The German Gutmensch [literally "good-man"; those who are fundamentalist/extremist PC, want to prevent and stop all wars everywhere and now, dismantle all armies world-wide etc.] is a fascinating being. Henryk M. Broder (in German) mentions a very interesting discussion with a prototype Gutmensch, who seriously expresses his horror at the "murder" of Uday and Qusey Hussein, stating things like (own translation):
We believe the originator of this murder is the US-president. We are appalled by the state of the world. We mourn the numerous victims of this and any other war against humanity.Uday and Qusey Hussein, the adornments of humanity, murdered with utmost cruelty! The question remains: what are the constituents of such a grotesquely distorted thinking? I'll try to focus on German pacifism, which features some national peculiarities.
First, the "Bombennächte" (bombing nights) have left deep marks in the consciousness of the Germans. The specific German problem resides in fading out the reasons for those. Considering the bombing nights as the worst things (and - consequently - considering every war as the worst thing, without reflecting the case for war at all) not only fades out the timeless horror of the holocaust, it also greatly diminishes the understanding of the reasons why Germany had to be attacked. Unconsciously (sometimes consciously), this cognitive strategy of protection fulfills two goals: it helps to neglect the horrors of the holocaust - and it enables a self-perception of being a "victim" of war (especially cynical in the German case as a general judgement). As a consequence, wars are universally perceived as unjustified - because the main focus lies with the victims and the devastation, not with the case for war. I don't want to sound belligerent, war is indeed horrible - but the alternative at times is much more horrible and unbearable. Nevertheless, in the Gutmensch perception, facts like Uday's arbitrary slaughterings, rapes and torture parties as well as Saddam's poison gas attacks of the Kurds (to but mention a few of their deeds) shrink to irrelevance compared to the nameless horrors the victims of war. The fact that all countries (except France) who signed the letter of eight in support of the United States were under Nazi reign is remarkable, because they know that there are worse things than war.
Second, I'd like to remark on a quotation from Matthias Küntzel, a German political scientist whose focus lies on Jihad and anti-Semitism (emphasis mine):
It is just this mission of purification and salvation, however, which gives[...] Islamistic antisemitism an eliminatory quality which creates a hatred of Jews that is even stronger [than] [...] the fear of death. The well-known scholar of Islam and muslim, Bassam Tibi, has accuratly critizied that nobody in Germany really wants to see [...] or [...] learn about this anitsemite dimension of 9/11. He wrote: "Unless the German public is prepared to confront this threat of antisemitsm in an adequate (appropriate) way (manner) it won't be possible to resume that it really understood the lessons of Germany's past."To underline the importance of this statement, one must be aware of some core concepts of Al-Qaeda. I'll try to give a short historical overview (from Matthias Küntzel, "Djihad und Judenhass" [Djihad and Jew-hate], ca ira 2003).
Al-Qaeda has strong roots in the so-called Muslim Brotherhood (founded 1928), which never openly cooperated with the Nazis, but shared its deeply-rooted anti-Semitism. But another individual who later cooperated with the Brotherhood - Amin el-Husseini, the diabolic Mufti of Jerusalem (and relative to Arafat) - strongly cooperated with the Nazis during WW2 in order to kill as many Jews as possible. He elaborated the large amount of parallels between Nazi ideology and Islamism (e.g. monotheism, obedience and discipline, fight for honor, collective above individual - and the most important: anti-Semitism, the most important pillar of today's Islamism); el-Husseini was a great admirer of Hitler and went to Berlin several times (and there are many more relations between Nazism and Islamism). It was also this Mufti who killed or intimidated all rivals who wanted a peaceful solution with the Jews when Palestine was to be divided after WW2. Interesting enough, the Mufti was never punished for his genocidal, anti-Semitic deeds and phantasies (Simon Wiesenthal, in 1947, described him as a "not yet exploded bomb").
