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The Battle of Tours

Nineteenth-century illustration of Battle of Tours by A. de Neuville.

Precisely 100 years after the death of Islam’s prophet Muhammad in 632, his Arab followers, after having conquered thousands of miles of lands from Arabia to Spain, found themselves in Gaul, modern day France, facing a hitherto little known people, the Christian Franks.

There, around October 10-11, in the year 732, one of history’s most decisive battles took place, demarcating the extent of Islam’s western conquests and ensuring the survival of the West.

Prior to this, the Islamic conquerors had for one century been subjugating all peoples and territories standing in their western march—including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, and Morocco. In 711, the Muslims made their fateful crossing of the straits of Gibraltar, landing on European soil. Upon disembarkation, the leader of the Muslims, Tariq bin Zayid, ordered the Islamic fleet burned, explaining that “We have not come here to return. Either we conquer and establish ourselves here, or we perish.”

This famous Tariq anecdote—often reminisced by modern day jihadis—highlights the jihadi nature of the Umayyad caliphate (661-750), the superpower of its day. Indeed, as most historians have acknowledged, the Umayyad caliphate was the “Jihadi-State” par excellence. Its very existence was coterminous with its conquests.  Its legitimacy as “viceroy” of Allah was based on subjugating lands in the name of Allah.

Once on European ground, the depredations continued unabated. Writes one Arab chronicler regarding the Muslim northern advance past the Pyrenees: “Full of wrath and pride” the Muslims “went through all places like a desolating storm. Prosperity made those warriors insatiable… everything gave way to their scimitars, the robbers of lives.” Even far off English anchorite, the contemporary, the venerable, Bede, wrote, “A plague of Saracens wrought wretched devastation and slaughter upon Gaul.”

Strange anecdotes also find their way in the chroniclers’ accounts during this time. Muslim historian Abd al-Hakem reports that, after landing on an island off Iberia, one of Tariq’s squadrons discovered that the only inhabitants were vinedressers. “They made them prisoners. After that, they took one of the vinedressers, slaughtered him, cut him into pieces, and boiled him, while the rest of the companions looked on.”  This incident resulted in a rumor that Muslims feast on human flesh.  (Nearly 1300 years later, in the year 2013, a Muslim jihadi ate the organs of his slain enemyto surrounding cries of “Allahu Akbar”.)

At any rate, this must have been the picture the men to the north had of the invaders from the south—wild and insatiable madmen, possibly cannibals, mounted on swift steeds, not unlike, in this manner, the Huns of old, who, under the “anti-Christ” figure of Attila, came ravaging through Europe, only to be defeated, in part by the Franks, in the year 451 at the Battle of Chalons, also in modern day France, 150 miles east of Tours.

“Alas,” exclaimed the Franks, “what a misfortune! What an indignity! We have long heard of the name and conquests of the Arabs; we were apprehensive of their attack from the East [see Siege of Byzantium, 717-718]: they have now conquered Spain, and invade our country on the side of the West.”

Conversely, the Muslims, flushed with a century’s worth of victories, seem to have had an ambivalent view, at best, regarding Frankish mettle. When asked about the Franks, some years before the Battle of Tours, the then emir of Spain, Musa, replied: “They are a folk right numerous, and full of might: brave and impetuous in the attack, but cowardly and craven in the event of defeat. Never has a company from my army been beaten.”

If this view betrayed overconfidence, Musa’s successor, Abd al-Rahman (“Slave to the Merciful”) exhibited even greater haughtiness regarding those whom he was about to give battle. At the head of some 80,000 Muslims, primarily mounted moors, Rahman’s destructive north
ward march into the heart of France was greatly motivated by rumors of more riches for the taking, particularly at the Basilica of St. Martin of Tours. Rahman initially separated his army into several divisions to better ensure the plunder of Gaul. Writes Isidore, author of the Chronicle of 754: “[Rahman] destroyed palaces, burned churches, and imagined he could pillage the basilica of St. Martin of Tours. It is then that he found himself face to face with the lord of Austrasia, Charles, a mighty warrior from his youth, and trained in all the occasions of arms.”

Indeed, unbeknownst to the Muslims, the battle-hardened Frankish ruler Charles, aware of their purport, had begun rallying his liegemen to his standard in an effort to ward off the Islamic drive. Having risen to power in France in 717—the same year a mammoth Muslim army was laying siege to Byzantium—Charles appreciated the significance of the Islamic threat. Accordingly, he intercepted the invaders somewhere between Poitiers and Tours, the latter being the immediate aim of the Muslims. The chroniclers give amazing numbers concerning the Muslims, as many as 300,000. Suffice to say, the Franks were greatly outnumbered, and most historians are content with the figures of 80,000 Muslims against 30,000 Franks.

The Muslim force consisted mainly of cavalry, and was geared for offensive warfare. The vast majority being of Berber extraction, they wore little armor, though their elitist Arab overlords were at least chain-mailed. For arms, they relied on the sword and lance; arrows were little used.

Conversely, the Franks were primarily an infantry force (except for mounted nobles such as Charles). Relying on deep phalanx-formations and heavy armor—reportedly 70 pounds for each man—the Franks were as immovable as the Muslims were mobile. They also appear to have had a greater variety of weaponry: the shield was ubiquitous, and arms consisted of swords, daggers, javelins, and two kinds of axes, one for wielding and the other for throwing—the francisca. This notorious latter weapon was so symbolic of the Franks that either it was named after them or, quite possibly, they were named after it.

The chroniclers state that the two contending armies faced each other for 6-7 days, neither wanting to make the first move. The Franks made much use of the familiar terrain: they appear to have held the high ground; and the dense European woods served not only to provide better shelter but to impede the anticipated Muslim cavalry charge.

Winter approaching, supplies and foraging areas dwindling, and an Islamic sense of superiority all compelled Rahman to commence battle, which “consisted entirely of wild headlong charges, wasteful of men.”

Writes an anonymous Arab chronicler: “Near the river Owar [Loire], the two great hosts of the two languages and the two creeds [Islam and Christianity] were set in array against each other. The hearts of Abd al-Rahman, his captains and his men were filled with wrath and pride, and they were the first to begin to fight. The Muslim horsemen dashed fierce and frequent forward against the battalions of the Franks, who resisted manfully, and many fell dead on either side, until the going down of the sun.”

According to the Chronicle of 754, much of which was composed from eye-witness accounts, “The men of the north stood as motionless as a wall, they were like a belt of ice frozen together, and not to be dissolved, as they slew the Arab with the sword. The Austrasians [Franks], vast of limb, and iron of hand, hewed on bravely in the thick of the fight; it was they who found and cut down the Saracen’s king [Rahman].”

Military historian Victor Davis Hanson writes: “When the sources speak of ‘a wall,’ ‘a mass of ice,’ and ‘immovable lines’ of infantrymen, we should imagine a literal human rampart, nearly invulnerable, with locked shields in front of armored bodies, weapons extended to catch the underbellies of any Islamic horsemen foolish enough to hit the Franks at a gallop.”

As night fell, the Muslims and Christians disengaged and withdrew to their tents. With the coming of dawn, the Franks discovered that the Muslims, perhaps seized with panic that their emir was dead, had fled south during the night—still looting, burning, and plundering all and sundry as they went. Hanson offers a realistic picture of the aftermath: “Poitiers [or Tours] was, as all cavalry battles, a gory mess, strewn with thousands of wounded or dying horses, abandoned plunder, and dead and wounded Arabs. Few of the wounded were taken prisoner—given their previous record of murder and pillage at Poitiers.”

