Friday, December 10, 2004

"The matters are too controversial, the events are too recent to be seen with objectivity, the facts are still coming in, blahblahblah…"

Does anybody remember how World War II was treated in the French press and in French schools during the 60th anniversary of D-Day? Why is it that I see similarities between the country mentioned in Howard W French's New York Times article and a number of nations in Europe?
… many [Chinese students] believe that [in World War II] Japan was defeated largely as a result of Chinese resistance, not by the United States.

"The fundamental reason for the victory is that the Chinese Communist Party became the core power that united the nation," says one widely used textbook, referring to World War II.

No one learns that perhaps 30 million people died from famine because of catastrophic decisions made in the 1950's, during the Great Leap Forward, by the founder of Communist China, Mao Zedong.

… Most Chinese students finish high school convinced that their country has fought wars only in self-defense, never aggressively or in conquest, despite the People's Liberation Army's invasion of Tibet in 1950 and the ill-fated war with Vietnam in 1979, to take two examples.

… Asked why Chinese textbooks do not mention such matters as Tibet's claim to independence at the time Communist troops invaded, Ren Penjie, editor of a history education magazine in Xian, said: "These are still matters of controversy. What we present to children are less controversial facts, which are easier to explain."

Others said such events were too recent to be seen with objectivity, or that the facts were still coming in, both of which are common explanations offered by Japanese historians who defend the lack of candor about Japanese atrocities in World War II.
Oh, but events like Bush's war in Iraq, they, by no means, are too recent to be seen with objectivity. In cases such as those, it is entirely clear as spring water that they in no way are "matters of controversy", but examples of unscrupulous American imperialism, while the "peace members'" claims to nobleness and nobility are just as undeniable facts devoid of controversy. Good thing the Chinese have their masters in Beijing to tell them that.

Incidentally, do you know how many discussions, or arguments, I've had with Frenchmen (and -women) in which, when the evidence started going against them and their defences start breaking down (Paris's role in the oil-for-food scandal, Iraqis being overwhelmingly critical of the supposed "peace camp's" supposed pacifism, etc), they retreat to positions that, if not exactly the same as, then very much mirror those of China (and Japan, which, after all, is a Western-style democracy)? They go "Well, it's too early to tell" or "let's see what the Iraqis say a couple of years from now", my favorite having to do with the Baghdad couple who named their son George Bush: "Does their kid still bear that name today?"

"The matters are too controversial", "the events are too recent to be seen with objectivity", "the facts are still coming in" are all entirely rational comments, of course, except that they are never applied to George W Bush (the American original), Uncle Sam, capitalism, and American policy in the Middle East. In other words, in Europe as in Asia, the language of tolerance and pausing before making judgments is used in an entirely self-serving manner.
"Quite frankly, in China there are some areas, very sensitive subjects, where it is impossible to tell people the truth," said Ge Jianxiong, director of the Institute of Chinese Historical Geography at Fudan University in Shanghai and a veteran of official history textbook advisory committees. "Going very deeply into the history of Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and some features of the Liberation" — as the Communist victory is called — "is forbidden. In China, history is still used as a political tool, and at the high school level, we still must follow the doctrine."
By the way, China is one country (the others include Russia and Vietnam) that France is working hard at engaging in closer relations with (along with Germany), at the detriment of Uncle Sam. Offhand it may sound unfair, but still, one is tempted to think, Birds of a feather…

Schröder's Asia trip "revolved around a depiction of rivalry with America and an attempt to win capital from Germany's position on the Iraq war"

You have heard angry voices spew cynical comments about America's reasons (their real reasons) for going to war against Iraq, niechtwar?
Since Germany's military and strategic responsibilities in the Far East are virtually nil, [Gerhard] Schröder's position [of support for a plan to lift the European Union's embargo on selling arms to Beijing] demonstrates pretty substantial disregard for the American view that German and French arms sales to China (the real issue at hand) will not make Beijing less expansionist, more sensitive to human rights, or unvaryingly reliable
writes John Vinocur in the International Herald Tribune.
… Schröder's pressing forward with the issue has a rather exceptional, or quixotic, aspect in that it clashes with both an EU consensus against supplying China with arms and motions passed by the Bundestag (widely supported by the chancellor's own coalition) and European Parliament urging that the embargo be retained. …

Voices within the German government have said everyone should understand China feels itself "politically discriminated against." [Apparently noone should ever pay any attention to the fact that United States, at times, might find itself politically discriminated against.] The idea has a violently counterinstinctive quality to it, but Schröder, who seems to want to cast himself as China's best friend in the West, may choose to make this case directly to George Bush when he travels to Europe in February in what is being described as a "reaching out" initiative by the White House. … The grand idea there would be to proclaim a restoration of trans-Atlantic cooperation. In the German-American case, the get-together would be aimed at rekindling a notion of shared sentiment in a country where Michael Moore, as the newspaper Berliner Zeitung noted last week, creates a thousand times more enthusiasm than an explosion of democracy in Ukraine. …

As consensus views go, there is a fairly wide one in Europe that a "non-U.S.A." identity for Europe is firm if deniable French policy. This notion casts French and German resistance to the Iraq war as the basis of a genesis legend for a future Europe's arm's-length relationship with the United States.

How much has Schröder the short-term tactician bought into this line? On one hand, better relations with the Americans, however desentimentalized, just might be a help when he likely seeks a third term in 2006. On the other, Schröder justified his actions on Iraq to his party leadership last year, not so much in terms of international law or doubts about the existence of weapons of mass destruction, but as "protecting European sovereignty." He argued then that he and Jacques Chirac's decision to oppose the war would determine the development of Europe over the next 10 to 15 years.

