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Comments

@ Mir

I don’t see things as negatively as you do, Mir. The UN has possibilities that can’t be written off entirely.

As for the Europeans, I’ve been seeing some encouraging signs of support lately, for example, in response to SPD criticism of the defense missile system in Poland.

@ Helian

True, John Mortons had an edge. So do I, come to think of it, at times. It’s hard not to get emotional about these issues. He didn’t seem all that patronizing to me. Angry, disappointed, even fearful, maybe, like many people these days. Despairing of getting his ideas across the great divide.

That’s enough about John Mortons. He should respond to you directly. With all due respect, of course.

May I say that I always look forward to your comments, with their insights and humor, caustic though it may be? I appreciate in particular your last remarks about overcoming ideological blind spots.

"Schublade auf, Schublade zu, weg bist du," as the Germans say.

>> Clinton was not noted for foreign policy successes, but his efforts in the former Yugoslavia did much to heighten U.S. credibility in the Muslim world.

Just look how wonderful the situation in former Yugoslavia has developed, especially in Kosovo. The MSM doesn't report it of course, but unemployment is higher there than in Iraq. GDP per capita is lower. There are tensions and attacks against Christians, churches have been destroyed. Like in Iraq, groups have boycotted elections. People are fleeing the country. And all that under UN and European watch.

By the way: Why am I not hearing much protest against this ongoing "occupation"? Was it because the attacks against Serbia were performed under a UNSC mandate? Oh, wait - they weren't... Nevermind.

PS: I agree with Clinton's approach to ignore the corrupt and useless UN when certain (not necessarily military) actions seem to be necessary. However, the hypocritical double standards of (uninformed) people when comparing him to Bush are tiresome.

Clinton was not noted for foreign policy successes, but his efforts in the former Yugoslavia did much to heighten U.S. credibility in the Muslim world.

Paul, I don't know how much thought you put into that phrase. The "Muslim world" was so grateful that America helped the Bosnians that they started indoctrinating them against the West as soon as they got a chance. There were reports in the German media about strong Islamic influence in Bosnian mosques before 2001.

the trumped-up WMD charges and digital images of abused Iraqi prisoners will haunt us for years to come

Of course they will haunt us, because the media will make sure of that. It's not about the gravity of the facts anymore, it's about constantly smearing Republicans and Bush with those facts. I am wondering how it would have looked like if the free world media had behaved the same way after, say, the much greater fiasco from Dunkirk in WWII.

The media is supposed to report facts, not to stir emotions. That's usually the job of populist politicians. Unfortunately, that's exactly what most of the media has become - an ideological movement.

True, John Mortons had an edge.

If denying reality (as in "which liberal media?") means "having an edge" nowadays, so be it...

@Mir

"By the way: Why am I not hearing much protest against this ongoing "occupation"? Was it because the attacks against Serbia were performed under a UNSC mandate? Oh, wait - they weren't... Nevermind."

Weird, isn't it? There was a Serb majority in Kosovo immediately after WWI. Albanian Moslems simply moved in and, when they had accumulated a sufficient majority, began attacking their "hosts." When the Serbs overreacted after a US-led coalition began bombing them, the Moslems were handed a de facto independent state on a silver platter, and immediately began the process of driving out the remaining Serbs. Brilliant, wasn't it? Think of all the "gratitude" the US and its partners reaped for this "good will gesture" in the Moslem world. A tribe of little more than a hundred thousand Serbs managed to defend themselves in the mountain fastnesses of Montenegro against more than 40 major Turkish campaigns to wipe them out over several centuries, bidding defiance to the invaders against all odds. Today, that spirit is long gone. It's good those brave mountaineers are no longer around to see the reality of today. Decadent, cowardly, demoralized western civilization is everywhere on the retreat, abjectly rolling over and rolling back in the face of a new, "non-violent" invasion.

A fine principle was established. If you want to take over a neighboring state, nothing so crude as a military invasion is called for. Just immigrate and propagate, but never assimilate. In the end, your enemies will cave in, and attribute their craven cowardice, their unwillingness to take a stand in defense of their own values, to a "sense of justice" and "tolerance" and "multi-culturalism."

So much for the bright promise of the Enlightenment. It's far more tasteful to go out with a whisper than with a bang.

Yes, Helian. I wouldn't have brought the complex topic of the Balkans into the debate if it hadn't been quoted as an example of Clinton's so-called successes. Wouldn't it be nice if the MSM would try to analyze the reasons that lead to the NATO involvement with the same amount of enthusiasm as they do with every action of President Bush? They certainly didn't seem too occupied with it back then.

I don't think Clinton deserves the most blame for the unsatisfying outcome though. It was European politicians (including our own Schröder and Fischer) who saw a problem on their front door that they wanted "solved" with American help. But when the same people don't have problems with Saddam murdering hundreds of thousands and even using (!) WMDs, then that seems somewhat... strange.

The US and allies withdrew from the cease-fire and restarted hostilities (which is technically how Gulf War II started) because Iraq persistently violated the terms of its cease-fire. The list of violations was long and some of them had to do with WMD. I've read up on the full list, subtracted out the ones we now know not to have been accurate and looking at the remaining list *plus* what we now know Saddam was doing that didn't make the original list and it's really hard to make the case that the war was unjustified. It was about WMD but not solely about WMD and revisionists aside, we should look at the historical record and judge this war by the full list of casus belli, not by the soundbite of the day.

The larger question of german anti-americanism can and should, I think, be dealt with in terms of german self-interest. Like the US or not, this country is tremendously influential and one should understand how it thinks sufficient to make optimal responses no matter what ideological ruleset one uses to respond to the US. From what I can see of european media, this is a tremendously difficult thing to do in the EU today because the media regularly misinforms their audience and this leads to bad decisions and bad consequences for Europe at large and each nation inside Europe that follows this misinformation.

Accurate portrayals of the US are just good sense. So why does the media in Europe invest so much bias, so much falsehood in their coverage in general and specifically with regard to the US?

Interesting to see the Iraq issue grow all over a thread which originally dealt with nuclear catastrophies in Europe, somehow the topics must be related.

I suppose the most interesting point in the history of Iraq is when Rudolf Hess commited his intellectual suicide attack against Britain - in May 1941 Nazi meddling produced the Arab Kristallnacht. It is only a matter of time until the Hess lunatics take the lead among the Iraq revisionists, but hopefully the denial crowd will shrink further before it comes to that point.

With the regime change in Iraq, America actually did a favor to its strongest enemy, Persia. This country experienced Iraqi weapons of mass destruction, but instead of speaking truth to power now they let their hatred of America grow ever more regressive. If those who loved Saddam for his crimes and those who envy America for taking him out get together, the result is cognitive dissonance.

joe - Can you elaborate please? I could not find "Hil Gal" on Wikipedia.

