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Someone tell me again. I don't quite understand, and I apologize for being dense. Why are we spending billions each year helping to defend Europe?

"Iraq is not Vietnam"

Though alot of people are trying to frame it that way.

From the link:
"Der verlachte George W. Bush scheint im Gegensatz zu Lyndon Johnson vor 38 Jahren die Nerven zu behalten und trotz aller Schwierigkeiten den Irak nicht im Stich zu lassen."

True, however Nixon won in a landslide in Nov. 68' with the promise of an "honorable withdrawl" (putting US troops on a time table) and the democrat Congress withdrawing funding of the ARVN insured a blood bath would ensue.

On the other hand the American Jewish weekly, Forward, calls for President Bush to be impeached and put on trial "for misleading the American people, and launching the most foolish war since Emperor Augustus in 9 BC sent his legions into Germany and lost them".

The author: Martin van Creveld, a professor at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and one of the world's foremost military historians. Several of his books have influenced modern military theory and he is the only non-American author on the US Army's list of required reading for officers.

Note from David: On the other hand, Martin van Creveld has a history of ... let's call it: somewhat irritating remarks (1, 2). Though I must say, he has occasional moments of wisdom, as proven in his book "Das bevorzugte Geschlecht", where he argues that men are unfairly discriminated against by women in numerous economic, financial and political areas (more here:"Men work harder, die earlier and have fewer rights than women"). Do you agree with his conclusions, Amelie? After all, "he is the only non-American author on the US Army's list of required reading for officers".

I have different info on private donations:
http://www.cgdev.org/content/opinion/detail/2960/
US is in the lead before Germany and France, but all are way behind Norway and a few others. I think we need to check both sources.

@James W.: My reply here. I posted it before reading this blog entry.

Signed off till probably Monday.

"He could also visit the Bull Run, Antietam and Balls Bluff battlefields, all within a short drive of his home, and report to us about how the Americans that fought and died there also chose to look away. Perhaps Mr. Schneider has already forgotten that as Americans were putting an end to slavery, German and Austrian monarchs were fighting to dominate one another."

So abolishing legal slavery as one of the last civilized nations on earth somehow proves moral superiority over nations that never had slavery laws and never really participated in the slave trade, but send parts of their admittedly small naval forces to take part in the British led anti-Slavery patrols. Hmh.

The Criminal Code of Prussia and the North-German-League includes harsh punishments for slavery. Several minor uprisings in Imperial German colonies were started as a result of the suppression of Arab slave trade (Arabs selling Africans).

Note from David: Sure. Germany had the best of intentions: "During his visit to Namibia ... German President Roman Herzog refused to apologise for the genocide that all but eliminated the Herero tribe -- forcing its women to become the sex slaves of German colonials to evade death." (Source: The Tribe Germany Wants to Forget)
Von Trotha - does the name mean anything to you, d?

Germans and Austrians were involved in Imperialism. Surprise, surprise, so was the US and everybody else. Duh.

Note from David: Just wondering how Nazi Germany fits into your equation. Nazi Germany imperialism = US imperialism = everybody else's imperialism? Hmm... Nice comparison for Germany. Also, how do you define "slavery"? Would Germany's treatment of Jews fall in that category? If yes, wouldn't that make Germany a candidate for "abolishing legal slavery as one of the last civilized nations on earth"?

I support having a critical view of German media and its tendency of anti-Americanism, but this is just stupid.

Note from David: Depending on the meaning of "this", I tend to agree.

Ray,

Peter Schneider appears to from the Gunter Glass school of German journalism;
I really think your suggestion to him is beyond his ability to grasp because he has no context to compare it too. I might instead suggest the following.

I think a place for him to visit upon his return to the FatherLand is the Luxembourg American Cemetery and Memorial. After he spends a few hours there he can drive toward Hamburg to visit Bergen-Belsen. He can walk through the grave site there. Then he can return to the confines of his nice warm study and using his freedom of intellectual thought consider his and the FatherLand’s own special brand of hypocrisy and contributions to mankind. He might want to reflect on how his nation was responsible for the deaths of more than 70 million people in the last century.

In this moment of moral clarity and certainty he then might consider the meaning of all these graves. How so many died to eliminate slavery? How so many of his own family died to enslave others? Then and only then he might return to visit the sites you suggested.

Yes Herr Schneider is probably an expert on this topic and many others dealing with morality and superiority. I look forward to his next series of articles on the moral superiority of the german tribe.


blue,

Notice how the US ranks last in environmental issues…….

This is just another left of center think tank pushing an agenda. The euros should love it as they put so much weight on the environment.

But please join me trying to get the US out of Germany and NATO. The savings in stationing costs alone of 8 Billion dollars could be used to support better endeavors. Or as one who is paying part of the 8 Billion dollars, I could use it to support causes where I can see real benefits.