In the coming years, Charles, henceforth known as Martel—the “Hammer,” due to his decisive stroke—would continue waging war on the Muslim remnants north of the Pyrenees till they retreated south. Frankish sovereignty and consolidation were naturally established in Gaul, leading to the creation of the Holy Roman Empire—beginning with Charles’ own grandson, Charlemagne, often described by historians as the “Father of Europe.” As historian Henri Pirenne put it: “Without Islam the Frankish Empire would probably never have existed and Charlemagne, without Mahomet, would be

Aside from the fact that this battle ushered in an end to the first massive wave of Islamic conquests, there are some indications that it also precipitated the fall of the Umayyad caliphate, which, as mentioned earlier, owed its very existence to jihad, victory, plunder and slavery (ghanima). In 718, the Umayyads, after investing a considerable amount of manpower and resources trying to conquer Byzantium, the eastern doorway to Europe, lost horribly. Less than fifteen years later, their western attempt was, as seen, also rebuffed at Tours. In the context of these two pivotal defeats, a mere 18 years after Tours, the Umayyad caliphate was overthrown by the Abbasids, and the age of Islam’s great conquests came to an end (until the rise of the Ottoman empire which, like the Umayyads, was also a jihadi state built on territorial conquests, and which did finally conquer Constantinople).

Thus any number of historians, such as Godefroid Kurth, would go on to say that the Battle of Tours “must ever remain one of the great events in the history of the world, as upon its issue depended whether Christian Civilization should continue or Islam prevail throughout Europe.”

Despite the obvious significance of this battle, cynical modern day historians often point to Edward Gibbon and others as embellishing and aggrandizing this battle. In fact, from the very start, the earliest writers contemporaneous to the battle portrayed it as a war between Islam and Christendom. Gibbon further, and famously, argued that, had the Muslims won, “Perhaps the interpretation of the Koran would now be taught in the schools of Oxford, and her pulpits might demonstrate to a circumcised people the sanctity and truth of the revelation of Mohammed.” (Writing in the 18th century, clearly Gibbon was unaware that his predictions would still come true, though not by way of active conquest but passive resignation, as the Koran is now taught in Oxford, accorded the same worth of the Bible—equal literature or equal revelation—and Islamic Sharia law is functioning in Britain.)

Still, some modern armchair historians insist that the Battle of Tours was naught but a “minor skirmish” dedicated to plunder, not conquest. As evidence, they point to the fact that, while early Christian chroniclers highlighted this battle, their Muslim counterparts, (except for the very earliest writers, who did acknowledge it as a disastrous defeat) tended to overlook or minimize its significance—as if that is not to be expected from the defeated, especially their posterity.

Other historians insist that plunder was the only objective of the Muslims—a wholly materialistic thesis to be expected from modern-day historians incapable of transcending their own 21st century epistemology. Thus they anachronize, particularly since the texts make clear that conquest and consolidation were always on the mind of the invading Muslims, Rahman’s army no exception: Reinaud tells us that in the emir’s head lurked the possibility of “uniting Italy, Germany, and the empire of the Greeks to the already vast domains of the champions of the Koran.”

In fact, when placed in context, the Muslims’ lust for booty only further validates the expansionist jihad thesis (see Majid Khadurri’s Law of War and Peace in Islam which contains an entire chapter on spoils, ghanima, and their central role in the jihad). From the start, the jihadi was guaranteed one of two rewards for his war-efforts: martyrdom if he dies, plunder if he lives. The one an eternal, the other temporal, reward—a win-win situation that, at least according to early Christian and Muslim chroniclers, played a major role in the success of the Muslim conquests. In other words, that the sources indicate the Muslims were booty-hungry, does not in the least negate the fact that, as with all of the initial Muslim conquests, starting with Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Badr, territorial conquests and the acquisition of booty went hand-in-hand and were the natural culmination of the jihad.

As for general destruction, Michael Bonner author of Jihad in Islamic History, writes, “The raids are a constant element [of the jihad], always considered praiseworthy and even necessary. This is a feature of pre-modern Islamic states that we cannot ignore. In addition to conquest, we have depredation; in addition to political projects and state-building, we have destruction and waste.”

At any rate, the facts speak for themselves: after the Battle of Tours, no other massive Muslim invasion would be attempted north of the Pyrenees—until very recently and through very different means.

But that is another story.


“Deutschland kann die Euro-Zone nicht retten”

Der Max-Planck-Ökonom und wissenschaftliche Chefberater des Bundesfinanzministeriums, Kai A. Konrad, fürchtet, dass sich das Gefälle in der wirtschaftlichen Dynamik innerhalb Europas erheblich verstärkt. Im Krisenfall solle Deutschland aussteigen. Die Furcht vor einer Katastrophe für die deutsche Wirtschaft hält Konrad für übertrieben. Im Gegenteil, hiesige Unternehmen könnten gestärkt daraus hervorgehen.

Die Welt: Herr Konrad, die Bundesregierung hat alle wichtigen Entscheidungen zur Euro-Krise auf die Zeit nach den Bundestagswahlen verschoben. Werden die Wähler gerade hinters Licht geführt?

Kai A. Konrad: Ich glaube eher an ein Weiter-so nach der Wahl. Die Politik versucht seit Ausbruch der Schuldenkrise Einschnitte aufzuschieben und alle Probleme einfach in die Zukunft zu verlagern.

Die Welt: Angesichts des hohen Schuldenstandes halten fast alle Ökonomen einen Schuldenschnitt für unausweichlich.

Konrad: Die Griechen haben eigentlich genug Vermögen, um selber für ihre Schulden geradezustehen. Aber an das Vermögen kann oder will man nicht heran. Ein erneuter Schuldenschnitt ist deshalb sicher eine Option.

Die Welt: Anfang 2014 wird Griechenland nach Einschätzung der Bundesbank ein drittes Hilfspaket benötigen. Wird das Land damit endgültig zu einem Fass ohne Boden?

Konrad: Das ist Griechenland bereits, weil niemand je einen Boden eingezogen hat. Die Schuldenquote steigt, auch weil die Wirtschaftsleistung dahinschmilzt. Und trotzdem macht die Troika aus EU, Europäischer Zentralbank und Internationalem Währungsfonds die immer gleichen realitätsfernen Wachstumsprognosen für das Land.

Die Welt: Sollte Griechenland zumindest temporär aus dem Euro aussteigen?

Konrad: Nein. Die dann wegen der Währungsabwertung höheren Auslandsverbindlichkeiten würden das Land erdrücken. Wenn man die Währungsunion aufbrechen will, sollte man dies an der Nordgrenze tun. Wenn, dann muss Deutschland aus dem Euro raus.

Die Welt: Deutschland soll zum dritten Mal Europa in die Luft sprengen? Das wird keine Bundesregierung je tun.

Konrad: Der Euro ist nicht Europa. Europa sollten wir retten, nicht den Euro! Deutschland kann zwar aus politischen Gründen aus dem Euro nicht selbst aussteigen. Die anderen Länder könnten Deutschland aber dazu drängen. Dazu kann es kommen. Die wirtschaftlichen Zustände werden in einigen Ländern unerträglich. Dazu treten politische Unruhen. Und wenn Deutschland und ein paar andere starke Länder die Währungsunion verlassen, wird der Euro abwerten und die südeuropäischen Länder kämen wirtschaftlich wieder auf die Beine.