RE comments on the former Yugoslavia, Muslims, etc. Noted.

@ WhatDoIKnow

I wrote: "True, John Mortons had an edge."

Your comment: "If denying reality (as in "which liberal media?") means "having an edge" nowadays, so be it..."

There might be a misunderstanding here--not your fault. I meant "edge" not in the sense of "competitive advantage," but "sharpness of language," e.g., "His voice had an edge to it."

@Noatak -
Why should I - as an American - be interested in defending Germany?

I don't know about you, but the thought of never again hoisting a pint of Spaten Weiss or Munich brings a little tear to my eye.


@John Mortons -
Don't do it if you destroy the whole country and de-stabilise the whole region in the process

"Whole country"? There are 18 governorates in Iraq; 95% of the problems are in three of them. Didn't your unbiased and not-liberal media make you aware of that?

The anti-US sentiment in Europe is predominantly due to counterproductive and harmful US foreign policy (like, d'oh, starting wars of aggression based on lies and deception which lead to prolonged civil war, slaughter and millions of refugees, go figure), not on some deeply seated racism or irrational hatred.

I call bullshit. Give Jean-Francois Revel's "Without Marx or Jesus" (translated in 1971) a read, and note the criticisms that he observes from Europe - they haven't changed in over 35 years. Well, ok, some of the names have changed, but the deep-seated and irrational bigotry is unperturbed by the progress of reality. It's out of print, but there were tons of used copies available through Amazon.com a few months ago.

directly and indirectly propelling the excess deaths into the hundreds of thousands and leading to untold numbers of refugees.

Speaking of blatant lies and deception, just where do you cull these figures from? The refugee camps sat empty, a complete waste of effort and resources, and as far as I'm aware only the discredited Lancet study found anything even close to 100 thousand casualties, much less hundreds of thousands. Saddam was averaging over 60,000 killed per year; even with sectarian violence, we can't hold a candle to him.

You conveniently disregard the most important point: that in 2003 when the war was started to allegedly remove these weapons of mass destruction

I'm not sure if you've conveniently disregarded it or are simply oblivious to it, but the war wasn't started to remove any weapons. The war was started to remove Saddam. The primary reason for removing him -- please don't be confused by the concept of "more than one", as your statement implies that you might -- was to force compliance with the cease-fire resolution (and the sixteen that followed it; seventeen failures of "international pressure" and empty "threats" in all), and in particular the provisions against developing and possessing WMD. Yes, we thought he had some (as even his neighbors did), yes, we thought he had active development programs (as did the rest of the world), and yes, we intended to remove any stockpiles as well, but in and of themselves they weren't the impetus that sent our troops to Iraq. They were something we intended to deal with when we got there.

none remained in Iraq.

Yes, there were. We've found banned weapons, banned delivery systems, and hidden pieces of development programs since we've been there. If you're sincerely unaware of it, say so and I'll take time to list what I can recall off the top of my head. It wasn't to the extent that we expected, but it was a good deal more than a handful of forgotten munitions. And that's not even touching on the declared weapons that were never accounted for.

Because the policy of international pressure, inspections and threats had evidently worked without making an actual war and the destruction of the whole country necessary.

I'm curious how you define "worked". Incidentally, what whole country is going to be destroyed?

I am sorry, but there is no getting around the fact that the war was based on blatant lies and deception.

And I'm going to need your definition of "lie" as well, apparently.

the necessity of provoking a last-minute arms race and international crisis could therefore be doubted

The USSR could have shambled along, slowly deteriorating for an indefinite length of time. The missiles in Europe forced the USSR to face up to a fact that continued appeasement would have let them continue to ignore - they'd lost the cold war, and victory was unsnatchable from the jaws of defeat. They were incapable of responding, and it was over. Maybe you don't like it, but only confrontation brings about that sort of admission.

No, in fact Blix and the rest of the inspectors said that they could find no WMD and opposed an invasion on these grounds prior to it occurring.

Resolution 687 (1991), like the subsequent resolutions I shall refer to, required cooperation by Iraq but such was often withheld or given grudgingly. Unlike South Africa, which decided on its own to eliminate its nuclear weapons and welcomed inspection as a means of creating confidence in its disarmament, Iraq appears not to have come to a genuine acceptance – not even today – of the disarmament, which was demanded of it and which it needs to carry out to win the confidence of the world and to live in peace.

As we know, the twin operation ‘declare and verify’, which was prescribed in resolution 687 (1991), too often turned into a game of ‘hide and seek’. Rather than just verifying declarations and supporting evidence, the two inspecting organizations found themselves engaged in efforts to map the weapons programs and to search for evidence through inspections, interviews, seminars, inquiries with suppliers and intelligence organizations - Hans Blix, report to the u.n. security council, Jan. 27, 2003

Quite rightly so. After 9/11, of course, the Bush administration tried to link the threat of Saddam Hussein to the WTC attack (another deception), but that doesn't make it any more true

I'm sure I've heard this allegation over 100 times, yet curiously not once has it ever been sourced. In the last four years, this lie has lived on and on, from lips like yours to the ears of the gullible. Go ahead - show me one full quote in context that even implies it. Who in the administration ever told you such a thing?

Then again, Nixon was a crook and so is Bush II.

Oh, look, lying again, and slander even. I'm shocked. Really. You can't see it, but I'm wearing my shocked face. Or can you actually show that Bush is a crook? Although I deplore some of the non-criminal things he's done, I have yet to hear him accused of anything less vague than "crimes", much less indicted for something genuinely illegal.


@Paul -
Americans are only beginning to pay the price of the Bush administration's unilateral action.

I'm bone-weary of pointing out that a 40-nation coalition isn't unilateral, and that the definition of unilateral isn't "without France, Germany, Russia, or China". I don't see how people can't be tired of continuing to repeat "unilateral" also. But they do.

Bush chose military force without persuasive diplomacy.

"Persuasive diplomacy" failed for 13 years. Diplomacy can do nothing but fail when one party is determined not to comply (see also: North Korea). Adding another adjective to the preferred remedy isn't going to change anything; if the Gulf War wasn't "persuasive" enough, there is no realistic diplomacy that will be either.


@LCMPJ -
After the Gulf War Cease Fire (UNSC Res 687), Saddam gave the UN a very long list inventorying the WMDs that he had available to use. It was a HUGE list.

Those were never found, either. NONE of them.

That's not quite accurate, Mama. Perhaps the list of remaining weapons could be fairly described as "huge", but it's a fraction of what he originally declared. A lot of declared weapons were presented for disposal, and more still were found in the subsequent inspections.


