Condoleezza Rice's Mission Impossible

Visiting Romania and Ukraine gave Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice some respite from blaring headlines about secret CIA prisons and flights.

In Ukraine, local media coverage was respectful. In Romania, where Human Rights Watch has claimed one secret CIA prison is located, Foreign Minister Mihai Razvan Ungureanu, greeted Rice with unusual warmth.

"What is happening now is something that our grandparents have been waiting for, for so many years,' Ungureanu declared before Rice's arrival. "It is the fulfillment of the hopes of hundreds of thousands of Romanians who were imprisoned in the communist prisons, and were sacrificed because they wanted to have democracy in Romania. It is something that Romania has been waiting for since 1940: the Americans are coming!"

Rice's "clarification" of U.S. policy on prisoner treatment is clearly designed to assuage local fears that torture is taking place on European soil. But as she heads for a Friday meeting with NATO foreign ministers in Brussels, the continuing media debate shows the challenge she faces in heading off a European repudiation of American leadership in the war on terrorism, especially as the coverage of CIA prisoner flights through Europe is growing more detailed.

The Scotsman reported Wednesday that new documents obtained by the government of Denmark show "at least 176 flights into or out of Scotland... by aircraft owned or run by the CIA."

European law enforcement officials are starting to investigate possible criminal offenses involved in the  transportation of persons detained without charges. According to Spiegel Online, the Council of Europe, a governmental human rights watchdog organization, has hired Dick Marty, a Swiss prosecutor known for bringing Mafia figures to justice, to investigate the CIA's actions.

The German newsweekly says Rice's Berlin visit this week only "highlighted a growing rift  between Europe and America over whether the end always justifies the means in the war on terror."
A press survey found few in the German media are convinced by the claim that America doesn't torture.

Rice does have some support. The Times of London says President Bush "has found a powerful Secretary of State" and that "the US Government now talks more obviously with one voice."

Livio Caputo, columnist for Il Giornale in Italy, accused Europeans of "hypocrisy" over the CIA flights.

"It is absurd that the European Union, some of the governments in the European Union, and a large section of the left-wing parties on the continent get so indignant (or pretend to get indignant, for the purposes of public opinion in their respective countries) because the Americans, in this pre-emptive war, use methods that are not very orthodox," he wrote in the Milan daily, which is owned by the family of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, a Bush ally.

"One cannot fight against an enemy like Al-Qa'ida with the same instruments used against a gang of thieves," he concluded.

But other potential supporters remain unconvinced. The editors of the Khaleej Times, one of the most pro-American news outlets in the Middle East, say Rice "still has a lot of explaining to do. ... it's hard to accept the argument that governments can sidestep the law in their war on terror."

"Such actions violate the great ideals and values that inspired the founding fathers of America and do no justice to the US image as the land of the free," they wrote.

Even in Romania, there are doubts. Miruna Munteanu, columnist for the independent Ziua newspaper, warned that "servility to Washington" may hinder Romania's hopes of joining the European Union.

In London, Alec Russell of the reliably right-wing Daily Telegraph in London concluded that European opinion has hardened against the United States.

Russell defended Washington's policies: "Many of the [CIA] activities are done in conjunction with its allies' intelligence agencies and with the knowledge of foreign governments," he wrote Wednesday. "More important, many people would feel differently about the 'rendition' of a suspect if it emerged that he was plotting an attack on their country."

But by the time Rice made these points in Europe, Russell wrote, "it was far too late. Long before she arrived, the idea that America believed in torture was gospel. "

By Jefferson Morley |  December 8, 2005; 11:33 AM ET  | Category:  Europe
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Please email us to report offensive comments.

I truly do not know what the arguement is. If we Americans tortured we are scum and we deserve any and all criticism thrown at us.

Posted by: Mark Esposito | December 8, 2005 12:59 PM

With its pro-torture policies, its contempt for the rule of law and its advocacy of illegal "pre-emptive" wars, the Bush administration has driven a permanent wedge between Europe and the United States that will take decades to overcome. You Americans are on your own now. We Europeans will pursue our own policies and will prosecute any of your agents who break our law, or international law, on our territory. Already, the Italians are prosecuting CIA officers for this. Expect more such prosecutions in the future.
One day in the not-too-distant future, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice may even find themselves prosecuted here for their crimes against humanity. Our laws provide for it.
We in the EU must now take further steps to realign our foreign policy away from America. We can find common cause with nations like Canada and the new democracies in Latin America that actually respect the rule of law. Servility to the outlaw regime in Washington will get us nowhere. They had the chance to listen to our voices in the run-up to the war and rejected what we had to say, with the results we see today.
So we must isolate the United States and make it pay for its contempt for international law.

Posted by: Johannes | December 8, 2005 01:06 PM

It's sad as I once viewed America as an example. No longer. Johannes is right. The time has come for us in Europe to end our political, military and economic alliances with Washington and build new, stronger relationships with law-abiding nations instead.
Europeans will not accept maintaining any military relationship with a superpower that abducts people, holds them in secret and tortures them.
I would expect that NATO will be soon coming to an end.

Posted by: Jean-Pierre Séguin | December 8, 2005 01:13 PM

Johannes: So we must isolate the United States and make it pay for its contempt for international law.

Jean-Pierre Séguin: Europeans will not accept maintaining any military relationship with a superpower

Perhaps you should isolate members of the Bush administration and make them pay their contempt for international law?

Perhaps Europeans should not accept maintaining a military relationship with the Bush administration?

Americans and the USA need your help.

Americans and the USA once helped Europe and now Europeans turn their backs on Americans due to the fervent activity of the ruling illegitimate minority?

Ask not for whom the bell tolls.....

Posted by: | December 8, 2005 02:02 PM

Anonymous, the American people had their chance to rectify this in 2004. They failed to take it.

