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Hear, hear Chancellor Merkel ! A refreshing lack of polemics (and some very nice comebacks, too).


Trading terrorists for hostages is a good way for Germany to fight the war on terror.

If she keeps this up I would expect the media to try to eviscerate her, sooner rather than later.


But that's the dialogue that has to happen here, if ever there's going to be progress (and by progress I mean a move away from knee-jerk anti-Americanism).

I assume her trip will get high profile coverage in Germany, and if she sticks to her guns on points of disagreement with the US but makes very clear the kind of relationship she wants to have - as she did above - then the dialogue will have already taken a major step beyond what we've had for some time.

Color me optimistic, for the first time in a long time.


I am sure that last night’s SPON headline was “Merkel kritiziert Guantanamo.” That headline has been subsequently taken down. However, they just posted an English translation in the English section. As Medienkritik implies, it appears to be much softer on the “Bushies.”

I hope Frau Merkel sticks to her word and comes over here with the intent to rebuild German/American friendship. However, if she intends to come over here to make “Lehre” to embarrass Bush for the sake of the German press, then I expect the U.S. administration to openly attack Germany for its shabby justice system. First, the Germans allowed a 9/11 conspirator to go free for “lack of evidence.” And then recently, they let go of the terrorist killer of a U.S. Serviceman. Apparently, murder in Germany is rewarded with a 16 year sentence.

And just what might be that relationship that she so desires?

Good question Joe. I'm not sure she can answer it either. Anyway, even if SPON changed the headline, the regional press is still spinning it: "Merkel makes strong statement against Guantanamo; criticizes USA."


Sure sounds like playing to the local masses to me.

Given how smart she is acknowledged to be, I am quite sure she knew just how this was going to play in the German media.

At this point, one can say she is much smarter than Gerhard. I sure she will tell the POTUS another story about being close allies, etc.

Will be interesting to see the milage she is going to be able to get out of this.

Well, Expaitca's headline is Merkel to pressure US to close Guantanamo Bay

And Rofe, you might want to rethink that optismic color. The article goes on to say

Der Spiegel also reported that Berlin was pressing for the release from Guantanamo Bay of a young Turkish Islamist who grew up in Germany and went to Afghanistan to fight.

Spiegel said German diplomats in Ankara had contacted the Turkish government to discuss a joint approach towards Washington. The man, Murat Kurnaz, grew up in the port city of Bremen.

Ankara believes that Kurnaz might be released by March. Berlin's own requests for his release have been in vain because Kurnaz does not hold German citizenship, Spiegel said.

Germany's Interior Ministry does not want Kurnaz to return immediately for fear that he would will portray himself as a martyr and make inflammatory speeches in mosques, the magazine said.

So, Germany wants him out of prison, just don't send him back here where he can fuck up relations with the U.S. again?

Where do these people come from? Planet Debbie?

I took two prisoners in December, 1950, in spite of the perils and hardships of taking and keeping prisoners, because of the value of the intelligence a prisoner could produce.
Someone give me one good reason to take prisoners any more.


Actually this would make Germany feel a lot safer.

They could bank this as a terrorist release IOU for some future German hostage. Nothing like having a little credit and postive PR with the terrorists.

The letter to POTUS by Kenneth Stethem, the brother of Robert Stethem, the US service member who was murdered by a terrorist the Germans just released is very much to the point.

You can find it here...

While I do not expect to get a reply from the WH to my own letter, I do hope Mr Stetem will. It will be interesting to see how the WH spins the reply.

>>Someone give me one good reason to take prisoners any more.

Um, to keep Noriega company?

joe, I believe the State Dept. press briefer did acknowledge that State had been aware of the impeding release and had been trying to work with Germany. However, Germany released Hamadi, escorted him to Lebanon before confirming to the U.S. the release was a done deal.


You are correct.

Of course FranZ, would like us to believe Old Martin at the FM's office that this was not a trade for hostage.

Or Q who says justice was served. - Part of the new moralistic Germany that will try crimes that take place anywhere. Much like the Spanish and the other memebers of the chocolate summit in their campagin for universial justice. Here the french, surprisely, are not so bad.

Or maybe even The Frau, who stated Germany will not be blackmailed. I have to assume the 5 million transferred for dear Susan's return was just a goodwill gesture amoung friends. Do you think she believes this?

