Monday, June 07, 2004

Grandma Europa Calls Police
When Old Friend Shows Up At The Door




David's Medienkritik (a blog I will be linking to)has a post and photos you've got to see.

The upshot is that Erik from the blog No Parasan went to D-Day celebratio... er, make that anti-American demonstrations in Paris yesterday with a sign that said "Sometimes the Cowboy is Right" (in French, of course) and walked the streets singing "America The Beautiful."

The result?

HE WAS DETAINED BY THE POLICE!

Go to this link.

Israel Reaches Out To Help Ease Palestinian Suffering


Maariv International posted this article, by Amir Buhbut, about about an Israeli Hotline set up for Palestinians to call if they are experiencing problems that need to be addressed:



For the past few months, the IDF has been operating a hotline to address problems faced by Palestinian residents in the Gaza Strip. The call center is manned by two operators 24 hours a day and addresses problems related to various issues, including health, sanitation, and connection with aid organizations. According to an IDF source, the hotline deals with 150 requests per week on average.

"This is a humanitarian hotline, aimed at showing Palestinians a light at the end of the tunnel and indicate to them that there is another way, so they don't think there's nobody to talk to", said the source.

Sometimes, operators at the center face surprising situations. Recently, a Palestinian caller reported that terrorists are attempting to launch mortar shells from his backyard and that he is trying to drive them away. The Palestinian requested that the army refrain from firing at his home, and the IDF handled the situation accordingly.

In another case, a Palestinian reported that doctors were intending to disconnect his elderly mother from a respirator in light of overcrowded conditions at the hospital. IDF soldiers facilitated the evacuation of the woman to an Israeli hospital, where her condition was stabilized before she was taken back to Gaza.



There are many cases of Israeli human rights organizations reaching out to help Palestinians, but this is notable because it is actually the Israeli government. One could claim the Hotline is just a good P.R. move. I am disinclined to agree. I believe it is set up to be exactly what the spokesperson said, a "light at the end of the tunnel." I believe Israel believes that the Intifada might be close to being over, and realizes they need to hold out an olive branch, if a lasting peace is to be built.

Saturday, June 05, 2004

Foreign Aid


In my previous post I make completely Americo-centric, preposterous, obnoxious, un-nuanced claim that our investment in the War in Iraq is "Foreign Aid." God, I'm an ugly American.

But anyway, check out this quote from a June 2004 National Geographic article, called "Reaching For Power", about the reality of the situation in Iraq:


"By mid-January of 2004, 270 mass graves had been reported. The Free Prisoners Society estimates that five to seven million people 'disappeared' in the past two decades, the majority of them Shiites."



Now, check out these quotes from an article in the International Herald Tribune regarding how students in France see the United States:


Isabelle Bonhomme, a high-school teacher at the Lycée Saint-Louis in Paris, said her students had a "very simplified idea" of America.

"They have a vision of an America that believes it knows the truth and that tries to impose it on others," she said.

Americans "are people who need oil because of the way their economy works and thus they started the war in Iraq," she said, summarizing her students' views.

"There is a sort of consensus on this," Bonhomme said. "I've never had a student say, 'No, it's not true, Americans are not like that.'"

The 60th anniversary of D-Day comes as anti-American feelings seep into everyday life in many European capitals. So what do young people make of the anniversary?

A visit Thursday to Bonhomme's classroom showed some ambivalence, but mostly negative feelings, toward the United States among the two dozen students.

But other students said the United States had evolved into a country that wanted to police the world - "make war and kill a lot of people," said Sarah, 16.

Pascaline, 15, made a sharp distinction between today's conflicts and the world wars of the last century.

"During the Normandy landings, the Americans were liberators," Pascaline said. "But in Iraq, they are invaders."

Pressed on the distinction, she said that when the Americans came to France "they attacked the occupiers here," referring to the Germans. "But in Iraq they are fighting the Iraqis."



I'll give this to Grandma Europa, they've got a good school system over there, as evidenced by the fact that they can teach even their young people to be senile.

Maybe we need to provide a little bit of "Foreign Aid" to the French as well. Ah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah hah.


