Resolved: US hawks should cut Germany a break

I’m relatively new to this board, and in a few earlier posts I’ve indicated my reluctant support for war as a last resort, and only if it is carried out in a way that takes great pains to preserve the existing Iraqi infrastructure and leads to a better order in Iraq (and hopefully, by extension, leads to a better order in the entire ME region).

I am also an American.

Since 1945, Germany seemingly has adopted pacifism as a national ethos. The U.S. has played a huge role in shaping this attitude in Germany. I see Germany’s stand in this whole issue as mostly principled and honorable, even though I do not oppose war.

Schroder (sp?) capitalized on this existing German anti-war (and some anti-American) sentiment to pull victory from the jaws of defeat in the most recent German election. However, I do not think Schroder created this sentiment; he merely gave voice to it.

Therefore, since the U.S. played a huge role in shaping German pacifism, and since this pacifism appears mostly principled (as illustrated by Germany’s refusal to play any part in this war, even if it is eventually supported by the UN), and since Germany is playing a large role in trying to bring order to Afghanistan, American hawks (and very reluctant hawks, like myself) should not begrudge Germany’s refusal to play any role in this conflict (regardless of what the UN thinks).


Germany isn’t the one taking a lot of flak for their stance - it’s France.

Neurotik - I know, France is taking a lot of flak for this, and I see Chiraq’s (and by extension, France’s) behavior, much differently than Germany’s. I’m simply saying that American hawks should draw a distinction between France’s and Germany’s stance, and not lump the two together.

I see Germany’s stand in this as much more honorable and principled than France’s, based on Germany’s history and America’s role in shaping German attitude for the past 60 years. Therefore, I think American hawks should regard Germany’s stance with a degree of understanding.

Guess I would be another reluctant hawk, and I agree with you.

Like he said there’s been much more anger directed toward France so many have probably made the distinction already. Is there no chance, then, that Germany wants to be seen as “lumped together?”

Try telling that to Don Rumsfeld. :rolleyes:

Agree with your sentiment, 3-way, and actually Rumsfeld’s “Old Europe” statements was what I had in mind (along with the whole “Axis of Weasels” crap in the New York Post) when I posted.

Welcome to the Board, GoHeels.

If Germany merely refused to send troops to fight Iraq, I’d have no problem. However, they seem to be actively working to prevent the US from attacking. OTOH they’re doing nothing to promote efforts to stop Iraq from re-arming. Their position goes beyond pacifism. They are taking sides against the US, IMHO.

Schroder didn’t run an anti-war campaign, he ran an anti-American campaign. We are huge to the German economy (imagine how much of their own money they’d have to spend on military if we weren’t there protecting them) and we rebuilt the country, and this is how they return the favor.

I’ve also seen evidence that Germany supplied Saddam with 8 mobile weapons labs in the late 80s, as well as some chemical weapons.

This may be a dumb question, but what exactly are we protecting Germany from, now that the Soviet Union no longer exists? It seems like the big danger to Germany would be terrorism, and I’m not sure how American bases provide protection against that. Can someone clarify?

With regard to weapons provided in the 80s, didn’t the US provide similar weaponry to Iraq?

Sorry if these seem like naive questions or my OP is hopelessly naive - I admit my ignorance with regards to geopolitics and questions of war and peace. I hope the much more informed SDMB members can reduce my ignorance.

Lets also not forget that with 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, Germany is second only to the US as a presence in that country. Germany may oppose war in Iraq, but they supported the US in Afghanistan and continues to help there. It isnt foreign military force, or even US military force they oppose. What they are opposed to is an invasion in this particular situation.

Bush, on the other hand, alotted exactly ZERO dollars in this years budget for reconstruction and assistance in Afghanistan (although he found an ungodly sum to bribe Turkey with), thus paving the way for future terrorist breeding grounds. Perhaps Germany is wary that Bush will do the same in Iraq – as am I.

GoHeels, its not a dumb question.

Bob55, ya been in Germany lately? I have lived there several times, spanning the past decade, in a smallish town with a giant US military base (Bamberg, if youre curious). I usually go on the base to mail letters to the US (yeah, I know, Im not supposed to do that because Im not a soldier, but the price sure is right!) Each visit saw the base shrink to what is now basically a ghost town.

Our military presence in Germany is teeny tiny compared to what it once was.

Oh, one more thing – I have lots of German friends. Germans dont hate Americans or the US. Its this present administration they are upset with.

Nope, only to Italy, but now I’m kind of afraid to leave the country :frowning: I hadn’t realized that our military in Germany is shrinking (I knew some recently left Germany for Kuwait). I wonder what the actual numbers are today compared to 15 years ago.

I think it would be in the United State’s best interests to keep tabs on how countries we support treat us - if they insult us continuously and are very anti-American as Germany & France, they shouldn’t get our tax dollars. If people we provide foreign aide to countries or groups (like the Palistinians) that support terrorism or parade in the streets when airplanes crash into buildings in the U.S., their funding should be cut.

I don’t think it’s even necessary to invoke Germany’s pacifist ethos in order to defend their stand on Iraq. Nations have the right to make their own judgements about war and pursue whatever policy they feel is right. As it happens the positions of Germany and France are shared by many Americans including in the military,CIA and State Department.

It’s especially absurd because Germany and France are only advocating the policy of containment that was pursued by the US for ten years including the early months of the current Bush administration. It is the US that has changed its mind about this.

“They are taking sides against the US, IMHO.”
You could just as easily say that the US is taking sides against France and Germany who support containment. Why is the new US policy supposed to be the default policy which everyone is supposed to accept without question?

Thats pretty sad that you are afraid to leave the country because of a lack of military presence to protect you, Bob.

Especially when there are so many legitimate reasons to put off traveling - if you are an American - right now. C’mon, Bob, get with the program. It’s because they hate us, not because we need an army to protect us from German club kids.

I’ve been in Europe when the US is undertaking relatively minor military operations. I was there when the US ?cruiser? killed the Iranian civilians in the airliner. Both times, it sucked a fat one to constantly have to defend your nation from drunk know-it-alls. I finally would just say “I am not in charge. I was just following orders.” Sometimes they got it and laughed. Sometimes they got it and I’d be slipping away towards some friends.

True, but then it’s not quite consistent for them to criticize American “unilateralism” if that is their stand, is it?

“True, but then it’s not quite consistent for them to criticize American “unilateralism” if that is their stand, is it?”
Ah but in the international system that we live in a nation has to meet a high standard before it goes to war especially a war half-way across the world against a country which hasn’t attacked it. Since the presumption is against war there is no symmetry between the nation that wants war and the one that opposes war.

And when one country is by far the most powerful in the world both economically and militarily, and the other is a war-ravaged poor rat-hole with over 50% of the population under 18 years old, it seems easy to interpret, justified or not, like the schoolyard bully taking a smaller kid’s lunch money.

Regardless of whether or not this war is the right thing to do, I would say Bush has done about as poorly in the PR department as possible. “Uniter, not a divider” my ass.


So, by your logic, in order to criticize American policy, Germany has to first support American policy?