Later, on 18th August 1988, the Covenant of Hamas was signed, where we find statements like
"The Day of Judgement will not come about until Moslems fight the Jews (killing the Jews), when the Jew will hide behind stones and trees. The stones and trees will say O Moslems, O Abdulla, there is a Jew behind me, come and kill him. Only the Gharkad tree, (evidently a certain kind of tree) would not do that because it is one of the trees of the Jews." (related by al-Bukhari and Moslem).By reading further through this Covenant, it becomes obvious that the goal of Hamas is not only to destroy Israel which is a "disease" in the Dar-al Islam (House of Islam = Arabic world), but also to kill all Jews world-wide (and, of course, Islamic world domination); again, anti-Semitism is pervading the whole document, and again anti-Semitism is the main pillar of Hamas, which regards itself as the Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood.
Coming back to al-Qaeda: Osama bin Laden studied at Djidda University (Saudi Arabia), where his teacher, the Palestinian Azzam, preached Djihad and martyrdom above everything. 1982, these two founded the "Mudjahidihin Service Bureau" in Peshawar, Pakistan; Osama bin Laden here created an index of all Djihad-fighters, and he also created the "House of the Prophet companions" here, which was later-on known as al-Qaeda ("the basis"). Al-Qaeda has close ties with Hamas. Many Hamas cadres were "educated" in Afghanistan, and there were repeated large pro al-Qaeda celebrations in the Gaza strip after 9-11 (in Nablus, 3000 persons - on 9-11 - quickly assembled and chanted "God is great" and celebrated al-Qaeda). At the same time, al-Qaeda's picture of the USA is based on anti-Semitism as well (New York as the secret Jewish capital; Jews secretly control the USA; the USA is responsible for the bad economic and life conditions the Muslim world). Further, the USA is seen as being "at the top of all criminals" because it "created the 50-year-old crime of creating Israel".
After 9-11, the EU was not capable of connecting the dots. Hamas and al-Qaeda were and are seen as two distinct entities, when they in fact are closely linked. Only this allows the Gutmenschen in Germany to perceive the Palestinian terror against civilians as a "fight for liberation", while at the same time those who warn of the terrors of Islamism are considered "haters" and "warmongers". Die Zeit describes the EU's ME policy (translated by Stefan Sharkansky):
The EU is proud of its policy of equidistance between the Israelis and the Palestinians. But while they criticize Premier Ariel Sharon's occupation policy, his settlement policy and his reluctance for peace, they ignore Arafat's turnaround. Nobody wants to destroy the image of the freedom fighter with the keffiyeh, as far from reality as it is. Some don't want to shatter the symbolic figure of the left, others don't want to lose their last negotiating partner. The outcome of this policy is the refusal to supply spare parts for Israel tanks, and at the same time the months-long refusal to reconsider Arafat's budgetary support.A third and final point is mentioned in an excellent article by Pascal Bruckner (emphasis mine):
For the last half century, Europe has been haunted by the demons of repentance. Ruminating over its past crimes-slavery, imperialism, fascism, communism-it has seen its history as nothing but a long litany of murder and rapine culminating in two world wars. The typical European man or woman is a sensitive creature always prepared to feel pity for the sufferings of the world and to assume responsibility for them, always asking what the North can do for the South rather than what the South can do for itself. [...] Europe's true crime is not only what it did in the past, but what it fails to do today: its inaction in Yugoslavia, its scandalous delay in Rwanda, its frightening silence in the face of the massacres in Chechnya. Obsessive attention to past abominations has blinded us to the horrors of the present. Repentance is not a policy, and the continent of Europe cannot model its relationship to the past on that of Germany. Neither the status of victim nor that of executioner is hereditary. The duty to remember implies nothing about the purity or guilt of descendants.This is what one might describe as why German public opinion is imprisoned by PC. On one hand, as mentioned above, we have the over-pronounciation of victimhood, on the other hand, we have the "never again!"-line of reasoning which is applied like a reflex to any possible threat. Bruckner mentions another reason why German Gutmenschen oppose war (emphasis mine):
Europe suffers from two complexes about its American "protector": the debtor's complex and the Peter Pan complex. Western Europe knows that without American help in the last century, it would have been wiped off the map or colonized by Soviet troops. But some expressions of generosity are forms of insult. The Marshall Plan and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization increased the debt, and America was guilty even of the help it gave us. Even today, we still have the vague sense that in the case of serious trouble, our security depends more or less on our Yankee big brother. Nevertheless, we criticize him for subjugating our continent. We delight in casting all our sins onto this ideal scapegoat, because everything that goes wrong in the world can be laid at Washington's door. In the imagination of many intellectuals and political leaders, America plays the role the Jews once did in National Socialist demonology. Yet we do nothing to free ourselves from American domination. Quite the contrary. We persist in our refusal to grow up and assume our responsibilities.Bruckner hits the nail on the head: German public opinion, like that of a child, is bashing the US for its policy, for subjugating and conquering other countries, just like Europe is "subjugated". On the other hand, Europe is incapable of defending itself, and refuses to be capable of doing so. Instead, luxurious welfare states are reluctantly and slowly dismantled. Especially German Gutmenschen - in a kind of ahistorical obsession - perceive the US engagement in Iraq as world domination. Little do they reflect on any alternative, or little do they try to remember history, which makes their criticism sound very hollow and in fact childish.
