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Top Democrat on Auschwitz, Guantanamo and Europe

Dutch lawmakers claim that Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told them that "Europe was not as outraged by Auschwitz as by Guantanamo Bay."

Michael van der Galiën from the Netherlands takes issue with that comparison as well as with Lantos' demand: "You have to help us, because if it was not for us you would now be a province of Nazi Germany." Michael writes in his Van Der Galiën Gazette:

This is a great example of just why America is so unpopular in European countries right now. Granted, there's a lot of irrational anti-Americanism as well, but these are the kind of comments by which American politicians anger just about every single Europe; whether they're pro- or anti-America. (...) As I wrote recently, the Democrats dont seem to be any better at diplomacy than the Republicans are. If this is the Democratic way of reaching out, well, Im afraid that the hand thats reaching out will be politely ignored by the world.

Personal comments: I am surprised that the Democrats have not chosen someone else as chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Tom Lantos is 79 years old. He has earned and deserves his retirement. (As usual, emphasis in bold added by me.)

I did agree with Lantos here: Rep Lantos Calls Ex-Chancellor Schroeder a Political Prostitute

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Don S on :

Don't know, Joerg - Lantos may actually be correct that 'Europe' acted more outraged by Guantanamo Bay in 2004, 2005,2006, and 2007 than it did about Auschwitz in 1945-48. I don't think we can make a judgement over whether this state of affairs will last. There was no media outrage machine in 1945 the way there is today - so perhaps the enduring judgement of European historians will be the current concensus that Bush rivals a certain pre-1945 European 'statesman' (shall we call him 'Godwin'?) and Guantanamo Bay rivals Auschwitz..... Lantos was there in 1945 - neitheryou or I were, right? There is an advantage to being an eyewitness, I think. I like Tom Lantos as welll as I like any Democrat because he loveshis country and stands up forit.And because he doesn't suffer from a terminal case of mealy-mouth - the hallmark of the modern politician!

Joerg on :

So you agree with Lantos that the Dutch should be quiet on Guantanamo because of Auschwitz? What else his Lantos' point? And the Dutch should not think for themselves, but jump whenever Washington says so, because the US helped the Netherlands in WWII? Never mind, that the US only joined WWII after it was attacked. Never mind, that WWII was an existential threat for the Netherlands, while Afghanistan/Iraq are not one for the US. I mean, it's not like Canada and Mexico are occuping the US. Never mind that the Netherlands fight in southern Afghanistan. If Germany would fight in southern Afhanistan, it would not be enough either.

Don S on :

Straw man, Joerg. No, conversely it's my belief that Lantos ought not self-censor his perfectly legitimate opinions on the basis of injured feelings from the Dutch - or any other nationality!

Badboy Recovered on :

Outrage at Gitmo and calling it the modern day Auschwitz is crazy. From ANY political angle!!! Let the dutch leave. Like i said in my last post - its what they want to do anyway. Using Gitmo as a political excuse to pull troops out of Afghanistan is like trying to get rid of gun violence by outlawing self defense. LET THE DUTCH LEAVE - ITS WHAT THEY WANT TO DO - LET THEM GO. No arguments - no hard feelings -- no more talk of WW1 - or WW2 - or the cold war - or the marshall plan------- just go!

Anonymous on :

The Dutch and their beloved resistance to the Nazi threat. What a bunch of hooey. They collaborated with the Nazis and enjoyed the highest percentage of Jews killed in any occupied European country because they were happy enough to send them to the slaughter house. Lanton should have added the bloody withdrawal from Indonesia, Srbrenica, the cowardly performance of Dordrecht and the fact that the raid of Chatham was the last time the Dutch ever defeated a European power by themselves. That said, Lantos is refusing to lie down for a domestically-motivated political attack. He met such an affront they only way you can by reminding the Fischkoepfe that we do not recognize your moral superiority and here is why...it is crass international politics, but a Dutch paralimentary delegation is probably not going to be re-admitted to the House during the next Democratic administration or two after their performance anyway. Dutch preening really sets my teeth on edge.

David on :

I don't care who points it out: Guantanamo is an abomination and has damaged America's influence throughout the world. America under George W. Bush has been engaging in torture (waterboarding), something I never would have expected as an American. The US must close Guantanamo and renounce ALL forms or torture. That is something I am spending my free time working on, and which the vast majority of Americans support.

Badboy Recovered on :

There is so much to fisk here i dont even know where to start. But rather than maul. Let me ask - What do YOU suggest we do with the people there?..... Just let them go? Go where? Back to afghanistan where they would be shooting at us again? I know!.... How about their home countries. Na, we tried that - they wont take them. So what's your plan? - I'm curious. Since you spend so much free time on this surely you have a good plan or idea? Spill the beans!