Die Welt: Der Preis dafür ist der Ruin der deutschen Exportwirtschaft.

Konrad: Sie könnte sogar gestärkt daraus hervorgehen. Sie hat die regelmäßigen Auf
wertungen der D-Mark in früheren Jahrzehnten immer wieder gemeistert und wurde so fit für den Wettbewerb. Heute hat sie es da besser. Aber die Fähigkeit, auf Herausforderungen zu reagieren, geht dabei verloren. Und das ist gefährlich.

Die Welt: Trotzdem müsste die deutsche Notenbank die Notenpresse anwerfen, um dem Aufwertungsdruck der D-Mark entgegenzuwirken.

Konrad: Ja, die Bundesbank müsste große Summen in Fremdwährungen aufkaufen, um die D-Mark-Aufwertung in Grenzen zu halten.

Die Welt: Womit Deutschland in eine große Abhängigkeit geraten könnte – wie China heute, das auf riesigen Dollar-Reserven hockt.

Konrad: Die Chancen überwiegen. Die Geldschöpfungsgewinne wären gewaltig. Die Währungsreserven könnte man unkonventionell investieren. Zum Beispiel wie ein staatlicher Investitionsfonds Unternehmen, Rohstofflager und Immobilien im Ausland kaufen. Außerdem: Die Kaufkraft der deutschen Bevölkerung würde steigen, Reisen, Benzin und viele andere Güter würden billiger.

Die Welt: Fürchten Sie keinen Währungskrieg, wenn Deutschland mit der Notenpresse auf Beutezug geht?

Konrad: Nein, im Gegenteil. Deutschland würde ja nur eine Aufwertung zulassen, die richtig wäre und die innerhalb des Euro nicht möglich ist.

Die Welt: Zurück in die Gegenwart: Neben Griechenland werden wohl auch Portugal und Zypern, vielleicht auch Irland bald weitere Rettungspakete benötigen. Kann Deutschland die drohenden Belastungen schultern?

Konrad: Das Ausland stilisiert Deutschland zum zögerlichen Hegemon. Das ist eine Fehleinschätzung. In der jüngst veröffentlichten Vermögensstatistik in Europa hat Deutschland weit unterdurchschnittlich abgeschnitten. Die Politik und die Medien haben diese Ergebnisse heruntergespielt. Wir müssen aber akzeptieren: Deutschland ist klein im Verhältnis zur EU. Und Deutschland ist relativ zu seinen Nachbarn in den vergangenen 15 Jahren deutlich ärmer geworden.

Die Welt: Also kann Deutschland die Belastungen nicht schultern?

Konrad: Deutschland kann die Euro-Zone nicht retten. Wer das glaubt, verweigert sich der Realität. Die EZB kann den augenblicklichen Zustand erhalten, und zwar mit weit geöffnetem Geldhahn und indem sie sich in die Fiskalpolitik einmischt. Aber was steht am Ende? Das Gefälle in der wirtschaftlichen Dynamik innerhalb Europas dürfte sich erheblich verstärken.

Die Welt: Was würde das konkret bedeuten?

Konrad: Deutschland wird in den nächsten Jahren weiter von der Krise profitieren und einen Zuzug von Fachkräften erleben. So entstehen auf der einen Seite leistungsfähige Zentren in Europa und auf der anderen Seite ganze Gebiete voller Rentner und Transferempfänger. Europa gerät so in eine Mezzogiorno-Situation. Was das bedeutet, kann man seit Jahrzehnten in Italien beobachten. Dort muss der reiche Norden den armen Süden mit großen Sozialtransfers unterstützen. Gern tut man das nicht einmal innerhalb Italiens. Angesichts dieser Spannungen droht dem Euro das Aus.

Die Welt: Wann wird es so weit sein?

Konrad: Ein paar Jahre haben wir wohl noch. Ich habe 2010 zu Beginn der Krise gedacht, jetzt ist es schnell vorbei. Aber der Euro hat bis heute überlebt. So ein Prozess kann sich offenbar ganz schön strecken.

Die Welt: Die Notenbank hat mit ihrer Ankündigung, zur Rettung des Euro notfalls unbegrenzt Staatsanleihen aufzukaufen, für Ruhe an den Finanzmärkten gesorgt. Im Herbst entscheidet nun das Bundesverfassungsgericht, ob es dem Aufkaufprogramm der EZB Grenzen setzt. Was passiert, wenn das Gericht das tut?

Konrad: Erst einmal nichts. Das deutsche Verfassungsgericht kann der EZB nichts vorschreiben – das OMT-Programm bliebe voll intakt. Vielleicht könnte das Gericht der Bundesbank den Kauf von Staatsschuldtiteln verbieten. Dann kann aber die französische Notenbank einspringen und mehr Staatsanleihen kaufen. Deutschland würde dafür trotzdem entsprechend seiner EZB-Anteile genauso mit gut 27 Prozent haften müssen. Allerdings nur, solange der Währungsraum hält.

Die Welt: Was würde bei einem Zusammenbruch passieren?

Konrad: Dann steht jede Notenbank für das ein, was in ihren eigenen Büchern steht. Die von der EZB verordneten Staatsschuldtitelkäufe der Bundesbank wirken daher wie ein politisches Pfand: Hat die Bundesbank viele Schuldtitel gekauft, wird ein Auseinanderbrechen der Euro-Zone für Deutschland teurer. Entsprechend kann man Deutschland einfacher zu möglichen Hilfsprogrammen überreden. Sollte das Gericht der Bundesbank den Kauf von Staatsschuldtiteln untersagen, zahlt sich das im Fall des Euro-Zusammenbruchs aus, und es verringert auch den Druck, der auf Deutschland ausgeübt werden kann.

Die Welt: Ist eine Währungsunion ohne politische Union überhaupt funktionsfähig? Oder würde der Versuch, einen europäischen Superstaat zu errichten, zum Ende Europas führen?

Konrad: Eine Währungsunion ohne politische Union kann funktionieren, aber nur wenn Länder mit überschuldeten Staatshaushalten wirklich in die Umschuldung müssen und wenn die Länder eine viel striktere Haushaltsdisziplin einhalten als Staaten ohne Währungsunion. Ich denke da an Staatsschuldenquoten in der Gegend von zehn Prozent der Wirtschaftskraft. Die politische Wirklichkeit sieht ja bekanntlich anders aus. Die andere Alternative ist eine echte politische Union in einem sehr starken und demokratisch legitimierten Zentralstaat in Europa. Aber das ist eine Wunschvorstellung, die mit den politischen Realitäten in Europa nichts zu tun hat.