@WhatDoIKnow -
There were reports in the German media about strong Islamic influence in Bosnian mosques before 2001.

Islamic influence in mosques? Say it ain't so!

I think I know what you meant, but it was low-hanging fruit...


@FranzisM -
I could not find "Hil Gal" on Wikipedia.

I believe that would be "Hillary Clinton", who's threatening to become our next president.

I just happened to buy another copy of The Little Prince a couple months ago, by the way.

@ Paul

"War is the greatest human horror. It must be avoided whenever it can be avoided. A political solution, where possible, is always preferable."

Doesn't answer my question, "What political solution would you suggest?" I don't see any political solution when the 2nd party's aims are to kill or convert you. Your options are out of your hands and you end up with either fight or submit. Also, avoiding war doesn't stop it. Just makes it more costly in the future.

"In all likelihood the U.S. will be fighting Islamist terrorism for many years to come, and military force, ranging from large-scale clashes to covert raids, will be necessary. The Iraq War is only one of several battles that will have to be fought."

Agreed.

"... Despite my pacifist leanings, I see no way around this stubborn reality. A political solution will have to be combined with continued troop deployments."

You need to expand on the "political solution" you keep refering. The US should continue its military precense assisting Iraqi forces into overtaking defense responsibilities, acknowledge the independent Iraqi govt.'s decisions and focus on our own regional interests. As the EU, UN, etc.. will always have seperate interests outside of our own, I do not see the neccessity of giving any weight to their input when we clash on US foreign policy issues. Why do you think the French was against the invasion of Iraq? They had billion dollar oil investments with the Saddam regime thru the state owned oil concern TotalFinaElf. They weren't going to upset the apple cart that sustains them.

"Conversely, use of military force without vigorous diplomacy is an error. Here, George Bush, unlike his father, has stumbled badly, grabbing the sword extended to him by bin Laden by the blade and not by the hilt."

We wasted a year making our case in the UN persuing the WMD angle (as the prior adminstration did) and it became clear that no one wanted to rock the boat. George H.W. Bush was also head of the CIA-- the man had pull, but I do not think the grand coalition was that "grand." So you know what bin Laden's full intentions were? Hmmm.

"A political solution means talks in a multilateral framework. Participants in an international conference should include major players in Iraq (Kurds, Sunnis, Shiites) and countries outside Iraq, the Europeans, as well as states with large Muslim populations."

Which would achieve? Hard to push through a "political solution" when the parties involved have opposite goals and interests. You might also be surprised to find that some of the invited members will not share your pacifist, western outlook and hold it to be a sign of weakness and proof of inferiority.

"The best outcome may be partition of Iraq into three regions with some arrangement for sharing oil revenues. ... Oil-rich Shiite and Kurdish regions will be loath to share their wealth with oil-poor Sunnis."

That is a possible solution, but the Iraqis themselves would need to agree too it.

"Remember, in the minds of most American people the Iraq War is already lost. But even a President Obama would be compelled by the constraints of Realpolitik to keep some troops in Iraq."

Thanks to the propaganda and manipulation of western media, you are correct. The dems will leave the ME as soon as they can leaving the region to its own demize and at the mercy of competing foreign interests. Not sure why you believe otherwise, but you are setting yourself up for a disappointment.

"Owing to the current administration’s strategic mismanagement of the Iraq War, the U.S. has less credibility now throughout the world than before 2000."

Mistakes were made in Iraq, but those mistakes have nothing to do US credibility. My guess you don't know. I have lived in Europe since 1996 and before that for a couple of years 89-93 and from my experience its always been where its been. You're just hearing about it. Thats all.

"Clinton was not noted for foreign policy successes, but his efforts in the former Yugoslavia did much to heighten U.S. credibility in the Muslim world."

Says who? That credibility measurable on a time scale? Sources please.

"True enough, the Brits sent a substantial force. Point made. But the present coalition can’t be compared with the coalition George Bush senior sent in the first Gulf War, which included Arab participation, key to legitimizing the entire operation."

No, Iraq invading Kuwait was the legitimization of the first Gulf War. If the the Syrians and Egyptians would have not participated, in wouldn't have changed the outcome. The Sauds had nothing to stop Iraqi forces if they came south, so the Royal family were all smiles letting the western troops in.

"The reality is that no country, in this Hobbesian world, can count on help from any other country. As in personal relationships, though, sometimes genuine altruism shines through."

Maybe, but not when the country's other major politcal party banks their platform on undermining its own foreign policy and obligations (ignoring the impact of its own actions for short-term political gain).

"Nevertheless, the trumped-up WMD charges and digital images of abused Iraqi prisoners will haunt us for years to come."

To the misinformed, intellectual lazy and biased, yes.

It seems you acknowledge some of the problems, but are still groping for answers in your own paradigmatic world view. Keep searching and accept that war is sometimes the only answer. You cannot rationalize with an enemy who wants nothing from you accept your destruction.

Doug - Thanks. Re Saint-Ex, have you noted David is still carrying the Käseglocke (cheesecup) quote in the testimonials?

joe - I concur, the Non-Inhaling One as your First Sir would be a shame. This Hillary Clinton is a wh^H^H^H^Han apprentice of Markos Moulitsas Zuniga. But can you imagine your country without a First Sir in the White House, could a single woman successfully run for the American presidency?

And I can only warn of socialised medical care. Germany introduced the bedpan recruit system in the early cold war, to prove to ourselves and the world that we were better than the communists. As a result, if the draft was to be abolished on the spot today, this would leave behind a humanitarian catastrophy in the hospitals and nursing homes.

Well, Europe could always do "The Safety Dance" to stop the fallout.....

There might be a misunderstanding here--not your fault. I meant "edge" not in the sense of "competitive advantage," but "sharpness of language," e.g., "His voice had an edge to it."

Paul

I understood exactly what you meant. The problem is that John Mortons has a much bigger problem than sharpness of tongue - dullness of mind. It's funny how you didn't mention, or notice, that.

Firstly, the question that matters is whether Saddam had weapons of mass destruction in 2003, NOT 1998. This was the whole rational for the war. Not "Saddam once had WMD", but "we KNOW that Saddam has WMD NOW and is ready to launch any minute/45 seconds/Mushroom cloud".

Funny, this claim was done by Britain's s director of communications, Alastair Campbell, not by Bush, et al. Which leads me to make the point: if Britian was in lock step with US policy, why is Spiegel not possesed with reporting similarily on the UK?

Quite rightly so. After 9/11, of course, the Bush administration tried to link the threat of Saddam Hussein to the WTC attack (another deception), but that doesn't make it any more true.