Maybe the Frua is going to bring Barney something too, as a goodwill gesture?

>>this was not a trade for hostage.

Well, given the timeline Querdenker provided for how the bureauracy had work to effect Hamadi's release, he has me convinced it was not a trade for hostage situation - all of that would have started before what's-her-name was taken.

Didn't know about the $5 million tho - maybe I just forgot? Anyway, I do recall reading that Germany pulled the finding for the "German Cultural Center' she wanted to set up in Iraq. Does anyone know where she is now? Did she ever get around to calling her mother?

Merkel has met Bush before, I believe. He's a straight shooter in private converstaion. After Hamadi and now this report about the Turk, I doubt she'd want to say anything in public that would piss him off before she even gets here.

No, I think that if she retains her public circumspection, the European press will start looking for targets.

BTW, is the German press publishing anything about those attacks on French trains? There have been at least 2 since New Year's Eve. I know it's not supposed to happen in any of the EU countries, being models of social justice and all but just though I'd check.

This American, for one, will avoid German products whenever possible.


There were some conflicting reports about the release date, when the process started and was scheduled. It was scheduled for mid January but was pushed up. One of the reasons this caught the US by surprised. When the US was informed it was a done deal. By changing the dates, this gave the entire Berlin government an opportunity to run their spin on the story.

Of course if you choose to believe Q's timeline then I have to assume you also believe the part about being on parole and under house arrest too.

Equally you are free to believe that nothing can get done in Germany without some long drawn out process. It takes but a phone call. Q would like you to believe the system is so rigid that a phone call could not trigger these events. But remember this is a period of 3 weeks.

I take the position the timing of this push up was because of dear Susan.

Others might view this as The Frua, wanted to put distance between the release of a terrorist and her visit to the US.

It surely would not have made for a cordail meeting if it was done just prior. It would not have gone over well if it was done upon her return to Germany. GWB might have felt he was being made a fool of and this would not have served the purposes of Germany, whatever those might be.

Given dear Susan's glowing reports on her captivity it makes one wonder if this not some wild idea Old Martin thought up in the FM's office. How to generate a good cover story for the release of a murderer of a US service member and still allow The Frau to make her moralizing statements to the POTUS about allies and such.

All in all this is a very clever woman.

>>you also believe the part about being on parole and under house arrest too.

snort Not hardly. I believe I posted that it was equivalent to me being under house arrest in Nordstrom's.

Re: The 'Update" link that David and Ray posted to the VDH article. I like VDH but sometimes I think the man just goes off the rails. This piece reads like mournful regret for a lost love.

Although we Americans think the European Union is a flawed notion and will not survive to fulfill its present aspirations, we hope in some strange way that it does — for both our sakes of having a proud partner in a more dangerous world to come rather than an angry and envious inferior, nursing past glories while blaming others for self-inflicted wounds of the present.

I most certainly do NOT hope the EU survives. It's simply a soft version of collectivism that is antithetical to human freedom. Honestly, the man raises grapes for raisins in California, but sometimes I think he uses them for other things.

For just once, if only for the purpose of theatrics, we would like to urge calm and restraint to a Europe angry, volatile, and threatening, in the face of blackmail and taunts from a third-rate theocracy in Tehran

Not me, babe. Assuming Europe could mount a credible threat, I'm over here cheering them on.

Indeed, so far has global culture devolved in caving to Islamism that we fear that only two places in the world are now safe for a Jew to live in safety — and Europe, the graveyard of 20th-century Jewry, is tragically not among them.

Two? There are TWO places safe for Jews? No. There's one. The U.S. Hanson would have done better to argue that Israel would have made a helluva lot more progress in being safe for Jews if Europe had not succumbed to the seductions of Eurabia.

Either your economy will reform, your populace multiply, and your citizenry defend itself, or not. And if not, then Europe as we have known it will pass away — to the great joy of the Islamists but to the terrible sorrow of America.

He left out one component that is the source of all of this - what Mark Steyn called Civilizational Confidence.



" took two prisoners in December, 1950, in spite of the perils and hardships of taking and keeping prisoners, because of the value of the intelligence a prisoner could produce."

What unit were you with? Did a tour there in 88' myself.

