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Contrasting Perceptions and Failing to Win Hearts and Minds

Having read the coverage of the EU-US summit in several U.S. and German papers, I got the impression that the German papers focus on the lack of concrete results, while pointing out that President Bush wants to close Gitmo, is more supportive of EU policies on Israel/Palestine, Iran, and on the environment. The U.S. papers, however, focused on the dialogue between President Bush and the European press.
According to the Voice of America, one journalist asked President Bush the inaccurate question why Europeans perceive America to be the greatest threat to global stability. And Raimund Loew, of Austrian Radio and TV, added: "So my question to you is, why do you think you have failed so badly to convince Europeans to win their hearts and minds?"  President Bush responded:
Look, people didn't agree with my decision on Iraq. And I understand that. For Europe, September the 11th was a moment; for us it was a change of thinking.
I see an irony here, but it is just my personal analysis: I believe President Bush not only explained why he is so unpopular in Europe, but he also reinforced his unpopularity. President Bush did not seize this chance to win hearts and minds in Europe, but actually lost a few more hearts and minds because of the way he responded.
Please, let me explain why and also elaborate on the poll and the press coverage of the summit and the German troops in Afghanistan:
 
1.
President Bush's response gives the impression that all Europeans were against the Iraq war. He fails to acknowledge that Britain, Italy, Spain, and other European countries did send troops to Iraq.
 
2. As so often, President Bush puts only six words between "Iraq" and "September the 11th," although Iraq had nothing to do with September 11. Sometimes that makes sense, but most Europeans don't like the Bush administration's repeated Iraq-9/11 references and believe that those references explain why "a large majority of Bush supporters believes that Iraq was providing substantial support to al Qaeda and that clear evidence of this support has been found." (This 2004 poll is discussed here.) Therefore President Bush isn't winning, but losing hearts and minds in Europe with short talking point references to Iraq-9/11.
Yes, 9/11 required a reassesment of the threat of WMD and the necessity to support democratization. Indeed the terrorist attacks caused a "change of thinking" not only for Americans (as the president claims), but also for Europeans.
Besides, many Americans, who changed their thinking after 9/11, did not agree with the decision to attack Iraq and start democratization of the Middle East with tanks in Iraq, because 9/11 was caused by a multi-national, but mainly Saudi religious fundamentalist terrorist group rather than secular Iraq. Why not bring democracy to another Arab country first? Democratization of Egypt would have sent shockwaves throughout the Arab world.
 
3. This is the second time within weeks that President Bush described 9/11 as just a moment for Europeans. In May he told German TV that for non-Americans September 11th "was just a moment in passing", which I consider unfair, a bit offensive and totally inaccurate. Just two of the many reasons:
a) According to the State Department: "An estimated 2,830 people died or are missing in the aftermath of the attack on the World Trade Center. (...) One in six — 494 — are reportedly either foreigners or Americans with dual citizenship, hailing from more than 90 countries. "
b) Because of September 11, thousands of German soldiers have risked their lives in Afghanistan every single day for the past four years. Deutsche Welle reports that on Tuesday:

For the first time, a suicide bomber has targeted German Bundeswehr troops in northern Afghanistan. No soldiers were killed in the attack, although two civilians were killed, in addition to the bomber, and eight injured. (...) The troops were on patrol in a Dingo armored vehicle when an explosive device was detonated. (…) The Bundeswehr took over the regional command of the NATO ISAF peacekeeping force in northern Afghanistan on June 1 and currently there are just under 2,800 Germany soldiers on the force. Thus far, 18 have been killed on the ISAF mission.
Perhaps President Bush could tell the relatives of those 18 German soldiers and the relatives of other European soldiers killed in Afghanistan that September 11 was just "a moment" for Europeans.


Moreover, we need to take a closer look at the poll that is quoted in the US and European media as saying that Europeans consider the US the greatest threat. The respected Pew Global Attitudes Project summarizes its poll and created the table:
Majorities in 10 of 14 foreign countries surveyed say that the war in Iraq has made the world a more dangerous place. In Great Britain, America's most important ally in Iraq, 60% say the war has made the world more dangerous, while just half that number (30%) feel it has made the world safer. Moreover, even as concerns about Iran have increased, somewhat more Britons believe that the U.S. military presence in Iraq represents a great danger to stability in the Middle East and world peace than say that about the current government in Iran (by 41%-34%). In Spain, fully 56% say the U.S. military presence in Iraq is a great danger to the stability of the Middle East and world peace; just 38% regard the current government in Iran in the same way. Among America's traditional allies, Germany is the only country where more people say Iran is a great danger than offer the same view of the U.S. military presence in Iraq (by 51%-40%). "

Back to the EU-US Summit in Vienna:
Mike Allen writes for Time Magazine: "In Europe, Bush avoids looking defensive and wins a ringing endorsement by at least one foreign leader"

Mark Silva wrote good elaborate piece for the Chicago Tribune:
President Bush, eager to counter the perceived threats of Iran and North Korea, instead found himself Wednesday passionately defending the United States against suggestions that the U.S. threatens world security with its own foreign policies.
Ames Gerstenzang from the LA Times writes in the Houston Chronicle:
President Bush responded angrily Wednesday to differences with Europe over the war in Iraq and the treatment of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. With public opinion surveys showing a growing animosity in Europe toward the United States amid fears that its anti-terrorism policies and the Iraq war are endangering global stability, the president raised his voice during a news conference and several times used the words "absurd" and "absurdity" to describe the criticism.
Contrast the above US reports about the US-EU summit with this typical European report from EU Observer, whose headline is "Warm words but wishy-washy results at EU-US summit":
Standing side by side with US president George W. Bush after a bilateral summit, EU leaders toned down their rhetoric on controversial issues highlighted before the meeting, despite not having any concrete commitments from Washington on visas, trade talks or climate change.
The EU sent a number of strong messages before the one-day gathering on Wednesday (21 June), pledging to be tough and call for real moves in several areas on the US side. Apart from Guantanamo - which Mr Bush said he would like to end but has to wait for a Supreme Court decision - the loudest pre-summit noise was made on the issue of a two-tier visa system for EU member states.
More coverage at the Eccentric Star Public Diplomacy Blog

Dr. Jackson Janes, executive director of the American Institute of Contemporary German Studies wrote about "Facing a Fragile Consensus":
The summit declaration addressed the many issues on the transatlantic agenda and expressed many good intentions to deal with them. Negotiating jointly with Iran was given a prominent slot as an indication of how far cooperation between Washington and Europe has progressed since the meltdown over Iraq. Yet at the press conference following the summit, President Bush was confronted with the continuing criticism directed at Guantanamo and the sagging image of the United States in Europe, where recent polls indicated that a third of Europeans see the United States as a bigger threat to world stability than Iran.  Declaring such findings to be absurd, he dismissed polls as the gyroscope for his policies by arguing that he will do his best "to explain our foreign policy," and Austrian Chancellor Schüssel reminded everyone how important the United States was to the recovery of Europe after World War II.

But explaining present, not past, foreign policy has not been the among the polished skills coming out of Washington during the recent past and it remains to be seen whether such negative attitudes in Europe, toward the president and U.S. policies, will change significantly for the remaining period of the Bush presidency. (...)

The U.S. and Europe do need to coordinate their policies on the Doha Round, on Darfur and a host of other issues. Yet, domestic politics will shape the running space of all leaders on both sides of the Atlantic, where a fragile consensus defines the political debates.
It will be important for those leaders to try to understand our respective debates, as complicated and contradictory as they appear. In the case of the United States, the battle is on for Presidential bids in 2008, reflected in the Congressional confrontations during the past week. The U.S. will be a very noisy stage for the next twenty-eight months and it will be difficult but important to distinguish policy substance from style. In Europe, there remains uncertainty about what the next priorities will be for the EU and there are few clear voices to articulate it. With that in mind, Chancellor Merkel should have her team fully focused on her priorities when Germany assumes the EU presidency and the Chairmanship of the G8 in the first half of 2007.

Endnote: President Bush said at the EU-U.S. Summit that he would like to close Guantanamo, but "
I'm waiting for the Supreme Court of the United States to determine the proper venue in which these people can be tried." Yesterday the NYT writes that the Supreme Court made a decision:
The Supreme Court on Thursday repudiated the Bush administration's plan to put Guantánamo detainees on trial before military commissions, ruling broadly that the commissions were unauthorized by federal statute and violated international law.

To pre-empt some of the comments
I am likely to receive:

Yes, Europeans are responsible for many communication failures as well.
Yes, there are plenty of other reasons why President Bush is unpopular in Europe.
Yes, President Bush has expressed his appreciation of the European contributions to ISAF, Enduring Freedom, and Iraq many times.
The Atlantic Review is supposed to just summarize press articles and we try to focus on just doing that, but sometimes I feel I need to add some personal opinions.