Quelle: Welt vom 17.08.13

Kai A. Konrad, 52, ist einer der führenden Finanzwissenschaftler Deutschlands. Er ist Direktor am Max-Planck-Institut für Steuerrecht und Öffentliche Finanzen München und Chef des Wissenschaftlichen Beirats beim Finanzministerium. Konrad promovierte 1990 an der Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München. Er forschte an der Freien Universität Berlin, der Universität Bergen und der University of California in Irvine. Sein jüngstes Buch veröffentlichte er 2012 zusammen mit “Welt”-Redakteur Holger Zschäpitz: “Schulden ohne Sühne? Was Europas Krise uns Bürger kostet” (dtv, 284 Seiten)

Henryk M. Broder über die Ressentiments der deutschen Friedensbewegung

Wieder einmal sind die Deutschen von der Geschichte betrogen worden, diesmal auf eine besonders perfide Weise. Sie haben einen Krieg verloren, an dem sie nicht mal richtig teilgenommen haben. Gemeinsam mit der geschlagenen irakischen Armee zogen sich auch die “edlen Seelen” der deutschen Friedensbewegung vom Schlachtfeld zurück.

Wie merkwürdig: Während überall in der Welt die Menschen erleichtert aufatmeten, während die irakischen Soldaten den amerikanischen GIs, von denen sie gefangen genommen wurden, aus Dankbarkeit um den Hals fielen, machte sich in Deutschland eine klammheimliche Enttäuschung breit. Was im Golfkrieg geschehen war, war schlimm, aber eben nicht schlimm genug. Die erwartete Apokalypse fand nicht statt, allen Ängsten und Hoffnungen zum Trotz kam es nicht zu einem dritten Weltkrieg, auch die globale Klimakatastrophe blieb aus. Und vor allem: Der Ölteppich auf dem Golf konnte schon weit vor Sylt gestoppt werden.

Der ganz normale Alltag kehrte zurück. Die schmuddelig gewordenen Bettlaken wurden von den Balkonen wieder eingeholt, die noch nicht verteilten Nachrufe auf “unsere geliebte Mutter, die Erde” landeten im grünen Altpapier-Container, die Frage “Wann sind wir die Wüste?” verschwand vom Eingangsportal der Humboldt-Universität, die Aufforderung “Hupt gegen den Krieg!” stand ganz plötzlich verloren im sinnleeren Raum. Dennoch hatte die deutsche Friedensbewegung ihr wichtigstes Kriegsziel erreicht, sie war vom ersten bis zum letzten Kriegstag moralisch sauber geblieben. Einige, die sich auf einen längeren Krieg eingerichtet hatten, wurden vom jähen Ende der Kämpfe um den Lohn ihrer Mühen gebracht. Die genau 1118 “Richterinnen und Richter, Staatsanwältinnen und Staatsanwälte, Rechtsanwältinnen und Rechtsanwälte und andere Juristinnen und Juristen” zum Beispiel, die in ganzseitigen Anzeigen “Schluß mit dem Krieg am Golf” gefordert und zu einem “Friedensforum der Juristinnen und Juristen” aufgerufen hatten, durften sich, von einem Tag auf den anderen, der Pflege des Straf- und Zivilrechts zuwenden. Auch die rührigen Frauen der “Aktion Scheherezade” konnten ihr Ziel einer “Welturabstimmung jetzt!”, bei der “jeder einzelne Mensch in dieser Welt in dieser Frage auf Leben und Tod angehört werden” sollte, nicht mehr in die Tat umsetzen. Ersatzweise reisten zwei Scheherezade-Frauen nach New York, um Uno-Generalsekretär Perez de Cuellar eine Liste mit 40 000 Unterschriften zu überreichen.

Aber das Unterschriftenpaket war irgendwo “auf der Strecke geblieben”, und der Generalsekretär schickte seinen Pressesprecher, dem die Frauen ihren Alternativ-Vorschlag unterbreiteten: Ein “außerparlamentarischer Frauenweltsicherheitsrat” sollte etabliert werden und das Recht haben, “alle Resolutionen des Weltsicherheitsrates zu blockieren, die gegen _(Henryk M. Broder, 44, lebt als Autor in ) _(Jerusalem und veröffentlichte zuletzt ) _(bei Klaus Bittermann mit anderen die ) _(Anthologie “Liebesgrüße aus Bagdad”. ) Menschen- und Frauenrechte oder gegen friedliche Konfliktlösungen gerichtet sind”. Der Uno-Pressesprecher, so eine der Frauen nach ihrer Rückkehr aus New York in die AL-Fraktion des Berliner Abgeordnetenhauses, habe sich von dem Vorschlag “sichtlich beeindruckt gezeigt”.

Mit dem Rückzug der Protagonisten aus der internationalen Arena in den heimatlichen Sandkasten könnte das Kapitel “Der Krieg am Golf und die deutsche Friedensbewegung” eigentlich geschlossen werden. Da wären nur noch einige besonders wertvolle Äußerungen, die festgehalten zu werden verdienen, ein paar Fußnoten zur Geschichte sozusagen. Lassen wir also einige Zeitgenossen noch einmal im Originalton zu Worte kommen, Gerhard Schröder zum Beispiel, SPD-Politiker, derzeit Ministerpräsident von Niedersachsen.

Kurz nachdem Saddam Hussein angedroht hatte, er werde Israel in ein großes Krematorium verwandeln, lehnte es Gerhard Schröder ab, an einer Solidaritätskundgebung für Israel teilzunehmen, da in dem Aufruf zu der Kundgebung ein Waffenstillstand nicht gefordert wurde. Am 3. Februar 1991 hatte Gerhard Schröder Gelegenheit, seine ausgewogene Position in der SAT-1-Sendung “Talk im Turm” zu erklären. Er sagte unter anderem: “Ich habe nein gesagt, weil man zugleich von mir verlangte, Solidarität mit Israel zu zeigen, aber für den Krieg zu sein. Und ich bin nicht für ihn und kann nicht für ihn sein . . . Ich glaube, daß derjenige, der in der Logik des Krieges bleibt, sich darüber klarwerden muß, was das heißt. Das heißt nämlich, daß wenn Saddam Hussein Giftgas einsetzt, auf der anderen Seite, bei den westlichen Alliierten, über Atomwaffen diskutiert werden wird, und wenn man es zu Ende denkt, ist der Einsatz atomarer Waffen nicht auszuschließen. Dies aber würde ein Kriegsszenario sein, das alles zerstört im Nahen Osten, Israel eingeschlossen, und uns und die Lebensgrundlagen der jungen Leute . . .” Gefragt, wie er das Verhalten der Briten beurteilt, sagte Gerhard Schröder: “Ich find” das ein tolles Land, und ich hab”, weil die Kneipen da immer um halb elf zumachen, wenn ich da war, mir manchen unsinnigen Fernsehfilm angeschaut, das hat mich aufgeregt, wie wir 40 Jahre lang abgemalt worden sind als besonders kriegerisch und kriegslüstern, und ich hab” das nie richtig gefunden und auch nie das richtige Bild der Deutschen. Aber jetzt, jetzt sagen die Deutschen in ihrer Mehrheit ,Wir sind gegen den Krieg”, und jetzt ist das auch wieder nicht richtig. Wissen Sie was, mich ärgert diese britische Kampagne, und ich halte es für würdelos, wie aus Deutschland darauf reagiert wird, nämlich eingeknickt und in der Einschätzung, die hätten da recht. Die haben da nicht recht, die Briten verarbeiten nicht nur diesen Konflikt, sondern ein paar andere Dinge gleich mit, und es ist wirklich an der Zeit, daß man ihnen mal sagt, und ich tu” das sehr gerne: Organisiert mal ”ne vernünftige, sozial gestaltete Gesellschaft, dann können wir uns als Europäer von gleich zu gleich auch kritisch über solche Fragen auseinandersetzen . . .”

