allow that to happen if we are to avoid being outnumbered in the Bunestag by the neo-Nazis, much less the CDU!!

Your cooperation in this matter is sincerely appreciated.

With Love,
Gerhart

CC: Meuntefering, Fischer

Quote Ulrich Speck : " Sure, Otto Schily has been anti-American, as Joschka Fischer has been, but both have understood that they were on the wrong side, and they became deeply convinced of liberalism, as opposed to totalitarism. "

I do not regard Fischer as having changed his ways.
Schily left the Greens and at least joined the SPD.
As long as Fischer is in the Green Party he is still a half socialist and as a prominent Green member strongly allied with the other Green nutjobs.

He will be defecting, I think, to the SPD soon, but even then I won´t trust him untill he has given substantial and repeated action to counter Green / socialist / anti Western Democracy nonsense.

Despite the positive take that youve (mostly) taken on this and some undeniably heartening words from Otto, I have to disagree with Schillys speech and that it is a positive sign. Just look at the first pargraph again:

"We have only been able to overcome national socialism
and fascism, we have only been able to win democracy,
freedom and prosperity in Europe, because thousands of
young Americans have sacrificed their lives for these
goals. We may not and we Germans will not nor will
Europe ever forget America."

What a load of tripe. Who exactly is the "we" here? That the Nazi regime was correctly stopped by brave US soldiers and the other allies is undeniable but if we look back at the debates on this site over the last few months, especially that on the 8th May and the discussion on Dresden, the consensus here was that the Nazi regime was beaten and the framework for liberation was set BUT that it was up to the Germans themselves now to "liberate themselves" and the general mood is that this process is only just starting and very weakly. This site is constantly giving evidence and signs of this:

The "capitalism" debate and its anti-Semitic stereotypes.
The one sided (lack of) debate in the media.
The Bush=Hitler signs on "Peace" marches.

Just look around Germany for the signs of this, there are many:

The Holocaust Memorial where people dont know, it appears, whether to place flowers or have picnics, allow their kids to run about or sunbathe.

The police presence in front of every synagogue and the complete bunkering in of the US embassy.

The discussions on banning the NPD or not banning the NPD and the growing number of neo-nazis and far-right attacks.

The popularity of the "bombing holocaust" statement and the speeches about Dresden and on the 8th May that lead to Tony Blair giving an interview to the Bild Zeitung warning of the development of a "victim culture"

The constant debate and arguments that surround any form of patriotism and where the boundary to nationalism lies.

The popularity of conspiracy theories and the shocking ammount of anti-Semitism shown in anonymous polls where Israel and the USA are constantly seen as the biggest threat to the world.

The fact that the vast majority of those you ask believe that their grandparents were in the resistance somehow and the complete denial of the past.

I am sure you can all think of many more. Things arent all bad of course and a debate is starting. After all its only a while now that Germany has been reunited but Schilly seems, in my interpretation, to ignore all this. For him this is a "new Germany" with a past that deserves a mention but seems to have no more than a duty in the present rather than a constant. For him denazification is over, finished and rational thinking rules. The Nazi/ Bush comparisons are coincidental as is the support for the Palis and the media bias. For him post-nazism is a positive thing and not a negative reality of a debate that is long overdue and only just beginning.

Germany learnt from 1945 but what it learnt was that war brings destruction and hunger and victimhood. It learnt that if it gets up to bad shit against then it will have the crap bombed out of it and that its had its second chance. It learnt that the Americans were nicer than the Russians (unsurprisingly) but they were still an occupying force. Only when this debate is over in Germany, only when its finished can Germany truly remember those brave soldiers, only then can Germany truly be an ally with the USA and only then can I see Schilly´s words as a positive. Then the enlightenment will be a common heritage and not something that stalled half way. I wish germany all the best, there is a tough road ahead. Sure I think that Ottos sentiment is nice and sure I think a first and important step would be a bit of fair reporting but from someone who sat in power in the time where US-German relations sunk so badly and whose government seem intent on using the past for their own purposes I am very cynical. With Gerhard leaving soon so close to an election to meet Bush at the Whitehouse my cynicism sadly blunts any joy at this speech.

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