Please suggest a new headline for this post that better describes the transatlantic disagreements, different perceptions, different assessments of threats, and the communication failures summarized in this post. What headline describes best the relationship between Bush administration and Europe? I know those are difficult questions. If you got an idea, I would appreciate it.

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Tom P on :

I wonder what's your expectations are here. There is a rabid minority in the US who are in default opposition to Bush regardless of what he says or does. He serves as a convenient antithesis to whatever cause or ideology they hold. Is it his fault that Bush has been unable to win the hearts and minds of his own countrymen? Knowing a few myself, it would be an exercise in futility for him to try. The real questions is whether the European press really want to find themselves liking Bush, or whatever Bush represents for them? This is not a question of communications. It's one of perception. Given the anger surrounding the recent SWIFT disclosure, I'm not sure if many Americans are exerting much effort to get on the good graces of our press, much less their European counterpart. As for a new headline, try "Kagan's Of Power and Paradise in action."

David on :

"rabid minority" I'm not aware of any credible poll that puts more than 35% of Americans with a favorable view of Bush.

Jabba the Tutt on :

I'm not aware of any credible poll that puts more than 35% of Americans with a favorable view of Bush. You're confusing "favorable view" of Bush with Bush's "job approval" ratings, which have increased up to 40% now. I'd say 60% of Americans like Bush, have a "favorable view" of him. You're making the same mistake the rabid Democrats make. They hate Bush and assume a majority of Americans hate Bush too!. That's one reason they lost in '00, '02, '04 and will lose this November. They may disagree with Bush on policy or are disappointed at the difficulties in Iraq, but they don't hate Bush. They want America to win in Iraq and they see the Democrats offering NO alternative other than exposing anti-terrorist programs in the NY Times. Not a winning strategy. I'll take all bets on this.

Joerg on :

"The real questions is whether the European press really want to find themselves liking Bush" The should be less biased and more fair, but why should they like Bush? Isn't it President Bush's job to improve his image abroad and convince other countries to support US policies and share the burden? Don't you think you need allies for dealing with terrorists groups, WMD, Iran, etc? Pres Bush senior had a huge coalition for the first Iraq war. And Japan and Germany paid for it financially.

Charles on :

Hey, Tom, where have you been for the past two years? You are now part of the "rabid minority"--the stubborn halfwits that still support Bush!

Don on :

Joerg, that main post (and your comment below) are so sweeping (and dare I say a little purblind?) it's really hard to know where to start. How about 'Hearts and Minds'. There sees to be some blindness to the fact that there are TWO 'Hearts and Minds' battles being lost here. Not one as is commonly assumed. Possibly because there is no one European leader to ask incisive questions of. Take me. I was a good little Atlanticist until about - 2003. I thought all the kind thoughts, I backed up my president's deployments in the Balkan's last decade, I knew that the Germans/Belgians/French were my country's allies and friends. I knew that the price of having friends and being part of the NATO alliance was having to fight the occasional war which I opposed and which was really not the US' business at all. Because that is part of being a good ally - you support your friends. A certain gentleman now working as a Russian oil executive taught me differently in 2003. I learned that NATO was a cafeteria arrangement which could be opted out of at will. So I'm no longer a good little Atlanticist. Next time there is a little crisis out your way - say the Ukraine, or Romania, or Bulgaria, whatever? I think I'll be telling my Prez to stay the hell out. But that isn't fair. No, the US should contribute 2800 relatively untried troops (if Germany contributes 30,000 elite troops) and demand strategic veto power over Germany's global deployments. How about that? Sounds fair I'm certain. You do have one thing absolutely correct. The US needs allies. At a rate of 2800 troops per ally the US needs (let's see...) about 30-40 allies to materially reduce the necessary US troop deployments. Every one to get veto power over strategic dispositions of course. That'll work right well, I think....

Joerg on :

Thanks for pointing out that Europeans have lost the hearts and minds in the US as well. That should be the topic of another post. This post was already very long. Both the US and the Europeans try to improve transatlantic relatoins again. I was pointing out one of many reason why President Bush remains unpopular and why I think that his repeated characterisation of 9/11 as just "a moment" for Europeans does not advance US interests. Do you disagree? Do you think that was a fair and helpful characterisation? You are right that Germany lost many hearts and minds in the US in 2002 and 2003. What should Germany do to win hearts and minds again? I am thinking of writing a post about all the things Germany has done to support the US after the start of the Iraq war, because I think many Americans are unaware of those contributions. What do you think Germany should do? Re NATO and Iraq war: Allies are supposed to defend each other. That's why NATO declared 9/11 as an attack on the alliance and offered to help the US invade Afghanistan. The US declined for whatever good reasons the US might have had. Unfortunately Osama wasn't captured for whatever reasons. Unlike the Afghanistan war, the Iraq war was a war of choice. You seem to suggest that Europeans would win back America's hearts and minds, if we increase defense spending and provide more troops. Right? (I think Germany's opposition to Iraq was not motivated by a lack of troops, but okay, lets move on.) What else do we have to do?

Quo Vaids on :

I believe that the point Bush is making with his "moment" comment is that for many Americans, myself included, 9-11 brought about an abrupt change in thinking from the realpolitik that had dominated American foreign policy since the days of Henry Kissinger and with all it's attendant ethical compromises and uncomfortable alliances. For Americans, the status quo is no longer acceptable. I haven't seen any evidence from Europe of a similar change in thinking. What alternatives are there for a nation that has found its citizens vulnerable to massacre in their own homes at the hands of those who believe that we are the root cause of all their misery? Admittedly, the invasion of Iraq has been such a complete failure from its very inception that it's difficult to put it into the context of any rational foreign policy, but what we have now is obviously not what anyone intended. Unfortunately, the case for Iraq was so poorly made in the first place that we are all left to speculate how the Bush administration really expected this to pan out.

Joerg on :

Thank you for your comment! "For Americans, the status quo is no longer acceptable." Did US policy towards Saudi Arabia and Egypt change? "I haven't seen any evidence from Europe of a similar change in thinking." Well, we defend NATO's security in Afghanistan now. The new German doctrine now is that our security is defended at the Hindukusch, i.e. the mountains in Central Asia. That's a remarkable change of thinking for Germany.

Anonymous on :

US policy toward Saudi Arabia and Egypt has changed to the extent that it can given the failure of the Iraq adventure, which is not much. The cost of alienating those few cooperating governments in the region is higher now than it has ever been and there is much more at stake. Had nation building efforts in Iraq proved more productive, the US would have been in a position, politically, militarily and in the court of world opinion to apply pressure for change. There was a time, immediately after the so-called victory in Iraq when there were signs that this might succeed and that is, I believe, what the Bush administration had in mind. No matter what the eventual outcome in Iraq, by July of 2003, the US had already lost the war in Iraq in any strategic sense.

Quo Vadis on :

The previous anonymous comment was mine. I neglected to enter my name.

Quo Vadis on :

Many Americans see the US involvement in Afghanistan and Iraq as the start of a (now probably doomed) attempt to affect a transformation of the entire region from one dominated by totalitarian regimes to one governed by democracies. That is a way of thinking about the role of the US in the world that has been lost since the time of generation of Americans we now call "The Greatest Generation". Do Germans see their involvement in Afghanistan in a similar way or simply as a policing effort to prevent terrorists from basing their operations there?

Joerg on :

Good question. I think most Germans consider it more than "just" policing, but we definitely did not expect a transformation of the entire region. We were less optimistic about the ISAF mission in Afghanistan than most Americans were about the Iraq war, i.e. a cakewalk to bring democracy to the entire Middle East lasting less than six months, Iraq being able pay for ist own reconstruction etc. That's why most Germans are not as disappointed as most Americans are right now, I believe.

Quo Vadis on :

Let me clarify my position on the war in Iraq. I believe that it was intended to be part of a larger program that could have succeeded had it been better executed. Perhaps the most important failure was the failure to rally support internationally; moral support more than material support. While I place the blame for this failure squarely on the shoulders of the Bush administration, some of our most important friends in Europe were and continue to be anything but helpful. I also believe that such a transformational program would have been by far the best possible long term outcome for the peoples of the region as well as for the US and the West. Because the totalitarian regimes are much better at suppressing secular democratic movements than they are at suppressing Islamic fundamentalist movements, home-grown political transformations are more likely to produce regimes like the one we collectively overthrew in Afghanistan.

Joerg on :

I hear you! Yes, the Middle East definitely needs a transformation. There have been democratic movements in all parts of the world in the last 15 years, but not really in the Middle East. Liberalization and Democratisation is what the region needs. But why start with Iraq? Why start with the most difficult case? An ethnically divided country with citizens that suffered not only under a brutal dictator for decades, but also under severe sanctions from the United Nations and that tried an uprising in 1991 after US encouragement, but then was abandoned? Those citizens might not trust you all that much... Why not start regional transformation of the Middle East with an easier case first? Some place you did not need to invade with 150.000 troops, which just increases your unpopularity and mistrust in the Arab and Muslim world, i.e. makes it even more difficult for you to spread democracy. You have huge leverage over Saudi Arabia, because this country totally depends on the US for its security. You have huge leverage over Egypt, which receives billions of dollars in aid from you. Why don't you use this leverage? Why do you let the Egyptian Pharao (How long as Mubarak been president now?) scare you and convince you that you depend on him? Why do you feel that Saudi Arabia has a bigger leverage over the Superpower USA, just because it got a lot of oil?

