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Conservative Parliamentarian Implies that the US is Exterminating Other Cultures

Peter Gauweiler of the conservative CSU party in Bavaria is a member of parliament and even member of the Bundestag committee on foreign relations. In an interview with the Deutschlandfunk radio about Chancellor Merkel's visit to the US and transatlantic relations, he called for some "tough talk among friends."
He expressed his opposition to US foreign policy in extremely drastic terms: After talking about the "Iraqization" of Afghanistan and saying that Germany should not support US policy in Southern Afghanistan, he opined: "We must make clear to Americans -- or to be more exact: to the current American government -- that not everything is automatically terrorism and that they cannot exterminate cultural aspirations on this Earth as they did with the Apaches and the Sioux." Full quote in the original German:
Das militärische Engagement in Afghanistan ist auf einem anderen, viel besseren völkerrechtlichen Mandat als der völkerrechtswidrige Krieg der Amerikaner im Irak, das ist ganz unbestritten. Gleichwohl muss man blind und taub sein, wenn man nicht erkennt, dass wir in Afghanistan faktisch auf eine Irakisierung des Krieges zusteuern. Dafür hat der Bundestag kein Mandat erteilt, und dafür gibt auch unser Grundgesetz zu Recht keine Beteiligungsmöglichkeit. Frau Merkel muss im konkreten Fall in Amerika deutlich machen, dass es zum Beispiel gar nicht in Frage kommt, dass die Bundeswehr das, was die Amerikaner derzeit im Süden Afghanistans an Verwirrung und katastrophalen Zuständen mit anrichten und mit zu verantworten haben, dies jetzt auch von uns auch zum Beispiel durch die Verfügungsstellung von Tornado-Flugzeugen unterstützt wird. Wir müssen den Amerikanern, oder genauer gesagt der jetzigen amerikanischen Regierung, deutlich machen, dass sie nicht andere kulturelle Bestrebungen auf diesem Erdball, und es ist nicht alles automatisch Terrorismus, so ausrotten können, wie sie es mit den Apachen und den Sioux getan haben.
Unfortunately, Jürgen Liminski, the interviewer, did not ask further questions about this outrageous and incorrect statement. He did, however, highlight this quote above the transcript at Deutschlandfunk (via Apocalypso). To be fair, Gauweiler did make a more or less pro-American statement as well: "Soll aus dem amerikanischen Traum, der ein Traum der ganzen Menschheit war und der durch die Freiheitsstatue verkörpert worden ist, soll aus dem ein Alptraum werden? Das kann ja von niemandem dieser großen Nation ernsthaft gemeint sein." which roughly translates as: 'The American Dream was the dream of all mankind and is manifested by the statue of liberty. Should this dream turn into a nightmare? Nobody from this great nation [=Americans] would like to see that happen.'
UPDATE: Check out the excellent comments.


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GM Roper on :

Joerg, thanks for defending the U.S. We of course are not a perfect society, no country is, but we are ahead of a good deal of the world. Gauweiler's comment: "that not everything is automatically terrorism and that they cannot exterminate cultural aspirations on this Earth as they did with the Apaches and the Sioux" is as outrageous as anything I've seen on even some of the far right blogs. I would remind Gauweiler that your country also has had a past, as has France, England, Russia, the rest of the EU, etc. Perhaps it would have gone down better had Gauweiler also noted that much of what he doesn't acknowledge is terrorism in spite of the fact that Reuter's has said something to the effect "One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter." This is a changing world and the civilized nations of the world are slower to adjust to the non-state war being faught than are the terrorists. Terrorism comes in many phases, some more obvious than others. Attempting to convert western law into shahira law comes to mind. Not doing anything about such tragedies as Darfur, the Sudan, Tibet, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc., also comes to mind. The "so called" rule of law is imperfectly applied throughout the world, through outhistory. To blandly pull up something like the wars between the United States and the Apachie and the Souix is as invalid as claiming that correlation means causality. You have written a good post, thanks and keep up the good work my friend. And, if I need to say it, Happy New Year and may the Atlantic Review thrive in 2007.

Jabba the Tutt on :

That the Apaches and Sioux exterminated are, certainly would come as a surprise to the Apache and the Sioux, especially since they have official webpages: [url=]Official webpage of the Yavapai Apache Nation[/url] [url=]San Carlos Apache Nation[/url] [url=]Jicarilla Apache Nation[/url] There are more Apache webpages of that poor exterminated people. Let's see what the exterminated Sioux are up to. I guess we missed killing all of the [url=]Black Hills and Badlands Sioux[/url]. Hmmm, those sly [url=]Lakota[/url] slipped away from certain doom: What??? [url=]The Sioux Nation Ag Center[/url] proud of their livestock production: This can't be, they're all exterminated. Peter Gauweiler probably got his education on American Indians from Winnetou and The Last of the Mohicans. Hmmm, I'd like to ask Herr Gauweiler if he could show me around the Kelten or Pict villages in Bavaria. I'd love to see them.

Karsten on :

I wonder where *you* got *your* education about ancient European cultures and tribes, Jabba. There never were any Picts in Bavaria, since that is a name for several tribes living in modern-day scotland before the influx of scots from Ireland. Anyway, I don't want to argue against your main point: Gauweiler's comment is hilarious as well as outrageous.