@Niko: Are you saying that there's a new tactic at work? I've kind of been wondering about this myself. It goes like this: Anti-Americanism is now so popular in Germany that the media are going to throw red meat to the wolves no matter what. Merkel, knowing this, can make conciliatory gestures towards the U.S., knowing that the domestic media will put the anti-Ami spin on it anyway. Thus, she has it both ways: she gets to assume the popular position at home through the help of her media allies, while at the same time, when dealing with the U.S., she can point at the quotes and claim, in all honesty, "I didn't actually say that". Am I being cynical?

@ Niko,

"As for Merkel, I notice that at Medienkritik there seems to be "bad" anti-Americanism (Schröder), and "good" anti-Americanism (Merkel).

Actually, that distinction is utter crap. As I had predicted numerous times, Merkel will continue on the same trail as Schröder. There is nothing in her own career and in the current crop of CDU leaders that suggests she might change course. How Ray and David could defend remarks that effectively play into the hands of America's enemies is beyond me."

So let me get this straight Niko. Not agreeing with the USA on every single possible issue is the equivalent of anti-Americanism? Are you honestly suggesting that Ms. Merkel has no right to disagree on anything ever? That would mean every world leader everywhere throughout history must be "anti-American" including every German Chancellor since Adenauer.

Here's my take: I do think that PI was right to question the timing of Ms. Merkel's statement and that is why I supported the open letter. However, I do think that Ms. Merkel is expressing honest (but poorly timed) criticism and that is her good right. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack himself just stated: "I think everybody hopes we get to a point where we don't need facilities like this." So is he a raving anti-American as well because he would like to see a world without Guantanamo? Is he playing into the hands of America's enemies? Get serious and have another look at Jeff Gedmin's outstanding thoughts on this.

To this point I see absolutely no evidence that Angela Merkel is a habitual exploiter of anti-American sentiment in Germany (as Gerhard Schroeder clearly was) and I therefore refuse to label her so. To do so would be to disinform our readers because the opposite is true. During the Iraq War, Ms. Merkel suffered massive political losses on a personal and party level to support the United States. Throughout her career she has supported strong ties with the United States. For you to call her "anti-American" has no basis in fact or historic record. That's my take.

"Oh, one more thing. How come that Medienkritik signed the open letter here that calls the horse a horse? In the article above you write, "Despite her criticism of Guantanamo, Ms. Merkel is clearly not interested in exploiting anti-American sentiment for political gain." However, the open letter states, "Durch Ihre im Spiegel veröffentlichte Kritik an Guantanamo hat unsere Zuversicht allerdings einen erheblichen Dämpfer erfahren."

I don't see the contradiction. Again, I don't see Ms. Merkel's statements as inherently anti-American or as part of some larger pattern of anti-Amerianism on her part. But at the same time I certainly think her statements exhibited poor timing and put a heavy damper on the upcoming visit to Washington. Stefan is absolutely right to warn Ms. Merkel about falling-in too closely with America-bashers and Bush-bashers in the German political landscape and taking the road that Gerhard Schroeder made into a career.

"Also, note the wording of her statements. While she said that Guantanamo in its present form must be closed, the media interpreted by using the headline, "Merkel: Close Guantanamo!" Neither Merkel nor her spin doctors objected to that."

Yes. Those were Merkel's words. And yes, the media did take them totally out of context and spin them. (Wow, that's never happened before in politics...right Niko?) But are you honestly suggesting that Merkel and her so-called "spin doctors" could have gotten German media to change their headlines even if they had objected? Do you honestly believe that they have that kind of power or that the media would have listened? Time to get off fantasy island...

@ Niko,

No, I don't believe that all German politicians are anti-American and I don't beleve that Ms. Merkel is anti-American. Again, there is no historic evidence upon which to base such a presumption.

"She does not believe in pre-emptive apprehension of suspect terrorists. She does not believe in the concept of Guantanamo, not just its execution. Mrs Merkel believes that suspect terrorists should be freed from foreign prisons as long as they don't enter German soil.

You are putting quite a few words in Ms. Merkel's mouth there. First off, I think it's ridiculous to say that she believes terrorist suspects should be freed as long as they don't enter Germany. Show me where she says that. And as far as pre-emptive apprehension of suspect terrorists goes, what exactly do you mean by that and where does she say she opposes it?