Anonymous on :

The Atlantic Review post about US-Saudi relations: [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/153-The-US-Saudi-relationship-Oil-supply-at-the-expense-of-US-security-and-moral-values.html[/url]

Quo Vadis on :

This is a nice theory, but it is incomplete at best. The power to control a resource for which there is a global demand brings independence. The Saudis and other large oil producers can and do simply ignore us. Note that the price of oil is twice what it was a few years ago and that we have no power that can influence the Iranians to abandon their nuclear program.

Anonymous on :

The Saudis depend on the US for its security.

Quo Vadis on :

If the change is going to happen in these countries, it’s going to have to come from within or it’s going to have to be imposed by force from without. The regimes in the region aren’t stupid; they’re going to make it as difficult as possible for anyone to unseat them and they have a lot of weapons to use beyond the price of oil. We pay them in various ways to cooperate with us as much as they are willing to, but there’s no way they are going to agree to give up power. If they decided not to cooperate with they could make a lot of trouble for us. Much of the growth of Islamic fundamentalism world wide over the last several decades has been funded by Saudi oil money channeled to Saudi Islamic fundamentalists in exchange for their approval of the Saudi government. 25 years ago, we were competing with the USSR for strategic partners in the cold war; today we need these same countries’ cooperation to combat terrorism. How hard can we push? Our “allies” the Saudis and the Egyptians protect themselves from pressure from the US pressure by keeping the secular opposition fragmented. They simply point out that if elections were held immediately, there is a good chance that the result would be more like Iran than Turkey. There is no ideological or organizational political infrastructure outside the ruling government and in the absence of that, the only competing infrastructure is controlled by the Islamists. At this time the Islamists are the only groups with the capacity to organize a popular movement on a national scale. Even in Iraq where groups organized on a secular basis pre-existed (the Kurds for example) and participation by them was encouraged, the Islamists demonstrated their ability to put together a large cohesive voting block. The belief was that if a stable, prosperous democracy could be established in Iraq, it would fuel democratic movements throughout the region and provide a counter example to those who claimed that democracy was incompatible with the cultural and religious beliefs of the peoples of the region. Iraq was chosen for this for obvious reasons.

Joerg on :

> have to be > imposed by force from without. Success is unlikely in the Arab world, because the US is mistrusted and unpopular. > they are willing to, but there’s no way they are going to > agree to give up power. If they decided not to cooperate > with they could make a lot of trouble for us. Yes, they won't do so voluntarily, but you should use your superpower to push them as much as possible and to weaken them and to create the conditions for an internal revolution. The US has done a great job of supporting opposition movements in Serbia, the Ukraine and Georgia. The achieved an internal revolution. It is more difficult in the Arab world. There are not many liberal democrats in the opposition. And not much of middle class and civil society, i.e. it requires more work, but I don't see the US and the European Union making much of an effort. The US Broader Middle East Initiative and the EU's Euro-Mediterranean Partnership are pretty lame. > How hard can we push? Our “allies” the Saudis and the You are a superpower! You have taken huge risks in Iraq. Why not being more bold with Egypt and Saudi Arabia Exactly a year ago, Condi Rice made some remarkable and much appreciated statements in Cairo, Egypt: "For 60 years, my country, the United States, pursued stability at the expense of democracy in this region here in the Middle East -- and we achieved neither. Now, we are taking a different course. We are supporting the democratic aspirations of all people." However, I don't see much change in US policies towards Egypt. > simply point out that if elections were held immediately, > there is a good chance that the result would be more like > Iran than Turkey. And you believe them? Mubarak has reason to lie to you and hype the Islamist threat. There was a promising liberal candidate at the last election, but Mubarak did everything he could to undermine him. > The belief was that if a stable, prosperous democracy could > be established in Iraq, it would fuel democratic movements > throughout the region and provide a counter example to those Isn't there another way to support democratic movements? I know everything is damn complicated, bloody frustrating and there are no perfect solutions.

Anonymous on :

Primarily because of Iraq: [url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/330-U.S.-in-Iraq-More-Chaos-and-Violence-rather-than-Stable-Democracy.html]"Secular democrats and human-rights activists throughout the region, who should be natural partners with Washington on political reform in such places as Syria, Egypt, Bahrain and Iran, now mostly shun American support as fatally radioactive."[/url]

Joerg on :

Do liberal Americans respect Germany more since our opposition to the Iraq war? Did we win their hearts and minds?

David on :

Why should Bush care about winning the hearts and minds of Europeans when he has used the "War on Terror" to pit Americans against each other? The candidate who declared himself "a uniter not a divider" turned out to be the most divisive president in recent history. For those of us who opposed the invasion of Iraq (now the majority in the US) Bush lost our hearts and minds back in 2002.

Anonymous on :

Because he needs European support for his policies. How would you describe the effect Germany's opposition to the Iraq war had on liberal and moderate and independent Americans? Did it have any effect?

GM on :

Actually David, the low number has more to do with the conduct of the war, not opposing the war in and of itself.

David on :

Gallup poll from this week: 55% of Americans believe the Iraq invasion was a mistake compared to 43% who believe it was not a mistake.

Clarence on :

Don: Bravo. Joerg: Nothing in Don's words imply that there is anything Germany could do that would outweigh the memory of Joschka Fischer and the Russian oil executive. Some Americans believe that our membership in NATO was a great foreign policy mistake....and many more believe that it is now.

Joerg on :

Why do you reduce Germany to two former government members?

Joerg on :

I wonder what news sources you are reading to be so obsessed with Fischer and Schroeder. Why isn't there any campaing in the US to get out of NATO, if many Americans believe that NATO did not serve your interests? I only know a few right wingers who want to get out of NATO. Am I wrong? Which Senator or NGO or big Blogger or TV station calls for cancelling NATO membership? While you are at it: Why are you still a member of the UN? The Republicans dominate all branches of the US government and most conservative Americans don't like the UN. And yet, you are still a UN member. Why?

Clarence on :

Joerg, You ask a lot of questions. ;-) You also make many inferences that are not justified by what was written. In your order.... 1. I do not reduce Germany to two persons, and my comment did not imply that. 2. I am not "obsessed", I am critical. It is clear that you are sufficiently fluent to understand the difference, so why are you so quickly insulting? 3: There is little single-issue politics in the US (or any country, for that matter), and it is a low priority subject. At the moment, we have more important issues. 4: yes, but see #3 above. 5: I don't do research for strangers, only for friends. ;-) 6/7: Your query is irrelevant to the point I made, and the topic of the thread, which was (is?) US-DE relations. However, to reply: (a) The UN costs us less than NATO, and we can (and have, under Reagan) simply stop paying for it. (b) We can veto anything we don't like, so in practice it can't do us much harm. (c) It has been useful in the past (Gulf War I). In the case of NATO, we are providing substantive (and costly) support to countries that, today, do not share our interests. As Condi Rice commented (in a speech widely ignored here, i.e. in the EU), the US and Europe do not have the same values any longer. So, if we pull out of NATO, either the EU goes defenseless or its sputtering economic growth goes negative (rising deficits or taxes to pay for increased defense spending), in either case a "well deserved" outcome.

Joerg on :

Thanks for the answers. Sorry, I did not mean to offend you. You just sounded obsessed because you wrote that Germany can't do anything that would outweigh the memory of Joschka Fischer and the Russian oil executive. If in 2009 I would say that the US can't do anything to outweigh the memory of George W. Bush, then you many people would call me obsessed with Bush. Don't you agree? Got a link for that Condi speech? Where and when did she say that?

Clarence on :

In your order: Since Fischer and Schroeder had the widespread support of the German public on this issue (the Iraq war), they are a useful symbol, much as Europeans criticize Bush when in reality they are criticizing the USA. In your hypothetical: no, if you said such a thing, I would not call you obsessed with Bush. Actually, I would agree with you: Bush has changed Europeans' perceptions of the US, just as Reagan did many years ago. Net: many Americans, and many Europeans, have finally realized that we, as nations, do not have the same values any longer. The Condi quip is from an editorial in the UK Telegraph (online), 05/02/2005, which quoted her as stating this: "There cannot be an absence of moral content in American foreign policy," she says. "Europeans giggle at this, but we are not European, we are American, and we have different principles." The same quote was cited in The Scotsman (13 feb 2005) and the Washington Times (9 Feb 2005).