"The savings in stationing costs alone of 8 Billion dollars could be used to support better endeavors."

This may well be wrong. Germany, Japan and to a lesser degree South Korea pay significant amounts of money to compensate for said expenditures. Add the creative accounting used by US Forces (The bill presented to Germany for Iraq 1.0 included the costs of victory parades in the US and the over-hour-pay for US LEOs arresting US anti-war demonstrators in mainland US!), and the US may well be making a profit by keeping forces abroad.

Ray, I am sorry to be this harsh - but you do cite selectively and distorting! You have not done so before, why start now? I do not have enough time now but I am going to back this up. Expect more by Monday.

Whoever can read German should follow the link and make up his/her own mind. If you can't use google translation service or similar, it ought to be enough to understand the article.

Yes Peter Schneider focuses on the American brand of hypocrisy. Does he sing a song of praise? No. He does however write near the beginning as well:

Only a hypocrite will claim, that hypocrisy is a specifically American vice. Undeniably it is a universal disposition which will invariably be attributed to someone else: the neighbor, the other party, the other nation - of course this is just another case of hypocrisy. Therefore revealing someone else's hypocrisy and the showcased indignation is always a bit hypocritical itself. Undeniably as well you will find national differences in the kind of hypocrisy shown. You could even come up with a ethnology of hypocrisy: The Italian thief pledging his innocence on the life of his mother while holding the stolen purse; the German pacifist who justifies his opposition to all military means by invoking the lessons of "German history" of all things; the "lupenreine Demokrat" Putin [Schröder called Putin a flawless Demokrat] who puts his political opponents into jail on tax charges. The topic calls for a dedicated series.

Yes, after leading up with this he then goes on and focuses on America. And he goes on after describing the "lying about furniture episode":

If I was asked, what I prefer in the end - a fake American friendliness or an honest German rudeness - I tend to opt for the American offer.
Does this sound a bit different from your excerpts, Ray?

Damn, how am I gonna make up the time. More later.

dumm

You are wrong. I spoke only of the stationing costs. This has nothing to do with other costs associated with US forces in Germany. These costs are all paid for by the US Taxpayer. The total stationing cost is 9 Billion of which you pay 1 Billion.

Forget the secuirty this 1 Billion dollars buys for Germany just look at the economy impact. It is a much better payback than you are getting from your support of Airbus.

Of course, I realize you do not place much value on security. One does not need to look any further than your own defense budget to realize this.

So welcome to the team of getting the US out of Germany and long term out of NATO. You get to save 1 Billion and we get to save 8. We are all winners in this.

@Amalie
he is the only non-American author on the US Army's list of required reading for officers.

Thanks to the very nice man in the Army's Chief of Public Affairs office for helping me find this.

The US Army Chief of Staff's Professional Reading List

He ain't in there sweetie. Now is it possible someone requires him for a class? Yes, of course, but as the Public Affairs guy told me, that would be up to the instructor.

@David
re Creveld: He indeed sounds a bit more like a maverick now. I was just amazed that a man who is described as "mandatory reading" for the U.S. military would utter such strong words about the Commander in Chief.

My own opinion is that I'm deeply worried that the U.S. could lose Iraq. I just don't see reasons to believe that the situation will improve significantly over the next year(s). The Sunnis and Shiites will continue the bloodshed. I believe that the U.S. will just have to stand by, make sure that terror is not financed by oil revenues and wait until Iraqis get tired. Then a new approach may happen.

Of course, the arguments the author made need to be dealt with… since they have, I’ll just add…Is it hypocrisy that social democrats now portray themselves as the vanguard of democracy? I always thought it was a compromise for them to work within the bounds of political liberalism. Ergo, their tendency was still to favor and apologize for illiberal movements (ever notice how many of the US critics also want closer relations with Russia?)… and probably explains their lingering need to attack the state that tends to be the symbol (a sort of archetype) of liberal democracies… the US…

Attacking motives is not a form of reason for refuting arguments. But it can form an explanation for patterns of behavior. In this case, the reflexive need to attack the US for things they wouldn’t attack other states / groups for (including their own group). The frequent charge of hypocrisy seems ironic after looking this over. It reminds me of a quote.

"The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity." (André Gide)

The authors of these anti American articles spin the truth and use double standards to make their points. But the Amis are the hypocrites? I’m not so sure.

Pesonally, I am tired of the constant America bashing. It has gone on too long.
However, I look at the Germberlains in a more somber way, rying to understand them (in vain).
Germany is after all a workers nation. The masses have always been followers. The elites tell them what to do and think.
Raging against America is safe, since we don't persecute anyone. After all we do have freedom of speech and we won't take anyone to court even if he or she proclaimed that Bush dyed is hair.
Railing against Russia or China would not be as easy since there would certainly be recriminations.