CONCLUSION: German Gutmenschen should consider those points carefully, i.e.
- there are worse things than war, and wars can be necessary;
- the anti-Semite roots of 9-11 must be faced - only by doing so will Germany be able to fully face its past, which implies to stop the support for mass-murdering Hamas;
- it is necessary to act in the face of terror and tyranny instead of hesitating due to historically comprehensible but wrong reasons.
The only valid conclusion that can be drawn is staunch support for Israel and the United States.P.S.: I won't be able to blog in the next week, lots to do, but I hope I provided some food for thought...
UPDATE: Scott mentions a good translation for Gutmensch, capturing its meaning: "bleeding heart liberal".
Reader markus feels he debunked a conspiracy hell-bent on "smearing" der Spiegel. If interested, read the updates of this post. Markus rightly mentions that der Spiegel debunks those conspiracy theories, after lengthily presenting them in detail; as for me, I drew a false conclusion from a short abstract of the article (before reading it), which sounded like an uncritical presentation of those ideas. I jumped the gun and apologize for this conclusion. Still, der Spiegel is known for distorting facts and latent (sometimes undisclosed) anti-Americanism. See here.
Before starting off, I'd like to mention that yesterday, a Neo-Nazi plot with the aim to bomb the Jewish center in Munich (and other buildings) was foiled by police. They had 1.7 kilograms of TNT. Appaling and frightening.
Today, the Spectator published a fine article by Andrew Gimson, concerning Schröder's exploitation of German anti-Americanism (Gimson is not part of the largely incestuous, navel-gazing German media landscape which is often more than coqueting with anti-Americanism). It is like fresh air in a stale room. Gimson writes (emphasis mine):
The Germans are becoming more receptive to all forms of anti-Americanism. A year ago 68 per cent of them still regarded a leading role for the Americans in foreign affairs as desirable, with only 27 per cent against: now 50 per cent of them reject such a role for the Americans, with only 45 per cent in favour. A venomous stream of anti-American and anti-Semitic resentment has burst forth in Germany during the Iraq crisis.That is absolutely true. The greatest problem is that this anti-Americanism is so totally brainless; especially the younger adepts of the now-hip anti-Americanism (made fashionable by Schröder, during Bundestagswahl last year, where his anti-American stance saved his ass, in addition to managing a flood pretty well that devastated Eastern Germany) are starting to think when one discusses the Iraq issue with them. Once you get through their classically-conditioned shouting and propaganda salvoes, that is. Gimson also has something to say about Schröder's election stance (emphasis mine):
By using this rancid anti-Americanism to win re-election, Mr Schröder gave his blessing as Chancellor to it. One of the routed German Atlanticists, an eminent member of what used to be the foreign policy establishment, remarked to me on Monday that Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi propaganda minister, would have been proud to unleash such hatred of America.But most Germans appear to have sunk so low to not even notice this; most appear to discover a new self-esteem in proudly opposing the once highly-estimated country that liberated them or their parents from Nazism. Most Germans actually appear to be happy with the German way, and most appeared quite surprised with the fierce US reaction when SPD minister of justice Däubler-Gmelin compared Bush to Hitler. This is quite telling.