Don on :

"You are right that Germany lost many hearts and minds in the US in 2002 and 2003. What should Germany do to win hearts and minds again?" Silence is Golden. Ever heard that one? There have been many times in the past three years when it seemed I could not go a week without hearing some vastly intelligent Deutschlander hold forth on the compelling historical similarities between George Bush and certain historical political figures who have since fallen from favor. Or how the US military was going to commit genocide on one or more innocent nations. I've seen a German chancellor run for office (twice) against the US President (and the US generally although he denied it). I saw the strategy succeed once and almost succeed a second time. I've heard an ex Defense Minister state that 'the Jews' control the US political system. A German Justice minister making the compelling statement that one GB used the 'same methods' to one AH. A German environmental minister seemed to hold the interesting opinion that Hurricane Katrina was a direct result of President Bush's failure to ratify the Kyoto treaty. Not to mention the weekly seige of assorted drivel from the Deutsch 'quality' press. Need I go on? So silence would be an improvement from my POV. The major fools have been eliminated from the cabinet and the person now leading Deutschland is not a fool. This will help in the long term. Given more time some of the wounds may heal. I think a quiet German diplomatic initiative within Europe to cease treating various UN votes and referendums quite so much like the Eurovision song contest (giving the Yankees nul points) might help - but that may not be realistic given the current state of German public opinion.

Ralf Goergens on :

Don: I've seen a German chancellor run for office (twice) against the US President (and the US generally although he denied it). I saw the strategy succeed once and almost succeed a second time. Schröder tried it twice, but the second time that tactic failed completely. The reason why the Christian Democrats got less votes than polls had suggested was that they sent such confusing signals ober a possible flat tax. Nobody was interested what Schröder said about American policy towards Iran.

Anonymous on :

Ralf, Thank you for that analysis. I simply don't know enough about the details of campaigning in the 2005 election to form an opinion of my own. What little information I see in english translation seemed to show an extremely close race *despite* Schroeder's obvious failures as a leader and I drew the perhaps erroneous conclusion that his anti-Bush and anti-American campaigning had helped him. I might advance the argument that the seeming blizzard of what seems to be slanted news stories and commentary from the Deutsch 'quality' and state-run media seem to show that anti-Bush and anti-American views are widely and vociferously held by the Deutsch public but would also have to grant that Bild is a strong argument in the other direction.

Ralf Goergens on :

Anonymous (or is it Don?) I blogged about the issue during the election campaign: http://www.chicagoboyz.net/archives/003475.html If Merkel had been a better campaigner the result also wouldn't have been this close.

Don on :

Yes that was me above, Ralf. You point about Merkel is an interesting one, but I wonder whether you haven't come down closer to Bill Clinton than Ronald Reagan on this point. Clinton apparently believed that winning elections was the important thing, whereas Reagan and Thatcher thought of the election as merely the beginning. The Kirchner plan was an indication that Merkel was closer in philosophy to Reagan than to Clinton even though the plan was politically unworkable. The fact that Merkel seems to be raising taxes rather than trying to engineer an economic boom makes her more of a Clintonian in my view. I don't think it will work. I think the Reagan and Thatcher booms unlocked a lot of frozen potential in the US and UK workforces at the cost of short term deficits. In the long term the increased labor force upward mobility closed the deficits and left the two nations far richer. I see the same potential in Germany - but don't think Merkel is doing the right things to unlock the German economy. I wish her the best of luck however....

Possum - At the Zoo on :

Joerg, you fail to mention that President Bush's initial response to the allegation that America is the greatest threat to world security was "That's absurd!" And it is absurd. The Austrian leader later defended him saying that it is "grotesque." And it is. It is an excercise in futility to "win hearts and minds" in Europe. We have been trying for 50 years. We are slow learners, but we eventually do catch on to this "Please-us-harpies-if-you-can" game. 9/11 did change our thinking: we are sick of jumping through hoops for Europe, the unpleasable scold. Fine. If Euros hate us, fine. Most of us don't care anymore. The President serves us, not you. His very re-election shows how much we care about what Europe thinks. Trying to appease Europe today just rewards Europe's antics and encourages more of the same game-playing. It is as futile as trying to appease Hitler in the 1930's was. It just plays right into the game-player's hands. Like or dislike what you wish. But when you say that we are obliged to conform our thoughts, words, and deeds to your specifications, you have gone off the edge of hubris and arrogance. Just how many words must Mr. Bush put between "9/11" and and "Iraq" to conform to your specifications? In other words he must conform his THOUGHTS to your specifications or be held in contempt. Except in lefty nests on the coasts, we Americans don't do that to each other. We argue, but we never try to control what other people think. Perhaps you should stop and think how that sounds to us then when you do it. As for our image, let those who DID the damage to it repair it.

Anonymous on :

So you are equating today's Europe with Hitler?

Rosemary on :

God bless your 18 Soldiers and their families and loved ones. I pray that God will comfort them and ease their pain. Thank you for their courageous service. I did not hear of this until now. Could it be possible that both of our presses are trying to shape the discussion? Should they not just report the facts? I can understand why you are upset. I have a little to add that may be a little enlightening. When you hear "Iraq" and "9/11" together, you are seeing 2 wars, yes? When I hear "Iraq" and "9/11", I am looking at a larger terrorist network. Could that be one of our areas of contention? We do not believe Saddam personally had something to do with 9/11. We do, however, believe he was harboring terrorists and committing crimes against humanity. Pardon me, but I thought we were both for seeing an end to crimes against humanity? We have been working together on Sudan. Do the Iraqis deserve less? I do not believe so. Try this link: www.iraqthemodel.blogspot.com. This is two brothers in Iraq who write about life in Baghdad and Iraq as a whole. Sometimes it is good, sometimes it is not; but we sure get more news from them than we do our own papers! LOL. Have a nice day, Jorg, and great article.

Pato on :

Bush would have been wise if he had asked the german press why it is that the country of germany hosted, clothed, fed, suckled, and educated those who killed 3000 americans. He should have asked the german press what it was about life in modern germany for a welfare soaked bunch of cowards that would make them want to kill 3000 office workers. Bush doesn't owe the german people Sh*t for any explanation regarding afghanistan as that is a UN mandate. No german should pretend for a second that their participation is in ANY way some "help for the US" as it should be looked at as a contribution to a better world.. THAT is a real first for germany. Now is the time for europe to show the world it can take care of itself. Pay and perform for your own security and let the US taxpayers get out of your lives and the eu as they truly desire.

Anonymous on :

Why is it that the United States gave visas to the four guys who flew the planes? Why is it that the US flight schools allowed them to learn how to kill those 3000 citizens from all over the world? Why is it that the US gave visas to the 15 Saudis who have been the ones to storm the cockpits? According to US visa laws those 15 Saudis should not have been granted a visa, but they did, because of the special US-Saudi relations and the exceptions Saudi citizens get. That's an inconveniant truth you choose to ignore.

Anonymous on :

Under US visa laws everybody who has no reason to return home (broke, unemployed, unmarried) is considered an immigrant and has to make a case why he won't stay in the US and work at 7-Eleven. Exception: Saudis! They received a special treatment. Even poor and unemployed Saudis, like those 15 muscle guys who stormed the cockpits, can just go to a travel agent and get a visa for the US. That's apparently too complicated for you. So please, continue to blame Germany for all faults. Enjoy yourself, but don#t be surprised when the Saudis attack you again.

Possum - At the Zoo on :

Joerg, "Isn't it President Bush's job to improve his image abroad and convince other countries to support US policies and share the burden?" Not necessarilly. Who bothers to do that with countries hostile you? Who bothers to try to win the hearts and minds of those who wish to see your downfall? Who wastes their breath on nations whose policy is to go against you? You can tell us why you think we're wrong. You can argue all you want. But there's a difference between persuasion and bullying. The moment you practice "conditional love" by telling us that we are worthy of centempt for not thinking, saying, or doing what you want, you have stepped over the line. We don't have to please Europe. And no, we don't need Europe. There is nothing more troublesome than a fake ally who is actually working against you. The Soviet Union was less troublesome.