What do you propose we do? How does not criticising help? If America were paying no price in international credibility for Iraq, more Americans would continue to support the war in Iraq, the abduction and torture.

If we only criticise the frontmen, America will simply continue down the same path with a different set of frontmen.

Ultimately the root of this problem is the militarism and desire for global dominance of tens of millions of ordinary Americans.

That's true whether US elections are rigged or not.

Posted by: AA | December 8, 2005 02:30 PM

It's a joke that the WASPost (not you, Jeff) won't print the word "torture" in its Condi-lovefest headlines. Call a spade a spade, people, yeeps, that's what this is all about.

Keep up the good woik, Jeff!

- Stike

Posted by: Stike DC | December 8, 2005 02:38 PM

If your country signed the Geneva Convention, based on a complaint against an individual foreign Citizen, You can have that person arrested on entry to your country. While Secretary Rice has diplomatic emunity, other officials might be subject to arrest. They nearly arrested an Israeli General for war crimes recently in England.
Go fot it!

Posted by: P. J. Casey | December 8, 2005 02:39 PM

Please excuse my barfing while I parse the statement of Livio Caputo, given above:

"because the Americans, in this pre-emptive war, use methods that are not very orthodox. One cannot fight against an enemy like Al-Qa'ida with the same instruments used against a gang of thieves."

Four years after this whole madness started there are still people who are comfortable with "the ends justify the means" thinking. Mussolini would approve.

Personally I hope Ms Rice gets a good earful. What would Americans say if the Service des Renseigments disappeared some Americain from his vacation in Costa Rica for an all-expenses-paid trip in an orange jumpsuit to, say, Algeria? Or just mess up an investigation?

CIA == Keystone Kops with frequent flyer miles.

And I still have to see proof that with these antics there have been any terror attacks that have been thwarted. Should anyone believe it just because the UUS govt says so? For all we know, a "thwarted terror attack" may amount to no more than doodles in some madman's notebook who could very well have been handled through the "normal channels" called "law".

I have been continually underwhelmed by the USA in the last 5 years. Please, carry one.

Posted by: El Tonno | December 8, 2005 03:08 PM

AA: Anonymous, the American people had their chance to rectify this in 2004. They failed to take it.

You seem so *ignorant* and blinded by *hatred* toward Americans.

HINT: 51% of Americans failed to take that chance.

NOTE: A solid percentage of that 51% is probably the result of voter fraud.

In other words, it is probable that Americans overall did not fail to take it.

AA: Ultimately the root of this problem is the militarism and desire for global dominance of tens of millions of ordinary Americans.

Please expose the root.

Cut it out and show it.

I'd like to see the data.

Posted by: Sword of Truth | December 8, 2005 03:13 PM

AA: That's true whether US elections are rigged or not.

If the war in Iraq is a "militarism and desire for global dominance of tens of millions of ordinary Americans", why would so highly enlightened and sophisticated people freely elect Blair *after* he has so clearly been established as Bush's poodle?

Posted by: | December 8, 2005 03:23 PM

AA: What do you propose we do?

1) Exercise restraint
2) Cultivate concentration
3) Think, act, speak, or write

The European mind is apparently best read about in books.

You people are sloppy thinkers.

You should focus on the wrong-doers.

Your thinking is similar to that of the racist who condemns and hates without any real reason and on the basis of generalizations.

Posted by: | December 8, 2005 03:28 PM

Perhaps she should ask the Germans what "Nacht Und Nebel" means ...

... sometime before her boss is told what it means.

Never Forget.

Posted by: GTexas | December 8, 2005 03:34 PM

One hopes Dr. Rice's success in Europe will be cemented by a PR mission featuring Karen Hughes and Elizabeth Cheney. Of course, Vice-Pres. Cheney would be even better. He's forceful at home and would be abroad, too. To do this, perhaps Pres. Bush might consider freeing him occasionally from his undisclosed location. Hidden away, he's a wasted asset.

Posted by: Udi Sender | December 8, 2005 05:00 PM

I though Mr. Sender's comments were well taken. Regarding the President himself, the constellation of Bush critics fails to realize he has (a) military experience, a flying officer, and (b) a Harvard MBA, real qualifications most of them lack. Last I heard, the Air Force doesn't give away commissions and pilot qualifications. Also, Harvard Business School doesn't simply distribute degrees and neither does Yale, his alma mater. The critics should wake up and get with the Bush program. He's way ahead of them.

Posted by: A. Terhil, Jr. | December 8, 2005 05:12 PM

The British Law Lords have thrown another spanner in the works of the British Government anti-terror plans

Evidence obtained by torture is no longer acceptable evidence in any British court.

The upshot of this is that any evidence from America is going to have to be carefully scrutinised to work out exactly how it was obtained. As well as moral repugnance that all of them felt one law lord pointed out that evidence obtained by torture could be considered at all reliable.

Posted by: David Patrick, UK | December 8, 2005 06:21 PM

According to the news, the Europeans applauded Dr. Rice today and were well satisfied. What are her internaut critics smoking?

Posted by: Reynaldo Mogollón P. | December 8, 2005 07:27 PM

Cait: If only Morley and the rest of the American press apologists would actually print what Europeans and others (i.e. non Americans) are actually saying it would make more sense.

Morley is no American press apologist. E.g. So long ago, he alone kept the Dowing Street Memo story alive in the US press.

If he is such an apologist, why are you able to post your hate filled anti-American diatribes without even signing?

There is no firewall.

Is this a sign of his unwillingness to publish non-US accounts or to apologize for the US press?

Cait: you can get the online version of hundreds of newspapers



You are virtue fountain of new information.

Cait: For a country that has access to such amounts of information it is a sign of pure laziness and ignorance that the access is not utilized.

