Freitag, Januar 19, 2007

On German arrogance...

This is arrogance beyond the pale, and is highly indicative of the mind-set of the German left. For the German speakers, this is the original. I must point out that the poor translator has NOTHING to do with the article's content, my critique is strictly to the original author. The translation is very nice, as a matter of fact. :-)

Let's start with the fisking...

The president of the USA expects gratitude from the Iraqi people, because the USA liberated them from a tyrant. Any mistakes he has made are excused; he sees no reason for apologies. All the mistakes were made by others, up to and including recent executions in Baghdad, which apparently cannot be carried out correctly. In Texas, where George W. Bush was once the governor, humans are killed in an obviously friendlier fashion than in Baghdad. In Baghdad, people are lynched as they once where in the Wild West, where insults were hurled at the condemned and the unfortunate tearing off of heads at the end of a rope took place.

First of all, the first three statements are not facts, but postulates. The President of the US didn't expect gratitude: he greeted the liberation of Iraq not with demands for them to acknowledge this, but rather welcomed them into the 20th century. Bush has never been one to push the blame elsewhere: unlike Clinton, he acknowledges when something has gone wrong, and has never placed the blame elsewhere. Or did I miss the White House press release blaming the generals in charge for screwing things up? Must've been put in the stack of stuff and hasn't surfaced yet. He sees no reasons for apologies, as none have been asked for (except for his political opponents, who want Bush to go away: are there not the anti-Bush sentiments that his mother should've aborted him before birth (see Daily Kos, almost any page).

I don't remember any lynch mobs in Iraq: that was something that the Iraqis did under SH. What bothers our correspondant is the fact that there wasn't adequate decorum at the execution: hey, it's an execution, not a funeral. I think it should've been public, myself.

The Iraqi people have no reason for gratitude. In the end, Saddam Hussein was a product of Washington politics, to the point that he felt so secure, he thought Washington would permit him to become a conqueror - the conqueror of Kuwait. The older Bush allowed the Baghdad dictator a victory in the Iran War, let slide the gassing of tens of thousands of Kurds, the massacre of Shiites, Sunnis and democratically inclined Iraqis of all persuasions who didn't belong to Saddam's own clan. In regard to these crimes there will be no trial; this is where the promise of a constitutional state ends. Saddam was just a caricature of a system whose thugs - if you will pardon the expression - handed down to the nation of the two-rivers gang war, civil war, death squads and the enslavement of returning Iraqis from     a cushy exile.

No reason for gratitude? I think the author here is projecting: what he means is that the left has no reason for gratitude, no reason to thank the US that it's actions have saved the UN from irrelevance in the face of severe corruption and malfeasance. If the left were in ANY way intellectually honest, they'd acknowledge that there was no alternative to dealing with a despot who had almost bribed his way out of the sanctions that the UN had placed on SH for failing to do what the UN told him to do.

And SH a product of Washington politics? Get real: SH was the result of Washington politics like the strongly expansive German economy is the result of the great economic policies of the last decades. In other words, the only connection is a negative one (in case you don't know, the German economy is weak and hardly robust; German macroeconomic policies have sucked). And to say that SH was given the go-ahead to invade Iraq is about as revisionist as you are gonna get.

And the time line doesn't work: it is generally accepted that the Iran/Iraq war was at best a draw, with both sides showing their incompetence and inability to fight a modern war. The US condemned the gassing of the Kurds: what does this guy think, that the US should've invaded back then?

In fact, the only thing in that paragraph which makes sense is the idea that SH was a thug.

And consider Iraqi's who returned from exile in Iran. These are people who had the courage to come out and vote and who gave the Shiite's a governing majority. Here again, we have a miscalculation; Iran allegedly has too much influence in Iraq because of the shared Shiite faith. Yet no one claims that the through a Catholic John F. Kennedy, the Vatican was secretly in control of the USA. Only ideologues and conspiracy theorists could believe such nonsense. Bush is just such an ideologue.

Oh give me a frellng break. The only people who voted in the Iraqi election were returned exilees? What the hell is that man smoking, I want to warn my kids against using that stuff. And the problem with Iran isn't a shared Shi'ite faith, but much rather that Iran sees such great opportunities for meddling in Iraq to tweak the nose of the Great Satan. And here the ignorance of history is also appalling: the fact that John F. Kennedy was a practicing member of the Roman Catholic Church was very, very much an issue during his presidential campaign! Bush isn't an ideologue in the sense that this man is trying to conflate (ideologues being on the same level, here, as conspiracy theorists: if anything, the Democrat Party is full of conspiracy theorists, not the White House).

While the "common vision" - the existence of which the U.S. President confirmed after communicating it to Iraqi head of state Nouri al-Maliki - has changed once and for all into a Fata Morgana, Bush has an even a bigger target in his sights. His last speech sounded     like a declaration of preemptive war against Iraq's neighbor Syria - and above all Iran. His reasoning for taking action is still being     fine-tuned. We can assume he will use the same sound reasoning as he did four years ago, which led to a war against Saddam Hussein that violated international law.

First and foremost: there is no such thing as international law concerning the decision to go to war with Iraq. Let me rephrase that: there is no such thing as international law that governs when nations go to war with each other. There are international treaties that the US is a signatory to, such as the Geneva Convention, and there are international organizations that the US has joined and whose rules apply: but there is no international law governing the decision to go to war.