Nun gut, die SPD hat es noch immer nicht verwunden, daß sie im Ersten Weltkrieg den Kriegskrediten zugestimmt und anschließend dem Kaiser die Rente ins Ausland nachgeschickt hat. Die Partei möchte ihre historischen Fehler nicht wiederholen, das spricht für sie. Aber muß sie deswegen so weit gehen, Gerhard Schröder zu Fragen von Moral und Politik Stellung nehmen zu lassen? Man sollte mit Saddam Hussein schonend umgehen, damit der kein Giftgas einsetzt, damit die Amerikaner keine Atomwaffen einsetzen, damit es zu keinem radioaktiven Fallout in seinem Wahlkreis Lehrte kommt. Das wäre dann die eigentliche Katastrophe. Und wenn der Pazifist Schröder, der für Israel nicht auf die Straße gehen mag, nationale Interessen vertritt, dann muß es ihn auch stören, wie “würdelos”, wie “eingeknickt” aus Deutschland auf die “britische Kampagne” gegen Deutschland reagiert wird. Was für ein Glück, daß die Deutschen, statt eingeknickt zu reagieren, nicht mehr ein paar V-2-Geschosse rüberschicken können, um den Briten einen Begriff von Würde zu vermitteln, da man mit ihnen, zurückgeblieben, wie sie nun mal sind, nicht “von gleich zu gleich” reden kann. Friedlich geworden, gibt sich der deutsche Oberlehrer damit zufrieden, nur noch wissenschaftliches Know-how für die Herstellung von B- und C-Waffen zu exportieren und anschließend andere die Drecksarbeit erledigen zu lassen.

Ein anderer Protagonist der neuen deutschen Friedenssehnsucht mit einem unverarbeiteten Groll im Herzen auf die alten und die neuen Alliierten ist Alice Schwarzer, Herausgeberin der Zeitschrift Emma. In einem Interview mit Günther Jauch im Stern-TV am 23. Januar 1991 sagte sie unter anderem: “Generationen von arabischen Völkern sind zu Sklaven erniedrigt worden von den weißen Herren, und die haben”s einfach hier (Hand in Nasenhöhe), die sind fertig. Danach kam die Periode, wo die Blöcke, West und Ost, sich d
iesen ganzen Raum aufgeteilt haben, und das ist nun, wie wir wissen, ins Rutschen geraten, und so gerät auch die Dritte Welt ins Rutschen und die arabische Welt . . . Und der Einmarsch in Kuweit ist sicherlich problematisch, aber so ganz absurd nicht. Es gibt den Staat erst seit ungefähr 30 Jahren, das war wirklich mal irakisch. Wie auch immer, es ist ein Konflikt. Aber ich bin der Meinung, daß die Amerikaner besser zu Hause geblieben wären. Sie haben uns in den letzten Jahrzehnten, ich hab” ein gutes Gedächtnis, schon eine Menge Konflikte beschert, wo sie meinten, sich einmischen zu müssen, warum auch immer, und wo es Millionen Tote gegeben hat auf beiden Seiten . . .”

Und auf die Frage nach den irakischen Raketenangriffen auf Israel sagte Alice Schwarzer: “Die sind sehr dramatisch, die sind an sich dramatisch, also gefährdete und tote Menschen sind, ist immer schlimm, die sind in bezug auch für uns Deutsche, denn die Tatsache, daß Israel existiert und Gott sei Dank existiert, hat ja auch etwas mit dem Holocaust und dem Faschismus zu tun, besonders schmerzlich. Aber ich glaube, daß das sicherste auf die Dauer für Israel wäre, eine friedliche Koexistenz mit seinen Nachbarländern, alles andere bringt Israel nicht weiter . . .”

Wer die Eloquenz kennt, mit der die Emma-Herausgeberin ansonsten auftritt, konnte sich über diese Stotterstrecke nur wundern. Läßt man die Verlegenheitseinschübe weg, bleibt eine Aussage übrig. Die Raketenangriffe auf Israel waren “für uns Deutsche besonders schmerzlich”. Schon wieder sind die Juden bevorzugt worden! Während ihnen nur die Scud-Raketen um die Ohren flogen, kam “uns Deutschen” gleich der Holocaust wieder hoch.

Hat unsere Protagonistin deswegen, was Israel und die Juden angeht, mit einer gewissen Befangenheit zu kämpfen, kann sie sich zu anderen Fragen ganz ungeniert äußern. Dabei gerät ihr nicht nur die Dritte Welt ins Rutschen. Der Einmarsch in Kuweit, erfahren wir, war “sicherlich problematisch, aber so ganz absurd nicht”, also ungefähr so wie die Vergewaltigung einer Frau, die sich den Avancen eines Verehrers widersetzt und dann eben mit Gewalt genommen wird. Problematisch, aber nicht ganz absurd. Daß es Kuweit als Staat “erst ungefähr seit 30 Jahren” gibt, ist ein Argument von ähnlichem Charme.

Zum einen ist die Bundesrepublik als Staat gerade 10 Jahre älter, zum anderen gibt es eine Reihe von Staaten, die noch jüngeren Datums sind. Die Amerikaner, meint sie, wären besser zu Hause geblieben, und der Kontext, in den sie ihre Meinung einbettet, der Verweis auf die “Menge Konflikte” und “Millionen Tote”, läßt vermuten, daß sie nicht nur die letzte Intervention meint, sondern auch jene, die schon 45 Jahre zurückliegt. In diesem Falle würde Alice Schwarzer nicht Emma, sondern bestenfalls eine Zeitschrift der NS-Frauenschaft redigieren, was im Detail, zum Beispiel, was die Beurteilung des US-Imperialismus angeht, keinen großen Unterschied ausmachen würde. Der Gedanke, wo sie heute wäre und was sie machen würde, wenn die Amerikaner damals zu Hause geblieben wären, trübt ihr nicht die Weltsicht, obwohl sie doch ein so gutes Gedächtnis hat. Alice Schwarzer lehnt sich zufrieden zurück und sagt ganz gelassen: “Ich bin sehr froh, daß die Amerikaner keinen Grund haben, uns hier zu helfen.”

Diese neue deutsche Unschuld, die linke Variante der Gnade der späten Geburt, hat auch Hans Christian Ströbele dazu gebracht, einen Satz zu sagen, den er noch heute inhaltlich für richtig und nur für unglücklich formuliert hält: “Die irakischen Raketenangriffe auf Israel sind die logische, fast zwingende Folge der israelischen Politik.”

Nur ein paar Tage vor diesem Satz sagte er in einem Telefongespräch mit dem grünen Kreistagsabgeordneten in Tübingen, Christian Vogt-Moykopf: “Wenn ich eine Eskalation des Krieges damit verhindern könnte, daß eine Million Juden sterben müßten, würde ich das in Kauf nehmen.” Anlaß für das Telefonat und die Äußerung, für die Vogt-Moykopf die Hand zum Eid hebt, war ein Brief, den einige baden-württembergische Grüne, darunter auch Vogt-Moykopf, an den israelischen Botschafter in Bonn geschrieben und in dem sie sich für die Lieferung von “Patriot”-Raketen an Israel ausgesprochen hatten. “Nach dem Bekanntwerden unseres Briefes rief mich Ströbele im Landtag an. Er sagte, ich sei doch sonst immer ein ,so vernünftiger Mensch” gewesen, und er verstehe gar nicht, wie ich die Lieferung von Patriots und in bestimmten Fällen die Entsendung von Truppen ,in diesen Staat” befürworten könnte . . . Jede Waffenlieferung nach Israel würde eine ,Eskalation des Krieges und der Konflikte im Nahen Osten überhaupt” nach sich ziehen . . . Ich fragte ihn weiter, ob ihm das Leben von möglicherweise Tausenden von Menschen gleichgültig sei, worauf er wörtlich antwortete: ,Wenn ich eine Eskalation des Krieges damit verhindern könnte, daß eine Million Juden sterben müßten, würde ich das in Kauf nehmen.””