This casting of Europe's development in opposition to America — the refrain goes the Iraq war had to be opposed to unite Europe in escaping America's hegemonic grasp — resurfaced in another form, according to accounts of Schröder's most recent trip to Asia, in October.

Jochen Buchsteiner, the politically astute Asia correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, who accompanied Schröder to New Delhi and Hanoi, wrote that the trip revolved around a depiction of rivalry with America and an attempt to win capital from Germany's position on the Iraq war. He described Schröder as saying that a domineering power could only generate resistance, but out of embarrassment, avoiding any specific mention of the United States. Schröder's behavior in Asia, Buchsteiner reported, followed "an anti-Atlanticist direction" that resembled that of Chirac, who was in China at the same moment. …
Coupled with Chirac's trip to China, Schröder's Asia "trip revolved around a depiction of rivalry with America and an attempt to win capital from Germany's position on the Iraq war". Do you get it? Those who have said that America's position (the Iraq war) was all for riches (oil) have countered that the "peace camp's" position (amplifying the demonization of the Bush administration's position in the Iraq war while defending the status quo, sorry, I mean, standing up for world peace) was all for the highest humane considerations (standing up for world peace). This has nothing with (the United States) being "politically discriminated against"? Maybe it is not for Uncle Sam that one should reserve an attitude of the deepest disbelief, cynicism, und, ja, disgust…

Update: Don't forget to read Ray's excellent Spreading Christmas Joy in China ("In Beijing they are making a list and checking it twice. And frankly, Santa Gerd doesn't really care whether the Chinese have been naughty or nice"…)

The truth is, any accusation against America that comes to hand is used without scruple by the Old World intelligentsia

The truth is, any accusation that comes to hand is used without scruple by the Old World intelligentsia. Anti-Americanism is factually absurd, contradictory, racist, crude, childish, self-defeating and, at bottom, nonsensical
concludes Paul Johnson in his Forbes article, Anti-Americanism Is Racist Envy, but not before he had the following words to say about one of the most visible culprits:
France … is a republic run by bureaucratic and party elites, whose errors are dealt with by strikes, street riots and blockades instead of by votes. Elements of the French system are being imposed throughout the EU, even in countries such as Denmark and Sweden that have long practiced democracy with success. In a French-style pseudodemocracy, intellectuals have considerable influence, at both government and street levels. In a true democracy, intellectuals are no more powerful than their arguments.
Here is the full article by the eminent British historian and author:
Anti-Americanism is the prevailing disease of intellectuals today. Like other diseases, it doesn't have to be logical or rational. But, like other diseases, it has a syndrome — a concurrent set of underlying symptoms that are also causes.

• First, an unadmitted contempt for democracy. The U.S. is the world's most successful democracy. The right of voters to elect more than 80,000 public officials, the length and thoroughness of electoral campaigns, the pervasiveness of the media and the almost daily reports by opinion polls ensure that government and electorate do not diverge for long and that Washington generally reflects the majority opinion in its actions.

It is this feature that intellectuals—especially in Europe—find embittering. They know they must genuflect to democracy as a system. They cannot openly admit that an entire people—especially one comprising nearly 300 million, who enjoy all the freedoms—can be mistaken. But in their hearts these intellectuals do not accept the principle of one person, one vote. They scornfully, if privately, reject the notion that a farmer in Kansas, a miner in Pennsylvania or an auto assembler in Michigan can carry as much social and moral weight as they do. In fact, they have a special derogatory word for anyone who acts on this assumption: "populist." A populist is someone who accepts the people's verdict, even — and especially — when it runs counter to the intellectual consensus (as with capital punishment, for example). In the jargon of intellectual persiflage, populism is almost as bad as fascism — indeed, it's a step toward it. Hence, the argument goes, the U.S. is not so much an "educated democracy" as it is a media-swayed and interest-group-controlled populist regime.

The truth is, on the European Continent there is little experience of working democracy. Italy and Germany have had democracy only since the late 1940s; Spain, since the 1960s. France is not a democracy; it is a republic run by bureaucratic and party elites, whose errors are dealt with by strikes, street riots and blockades instead of by votes. Elements of the French system are being imposed throughout the EU, even in countries such as Denmark and Sweden that have long practiced democracy with success. In a French-style pseudodemocracy, intellectuals have considerable influence, at both government and street levels. In a true democracy, intellectuals are no more powerful than their arguments.

• Second, anti-Americanism is a function of cultural racism. An astonishingly high proportion of European elites know very little about U.S. history or culture and even deny that they have a separate existence apart from their European roots. It is strange that those seeking to bring about a European federal state or union have at no stage sought to study the lessons Americans learned during the creation of the U.S. in the 1780s. After all, the U.S. Constitution (suitably amended) has lasted for more than 200 years, and within its framework the country has emerged as the richest and most powerful society in world history. You might think, therefore, that European elites would seek to learn something from such a successful process. Not at all: The view is that sophisticated, civilized Europe has nothing to learn from "adolescent" America. What these Euro-elites particularly abhor is the way in which the framers of the Constitution made every effort to involve the population through the process of public debates, town meetings and ratification votes — and this at a time when Europe was still governed (for the most part) by the absolute sovereigns of the ancien régime.

