I loved Andrea Noll’s article `A Call-up to the Ballots’ published at ZNet Commentaries. I just know you will forgive me while I do not “LJ CUT” the last part of the article…
Wonder what the elections are going to bring about…?
A Call-up to the Ballots
By Andrea Noll
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If I fool you once – shame on me; if I fool you twice – shame on you.
One day after the first Bush/Kerry debate I saw this cartoon in a German newspaper: Bush and Kerry standing behind their respective desks, Bush matching the much taller Kerry in height because the President has stepped on a box. Kerry points a reproachful finger at the forbidden device. But at a closer look the box turns out a coffin with the inscription: ‘over 1000 soldiers dead’. That’s how many Germans perceive this 43rd President of the United States: as a man recklessly sacrificing American lifes for his political career – and not only American lifes.
I can’t remember any election campaign of any foreign leader ever been covered so closely in the German media as these upcoming American presidential elections. And I can’t remember our professional liars in the mainstream media ever twisting their tongues so hard to tell the truth. Smells like ‘glasnost’.
Some weeks ago, I walked out of Michael Moore’s impressive ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’. In the cinema hall I talked to two young guys. “How did you like the film?” I asked. “Well, it was okay, but ‘Bowling for Columbine’ was better…” “Yes, more information”, the other agreed. “But there was lots of information in the film,” I said.
“Well, but no real new information. We knew that all from the TV news: the WMD hoax, the humiliation and unnecessary killing of Iraqi civilians…” “And that the war was all about oil was clear from the start, wasn’t it?” “What idiot would believe that Saddam had anything to do with al-Qaida or Osama?” Both laughed, shaking their heads. It turned out that the only thing they hadn’t known beforehand was the connection between the Bush family and the bin-Laden clan. Yes, living in Rumsfeld’s Old Europe for the past two years leaves you well-informed.
“Jimmy Carter fears, there will be irregularities in Florida” ran a headline in my local newspaper (citing the Washington Post). Well, Florida isn’t supposed to be a democratic state – like Venezuela – isn’t it? And Jeb Bush isn’t Hugo Chavez. Don’t trust American-style democracy – but especially not, when it’s an export: A week before the elections in Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai was asked by journalists about concerns of double and triple voting. “Well,” Mr. Karzai laughed. “Voting is a democratic practice and the more you practice, the better you get” – washable ink seems to help. Perhaps a good idea for Bush too.
A typical example for this glasnost phenomenon in our media when it comes to the US election on November 2nd is the German network n-tv – a CNN partner. Early this month n-tv not only disclosed figures of the current US deficit but showed an impressive statistics about the bad economic performance of all Republican Administrations of the last 20 years – compared to the performance of Democrats in the White House. And you can bet those figures to be realistic.
But, why this sudden love for objectivity by our professed mainstream liars?
This is a rare case when the interests of German (political, economic) elites and those of the overwhelming majority of people fall together: All want Bush to disappear.
In early October an international conference of the BND – the German secret service – took place in Berlin. It was on “The Globalisation of Terrorism and organised Crime”. August Hanning, head of the German intelligence, warned that Iraq could well drown in “chaos”, and become another “hotbed” for international terrorism. Asked, what may become of Iraqi scientists and experts with the knowledge of how to build WMDs and whether he believed, there was a realistic chance that international terrorists could profit from this knowledge, Hanning answered: “We don’t know.”
What bitter irony that the Bush/Blair invasion has drastically increased the threat of Iraqi WMDs! A few days ago Muhammad al-Baradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), sent a dramatic appeal to the UN. Satellite pictures were showing that the Tuweitha nuclear power plant, south of Bagdad, has been partially dismantled by looters. Nuclear material and equipment has “disappeared”. Terrorists could profit from this material to built “dirty bombs”, al-Baradei warned and called on the international community to act up.
Back to the BND conference. Ernst Uhrlau, secret service coordinator for the German Chancellor’s Bureau, warned in Berlin: the knowledge of Iraqi WMD experts may well become a weapon against the Coalition forces in Iraq. And Hanning from the BND pointed to another worrying fact:
“I perceive a generally anti-West sentiment in Muslim states (and this sentiment is) on the rise.” Fine, so the “new Middle East” Bush/Blair have started creating, turns out to be even more anti-West.
How could that happen? Here again Hanning is astonishingly outspoken:
“Air raids are no battle strategy,” he stated, if the goal was to diminish sympathies for the terrorists. Giving the Iraqi people a sense of humiliation was “ideal agars” for organisations like al-Qaida, he said.
German media commentators unambigously state the irreversability of the Bush Administration’s alienation towards EU Europe.