Finally, as far as Guantanamo (and Mr. Kurnaz) goes, Merkel clearly stated that she does not think people should be held there in the long-run. Her argument is that she believes that zones in which there is no established set of civil liberties (including the right to legal defense and trial) should not exist in a democracy. One can agree or disagree with her on the wisdom and accuracy of that, but I don't think one can call her "anti-American" based on that. Again, she has a long record that clearly indicates she is anything but anti-American and has paid a heavy political price at times because she supported the US when it was extremely unpopular to do so (as in 2003). That isn't spin, it is simple fact.

What I find odd about this whole discussion is the sense of disconnect from reality I get. Yes, German politics is frequently anti-American, and maybe Merkel isn't as silly as Schoeder, or maybe she is, I don't know.

But then you link to VDH and Steyn articles, which predict the end of European civilization as we know it, in maybe a generation. A set of problems that sort of dwarf pretty much anything else. Furthermore, Europeans don't seem to be serious about doing anything about this.

So why should I (an American) care what any European thinks? My time is better spent preparing for a world without you (i.e. building relationships with Australia and India, promoting democracy in the M.E.). Not that most Americans spend much time thinking about Europeans, or care what they think even if they do.

@ Niko:

"I never wrote that. Mrs Merkel is not anti-American just as Mr Schröder is not anti-American."

From Niko's first comment:

"As for Merkel, I notice that at Medienkritik there seems to be "bad" anti-Americanism (Schröder), and "good" anti-Americanism (Merkel)."

Riiight...so now they aren't "anti-American" themselves, they are just "giving-in" to their evil advisors. Sure. That argument must have taken a lot of thought.

Anyway, as far as the Kurnaz case goes, I don't know all the details, but I'm inclined to say I would probably oppose Ms. Merkel on that particular case. My difference of opinion with her on any individual issue, however, does not convince me in the least that she is anti-American or even involved with the anti-American "mob" in Germany. Her background and history contradict that assumption. I certainly hope that, in the future, she does not give in to the temptations and the potential gains of exploiting populist anti-American resentments in Germany. But so far I see no evidence that she is doing so and I refuse to jump to unfounded conclusions based on one difference of opinion.

And is it your point that I can have some noticeable effect on these trends? European politicians are notoriously dismissive of the views of American politicians. You might even say that's a defining characteristic of an "elite", as you rightly label them.

I disagree. Nothing I (through my elected officials) say or do will cause Europeans to suddenly start having babies or realize the danger of tolerating the intolerant.

Or is it your point that Europe is currently helping in the war on terror, and so America should humor them for the time being? Certainly countries like France, when push comes to shove, can be very viscious on a local level. Far more so than would be tolerated in the US. But you are extremely unhelpful, in fact obstructionist, when it comes to dealing with terrorism internationally.

You will be a breeding place for terrorists no matter what I do. My energies are better spent elsewhere, unless and until, you show some signs of embracing reality.

...since that sounds pretty harsh, I'll add that I'm not happy about this trend. And I'd like to be convinced otherwise. But I'm not optimistic.

@ Niko:

"Alright, so you don't see a larger picture here when Merkel demands the closing of Gitmo "in the long run", and the release of a suspect terrorist who, in the own words of Germany's Interior Minister, poses a threat to Germany?

Mrs Merkel is not undermining the US war on terror efforts. Nothing to see here. We can all go home. Good that Mrs Merkel did not cave in to anti-American sentiments."

Again, I disagree with Ms. Merkel on this point and it may be that she is undermining the war in terror, albeit unintentionally. But I don't think that she is anti-American because of it or exploiting anti-Americanism. That's the point of the post. If you want to continue chasing your argumenative tail on other issues, be my guest.

And the leader of Germany supports a UN seat for Germany?! How dare she! That proves she must be a rabid anti-American!

On Iran, I think the Bush administration has also stated it believes a patient and firm approach on Iran is appropriate.

As far as Kyoto goes, Clinton supported it too. Does that make him anti-
American or just mean he had an honest difference of opinion with his political opponents? I'm not a big fan of Clinton's, but I wouldn't call him an anti-American.

Ray, Clinton supported Kyoto? Well, in the sense that it has, and always has had, zero chance of going anywhere here in the US, Clinton 'supported' it (being the brilliant tactician that he is).