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Thank you for your attempt at balanced discussion and actual listening. I will do what I can to add to the civility. The opposition to the war in Iraq comes from both honest critics and vicious opportunists/simpletons. In the face of such opposition, it is often hard to tell who the honest critics are. Wolves don't hide in wolves' clothing, but in sheep's clothing, after all. Even in the comments here, people very readily declare the war in Iraq to be a failure (Huh?), misinterpret poll numbers, and make gratuitously insulting comments. Granted there are comments here equally judgemental in the opposite direction. Is it George Bush's job to improve relations with whatever country he can? Yes, and there are a billion people in India, with whom we have better relations than ever before. Such overtures as have been made to Europe seem to have been rebuffed and disbelieved. My impression comes not only from the German press and the comments on the blogsites I visit, but from encounters in Europe. I find the rudeness of someone who wishes to take my government to task in insulting terms immediately after meeting me to be stunning. We have many rude people in America, but I don't know of any who treat European visitors that way. Many Americans believe that most nations have the right to give advice, but few (or none) have the right to assume the moral high ground and accuse us. While that is simplistic on our part, it is not altogether unjustified. We are aware of what transpired in the Balkans, for example, and it rankles. It does interfere with our listening. Perhaps if the elected officials of European nations, particularly Germany and France, had made more effort to deliver the criticism without hyperbole it would have gone better. That said, I do wish George Bush and his administration could do a better job winning hearts and minds among the "chattering classes" (as we call them in the US). Your suggestion here to unfailingly acknowledge the positives is a good one. Given the tone of the question asked of Bush, I don't know how he could have done that smoothly. We have the same here, BTW. Bush did a great deal to reach out to his political opposition here in his first term. It was treated as dishonest and a sign of weakness. It would have been interesting to see how the GWOT developed if even our own press had been neutral. Brief correction: it is commonly thought that the Americans who most supported the liberation of Iraq also thought it would be quick and easy, and that the administration encouraged this. That was not my impression at the time. We were constantly accused of claiming that, but I stated then and believe I have been proved out now, that it was all a set up to undermine Bush later. Before the ranters start, yes, I am familiar with the quotes by Cheney and Rumsfeld used to back up that assertion. Both are not just erroneously out of context, but maliciously so.

Joerg on :

Thank you for your outstanding comment! > The opposition to the war in Iraq comes from > both honest critics and vicious opportunists/simpletons I agree. > Is it George Bush's job to improve relations with whatever > country he can? Yes, and there are a billion people in > India, with whom we have better relations than ever before. Great. How many Indian troops support the US in Afghanistan, Balkans or Iraq? Do you think India is likely to send troops to a US led military operation in Iran or Darfur or North Korea? Besides, talking to Indians myself regularly, I believe that the average Indian is more critical of the US than the average European. > I find the rudeness of > someone who wishes to take my government to task in insulting > terms immediately after meeting me to be stunning. That is very unfortunate indeed. This was covered in [url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/287-Carnival-of-German-American-Relations-Second-Edition.html] our second carnival of German American relations[/url]. Scroll down just below the Ron Reagan picture. > Your > suggestion here to unfailingly acknowledge the positives is a > good one. Given the tone of the question asked of Bush, I > don't know how he could have done that smoothly. Are you saying Bush does not get asked tough and uncomfortable questions in the US? The tone was normal for European standards. If you can't read German papers or watch German television, you could watch the Tony Blair's press conferences on C-Span. Besides, Bush is a successful and experienced politician who knows how to work under pressure and make the best out of every questions. Thus he could and should have answered more smoothly. > by Cheney and Rumsfeld used to back up that assertion. Both > are not just erroneously out of context, but maliciously so. What is the proper context of [url=http://thinkprogress.org/the-architects-where-are-they-now] these quotes[/url] ? How can there be a positive context? Has anyone put them in context? Please send link. I am very interested in that! Besides, that's life! I often write long and balanced posts, and people just react to one sentence. Not in this threat, though, which I really enjoy

ADMIN on :

Please note that by default the comments in this blog are threaded rather than linear, i.e. the latest comments are not necessarily at the bottom, but could be also in the middle. You can change the view from threaded to linear at the beginning of the comments section. Great that this thread is so popular. Please read other posts in the Atlantic Review as well. Our [url=http://atlanticreview.org/mustreads.html] must reads are here[/url].

ADMIN on :

My comment should not discourage you from continuing this conversation, which seems to be getting more interesting.

Pinkerton on :

Tom P You said that Bush's job approval ratings are over 40%. Sorry, but the only ones who have Bush over 40% is Fox News (Faux News) and they have him at 41%. But the REAL news or polls have him at 35% approval and 59% disapprove (Time)..Gallup 37% approval and 60% disapproval. (pew)36% approval and 50% disapproval. It's probably best to use facts instead of Faux News propaganda. It's the rabid Bush followers who haven't been able to face reality that are making this world more dangerous by not reconginizing that we have a leader who isn't smart enough to know where Europe is,let alone how they feel or felt about 9/11.

Alexander on :

Americans are losing their British friends as well: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/07/03/nyank03.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/07/03/ixuknews.html "Most Britons see America as a cruel, vulgar, arrogant society, riven by class and racism, crime-ridden, obsessed with money and led by an incompetent hypocrite."

wc on :

"Most Britons see America as a cruel, vulgar, arrogant society, riven by class and racism, crime-ridden, obsessed with money and led by an incompetent hypocrite." Yes, the propaganda from Hollywood and the MSM is working, just like Hitler's did. The truth is much different. Too bad so many people in the USA also beleive the propaganda. They are blinded by their hatred.

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Pinkerton hits the problem squarely. He believes the legacy media, calling it the REAL news, in spite of its numerous recent examples of egregious error. Additionally, he thinks a childish insult such as Faux for Fox terribly witty, and needs to identify his opponents as "rabid." As long as such people are given credibility in the national discussion, I fear there will be no national discussion. Hint: asserting something more emphatically doesn't make it truer. Joerg. I will answer after I run my archives.

Joerg on :

Pinkerton was addressing and referring to the very first comment in this thread by Tom P, who wrote: "There is a rabid minority in the US who are in default opposition to Bush regardless of what he says or does." Just scroll to the top to read his comment. "I will answer after I run my archives." Thank you, Assistant Village Idiot. May I call you Avi?

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Everyblog has shortened me to AVI. I rather like it now. The comments you linked to over at Think Progress. I had answered them one by one, but was giving the same answer for so many that I consolidated. Wolfowitz quote, about being welcomed as liberators. We were. See Christopher Hitchens here: http://newsbusters.org/node/4613 Feith's, Cheney's, Abram's, and Powell's quotes: precisely as I said. It was acknowledged from the beginning by the Bush administration that this was going to be difficult, costly, and time-consuming. The suggestions otherwise came from the Bush critics in false dichotomies. When they would predict millions of refugees and and tens of thousands of US casualties, any correction of that hyperbole was made to sound as if the administration was claiming it would all be easy. There were several predictions that the initial phase would be fairly straightforward - and it was. The "cakewalk" quote, for example, was specific to military action of invasion. The quotes by Hadley, Rice, Tenet, and Bush. Now that we know there were WMD, that Saddam aided Al Qeada, and that the Russians helped them ditch the stuff in December 02 - Feb 03, what is your objection to the quotes. They've turned out to be true. Ray Robison has been doing an excellent job with translations of captured documents http://rayrobison.typepad.com/ray_robison/ and Tom Maguire has kept up nicely with the disinformation about the Wilson/Plame affair http://justoneminute.typepad.com/ There seems to have been some idea that to find WMD we had to enter some warehouse with flashing lights, with large missles and bottles that said WMD on them, just like in the cartoons, or we hadn't found them. Finding precursor chemicals, for example, is to be expected. Many of the chemicals are stored separately for stability and are not mixed until just before use, or even in flight. For the record, I think we are in this war for a generation (I hope not 100 years, as McCain suggeste). I expect we will have many examples of poor planning, poor execution, incompetence, sabotage, and just plain bad luck in that time. That's just the reality of conflict outside the movies. But none of that means that things are not going well and not worth doing.

David on :

"now that we know there were WMD" It is amazing how these "reports" - like Elvis sightings - reappear among die-hard war apologists periodically. The so-called WMDs were degraded chemical weapons from the 1980s - some sold to Saddam by the US. David Kay called them "less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sink". And Charles Duelfer, the CIA’s weapon inspector, called them “local hazards,” not WMDs.

sookietex on :

As you were so kind to quote our President, i will let Chancellor Schüssel answer sans charts, polls, opinions of famous media outlets et al, "Don't forget I was born in '45. At that time, Vienna and half of Austria laid in ruins. And without the participation of America, what fate would have Europe? Where would be Europe today? Not the peaceful, prosperous Europe like we love it and where we live. Nothing -- I will never forget that America fed us with food, with economic support. The American people, at that time, the American government invested billions of dollars in Europe to develop the former enemy. And now we are a partner. So I think it's grotesque to say that America is a threat to the peace in the world compared with North Korea, Iran, other countries.” you may see the video of the entire exchange for yourself here [url=http://rncnyc2004.blogspot.com/2006/06/eu-us-summit-in-vienna-video.html]Republican National Convention Blog[/url]. Lincoln's polls i suspect were quite low, the poll we are interested in will be taken a hundred years hence see you then. your friend sookietex

Woody on :

No disrespect intended, honestly, but I started reading this post, scanned the comments, and figured that I had seen enough. I don't care if Europe likes the U.S. Do they care that many of us don't like them? Talk about that. The only way Europe would like us would be if we were less powerful, and that's not going to happen any time soon. It's about power and envy--mainly envy. When you're at the top everyone wants to pull you down. Since Europe has no desire to help us or be our friend, the next time that they need help, they can call on France or Cuba to bail them out instead. Sheesh. I'm through with them.