This cultural racism is particularly directed at the supposedly "know-nothing" President George W. Bush and his "gung ho" Texas background. The European intelligentsia gets its notion of America chiefly from Hollywood, TV soaps like Dallas and fiction. Few of them have any experience of America, outside of three or four big cities. Middle America is unexplored territory. The fact that the U.S. has proved a highly efficient crucible for melding different peoples into a human sum greater than its constituent parts is seen as a misfortune in Europe because it produces a cultural stew that lacks purity of any kind and is therefore at the mercy of commercial forces.

• Third, European elites tend to look at Americans as a subcivilized mass, whose function is to be obedient consumers in a system run by big business. The role of competition in U.S. economic life — and in every other aspect of life — is ignored, because competition is something Continental Europeans like to keep to a minimum and under careful control.

Although Americans are seen as highly materialistic consumers, they are also despised and feared for their spiritual interests, their participation in religious worship and their subscription to creeds of morality. Europeans see no inconsistency in their condemnation of the U.S. for being at one and the same time paganly unethical and morally zealous.

The truth is, any accusation that comes to hand is used without scruple by the Old World intelligentsia. Anti-Americanism is factually absurd, contradictory, racist, crude, childish, self-defeating and, at bottom, nonsensical. It is based on the powerful but irrational impulse of envy — an envy of American wealth, power, success and determination. It is an envy made all the more poisonous because of a fearful European conviction that America's strength is rising while Europe's is falling.

(Thanks to Honky Tonk)

Lionizing the Do-Nothings and the Risk-Nothings Who Stay at Home and Produce Nothing But Self-Praise and Criticism of Uncle Sam

I had no idea.
In June, NATO agreed to assign forces to train Iraqi military conscripts, and the program began only a few weeks ago. But five of the alliance's 26 members — France, Germany, Spain, Belgium and Luxembourg — have refused to allow their officers serving with NATO to take part, even if the training occurred in another country.
writes Joel Brinkley in the New York Times.

This is the newspaper that, like Europe's mainstream media, voices admiration for the position of the members of the so-called "peace camp". As it turns out, all the latters' wise declarations, all their "hard-edged" criticisms, and all their principled points of view come from the comfortable position of the sidelines, where they have nothing to risk and little to fear.

I remember France (in particular) making a big deal about blocking NATO officers from training members of the Iraqi military within Iraq and insisting it be done in the officers' home nation or in a third country. Already at the time, this brought no sympathy from me. Now, it turns out that after forcing others to do less when they could do more, they haven't even contributed officers of their own to the program.

What is just as appalling is how, in their earnestness to lionize the "peace camp" and their eagerness to castigate the Bush administration, the media — both domestic and foreign — let such information slip by, and how it surfaces only by accident in articles whose main subject is only indirectly related to it.

This is just more of the same facile lecturing and grand-standing from comfortable armchairs in their cozy living rooms and dens…

"When it comes time to perform a mission," [Secretary of State Colin L. Powell] said at a news conference, "it seems to us to be quite awkward for suddenly members in that international staff to say, "I'm unable to go because of this national caveat or national exception.' " …

Mr. Powell said the nations refusing to participate in the mission are "hurting the credibility and the cohesion of such an international staff or organization" …

Live free or die: Surrender monkeys lecture Iraqis Vivre en liberté ou mourir: Singes capitulards sermonnent les irakiens

What comes around, goes around La boucle sera bientôt bouclée
French now pay for sucking up to scum.
Les franchouilles paient cher le fait de faire la pute aux raclures des chiottes.

Last night: Prowling for books on 14th Street in NYC Hier soir: Rôder à la recherche de livres sur la 14ème rue à New York

Thanks to Doug for the address.
Merci à Doug pour la bonne adresse.

Refined and Sophisticated Humor Has a Long Tradition in France…

Just today, Les Guignols did a sketch of Rumsfeld's town-hall-style meeting in Kuwait (merci, V8), in which the Canal + puppeteers introduced us to their typically refined and sophisticated humor, in this case of two American soldiers (both portrayed by Sylvester Stallone puppets) complaining that 1) they don't have tape-players in their vehicles so they don't have to hear Iraqi children screaming as they (the GIs) massacre the country's entire population and 2) that their weaponry is not strong enough to raze the entire country so that they can all go home.

In case you don't spend too much time with the comments section (either on this blog or in general), be sure to check out AF's hyperlinks which point out the similarity between today's anti-Americanism and yesterday's anti-Semitism (something I already pointed out while analyzing Canal +'s Guignols, justement), in which supposedly rational, sophisticated, level-headed, progressive, forward-looking, and secular individuals equate foreign bodies with all that is negative and revolting, even with evil and deviltry (e.g., snakes). While you're at it, follow AF's link to the type of stomach-churning photos from Iraq that French humorists (at Canal + or elsewhere), for some reason, do not spend much time dwelling about…

Oh, and do you remember
one visitor's ironic comments about Washington infamously playing host to Pakistan's strongman
? (Reply here) Turns out that immediately after visiting Washington, Pervez Musharraf headed for… Paris. But given that it is only Uncle Sam that must be castigated, criticized, caricatured, and mocked at all times, you should not expect Paprika and his ilk to leave their usual type of nasty comments on webs like this one (or anywhere else for that matter)…

Thursday, December 09, 2004

On the rag again Toujours avec leurs ragnanas
Act-Up brigade sponsored brown shirts are going ape shit because a French congressmen made some comments about homosexuality yesterday. The Thought Police will accept no less than total submission to the State Party Line©®™. Al-Manar, on the other hand, continues to operate its hate fueled electronic Madrassa for French suburban youth.
Des chemises brunes agréées par les brigades Act-Up sortent de leurs gonds car un député franchouille a fait quelques commentaires au sujet de l'homosexualité hier. La Police de la Pensée n'acceptera pas moins que la soumission totale et inconditionnelle à la pensée unique Non-Pensée Inique de l'Etat©®™ Al-Manar, par contre, continue à faire tourner sa madrassa électronique haineuse pour la jeunesse franchouille des banlieues.