Reading the German papers you will always see "WE", "Weltmeister", "Unser" etc. This is done intentially in order to identify the German superiority over everyone else. It hasn't gone away.
Even when it comes to inventions. Germany has invented everything importantin the world regardless of the fact that over the last 20 years Americans have bee awarded 80% of all the nobel prizes. Whenever an American is mentioned thhey always find out if he/she had a great-great grandfather who came from the promised land in order to claim legitimate recognition.
I could go on about hypocracy in Germany to write a book.
Such as America stole the Indians land and murdered them. Fact is that it was the Europeans that did it.
America stole the land from the Mexicans (Texas).
Fact: It was a movement from within wanting independence from Mexico that started that one.
So many myths, so many facts.........

Lou

To answer your question. It is because Americans are hypocrites. If you accept this definition of hypocrisy as
1. The practice of professing beliefs, feelings, or virtues that one does not hold or possess; falseness.
2. An act or instance of such falseness

Americans believe Germans are their allies therefore they spend money for their defense.

I might also add that Americans are stupid as we spend more on defense than the Germans. BUT Germans live in a secure world. It is one that is different than the US lives in.

@ blue, you write:

"Ray, I am sorry to be this harsh - but you do cite selectively and distorting! You have not done so before, why start now? I do not have enough time now but I am going to back this up. Expect more by Monday."

I will be happy to address the parts of the article that you translated. I would argue that they make the entire piece even more dubious. Why? Because those statements are nothing more than token qualifiers written as moral cover behind which the author attempts to establish himself as objective and fair when in fact the true purpose of the article is to provide "Zeit" readers with more of the Hate America prejudice that they have come to expect as media consumers. If you choose to see this article as something other than that, you are free to do so. Just don't expect the rest of us to be as naive.

Blue

There is a problem with your link. The problem is you have chosen to address foreign aid direct to other nations. What your reference fails to capture because it does not fit into your new definition of giving is the contribution I chose to make to the Ronald McDonald House. And I am not sure that is what Ray was writing about.

If you are not familiar with The Ronald McDonald House it provides a "home away from home" for families of seriously ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. Would you believe there are RMDH’s in Germany. It is very possible some of my contribution is going to support German families just as some of it is going to support families in Atlanta.

I made the decision I would rather contribute to this than say to The Palestine Children's Relief Fund. I know in the case of RMDH I am supporting people who care about the happiness and future of their children. With PCRF, I might be supporting a future suicide bomber.

BUT if I were to give to PCRF the organization you used as a reference would consider that to be a better choice on my part.

In fact, you might consider the PCRF to be a better choice. It would appear so by your remarks.

@blue

I was talking about Official Development Aid (ODA), that excludes private donations. It is my understanding (have to crosscheck my source) that in all countries private donations are much less than ODA, whereas your injection implies, that donations are substantial. Can you please back this up with numbers for private foreign aid (totals will do), either in absolute numbers or % GNI?

Private Contributions:

Private contributions, in general donations to charities that fund projects in developing nations, are also important. The OECD estimates that charitable transfers by non-government organizations to developing countries amounted to around $15 billion in 2003. The real total for private giving, however, is likely to be much higher. The U.S. estimates that its private organizations and citizens donated around $22 billion in 2003 to charities and non-governmental organizations operating overseas.

U.S. Assistance Snapshots:

• U.S. ODA has risen faster over the last four years than at any time since the Marshall Plan, totaling approximately $19 billion in 2004.

• The United States is the world’s largest donor of humanitarian aid, providing $3.3 billion in 2003.

• In 2003, the U.S. committed $1 billion in bilateral assistance for the control of HIV/AIDS, $805 million more than the next largest donor. In FY 2004, the U.S. budget for international HIV/AIDS programs totaled $2.4 billion. The U.S. is the largest investor in the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria, and Infectious Disease, accounting for over 30 percent of all contributions.

• The United States is the largest donor to the World Food Program. In 2004, the U.S. contributed over $1.06 billion worth of food aid to WFP, almost 50 percent of the total contributions to the organization.

• U.S. funding for basic education assistance tripled from $126 million in 2001 to almost $400 million in 2004.

• The President’s Global Peace Operations Initiative (GPOI), announced in 2004, is expected to provide $660 million over five years to increase U.S. assistance to peace operations in Africa and elsewhere.

It may be true that many countries did not reach the TARGET of 0.7% GNI for ODA. Then again, who knew in 1970 that America’s economy, for example, would be what it is today. Private donations from the US in 2003 alone are estimated at $22 billion—add to that nearly $400 billion net in goods bought from developing countries. From Ray’s link:

Americans gave $260 billion away in charity last year — that's about $900 per person.

There are many different ways Americans are charitable that are difficult to calculate a total in dollars—Navy ships immediately on the scene to provide tsunami relief (Btw, do those people love us yet?). Who else is capable of such feats? How do you put a dollar amount on the life of a soldier?