Why would an American farmer who works in the field need such amounts of information?

Perhaps it is a sign your pure laziness and ignorance that the access is utilized.

Given your access and obvious amounts of free time, why is it you have such a poor understanding of undefinable American identity?

Posted by: | December 8, 2005 07:47 PM

So Condi wants to put torture and extra rendition in the context of the war on terror?

What would the lady say if and when the Klan wants to put lynching in the context of the war between North and South?

Posted by: Tom | December 8, 2005 09:44 PM

To the previous poster who so courageously continues to sign without including any identifying information name, place etc...

Morley et al were nowhere to be found prior to March '03 and the invasion rationale spoon fed to a dumbing and largely uneducated American public, they are nowhere to be found in forcing this government to come clean about how many innocent Iraqis were murdered by the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, and they remain nowhere to be found in informing Americans of the illegality of the continued actions of said government (I guess there is something to be said about bushie et al not signing onto the International Court, their asses would, could and should be hauled in there).

The American farmer should want to know about the rest of the world as the majority of his/her product is placed on the global market. But then again as the recent vote in Switzerland just indicated the rest of the world may not actually want the genetically modified crops the Americans are growing these days, the hormone fattened cattle and the pesticide ridden fruit and vegetables (for that last part the Los Angeles Times had a fascinating article about the use of pesticides and bushies plan to outlaw the reporting of it check it out at,1,6256148.story)
If the American farmer read about such things then maybe (s)he would rethink their farming practices to the benefit of the environment and the people.

As to an undefinable American identity...I think it is very clearly defined, by the wild west shoot 'em up, Manifest Destiny and schoolyard bully behavior exhibited by the majority of Americans and the government they voted for.

Posted by: Cait | December 8, 2005 09:58 PM

Cait: To the previous poster who so courageously continues to sign without including any identifying information name, place etc...

The blank space, that is my sign, kind a like the artist formerly known as prince......

Cait: Morley et al were nowhere to be found prior to March '03 and the invasion rationale spoon fed to a dumbing and largely uneducated American public,

To be clear: I am NOT an apologist for the M$M or Morely. I do come here to see Morley's digest among many other places. But why do I care? anyway! You are right though and I agree. I do think, though, that he is providing a service and is doing a reasonably good job. He needed to write more as others should have. Believe me, I have had enough of the propoganda and stenography of Miller, Woodward, et al.

Cait: They are nowhere to be found in forcing this government to come clean about how many innocent Iraqis were murdered by the invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq, and they remain nowhere to be found in informing Americans of the illegality of the continued actions of said government

Agreed. You could have said even more.

And you? Instead of bitching start participating.
He's got this blog on which people can post. Post some links `informing Americans of the illegality of the continued actions of said government'. We need your help.

Cait: The American farmer should want to know about the rest of the world

The American farmer should want to know what the American farmer wants to know: What are you NUTS, some sort of brain police? If they fail that's their fault. There are others outside dying Europe, e.g. Chinese farmers, to take their place.

Cait: As to an undefinable American identity...I think it is very clearly defined, by the wild west shoot 'em up, Manifest Destiny and schoolyard bully behavior exhibited by the majority of Americans and the government they voted for.

You need to *read* about America and Americans. Clearly you are gobbling up the Bush propoganda like its your last meal.

So much for the enlightened European intellectual telling Americans how it is.

HINT: Only retards think Bush is a cowboy.

George W. Bush Ain't No Cowboy
See how the little feller measures up to the Cowboy Code, and you tell me.,baard,57117,1.html

Posted by: [Poster, formerly known as John Doe] | December 8, 2005 11:19 PM

Please, people. How about a little perspective? Given the unbridled venom on posts like these, it really does seem that many Europeans and many on the Left in the States (for the record, I'm on the Left), have just lost all sense of objectivity when it comes to anything the Bush Administration does.

Have they bungled the so-called "war" on terror? So far, probably. Have they engaged in unethical behavior with respect to a few hundred (perhaps a few thousand) prisoners? Probably. Should they be held accountable? Yes. Are they, though, equivalent to Nazi Germany (millions of victims), Stalinist Russia (millions of victims), and Mao's China (millions of victims)? Clearly not. Yet, based on the unthoughtful nonsense seen on posts on this site, many people have become so swept up in the details of current events that they've come to believe so.
Are Europe's own hands so clean in recent years?

What about the Balkans? More peole died in a war and GENOCIDE that took place on Europe's doorstep (at least 250,000) than have in Iraq (the most liberal estimates--which are of questionable credibility-- appear to be 100,000).

Yet, throughout the early to mid 90s Europeans did virtually nothing to stop the war and genocide in the Balkans. When the US and the UK were finally shamed into proposing aggressive action to stop the madness, they found little support among their European allies.

One high level US State Dept. official reported on Charlie Rose (a very thoughtful talk show host on Public Television here in the States) that in his negotiations with the Europeans over the Balkans he became completely exasperated. There was so little will to do anything. Almost every proposal the US and UK put forward met nothing but criticism, with no constructive proposals coming from others. In a moment of candor, one French official reportedly said: "Well, we don't have to do anything about it because we know that eventually you'll take care of it."

What about Arafat? Though many Europeans are correct (in my opinion) that the States too often gave almost unconditional support to Israel, there's no question that Arafat was a dirty thug. Yet, the Euro nations gave him billions of dollars over the years. A very large percentage of that (perhaps as much as half according to The Atlantic Monthly) ended up in Swiss bank accounts and never helped the people at all. And, rather than working towards peace, Arafat was all-the-while encouraging (at the very least, implicitly)teenage boys and girls to strap explosives to their bodies and blow themselves up in crowded public places in Isreal.

These are very recent events, and they don't support much of Europe's constant moralizing toward the States. So, how about taking a step back from the edge and putting a little perspective on things?

