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A European Saves Americans on Flight 253

The 9/11 attacks and the failed Christmas Day airplane bombing have two things in common: US agencies had enough information about the terrorists and could have intervened if they had properly analyzed and shared the information that they had, but instead another systemic failure - as President Obama called it - has occurred. Like with United 93 in 2001 it was again the passengers, in particular the Dutchman Jasper Schuringa, who subdued the Nigerian terrorist.

Yep, it was a European. And it is documented well. It is, however, not well documented what exactly happened on United 93. Nevertheless a movie was made that defames the German passenger Christian Adams as the "stereotypically weak-kneed Euro-pacifist," even though no information suggests that he acted that way. Hollywood should apologize by making a good movie about Flight 253 with a Dutch hero.

And while we are at it: The Dutch are also taller than Americans, probably because of better health care and more comprehensive welfare systems. So, perhaps Obama's health care reform will prevent further terrorist attacks ;-) Nah, I hope the systemic problems will be fixed. And to be fair: The system, including the much criticized No-Fly List, has probably prevented a few attacks, but such success can't be quantified and does not make headlines.

Endnote: Thanks to Robert Farley for the related post "But Bob Kaplan Said that Europeans Have Lost Their Will to Live!"

I used to be big fan of Kaplan, when he published The Coming Anarchy in the early 90s, but I got more and more disappointed by his writings since the turn of the millenium. I am not sure to which article Farley refers to. It could be this month column Let's Go, Europe about the "neopacifism" in a "debellicized Europe," which can only make a difference in the naval sphere. Or it is his November column The Fall of the Wall, where he argues that "We may have gained victory in the Cold War, but lost Europe to apathy and decadence in the process." Kaplan was so nice and took the 20th anniversary of the first ever peaceful revolution in Germany (our best contribution to the 20th century) as well as the revolutions in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe, which are now part of the EU, as an opportunity for Eurobashing:

What does the European Union truly stand for besides a cradle-to-grave social welfare system? For without something to struggle for, there can be no civil society—only decadence.  Thus, with their patriotism dissipated, European governments can no longer ask for sacrifices from their populations when it comes to questions of peace and war.

Of course, Jasper Schuringa's initiative on Flight 253 won't change Kaplan opinion about the decadent, neopacifist, debellized, unpatriotic Europeans.

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Pamela on :

Well, I think as far as most Americans are concerned Mr. Schuringa is one bad-ass hero and he can have the keys to any city he wants. I have heard some criticism that he sold pics to CNN. Gasp! He made money! What churlish rot. Thank you Mr. Schuringa for making this New Year's Eve a helluva lot better than it would have been without you. Oh, yeah, Obama thanks you, too. As for the Flight 93 movie - I saw that and I swear I don't remember the part about the German passenger. Must not have made much of an impression on my thick head. Happy New Year, everyone - off to get inebriated!

David on :

Great catch about Bob Kaplan. Recently I [url=http://www.dialoginternational.com/dialog_international/2009/03/wapo-oped-claims-europeans-are-soulless.html]wrote[/url] about Charles Murray, the American "scholar" who "proved" that blacks were genetically inferior in terms of intelligence. Murray met some Europeans and determined that all Europeans are "soulless": "It conformed to both journalistic and scholarly accounts of a spreading European mentality that goes something like this: Human beings are a collection of chemicals that activate and, after a period of time, deactivate. The purpose of life is to while away the intervening time as pleasantly as possible." It is amazing that drivel like this gets published on the op/ed page of the Washington Post.

Pat Patterson on :

Maybe you should have read The Bell Curve as Murray made no such claim of inferiority but rather studied the test results. He found that not accounting for any factors at all that blacks did indeed score lower on the intelligence and aptitude tests but that blacks that had a complete high school and college education scored exactly the same. Plus as of yet there have been no reliable studies on height difference as the Dutch statistics were based on "self-reported" and the US on measured. There probably is a height difference owing to the difference in the numbers of immgrants in both countries however I would hate to make a bet on such flimsy statistics.

Joerg Wolf on :

Pat, you write: "Plus as of yet there have been no reliable studies on height difference as the Dutch statistics were based on "self-reported" and the US on measured." What's your source? None of this is mentioned in the New Yorker article: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/04/05/040405fa_fact?currentPage=all It refers to the work by the Economist John Komlos, so I would assume he is using data that can be compared. Moreover, he is not just saying that Dutch but also other Western/Northern Europeans are taller than Americans; and some of them most have comparable data, otherwise his whole study would not make sense. In Germany, the height statistics for young men rely on data collected at the administrations for the military draft, I think.

Pat Patterson on :

According to the statistics kept by the Dutch 30% are measured and 70% are self-reported. The group that keeps the stats also spoke of how people overestimated their height by 1-2 centimeters. http://www.cbs.nl/en-GB/menu/_unique/_concept/default.htm?postingguid={11839D9F-94FC-4F62-8774-DE6516017446}&concept=New+measurements

Marie Claude on :

I have sen the event discused on many blogs, still the Dutch is an hero in the medias but it could have been someone else! I don't this guy stand for being an hero, especially an european 'one ! he just made what he thought rightful, like any normal being facing an evil threat now some in the US will have to slow down their arrogance, not towards the europeans, China will dictate its rules and my friends that still hold Dday as your best proweess will have to land one day cuz you'ren't the only braves on this planet check what I replied to Howie !

Marie Claude on :

oh sh*t you will hold that as a french delirium Merda, my thought is quicker than my fingers :lol: sorry I must correct myself "I don't this guy" -> I don't thing my reply to Howie http://www.sudanesethinker.com/2009/12/26/happy-holidays/#comments

Pamela on :

Yowzer! Marie Claude, you REALLY need to find classier bars to hang out in.

Marie Claude on :

hi Pamela, the thing is I am a MP, my job is to attend bars hey, found an old customer in the above quoted bar :lol: Happy new year though

Pat Patterson on :

Getting back to the original Kaplan argument it is a mistake to completely dismiss his comments as anti-Europe as it appears that the debellicized label came from another writer, "For this commitment comes from a Europe that the Britain-based military analyst Colin S. Gray describes, in his 2005 book, Another Bloody Century: Future Warfare, as "thoroughly debellicized." Kaplan goes on to argue that Europe will have to take up the slack in maintaining, call it a Pax Europa, in the Atlantic and he does name some nations, Germany mainly that is spending a larger percentage of its military budget on ships. He also argues that there are things that a Euroean presence can accomplish in war zones that would indeed fulfill NATO goals and fit better with the attitude of most Europeans who see no threat to themselves at all and thus are unlikely to involve themselves elsewhere. Sort of isolationism in regards to war but not economics.

Joerg Wolf on :

Pat, Kaplan first writes "debellicized" as a quote of another write, but then he uses that term again towards the end of his article. This time without quoatation marks, clearly suggesting that he agrees with that label: "In fact, if one is looking for a way in which a debellicized Europe can make a difference, it is in the naval sphere."

Joe Noory on :

As he was a longtime U.S. resident and visitor, and there were numerous non-US-citizens on the flight, it's hard to find any fairy-tale heroism in the title this blog's assertion.

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