Blue, America alone has poured TRILLIONS of dollars over the years into different types of aid for those in need—imagine what international totals are, let’s say, over the last 30-40 years. Money is not gonna buy us love. Look at what all the oil riches has done for countries like Iran and Iraq. I think it’s about something other than money.

The enemy must be defeated. They are not going to be bought. Give them money and they will by IEDs from Iran and such…

>> The enemy must be defeated. They are not going to be bought.

Exactly. They can not be bought. After all, many of them have more than enough money. They could even spend some of that money to improve the lifes of others in those countries. Instead, they are taking advantage of their suffering, like Saddam did when he gave money to the families of "Palestinian" terrorists.

@Pamela

Maybe you check again, under sublist 3? He is there:

Supplying War: Logistics from Wallenstein to Patton / Martin Van
Creveld
Surveying four centuries of military history, noted historian Martin
Van Creveld points out clearly the reasons why “amateurs study tactics;
professionals study logistics.” Most battlefield results would not have been
possible without the careful organization and allocation of logistical
resources. Field-grade officers, warrant officers, and senior NCOs who fail
to consider logistics in all their plans and operations will do so at their
peril.

"Note from David: Sure. Germany had the best of intentions: {SNIP} Namibia ... {SNIP} genocide {SNIP} Herero tribe {SNIP} Von Trotha - does the name mean anything to you, d?"

You are off by about 40 years, the article You quoted talked about the time frame of the ACW and the unique fight of the US to free slaves, contrasting it with the events in Germany and Austria at the time (culminating in the war of 1866). Please read the article. You quoted said article. Read it!

You are obviously not able to argue against the fact that Prussia/Imperial Germany acted against slavery. So You try to build a strawman by attacking the inhumane treatment of its colonial subjects in the next century, going off-topic again. But I agree, Germany behaved in a terrible and evil way. See e.g. the US in the Philippines, Belgium in the Congo, France and England all over the world.

---------------------

I said:"Germans and Austrians were involved in Imperialism. Surprise, surprise, so was the US and everybody else. Duh."

"Note from David: Just wondering how Nazi Germany fits into your equation. Nazi Germany imperialism = US imperialism = everybody else's imperialism? Hmm... Nice comparison for Germany. Also, how do you define "slavery"? Would Germany's treatment of Jews fall in that category? If yes, wouldn't that make Germany a candidate for "abolishing legal slavery as one of the last civilized nations on earth"?"

Now You are off by 80 years, and again off-topic (imperialism <> holocaust), but this is Your blog, So I shall respond.

I define slavery in the way the Romans and Greeks did, treating humans as merchandise. See e.g the curile edict about the sale of slaves and herd animals with 4 feet. Humans were sold in ancient Rome. In classical Athens. Until recently in Arabia. In pre-civil war Atlanta.

Not in Nazi-Germany. NS-victims were murdered, tortured, raped, worked to death in horrible ways. But noboby was sold as private property, even if companies paid "wages" to the SS, the victim always remained in a "besonderes Gewaltverhältnis" under state control. So, no, there was no classical slavery in Nazi-Germany.

You seem to be obsessed with bringing Nazi Germany into a discussion about abolishing slavery in the ACW (1861-1865), without doing basic legal or historical research about slavery.

And I am a little bit shocked by Your moral relativism, justifying US behaviour with Nazi behaviour. I still see the US as one of the positive forces in the world ...

Note from David: Never would I dare to compare the industrial type killing of millions of Jews, carried out by Germans in the name of German Herrenmenschentum, with anything the U.S. - or any other country - has ever done. Nazi Germany ranks #1 in cruel bestiality, way ahead of any other nation, even Stalin's Russia. Stalin was a sadist, but at least his system didn't throw children alive in concentration camp ovens. But, of course, I understand the irony of your remarks. You intention is just to introduce a humerous slant in the discussion about atrocities. German humour, I guess...

As to your definition of slavery - you are (again) way off. You define slavery very narrow as slave trade. However: "Slavery is the social or de-facto status of specific persons, known as slaves who are under the control of another person." (Wikipedia) Nazi Germany used Jews as slaves different purposes: for slave labors in companies (including some of today's German blue chips), to produce weapons, even to furbish Nazi dress, Some concentration camps (another example) were exclusively used as slave camps. The advantages post-war Germany drew from Nazi Germany slavery are obvious (see last paragraph).
Want more examples, in case you forgot about German slavery activities?
Anytime, just let me know.

@dummnutzer

"Not in Nazi-Germany. NS-victims were murdered, tortured, raped, worked to death in horrible ways. But noboby was sold as private property, even if companies paid "wages" to the SS, the victim always remained in a "besonderes Gewaltverhältnis" under state control. So, no, there was no classical slavery in Nazi-Germany."