Elsewhere, Gimson mentions (emphasis mine):
Dr Jeffrey Gedmin, an American foreign policy expert who has often appeared on German television to argue the case for the invasion of Iraq, was amazed by the volume and bitterness of the hate mail he has received. "You Jew son of a whore, you are not welcome in this country, you and that nigger hyena Condoleezza Rice," was the sort of message sent to him by many of his correspondents. Dr Gedmin happens, incidentally, to be a Roman Catholic.I have no words for such foul speech. I only hope the responsible persons are going to enjoy the consequences of their vile rant. What really shocks me though is that Gedmin states he received such diatribe form many of his correspondents. Gimson mentions Gedmin's quantifications (emphasis mine):
Dr Gedmin, who is director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, estimates that about 10 per cent of his correspondents have actually thanked him for making the strategic case for what the Americans have done in Iraq - a case which few other people have had the temerity to express on German television. He reckons that a further 60 per cent of correspondents have attacked his views, but have done so in reasonably civil terms. Only about 30 per cent have descended to the rabidly anti-Semitic form of anti-Americanism.Well, that's 90 per cent opposing his view, and it's only 30 per cent that were using a rabidly anti-Semitic form of anti-Americanism. Phew, I'm so relieved! I thought it was more. [sarcasm detector explodes] And to finally mention another everyday German tastelessness, Gimson mentions this (emphasis mine):
Another American who works in an office full of educated Germans said, 'With every American soldier that dies the schadenfreude is immense. Every day people come by my desk and say, "Isn't it great, Bush is coming crawling to Schröder now. Schröder won't get an invitation to the ranch at Crawford - George Bush is going to beg him to go there."'This is completely sick, apart from being fundamentally wrong. Schröder only utilized the UN; before the Iraq war, he said, "Germany will participate under no circumstances", he even excluded participation under the sanctified UN mandate. And now, after the war is won, Schröder again denies help in Iraq - even in case of a UN mandate. This is interesting because it clearly shows Schröder and Chirac blatantly utilized the UN only as an obstacle to the US; concerning the UN itself, Jonathan Foreman mentions in the NY Post:
The truth is that many Iraqis distrust or even detest the U.N. And for good reason. It's not so much that they associate the U.N. with sanctions or weapons inspections. They associate it with incompetence, corruption and overfriendliness to dictators - most importantly, Saddam Hussein himself.Obviously, Iraqis remember how Kofi Annan said Saddam was "a man who can be worked with", apart from Rwanda and Srebrenica. The question should be allowed what the role of the UN can be in the future; France and Germany cynically utilized it, the US rightly perceive it as a shield for tyrants and mass murderers. The only ones who must be fond of the UN are e.g. Lybia, recently heading the UN Human Rights Commission (joke? No...), and other such states.
Looking into the future, Gimson mentions there might be even a good outcome as Germany matures and emancipates itself. But he also says this outcome is not that likely, but rather another:
The Germans are going the way of the French, intent on a kind of European Gaullism that puts every possible obstacle in Washington's way. Unable to bear the reality of American power, they have opted instead to live in a world of illusions.I'm still a bit more optimistic, I even think Gerrmany will come around in the long run. But the fact that Schröder has decided to closely team up with the French - while severely damaging the friendship with the US - will not only result in unpleasant consequences, but also turn out to be wrong. It's no wonder Germany does not want to send soldiers to Iraq - the Iraqis (not exclusively the terrorists among them) will certainly remember who opposed their liberation.
It's been two years now since the black day. I feel the same shock and horror today that I felt that day.
I was doing an internship at an American company in Düsseldorf that day when one of my colleagues told me: "Something happened, please come to the conference room, there is a television." His voice was so serious that I followed him immediately.
When I entered the room, it was already crowded; about 30 people were sitting on chairs and tables around a TV in the centre, and there would have been a deathlike silence except for the news speaker - and the TV pictures. I remember perceiving the twin towers wrapped in a black cloud, and it was a terrible thing to behold. Then the first tower collapsed.