Has the US been perfect in its conduct of foreign policy? Clearly not. Has Europe? Clearly not. Is Bush a problematic buffoon of sorts? Yes. Is he the 2nd coming of Hitler? No.

Do the US and Europe have shared historical experiences and shared modern challenges that support and require thoughtful commitments on both sides of the Atlantic? Yes. The perspectives provided by many who post on this site, though, become as much of a part of the problem as Bush himself.

Posted by: LWP | December 9, 2005 01:30 AM

There was a time, whn Europe respected America. This was basd on its commitment to democracy, to human rights, to freedom. America, during the Cold War, positted itself as a defender of freedom. Political, cultural, and religious freedom. In opposition to the Evil Empire (coined by Reagan). America was so committed to these principles, that it was willing to destroy the world (through nuclear brinksmanship) in defense of these freedoms.

There were a few missed opportunities, the Prague Spring was a significant one. Condi is now trying to recover from a late frost, a death of those principles, for which Europe retained its respect for America. May they remain adherent, to the principles of the Geneva Convention. And may America learn from their example.

Posted by: Kris | December 9, 2005 01:31 AM

LWP: As I indicated in the other posting we had going it is not just bushie and his cronies we Europeans are talking is the history as Pinter put it so succinctly of the US of A's actions since WWII.

Of course intelligent people recognize bushie is a buffoon, the sad fact is that he is truly representative of the common American. His belief that he has a pipeline to God, his belief that his version of 'democracy' should be forced down the throats of the rest of the world, and perhaps truly scarier than all of that, the fact that he has his finger on the button.

Except now we discover it isn't just the button of nuclear (let's pronounce it right eh?) power, but white phospherus


or if you prefer a non European take,1,5308765.story )

or perhaps the old and trusted American standby napalm and its latest reincarnation in the American military arsenal MK77


It is a fallacy to say that America and Europe are on the same page - culturally, spiritually and politically. For sure there are bastions of right wing nut jobs in Europe, there always have been and unfortunately there always will be, but they are held in check, especially since the two major world wars were fought on our territory and except for Pearl Harbor were nowhere on the American mainland. It is hardly surprising European leaders are antsy about armed incursions into sovereign nations.

I cannot remember a current European leader claiming they had a pipeline to God. Indeed the European constitution as discussed this past year or so was clearly upsetting the Vatican as it refused to include language that was exclusionary of other religions than Christianity (not of course that Rome would like us to highlight the incredible loss of life in centuries past in the name of religion...ah yes christianity).

When you have had your neighbor at your throat and millions burning in crematoriums for no reason, or dying in the snow (ah yes a sideline I love the way Americans are always claiming they saved Europe from Hitler and they brush ever so lightly over the fact that millions of Russians died keeping Hitler's armies bogged down in Eastern Europe so Britain, America and the rest of the the free world could get their act together for D Day etc etc, a nice touch of egomania), one tends to not want to return to such behaviours and times.

The very simple fact is that Europe can and should moralize to America, its leaders and its people, we speak from experience, we speak from knowledge of the perversity and travesty that mankind can inflict on one another, we speak from horror as we watch the New World repeat the errors of the Old World, and we shudder, as do no doubt the Founding Fathers do, at the attack upon the Constitution and Amendments to same in the name of the Patriot Act, the Declaration of Independence, the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the Geneva Convention all go by the wayside in the name of what pray tell?

Posted by: Cait | December 9, 2005 03:14 AM

Just a quick up date as I hit the sack on the West Coast...

Even though we suspected it for years, bushie et al have finally come clean, they are holding persons incommunicado and away from the prying eyes of the International Committee of the Red Cross, see

Now all we need to discover is where and then if they were truly held in Europe by any nation who was a signatory to the various European Conventions, Geneva, United Nations etc etc e.g. Romania, Poland then they should be stripped of membership and kicked out of the EU.

If these craven countries want to suck up to bushie et al they should be treated as such and also be hauled before the International Court.

Posted by: Cait | December 9, 2005 03:42 AM

Cait: I still see no critical self-reflection. Europe's hands have been bloody since WWII. What about Vietnam (it was France before the States), Algeria, Egypt...up to, as I noted above, the Balkans and Arafat?

How can you expect thoughtful Americans (there are many, which you seem unable to acknowledge) to engage you in reasonsed discourse when you are so blinded by rage that you (and others on this site) will not acknowledge (perhaps you cannot see) Europe's own failings?

This may sound impolite (I guess being polite does not seem to matter to most people who post on this site), but you and many others seem so overcome with anger (disproportionately, I think) that it really must be horrible psychologically. This must be especially so for you given that you live in the States (and have benefitted from it, presumably) and appear to have nothing but contempt for it and its people.

It's not productive for anyone.

Posted by: LWP | December 9, 2005 03:52 AM

This discussion is quite interesting. I just realized that Al Qaeda has arguably not yet reached the military capabilities displayed by the 3rd Reich, in ww2. I mean, where's the LuftWaffe? The panzertruppen? the Blitzkrieg? the v2's? The submarine wolfpacks? And yet somehow the Allies were able to triumph over the Axis powers. Nazi Germany had developped, by the end of the war, a suicide bomber (a plane, not a person) capable of hitting the US east coast. They certainly displayed more military prowess than AQ and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Ok, they never developped a sneaker bomb. But why exactly does this war require tactics that would have been rejected out of hand as degenerate obscenities, by the Allies, in WW2?

Posted by: kris | December 9, 2005 04:04 AM

One more thought: Why should I accept moralizing from Chirac and Schroeder when, just to make a buck, they were almost frenzied in their desire to lift the arms embargo against China? If you think China has reformed significantly since Tiananmen Square, you probably haven't noticed the articles in recent months (even in today's Post) about the Chinese military (and its paramilitary goons) firing on protesting farmers.

