Part of a comment from our reader Jean:
At this point, I'm completely fed up w/ Germany - had to sit at a dinner where German generals declared the Iraq War lost, and then smirked about it. This from a country that pays $5 million per German hostage, money which is then used to buy weaponry to kill US soldiers and Iraqis!Indeed. That's bad! And it is not an excuse either that -- according to the US Government Accountability Office -- the Pentagon has lost track of about 190,000 AK-47 assault rifles and pistols given to Iraqi security forces in 2004 and 2005. And as of January 2005 nearly $9 billion of money spent on Iraqi reconstruction is unaccounted for and might have ended up in the hands of evil-doers. The difference of course is that -- according to unconfirmed media reports -- the German government deliberately gave money to kidnappers or to groups who bought the hostages from the kidnappers, while the US unintentionally lost money and arms. One is deliberate (and evil?) carelessness, the other unintentional (incompetent?) carelessness.