My stomach was a fist in my belly, and I noticed one American manager ran out; she was weeping, and others followed to comfort her. Everything felt unreal, and the pictures were repeated over and over again, when the second tower collapsed.
This was really too much for me, I needed some fresh air; a colleague went with me, and we didn't speak, we just went down and walked a bit on the street without noticing anything around. It was terrible. Some later, both of us looked at each other, and we know that an era ended, and that something horrible lay ahead of us; I say us, because I felt American in heart then (and do so now), and I was angry and shocked because I felt this was an attack on the heart of liberty, a vile assault on the hope of the world. It was in these dark hours that I chose sides (though I disagreed about Iraq in the meantime, but not so now).
The war on terror is nothing one can choose, because warfare has already begun. The only thing one can do now is to choose sides - the side of liberty, democracy and hope - or the other side. A heart-felt thank you to the US for facing the threat; for defending the virtues of freedom and civilisation; and for being the lighthouse of hope in dark times.
In 1775, Patrick Henry made a brilliant statement which could be applied today:
Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!Thank you, America.
P.S.: Davids Medienkritik (in German) notes that today, der Spiegel (in German) is concerned with the conditions the terrorists at Guantanamo Bay have to suffer.
Further, I discovered that der Spiegel (in German) wrote - today as well - that helpers at the WTC site breathed a poisonous fog during their actions (should they have done nothing?). What a disgrace on this day, and what a disgrace this magazine has become.
UPDATE: Little Green Footballs mentions that celebration and joy were widely spread in Britain's Muslim community on 9-11-01. I had the pleasure to converse with a Muslim while sitting in the train on 9-12-01. The man - with a broad grin on his face, and obviously feeling exalted - tried to convince me this was what America "deserved" (that was the nicest he said). I chose to sit down somewhere else, because smashing his teeth would have been an improvement.
Reader grayp sent me this link to Eamonn Fitzgerald's Rainy Day that reveals der Spiegel's true mentality. Eamonn notes (emphasis mine):
Add the numbers in the date 11.09.2001 together and what do you get? 23! Add four hijacked planes + nineteen terrorists and what do you get? 23! What's the secret number of the Illuminati? 23! It is to this level of craziness that Der Spiegel has descended. It should not be regarded as a serious magazine anymore.Well, actually, der Spiegel tried to deceive readers before; Papa Scott mentions how German exchange students were deliberately misquoted to provoke anti-American sentiment. It's disgusting; but it makes me sad as well, because I used to regard der Spiegel as a reliable news source. This incident is only the last straw. How very interesting that der Spiegel has a close cooperation with the NY Times...
UPDATE: due to reader requests, I've removed the automatic welcome bee. You can still hear it by clicking on the "Welcome!"-header in the sidebar.
ANOTHER UPDATE: Reader Markus already mentioned that der Spiegel didn't try to deceive readers in its current issue as in the past; I just looked it up myself (no, don't worry, I didn't buy it), and it's true: conspiracy theories are debunked. Whether there is a systematic return to objectivity taking place is not clear - but I seriously doubt it.
STILL ANOTHER UPDATE: Wortfeld has a partial translation of the mentioned Spiegel article debunking conspiracy theories. I adhere to the opinion that the cover is offensive and disrespectful. Further, I think publicly debunking conspiracy theories is a two-edged sword; on the one hand, it dries out the soil of the paranoid, but on the other hand, it spreads those theories. In Germany's current atmosphere of widely-spread anti-Americanism (see this post), I doubt this is a good idea, it gives those morons way too much credit. One might draw a parallel to some 20 years ago, when some German youths started ranting that the victorious Allies had "installed" gas chambers after WW2. If der Spiegel presented these theories on 16 pages and then debunked them, it would be as nauseating.
LAST UPDATE (I promise): Here is the full translation of the mentioned article. Reader markus says we (Eamonn, Jeff Jarvis and I) were "smearing" der Spiegel. He obviously has no problem with the Spiegel cover, nor does he see the credibility of der Spiegel seriously threatened by the anti-American forgery mentioned above by Papa Scott.