Down to splitting hairs, are we, dummnutzer? Of course, we must admit, it was particularly altruistic of Germany to abolish slavery, in view of her massive cultivation of cotton on the Prussian plains during the 19th century.

So you see the US as one of the positive forces in the world, do you? Odd how you never get around to mentioning it very often unless you're caught with your moral hypocrisy showing.

"Down to splitting hairs, are we, dummnutzer? "

He asked for a definition of slavery. He got one. You do not like it? Oops.
It is the generally accepted one among legal historians over here.

"Of course, we must admit, it was particularly altruistic of Germany to abolish slavery, in view of her massive cultivation of cotton on the Prussian plains during the 19th century."

You are claiming that the sole reason for the lack of slavery in Prussia was a lack of economic viability? You are wrong (History is not your forte, I suppose.): Classical slavery is still profitable even today in lots of areas (Northern Africa, Arabia, embassy slaves), and would have been of economic use in several areas in Prussia AD 1865. This becomes even more obvious, if one uses David´s wider definition of slavery: The SS earned lots of money by its terrible abuse of forced labour, which he seems to equate with slavery.

"So you see the US as one of the positive forces in the world, do you? Odd how you never get around to mentioning it very often unless you're caught with your moral hypocrisy showing."

David compared the US with Nazi-Germany.

Note from David: Excuse me??? I did what???

I did not. I see problems with the German and the US media, but he responded to any lack of a total damnation of Germany with logical fallacies and vitriolic insults that reek of littlegreenfootballs. I try to see beyond the current administrations in both nations, while he reduce the US to the Bush administration ignoring more than 50 % of its citizens and some interesting viewpoints.

I am impressed by Your ability to determine my political position by 2 (!) posts on this board.

@dummnutzer
so, what is your political position?

@dummnutzer

“He asked for a definition of slavery. He got one. You do not like it? Oops.
It is the generally accepted one among legal historians over here.”

I have no doubt that your legal distinctions are entirely accurate, but legal distinctions weren’t what your original post was about, was it? Recall what you said:

“So abolishing legal slavery as one of the last civilized nations on earth somehow proves moral superiority over nations that never had slavery laws and never really participated in the slave trade, but send parts of their admittedly small naval forces to take part in the British led anti-Slavery patrols. Hmh.”

You were making no legal distinction. Rather, you were claiming that the United States was morally inferior to other nations because it was one of the last nations to abolish slavery. When David reminded you of the forced labor of the Jews, Russians, and many other minorities in Germany at a much more recent date, you suddenly remembered your legal distinctions, and claimed it wasn’t really “legally” slavery. However, your original comment had nothing to do with the law. It condemned the United States as morally inferior because of its “toleration” of slavery. You were making a moral distinction. Can you explain to us how the "forced, unpaid labor," and extermination of Jews, Russians, and many other minorities in Germany during the Third Reich was morally superior to the existence of slavery in the US until 1865?

Like most Germans, you are totally ignorant of the history of the US beyond all of the usual hackneyed reasons for bleating down your judgments from the moral high ground. You know zero about the reasons for the continued existence of slavery in the US after it was abolished in Europe. You know zero about the power of a tiny minority of wealthy planters in the South who managed to preserve slavery for so long, or the sources and reasons for their power. You know zero about the struggle of many idealistic people in both the North and South to abolish slavery, a struggle that was carried on with an intensity, ferocity, and determination unseen in Europe. You know nothing about the reasons for the origin of the Republican party, the nature and character of Abraham Lincoln, or the impact on historical events in the US of the struggle over slavery prior to our Civil War. And yet, you have the unmitigated gall, the incredible arrogance, because you have learned a few pathetic, disjointed “facts” from the people whose ideas you have borrowed, and whose ideology you thoughtlessly and uncritically carry, to claim that others are “ignorant of history.”

Please, dummnutzer, be so good as to inform us all about slavery in the US. Shower the wealth of your voluminous historical knowledge upon us. Tell us all about the connection between slavery and the Mexican war, the Missouri Compromise, the Dred Scott Decision, “Bloody Kansas,” and the speeches of John C. Calhoun. I’m waiting to be enlightened with baited breath.

You’re pathetic. You’re not even advanced enough in “America bashing 101” to trot out all the usual old chestnuts about how “Slavery was not the real cause of the Civil War!” How could that that piece of bullshit have escaped you, when you’ve swallowed all the rest of it whole? You really need to get in touch with one of the “Confederate Heritage” groups in the US. They’ll tell you all about it. If you want to bash the US, why go off half-cocked? After all, you might as well learn the entire repertoire.