Let them get drunk on Sidi Brahim Qu'ils se dopent à Sidi Brahim
French wine sales in the crapper.
Les ventes de vinasse franchouilles se cassent la gueule.
their cheap wine and their cheese,
is the only claim to fame for these nutjobs.

leur pinard et leur camenbert,
c'est leur seule gloire à ces tarrés.

Renaud, Hexagone

French wingnuttery Loufoqueries franchouilles

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Two Different Interviews, Two Different Standards

Today's Figaro has two major interviews. Check them out, and see if you can spot the legendary objectivity of the French reporter…

The first interview is with Iraq's ambassador to France.

One of Isabelle Lasserre's first questions is, "Is Iraq's stability linked to the departure of the American troops?"

(To which Mowafak Abboud answers: "Above all, it is linked to the end of terrorist activities." He adds: "The terrorists claim to be fighting against the occupation but in fact they are contributing to having American forces stay longer by keeping the country from normalizing. If there weren't all those attacks, we would not need the American troops any longer." Later, incidentally, he estimates the number of foreign fighters in Iraq at between 1,000 and 1,500.)

Subsequent questions include the following: "How do you judge the French position on Iraq, before, during, and after the war?", "The French approach, relatively [sic!] complacent, vis-à-vis Saddam Hussein, was it efficient?" (ho-hum, matter-of-fact questions and a let's-have-a-calm-and-objective-discussion-about-it perspective which in no way resembles the attitude of anger and spite towards the Bush administration, an attitude which, at best, invariably makes mention of its "colossal blunders"), and "Do you think that the American project of imposing democracy in the Greater Middle East is a good or a bad idea?" (Notice that Lasserre in no way admits to the possibility that France, or the "peace camp", or simply the Chirac administration, made blunders — colossal or otherwise — and that she indirectly suggests that the status quo was/is not that bad — she does not ask, for instance, what would be a far more objective question: "Which idea is the better one — the Americans' for democracy in the Greater Middle East or France's (or the 'peace camp's' or Chirac's) for the status quo?")

Mowafak Abboud, incidentally, notes that "Without the war, Saddam Hussein would have stayed in power for centuries. Irak and the countries of the region would have continued to suffer."

Four pages later comes an interview with Michèle Alliot-Marie. Although the main part of Alexis Brézet, Philippe Migault, and Judith Waintraub's interview deals with the danger for Jacques Chirac's UMP of the government and the ruling party going in opposite directions, a second part touches on Ivory Coast.

Read the type of deferential questions being asked in this case: "What do you answer to those who, on the subject of Ivory Coast, accuse the French army of deliberately shooting on civilians?" and "In what circumstances [did the French troops open fire]?" In other words, setting the scene for France's defense minister to provide her explanation, and to do so in a way [it really sounds more like "What is the answer to those who accuse…"] that makes her statement appear as the bottom line and the final word on the matter...

Slightly refreshing, though, in view of this case of double standards, is to read Renaud Girard's editorial on American successes from Kabul to Ukraine through the Middle East and to hear someone say (and with no negative connotation) that "Maybe, in France, we have underestimated George Bush." (Of course, this did come only after the obligatory mention of the Americans' "colossal blunders".)

Still, I like the following quote:

It's a tactic as old as the world to accuse an opponent of having the bad intentions one has oneself.
Could also be said of France, or the "peace camp", or Chirac, on certain occasions, n'est-ce pas?

According to the French intelligence service, among the 2,000 foreigners fighting the American army in Iraq are several dozen Frenchmen

Dominique Dhombres :
Five young Frenchmen have been killed in Iraq since July in the ranks of the guerilla [sic] fighting the American army, we learned … during the TF1 evening news. The information comes from the French intelligence service.

…the TF1 team was able to film a class, in [the La Villette neighborhood] establishment which welcomes young people from the entire world … One spends entire hours learning the Koran by heart. …

According to the French intelligence service, among the 2,000 foreigners fighting the American army in Iraq are several dozen Frenchmen.

Of course, if Dominique Dhombres were talking about religious schools in the States (Islamic, Christian, fundamentalist, or other), he would have shaken his head and made a big case about how America's tendencies towards absolutism and fanaticism were making the entire world much more divided and much more dangerous…

James Thurber on Knowing All the Answers

Today is the birthday of James Thurber, the US humorist (1894-1961) who said:
All human beings should try to learn before they die what they are running from, and to, and why.

He knows all about art, but he doesn't know what he likes.

Human Dignity has gleamed only now and then and here and there, in lonely splendor, throughout the ages, a hope of the better men, never an achievement of the majority.

And, concerning the ever-wise and know-it-all Europeans,
It is better to know some of the questions than all of the answers.