Niko, well, now you're talking domestic politics here in the US. That's something else entirely. I don't think what you suggest has any effect on Europe's future.

@ Niko,

I'm not cutting Ms. Merkel any more slack than anyone else. If you want to say that she is on the same level with Gerhard Schroeder and that their respective histories show no differences when it comes to their respective approaches to the United States, please, be my guest. Just don't expect anyone here to take you seriously.

PS: I've also never seen Ms. Merkel do this or this or this.


Actually I am not sure if it matters what her views are. It is going to be more of what her actions are and will be.

At this point in time, my assessment is at best they are the same as Gerhard. She has however not yet reached his level. Her actions are actually worse than his to this point.

Merkel's government released a murderer of a US service member. This is an act of what? Why? Following the law. This is a bit of a slippery slop to build a position on.

Germany did not do that under Gerhard.

This release was done over the objections of the USAG. Which of course, one is confronted with the question of do we believe the USAG or do we believe Berlin? Berlin has stated this was in effect not true.

So just who do you believe on this RayD?

What standard are we to use in judging her? Is the standard going to be that she is not as bad as Gerhard? I would say that bar is really low. It is even low for most Europeans. I would also hope you would have a higher bar than that too. It appears you do not.

And just what else has she done? I really do not know.


>> But Guantanamo Bay serves a purpose.
(from the State Dept. briefing).

Yes it does. It keeps terrorists out of civilized society when civilized countries consider 19 years equivalent to a life sentence and returns them to the womb the bred them.

And it's not just Stethem. It's Munich. Now this non-German citizen Turk that Germany wants nothing to do with, except the kudos it would get from its fellow EU appeasers for helping in his release - but not to Germany of course.

So, yes, I can imagine Merkel wants better relations with the U.S. Schroeder sure as hell couldn't have got this scum released.

And yes, I can agree that 'long term' no one wants Gitmo to be necessary. But releasing these guys is going to make that 'long term' a hell of a lot longer.

That Merkel doesn't 'exploit anti-Americanism' is the key here. She won't play the carnival barker to the suckers in the crowd. But she's still running the carnival freak show.


You said.... "Assuming Europe could mount a credible threat, I'm over here cheering them on."

Is this the EUDF that FranZ keeps talking about?

I did not know they had reached a stage where they could conduct combat operations.

Well Merkel and Clinton do have one thing in common. They are both moral cowards.

Using your example RayD, had Clinton actually supported Kyoto while he was President he would have worked to have had it ratified. Given at the time of the signing the democrats held a majority in the US Senate. You could say the same about the ICC.

Why did he sign either of the documents knowing he would not press to have them ratified? He was playing to his base.

Merkel with both her actions and her comments is doing the same thing. She fully knows her base and the majority of Germans are anti-American. Her fear is it might be on her watch that the US actually does something to end this farce of being “allies”. Otherwise she will do just as little as possible to support the US. Just as her predecessor did.

I really think she fails to realize given German behavior over the last few years there are more people paying attention to what goes on in Germany. Equally I think she like Gerhard fails to realize how much the world is wired.


There is a little bit of coverage in the frog press. The reason for this was there was another round of “youth unrest” over the weekend.

What is equally interesting is the coverage of the release of their hostage in Iraq. They use to most general of terms to describe his release as a result of US Iraq joint operation in the area he was being held. This force was looking for weapons and terrorists. When his kidnappers saw this force they ran.

What is more interesting is he stayed around upon his release helping the US forces in trying to identify his kidnappers and aiding in their capture.

Of course his release could be staged based on the belief that Merkel is going to secure the release of another terrorist during her WH visit.

I cannot say if this has been covered in the German M$M or not. I dare say if it has it has not gotten much coverage. It would embarrass the french. Germany is france’s closest ally and they would not want to do that.

@ joe

"Merkel's government released a murderer of a US service member. This is an act of what? Why? Following the law. This is a bit of a slippery slop to build a position on."

German law is the problem in that case. The murderer in question received a ridiculously short sentence years ago long before Merkel ever came to office. Merkel had nothing to do with the initial sentence. Blaming her or her government for his recent release makes about as much sense as blaming Bush for the Tookie Williams execution (unless, of course, hard evidence is uncovered that he was intentionally released early to appease terrorist kidnappers in Iraq). As things were, Merkel was not about to jump in and alter German law.