Anger Over "The American Occupation"


National Review had this enlightening post the other day:


The New York Times ran a series of news stories in late 1945 reporting, in part, the following:

"Germans Reveal Hate of Americans," October 31, 1945

The German attitude toward the American occupation forces has swung from apathy and surface friendliness to active dislike. According to a military government official, this is finding expression in the organization of numerous local anti-American organizations throughout the zone and in a rapid increase in the number of attacks on American soldiers. There were more such attacks in the first week of October than in the preceding five months of the occupation, this source declared.


"Loss of Victory in Germany Through U.S. Policy Feared," November 18, 1945

Grave concern was expressed today by informed officials that the United States might soon lose the fruits of victory in Germany through the failure to prepare adequately for carrying out its long-term commitments under the Potsdam Declaration. Government failures were attributed in part to public apathy. The predictions of a coming crisis are predicated upon three points:

1) The failure to start training a civilian corps of administrators to take over when the Army's Military Government pulls out of Germany by June 1.

2) The failure of the Government to set up an expert advisory group, such as that which existed in the Foreign Economic Administration's Enemy Branch to back up the American administrators of Germany with informed advice and provide a focal point in Washington for policy-making on the German question.

3) The failure of the Allies to decide together, or the United States for itself, the crucial economic question raised by the Potsdam Declaration; namely what level of German economic activity is desired over the long term?


"Germans Declare Americans Hated," December 3, 1945

An exhaustive compilation of opinions of Germans in all walks of life on their reaction to the United States occupation of their country was released this afternoon from the confidential status under which it was submitted to officials of the United States Forces in the European Theatre recently.
Bitter resentment and deep disappointment was voiced over the Americans' first six months of occupation, though there was some praise for the improvements in transportation, health conditions, book publishing and entertainment.



Before the war my liberal friends were telling me that America was invading Iraq for oil and to line the pockets of George Bush and his cronies. More moderate liberals were telling me that, while we might not outright steal Iraq's oil, we would use it to pay for the war.

Jeez, our bill for the was is $120 billion and counting. It will, in my opinion, exceed $200 billion and maybe approach $300 billion. Iraq can produce, at maximum output, $20 billion of oil per year. $20 billion worth of oil, not $20 billion of profit from oil. I'm sure the profit are huge, but still, it's going to take a lot of years of us 'murikins stealing oil to pay for this war.

I consider the money we invested in this war foreign aid. I mean really, what are we getting out of this?


Friday, June 04, 2004

War As Hissy Fit


National Review posted an article by French writer Denis Boyles today which discusses how France, in general, feels about D-Day. Boyles postulates, with some help from the Communist paper l'Humanite that France has a war, of sorts, going on with the U.S. Here's an exerpt:


As a report in l'Humanité — the Communist daily that has become a monument to the moral flexibility of the Left by being the only paper in France to have been published before, during, and after the occupation — suggests, for France, that the real war began with the Normandy invasion. It's the battle against American influence.

The French war with America is perhaps the only passive-aggressive war in human history; in the immediate aftermath of Normandy, it was fought with equal and allied fervor by both the Gaullists and the Communists, and it continues now as the animating principle behind French foreign policy and colors the way the French see Americans. It isn't accidental that Michael Moore and Jerry Lewis are France's two favorite American comics. And of course even a casual glance at the front page of Le Monde demonstrates the new moral math of modern Europe at work: Abu Ghraib=Buchenwald. Iraq=Vietnam. Bush=Hitler. Seeing a handful of bad American soldiers as symbols of American culture is the way racists think whenever they see a black gang terrorize a subway train in the south Bronx. In France, it's the way history is written, redacted, and then written again.

But rewriting history has its limits. When Gerhard Schroeder, the German chancellor and the architect of Berlin's economic failure, was invited to share the podium at the D-Day events, nobody in Europe thought much of it. In fact, it was hard to imagine Jacques Chirac hosting an international event without bringing along his Herr.

But last weekend, as the day approached, Schroeder and others began inflating the kind of idea that can only gain buoyancy in the artificial air of the new, improved Europe: The significance of D-Day for the Germans, he told RTL and others, was the liberation of all of Europe, including Germany, from totalitarianism. It's an idea that has been growing in popularity in Europe for some time. As this report in the Guardian shows, when you can adjust history to fit, you can even make Germans the victims of Germany, if you want.