As for Peter Schneider, the “hypocrisy” he mentions has been noticed by intelligent Germans since well before the last World War. I recently saw mention of exactly the same phenomena by a German immigrant to the US in a magazine article from the early 30’s. He mentioned that he initially had a hard time engaging Americans in serious conversations, because, when they found out what his opinion was on any subject, they would always agree with him out of politeness. The same cultural trait explains why Americans, when they are invited to a bad dinner, do not tell the hostess that her meal tasted like shit, even if it did. To do so would be extremely bad manners. There is certainly a cultural difference between Germans and Americans in this respect to this day. However, unlike the “enlightened” Schneider, the German immigrant author didn’t expect Americans to conform to his “superior” German culture. He simply learned a few fundamentals about the norms of social behavior in the US. After that he had no difficulty in serious conversations on religion, politics, or anything else. Today’s Germans, of course, automatically equate anything different about Americans with one evil or another. Perhaps we should simply accept it. After all, it’s part of German culture, right, a mere matter of tradition.

AMALIE!!

I'm sorry to take so long to get back here - yesterday was very busy.

You are correct. He is indeed there and I was mistaken.

My apologies.

Thanks for your comments about Peter Schneider's article on alleged American hypocrisy.

It's true that Mr. Schneider did write: "Only a hypocrite will claim that hypocrisy is a specifically American vice." I'm grateful. Seems, though, like an obligatory bow to the German Press Council as well as a ploy to get his piece past the editors of "Die Zeit." Token qualifier, as you say.

There's no excusing the subsequent slurs and biased statements relating to Americans, which help create an intimidating and hostile environment for Americans like myself living and working in Germany.

Note that "Die Zeit" editors buried his article in the very back pages of their hefty weekly. Almost like a prim housewife hiding her Victoria's Secret lingerie at the back of a drawer. As if they were a little ashamed. As they should be.

I guess they have to grit their teeth and cater to the post-APO sixty-eighter segment of their readership now and then.... They know that a little "Ami-bashing" always goes down well and sells newspapers in Germany. And it sure is safer than criticizing Islamists.

About those "Washingtonian friends" who praised a friend's tasteless kitchen: just what were they supposed to say? Your kitchen sucks, mine's a Poggenpohl?

What may we expect next from Distinguished Writer-in-Residence Mr. Peter Schneider? I imagine him sipping port in front of a crackling fireplace in a Georgetown row house dreaming up his next contribution to trans-Atlantic understanding. Perhaps a discourse on the size of American refrigerators as an index of materialistic consumption and environmental disregard in U.S. society?

Well, it's an open society. Let him speak his mind and put his own foot in his own mouth.

Best regards.

Countless German commenters have been telling us that DMK exagerates the anti-Americanism of German MSM. They keep saying that it's all about Bush, about sensationalism, not about America. When DMK comments on anti-American propaganda pieces like this article from a once very respectable publication, the appologizers are nowhere in sight. They stay put and when they resurface the game starts anew: the German media is not "that" bad and DMK is cherry-picking isolate incidents. This has been the pattern since the creation of DMK and it will continue as long as there are people devoid of any sense of decency and truth.

Pamela,

The discussion of whether Martin van Creveld has a book on a suggested list of professional military reading is nothing more than a canard. Whatever his current or past political views has little to do with the content or value of the referenced book.

My own personal experience of military reading caused me to read many books which were useful in expanding my knowledge of the conduct of war but where I shared nothing with the author from a political or value perspective. I even read the Rommel Papers and that did not make me a supporter of Nazi Germany.

And I question if one reads the remarks by the CSA if in fact this list is truly mandatory. I have never heard of anyone being asked if they had read all of these books and if not why not.

I view this entire discussion similar to Gerhard professing to be an ally of the US while all the time he and his nation continued to undermine US efforts in the war against the Islamists. It is nothing more than to get you off point. It would seem to have done so.


I have not got a clue how many of you do understand German and how many of you depend on Ray's representation of the articles. For those who do not understand German, here are some articles in English by Peter Schneider from his home page:
http://www.peterschneider-autor.de/articles.htm
The articles there are in the same spirit and style as the Zeit article to the best of my knowledge. Do not get me wrong, there is a lot of Bush bashing and Bush administration bashing and bashing of religious hypocrites. I still do not see it as Anti-American, sorry. But as I have said before, go and read and judge for yourself.

@RayD
Fine, so I am naive. Are we done with ad hominem now? Fine, let's go on.

Back to the Zeit article you cited.

From Merriam Webster's dictionary: hypocrisy - a feigning [...] to believe what one does not.

There is a cultural difference that you as a German American, Ray, can not have failed to witness, namely that the German version of polite behavior in general is perceived as rude by Americans and that American's version of polite behavior with its white lies is considered hypocrisy in German terms - I do not see a problem in this, those are cultural differences. Both system work fine, just different. To the German public however this fact is not well known. So Schneider sets out at length to showcase the examples of this type of hypocrisy: feigning opinions and feelings you do not hold.