Erik S on :

Concerning the Apaches, why would the members of that tribe live in the arid rocks of Arizona rather than on the cooler and more fruitful plains of the Midwest? Well, the main reason is that they were chased away from their homeland, which *was* the plains. That's right, their land was stolen. Whom by, you ask? Those terrible white Americans? (Tch, tch, head shaking...) No, their land was seized by the Comanches. Concerning extermination, meanwhile, if we can hardly find a single survivor of the Erie nation, it is because they were annihilated. Annihilated to the last woman and child. Likewise, the Hurons, massacred to the very last tribe member. Warriors scalped, women killed, babies with their brains smashed in. Whom by, you ask? Those genocidal whites? No, by the Iroquois. Those are historical facts liberals and Europeans don't know about and do not like to focus on, because if they can't depict the Indians as harmless, Buddhist-monk-like beings interested in nothing but peace and harmony with the earth and with forces of nature, it becomes much harder to depict (white) Americans as monstrous beings and their policies (past as well as present) as of a criminal nature beyond rational control. You may have heard the sentence attributed to Sheridan, "The only good Indian is a dead Indian." The truth is that type of sentence (or the idea it contained) was much more often expressed by members of one Indian tribe about another (e.g., The only good Sioux is a dead Sioux) but that's something we must forget about in order to be able to shake our heads mournfully at those clueless (white) Americans, past and present, while congratulating ourselves incessantly for our top-notch lucidity, our unrivaled love of peace, and our rationality the kind of which the world has never seen.

David on :

Gauweiler is an idiot. I recall that in the 1980s he called for the detention of gays in Bavaria in camps because of fear of AIDS.

Pat Patterson on :

We find our common humanity in our village village politicians.

Don S on :

I was momentarily tempted to counter with something like 'The Germans must realie that they will not be allowed to exterminite the cultural aspirations of the Lithuanians' - but the hell with it. Researching the brain chemistry of this particular village idiot might yield some interesting results. Is it natural or aided by manufactured substances?

rightwingprof on :

There's something deliciously ironic about a German lecturing Americans on genocide. Can we say Jews, anyone?

K. Vermont on :

I lived in Deustchland for four years being in the military and living on base. Believe me, America is just as bad. The ignorance of the people in America is so high; the way they treat other cultures that they do not understand is as terrible as genocide. It's like mental genocide. Most of the Germans were forced into it by Hitler anyways. He threatened to kill their families and loved ones. Just because one person is wrong, doesn't mean the whole entire culture is.

2020 on :

The USA broke international law conducting a war of aggression and turned a rogue state into a failed state. What does America expect? Applause?

Anonymous on :

America rightly expects (and deserves) fair criticism rather than demonization.

Isolationist on :

In reply to Peter Gauweiler, I would like to say the following: (1) When it comes to cultural extermination, I wonder if the good doctor has ever been to Lidice. I do not know of a better example of cultural extermination than this. (2) Many Americans know that Navahoe Americans were used as radio operators during the Pacific War, using their own difficult language in the open and driving the Japanese crazy in their code breaking efforts. Fewer people know that a company size unit of Comanches Americans was landed on Utah Beach on or right after D-Day. These Comanches were also used as radio operators and "wind talkers" against Germany just like the Navahoes were used against Japan. It is nice to know that these Comanche Americans helped bring Dr. Gauweiler's Germany to its knees. (3) The statements above about the Comanche confrontation with the Apache are true. In fact, so severe and relentless were the Comanches against the Apache that the latter, at one point, sought frontier peace with the Spanish in order to better defend themselves against the Comanches. (4) Personaly, I welcome Peter Gauweiler's remarks and wide publication and wish he would continue his atack on the United States. After all, why should he be any different from most Germans, and most Europeans for that matter? His remarks deepen the Atlantic Ocean and make it wider as well, developments I approve and wish to see accelerate. Face the facts, Joerg. There is no alliance between Germany and the US, nor should there be one, regardless of what the politicians pretend. Putin's Russia, which we should once again start to call the Soviet Union, is Germany's new ally and, given the fact that Putin now has Germany by the pipelines, Germany's new boss. Germans could not be America's ally in the future even if they wanted to be. (5) Joerg, a man like Gauweiler, telling us again what Germans really think about the US, indicates that your work at the Atlantic Review is a waste of time and effort. (6) Gauweiler made some positive remarks about the US, did he? I wonder what the ratio is in Germany of hate-America remarks vs. something positive or even neutral. I would guess several hundred to one! Isolationist

Anonymous on :

(6) And what is the ratio in the US?

joe on :

One can always count on 2020.

Isolationist on :

What is the ratio in the US? I do not know, but I'm certain the number of negative stories about Germany in the US is not nearly high enough.

pen Name on :

There is a long essay by Octavio Paz, the Mexican poet and diplomat, concerning US policies in Latin America. In that essay he observerd that US was a protestant polity in which it was posited that there could be a one-to-one relationship between Man and God. This fundamental belief of Christian Protestanism had fundamentally shaped the psyche of North Americans - it had defeaned (deaf) them to the voices of other peoples (their concerns, aspirations, etc.) because the North Americans were absorbed in this ongoing conversation with the Almighty. Thus they went and did whatever they wanted in Latin America (and now in the Near East) while oblivious to the protesting voices of Lations (and others).

Erik S on :

Has it ever occurred to anybody that maybe *they* should be listening to the *Americans*, at least part of the time (instead of always demanding that the U.S. listen to them)?! I mean, unless I am very mistaken, the U.S. *has* made a better life for most of its citizens than has any of the Latin American nations (and others). In any case, "pen Name"'s post is quite symbolic, although he doesn't seem to realize it; While castigating Americans' individuality, he takes other nations' alleged collectivist thought for granted (as does Octavio Paz). Apparently, one Latino protesting against Uncle Sam (Castro, Chávez, etc, their respective intelligentsias, etc) is supposed to speak for all the other citizens of his country, if not the entire continent. Isn't this way of thinking the root of the problem to begin with?

joe on :

Gee the french surely think they speak for everyone but the Americans of course.

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