@ Niko,

So now your argument is the CDU isn't perfect, so they are just as bad as the SPD when it comes to transatlantic relations? What's your point? We all know that you don't like Merkel or the CDU. So what?

My point is that the CDU, despite Merkel's criticism of Guantanamo, is not exploiting anti-American sentiments in Germany as Gerhard Schroeder's government clearly and repeatedly did. So far you have provided nothing convincing that contradicts that in the least. Having a difference of opinion on the issues is not, in itself, an act of anti-Americanism.

In fact, if you look over your comments thus far, the only thing you've contradicted is yourself. You say you never put Schroeder and Merkel on the same level, yet in your very first comment you write:

"As for Merkel, I notice that at Medienkritik there seems to be "bad" anti-Americanism (Schröder), and "good" anti-Americanism (Merkel).

Actually, that distinction is utter crap. As I had predicted numerous times, Merkel will continue on the same trail as Schröder. There is nothing in her own career and in the current crop of CDU leaders that suggests she might change course."

Here is my point: So far Merkel has not engaged in the cheap populistic anti-Americanism that marked the Schroeder government. Despite her criticisms of Guantanamo and disagreements on a few other issues, she seems genuinely interested in improving relations and has not gone out of her way to damage them as her predecessor did.

And here is the fundamental flaw in your argument: The American side is clearly of the opinion that Chancellor Merkel is, IN FACT, improving bilateral relations. We need look no further than Mr. McCormack's statements above for confirmation of that. If Ms. Merkel was really just as bad or almost as bad as Schroeder and just another member of the anti-American "mob", don't you think the American side would be intelligent enough to pick up on that point? I certainly think they would be...

Does that mean that Merkel is perfect or could never possibly move in the wrong direction in the future? Of course not. Anything could happen in the future and I'll be the first to admit that I don't own a crystal ball. But I doubt that Merkel will be as harmful to transatlantic relations as Schroeder has been and I don't think her support for the USA in 2003 can simply be written off as lip-service. That support cost her dearly and continues to cost her in very real political terms.

Via LGF:

Susanne Osthoff, the ex-hostage who exhibited an amazing sympathy for her captors and showed up on German TV wearing a burqa, was apparently a spy for German intelligence. (Hat tip: Killian Bundy.)....

...But both German sources said the real deal involving Osthoff’s release had been the payment of a ransom to her terrorist captors by the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel. The ransom and Hamadi’s release could well constitute a double embarrassment for Merkel on her scheduled “maiden” visit to Washington next week. Washington has always opposed pay ransom money on the grounds that it encourages more kidnapping.....

Wenn man Frau Merkel so hört, könnte man zur Auffassung gelangen, als gehöre Deutschland nicht zur Enduring Freedom Koalition. Als habe das deutsche Kommando Spezialkräfte in Afghanistan bei der Jagd nach Taliban und Al Qaeda Kämpfern in seinem Sektor all die Zeit keinen einzigen Gefangenen gemacht.

Unmittelbar nachdem die Vorkommnisse in Abu Ghraib publik wurden, fragte ich beim Einsatzführungskommando der BW per email über den Verbleib und das weitere Schicksal ggf. gemachter Gefangener nach. Antwort: Insbesondere vor dem Hintergrund der Diskussion um die Gefangenenmisshandlungen wolle man keine Auskunft geben.

Vergessen wir bitte nicht: Die Herauslösung des KSK aus ISAF und Unterstellung unter Enduring Freedom war das Geschenk, das ‘that person’ Struck seinem vergrätzten Kollegen Rumsfeld eine Woche nach der Bundestagswahl 2002 in Washington überreichte, um gut Wetter zu machen. Es war der Beginn des ersten richtigen Kampfeinsatzes deutscher Soldaten seit dem zweiten Weltkrieg und er wurde von den deutschen Massenmedien interessanterweise fast völlig totgeschwiegen.

Wie weiss ist also Deutschlands Weste?

Frau Merkel sollte lieber Waschmittel verkaufen. imho

Perhaps President Bush will mention that in October 1941, the city of Hamburg, Frau Merkel's hometown, deported its Jews by train to the Lódz Ghetto in Poland. Perhaps not.