Pat Patterson on :

So all the methods that were approved for use by Pres. Kennedy to use against irregular combatants in the early 60's are now considered beyond the pale because Pres. Bush is charged with using them? Unlike Israel it's interesting to note how often American servicemen are kidnapped and then offered as a trade for those terrorists held at Guantanamo? Mainly because these servicemen are most often tortured and summarily executed. Plus the claim that Americans are against all forms of torture is simply not proved. On the one hand most Americans are against torture in a general sense but then condone its use when used to prevent attacks on civilians or servicemen. But then every society in the world has always had its share of people that are perfectly happy living safe and secure while ignoring that his security comes from our willingness to kill and maim our enemies if neccessary.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Anonymous, please use a name, any name except anonymous! @ Badboy and Anonymous, I do understand strong frustration with Germany, but now you express similar sentiments with the Dutch. You or other have also criticized the British strongly. It seems you don't respect any allies' contributions. So, I think you should pressure your government to get out of NATO, the UN etc. Tell them that America is better of going it alone. Others don't deserve America's help anyway. Then, you don't need to complain about allies anymore, because you want have any, except for Micronesia, Japan and other mighty military powers.

Zyme on :

:-)

Badboy Recovered on :

Years ahead of you.... Years.

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Are you saying it takes a few more years for Americans to ask their congressmen and women to get out of NATO? Why so long? Why is their no petition now? No editorials about it either.

Badboy Recovered on :

Because most Americans arent informed or dont care. It makes me crazy how many in this country dont vote!

Badboy Recovered on :

In fact. This is where i can give you another great VDH quote. -- "The onus to preserve the status quo of the present alliance thus lies not on the American people, who may be returning to a time-honored and reasonable consensus about Europe, but on those, including among our leaders, who believe Europe still merits a special relationship at all. By any objective standard, we have long ago ceased being members of a true partnership, and it may be time to accept that reality and move on. Who knows? After our separation, when we are no longer sworn allies, we might even become better friends." God its 6 years old already! lol But still a pretty good read. http://www.travelbrochuregraphics.com/extra/goodbye_to_europe.htm

Zyme on :

Do I hear Weltschmerz out of this? :)

Badboy Recovered on :

Oh you bet ya! And for us its just going to mean packing up and going home. Realizing that if their is another war in the middle east, or europe in the future, their is nothing we can do to help out anyway. How well our new Weltscherz idealogy is going to work out for you guys remains to be seen.

Zyme on :

My goodness, how much naivity does it take to assume that Europe will fall to pieces without american support! Wake up, we are no longer in times of the Cold War. "Realizing that if their is another war in the middle east, or europe in the future, their is nothing we can do to help out anyway." Assuming that european countries go to war again, they would have to arm appropriately. Then the old rule applies - the winner takes it all. And keeping conquered lands has often been more difficult than taking them. As regards your apocalyptic visions: Don´t forget that this is what we (the europeans) have done for thousands of years. Hardly a threat to our existance.. Not to speak of the likeliness of a significant war in Europe in times of the European Union..

Badbiy Recovered on :

Good lord zyme LOL. But ya that scenario of yours would work for me. Winner take all. It would make the evening news in this country interesting again at least.

Anonymous on :

Without a few armoured divisions in Germany, who is to say that the K-brothers in preparation for their election would not have moved a few divisions to the Oder? How would Germany have responded to that? Badly Recovered seems a little shrill and excited about the prospect of American withdrawal and his assertion that a unilateral withdrawal from European soil would only be beneficial for American interests. However Zyme fails on the other extreme to imagine that perhaps ancient European emnities are not ancient at all.

Badboy Recovered on :

i didnt know 1999 was ancient. And im pretty hip to things but who are the K-brothers? - you mean the ducks?

Anonymous on :

The Kaczynski twins of Poland. Not to be confused with the American Unabomber of the same name. Hey, why not confuse them? All ruthless.

Badboy Recovered on :

thats what i meant - the ducks. ya true...

Anonymous on :

"Realizing that if their is another war in the middle east" Then American won't have any bases to use. No Landstuhl hospital to treat the wounded from Iraq, Iran etc.

Badbiy Recovered on :

since we won't be fighting anywhere we won't need it. And the pentagon already had a plan for not using german bases anyway. Would of taken a few hours longer for the wounded to get treated having to fly over the indian ocean- but doable.

Anonymous on :

It seems you don't respect any allies' contributions. Never said that. I appreciate the NATO contributions in Afghanistan just have remarked, as many have, that they are woefull considering the size and wealth of the contributing nations. ISAF's unofficial moniker 'I suck at fighting' embarasses the institution the West has created over 60 years. The Dutch delegation was playing domestic politics abroad. Its pointless. For example, when Valkeryie comes out the American ambassador will not give a speech on the fallacy of the von Stauffenberg Circle myth and remind the German people not to succumb to irrationality and the mythologization of history. He will not mention that those worthy of adulation left Germany to fight against the Reich which committed the most horrendous crimes on European soil since the Mongols. It would make great domestic political sense—the Poles, Jews and Italians in America do not like Germany in the abstract. So, I think you should pressure your government to get out of NATO, the UN etc. Tell them that America is better of going it alone. Others don't deserve America's help anyway. Then, you don't need to complain about allies anymore, because you want have any, except for Micronesia, Japan and other mighty military powers. Straw man argument. never said anything about dissolving NATO

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