Germany is probably the nation with the strongest environmentalist lobby in the world, and much ado about rubbish is taking place: Germans are required to separate their rubbish (paper; packages; bio-waste) as if there was nothing better to do. Last July, MSNBC already reported that cans in Germany might face extinction (emphasis mine):
"Trittin [Green party environment minister] sees the can as a symbol of ecological waste, a bad product to have when you care about the environment," says Hanno Fiedler, head of Ball Packaging Europe, Europe's second largest maker of drinks cans, who has just had the worst six months of his career. The cause of his distress is a new deposit of between 25 and 50 cents that has been levied on most recyclable cans and bottles since January. The deposit in effect doubles the retail price of the drinks and the rationale for imposing it shows how far Germany has gone in pursuit of environmentally sound practices.Though I'm not an objectivist, I must say the Ayn Rand Institute has a point there:
With a doomsday mentality reminiscent of Dark Age fanatics, environmentalists place every possible legal (and illegal) roadblock in the way of new inventions and economic development, from the local to the international level. If environmentalism is successful in its assault on Western values, your life on earth will become increasingly difficult, as your wealth and freedom slowly decrease.Indeed, this can deposit in times of severe crisis is ridiculous and cynical, nothing but a roadblock for economy and consumers (I stopped buying cans entirely, because I always threw them away until I realized that this is expensive...). What are the effects of this new can deposit? MSNBC continues (emphasis mine):
More than retailers, however, the victims of this situation are the can manufacturers. Beverage Can Makers Europe (BCME) says that 7.2 billion cans were sold in Germany last year, more than half of them containing beer. The market is worth about $656 million a year and Ball Packaging Europe, which is based in Ratingen, has about half of it. The association estimates that sales of cans in Germany fell by about 50 percent in the first half of this year. Ball Packaging Europe, which sold 13 billion cans in 2002, saw its German sales drop by 60 percent. The 1,000 employees in its four German plants are now working part-time.Now, we will have 5 million unemplyoed this winter, and Trittin obviously is hell-bent on adding some more, because of his ideological obsession - the can as the enemy. I cannot even laugh anymore at this nonsense. But it's not only the can manufacturers that suffer beneath this idiocy, says MSNBC (emphasis mine):
Some of the biggest names in the German beer industry - already in less than robust shape - are reeling from the impact of a 30-60 cent deposit on recyclable cans and bottles that came into effect in January, writes Joanna Chung. The companies with greatest exposure to cans - Hannen, Holsten, Oettinger, Radeberger and Brau & Brunnen - are being hit the hardest. First-quarter volumes in the German beer market were down 9.1 percent owing to a 60-70 percent drop in sales of canned beer, according to investment bank Credit Suisse First Boston. The most optimistic outlook for a year is for a 5 percent decline in volume.So, what's basically happening here is that a minister whose mind obviously is distorted by his compulsive obsession with protecting the environment™ from harm deliberately hurts the already feeble German economy. And the most ridiculous is the German tendency to create an intransparent bureaucratic event out of everything, says the Guardian:
The deposit only applies to fizzy drinks and not to flat drinks: customers have to pay a deposit on a can of the popular Apfelschorle (apple juice mixed with sparkling water) but don't have to if they buy a simple apple juice. Likewise the thirsty pedestrian has to pay a deposit for a can of cola, but not for a can of pre-mixed whisky cola. "Why is still apple juice less environmentally damaging than sparkling apple juice?" asks one producer. "Yet cans of still apple juice have no deposit, while sparkling does."But the good thing is: I'm not the only one who seems to be fed up with this nonsense, the Guardian notes (emphasis mine):
Few consumers have bothered to get their money back after buying a thirst-quenching drink during this summer's heat wave. According to a recent ministry of economic affairs study 80% of deposits are unclaimed and by the end of October €450m [...] will have piled up in shopkeepers' tills - equivalent to 1.8bn cans that have simply been thrown away.A minister who is not in touch with reality anymore should be fired immediately, and so should the lunatics who try to impose such idiotic laws. And you would not believe how many they are.