Have the Americans sold arms to thugs? Yes. But, the point is that America's "moral" position is not so much lower than Europe's that you're going to get very far in any conversation with an American by pretending that you are holier than thou. If the purpose of such conversations is, through reasoned discourse to find common understanding, your approach is not wise.

Posted by: LWP | December 9, 2005 04:12 AM

LWP: How can you expect thoughtful Americans (there are many, which you seem unable to acknowledge) to engage you in reasonsed discourse when you are so blinded by rage that you (and others on this site) will not acknowledge (perhaps you cannot see) Europe's own failings?

Great question.

Cait et. al are Anti-Americanists whose rage and hatred is fueled by the fake stories at Faux News and by the Bush admin's propaganda which they think are *real*.

Cait, an enlightened European intellectual, an expert on Americans and American culture, still believed that American foreign policy was Cowboy-esque without *ever* having attained an understanding of what the cowboy really is in novels.

AA, from Britain, chides Americans for re-electing Bush ignoring the fact that the British just freely re-elected Blair for a historical 3rd *after* Blair has effectively been potrayed as Bush's poodle.

Bush is a threat to mankind.

Americans are dumb.

BUT, hey its a sign of clear thinking to re-elect Bush's accomplice?

Instead of contrib to the discussion herein I am having to defend the US and Americans.

I will no longer waste my time with these hate filled, un-informed, Anti-Americanists.

Posted by: | December 9, 2005 08:37 AM

LWP this is not a level playing field where one person reflects on the negatives of one country, and the other says what about you? The US is the bully on the international block and we are standing up, finally. We all have a common cause and that is to stop the brutality of your government. This is not just some cranky bloggers who are not self reflecting, and if Americans had access to real news other than propaganda, you would see that.
Countries are changing as America has both feet in the past and is walking backward. Your addictive need as a nation to propagate war, to keep arms sales up is skewing your view of the world. Your high tolerance as a people, and a government for killing people of other nations repulses us. People should be repulsed by death for greeds sake, and war based on lies. That is a normal reaction. It is not business as usual for us, it may be for you. I keep hearing an attitude here of minimizing Americas responsibility. The problem is cranky Europeans who are bad too. That is ridiculous.
Other nations are moving into peacekeeping as opposed to war mongering. If you had access to real news you would know that, but don't watch American fluff and pretend to know the world. You know the world the way corporate America wants you to know it.
Last night I watched CNN to get a sense of what America watches and where they get their facts. A huge number of Americans watch CNN so I thought I would get a sense of where you people are coming from.
I was totally outraged. It was propaganda for dummies. Your government talks to you like you are stupid, your media treats you as stupid, and Americans seem to swallow it. Wolf Blitzer gave the corporate news, and throughout it was bird flu doom and gloom. He gave the impression like a high pitched sales man that if Americans took Tamiflu, they would be ok but if they didn't doom and gloom. Then he showed two phony maps not based on science, one full of lots of lights over America. He said this was America on bird flu. The next map had very few lights, and he said this is America if they took Tamiflu. Blatant marketing in the name of news. Then he said that there is a shortage and it will be hard to find (the hidden message-like a yard sale, we have only two left people. I can see the rush now). There was lots of mention of Roche, and positive talk of Pharmaceutical companies. The female propaganda-reporter had to throw in that her purse didn't match her outfit. The unprofessionalism was absolutely shocking. The corruption between big business needs and the people's right to real news was no clash. They don't even pretend to inform fairly.
Then there was a spokesperson for the police who kept calling the general public, "consumers." What happenned to the "public" but there is no public in America. Just "consumers" of Corporate-Government and Corporate PR Media. It is so blatant. America is no longer a country by the people for the people. That died a long time ago. Now it is a government so corrupted, a people so corrupted, America means nothing beyond a giant sales pitch for Corporate sales. Sad.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | December 9, 2005 08:46 AM

What I forgot to mention: Donald Rumsfeld is a major shareholder of Tamiflu, is this where the CNN sales pitch comes from ? The real news about Tamiflu is that it has been shown to have virtually no effect on the bird flu, and several nations including Japan are pulling it off the shelves due to the high suicide rate among those who take it. A real news service should tell you that. CNN i s just one long adverisement for Americas Corporations.Suck it in America, you get what you get when you sleep through life as passive consumers of a consumer driven nation.

Posted by: SpeakoutforDemocracy | December 9, 2005 08:53 AM

Cait: the sad fact is that he is truly representative of the common American.

How so?

Bush is from an extremely affluent family from the north east. His social strata is extremely thin, very sparse.

Bush went to prep schools in the NE.

Bush went to Ivy league schools.

Bush is a Northeasterner *trying* to act like a good ole boy Texan.

How is this truly representative of the common American?

Here's some comic relief: Long-Awaited Beer With Bush Really Awkward, Voter Reports

Cait: His belief that he has a pipeline to God, his belief that his version of 'democracy' should be forced down the throats of the rest of the world,

Again, your raw *ignorance* is on display. That is not his belief. That belief predates him. That belief is Cheney's, Rumsfield's, Wolfowitz, et al.

It is becoming more clear: You do not have a basic grip on America or Americans. Your understanding is based upon M$M. No wonder you hate America and Americans.

Here's some comic relief:
Voice Of God Revealed To Be Cheney On Intercom

Posted by: | December 9, 2005 08:54 AM

Separated at birth: Mel Gibson and Saddam Hussein.

Posted by: Morrison | December 9, 2005 10:09 AM

Zero perspective in these comments.

A few of the most dangerous people on Earth, who are conducting a war against the West in which their prime weapon is the murder of as many innocent civilians as they can kill, are possibly interrogated in a manner that is psychologically pretty tough, but does no permament bodily damage to speak of.

