Reader Mail: 8/11/06
Posted by alex in Alex Linder, Reader Mail at 7:34 am | Permanent Link
GERMANS ABROAD – IN UNIFORM
Germany’s taste for foreign intervention.
by Yoav Fromer
When the United Nations announced late last year that it would proceed with historic elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) this summer, there weren’t too many volunteers for the job. The tragedy of the Congo–recently awarded the unfortunate title of The Deadliest War in the World by Time for having consumed almost four million lives–was not a very attractive destination for anyone’s troops. Most of the former colonial powers found compelling reasons why not to help secure the first elections in over 40 years in the war-torn African nation. According to Der Spiegel’s website, the previous landlords in Brussels feared it would ignite old animosities toward native Belgians still living there. Both the Brits (who are already stretched in Iraq and Afghanistan and worried about the language barrier) and the French (who are contributing significant forces to CÃ´te d’Ivoire) were just as reluctant to jump into the driver’s seat. Fortunately though, at a time when others were looking the other way, salvation found its source in a most unexpected place: Berlin.
Despite considerable opposition from within, the newly elected Christian Democratic Union (CDU) government of Angela Merkel overcame its own resignations and heeded the call last March. With a sizable force of 500 combat troops supported by another 280 logistical personnel, the German army is currently leading a 2,000-strong joint European force into the Congo and neighboring Gabon, a presence which began on the eve of last week’s elections and which will continue for a period of at least four months. Its mission: assist the nearly 17,000 permanent peacekeeping troops already there, secure the elections, and protect U.N. personnel. Which, considering the size and volatile history of the country, is no easy task.
Unlike their previous humanitarian missions to the continent–in Somalia, Liberia, and Sudan–the DRC may force the Germans to do something they have all but forgotten: fight. To counter the threats from what is considered one of the most hostile environments in the world, U.N. Resolution 1671 appropriately authorizes the force “to take all necessary measures” to achieve their goals. And that’s exactly what they’re prepared to do. Commanding officer General Karlheinz Viereck has already instructed his men to protect themselves at any cost, even if it means shooting at the child soldiers who notoriously roam the Congolese wastelands.
It has been almost 64 years since Monty’s Eighth army chased Rommel’s Afrika Korps out of the northern Sahara. The return of German army boots to the sweltering continent–not under the banner of neutral humanitarianism, but rather as the new (albeit temporary) sheriff in town–is more than just another peacekeeping mission: It’s the latest stage in the evolution of resurging German power.
Even without the Congo, Germany’s plate is already full. At present, the army is involved in no less than eight peacekeeping operations–several in active war zones. In Afghanistan, they have recently taken over command of the nearly 10,000-strong multinational force that controls the northern part of the country (the isaf)–to which they currently contribute by far the largest non-U.S. contingent, with about 2,700 troops. In the Balkans, they are spearheading nato and EU operations with significant ground forces, and they are expected to take command of the EU Bosnian mission by year’s end. Alongside these growing responsibilities, Berlin has taken the lead role in nato’s rapid-response force, scheduled to go operational this autumn. Just last month, the force underwent its last test run in a joint exercise in the Atlantic (codenamed “Steadfast Jaguar”). Besides commanding the entire exercise, German General Gerhard Back–who serves as nato’s joint forces commander in Brunssum (the organization’s number-two job)–is also the overall commander of the isaf operation in Afghanistan and is presently designated to lead the organization’s response force if called upon. And there’s more. The latest outbreak of violence in the Middle East has created yet another peacekeeping destination to which the German army may be headed. As the Associated Press reported over the weekend, Germany is considering contributing forces to the proposed international force destined for Lebanon–a proposal that Israeli officials have so far openly endorsed.
In 1993, Gerhard Schroeder proclaimed that Germany would need ten years at least “to find a new German identity” before it could resume foreign interventions. He didn’t quite get the grace period he wished for. In the ’90s, in the aftermath of reunification, Germany systematically redefined its military power on the international stage by increasing its involvement in calculated gradations. It offered mostly logistical and medical support during the first Gulf war and the Somali crisis, and it sent Tornado fighter jets to help with nato’s Bosnia campaign. By then, the Germans had come to the water’s edge time and again without getting their feet wet. In Kosovo, they took the plunge and deployed heavily armed ground forces. And, while the DRC signifies the next step for the reemerging German postwar power, it certainly doesn’t appear to be the last.
In an interview with the International Herald Tribune last April, Defense Minister Franz Josef Jung announced Germany’s intention to increase peacekeeping forces so that, by next year, the country’s 7,500 active peacekeepers will be doubled. And that’s just the first step. “Our plan is to have 35,000 highly trained soldiers for missions,” Jung said. “Furthermore, there will be 70,000 soldiers trained for providing stability for long-term peacekeeping missions and 145,000 support troops.”