So seeing D-Day as the beginning of German "liberation" had a certain excitement to it. The bizarre notion wafted like a mylar trinket above the heads of the press in Europe and America for day or two, as preparations unfolded for what is seen here as Bush's begging for European help in waging what he has successfully been able to characterize as an apologetic war. So, yes! Of course! Not only France, but Germany too had been liberated, according to this report in Libération, by the French resistance — and, okay, maybe with help from all those gum-chewing barbarians from America that l'Humanité was talking about. As I called around Paris on Monday, the idea seemed to have been greeted with a kind of awe. To a dark planet filled with the gloom of having to celebrate an American triumph, Liberated Germany was God's own light bulb. Why does war always have to have winners and losers? Can't we all be winners? "You must admit, it is a mature way of seeing things," one magazine writer told me.



I think everybody should get a trophy.


Saudi's Believe Zionists Behind Terrorist Attacks


Memri.org (via FrontPageMag) has an interesting post post translating and quoting Saudi Arabian government officials blaming "Zionists" for recent terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia. Here's a quote from a Wolf Blitzer/CNN interview of Saudi Foreign Affairs Advisor Adel al-Jubeir:


On May 13, 2004, CNN's Wolf Blitzer questioned Saudi foreign Affairs Advisor Adel Al-Jubeir about Crown Prince Abdallah's statements:

Blitzer: "Your Crown Prince Abdallah, he made a very controversial statement, as you well know… He was accusing Zionists of that most recent terror attack in Riyadh. On the basis of what?"

Al-Jubeir: "I believe, Wolf, if you look at the context of it, the point that he was trying to make is that there are people in the United States who have been very harsh when it comes to Saudi Arabia, have called for regime change in Saudi Arabia, have called for the dismemberment of Saudi Arabia, and whose - the objectives that they have called for are the same objectives as those shared by the terrorists.

"Osama bin Laden wants to destroy the Saudi state. Osama bin Laden wants to destroy the Saudi government. And so you should understand these comments in that context, that those who are most critical of Saudi Arabia in a very hostile way in the United States, as well as in Israel, share the same objective as Osama bin Laden and those who committed these acts…"

Blitzer: "Is the crown prince, who's the effective leader of Saudi Arabia, equating Al-Qa'ida with Zionists?"

Al-Jubeir: "That's not what he was trying to say here. What he was trying to say is that the objectives of those people who have been most harsh toward Saudi Arabia are the same as the objectives of Osama bin Laden. It doesn't mean that they committed this crime."

Blitzer: "Because we listened closely to that tape and we had several Arab linguists listen precisely. And what he clearly said was that he believes 95% - not 100%, but 95% - that the people who undertook this most recent terror attack in Saudi Arabia was not Al-Qa'ida, but were Zionists."

Al-Jubeir: "… When you say behind them, it means supporting them intellectually. That doesn't mean financially. It doesn't mean that they put them up to it. It just means that they share the same objective…"

Blitzer: "… Do you want to issue any sort of apology for the comments of your boss, the Crown Prince Abdallah?"

Al-Jubeir: "Why apology? I was explaining it to you. There's no apology necessary."

Blitzer: "Because of the impression that he left that for that most recent terror attack he was blaming Zionists."

Al-Jubeir: "Because, Wolf, what happens with Saudi Arabia, unfortunately, after 9/11 is anything that Saudi Arabia does or says is perceived with a lot of criticism.

"It's sort of, we are guilty until proven innocent. It should be the other way around. And so nobody cuts us any slack. And every little thing is exaggerated. Every little thing is inflated. I can look at statements by American officials. I can look at statements by officials of other countries that are outrageous and that have not solicited apologies from them or from anyone else. But when it comes to us, we're always the ones who have to apologize. I don't see a reason to do this here." [6]



Ok, ok. We're sorry. Go ahead and blame the "Zionists." Maybe we should think it doesn't matter what you say. Is that what you would like, for the whole world to think you are not worth taking seriously?

There are quite a few other quotes in the Memri post that more directly accuse accuse the "Zionists" but I just thought this one was humorous.