Now to your first quote, this time in context. The quote comes right after the "horrible kitchen" paragraph:

If I was asked, what I prefer in the end - a fake American friendliness or an honest German rudeness - I tend to opt for the American offer.

However even the hypocrisy for politeness sake comes at a cost. An American editor will never seriously tell an author what he thinks of his text. It would be physically impossible for him to only indicate that the manuscript he sent in is unprintable or, yes, simply terrible. The worst verdict, that may escape his lips, is »really interesting« - which is the equivalent of a death sentence. After that the kind editor will break off any contact, will have others deny him on the phone, will not respond to e-mails and cross the street or leave the restaurant on catching sight of the hopeful author.

Does he exaggerate? Obviously. However I learned the phrase "Do not call us, we will call you." from American films, not from daily German life. No better, no worse - different. Is your quote out of context? I think so, as you take it to prove that Schneider makes overarching generalizations where he does not.

On to your second quote, in context:

The costs of a successful hypocrisy usually only turn up once the star actor has gone. One who holds power can discredit or suppress reports that contradict his distortions. If he happens to be president, he can even create ex post the reality that verifies his initial lie. Did not George W. Bush insist, that Iraq is a playground for terrorists? Voilà, now that he invaded, it is.

The ability to look away and to unequally distribute the proclaimed democratic rights has accompanied American history from the beginning. This spring the startling study Rough Crossings by the British Historian Simon Schama was published. The study shows, that a hundred thousand American Slaves, who were initially enthralled by the promises of the American War of Independence, defected to the British Crown, because they - "quite correctly", says Schama - expected to receive a better treatment there than from the American Revolutionists.

"After he completes his Civil War tour ..." ????? Are the two of us reading the same article??? That book by Shama is about the American Revolutionary War. And even the causes of the American Civil War were a bit more complex than the simple fight against slavery that you paint it to be, even if abolishment of slavery was the final outcome. Slavery was a root cause, but State Rights and tariffs come to mind as well. Anyway, I conclude from the full quote that Schneider knows more about American history than you care to give him credit for.

As for Bush bashing you got it right. It is venomous and distorting. Yet a good part of the second section and the whole third section of the article is about Bush and his administration, not about the American as such as you try to imply. Bush is explicitly named and implied, so is Rove. And it is here, where your quote is yet again incomplete and out of context. Schneider introduces the reader to a type of American hypocrisy that Emma Goldman wrote about in last century's 20s. Schneider shows that Goldman traced the American variety of hypocrisy back to puritanism that the English pioneers brought with them: "Nowhere else does one meet so many drunkards as in our Prohibition towns. But so long as one can use scented candy to abate the foul breath of hypocrisy, Puritanism is triumphant". After this prelude you will find:

The specific contribution of puritanism to American hypocrisy seems to be, that it is unable to forgive sins. There is no provision for confession and remission. The sinner is surrounded by the ideal of being a chosen one and prohibitions at the same time; if the sinner pursues his sins and egoistic interests, then his virtually only route of escape is self-deception: What he is doing for himself, he is doing for the rest of the world. For that reason the American hypocrite is tempted to lend his sins a legal form. Whether it is the American environmental sins, the circumvention of the Geneva Conventions or the mistaken abduction and torture of a suspected terrorist - he will declare that he has acted in accordance with law.
From the full context it is clear, that this paragraph is about Bush. And so is the Sheriff bit - but hey, I am just a naive German after all.

Finally: The article is titled "Lying improvements" (a pun on a German magazine "Schöner Wohnen", house improvement) not "America the Hypocritical Sheriff" as a reader is likely to imply from your blog entry title.

Think of Peter Schneider what you will - he does not monger hate against Americans as such in this article.

P.S.: If you do not mind entertaining my curiosity, please indicate who of you can read German or not.

Sorry, no time for the donations aspect at the moment. Thanks for the links. The two original sources given require an in-depth reading to judge their veracity that I do not have time for in the foreseeable future; will do sometime in future.

I am unaware that American have been characterized as stingy with respect to private donations in German MSM.

blue

You obviously have also studied at the Gunter Glass school of Journalism

As you seem to be some what familiar with American terms …..then try this one

“What a crock of shit.”

In this case your latest reply to Ray. It is just more making excuses when you have been called out. We will just chalk this one up to culture differences. Well sports fan there are hell of lot more differences than culture between you and I and most Germans and most Americans.

There will be a point in the future when Germany will once again need help from America and when that day comes I hope the reply is ….”Checks in the mail, dude”.

.

"And even the causes of the American Civil War were a bit more complex than the simple fight against slavery that you paint it to be, even if abolishment of slavery was the final outcome. Slavery was a root cause, but State Rights and tariffs come to mind as well."