To be sure, there are still German doubts. In June, the Bundestag formally authorized the Congolese deployment by a comfortable margin, but not without several weeks of acrimonious debate. At the time, a poll by Die Welt suggested why passions ran high in the Bundestag: Only 37 percent of Germans supported the mission, while 59 percent remained opposed. Which raises the question of why, exactly, Berlin is flexing its muscles abroad.
Beyond the Churchillian notion that with great power comes great responsibility, the German rationale remains ambiguous. It is no secret that international pressure, mainly from Turtle Bay, Washington, and Brussels, hasn’t made life easier for the government. Reports in the European press earlier this year suggest that myriad diplomatic pressures mounted on Berlin to spearhead the Congolese mission, and one senior diplomat who served in Berlin and Brussels complained that Germany needed to feel the heat: “If it wasn’t for international pressure, they would be all too happy to be rid with it completely,” he told me.
But, judging from the rhetoric of German policymakers, there seems to be a much more influential and less cynical force at work: idealism. It’s no wonder Merkel has already managed to forge a special “friendship” with President Bush after only nine months on the job, since her moralistic approach to foreign policy sounds at times as if it emanated from the White House itself. “[W]e are united by a shared set of fundamental values, a common understanding of freedom with responsibility, and a shared view of humankind and human dignity,” Merkel told a Munich conference on security policy in February. “Germany is prepared to take on responsibility, indeed greater responsibility, beyond nato’s boundaries, in the cause of safeguarding freedom, democracy, stability, and peace in the world.” (Sound familiar?) In addressing the Bundestag in March, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier kept to this script and explained that Germany simply “could not abandon” the Congo. His colleague at the defense ministry talked about the need to “make an important contribution to stabilization and democratization.” And a diplomat from Germany’s U.N. mission echoed the prevailing attitude behind increasing global involvement: “The world is not a paradise, and we have a responsibility to improve it,” he told me.
In the absence of well-trained and well-equipped peacekeepers capable of enforcing Security Council resolutions and bringing about actual peace–and considering the lack of manpower, not to mention the unwillingness, of the United States to fill in the gap–the resurgence of a modern, professional, and highly motivated German army is one of the more promising developments for the post-cold-war era. At the onset of the Allied occupation of Germany, French politician Jean Monnet demanded that “the first soldier recruited in Germany will be a European soldier.” Although Germany began to rearm independently after ascending to nato, Monnet seems to have gotten his wish. The most reassuring fact about rising German power–one that, a decade ago, would have raised a few eyebrows–is that it is strictly embedded in the framework of multilateralism and firmly dedicated to the regional and global institutions that support it. As the defense ministry’s official website proclaims, “Germany can only defend its interests in cooperation with allies and partners and as a member of the European Union, the North Atlantic Alliance, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe and the United Nations.” In 2002, then-Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer reiterated this multilateralism in an interview with Charlie Rose, saying, “We don’t want to play a greater role as Germany on the global stage. … We want that Europe, the European Union, step by step, could play a greater role. And, of course, we, as a big member state of the Europian Union, will contribute to that”.
If this increasingly idealistic multilateral approach sounds familiar, it’s not by chance. According to a 2003 study of German foreign policy by Scott Erb of the University of Maine at Farmington, it has developed into something we already know quiet well. It’s called Wilsonianism.
Yoav Fromer is the political correspondent in New York for the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv.
BUSH, CONGOLEEZA GIBBONS DIVERGE ON WHATZ BEST FOR JEWS
“One Jewish friend of Bush actually called up a senior Israeli official and began yelling, ‘What the hell’s going on here,’” a source said. “‘Are you going to fight or what?’”
Bush and Condi clash over Israel; president overrules her for the first time
August 8, 2006
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has become increasingly dismayed over President Bush’s support for Israel to continue its war with Hezbollah.
State Department sources said Ms. Rice has been repeatedly stymied in her attempts to pressure Israel to end strikes against Hezbollah strongholds in Lebanon. The sources said the secretary’s trip to the Middle East last week was
torpedoed by the Israeli air strike of a Lebanese village in which 25 people were killed.
“I’ve never seen her so angry,” an aide said.
The U.S. response to the Israeli-Hezbollah war was said to have divided both the administration as well as the family of President George W. Bush. At the same time, it marked the first time since Ms. Rice became secretary of state that the president has overruled her.
“For the last 18 months, Condi was given nearly carte blanche in setting foreign policy guidelines,” a senior government source familiar with the issue said. “All of a sudden, the president has a different opinion and he wants the last word.”
The disagreement between Mr. Bush and Ms. Rice is over the ramifications of U.S. support for Israel’s continued offensive against Lebanon. The sources said Mr. Bush believes that Israel’s failure to defeat Hezbollah would encourage Iranian adventurism in neighboring Iraq. Ms. Rice has argued that the United States would be isolated both in the Middle East and Europe at a time when the administration seeks to build a consensus against Iran’s nuclear weapons program.