Nachdem auch diese Äußerung bekannt wurde, bekam Vogt-Moykopf von Ströbeles Anwalt eine Aufforderung zugeschickt, “es künftig zu unterlassen zu behaupten, Herr Ströbele hätte gesagt . . .” In dem Anwaltsschreiben heißt es unter anderem: “Herr Ströbele hat eine solche Äußerung nicht abgegeben. Im übrigen berichten Sie öffentlich unter Berufung auf ein Gespräch, das zwischen Ihnen beiden vertraulich geführt worden ist . . . Herr Ströbele hat Sie nicht ermächtigt, angebliche Einzelheiten aus dem vertraulichen Gespräch öffentlich zu verbreiten.”

Handelte es sich um ein vertrauliches Gespräch mit angeblichen Einzelheiten oder um ein angebliches Gespräch mit vertraulichen Einzelheiten? Versteht man die Feststellungen des Ströbele-Anwalts richtig, wenn man sie dahingehend interpretiert, es habe ein Gespräch unter vier Ohren stattgefunden, bei dem Ströbele sich darauf verlassen habe, sein Gesprächspartner werde den Inhalt für sich behalten? “Bei antisemitischen Äußerungen gibt es keinen Schutz der Vertraulichkeit”, sagt Christian Vogt-Moykopf, “schon gar nicht, wenn es sich um Äußerungen von Politikern handelt, die sonst immer Öffentlichkeit herstellen wollen.”

Die Frage, ob Ströbele seine Meinung vertraulich oder versehentlich kundgetan oder Ansichten vertreten hat, die seine eigentliche Meinung nicht wiedergeben, muß man späterer Forschung überlassen. Fest steht, daß er in jedem Fall die Haltung eines Teils der grünen Basis wiedergegeben hat. Nach seinem im Interesse der Partei vollzogenen Rücktritt meldete sich nicht nur der DKP-Künstler Franz Josef Degenhardt mit einem Leserbrief in der taz zu Wort (“Lieber Ströbele, ich gratuliere Dir herzlich . . .”), es kamen auch Solidaritätsadressen von weniger bekannten Friedensfreunden, denen Ströbele aus dem Herzen gesprochen hatte. Galt früher mal die Parole “Die Juden sind unser Unglück!”, so verständigte sich die Friedensbewegung diesmal auf das Motto: “Die Juden sind an ihrem Unglück selber schuld!”

Daß Saddam Hussein seit langem die Vernichtung Israels angekündigt hatte, wurde entweder ignoriert oder bagatellisiert. Man habe keine Zeit gehabt, auf die Bedrohung Israels hinzuweisen, erklärte Brigitte Erler am Vorabend der großen Bonner Friedensdemo. Als die ersten irakischen Raketen in Tel Aviv einschlugen, da wären die Aufrufe zu der Kundgebung schon gedruckt gewesen . . . Und hatte früher jeder anständige Deutsche wenigsten einen Juden zeitweise versteckt, so hatte jetzt fast jeder deutsche Friedensfreund einen israelischen oder jüdischen Freund, dem er in einem offenen Brief das richtige Verständnis der Zusammenhänge vermitteln mußte. “Es sind auf lange Sicht nicht die Raketen, die das Recht Israels auf ein Leben in Frieden am schärfsten bedrohen, sondern das ungelöste Palästinenserproblem, die Feindschaft der arabischen Nachbarn”, rief ein Friedensfreund in der Zeit einer Israelin zu, der diese reifen, klugen Sätze ein großer Trost gewesen sein müssen, während sie mit ihren Kindern mit aufgesetzten Gasmasken in einem abgedichteten Zimmer auf den nächsten Raketeneinschlag

Und wo die reale Gefahr beim besten Willen nicht mehr geleugnet werden konnte, da mußten wenigstens Ursache und Wirkung vertauscht werden. “Ist nicht Israel gerade erst durch die militärische Antwort der USA auf die irakische Besetzung Kuweits gefährdet worden?” fragte Andreas Buro die Teilnehmer der Bonner Friedensdemo. Eine rhetorische Frage, wie der anschließende Satz bewies: “Seit dieser Zeit schlagen die Scud-Raketen ein, und die Angst vor Giftgas geht um.” – Mit derselben Logik könnte man auch bei einem Bankraub mit Geiselnahme zu Recht behaupten, erst das Eingreifen der Polizei habe die Geiseln wirklich in Gefahr gebracht, bis dahin sei alles ziemlich harmlos gewesen. So war es dann die logische, fast zwangsläufige Folge dieser Haltung, wenn die Frage gestellt wurde, welchen Preis die Aufrechterhaltung des Friedens wert war, beziehungsweise wer diesen Preis zahlen sollte. “Nicht einmal die gewissenlose Aggression Husseins, nicht einmal seine Bereitschaft zu weiterem Völkermord, besonders an Israel, rechtfertigt einen Krieg”, sagte der Landessuperintendent der Lippischen Landeskirche, Ako Haarbeck.

Und sein ostdeutscher Bruder, der Bischof von Berlin-Brandenburg, Gottfried Forck, machte an einem Beispiel aus dem täglichen Leben klar, wie man mit Saddam Hussein fertig werden könnte: “Dieser Wahnsinnnige steht auf dem Dach eines Hauses mit einer Bombe in der Hand, die nicht nur ihn, sondern viele unbeteiligte Menschen töten könnte. Mein Ziel muß also sein, ihn durch kluge, freundliche Worte vom Haus herunterzubekommen, so daß ich ihn dann entwaffnen kann.”

Darüber hinaus empfahl Bischof Forck noch ein Mittel zur Entmachtung des irakischen Diktators: “Die Menschen im Irak müßten von uns ermutigt werden, sich gegen dieses Gewaltregiment zur Wehr zu setzen . . . Ich erinnere nur an den Widerstand gegen das SED-Regime bei uns in der DDR. Als wir damals auf die Straße gingen, hielt niemand eine so schnelle Auflösung dieses Systems für möglich. Wir alle waren am Ende erstaunt und fassungslos darüber, daß uns das gelungen war. Dieser Erfolg ist für mich ein Zeichen, daß man in der Tat noch mehr auf Gewaltlosigkeit setzen sollte.”