Can there be reasonable criticism of such methods? Of course, but such criticism would take account of the context: a global war in which the US has, with the help of a handful of other friends, destroyed two of the most vile and oppressive regimes on earth, freeing 50 million people to pursue democratic politics for the first time in memory, if ever. And the US has done this despite constant carping from the sidelines by the types who have posted on this board.

You know, maybe if the Continent was just a weensy bit helpful and not entirely devoted to undermining every effort to defend the West and their way of life, Americans would have ears to hear criticism on things like interrogation methods. As it is, your criticism is just nauseating. If you guys were in the lead, absolutely nothing good would ever happen. The Taliban would rule Afghanistan, Saddam would rule Iraq, and Al Qaeda would be on the rise instead of increasingly discredited in its homeland by its killing of innocents in Iraq and Jordan and its impotence to stop the US from liberalizing the politics of the keystone nation in the heart of the middle east.

Posted by: rpp | December 9, 2005 02:22 PM

...and the tooth fairy wouldn't leave any money under their pillow. Some people have been around the propaganda too long it looks like they actually believe it. The US is the enemy right now and has been for far too long. You deserve the criticism, you act like a mindless fool. You don't even get the true evil of your leadership, yet the information is out there. Mindless Americans are a blight on the lanscape of thinking people.

Posted by: G | December 9, 2005 02:49 PM


The US is the enemy. Sure G. It was during the Cold War too, I suppose. And you wonder why Americans reject your worldview.

Posted by: rpp | December 9, 2005 03:30 PM

rpp: freeing 50 million people to pursue democratic politics for the first time in memory, if ever

You need to READ.

You are really IGNORANT.

Bush and his supporters have greatly empowered Iran.

The two most powerful parties in Iraq are the al-Dawa and the SCIRI. These have been led, based, and funded from Iran during the two decades prior to the invasion.

Iraq, thanks to Bush, is becoming an Islamic theocracy with *extremely* close ties to Iran which Bush infamously deemed an axis of evil.

The invasion/occupation of Iraq is having the precise opposite effect of its intent.

It is your kind of ignorance that is ruining the country.

9/11 + Iraq = Bush's Islamic Theocracy?

This is the righ5t response to the horrific attacks of 9/11?

Posted by: | December 9, 2005 05:44 PM

rpp: The Taliban would rule Afghanistan, Saddam would rule Iraq, and Al Qaeda would be on the rise instead of increasingly discredited in its homeland by its killing of innocents in Iraq and Jordan and its impotence to stop the US from liberalizing the politics of the keystone nation in the heart of the middle east.

God, you are oblivious.

The Taliban is rising again in Afghanistan. Iran is taking over Iraq. Al Qaeda is on the rise since it has morphed into many different factions now.

Get ass over there!

If this is so great, get over there you lazy coward!

How many more thousands need to be tortured, raped, beheaded, starved, shot, burned, maimed,. killed, etc for the sake of an Islamic theocracy with extremely close ties to Iran?

Posted by: | December 9, 2005 05:49 PM

To "by"

I imagine you probably had a healthy distain for folks who hated President Clinton so deeply that he could, in their minds, only do evil. Well, listen to yourself.

Your belief that the Taliban is "rising again" and that Iran is "taking over" Iraq are false and seem to be the product of a mind hoping against hope for American and Bush Administration failure. In the real world, Afghanistan is a massive success story with a democratically elected government that is increasingly defending itself and which enjoys massive public support. The Taliban is a defeated and marginalized force capable only of sporadic violence, which waxes and wanes. Your heart apparently leaps at every Taliban bomb. And Iraq, although beset by a fascist/Islamist rejectionist insurgency, is developing genuine democratic institutions that are given legitimacy by millions of ordinary people literally risking their lives to vote. That's a huge deal, and a stratigic haymaker against Al Qaeda.

Posted by: rpp | December 9, 2005 06:18 PM

rpp: Iran is "taking over" Iraq are false


I challenge you to cite some experts.

The Next Iraq Offensive
Published: December 6, 2005

WHILE the Bush administration and its critics escalated the debate last week over how long our troops should stay in Iraq, I was able to see the issue through the eyes of America's friends in the Persian Gulf region. The Arab states agree on one thing: Iran is emerging as the big winner of the American invasion, and both President Bush's new strategy and the Democratic responses to it dangerously miss the point. It's a devastating critique. And, unfortunately, it is correct.

The Iranian nightmare
By Michael Schwartz

In 1998, neo-conservative theorist Robert Kagan enunciated what would become a foundational belief of Bush administration policy. He asserted, "A successful intervention in Iraq would revolutionize the strategic situation in the Middle East, in ways both tangible and intangible, and all to the benefit of American interests."

Now, over two years after Baghdad fell and the American occupation of Iraq began, Kagan's prediction appears to have been fulfilled - in reverse. The chief beneficiary of the occupation and the chaos it produced has not been the Bush administration, but Iran, the most populous and powerful member of the "axis of evil" and the chief American competitor for dominance in the oil-rich region. As diplomatic historian Gabriel Kolko commented, "By destroying a united Iraq under [Saddam] Hussein ... the US removed the main barrier to Iran's eventual triumph."

Iraq: Bush's Islamic Republic
By Peter W. Galbraith


When President Bush spoke to the nation on June 28, he did not mention Iran's rising influence with the Shiite-led government in Baghdad. He did not point out that the two leading parties in the Shiite coalition are pursuing an Islamic state in which the rights of women and religious minorities will be sharply curtailed, and that this kind of regime is already being put into place in parts of Iraq controlled by these parties.