First time I've ever heard that one.

The British have gotten their share of negative sentiments by our media too. They don't approve that Blair helped in the liberation of Iraq. And probably even more they don't like that GB still tries to resist the EUrocratic EUnification.

@ Paul

"War is the greatest human horror. It must be avoided whenever it can be avoided. A political solution, where possible, is always preferable."

I'd argue that genocide is worse. Iran has declared its intentions, much like Hitler declared his. Does "never again" mean "not for a while" or "until we get tired of listening?"

The aftermath of Vietnam is a dark stain on my country. Allies betrayed and abandoned to our enemies. Not in my lifetime.

@ Buckeye Abroad

"You might also be surprised to find that some of the invited members will not share your pacifist, Western outlook and hold it to be a sign of weakness and proof of inferiority."

I wouldn't be surprised. I'm aware of the limitations of pacifism. Gandhi prevailed over the Brits, but how long would he have survived in the Third Reich? And what is the pacifist answer to extremist necrophilia and worship of destruction? There does come a point when pacifists run into contradictions, when a pacifist, instead of overcoming violence, encourages it.

Nevertheless, Gandhi had a point when he said that if we all acted according to the "eye for an eye" principle of justice, the whole world would go blind.

I can't really call myself a pacifist. I do wish the world and its realities could allow me to call myself a pacifist. The pacifists themselves wouldn't call me a pacifist. I supported the first Gulf War.

I'm not a pacifist by nature, either. I'm repulsed by, but also drawn to, the adrenaline rush of a good fight. We all are to varying degrees, if we're halfway honest. The difference is that some give in to their worst impulses and others resist them or try to. I count myself among the latter.

It has also been my experience that the better soldiers despise war.

What I'm attempting to do, as conscientiously as possible while taking the facts of human nature into consideration, is to balance idealism and realism.

There are situations where use of force is justifiable. In my view, however, the decision to invade Iraq did not meet jus ad bellum criteria, in particular just cause, probability of success, proportionality and noncombatant immunity. You know the arguments already. I won't go into them, just note that on this point we will have to agree to disagree.

"You need to expand on the "political solution" you keep referring to."

For what I consider to be a political solution, I refer you to the Biden-Gelb plan for Iraq:

(Begin quote from Wikipedia)

--Keep Iraq together by giving its major groups breathing room in their own regions. A central government would be left in charge of common interests like defending the borders and distributing oil revenues.
--Secure the support of the Sunnis--who have no oil--by guaranteeing them a proportionate share of oil revenue.
--Increase, not end, reconstruction assistance but insist that the oil-rich Arab Gulf states fund it and tie it to the creation of a massive jobs program and to the protection of minority rights.
--Hold an international conference to enlist the support of Iraq's neighbors and create a Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.
--Begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces this year and withdraw most of them by the end of 2007, with a small follow-on force to keep the neighbors honest and to strike any concentration of terrorists.

(End quote)

The sticking point is the sharing of oil revenues. Hostilities among the "regions" or countries are also likely for ethnic and religious reasons.

Regarding an "international conference," please see "It's Time to Start Talking" by Henry A. Kissinger, published on February 25, 2007.

There is no perfect solution.

"It seems you acknowledge some of the problems, but are still groping for answers...."

That's right. I have more questions than answers.

There are hardly any easy answers, anyway. Second-hand truths and ideological traps abound. I am not a friend of historicist doctrines either of the Right or the Left. I admire what the Spanish sage in his practical wisdom called desengaño.

I try to examine both sides of things, going back and forth, to find the middle ground, and I try to avoid extremes.

I try to entertain no illusions about things or people.

@ Doug

John Mortons wrote: "The anti-US sentiment in Europe is predominantly due to counterproductive and harmful US foreign policy...."

Your reply: "I call bullshit."

If John had expressed himself with more reserve I might agree with him. It's the word "predominantly" that I have trouble with. The hatred of America has deeper causes than revulsion at the White House Jacobins.

On the other hand, and here, Doug, you'd disagree with me, I do side with John at least to the extent that recent U.S. foreign policy, the launching of the Iraq War and its conduct, is the cause of the spike we have seen in polls surveying European opinions on the American government since the election of George W. Bush.

There will always be America hatred among Europeans. As far as I, with my limited resources, can estimate, it is restricted to a relatively small segment of the population. This segment has always tried to manipulate European opinion against the American government, and even against Americans themselves in a bigoted and prejudicial manner.

When I was in Connecticut on 9/11, watching the now-famous images of the burning towers, and attempting to sort out my own feelings of anguished rage and sorrow, my first sober reflection was that this crime would be a gift to George W. Bush and his neo-conservative allies, who would exploit bin Laden's heinous crime in order to consolidate their political position, limit or eliminate constitutionally guaranteed liberties, and heap generous portions of pork onto the plates of their friends in the arms industry, which, regrettably, has become such an essential part of our economy and, in so doing, a threat to our democracy.

My second reflection was that, if my first reflection should become reality, misguided actions of G. W. Bush would in turn be a gift to the revilers of America. For the truth is this: it is not that they do not wish our government to commit errors of judgment or crimes against humanity, but that they do wish it, very much so, and exult at any missteps America makes as a confirmation of their own distorted and racist image of America and Americans. They need a target against which they can spew the anger and frustration they suffer as the result of their own personal and political failures.

That is the dark root of the real anti-Americanism.

While I regard that as an undeniable evil, I distance myself from this blog and its readers to the extent that they support the policies of the current administration as criticized above. I will not promote policies I cannot support with a clear conscience in the name of anti-anti-Americanism.

I do hope that we will act like what the founders of our country wanted us to act and not the way the America haters want us to act. A belligerent foreign policy, meddling in the affairs of other countries, friendship with dictators, torture, and kidnapping, are not worthy of the City on the Hill in the original words of John Winthrop:

"For we must consider that we shall be as a City upon a hill. The eyes of all people are upon us. Soe that if we shall deal falsely with our God in this work we have undertaken, and so cause him to withdraw his present help from us, we shall be made a story and a byword throughout the world."

And we have become "a story and a byword throughout the world."

"I'm bone-weary of pointing out that a 40-nation coalition isn't unilateral...."

In which 92% of the original 49-member coalition was from the U.S. The Brits and Aussies brought it up to 98%. The majority of nations did not deploy combat troops and confined their soldiers to bases out of reach of hostilities. Their participation was symbolic, some even say coerced. In most countries, the populations did not support military participation.

Technically, you're right, Doug. But substantially?

"Bush chose military force without persuasive diplomacy."