Instead, Ms. Rice believes the United States should engage Iran and Syria to pressure Hezbollah to end the war with Israel. Ms. Rice has argued that such an effort would result in a U.S. dialogue with Damascus and Tehran on Middle East stability.
“The United States and Israel must understand that it is not in their long-term interests to allow themselves to become isolated in the Middle East and the world,” said Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Rice ally and senior member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Both Damascus and Tehran must hear from America directly.”
MEXIVOTE – IN MEXICO, FOR ONCE
The largest demonstrations in our history are daily proof that millions of Mexicans want a full accounting of last month’s presidential election. My opponent, Felipe CalderÃ³n, currently holds a razor-thin lead of 243,000 votes out of 41 million cast, but Mexicans are still waiting for a president to be declared.
AIPAC SPIES CASE CONTINUES
August 10, 2006
Judge Won’t Dismiss Pro-Israel Spy Case
By MATTHEW BARAKAT
CHANTILLY, Va. (AP) -
A federal judge rejected claims Thursday that two former lobbyists’ constitutional rights would be violated if they were prosecuted under a World War I-era espionage law for receiving and disclosing national defense information. U.S. District Judge T.S. Ellis III ruled that the 1917 Espionage Act is not unconstitutionally broad and vague when it seeks to bar receipt or disclosure of “information related to the national defense.”
The indictment against Steven Rosen of Silver Spring, Md., and Keith Weissman of Bethesda, Md., alleges that they conspired to obtain classified reports on issues relevant to American policy, including the al-Qaida terror network; the bombing of the Khobar Towers dormitory in Saudi Arabia, which killed 19 U.S. Air Force personnel; and U.S. policy in Iran. Rosen and Weissman, former lobbyists for the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, are accused of sharing the information with reporters and foreign diplomats. No trial date has been set.
WHO Are the War Criminals?
The Hizballah resistance fighters, in the defense of their
country against Zionist aggression, have responded with
small arms and relatively simple rockets. Despite their
lack of sophistication, however, they have managed to
keep enemy civilian casualties down to one-third (1/3)
of those killed.
By comparison, Israel â€” with all of its advanced,
U.S.-made weapons systems and vaunted precision guided
missiles â€” has managed to achieve the record-high ratio
of nine (9) Lebanese civilians killed for every combatant.
That is to say, nine-tenths (9/10!) of the Lebanon dead
Can the mass murder of these civilians be explained away
as mere “collateral damage” amid the “fog of war”?
Or is something more sinister taking place? Are we, in fact,
talking about U.S.-sanctioned state terrorism and the
targeted assassination of a people?
And if so, WHO are the war criminals?
A teacher is explaining biology to her 4th grade students. “Human beings are the only animals that stutter”, she says.
A little girl raises her hand. “I had a kitty-cat who stuttered”,
The teacher, knowing how precious some of these stories could become, asked the girl to describe the incident.
“Well”, she began, “I was in the back yard with my kitty and the rottweiler who lives next door got a running start and before we knew it, he jumped over the fence into our yard!
“That must’ve been scary”, said the teacher.
“It sure was”, said the little girl. “My kitty went ‘Fffff, Fffff, Fffff’… and before my little kitty-cat could say ‘F**k,’ the rottweiler ate it!
AMRENT DEBATES SPLC DEBATING AMRENT
More About AmRen and the Jewish Issue
Note the mention of the V-DARE website [scroll about half-way down the page]. Also note the comments at the bottom of the page. We say that it is great proof of Jewish power that Jews “can’t” be mentioned negatively in America without causing controversy. And a final comment: since Jews aren’t genetically White, how can they belong to, or work for, any pro-White group? By such a standard, negroes could join pro-White groups. May we expect Black Klansmen in the near future? How about Mexican neo-Nazis?
The original report here:
DAILY RECKONING I
“Outside the cities, for most part, American’s live like savages.” Dr.
RichebÃ¤cher poked me again. “C’mon, you know it’s true.”
[Not sure what he's getting at here. The things populating most cities these days are savages, nothing like about it.]
We had come nine time zones from Vancouver to visit Dr. RichebÃ¤cher in Cannes. While discussing the difference between Europe and the United States at dinner, he kept pointing out the number of babies being pushed in strollers.
When we were doing research on demographics for our book Financial Reckoning Day, several years ago, we discovered France was the only country in Europe with a naturally increasing population rate. All the others, most notably Italy, were producing babies below “the replacement rate.”
“In the 1950s, when I was having my children,” said the good doctor, “France was facing a similar disposition. They were not producing children fast enough to keep their population rising. That’s when the invented the crÃ¨che [a free kindergarten for little ones] and helped working mother’s get a tax break and land help with other families who had borne a lot of children. Today, we see the fruit of those changes. France is alive with babies. It’s wornderful.”