Actually Merkel's government could have sent the released murderer to a 3rd nation where he could have been sweep up by the US.

What her government did was to release him to the nest of terroritsts he came from AND then only after he was safely there did they inform the US.

You can spin this anyway you want to spin it. You can say whatever you like about who is responsible and who is not responsible.

The facts are that a government lead by Merkel freed a murderer of a US service member. That is the bottomline.

Some how she views this as a way to build trust with the US. I surely do not. I view her actions, the actions of Germany not the actions of an ally but of some nation the US needs to take a much harder line with.

I am indifferent just as the Germans are indifferent to the perverted relationship which exists between our two nations.

She is playing the US as fools. The truly sad part is the US is allowing her to do so. Hopefully at some future point, the US will elect a President who will stop this.

@ PacRim Jim: Why should Bush mention that fact? I don't quite see how it relates to her visit or the discussion here. Btw, Hamburg is hardly Frau Merkel's hometown. She was born there (in 1954), but her family moved to the GDR before she was one year old. She grew up in Templin, so perhaps President Bush will mention Ravensbrueck, even though I doubt he can teach her anything new about that place.

@ Joe: Clinton didn't push Kyoto because the Senate voted 96-0 I believe that in so many words that if he sent the treaty down to them, they would kill it. Even then Vice-President Gore didn't demand a recount. Clinton only fought battles with treaties that he had a chance of getting as we seen with NAFTA.Maybe this is cowardice, but it is also cautious politics.

The Kyoto Kabal loves to blame George for not signing on this shake-down job on the USA's economy(what Kyoto is designed to do initially) when it was the Senate under Clinton that rejected the treaty. Maybe the political thing to do was Bush to sign it knowing that it would be killed anyway? That wouldn't had appeased his foreign critics, and neither would it had appeased the critics if by a snowball's chance in Hades the Senate would had approved Kyoto.Kyoto, not signing it, was one of the very few major things that I'm with George on.


Thank you. Everything you related in your post is not news to me personally. Still I think it is important that it be said over and over to enlighten our German "allies" as they seem to get confused so easily about this and so many other topics.

I also hope you are with the POTUS on the equally flawed ICC. Another unilateral action by our so-called “allies”.

My reference to Clinton was he shared the same lack of moral courage being displayed by what now seems to be normal acceptable leadership level the German people select and toss up to the world.

The Frau has to this point has shown she too lacks moral courage. She has done nothing that the majority of the elites and masses in Germany do not fully support. When comforted with a difficult decision she has so far done nothing more than punt.

RayD wants to sell the position The Frau is not anti-American. He uses an extremely low standard of comparing her to Gerhard. Even with the bar set so low it appears to be too high for her to clear. I view the actions she has taken to this point not what she has said.

So while there might be some room to disagree on what she has said in reference to whether she is or is not anti-American, her action clearly state she is. Not that it really matters what she is. Just as it matters little if the German people are or are not.

Another test of moral courage will be what to do with Iran. I personally expect no support from Merkel on this other than making a rather weak referral to the UNSC if that.

Should this happen then Germany will be able to say it has done all it could to protect the world. I am sure they will believe that and add a few more meters to their mountain of moral certitude.

Her preferred course of action is to do nothing and to continue trading with Iran. Just as she will do nothing with Russia other than to make noise and behind the scenes secure energy supplies for Germany at the expense of the rest of Europe.

So if some form of hard action is required, we all know The Frau will not be one of the supporters of this. She will be the head cheerleader condemning those who do.

@ Niko

"Throughout this whole thread I refered to Merkel by her current deeds, i.e. the demand of the release of a suspect terrorist, and the closing of Gitmo "in the long" run."

And that is my point. Despite some deeds we may not agree with or that demonstrate disagreement with the US government, Ms. Merkel is still not exploiting anti-American sentiment as her predecessor did. You've presented us no evidence to the contrary.

"Yeah, her support is so real and there are so many instances that I can't think of any at the moment. Neither can you, because, you know, I've re-read this whole thread, and you didn't cite any actual deed by Mrs Merkel to underscore that argument."