... and don't forget the chili sauce ... et ne lésine pas avec l'harissa
Here's 20 million and I don't want to see your ugly face unless you're serving me up a falafel at the corner shop. Now take your sorry ass and beat it.
Voici 20 million et je ne veux plus voir ta sale tronche à moins que tu me vendes un falafel dans la gargote du coin. Casse-toi sale race.
UPDATE: Bog blast them.
DERNIERES INFOS: Que Gogre les emporte.

American bashing is risk free Insulter les américains, c'est gratos
In this socialist humanist shithole, some people are human, but some are more human than others. There are laws in France protecting certain categories of deviants. But since insulting Americans is risk free, the French go at it like there's no tomorrow. Cowards.
Dans ce trou à merde socialo-humaniste, il y a certaines personnes qui sont plus humaines que d'autres. Il y a des lois en France qui protègent certaines catégories de déviants. Puisque insulter les américains est sans risque, les franchouilles y vont à fond. Bande de lâches.

Planet? What planet?

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

It cannot be that good people actually like the US and oppose those who share the "enlightened" public's hatred of Uncle Sam

Caroline B. Glick:
… TV news broadcast [Kevin] Sites's footage [of a Marine shooting a prostrate terrorist lying in the mosque] over and over as wizened anchors shook their heads with revulsion over the inhumanity of US armed forces in Iraq. The newspapers played up coverage of the event to make certain that all of us knew just how awful American forces really are.

No one bothered to make mention of the fact that Marines and soldiers fighting in Fallujah had been repeatedly attacked by terrorists playing possum. No one bothered to make mention of the numerous instances of terrorists raising the white flag of surrender only to fire at forces coming to take them into custody. What does the context of the battle matter when a case can be made for vilifying US Marines as war criminals – on the basis of Sites's isolated, deconstructionist footage – rather than praising them as battle-trained warriors?

Terrorists have two basic advantages over the Western armies and societies that fight them: their own invisibility, and the self-obsession and hatred of Western Leftists. By not abiding by the centuries-old rules of war that stipulate that combatants are uniformed members of the armed forces of a country or a recognized insurgency in control of territory, the terrorists have an upper hand despite their relatively small numbers and outdated weaponry. How can a war be justified against an enemy you can't see who looks just like the civilians you are obligated by law and your values to protect?

Add to this the fact that terrorists eagerly exploit universally recognized symbols of non-combatants and you have a war that you simply cannot justify on camera. Terrorists shoot from mosques so mosques must be raided. Terrorists are transported in ambulances so ambulances must be inspected. But of course, the television cameras aren't filming when the terrorists fire RPGs from minarets, only when terrorists wounded while shooting them lay pitifully on the floor. And there is no camera on hand when they plant explosives beneath gurneys. …

Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum reported this week that a new legend is being propagated in left-wing circles in Europe and the US that the hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians who have been demonstrating against the patently fraudulent elections results in their country are actually all CIA provocateurs. An article in the UK's Guardian, for instance, alleged that the protests are "an American creation, a sophisticated and brilliantly conceived exercise in Western branding and mass marketing." As Applebaum argues it, the myth is being created to explain away the inconvenient truth that millions of people look to the US as an inspirational beacon of freedom which they wish to emulate. It cannot be, say these reactionary anti-American "progressives," that good people actually like the US and oppose those who share the "enlightened" public's hatred of Uncle Sam. Therefore, anyone advancing a claim that could be viewed as pro-American cannot be an authentic activist. Rather, the CIA must be paying his light bill. …

Read the whole article

Anne Applebaum adds:

Many of the same people who would refuse to condemn a dictator who is anti-American cannot bring themselves to admire democrats who admire, or at least don't hate, the United States.

Grand Theft Ego

Monday, December 06, 2004

Unless (and Until the Time that) Karzai Decides to Oppose Uncle Sam, the First Elected President in Afghanistan's History Is Nothing But a Puppet

Hamid Karzai is the first elected president in the long history of Afghanistan but, needless to say, Françoise Chipaux does not show much respect for that as she feels the need to entitle Le Monde's in-depth portrait of the leader A president under supervision. The sub-head adds that now he "must prove that he is also a chieftain". Meaning, of course, that he must prove his independence vis-à-vis Uncle Sam. (For some strange reason, there is never a need to prove one's independence from, say, France — whether it is Paris's former African colonies, her European allies against the Iraq war, etc!)

Karzai's bodyguards are imposed by Washington, notes Chipaux ominously, and America's "heavy-duty and hardly diplomatic security apparatus exasperates the Kabul inhabitants more and more". Only later do we learn that this imposition (and the traffic jams) occurred for a reason, that reason being the assassination of two of the Afghan government's ministers. But never mind — Chipaux ignores that in order to make it sound like Karzai, in some ways, is an American puppet and "a prisoner in his palace".

More of the same follows on how "the president has never shown much interest for independent ideas" and concerning "his need to be loved and not to offend anybody". "The legitimacy that this election has given him will it give him the will or the courage to act at the risk of displeasing?"

Nice-sounding words, but hardly those that resound when the French are discussing, say, an African country in the French sphere of influence. Or, indeed, any leader opposing Paris

Speaking of respect and leaders, Jean-Philippe Rémy and Stephen Smith manage to misspell the name of Ivory Coast's president twice in the first three sentences (Laurent Gbgagbo and Laurent Gbgabo).