And this serves not only for Rumsfeld’s ‘Old Europe’. More and more of Bush’s former allies, even Berlusconi and Blair, are becoming increasingly “neutral” towards Bush. New Europe is licking its wounds over the Iraq quagmire, hostage crises, embarassing troop withdrawals a.s.f.. “A horse, a horse, my kingdom for a horse”, Tony Blair’s eyes seem to beg, every time someone asked him about his “partner” Bush.
If American voters decide for a second Bush term, this may lead the US into total isolation – and this isolation may not be a “splendid” one. As for Germany, even the Conservatives, who two years ago so vehemently criticized Chancellor Schröder and his Socialdemocratic/Green coalition for being part of the “coalition of the unwilling”, is completely hushed. No voice is heard in defense of Bush or Blair. From a EU European perspective there’s absolutely no argument pro Bush – except maybe John Kerry.
Old Mr. Lincoln
Remember the film: ‘Young Mr. Lincoln’, staring a lanky Henry Fonda? Kerry’s PR team seems to have cast the Democratic candidate in the role of old Mr. Lincoln, pointing his moral finger stiff and steady at Bush. But, what will the American people really get when they unwrap their ‘Uncle Sam’ package?
German media have called Kerry “the sphinx”. The millionaire with the social agenda, the saluting war hero who has been an outspoken critic of the Vietnam war sends a very mixed message over the Atlantic. What does the anti-Bush really stand for?
Will Kerry lead America to peace? Or will he rather reinforce the “war on terrorism” – the ‘Likudization of the World’, as Naomi Klein put it in one of her recent essays (www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=40&ItemID=6200).
Will he intensify the crazy bombardment of civilian neighborhoods or put an end to the escalating war in Iraq (what’s to be made of his talk about an “international council on Iraq”?)? One of Kerry’s steady criticisms in regard to his opponent is that Bush had led the nation “into isolation”. That America should have acted together with its allies. Does this imply that he wants to start a Nato war on Iran, Syria, or North Korea? Neither Old Europe nor even New Europe would follow George Bush to another battle-field. But perhaps the leaders of these countries might join forces with a new President. Especially the overambitious German Government, seeking a permanent seat in the UN Security Council.
As November 2nd nears Europe is more than ever concerned about America’s future.
And you will hardly find any Europeans in favour of a second Bush term. There are those – on the right and the left – who argue, that we should stay neutral, that criticizing America was inappropriate, that Kerry was winning anyway or that Kerry was ‘Bush lite’ and therefore no real alternative (which I tend to agree to). But, even Europeans who don’t sympathize with Kerry don’t want four more Bush years, and fear the possibility of an escalating war in the Middle East. So, even if you don’t like Kerry’s “ketchup” concept, you should vote for him – to prevent Bush!
A letter to Old America
Dear Mr. Rumsfeld. In 2003 you called my country part of “Old Europe”. The future belonged to “New Europe”, you crowed, to those courageous Italians, British, Spaniards and Eastern Europeans who joined forces with you to invade a defenseless country that posed no threat to you or me or the world. Now it’s our turn to call you “Old America”. You can’t teach an old dog new tricks, they say, and your Administration proved the saying right. You haven’t learned your lesson from the first Gulf War, nor from the second (or are we already in the midst of a third war on Iraq?).
Even if you now publicly scratch your head over the nonexistence of WMDs, it didn’t occur to you once that the whole invasion was a crime. If the American people should grant you another term in office, your ‘try and error experiments’ will go on and leave the world in ruins. We all know, our Western plutocracies are an insult to the concept of democracy. But there is one great difference between a plutocracy Western style and a dictatorship: In our plutocracies people are entitled to cast their votes.
Every once in a while they get their big chance to bring the machinery to a (brief) halt. I don’t like comparisons between Bush and Hitler. One fundamental difference between these two megalomaniacs lies in the fact that American troops won’t “weitermarschieren” (march on), “bis alles in Scherben liegt” (till all lies in ruins) like Hitler’s army – because the people of America can prevent it. And I trust the American people to show you and your boss the red light at the ballot box – this time – Mr. Rumsfeld.
Kerry may not be the best alternative, but he is the only realistic one. If he becomes your new President, there will be changes at the top and you, Mr. Rumsfeld – having sucked enough young people’s blood – can retire to your Transylvanian vaults. Perhaps the new Administration will pause and think for a moment. Without a loss of face Kerry can turn the steering wheel of American politics around before the vessel is ultimately hooked on the reef of international isolation.
On November 1st, the eve of the US presidential election, Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’ is scheduled on German TV on prime time (Pro 7, 8:15 pm, Central European Time).