Second, the US did not violate any international law in going to war with Iraq. The war was conducted under UN's own rules and regulations, which do not require anyone going to the UN security council. It's really very simply to understand: the UN security council sanctioned the war against Iraq to free the Kuwaitis. Iraq was able to reach a cease-fire that led to very specific requirements in terms of Iraqi disarming and completely documenting this disarmament. Iraq repeatedly and deliberately violated the terms of the cease-fire, and the US was fully justified in attacking Iraq on that basis alone. This is a constant meme of the left, that the war was illegal: it was not.

And the standard meme of the left as well is to say that for such a momentous thing as going to war, the UN security council must give its approval: this is, bluntly, an attempt to break the chain of events that led to the war.

Iranian agents are supposed to have been involved with killing American soldiers.Iranian diplomats - who are presumed to have been busy establishing consulates - were kidnapped by American troops (an act that shows how much the U.S. respects Iraqi sovereignty). Iranian "networks" allegedly destabilize Iraq, (as if the destabilization isn't a consequence of the invasion by the "coalition of the willing").

Now this is rich as well. Iran has NEVER recognized that it was illegal for them to have occupied the US embassy in Teheran, and now they are whining about having what they were calling their consulate offices violated by coalition troops in Iraq. It has also been established - no longer supposition - that Iran has delivered military goods, fresh from Iranian factories, to people who enjoy blowing up innocent civilians. From what I have understood of the arrests of Iranians in Iraq is that they were neither accredited diplomats, nor were the offices a duly declared and recognized consulate, nor were their activities compatible with diplomatic activities.

As I've posted elsewhere, Iraq is a failed country, destabilized not by the invasion, but by the removal of the despot, SH. As such, would it have been better to keep SH around?

The war planners in Washington obviously exclude the use of ground troops against Iran. Aircraft carriers, cruise missiles and Patriot missiles, which have now been deployed in the waters off the Iranian coast, are considered unfit for a land war, and will be of no use fighting the various factions of the Iraqi insurgency. The deployment rather points to the possibility of surgical strikes against the     Teheran regime's nuclear facilities, airfields and military bases.   

Well, well, well. Someone slept through their Military Threat Analysis 101 class. First: all of the above weapon systems are there at the request of the various Persian Gulf states, all of whom feel threatened by Iran. Not so much threatened by military action, but rather feel threatned politically (and if you don't think this is a problem, then you don't understand the Persian Gulf at all. Maybe someone should simply poin out, as well, that not all US soldiers are in Iraq: the military strategy of the US doesn't revolve around what is going on in Iraq. And the whole damn point of putting those systems in place IS to raise the possibility of using them: the utility of a strategic asset is in direct proportion to the perception of the potential opponent in regards to that system. This is basic. But something that this author simply doesn't understand.

It is only the danger that Iran could activate the Lebanese Hezbullah that now prevents the "hawks" from attacking Iran. But it is certainly questionable whether Hezbullah would listen to the Teheran Ayatollahs. The U.S. administration promotes the scenario that Hezbullah is under the direct control of Teheran. But the reverse argument is just as conceivable: Hezbullah could provoke Israel to execute the "decapitation blow" before the United States does so itself.

This is what drove me to Fisk this. The "only" danger that prevents the US from attacking Iran is Hezbullah? Gee, the fact that there is a long border with Iraq and that US troops could well be directly involved if Iran were to invade Iraq in response isn't a danger at all? And the idea that Hezbollah is in some concieveable way seperate from Teheran's whims is patently absurd: Teheran funds Hezbollah and controls Hezbollah. End of story. This isn't some bizarre sort of "scenario", but rather established fact. Not convinced? How about this from the 1985 Hezbollah Manifesto:

We are the sons of the ummah (Muslim community) - the party of God (Hizb Allah) the vanguard of which was made victorius by God in Iran. There the vanguard succeeded to lay down the bases of a Muslim state which plays a central role in the world. We obey the orders of one leader, wise and just, that of our tutor and faqih (jurist) who fulfills all the necessary conditions: Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini.

I mean, just how naive can you be? Ruhollah Musawi Khomeini is the Ayatollah Khomeini. This isn't a "scenario": this is fact.

The despots on the southern coast of Persian Gulf [the Sunni oil states] may favor such a scenario [getting Hezbullah to incite Israel to attack Iran]. In Berlin, Paris and other capitals, one was aware of other ways to discourage Iran's nuclear ambitions. It is time to reflect on this, especially in Berlin. In its present role, the German government has the strength, the opportunity and therefore an obligation, to tame the "hawks."

Now this is really rich: passive voice, "one was aware". No statement of fact, but rather weasel words: "one was aware". And hello, no one wants to discourage Iranian ambitions: we want them to abandon their ambitions.

The German government hasn't the strength or the opportunity to punch its way out of a paper bag. A wet paper bag at that.

Germany, under Schroeder and Fischer, blew their opportunity to shape US foreign policy in the Middle East by choosing the cheap and easy way out, the way of radical pacifism, of denying that there are times to use military force, and were more than happy to allow their French colleagues to basically set German foreign policy be defaulting to their position. The Germans abdicated their foreign policy position to the French, and honestly, I haven't seen any change since then.

And who died and made the Germans the world's superpower tamers?

I'll repeat this once again: Germany abdicated its responsibilities by failing to engage the US in any sort of meaningful dialogue when confronted with the evidence of the failure of the UN sanctions to tame Iraq. Instead they chose the route of public rejection of US policy in order for Schroeder to win an election. Perfidious at best.

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