Bischof Forck war nicht der einzige, der unter dem Eindruck der irakischen Aggression über die Vorzüge gewaltlosen Widerstandes nachzudenken begann. Der Politologe Ekkehart Krippendorff nahm einen Aufsatz über Mahatma Gandhi und Martin Buber zum Anlaß, um darzulegen, wie das Dritte Reich aus den Angeln hätte gehoben werden können – nämlich durch passiven Widerstand der Juden gegen die Nazis: “Man stelle sich dieses Szenario vor: Kein deutscher Jude folgt den diskriminierenden Anordnungen der deutschen Behörden (Judenstern, getrennte Parkbänke, beschränkte Einkaufszeiten usw.) – wären sie gegenüber Hunderttausenden durchsetzbar gewesen? Man stelle sich vor, kein deutscher Jude wäre Befehlen gefolgt, sich zu Sammelplätzen einzufinden – einige Dutzend, einige hundert, vielleicht auch einige zehntausend hätte die deutsche Polizei einzeln (passiver Widerstand!) aus ihren Wohnungen gezerrt und auf Lastwagen verladen; aber Hunderttausende? . . . Oder man stelle sich vor, die Kolonnen der Hunderte und Tausende auf dem Weg zu den Güterbahnhöfen hätten sich schlicht hingesetzt, ,Sitzstreik” nennen wir das heute – hätten Polizei, SA, Wehrmacht und SS es gewagt, im Angesicht aller deutschen Zuschauer diese Menschen jeden Alters und Geschlechts zusammenzuschlagen und sie Körper für Körper, widerstandslos und doch mächtig, auf Lastwagen zu verfrachten? . . . Die Spekulation ist zumindest legitim, sich zu fragen, ob das Regime nicht an einem solchen massiven passiven Widerstand selbst zerbrochen wäre.”

Ja doch, die Spekulation ist legitim und die Antwort auch: Wer sich so was fragt, ist ein Vollidiot, der vom Wesen totalitärer Herrschaft gerade so viel versteht, daß es zu einer Professur am Otto-Suhr-Institut reicht. Was bleibt, ist die bizarre Unterstellung, das NS-Regime ist deswegen nicht zusammengebrochen, weil die Juden keinen Sitzstreik an der Verladerampe veranstaltet haben.

Die Tinte, mit der dieser Meta-Unsinn geschrieben wurde, war noch nicht trocken, da trat Krippendorff schon zur nächsten Runde im akademischen Sackhüpfen an. Als Antwort auf einen Artikel, in dem ich vorgeschlagen hatte, zur Vermeidung eines Krieges sollte sich der Papst nach Bagdad begeben und eine hochkarätige deutsche Delegation nach Tel Aviv, legte er schon wieder ein Szenario vor: “Man stelle sich vor, Israel würde sich noch heute bedingungslos aus den besetzten Gebieten zurückziehen, die einschlägigen UN-Resolutionen akzeptieren und den Palästinensern dort das Recht geben, ihre eigenen Repräsentanten zu wählen und einen selbstbestimmten palästinensischen Staat zu bilden: Das wäre die schwerste und langfristig wirklich entscheidende Niederlage für Saddam Hussein.” – Womit die nächste Schuldzuweisung ausgestellt war. Nicht nur haben es die Juden unterlassen, durch passiven Widerstand das Dritte Reich kaputtzumachen, sie haben durch die alberne Weigerung, “sich noch heute bedingungslos aus den besetzten Gebieten zurückzuziehen”, den Krieg gegen Hussein heraufbeschworen. Noch bevor Ströbele den Israelis “Selber schuld!” zurief, meinte Krippendorff, die Einschläge irakischer Raketen in israelischen Städten und der Jubel der Palästinenser darüber wäre “der Sturm, zu dem die Politik des Staates Israel den Wind gesät hat”.

Dabei versteht sich K. als ein Freund Israels, so wie sich Walter Jens als ein Freund des jüdischen Volkes versteht, was er gerne dadurch unter Beweis stellt, daß er Albert Einstein, Jeshajahu Leibowitz und Martin Buber zitiert. O-Ton-Jens: “Gerade die Freunde des jüdischen Volkes, die zuallererst, die auch bereit sind, über die These des Romanciers Yoram Kaniuk nachzudenken, die da besagt, die Deutschen liebten immer nur die Opfer und mißachteten die Tatkräftigen unter den Juden . . . gerade wir, wollte ich sagen, denen militante Rechte seit Jahr und Tag kruden Philosemitismus vorwerfen, sollten uns, meine ich, hüten, unentwegt Solidaritätserklärungen abzufassen, die jenen zuallerletzt anstehen, die zu Recht davon Abstand nahmen, ihren Abscheu vor Untaten der RAF immer aufs neue zu manifestieren.”

Gibt es jemanden in der Bundesrepublik, einschließlich der fünf neuen Länder, der mir, Henryk Modest Broder aus dem polnischen Katowice, erklären könnte, was Professor Walter Jens damit sagen wollte? Daß er sich nicht kruden Philosemitismus vorwerfen lassen möchte, schon gar nicht von militanten Rechten, auf die es ihm sonst so sehr ankommt? Daß zu Israel schweigen sollte, wer seinen Abscheu vor den Untaten der RAF manifestierte beziehungsweise davon Abstand nahm? Und meint Walter Jens die Rote Armee Fraktion oder die Royal Air Force? Ich weiß es wirklich nicht, ich weiß nur eins: Wer solche Freunde hat, der muß sich vor seinen Feinden nicht mehr fürchten.

Da schätze ich schon eher jene, die Klartext reden und sich nicht als Freunde des jüdischen Volkes verkleiden. Die Abgeordnete Vera Wollenberger zum Beispiel (Bündnis 90/Grüne), die nach ihrer Rückkehr von einer Informationsreise nach Syrien und Jordanien erklärte, Waffenlieferungen an Israel wären “ganz gefährlich, weil das die Stimmung in der arabischen Welt weiter verbittern wird”.

Da möchte man der Abgeordneten Wollenberger für ihren Beitrag zum politischen Aschermittwoch danken, weil sie mit einfachen und doch klaren Worten auf einen kausalen Zusammenhang hingewiesen hat: je besser Israels Überlebenschancen, um so mieser die Stimmung in der arabischen Welt. Da wird auch dem letzten Friedensfreund in Radebeul sofort klar, wie man die Verbitterung der Araber kurieren könnte.

Im gleichen Sinne, wenn auch mit anderen Worten, äußerte sich der PDS-Ehrenvorsitzende Hans Modrow. Er meinte: “Der einzig wirkliche Schutz für Israel ist, keine Waffen zu liefern.” – Das sagte ein PDS/SED-Funktionär, unter dessen Mitverantwortung die NVA der DDR den Freunden von der irakischen Armee den richtigen Umgang mit chemisc
hen Kampfstoffen beibrachte.

Was lehrt uns das? Im normalen zwischenmenschlichen Verkehr kann absichtlich unterlassene Hilfeleistung als Beihilfe zur Tat gewertet werden. Wer einem Menschen, der von seinem Nachbarn akut bedroht wird, nicht zu Hilfe kommt und ihm statt dessen einen Vortrag hält, er sollte sich doch um ein gutes nachbarliches Verhältnis bemühen; wer mit einem Menschen, der zu ertrinken droht, eine Diskussion darüber anfängt, ob man ihm einen Rettungsreifen zuwerfen sollte, wo er doch an seiner Lage selber schuld wäre, weil er nicht beizeiten schwimmen gelernt hätte – wer so handelt, der sollte wenigstens nicht die Pose des wohlmeinenden Freundes einnehmen. Für jede Heuchelei gibt es eine Schamgrenze. Wer so handelt, der muß sich auch die Frage stellen, ob er das Unglück, das er mit allerlei grundsätzlichen Überlegungen räsonierend begleitet, nicht zu gern passieren sehen möchte.