But, writes Fabienne Pompey, there is a president (or would-be president) whom the French, echoing a Star editorial, manage to show respect for. His name is Marwan Barghouti and the reason they feel this way towards this "peacemaker" is because a "respected intellectual"
in South Africa (Allister Sparks) has compared the Palestinian to Nelson Mandela

Europe makes clear once again that it is a full-throated supporter of democracy — in its neighborhood

Concerning the battle over Ukraine, writes Charles Krauthammer,
Europe makes clear once again that it is a full-throated supporter of democracy — in its neighborhood. Just as it is a forthright opponent of ethnic cleansing in its neighborhood (Yugoslavia) even as it lifts not a finger elsewhere (Rwanda, southern Sudan, now Darfur).

     That is why this comity between America and Europe is only temporary. The Europeans essentially believe, to paraphrase Stalin, in democracy on one continent. As for democracy elsewhere, they really could not care less.

     They pretend, however, that this opposition to America's odd belief in spreading democracy universally is based not on indifference but on superior wisdom — the world-weary sagacity of a more ancient and experienced civilization that knows that one cannot bring liberty to barbarians. Meaning, Arabs. And Muslims. And Iraqis.

     Hence the Bush-Blair doctrine of bringing some modicum of democracy to the Middle East by establishing one country as a beachhead is ridiculed as naive and messianic. And not just by Europeans, but by their "realist" allies here in the United States.

     Thus Zbigniew Brzezinski, a fierce opponent of the Bush administration's democracy project in Iraq, writes passionately about the importance of democracy in Ukraine and how, by example, it might have a domino effect, spreading democracy to neighboring Russia. Yet when Bush and Blair make a similar argument about the salutary effect of establishing a democracy in the Middle East — and we might indeed have the first truly free election in the Middle East within two months if we persevere — "realist" critics dismiss it as terminally naive.

     Yet if you had said 20 years ago that Ukraine would today be on the threshold of joining a democratic Europe, you too would have been called a hopeless utopian. Yes, Iraq has no democratic tradition and deep ethnic divisions. But Ukrainian democracy is all of 13 years old, much of it dominated by a corrupt authoritarian regime with close ties to an even more corrupt and authoritarian Russia. And with a civilizational split right down the middle, Ukraine has profound, and potentially catastrophic, divisions.

     So let us all join hands in praise of the young people braving the cold in the streets of Kiev. But then tell me why there is such silence about the Iraqis, young and old, braving bullets and bombs, organizing electorate lists and negotiating coalitions even as we speak. Where is it written: Only in Ukraine?

(Spasiba to Gregory Schreiber)

The eyes have it Les terroristes n'ont que leurs yeux pour pleurer
New technology protects Falluja.
Les nouvelles technologies pour protéger Falloujah (ou 'Fallouja' si t'es pédé).

French Christmas gift ideas Suggestions de cadeaux de Noël de la part des franchouilles
The Abu Ghraib lamp. Totally wired.
La lampe Abou Ghraib. Chébran à donf.

How can they be so stupid? Plus cons qu'eux, tu meurs
The French Socialist Party Zeropean Constitutional Referendum is over. Both the 'YES' and the 'NO' tickets stated that a vote for them was a vote against Bush. Talk about intellectual bankruptcy. Have these guys ever heard of new ideas? And talk about flat out stupidity. Here is the French Socialist Party --- 2002: beaten by Le Pen (talk about a bunch of losers) and solidly in support of Chirak for the run-off. The war in Irak 2003: like a poodle bitch, in support of Chirak. Zeropean Constitutional referendum 2004: support for Chirak.
Le référendum au sujet de la Constitution zéropéenne organisée par le Parti Socialiste Franchouille
est terminé. Les partisans du 'OUI' et du 'NON' ont tous les deux déclaré qu'un vote pour eux était un vote contre Bush. Ça en dit long sur la faillite intellectuelle des gôchistes franchouilles. Ces mecs, ils ont déjà entendu de ces trucs qui s'appelent 'de nouvelles idées'? Ça en dit long sur leur stupidité absolue. Voici le PS franchouille --- 2002: distancé par Le Pen (faut le faire) et soutien Chiraq sans faille au 2ème tour. La guerre en Iraq 2003: en bonne salope et toutou, soutien Chiraq. Référendum sur la Constitution zéropéeenne 2004: soutien Chiraq.

Sunday, December 05, 2004

There is no ideology any more, there's only anti-Americanism, scandal, and corruption

Denis Boyles:
… you could be forgiven for thinking that opposition to U.S. policies in Iraq and elsewhere is a consequence of ideological or strategic disagreements. But there is no ideology any more. There's only anti-Americanism, scandal, and corruption. And of course stupidity…
Numerous examples follow…

(Thanks to Gregory)

There really were once things far worse than Fallujah…

How Far We’ve Come (Let's not forget) is the type of article that should be translated and printed in Le Monde or Le Figaro, at least once per week, if not once a day...
The harrowing World War II movie Twelve O'Clock High begins with a postwar bald and bespectacled Dean Jagger (Colonel Harvey Stovall) riding his bicycle out to an old airfield in Archbury, England, that years earlier had been home to the 918th B-17 Bombing Group of the 8th Air force. As the nondescript Jagger walks along the weed-infested airbase and rusting bombers, the movie unfolds as one long dreamlike flashback of the horrors of what daylight bombing over Germany in 1942 entailed and the courageous men who used to take off from the now eerie, abandoned runways.