From the desk of master diplomat Henry A. Kissinger: "I have supported the decision to overthrow Saddam, but I have also argued that no outcome in the middle of the Arab world could rest on imposition by military force alone. Diplomacy should always have been treated as an integral part of Iraq strategy."

Colin Powell had his doubts, too.

"I just happened to buy another copy of "The Little Prince" a couple months ago, by the way."

I found that funny, Doug, though I didn't quite catch the allusion, which is precisely what?

I always preferred "Night Flight" myself.

"The Little Prince" may be cloying, but in regard to Iraq we Americans might do well to heed the advice of one character, the Fox, who said: "You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed."

Paul,

I would then hope you would support the idea of the US leaving NATO.

Europe can fend for herself. I think America will do just fine. I have no problem at all with the concept of Fortress America if that fortress is defended using all the power America has. That means we do not send ground forces to do something a single missle can do at less cost both in dollars and lives, especiallly American lives.

@ Paul

>> A belligerent foreign policy, meddling in the affairs of other countries, friendship with dictators, torture, and kidnapping, are not worthy of the City on the Hill in the original words of John Winthrop.

That's just wishful thinking. I don't even want to tell you once more that most of the allegations of "torture" and "kidnappings" were more based on prejudices than on facts. Even the EU had to admit that. But what you call "meddling in the affairs of other countries" has been part of US foreign policy at least (!) since WW2. I as a German am more than thankful for that. But the real point is: Bush hasn't invented that at all. I hope you recognize that. As for "friendship" with dictators? I'm also not comfortable with that. But where on earth is any real alternative? You can only distance yourself from the worst thugs and try to change the "friendly" ones.

The US probably can't choose a more isolationist role in the world. That was possible during the events that lead to WW 2. At the time, America was pretty much safe from potential enemies' physical attacks and less dependant on other countries in the world. As we all know, neither that policy nor the European appeasement could prevent the following horrors - because (like today) there was an ideology that didn't perceive peace and stability as its highest goal. But again, that's not even the point. It is: Time has changed. Unfortunately, the US can be attacked today. At home and abroad, directly or indirectly by attacking her allies or interests. Even worse than during the cold war: The enemy plays by none of our rules, honors not even his one life. With today's technic, very few persons could murder hundreds of thousands and seriously damage the economy, affecting millions.

It's easy to criticise the Bush administration for errors - and there were many. Maybe Iraq was one of them, maybe history will once again give a different judgement. Either way: Real alternatives have to consist of a little more that nice sounding words. Where are they? I have found none in your post.

Allow me to get a little theatrical in this late thread that not many people will read anymore: For me, America is the last guarantor of peace, stability and freedom. Without her, there would be chaos and sorrow in the world - much more than single actions (may they be right or wrong) like Iraq could ever inflict. May God bless the American people for paying with their blood and money for all our freedom.

Mir,

I did read your comment. I found it to be interesting. I am hopefully the will return to an isolationist foreign policy. American treasure is too great to be spend on those things which do not directly threaten the US.

I see no need to protect Europe or support those who seek freedom around the world.

@ Paul

"Nevertheless, Gandhi had a point when he said that if we all acted according to the "eye for an eye" principle of justice, the whole world would go blind."

Its a cute saying. Gahndi didn´t face enemies who wanted to liquidate him for being born for who he was. Facing off the declinging British Empire is one thing, but against more unconcerned totalterian forces would be another.

"I can't really call myself a pacifist. I do wish the world and its realities could allow me to call myself a pacifist. The pacifists themselves wouldn't call me a pacifist. I supported the first Gulf War."

Why?

"I'm not a pacifist by nature, either. I'm repulsed by, but also drawn to, the adrenaline rush of a good fight. We all are to varying degrees, if we're halfway honest. The difference is that some give in to their worst impulses and others resist them or try to. I count myself among the latter."

You speak for all? How gratifying for you.

"It has also been my experience that the better soldiers despise war."

Feel free to speak of your experiences of war.

"What I'm attempting to do, as conscientiously as possible while taking the facts of human nature into consideration, is to balance idealism and realism."

Your attempts speak for themselves. No need to go "disney" on us.

"There are situations where use of force is justifiable. In my view, however, the decision to invade Iraq did not meet jus ad bellum criteria, in particular just cause, probability of success, proportionality and noncombatant immunity. You know the arguments already. I won't go into them, just note that on this point we will have to agree to disagree."

I was in Iraq in 1991. Saw enough mass graves to last me a life time. I disagree on eveything you can possibly throw at me as a "legitimate reason" not to launch the Iraq invasion thru your "sources"-- even if you bothered to dig them up. You are incapable of launching a counter agrument, as most of it is based on rehashed MSM talkingpoints who have provided no sources or confirmations.

"The sticking point is the sharing of oil revenues. Hostilities among the "regions" or countries are also likely for ethnic and religious reasons."

Sources please.

"There is no perfect solution."

I like Henry, but he has been wrong on enough occassions.

"That's right. I have more questions than answers."

Good for you. Not extraordinary when dealing with your types.

"There are hardly any easy answers, anyway."
Especially if you disregard facts. Makes moral equivelism so much easier.

"Second-hand truths and ideological traps abound."

Most people with clear conscience and mind seem to avoid them without thought. Whats your excuse?

"I try to examine both sides of things, going back and forth, to find the middle ground, and I try to avoid extremes."

Spoken like a true intellectual and moral coward.

"I try to entertain no illusions about things or people."

Sorry my dear friend, but you already have.


I wouldn't be surprised. I'm aware of the limitations of pacifism. Gandhi prevailed over the Brits, but how long would he have survived in the Third Reich? And what is the pacifist answer to extremist necrophilia and worship of destruction? There does come a point when pacifists run into contradictions, when a pacifist, instead of overcoming violence, encourages it.

Nevertheless, Gandhi had a point when he said that if we all acted according to the "eye for an eye" principle of justice, the whole world would go blind.

I can't really call myself a pacifist. I do wish the world and its realities could allow me to call myself a pacifist. The pacifists themselves wouldn't call me a pacifist. I supported the first Gulf War.

I'm not a pacifist by nature, either. I'm repulsed by, but also drawn to, the adrenaline rush of a good fight. We all are to varying degrees, if we're halfway honest. The difference is that some give in to their worst impulses and others resist them or try to. I count myself among the latter.

It has also been my experience that the better soldiers despise war.

What I'm attempting to do, as conscientiously as possible while taking the facts of human nature into consideration, is to balance idealism and realism.

There are situations where use of force is justifiable. In my view, however, the decision to invade Iraq did not meet jus ad bellum criteria, in particular just cause, probability of success, proportionality and noncombatant immunity. You know the arguments already. I won't go into them, just note that on this point we will have to agree to disagree.