The cause of the American Civil War was slavery, period. Many people, for their own reasons, prefer the imaginary version of reality you repeat above, including "Southern Heritage" people, who can't accept the fact that Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and their other great heroes were fighting for chattel slavery, pure and simple, and America bashers of all stripes. It's easy enough to learn the truth if you really want to, because all the relevant source material is still there. Look, for example, at the great southern political leader John C. Calhoun's last speech to the Senate. He made perfunctory mention of the tariff, but then launched into a diatribe in defense of slavery that made it crystal clear what the conflict was about. Read the transcripts of the southern state conventions that resulted in secession from the Union. The pattern repeats itself. The only cause the southerners expressed the least passion over was slavery. Read their pre-war newspapers and magazines, and you will find an obsession with the need to preserve slavery, and threats to secede over the issue many decades before the Civil War. There was certainly no doubt in the minds of the southern planters about the reason for the Civil War. The revisionists like to claim that the average northern soldier was concerned only with preserving the Union. This, too, is bunk. It begs the questions of how Lincoln, representative of an explicitly anti-slavery party, was ever elected, and how the Republican Party came to replace the Whigs as one of the two major parties to begin with, or why one of the greatest battle hymns of the North contained the words, "and although we may be poor, not a man shall be a slave." It deliberately ignores virtually every major event in American history for 25 years leading up to the war.

European America bashers love to cite slavery as an example of our moral inferiority. In the process, they forget their own historical sins, and, ignore in the process the fact that, unlike the American South, their agriculture did not critically depend on slave labor. Whites who attempted to work the cotton and tobacco plantations in many parts of the south quickly fell victim to yellow fever, malaria, and other diseases to which blacks were immune. Attempts to maintain large plantations with white labor proved suicidal. The incidence of the deadly diseases mentioned above did not decline, but, rather, increased substantially during the time between our Revolution and the years leading up to the Civil War. The end of slavery meant economic death for the richest and most influential class in the South. This in no way justifies their support of slavery. However, it certainly does beg the question of how the European ruling classes would have responded, faced with a similar choice.

Of all European countries, the British certainly earned the gratitude of posterity for their early and effective fight against slavery, enforced at substantial cost by their cruisers along the coast of Africa. British planters in the West Indies had as much to lose from the end of slavery as our own southerners, but lacked the political clout to defeat abolition. During our own Civil War, many of the poor English textile workers who were thrown out of work when the flow of cotton stopped still supported the fight against slavery until the end, defiantly supporting the north in the face of starvation. Their heroism should never be forgotten. Their bosses equipped southern privateers and grew rich running weapons through the northern blockade.

@blue

Well, I’ve read that article a second time…and, my conclusion is that you ARE naïve. It’s clearly much more than just an attack on Bush. There’s so much wrong with that article that I’m in no mood to discuss at 4 a.m. Maybe you should read that piece of crap article one more time…without the preconception that it’s just about Bush.

@Helian

I knew that was coming. :-) Simply excellent. It's a pleasure to read your comments.

@James W.

"I knew that was coming. :-)"

Cha-ching!! It's hard for them to hide in the weeds when they just can't resist carrying around these big, red, ideological flags, isn't it? You see right through all the pathetic hand wringing about how Mr. Schneider is just a poor, misunderstood German who really L-O-O-V-V-V-E's America in a heartbeat.

@Helian, James W.
I have reread the article a few times more - and realize now that I read past way too much of the spin in it. Sorry.

@James W.:
If you can find it within you, less abuse and more pointers are more helpful. The other side may not be a troll intentionally. OK, chances are slim.

@Helian:
Thanks for investing the time on the bit on the Civil War, it was good reading and gave me some pointers. I am much less familiar with the American Civil War than you are and had relied amongst others on these sources:

Finally: I do neither claim nor feel moral superiority for me or my country. I do not consider myself a socialist (and decidedly not communist) as you implied, but as all of our major parties endorse the "soziale Marktwirtschaft" and associated baggage, I take it I am pretty much leftist by your standards anyway.

@James W.:
If you can find it within you, less abuse and more pointers are more helpful. The other side may not be a troll intentionally. OK, chances are slim.

That's cool, blue. Although, you did have me fooled there. ;-) It's nice to see that you're approaching this with an open mind.

Hey, you know what? I'm pretty new at this stuff myself. Something woke me out of my daze in September 2001--I've been trying to catch up on history ever since. I guess what's important is that we are open-minded enough to learn and realize where we are wrong. Hell, I think I learned more from reading 3 paragraphs from Helian than I did in a full year of hi-skrule.

I get pretty frustrated sometimes trying to express my point of view to my German colleagues. I have a hard enough time doing this in English let alone in Deutsch (I'm truly impressed by some here who seem to have great control of both languages). So, what I've started to do is send my colleagues emails with links to posts from Medienkritik. That'll teach'em! :-)

LuLu

I would think Germans believe they are byeond criticism.

BTW would you mind defining torture?

Thank you.

Note from David: Joe, I have deleted all junk comments from this moron.

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