Talk about intelligence failure, tactical obtuseness, and strategic naiveté — sending B-17s in broad daylight over Germany in 1942-3 was all that and more. Without fighter escort, operational experience, or much knowledge of precision raids, thousands of Americans were blown apart trying to take out the industrial heart of Hitler's Europe, which spanned from the Atlantic Ocean to the gates of Moscow, guarded by the world's best anti-aircraft artillery and veteran German fighter-pilots in high-performance ME-109s and FW-190s. There really were once things far worse than Fallujah.

In juxtaposing the dreadfulness of what the airmen went through (centered around the bravery and eventual breakdown of group Commander Gen. Frank Savage) with the calm of the post-bellum English countryside, director Henry King reminds us how easily we forget horrors of the immediate past. No one in the town, or indeed back home in America, other than the families of the dead, recalled a Bishop, Cobb, Wilson, or the thousands of Savage's anonymous flyers who perished in doing their part to bring down the Third Reich. The tragedy of Stovall's war, King seems to suggest, is that the inferno in the skies was but a blink of the eye from its dividends of victory and rural tranquility — and that we all are of short memory, allowing even the worst nightmare to retreat into the oblivion of everyday life.

I fear the same may be said of Afghanistan and even Iraq in a year or two. Indeed, we already see how few talk of what it was like in the very dark days of September 2001. The country was reeling from 3,000 murdered; a trillion dollars were lost to economic dislocation; and the prospect of going 7,000 miles to the other side of the world to root out Dark-Age killers that had grown emboldened by a decade of American appeasement was considered too frightening.

Do we now remember the impassable peaks, the snowy haunts of the Taliban that were too high for us, or Kabul, the dreaded graveyard of all imperial expeditions? It was just a few months ago, it seems now, that we were admonished about the fury of retaliation to come for daring to fight during Ramadan, the impossibility of working with a nuclear and Islamic Pakistan, and the Wild West nature of Afghanistan's tribes so impossible to forge into the stuff of consensual government. And it was worse still than all that: the cries on the hard left of millions of refugees to come; the European warning about thousands of dead from indiscriminate American bombing; the need to adjudicate 9/11 by jurisprudence rather than arms; and the crazy conspiracy theories of pipelines, neo-cons, 'Jews,' Likuds, and CIA plots.

Have we also already forgotten the controversies, the buzz, and the insider conventional wisdom that consumed us during the days of uncertainty over Mullah Omar's televised rants; Osama's promises of an American graveyard in the Hindu Kush; the diplomats' trial balloon of a proposed coalition government with the wretched Taliban; the panacea of an all-Islamic peace-keeping force; Johnny Walker Lindh's conflicted high-school years; and a thousand other crises of the hour that sent our statesmen into all-night emergency sessions, our generals into desperate improvisations, and, yes, Americans into battle and on occasion to their deaths?

Do we remember all this and more when we talk nonchalantly now of elections in Afghanistan or the decency of the Karzai government? Is there a Frenchman or a German to be had at least to say in retrospect, "Yes, you were not the cowboys we slurred you as, but brought something good where there was only evil before"? Do we ponder if but for a second how improbable — indeed, how absolutely preposterous — it was at the time to even suggest that the Afghan people would soon stand in line hours to vote, freed from those who had so sorely oppressed them?

Have we forgotten what foul and cowardly folk the Taliban were — thugs who lynched women, shot homosexuals, blew up civilization's icons, destroyed a century of culture in Afghanistan, promised us death and worse, and then ran out of town in the clothes of women with what plunder they could carry? Do any of us recall the brave Afghans and Americans, both the planners in Washington who were libeled and the soldiers in the field who routed these butcherers?

So, I think, it will be too even in Iraq, improbable as that may now seem to some. Already we have forgotten the long ride to Baghdad — when our ex-generals warned of thousands of dead to come in a deadly siege, and were trumped by relief workers who assured us of millions more refugees. Then there were the cries of defeat when our forces plowed through a windstorm — as our supposed Dresden-like shock and awe were suddenly mocked not as too terrible but as laughably impotent. We grow depressed now at the canned pessimism of our talking heads who predict failure in post-bellum Iraq — forgetting that these same prophets swore to us just months ago that thousands would die getting to Baghdad.

The disappointments with the looting, the museum desecration, the shoot-out with the Hussein progeny, the flight of the U.N., the insolence of Saddam in the docket, the Halliburton pipeline, and more was hyped — and forgotten as the 24-hour news cycle sought out new prey. And it found it aplenty: The furor over embalming the corpses of the Hussein "princes"; the lack of respect shown Saddam during his televised dental exam; the worldwide horror of Abu Ghraib juxtaposed to the worldwide silence over the thousands in mass graves and the televised beheadings; the lectures by "humane" folk in Europe and the U.N., who looted the Hussein kleptocracy and cared not a whit for the thousands who were starved and shot so that Europeans, Chinese, and Russians could profit with a monster.

Does anyone at all remember any of that? And where now are Joe Wilson, Richard Clarke, Hans Blix, and all the other wizards of the moment, come and gone off the media shows and best-seller lists, who assured us that we were either liars, fools, or naifs? Do we remember now how the old Wesley Clark once praised the team of George Bush, how the old Anonymous wrote an earlier book warning of Saddam's ties to al Qaeda, or how the old Clintonites a decade ago insisted that Saddam Hussein was brewing WMDs?