Since Saddam's fall, Shiite religious parties have had de facto control over Iraq's southern cities. There Iranian-style religious police enforce a conservative Islamic code, including dress codes and bans on alcohol and other non-Islamic behavior. In most cases, the religious authorities govern--and legislate--without authority from Baghdad, and certainly without any reference to the freedoms incorporated in Iraq's American-written interim constitution--the Transitional Administrative Law (TAL).

Posted by: | December 10, 2005 12:42 AM

rpp: Your belief that the Taliban is "rising again"

Time to talk: US engages the Taliban
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - Despite deposing the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in quick time at the end of 2001, the United States has not been able to rid the country of the Islamic hardliners, who four years later lead an Afghan resistance that shows no signs of abating, let alone buckling.

US efforts to combat the Taliban include outright military action (there are 18,000 US troops in the country, in addition to 12,000 members of North Atlantic Treaty Organization in the International Security Assistance Force), and attempts to embrace "good" Taliban.

And now, most significantly, come efforts to deal directly with the real "problem" - Taliban leader Mullah Omar, the only person with the ability to influence decisions of import related to the Taliban and their future activities in the country.

Reports emerged in the Pakistani media at the weekend that the US had contacted the Taliban leadership with the aim of establishing a truce in Afghanistan. The reported linkman is a Pakistani, Javed Ibrahim Paracha, but he has denied the story, saying he had never met any US officials, only US businessmen.

Posted by: | December 10, 2005 12:49 AM


Gilbert Achcar

December 9, 2005

As part of his effort to influence the political forces in Iraq prior to the forthcoming parliamentary election, at the end of November Muqtada al-Sadr had his supporters distribute the draft of a "Pact of Honor," and called on Iraqi parties to discuss and collectively adopt it at a conference to be organized before the election.

This conference was actually held on Thursday, December 8, in al-Kadhimiya (North of Baghdad). Despite extensive search, I found it only reported in a relatively short article in today's Al-Hayat and in dispatches from the National Iraqi News Agency (NINA). There is legitimate ground to suspect that this media blackout has political significance; indeed most initiatives by the Sadrist current are hardly reported by the dominant media, even when they consist of important mass demonstrations (like those organized yesterday in Southern Iraq against British troops).

In the case of the recent conference, the vast array of forces that were represented and that signed the "Pact of Honor" is in itself already worthy of attention. Aside from the Sadrists, chiefly represented by their MPs, those represented and who signed the document included: SCIRI, al-Daawa (al-Jaafari's personal representative even apologized in his name for his absence due to his traveling outside of Iraq), and the Iraqi Concord Front (the major Sunni electoral alliance in the forthcoming election), to name but the most prominent of a long list of organizations, along with several tribal chiefs, unions and other social associations, members of the De-Ba'athification Committee and a few government officials. Ahmad Chalabi -- who definitely deserves to be called "The Transformer" -- attended in person and signed the document in the name of his group. It seems that the Association of Muslim Scholars did not attend, as its name is not mentioned in any of the two sources.

According to the reports, the "Pact of Honor" that was adopted consists of 14 points, among which the following demands and agreements are the most important (the sentences in quotation marks are translated from the document as quoted in the reports):

• "withdrawal of the occupiers and setting of an objective timetable for their withdrawal from Iraq"; "elimination of all the consequences of their presence, including any bases for them in the country, while working seriously for the building of [Iraqi] security institutions and military forces within a defined schedule";

• suppression of the legal immunity of occupation troops, a demand coming with the condemnation of their practices against civilians and their breach of human rights;

• categorical rejection of the establishment of any relations with Israel;

• "resistance is a legitimate right of all peoples, but terrorism does not represent legitimate resistance"; "we condemn terrorism and acts of violence, killing, abducting and expulsion aimed at innocent citizens for sectarian reasons";

• "to activate the de-Ba'athification law and to consider that the Ba'ath party is a terrorist organization for all the tyranny it brought on the oppressed sons of Iraq, and to speed up the trial of overthrown president Saddam Hussein and the pillars of his regime";

• "to postpone the implementation of the disputed principle of federalism and to respect the people's opinion about it."

The conference established a committee that is responsible for following up the implementation of the resolutions and reporting on it after six months.

If anything, the conference was a testimony to the increasing importance of the Sadrist current. As for the actual implementation of its resolutions, it will greatly depend on the pressure that the same current will be able to exert after the forthcoming election, if the United Iraqi Alliance -- of which the Sadrists are a major pillar on a par with SCIRI -- succeeds in getting a commanding position in the next National Assembly."

Posted by: | December 10, 2005 08:56 AM

Johannes: One day in the not-too-distant future, Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld and Rice may even find themselves prosecuted here for their crimes against humanity.

I hope so in many ways.

Why is this not happening now?

Actions speak louder than words.

Do it and then talk about.

In the mean time, please stop condemning all Americans and America due to the actions of an extremely small fervent minority.

Your Anti-Americanism is akin to racism.

You think of yourself as enlightened European?

You are intellectually analogous to a Bush voter!

Posted by: | December 10, 2005 11:59 AM

To the poster above who defends Bush/Cheney torture and abductions policies on the grounds that these are "a few of the most dangerous people on Earth..."
If only it were that simple. In fact, we cannot know that these are those people because they have not been tried in a court of law. And we know that in many cases that have already come to light, the people abducted and tortured by the U.S. or its proxies were actually cases of mistaken identity.
Perhaps some day, someone will accuse YOU of being one of those "incredibly dangerous people" so that some government agent feels compelled to abduct YOU and have YOU tortured. Will you still agree then that all of this is fine?
Don't you see that there are no checks or balances here?

Posted by: John S. | December 11, 2005 02:18 AM

My two cents from Europe:

I like America. For a couple of years now I watch with rising annoyance what Bush Jr. motley crew of blunderers do to America and its reputation in the world. Seing it being driven against a wall makes me feel sick.