Assistant Village Idiot on :

Woody's usually more polite than that. Hey Woody! I've been commenting over here, okay?

Woody on :

AVI, I very sincerely wasn't trying to impolite. So, I really am sorry if I came across as a troll or argumentative. But, sometimes it's like arguing with your teenage kids. At some point, enough is enough. Now, can we send Europe to its room to think about what it said?

Woody on :

AVI, a couple items of interest and maybe to the others: What's So Great About America? http://www.taemag.com/issues/articleID.19267/article_detail.asp Okay, maybe they don't care about that one. Try this one, which is from a bunch of left-wingers up north, but who still feel as I do about what Europeans have to say about us: We don't care, say townsfolk from other side of the pond http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=IAYOMA04E4GE1QFIQMFSFFWAVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2006/07/03/nyank203.xml I'll try to be more polite in the future. I just don't like someone (Europe) spitting on me and then complaining when I react.

Joerg on :

"What's So Great About America?" You miss the point. Why do conservative Americans think it is about being loved? You make the same mistake those US journalists made, when they focused their coverage of the US-EU summit on the two questions at the press conference rather than on the things the EU and US leaders debated in their summit. It's not about being popular, but about getting support to achieve your goals. In his first term, the Bush administration thought it can achieve things without allies, which got labeled "old Europe" and such. Now they know better and they try to repair the damage. The Bush administration joined the European Union in negotiating with Iran etc. Unlike your government, you haven't learned yet that world problems (Iran, terrorism, etc etc etc) require international cooperation to get solved. You continue to treat your allies with condescenion, for example by saying "sometimes it's like arguing with your teenage kids." I don't consider it impolite. I am used to this staff from right-wing bloggers. I just point out that this is the reason, why America is constantly losing friends around the world. The commentator Alexander has cited somewhere above a poll from the UK. [url]http://atlanticreview.org/archives/345-Contrasting-Perceptions-and-Failing-to-Win-Hearts-and-Minds.html#c3061[/url] The British used to have a special friendship with you, but now they consider you vulgar and arrogant. It's probably because of guys like you that all Americans get a bad reputation. Ah, I see that you cited the same poll and say that you don't care. Okay fine. Enjoy your loneliness, but please stop whining about Anti-Americanism or lack of support from across the pond. "I just don't like someone (Europe) spitting on me and then complaining when I react." So everytime I disagree with you, you consider that as spitting?

Woody on :

Joerg, I only speak for myself, but I've given up on Europe being serious about helping us to achieve our goals. European governments view us as a competitor and are envious of us. Corrupt officials accept bribes to vote against us and cause distrust. The European press is leftist dominated and give individuals misleading images of our people. When Europe cleans up its house and re-earns our trust, we can revisit cooperation. Until then, I'd rather go it alone. It's funny that Europeans can dislike us and that's our fault, but we can dislike them and that's our fault, too. You may buy that, but not me.

wc on :

Fact is, the Europeans flatter themselves by thinking that anybody wants to win their hearts and minds. Who cares what the Europeans think? Only the Libs in the USA seem to want the approval of the Libs in Europe. Europeans have shown their true colors. (Euros even eat their own if they do not toe the Lib line, i.e. Tony Blair) If we agree on some things fine, if we don't agree, who cares? Maybe it is time to write off the European friendship. There are too many differences that will never be overcome. This is a friendship that can unfortunately no longer exist.

Doubting Tom on :

Lately I have been wondering about Iran and it's enrichment program. That has been simmering for a long while now -- just when did it start being a non-issue in the EU? Personally, I find it useful to have the US military forces fully in place on both sides of Iran, with established logistic support and so on. That's a better deal than what happened in the freeing of Kuwait aka the first Iraq War. Surrounding Iran is a worthwhile aim and if it takes a "War on Terror" rationale, (and effective purloined letter, just ask a Democrat or seemingly any German), I don't mind.

joe on :

One has to assume then the goals of Europe are different than the goals of the US. It would seem by the reaction of both the citizens of Europe and their elected governments this is in fact true. What is a bit of a mystery is what goals do the Europeans have?

E. Nonee Moose on :

"A country that attempted to be in everybody’s good books would be quite paralyzed. The last time everybody said they liked the United States (or said that they said they liked the United States) was just after Sept. 11, when the nation was panicked and traumatized and trying to count its dead. Well, no thanks. This is too high a price to be paid for being popular. . . .I would suggest less masochism, more confidence on the American street, and less nervous reliance on paper majorities discovered by paper organizations." Christopher Hitchens: http://tinyurl.com/m86jz

Anonymous on :

Do you think the US can achieve all its foreign policy goals alone or do you need allies, who at least support some of your policies?

James on :

You are patently wrong to say that Iraq had no relation to 9-11. This is a mantra repeated often, but is wholly false because Saddam and al-Qaeda were joined in the jihad against America. Saddam's henchmen were at work in the first WTC attack in 1993, well documented in the work by Laurie Mylroie "Attack Against America", with more documentation on their connections to the 9-11 attacks as well. Also, the book "The Connection" by Stephen Hayes provides much detail on the long-term cooperation between Saddam and Osama Bin Ladin and other Talibans. They were both up to their eyeballs in planning and carrying out the attacks. Other lesser-documented attacks included the Iraqi involvement with Tim McVeigh as the "Third Terrorist" in the OK City bombing of the Federal Building, and possibly also the TWA-800 explosion. There have been repeated attacks against American embassies, soldiers, ships, aircraft, and civilian targets, starting well before 9-11, and various Muslim terror groups and Islamic states were behind all of them. This history has been systematically and deliberately suppressed by those who hold leftist pro-Muslim views, who want to blame all the world's problems on the "Great Satan" USA, or the "Little Satan" Israel. The rhetoric of the International Left is therefore not different from the Islamo-fascists, and the failure to address and accept this large body of evidence about Iraq only plays into the hands of those who would sell out American and European freedoms for the empty promises of the new fascists. But it also must be acknowledged, that Bush and his spokespersons have not done a good job to speak to these issues in public. They scarcely educate themselves, and have not taken steps to overcome the blockade against this body of evidence which had been erected by the Clinton people years earlier. VP Cheney gave some speeches about it, but authors like Mylroie and Hayes, or Davis on the 3rd Terrorist issue, or Cashill on the TWA-800 issue, are rarely interviewed and certainly liberal-left news sources pretend they and their documentary findings don't exist. Even the 9-11 Commission refused to call any but Mylroie to testify, and when she appeared, she was repeatedly interruped by the Democratic Party representatives, and basically blocked from repeating the essentials from her years of documenting this issue. They have clear supporters and vocal advocates in the CIA, FBI and NSA, but those agents also report great pressures to keep quiet about it, or have quit speaking out of frustration given the repeated distortions and misrepresentations of their words. But the historical facts are certified on these issues, and cannot be forever politically blockaded, or ignored as inconveniences.

Joerg on :

If those claims were credible, why does not the 9/11 commission acknwoledge that? "Bush and his spokespersons have not done a good job to speak to these issues in public." Perhaps they don't believe in these conspiracy theories...

James on :