Yet despite them all, and after this bloody month of November, here we are now on the eve of elections — the most unlikely of all events in the last half-century of civilization. Just think of it: In place of the past Hussein mass murdering and the present ogres of Fallujah, we are to witness an effort to jump-start democracy in the heart of the caliphate of old, right between the world's worst two governments in Syria and Iran, amid treacherous folk like the Saudis, Jordanians, and al Jazeera cheering the insurgents on. How did we come this far and get so close, when the unprincipled such as Jacques Chirac shunned the once-wounded democrat Allawi and sent his plane instead to fetch the murderer Arafat — a profiteer in the guise of a 'leader' who hand-in-glove with Saddam Hussein made France billions in Iraq and then lectured about morality to those who slammed the cash register drawer on his stealthy hands. How could we ever contemplate the chance of elections when the Saudis, the Syrians, and the Iranians sent millions of dollars and thousands of jihadists to stop it all — lest the virus of freedom spread?

All this we must not forget. We have come too far and too many have died to cease or even pause. In the name of the dead Americans, those lost of the Coalition, and the resolute Iraqis who were butchered by both Saddam and then by the Islamic fascists, let the January election proceed as promised. If Bill Clinton could run America with 43 percent of the popular vote in 1992, if Lincoln could conduct a war after receiving 40 percent in 1860, and if the Supreme Court could adjudicate the electoral mess of 2000, so then the Kurds and the Shiites, if need be, can hold elections in Iraq with participation of 70 percent of the people. As for the Muslim clerics, Saddamites, and al Qaedists of the Sunni triangle, rest assured that there will be elections and you shall all end up on the wrong side of history. How absurd it is that the Sunni Triangle is the heart of an insurrection that feeds off either subsidy, appeasement, or the indifference of its citizenry, only then to plead that its own malfeasance should earn special dispensation from others who chose hard work and sacrifice and the chance for democratic law. Let them participate in history or watch it steamroll by from the sidelines — but let them not stop it.

There may well be even more terrible things to come in Iraq than what we have seen already, but there will also be far better things than were there before. And there will come a time, when all those who slandered the efforts — the Germans, the French, the American radical Left, the vicious Michael "Minutemen" Moore, the pampered and coddled Hollywood elite, the Arab League, and the U.N. will assume that Iraq is a "good thing" like Afghanistan, and that democracy there really was preferable — after they had so bravely weighed in with their requisite "ifs" and "buts" — to the mass murders of Saddam Hussein. Yes, they will say all this, but it will be for the rest of us to remember how it all came about and what those forgotten soldiers and people of Iraq went through to get it — lest we forget, lest we forget....

Victor Davis Hanson is a military historian and a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution at Stanford University. His website is

(Merci to Gregory)

Extra, Extra, Read All About It!…

It turns out that the latest tool in the worldwide American-Zionist conspiracy is… the TV station Al Jazeerah!

The next thing the Tehran Times will be telling us is that Arafat was part of Mossad and that Jacques Chirac is a CIA agent…

(Shookhran to Joe N)

Oh wait a minute; This just in:

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asefi said on Sunday that Iran is seriously concerned about the rise in human rights violations in Europe …
Wouldn't it be appropriate to let Iran take over from Syria and Libya at the head of the UN's human rights council?

Kofi Break at the UN

(Merci to Grégoire)

Who Murdered Pandora Swifer?…

Soudain Umma sentit une ombre inquiète chercher quelque chose en elle et regarda instantanément Nim. Une force venant de lui semblait vouloir faire...
Lucien Oulahbib, the webmaster of La Minute du Sablier, has written a novel entitled The Broken Eye.
Le monde des images est dorénavant un continent que les humains explorent pour le meilleur et pour le pire. Un dramaturge, Nim Myotis, cherche à réconcilier la multiplicité avec l'universalité dans un Opéra censé en incarner l'harmonie. Il recherche une héroine qui pourrait en être l'Etoile parce qu'elle incarne l'époque et en même temps la possibilité de la surmonter. Mais dès qu'il la trouve, il se heurte à une bande de criminels dont le chef est amoureux fou de l'héroine choisie par le dramaturge. Il cherche par tous les moyens à ce que cet Opéra ne se joue pas...

(Lire un extrait)

Martin Van Buren on the American and European View of Politics

Today is the birthday of Martin Van Buren (1782-1862), the (8th) president of the United States who said:
To avoid the necessity of a permanent debt and its inevitable consequences, I have advocated and endeavored to carry into effect the policy of confining the appropriations for the public service to such objects only as are clearly with the constitutional authority of the Federal Government.

The less government interferes with private pursuits, the better for general prosperity

Maybe this quote helps explain some differences between America and Europe:
There is a power in public opinion in this country and I thank God for it: for it is the most honest and best of all powers which will not tolerate an incompetent or unworthy man to hold in his weak or wicked hands the lives and fortunes of his fellow-citizens.
Maybe the following quote helps explain the difference between the Bush administration's failure to explain and publicize its actions, on the one hand, and, on the other, the success of some foreign governments in explaining their lack of action:
It is easier to do a job right than to explain why you didn't.

Hey, it's all the Jews' fault Heh ben, tout ça c'est la faute aux juifs
Hysterical accusations of Israelis being the source of their foreign policy failures. Sound like the brainless bleating we hear from Arab countries? Of course, except now we hear it from the brainless French. French media: more like Al Manar every day.
Les accusations hystériques qui prétendent que l'Israël est à l'origine de ses échecs en matière de politique étrangère. On dirait les élucubrations décérébrées de la part des pays zarabes. Certes, sauf qu'actuellement il s'agit de la Fwance décérébrée. Les médias franchouilles: ils ressemblent tous les jours un peu plus à Al Manar.