I'm judging her on her statements and past deeds. As far as deeds as Chancellor, she's been in office for less than two months and we don't exactly have much to work with. Put differently, I don't consider the Kurnaz position or the Guantanamo position to be evidence that she is exploiting anti-Americanism. It's really that simple.

"Despite your self-delusions I don't think that anyone of your readers buys into your line of argument."

Whether the readers buy into my argument or not is for them to decide, not for you. The stats of this blog would seem to indicate that they see quite a lot of value in our arguments. So I'll leave it at that. I've made my point.

I agree with RayD that Merkel is not exploiting anti-American feelings like Schröder did. However, from not being anti-American to being a staunch ally of the US in the WOT is a very long way. I hope she will get started on it real soon. I don't mean follow America, but stand by her side. So far there has been no real substance, just nicer words than the ones coming out of Schröder. Strong partnership means a lot more than than that. She's been on the job a short time, but soon we'll find out if she means business or if she is happy with lukewarm relationships.

WDIK and I have very similar thoughts on this entire discussion. He posted his first. This was what I had written.

Well it is decided. Merkel is not exploiting anti-Americism like Gerhard did. This is the new standard. We will only listen to her words. We will all become European confusing words with actions. Actions are unimportant.

The operative word here is EXPOITING.

Of course, she really does not have to exploit anti-Americism. There is no need to do this. The current environment in Germany does not require it.

Anything she says that is not strongly pro American will be read as being anti-American by the masses. One only has to look at how her remarks were reported in the German M$M. Unlike other national leaders in Europe, such as Tony Blair, Merkel lacks the moral courage to comfort issues which are unpopular but which, hopefully she knows are right. If she does not know these are right, then it matters little what her position is.

Her silence on this does not make her any less anti-American than Gerhard. It just means she is not really anymore of an “ally” or that Germany is anymore of an “ally” to the US under her government than it was in the previous one.

She is doing nothing more than following the well-established path of being an “ally” to the US.

It is unfortunate the US has “allies” of this nature.

Niko, I was with HqHq CO, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division.

As for closing Gitmo, how about when the war is over like any other war prisoner camp? Some of the prisoners we released in response to pressure went right back to war against us.

During the Cold War, nations learned that whacking Uncle Sam was safe while Whacking Uncle Joe got you whacked back. Any financial aid we give should have been conditioned on good behavior.

Did Ray actually say Clinton supported Kyoto?

Oh please - this was just politics by a master politician - he expended zero political effort and capital in getting the Democratic controlled Senate to approve this treaty

He signed it with the full knowledge it would ever pass - and made no effort to get it to pass.

Compare this to NAFTA - which, to his credit, he did sign and work to get passed.

Please - stop saying Clinton supported Kyoto - he never did

thank you for pointing out that Merkel has no anti-american sentiment. i enjoyed your dispute with niko. I absolutely agree with you. great work!

ist es nicht ehrlich - schon vor dem USA-Besuch - die Haltung Merkels zur Zukunft Gitmos auch öffentlich zu bekunden? Ehrlicher geht es doch wohl kaum, oder?
Ich persönlich habe die damalige Einrichtung des Gefangenlagers auf Kuba für gut befunden, heute überdenke ich das dort geübte Prozedere. Ich bin deshalb kein Anti-Amerikaner, oder?

it is always funny to see how you spin reality to fit your obsession "Germany is not an alley of the US".
What ever Merkel says, you won't care, you'll fit and spin it to prove your theory. I wonder why you hate Germany so much, i really do.


What ever Merkel says, you won't care

You're right ! What she says is irrelevant, what really matter is what she does.


Well yeah, i agree. but so far, she did what she said. its not irrelevant what she says, you better believe it


>>"Oh please - this was just politics by a master politician - he expended zero political effort and capital in getting the Democratic controlled Senate to approve this treaty"

This is simply flat out wrong. I'm not a great fan of Clinton one way or the other, but the claim that he put no effort into coming up with a workable Kyoto agreement is simply false. If anyone was really cynical and insincere about Kyoto it was Schroeder and the SPD. You'll find chapter and verse on the serious effort Clinton devoted to salvaging some kind of a Kyoto agreement in a series of good contemporary articles on the subject in "The New Republic," among other places. Kyoto was torpedoed by the Europeans, who insisted that real sacrifices to lower greenhouse emissions only be demanded of US businesses and workers.

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