To Joerg and Possum, The 9-11 Commission invited Laurie Mylroie to testify, but not Hayes or the others I mentioned. I would consider the Davis and Cashill materials to be considered more suspect, as they don't have the 'smoking gun' quality of the Mylroie-Hayes materials. But the Mylrioe and Hayes materials are solid, and both are people of good reputation, not "conspiracy mongers". We know the guys who did the first WTC bombing, tracked them, and watched as some re-appeared in Iraq, or later as cohorts of Khalid Shiek Muhammed and the later 9-11 plotters. Mylrioe is former CIA, and Hayes a reporter for Weekly Standard. Again, they report on things which get a lot of attention in the conservative press in the USA, but which the liberal media -- which includes BBC, CNN, ABC, NBC, CBS and C-Span -- simply doesn't report it, though they will report the mantra of "no connection" loudly and often, just as they do the "no WMDs" mantra, no matter how much material is shown to the media by US military or intelligence. As I noted, VP Cheney already gave at least two major speeches on the subject, mentioning all such material, and other Republican leaders have done so. But it is simply NOT REPORTED in the mainstream media. Did you read, for example, about the new revelations of around 500 active WMD warheads discovered in Iraq, with either mustard-gas or sarin nerve gas, inventoried by US forces? And this is only the stuff in ready-to-go warheads, and does not include the tons of precursor chemicals and other material. Or that Joe Wilson really did lie, and that Iraqi intelligence WAS in Niger seeking out yellowcake? I don't think it is my job to educate anyone on this material, except to point out where the summary information can be found. The anti-Bush people like to say this evidence does not exist, and then claim Americans support the Bush policy because they are stupid or ignorant. The fact is, European reporting is lacking in anything that would put the Bush policies in a justifiable framework, to suggest he was correct in sending troops into Iraq and Afghanistan, or that Iran and North Korea are dangers to the free world, etc. They will rarely report honestly on such things. I know, from years of travel between USA and Europe, how much more open and free-wheeling is the American press reporting, compared to Europe, and this is mainly because of a thriving internet blogger community which proof-reads the major stories, and constantly corrects them. Also due to Fox News and other conservative sources which simply did not exist ten years back. Only in recent years does Europe gain access to such a treasure of alternative media sources. Nevertheless, many Europeans "know" they are "better-informed" (why? because their news sources tell them so?). Europeans will know all what the left-wing NYTimes reports, what the left-wing BBC and CNN has to say, but Fox News, Weekly Standard, National Review, World Net Daily, FrontPage Magazine, jihadwatch.org, thereligionofpeace.org, and a hundred other mainstream conservative news sources are considered "off limits", even though they are composed with precise attention to fact. The misreporting and lies-of-omission (the worst kind of lie, Orwell noted) in the liberal-left press on such issues is gigantic. I'd remind all in Germany, how terribly censored was the news in your nation in the years leading up to WW-I and WW-II. The press was used, happily by reporters under the narcotic sway of the Kaiser or the Fuhrer, to elevate the German cause of the day, to keep people ignorant, and whip up hatred against "the other". The same foundation of misreporting is generally true today, though certainly not so extreme. But it exists, and this time around, it is the "liberal progressives" who promulgate the distortions, who think they know everything, and so happily will scratch out every story which might undermine their world-view or favorite conclusions -- which is that Europeans are smarter, Bush is a dumb cowboy, America is fascist, and so on. For heaven's sake, some 30% of younger Germans cling to the 9-11 conspiracy theories, and absolutely LOVE Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky, two of the most disreputable sources on the planet. In the USA, they are well-known as cranks whom only the ultra-looney-Left pays attention to. Don't accept my word for anything. Read the books by Mylroie and Hayes, for a good summary of the issues. They are only a summary, as much more has been learned since their publishing dates. Here are a few descriptions from an internet search: * "THE CONNECTION: How al-Qaeda's Collaboration with Saddam Hussein Has Endangered America", by STEPHEN HAYES. A concise summary of the abundant evidence demonstrating close and on-going ties between Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Ladin and the al-Qaeda organization. Saddam Hussein was deeply engaged in sponsoring international terrorism, including the provision of money, materials, weapons, training and expertise to various members of OBL's al-Qaeda group, and also transfers of funds to Mohammed Atta, who almost certainly did meet with Iraqi intelligence services on several occasions. al-Qaeda groups and officials were hosted in Iraq on numerous occasions, brought to Saddam's "terror training schools" at Salaman Pak and elsewhere, given safe haven bases in Northern Iraq after the defeat of the Talibans, and so on. Ongoing terrorism against USA/UK coalitiion forces after the collapse of Saddam's military power was a consequence of the extensive terror-supporting networks already well-established in Iraq even before the terrible events of 9-11. Saddam was up to his eyeballs in sponsoring international terrorism, including attacks against both Israelis and Americans, including the first WTC bombing in NYC, and likely also 9-11. He and his intelligence and military deputies worked hand-in-hand with OBL, and their shared hatred of America overwhelmed whatever disputes they had with each other. The book also documents the incredible distortion and willful ignoring or watering-down of these connections by left-liberal branches of the international media, whose hatred of US President G.W. Bush seems to have overshadowed their ethical commitment to reporting the facts. * "THE WAR AGAINST AMERICA: Saddam Hussein and the World Trade Center Attacks - A Study of Revenge", by LAURIE MYLROIE. Widely ignored in the years before and after 9/11, but now obtaining a renewed interest due to more recent findings that some of the same Islamo-fascist terrorists who attacked the World Trade Center in 1993, and who were assisted by Iraqi intelligence then, were later involved in the 9/11/2001 disaster. The book lays out facts indicating the masterminds of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing were supported by Iraqi intelligence: the large telephone bills between the organizers Muhammed Salameh and Ramsi Yusef, then living in New York, to known terrorists in Iraq; Yusef's escape and flight after the 1993 bombing to the Philippines, where he later joined an al-Qaeda plot to down 12 US airliners over the Pacific (Yusef's uncle, also involved, was the notorious al-Qaeda 9/11 planner, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, as detailed in the above book Masterminds of Terror). Another plotter, Abdul Rahman Yasin, fled to Baghdad where he was hosted and protected by Iraqi authorities up until the liberation of Iraq by coalition forces in 2003. Provides photocopies of telephone logs and other documents, detailing these and many other connections. Originally released before 9/11 under the titile "Study of Revenge."

Possum - At the Zoo on :

Most of what James mentions, I never heard of, and I was laid-up at the time and glued to C-SPAN during the run-up to the Iraq war. So, I doubt the credibility of those allegations. What he says about the press is basically true. It's credibility is in the toilet. And what he says about our own intelligences sources concealing info rings true and therefore could be based on some tidbits of truth. Strange as it sounds, there are potential motives, and that does happen. Intelligence sources are now trying to keep classified finds of WMD in Iraq, even from Congress, which is unheard of. He is also partly right about the Administration not defending itself against the blizzard of false accusations flying. Maybe they were too busy doing their jobs to stand there all day long refuting one lie after another. There were, however, well known connections that the 9/11 Commission did acknowledge. They found no evidence of Iraq's "collaboration" with al Qaeda. Links, yes, but no "operational links." The connections and contacts were evidence that Hussein and al Qada were feeling each other out. It was only sensible to assume that soon "the enemy of my enemy is my friend" rule would make them allies. That was the danger. Indeed, look how fast Baathists teamed up with al Qaeda after Saddam's fall. But nobody in the administration ever claimed that Iraq was involved in 9/11. Many Americans suspected Iraq was involved though, because of the anthrax attacks immediately afterwards. That was your natural first thought upon hearing of these anthrax attacks. The press said it was weapons grade anthrax, available only through a few states, one of which was Iraq. Some reports even identified it as an Iraqi strain. I think that was just bad reporting by a press eager to say something exciting. It was the PRESS that speculated that Saddam was behind the anthrax attacks and therefore possibly also 9/11. But the US government never said so. In fact, every spoksperson I heard went out of their way to make it clear that we had no evidence of Iraq's involvement in 9/11. No evidence of involvement. Not PROOF that Iraq wasn't involved. Connections between Iraq and al Qaeda -- yes. Real reason to expect them to be soon collaborate -- yes. But no evidence of actual collaboration at the time. (More has surfaced recently, so that the connections look even more ominous in hindsight.) www.c-span.org still has a huge Iraq archive of information on line from then.

joe on :

tom p, You will note how confused some people are. Many think the POTUS is running for office both in 06 and 08. If you promise not to tell anyone he is not then I will not do so either. We can just watch as the things he wants to accomplish still get done. I can hardly wait for the debate in Congress on justice for the Gitmo crew. It should be interesting. It could turn out much like the debate on HLS did in the last election cycle. But then again, you and I both could be wrong about this. It only seems to matter to the left and of course our "so called allies" in europe what the POTUS popularity figures are.

Joerg on :

@ James > As I noted, VP Cheney already gave at least two major > speeches on the subject, mentioning all such material, and Please send link to speech. > Did you read, for example, > about the new revelations of around 500 active WMD warheads > discovered in Iraq, with either mustard-gas or sarin nerve > gas, inventoried by US forces? I did not. Where did you learn this from? Please send link. So far [u][url=http://atlanticreview.org/archives/345-Contrasting-Perceptions-and-Failing-to-Win-Hearts-and-Minds.html#c3082] I have only read reports like this[/url][/u]. If you don't send links to credible sources (like the homepages of the White House or the military), which substantiate your claims, this discussion will not advance very fair and I won't change my mind. > For heaven's sake, some 30% of > younger Germans cling to the 9-11 > conspiracy theories Please stop spreading lies and making anti-German propaganda. You write long comments without subtantianting your wild claims with facts and links. I can't respond to all you wrote, so let's focus on this one sentence. I have many conservative Americans making such statement about 30% of younger Germans believing in 9-11 conspiracy theories. There isn't any poll that says that 30% of young Germans believe a conspiracy has definitely happened. You say they "cling" to that conspiracy as if there were several polls in the last couple of years that would indicate this. That is not the case. If you disagree, please present several polls over several years that show that Germans "cling" to that conspiracy theory. The poll that is so often misrepresented by conservative, libertarian and right wing Americans is found here: [url]http://www.zeit.de/2003/31/Umfrage[/url] I trust you will understand that I don't like the spread of lies about Americans or Germans or any other nation.