"You need to expand on the "political solution" you keep referring to."

For what I consider to be a political solution, I refer you to the Biden-Gelb plan for Iraq:

(Begin quote from Wikipedia)

--Keep Iraq together by giving its major groups breathing room in their own regions. A central government would be left in charge of common interests like defending the borders and distributing oil revenues.
--Secure the support of the Sunnis--who have no oil--by guaranteeing them a proportionate share of oil revenue.
--Increase, not end, reconstruction assistance but insist that the oil-rich Arab Gulf states fund it and tie it to the creation of a massive jobs program and to the protection of minority rights.
--Hold an international conference to enlist the support of Iraq's neighbors and create a Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.
--Begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces this year and withdraw most of them by the end of 2007, with a small follow-on force to keep the neighbors honest and to strike any concentration of terrorists.

(End quote)

The sticking point is the sharing of oil revenues. Hostilities among the "regions" or countries are also likely for ethnic and religious reasons.

Regarding an "international conference," please see "It's Time to Start Talking" by Henry A. Kissinger, published on February 25, 2007.

There is no perfect solution.

"It seems you acknowledge some of the problems, but are still groping for answers...."

That's right. I have more questions than answers.

There are hardly any easy answers, anyway. Second-hand truths and ideological traps abound. I am not a friend of historicist doctrines either of the Right or the Left. I admire what the Spanish sage in his practical wisdom called desengaño.

I try to examine both sides of things, going back and forth, to find the middle ground, and I try to avoid extremes.

I try to entertain no illusions about things or people.

@ Paul

"Nevertheless, Gandhi had a point when he said that if we all acted according to the "eye for an eye" principle of justice, the whole world would go blind."

Its a cute saying. Gahndi didn´t face enemies who wanted to liquidate him for being born for who he was. Facing off the declinging British Empire is one thing, but against more unconcerned totalterian forces would be another.

"I can't really call myself a pacifist. I do wish the world and its realities could allow me to call myself a pacifist. The pacifists themselves wouldn't call me a pacifist. I supported the first Gulf War."

Why?

"I'm not a pacifist by nature, either. I'm repulsed by, but also drawn to, the adrenaline rush of a good fight. We all are to varying degrees, if we're halfway honest. The difference is that some give in to their worst impulses and others resist them or try to. I count myself among the latter."

You speak for all? How gratifying for you.

"It has also been my experience that the better soldiers despise war."

Feel free to speak of your experiences of war.

"What I'm attempting to do, as conscientiously as possible while taking the facts of human nature into consideration, is to balance idealism and realism."

Your attempts speak for themselves. No need to go "disney" on us.

"There are situations where use of force is justifiable. In my view, however, the decision to invade Iraq did not meet jus ad bellum criteria, in particular just cause, probability of success, proportionality and noncombatant immunity. You know the arguments already. I won't go into them, just note that on this point we will have to agree to disagree."

I was in Iraq in 1991. Saw enough mass graves to last me a life time. I disagree on eveything you can possibly throw at me as a "legitimate reason" not to launch the Iraq invasion thru your "sources"-- even if you bothered to dig them up. You are incapable of launching a counter agrument, as most of it is based on rehashed MSM talkingpoints who have provided no sources or confirmations.

"The sticking point is the sharing of oil revenues. Hostilities among the "regions" or countries are also likely for ethnic and religious reasons."

Sources please.

"There is no perfect solution."

I like Henry, but he has been wrong on enough occassions.

"That's right. I have more questions than answers."

Good for you. Not extraordinary when dealing with your types.

"There are hardly any easy answers, anyway."
Especially if you disregard facts. Makes moral equivelism so much easier.

"Second-hand truths and ideological traps abound."

Most people with clear conscience and mind seem to avoid them without thought. Whats your excuse?

"I try to examine both sides of things, going back and forth, to find the middle ground, and I try to avoid extremes."

Spoken like a true intellectual and moral coward.

"I try to entertain no illusions about things or people."

Sorry my dear friend, but you already have.


I wouldn't be surprised. I'm aware of the limitations of pacifism. Gandhi prevailed over the Brits, but how long would he have survived in the Third Reich? And what is the pacifist answer to extremist necrophilia and worship of destruction? There does come a point when pacifists run into contradictions, when a pacifist, instead of overcoming violence, encourages it.

Nevertheless, Gandhi had a point when he said that if we all acted according to the "eye for an eye" principle of justice, the whole world would go blind.

I can't really call myself a pacifist. I do wish the world and its realities could allow me to call myself a pacifist. The pacifists themselves wouldn't call me a pacifist. I supported the first Gulf War.

I'm not a pacifist by nature, either. I'm repulsed by, but also drawn to, the adrenaline rush of a good fight. We all are to varying degrees, if we're halfway honest. The difference is that some give in to their worst impulses and others resist them or try to. I count myself among the latter.

It has also been my experience that the better soldiers despise war.

What I'm attempting to do, as conscientiously as possible while taking the facts of human nature into consideration, is to balance idealism and realism.

There are situations where use of force is justifiable. In my view, however, the decision to invade Iraq did not meet jus ad bellum criteria, in particular just cause, probability of success, proportionality and noncombatant immunity. You know the arguments already. I won't go into them, just note that on this point we will have to agree to disagree.

"You need to expand on the "political solution" you keep referring to."

For what I consider to be a political solution, I refer you to the Biden-Gelb plan for Iraq:

(Begin quote from Wikipedia)

--Keep Iraq together by giving its major groups breathing room in their own regions. A central government would be left in charge of common interests like defending the borders and distributing oil revenues.
--Secure the support of the Sunnis--who have no oil--by guaranteeing them a proportionate share of oil revenue.
--Increase, not end, reconstruction assistance but insist that the oil-rich Arab Gulf states fund it and tie it to the creation of a massive jobs program and to the protection of minority rights.
--Hold an international conference to enlist the support of Iraq's neighbors and create a Contact Group to enforce regional commitments.
--Begin the phased redeployment of U.S. forces this year and withdraw most of them by the end of 2007, with a small follow-on force to keep the neighbors honest and to strike any concentration of terrorists.

(End quote)

The sticking point is the sharing of oil revenues. Hostilities among the "regions" or countries are also likely for ethnic and religious reasons.

Regarding an "international conference," please see "It's Time to Start Talking" by Henry A. Kissinger, published on February 25, 2007.

There is no perfect solution.

"It seems you acknowledge some of the problems, but are still groping for answers...."

That's right. I have more questions than answers.