Part of my image of America comes from the democratisation of Germany after the war, U.S. aid, and the values America held, incorporated in proceedures of the Nuremberg tribunal.
No rights for detainees today? Well, I daresay that the Nazis were very much worse and more of a threat than the few Al Quaeda goons roaming the planet seeking to wreak havoc, yet miraculously, the Nazis had procedural rights. America needs to get things back in perspective.

The things I most strongly see linked with the American tradition was the adherence to the rule of law.

When America started to kill international treaties I was annoyed, but I was able to clearly see the domestic policy purposes behind it. The ABM treaty was killed for the defense lobby, the Kyoto Treaty was killed for heavy industries unwilling to invest in the environment because it would reduce shareholder value, the international criminal court was killed because of national paranoia of international organisations. I refuse to believe that self-interest of the decisionmakers also played a role.
That didn't make it much better but I was able to comfort me that, this left aside, the U.S. were generally conducting a responsible foreign policy.

Then came 911 and the war in Afghanistan. No problem with me, they had a reason to go there and hunt Bin Laden.

Until shortly before the Gulf War I was willing to give America the benefit of doubt and that wat pretty much over when I saw Colin Powell repeating stuff I knew to be dubious to say the least with certainty at the U.N.

It then became clear to me that Bush would get his war with Iraq no matter the facts, reality in general, world opinion, internaional law (nevermind the high crime of Nuremberg) or utility. The aggressive 'with or against me' rhetoric then pretty much finished that.

The biggest problem for America is that no matter whatever lofty words U.S. politicians utter - Bush Jr. has squandered the American benefit of doubt. They can, thanks to Bush Jr., no longer expect to be believed without universally accepted proof.

The spin and distortions of the Bush administration have hurt America's credibility as they have raised the requirements of proof for America. Reading Rice's utterance, I see her pretty much oblivious to that.

There is this German saying: "Wer einmal lügt, dem glaubt man nicht, und wenn er auch die Wahrheit spricht". I guess the American counterpart would be: "Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me."

When I see Bush and Rice uttering that the U.S. don't torture while Cheney roves the hill lobbying for an excemption for the CIA the Bush administration contradict itself. Whom shall I believe?

After Abu Ghraib, the persistent stories about waterboarding, and worse, the relativistic stance on the U.S. right in defense for torture, don't help to persuade me to believe Bush. Add the torture memos from the Justice Department that cry out loud: I want to re-defince torture so narrow that I can do practically whatever I want, and Gonzales more or less repeating Field Marshal Keitel's (it was used against Keitel to plead for the death penalty as aggravating evidence in Nuremberg) formula the Geneva Conentions are quaint and obsolete, the case is made for me.

That there was European complicity or silent knowledge is another thing. I, as a German, am angry about the U.S. snatching citizens of my country to bring them to some hellhole for forcible interrogation.
I expect the Americans, if their stubborn resistance to the ICC is any indication, to see it similar in case Americans would be abducted. After all, the case was that American citizens at the ICC would be deprived a jury trial and be brought to be tried on foreign shores. Compare that to unlimited detentions without any rights.

With that much smoke, there must be a fire.

That result doesn't has much to do with ill will. But I see the facts and there is not much room for another conclusion but that Bush and Rice lie, or carefully word their replies so that they are only technically true. I'm sick of that.

If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck - I am supposed to believe it's a chicken?

Sadly, George W. Bush led America far away from when George H.W. Bush or Bill Clinton left.

Posted by: Norbert Schulz | December 11, 2005 05:57 AM

To the anonymous poster who feels my "anti-Americanism is akin to racism" and that only a "small minority" or Americans are to blame for the crimes now being committed in your country's name...
Sorry, but you idiots re-elected George W. Bush so until you impeach him and his fellow war criminals, you are all to blame for what he does in your nation's name. That's not "racism." That's a fact.
If you want to call it "anti-Americanism," go right ahead. The sentiment is widely shared in my country and around the world -- and for very good reason. Once you stop claiming to be a shining light for humanity and acknowledge that your nation is every bit as susceptible as any other to being taken over by criminals, you will no longer merit our scorn and contempt. As long as you keep preaching "American exceptionalism," ie: U.S. supremacism, you will continue to feel our hatred and contempt, and rightly so.

Posted by: Johannes | December 11, 2005 10:54 AM

I remain unconvinced with the concept of collective guilt, and I guess I am not alone. I presume that's why the Americans here reacted angry about equaling them with their government. So far, so good, I too prefer individualism over collectivism.

In international law, not Bush acts but America acts. That's a fact. America is represented internationally by it's government. There is a point in saying that America does wrong, when the U.S. government srews up big deal, as in Iraq.

That sais nothing about individuals like the posters here. It's about the actions of the nation in the international arena.

So, my tip to the Americans is: If you don't like people criticising America for what Bush does, fair enough, but please stop beating the messenger, however blunt he is.

Bush's policies are only not in your name when you speak out.

Having voted against Bush twice may be insufficient.

Posted by: Norbert Schulz | December 11, 2005 01:08 PM

Early Warning Signs of FASCISM
Powerful and Continuing NATIONALISM
as a Unifying Cause

Posted by: SpeakupforDemocracy | December 12, 2005 07:31 AM

Bah, you Euro-weenies and you left over hippies in the states can go pound sand.

Posted by: RD | December 13, 2005 04:29 PM

Yeah, right, "RD," that's a very clever rebuttal to our concerns that your nation is sponsoring illegal abductions, torture, a deadly arms race and illegal "pre-emptive" wars.
Yet more evidence that the best argument Republican true-believers can mount is one based on ignorant name-calling. A scary thought, that the administration of the most powerful nation on earth is in the hands of cretins like you.

Posted by: Johannes | December 17, 2005 12:23 PM

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