James on :

FYI: It actually is 33% of Germans under the age of 30, who believe Bush was involved in the 9-11 attacks: http://www.csmonitor.com/2003/1210/p07s01-woeu.html Anti-US books find an eager audience among German youth "A survey carried out in the spring by the Forsa Society for Social Research, an independent polling firm, shows that 1 in 3 Germans under the age of 30 says that the US government had something to do with the terrorist attacks, which sparked Bush's war on terror." Here's a related item from around the same time, from the German press: http://www.dw-world.de/dw/article/0,,993523,00.html 9/11 Conspiracy Theory Books Dominate Debate at Frankfurt Book Fair Perhaps it is not surprising people should believe this kind of stuff, if that's all they are exposed to. I would bet the Hayes or Mylroie books have not been translated into German, though every book by Michael Moore or Chomsky certainly has, along with the connection-denial books by the old Clinton administration supporters, who treated international terrorism as a police matter, something for the UN or Interpol, rather than as an act of war, which was the Bush policy change. (which I fully agree with). On the 500 WMD issue: http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,200499,00.html Report: Hundreds of WMDs Found in Iraq WASHINGTON — The United States has found 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003, and more weapons of mass destruction are likely to be uncovered, two Republican lawmakers said Wednesday. ... http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=50746 Hundreds of WMDs discovered in Iraq Bombshell report notes 500 chemical weapons including sarin, mustard gas, more to be found The U.S. has located some 500 chemical weapons in Iraq since 2003 with more likely to be found, according to two Republican members of Congress trumpeting a newly declassified portion of a government report. "We have found weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, chemical weapons," Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., said at an afternoon news conference. Santorum read from a declassified portion of a report by the National Ground Intelligence Center, a Defense Department intelligence unit, which noted: "Since 2003, coalition forces have recovered approximately 500 weapons munitions which contain degraded mustard or sarin nerve agent. Despite many efforts to locate and destroy Iraq's pre-Gulf War chemical munitions, filled and unfilled pre-Gulf War chemical munitions are assessed to still exist." ... As to the Cheney speeches, I cannot easily locate them on internet as the speech titles and subjects on the government website are not identified, only the dates and locations of the speeches. But here is a link to an article which mentions the larger Saddam/9-11 connection, and Cheney's discussion of it to a reported with our liberal National Public Radio: Clarke's Not Blind: Even the Dems' favorite grandstander sees the Saddam-9/11 link. http://www.nationalreview.com/murdock/murdock200403260858.asp "Vice President Dick Cheney told National Public Radio last January 22: "We've discovered since [Iraq's liberation] documents indicating that a guy named Abdul Rahman Yasin, who was a part of the team that attacked the World Trade Center in '93, when he arrived back in Iraq was put on the payroll and provided a house, safe harbor and sanctuary." My points are based upon solid research as presented in the books I've cited, and these news sources, with links as you requested. And there are dozens more along the same lines presenting similar and additional evidence, which you or anyone else could find with a few hours of diligent searching of archives at the conservative news web pages. I suggest, respectfully, you are not getting the facts from your usual news sources. The German and European press, like the mainstream liberal-left press in the USA, is largely controlled and biased, and needs to be double-checked on such important matters. It is axiomatic, that they WILL NOT REPORT ANYTHING which gives the Bush policy support or justification. And opinion polls repeatedly show, American reporters are overwhelmingly liberal democrats, with very small percentages of conservative Republicans. Do I have to document that also "with web links"? Do you doubt that it is similar in Europe? I am especially stunned that you did not hear about the 500 WMD issue, which was all over the American press, even in the liberal ones -- though they tended as usual to discount the significance.

Joerg on :

I am pretty sure the CSMonitor mistranslated the poll referred to in the Zeit link which I gave you. Both papers mention a poll about 30% of respondents under the age of 30, but they cite different answers. Re Sanatorum: Why would a Senator announce those findings rather than the Whihte House or Defense DEpartment? Does not that make you suspicious? Besides, his claims have been debunked: "But intelligence officials said the weapons were produced before the 1991 Gulf War and there is no evidence to date of chemical munitions manufactured since then. They said an assessment of the weapons concluded they are so degraded that they couldn't now be used as designed. They probably would have been intended for chemical attacks during the Iran-Iraq War, said David Kay, who headed the U.S. weapons-hunting team in Iraq from 2003 until early 2004. He said experts on Iraq's chemical weapons are in "almost 100 percent agreement" that sarin nerve agent produced from the 1980s would no longer be dangerous. "It is less toxic than most things that Americans have under their kitchen sink at this point," Kay said." http://www.knoxnews.com/kns/iraq_conflict/article/0,1406,KNS_9217_4795186,00.html

Joerg on :

You write and qoute the National Review as saying: "Clarke's Not Blind: Even the Dems' favorite grandstander sees the Saddam-9/11 link." That's not true. Clarke only said there are links between Iraq and the 1993 WTC terrorists. Even the National Review quotes Richard Clarke as saying: "There is absolutely no evidence that Iraq was supporting al-Qaeda ever." You quote Cheney talking about 1993 attacks. Why? I thought our topic was alleged involvement of Iraq in 9/11. I am not hundred percent sure, but I think even President Bush said that Saddam did not plan, organize and/or support the 9/11 attacks and he said that no WMD in Iraq were found, but only some WMD program related activities or so. If you think Iraq was involved in 9/11 and had WMD, please explain to me why President Bush and the 9/11 commission do not say that loud and clear?

James on :

I cannot respond to the idea that the CS Monitor news report somehow misquoted or misrepresented the poll data on Germans under 30 believing in the 9-11 conspiracy materials. But the phenomenon is apparently so great that even Der Spiegel ran some articles about it years ago. And during my own trips to Germany, I was amazed at the high percentage of people who approached me with winks and whispers about "we know Bush planned it" and so forth. Books on the subject also appeared prominent in bookstores, so this was not some small thing, but took on a rather large and obvious proportion. As to why this material is only presented occasionally by the top leadership, I cannot say. But I observe a similarity between some American and Israeli leaders, an attitude that, no matter what they say, they are going to be ridiculed and condemned anyhow, only their existing supporters will believe them, and people will accuse them of lying or conspiring... so they simply ignore the mass media and go on with their jobs. I think this is a mistake, but my impression is, this is part of the reason. The task of fact-correction is then left to lower-ranking individuals. Though as I said, I am sure Cheney made at least two speeches on the subject, because I saw them on television. Please consider that after 9-11, many career government bureaucrats involved in security were scrambling to cover their ass, to avoid responsibility, and this included most of the old CIA, FBI, and other agency top employees who retained their jobs from the old Clinton adnimistration. Clark was still "on the job" at the White House, and it was him who clear the Saudi princes and their relatives to fly out on the first day when flights were allowed, after 9-11. You'll recall Michael Moore made a big conspiracy about that, claiming Bush allowed them to fly out when all other aircraft were grounded. Clark approved it, however, but only after air travel was allowed. But the CS Monitor article only quotes Clark's denial on the Iraq-9-11 linkage as a means to set up his emotional denial against the other things he said previously, which affirmed "the connection". So you will find plenty of US officials and politicians who today openly say "There was no connection" but who back in 1995 or 2002 were recorded making public statements which affirmed this connection. Same with the WMD issue -- Clinton, Kerry, Gore, and others who today attack Bush on the "no WMD" claim, back in 2000 or 2001 were publicly saying "Saddam Hussein must be stopped because he is developing WMD". Mostly these are the Dems. Iraq was involved in both the 1993 attack, and 9-11, and some of the same people were involved, persons from Iraqi intelligence, who later fled to Iraq, or to the Philippines, and some were nabbed at the time when K.S. Muhammad and Binalshibh were caught. Some worked closely with OBL in Somalia, or in Afghanistan prior to 9-11. One was KSM's nephew, and if you'll read Mylroie's report, they were a "terror family" with connections high up to both Saddam and OBL. Understand also, the 9-11 Commission became a political football even before it organized to meet. The decisions on whom to allow in, and who not, was contentious, and many old Clinton people were there and their first agenda was to protect the reputation of their old boss. So all evidence which suggested Clinton's people had allowed the 9-11 plot to go forward or had not put sufficient attention into getting OBL (which was factually the case) was either downplayed, or in some cases prohibited by legal maneuvers within the Commission, to prevent those matters from coming into open discussion. Mylroie's testamony was sabotaged by such terrible methods, and many issues were never allowed open discussion. The Republicans on the Committee were very angry about it, and some of their complaints were publicly aired, but reported mostly in the conservative media. Bush, I think we can agree, is not so good at speaking in public. My theory is, he delegates too much, to his people the task of sorting out the facts. Read Stephen Hayes and Laurie Mylroie, using these Google searches: Iraq 9-11 "laurie mylroie" Iraq 9-11 "stephen hayes" These will provide you with many articles by or about them. Make your own judgement, but do so with full information.

jacobmarley on :

What can Germans do to reclaim the hearts and minds of Americans? Nothing. You've lost us totally and utterly; time will bear this out. Face it: the next time you need our help, you are screwed.

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