There are hardly any easy answers, anyway. Second-hand truths and ideological traps abound. I am not a friend of historicist doctrines either of the Right or the Left. I admire what the Spanish sage in his practical wisdom called desengaño.

I try to examine both sides of things, going back and forth, to find the middle ground, and I try to avoid extremes.

I try to entertain no illusions about things or people.

@ Buckeye Abroad

Would appreciate a more detailed response. You're angry. Give it a little time, come back at me with a little more substance and a little less insult.

I don't consider myself an "intellectual" and I am not talking down to you or anyone else here. I take you seriously. I have an idea of where you're coming from and I respect it.

I don't think I'm always right, and I have my doubts. You mentioned "moral equivalence," for example, and a lot of my doubts start right there. (I might even end up voting for Giuliani, the one who brought that into the discussion). I'm unhappy with a lot of what the Left says, but also the Right, and I'm just trying to work out an honest position.

It's an American tradition to allow others to have a differing opinion, or not, Buckeye? If not, where is our country headed?

Don't write me off, man, and make it easy for yourself.

@Buckeye

- The 1st gulf war has wider acceptance because Saddam had invaded another country, while the 2nd gulf war was a preemptive strike based on a mere hunch (some say lie).

- Saddam and Islamic terrorism don't seem to have a lot in common, in fact Iraq's secular system was often viewed as a counterbalance to the clerical forces in the middle east.

- Who says that one has to provide an alternative and more answers than questions to be a legit critic of any (rash) actions being taken?

I was reading Paul's thoughts and I was thinking that even though he's wrong, he does have some rational arguments. They are not entirely dealing with the reality of today's world, but I see where he's coming from.

Then, in order to remove any doubts, he drops the bomb:

my first sober reflection was that this crime would be a gift to George W. Bush and his neo-conservative allies, who would exploit bin Laden's heinous crime in order to consolidate their political position, limit or eliminate constitutionally guaranteed liberties, and heap generous portions of pork onto the plates of their friends in the arms industry

Paul

Those were "sober reflections"?? I hate to think what the emotional "reflections" were.

Even though you probably believe that you come to the table with an open mind, you are a written book before you even sit down. Only a highly partisan individual could entertain such thoughts after 9/11. Sorry, but your ruse doesn't fool anyone, although I am quite convinced it fools you.

Paul - Henry Kissingers amoral quid pro quo diplomacy is a source of tremendous problems up to the current day, and you are calling him a master? I call him a traitor:

"Promise them anything, give them what they get, and fuck them if they can't take a joke."

- Kissinger to a staff member regarding the Kurds, 1975

In the 1975 Algiers Accord he betrayed the Kurds to Saddam, in exchange for a settlement on the Arvandrud thalweg conflict.

Have you heard of the recent kidnapping of British soldiers by Persian basijis? This happened exactly on the border which back then was agreed in exchange for the betrayal of the Kurds - Kissingers master diplomacy surely produces sustainable results, doesn´t it?

joe - Your isolationism statement implies that the U.S.A. - if not pulling a Kissinger with Israel - will need to build a 1:1 reproduction of the Holy Land somewhere on its territory, and relocate there every single individual who may face a risk to be thrown into the sea by the Islamic antisemites. Has Mir spewed revisionist lies about the battle of Jenin, or why do you show him an ostrich?

@ALL - Please do not resort to obscure tattered quoting. Answering a self-contained speech with a just as easy to read one also increases the cognitive coherence of the entire thread.

@FranzisM -
have you noted David is still carrying the Käseglocke (cheesecup) quote in the testimonials?

I'm afraid I can't tell which testimonial you're referring to. Could Käseglocke be something whose direct translation doesn't really fit what it is?


@Paul -
Nevertheless, Gandhi had a point when he said that if we all acted according to the "eye for an eye" principle of justice, the whole world would go blind.

I'd be surprised if that were actually Ghandi; the statement demonstrates a fatally simplistic understanding of the principle. The "right of retribution" is justice for an offense, and justice itself is not an offense. An eye for an eye therefore leaves the world exactly two eyes short. Any other conclusion must destroy the concepts of offense and justice, discarding cornerstones of civil society. I like to think Ghandi was smarter than that.


On the other hand, and here, Doug, you'd disagree with me, I do side with John at least to the extent that recent U.S. foreign policy, the launching of the Iraq War and its conduct, is the cause of the spike we have seen in polls surveying European opinions on the American government since the election of George W. Bush.

No, I think we do agree to an extent. GWB is not merely American, he's the worst kind of American - a Republican! The complaints began almost immediately - he's stupid (a synonym for Republican, I think), he swaggers, he's from Texas where there's an inhuman and indiscriminate death penalty, he makes "finger guns" when he talks, he's aggressive, he choked on a pretzel because he's stupid (ingestion apparently being a function of intellect), etc. His very existence started driving them into a frenzy well before he really gave them anything to piss and moan about, and when he did, they pissed and moaned even louder (what you term intensity) than they would have for another.

But my argument isn't that the intensity didn't increase as a result of his actions in office. My argument was that the genesis of the criticisms of the chattering classes did not spring from Bush's actions. They've dragged on decade after decade, and that they occasionally get reworded to reflect current events is the only bearing they tend to have on happenings in the real world. I think that largely, but not entirely, the Iraq war's conduct has simply provided opportunity for the criticism they wanted to level anyway. Any facade would do, but this one could be distorted into an exceptionally fine facade.


That is the dark root of the real anti-Americanism.

Agreed, and well-said. However, I wouldn't advocate making policy decisions on the basis of whether it can be used by bigots to justify their prejudice. If those decisions are not made on the basis of what our best counsel earnestly believes will accomplish what needs to be accomplished, then we risk turning our foreign policy into an international minstrel show. Screw that.


meddling in the affairs of other countries

I'd like to ask that you pay special attention to that verb. It's "meddling" only when discussing something we did do, and it's "helping" when discussing something we didn't.


The majority of nations did not deploy combat troops and confined their soldiers to bases out of reach of hostilities.

Which is ideal. In the first place, our forces are better equipped than most, and better trained than many. In the second, trying to coordinate combat between the forces of a few dozen nations in an invasion would probably be more trouble than it's worth. Security roles for other coalition members just makes more sense than combat roles to me. Recall that this differs little from the first gulf war; far fewer nations sent troops to that one, most of the "coalition" just made promises of payment. We did all the heavy lifting.

And yes, most of the contingents are small, but take that in context. Some of the larger nations like Spain and Italy don't have much of a military to speak of today, though perhaps they could have done more without too much strain. However, the contributions of smaller nations shouldn't be further diminished. As Mark Steyn pointed out, the tiny island of Tonga sent a mere 45 troops, but proportionally that would equal a force of over 13,000 Canadians. Some nations eventually withdrew, but more plus-upped their commitments. I think commitment is more important to the coalition than raw boot count, as long as the needed boot count is being met.