Our babysitter here in France is 18 years old and proudly claims her “cohort” – those in their teens and twenties – to be the largest segment of society in the country. Interestingly, according to Huntington’s book, Clash of Civilizations, it is the rise of this same cohort in the Islamic world that is creating such a wave of revolutionary discontent. Huntington
likens the rise of militant Islamism to the Protestant Reformation in the Middle Ages in Europe…driven by a desire for purity of soul and a healthy dose of teenage testosterone.
American reporting on Israel, specifically the use of experts by tv shows, is like covering a football game and not telling you the ref’s from Pittsburgh and has $200k on the Steelers. For example, Bernard Lewis is “the greatest scholar” on the Middle East and Islam. No mention – ever – he’s a jew.
DAILY RECKONING II
“Of course, you can’t say this in America…you can barely say it in England,” began a guest at last night’s dinner.
There is nothing like forbidden words to get a man’s attention. If you want to make sure people listen to you, whisper.
We listened up.
The man doing the talking was a fellow Irishman…his family cast out from the homeland many years ago, like your editor’s, by poverty, famine, and most likely, trouble with the law. His wife was Lebanese. Naturally, the talk turned to the current crisis in the Middle East.
“What is really, really amazing,” he began, “is how the Israelis have managed to get control of the foreign policy of the largest, most powerful country on Earth. There is no blue water between America’s foreign policy and Israel’s. You have to hand it to the Israelis; who would have thought it possible? They can do whatever they want in the ‘Near East,’ knowing that they have the world’s only superpower backing them up.
“And can you believe Condoleezza Rice? I read in the newspapers that she said that Americans had not faced such a threat since the British burned down their capital in 1812. What is she talking about? The British threatened to end the American experiment with independence completely, which probably wouldn’t have been a bad idea, in retrospect. But whatever threat she is talking about today is nothing in comparison. Sometimes, you don’t know whether these politicians say things they think the public wants to hear or whether they actually believe what they say. And, you don’t know which is more appalling.
“And now, what the Israelis are doing in Lebanon – that’s appalling, too. I was in New York recently, and I couldn’t believe how lopsided the news coverage in the United States really is. Every Israeli casualty is treated as a horrible tragedy, but a hundred women and children dying in Lebanon is passed off as a military victory for our side.”
His wife picked up the conversation.
“I left Lebanon when I was three,” she told us. “But I still have a lot of family there. My brothers, cousins, uncles and aunts…they were all in the country when the war started. At first, they said they would stay and tend the business. But now, they’ve all had to leave. Thank god they could. It’s far too dangerous to stay.
“We ourselves were planning to go there for a summer vacation, but I’d just had a baby, and we thought the trip would be too hard. Had we gone, we probably would have been caught in the fire when the Israelis started bombing the place.”
“You know,” resumed her husband, still intent on the bigger picture, “when I was growing up, we used to read things about the Zionist conspiracy. You know, like the Protocols of the Elders of Zion…things like that. It was really horrible stuff, put out by nuts and kooks…the same kind of people
who like to say the Holocaust never happened.
“But now, there really is a Jewish conspiracy, isn’t there? I mean, neo-conservative Jews really have got together to take control of the U.S. military and divert it to their own interests. They already control a substantial part of the U.S. media, you know, and the financial sector. For instance, guess who owns the Federal Reserve? Goldman, Lazard,
Rothschild. I was shocked when I first found out. Now, its looks like they control the U.S. army, too. Well, bravo for them!”
“But wait,” we replied. “Isn’t that like saying that if the majority of lawyers are Episcopalians, then the Episcopalians control the courts? Even if it were really so, not all Episcopalians think alike, you know…nor do all of them have the same agenda.”
“Of course,” came the reply. “You’re absolutely right. There are plenty of Jews who oppose the Bush administration and Israel’s attack on Lebanon. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not being anti-Jewish here at all. But at the same time, we have to think for ourselves and not just conform to popular
shibboleths and taboos.
“And, whichever way you look at it,” he continued, “you can’t deny that there is definitely a group of Jews with a particular point of view…and a particular agenda. They have definitely gotten themselves into positions of power. Naturally, they use the power to promote their own interests…Israeli interests, I should say. Is that a conspiracy? Well, yes. Is it wrong? Well, no. I’m not saying that. Israeli interests could
be just as important to us as our own. Some people certainly think they are. I’m just saying that if most Americans understood what was going on, they wouldn’t like it.”
Even when the mopes and dopes come around to our position, they still shit on those who were there first. Another name for anti-Semites is good Samaritans – but don’t ever expect the cowards who only turn when their personal interests are threatened to show owed respect.