Their participation was symbolic, some even say coerced.

Some say Elvis is being kept in suspended animation by the NSA, but only France is known to have dispatched diplomats to security council nations, and made public threats for support against the war. But perhaps there is something here; if you think we could exert enough diplomatic pressure to get 1/4 of all the countries on earth to participate and send troops to a war zone, then I guess you could really believe that there was some diplomatic way to get Saddam to restore faith in himself (despite over a decade of bad faith) and allow Iraq self-determination.


I found that funny, Doug, though I didn't quite catch the allusion, which is precisely what?

That was in reference to a thread from some months ago. Someone brought up that book, and I had completely forgotten about it, even though it was probably my favorite childhood book. As I recall, FranzisM then mentioned something in the book that I didn't remember, and he admonished me to refresh my memory. I haven't actually re-read it yet, but it's waiting here on my shelf. I'd forgotten the line you quoted as well, but it's apt. Nicely done, although I think both Germany and Japan would dispute that we are responsible for them. "Forever" might be overreaching a bit.

@ Joe

"I would then support the idea of the U.S. leaving NATO."

I've long been attracted to a neo-isolationist or "Fortress America" approach. I'm weary of my country pulling the chestnuts out of the fire all over the world, incurring losses of blood, treasury, and reputation, while the Europeans sit on their duffs and congratulate themselves on their perceived moral superiority.

But it won't work, Joe. It's unrealistic.

Apart from the economic arguments, the fact is that passiveness encourages aggression. This has never been more true than now in stopping the advance of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism.

Note that I oppose the intervention in Iraq but not other interventions, among them the First Gulf War and Afghanistan. (That alone would disqualify me in the eyes of the pacifist Left). The present war, in its initiation and conduct, is harming more than helping American interests.

The extreme to avoid is blind actionism and damage to the very principles in whose name we fight. "Wherever the standard of liberty is unfurled in the world, there will be America's heart... but she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy." In pursuit of monsters, Americans shouldn't be tempted to drift into endless wars in which "the fundamental maxim of [American] policy would insensibly change from liberty to force." (John Quincy Adams)

@ Mir

"Wishful thinking."

The violation of moral principles may be permitted to advance a higher ethical goal. However, when moral norms are neglected, as they have been by my country in some instances, without achieving a superior ethical purpose and to its own detriment, I honestly don't think that I'm having a "Disney moment" in calling for a balance between realism and idealism.

Let's take the example of Abu Ghraib. By most definitions, this was torture. Not as bad as Saddam's practices, exaggerated by the German MSM, and not representative of American military conduct in general. But it was torture and it was condoned torture: it's evident that the grinning soldiers in the photos weren't aware that they were doing anything wrong.

Moreover, the publication of the images meant that the terrorists had achieved a victory over the U.S. (It is said that the photograph of Nguyen Ngoc Loan executing an NLF officer in Saigon during Tet meant that the U.S. had already lost the war.) The conclusion is not to argue that the Abu Ghraib images should never have been published, but that the abuses should never have been committed in the first place, not only for moral reasons but also in the interest of winning the war. For that latter reason alone, I don't think I'm the one looking at the stars while ignoring the realities on the ground.

As for "meddling" and "friendship with dictators," those are words loaded with connotations that I probably should have avoided. In some cases, in the interest of political necessity, it may have been justifiable to cooperate with reformist-minded authoritarian governments. But there's been too much of it, it hasn't always been in America's own interests, and it doesn't conform to America's better traditions.

Like yourself, I believe the world, on balance, would be in a lot worse place today if not for the U.S. Like yourself, the "Gleichschaltung," the responses, for example, posted online to German articles like C. C. Malzahn's, troubles and distresses me. But I can't approve of everything my country does.

@ WhatdoIknow

"Those were 'sober reflections'?"

Not only the Republicans but probably the Democrats as well would have exploited "bin Laden's heinous crime in order to consolidate their political position, limit or eliminate constitutionally guaranteed liberties, and heap generous portions of pork onto the plates of their friends in the arms industry."

And, WhatdoIknow, isn't that just what the Republicans did do after 9/11?

The primary interest of political organizations is power and holding on to power. America is no less immune to that than other countries. That's a danger the founders of our country were well aware of. (I wonder what would happen if Paine and Jefferson were to return to Washington, anno 2007).

In the end, you have to choose between political systems in favor of the lesser evil. That's why I still support my country despite its faults.

It is unfair to suggest that G. W. Bush was thinking solely of his own interests and of his party. After the trauma of 9/11, given the lack of complete information, and the need to act in the face of a WMD threat, history may be more generous to Bush than his current critics are.

@ FranzisM

I'm aware of Kissinger's faults. But my country was going through a very bad time after the Vietnam War and Kissinger was instrumental in resolving that crisis, as reflected by the decision to award him the Nobel Peace Prize. He is a "master diplomat" at least in the sense that he understood and could work the machinery of diplomacy very, very well.

We have to take what we have and do the best we can. Kissinger was gold compared to a man like Dulles.

@ Doug

Thanks for your reasoned and reasonable response. You even got in a few digs which I will accept with humility.

Some of the points you raised have already been answered in my preceding posts.

As my childhood upbringing was blue-collar Irish RC, I probably do have a bias against Republicans. I do know that my thinking does fall into ideological grooves at times and I don't consider myself infallible. But I don't believe others posting here can claim to be free from biased thinking, either.

Doug - Davids testimonials are listed in the grey bar on the right side of your browser window right under his awards. A Käseglocke is also mentioned in Chapter 9 of the Little Prince, although there it is not being used for the storage of cheese.

Paul - I did not intend to blame you or your country for the way things were done in the 20th century, my complaint is only that a 20th century dinosaur is referred to as an authority for current problems. But to put this into perspective, the man whom Germans know as Schröder´s little Kissinger, Michael Steiner, is still Germany´s ambassador to the UN, and has just recently betrayed the Sudanese.

@ Paul

Is Abu Ghraib your best example? Of course that was despicable. You will find criminals in every country and in every army. But you know those crimes had nothing to do with official US policy and the perpetrators have been held to account. Unlike our enemies in this global struggle, I might add, for there's no low they won't sink to and even be proud of it, including murdering their own women and children.

Paul,

It not at all unrealistic if the US focuses on what our real national interests truly are.

Can you think of any national interests the US might actually have in Europe. I cannot.

The Elvis room?

/seeabove

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