Nachdem die ersten irakischen Raketen in Israel eingeschlagen waren, meinte Joschka Fischer, die Raketenangriffe auf Tel Aviv hätten “nicht den Stellenwert in den Köpfen, den sie haben müßten”, die Parole “Hände weg von Israel!” müßte genauso eine Forderung sein wie “Sofortiger Stopp des Kriegs”. Da lag Joschka Fischer aber gewaltig daneben. Die irakischen Angriffe auf Israel hatten genau den Stellenwert in den Köpfen der Friedensbewegten, den sie haben sollten. Daß sie nicht das Entsetzen und das Grausen auslösten, wie Fischer es sich gewünscht hätte, hatte einen einfachen Grund. Die mögliche Vernichtung Israels wurde nicht nur als die logische, fast zwangsläufige (also verdiente) Konsequenz der israelischen Politik billigend in Kauf genommen, es war diese Option, die Saddam Hussein jenen Sympathie-Bonus verschafft hat, den er mit seinem anti-imperialistischen Gedröhne allein nicht erreicht hätte.

Daß ich ja richtig mißverstanden werde: Ich meine nicht, daß sich die Mehrheit der Deutschen die Vernichtung Israels wünscht. Ich meine, daß in einem quantitativ wie qualitativ erheblichen Teil der Friedensbewegung der unbewußte, aber überaus heftige Wunsch am Werke war, Saddam Hussein möge die historische Chance nutzen und den Job vollenden, den die Nazis nicht zu Ende bringen konnten. Dann, endlich, würden manche Restriktionen entfallen, kein Deutscher müßte es sich angesichts der deutschen Geschichte mehr verkneifen zu sagen, was er sagen möchte, aber eben nicht darf. Wir, das heißt, die besseren Deutschen, wären endlich eine Vergangenheit los, die uns ein freies Urteil nicht mehr erlaubt. Mit anderen Worten: Mit der zweiten Endlösung der Judenfrage in Palästina würde die erste endgültig in den Kulissen der Geschichte verschwinden. Und ganz nebenbei wäre der Beweis erbracht, daß niemand mit den Juden in Frieden leben kann, nicht mal die Araber, die ja von Haus aus auch Semiten sind.

Junge Deutsche, die sich unter Parolen wie “Wann sind wir die Wüste?” und “Diesmal war”s am Golf – und morgen?” zu Mahnwachen hinhocken, dabei Traueranzeigen für “unsere geliebte Mutter, die Erde” verteilen und zugleich den Israelis zurufen, sie sollen sich wegen der paar Raketen nicht so anstellen und sich lieber aus den besetzten Gebieten zurückziehen, mögen objektiv verwirrte Geister sein, sie wissen dennoch genau, was sie tun. Wenn ihnen dann vorgehalten wird, sie würden ihren Pazifismus auf Kosten Dritter pflegen, dann antworten sie, sie hätten eben die Lehren aus der deutschen Geschichte gezogen. Gewalt dürfe nie wieder Mittel der Politik sein. Sie kommen mir vor wie ein restlos resozialisierter Gewalttäter, der seelenruhig zuschaut, wie ein Straßenräuber einen Passanten ausnimmt, und dabei nicht eingreift, weil er der Gewalt grundsätzlich abgeschworen hat und um keinen Preis rückfällig werden möchte.

Daß die Friedensbewegung zu den Massakern der irakischen Truppen an den Kurden und den Schiiten ebenso vernehmlich schweigt, wie sie vor Beginn des Golfkrieges zu dem Überfall auf Kuweit geschwiegen hat, kann nur diejenigen irritieren, die der Behauptung ihrer Sprecher Glauben schenken, man wäre nicht von anti-amerikanischen Ressentiments erfüllt.

Am 13. April erschien in der Frankfurter Rundschau, als Reaktion auf einen Artikel des FR-Redakteurs Reifenrath, ein Leserbrief von Dr. Andreas Buro. Der Sprecher des Komitees für Grundrechte und Demokratie in Bonn-Beuel bemühte sich um eine Antwort auf eine Frage, die sich in diesen Tagen so viele stellen: Warum geht die Friedensbewegung gegen den Massenmord an den Kurden nicht en masse auf die Straße? Dies könne von der Friedensbewegung nicht erwartet werden, meinte Buro, denn: “Was für Übermenschen sollen diese Demonstranten eigentlich sein, die ständig . . . auf der Straße sein sollen, die gleichzeitig ihrem Broterwerb nachzugehen haben, aber auch gut leben wollen und viele Hobbys wie jeder andere Mann und jede andere Frau haben?” Schließlich gäbe es “durchgängig immer 10 bis 20 Kriege auf der Welt gleichzeitig”, es würde “ständig in vielen Ländern gefoltert und das Menschenrecht mit Füßen getreten . . .”

Das leuchtet ein. Auch die engagiertesten Friedenskämpfer müssen ihr Geld verdienen, und es wäre nicht fair, von ihnen zu erwarten, daß sie dauernd wegen irgendwelcher Kriege ihre Bauchtanz- und Ikebana-Kurse versäumen sollen. Seien wir generös, lassen wir sie sich bei ihren Hobbys regenerieren und neue Kräfte sammeln. Beim nächstenmal, wenn es dann gegen den US-Imperialismus oder die zionistische Aggressionspolitik geht, werden sie wieder mit von der Partie sein. o

Henryk M. Broder, 44, lebt als Autor in Jerusalem und veröffentlichte zuletzt bei Klaus Bittermann mit anderen die Anthologie “Liebesgrüße aus Bagdad”.



Neuköllner SPD fordert eine differenzierte Islam-Politik (Grünauer Erklärung)

Die Neuköllner SPD will mit der “%%Grünauer Erklärung%%” vom 3. September 2012 als Ergebnis ihrer Klausurtagung ihren Beitrag zur aktuellen gesellschaftlichen Debatte formulieren. Wir betrachten mit Sorge die Entwicklung radikal islamischer Strömungen in Deutschland, vor allem aber auch im Bezirk Neukölln, und erachten es als zwingend notwendig, dass bundesweit konsequent gegen jegliche Form von islamistischen Bewegungen vorgegangen wird:

#Bekenntnis zur Glaubensfreiheit als Privatsache
An dem Grundsatz, dass der Glaube eines Menschen Privatsache ist, müssen wir eisern festhalten. Nur dieser Grundsatz ist einer freiheitlich-demokratischen Ordnung angemessen. Das Recht von Eltern, die Religion ihrer Kinder zu bestimmen, erlischt mit dem vollendeten 14. Lebensjahr. Der Ethik-Unterricht muss Jugendlichen vermitteln, dass sie sich anders entscheiden dürfen. Die Schule muss ein religiös neutraler Raum bleiben. Wir bekennen uns ausdrücklich zum Berliner Neutralitätsgesetz, das dem Personal des Öffentlichen Dienstes verbietet, auffällige weltanschauliche Symbole zu tragen.

#Religiöse Abstriche an der Schulpflicht begrenzen
Es ist eine gute, lebensnahe Lösung, dass Berliner Schulkinder sich aus Anlass des Zucker- und Opferfestes vom Unterricht befreien lassen können. Weitere Abstriche an der Schulpflicht lehnen wir ab. Insbesondere die Teilnahme am Sport-, Schwimm und Biologieunterricht darf nicht aus religiösen Gründen verweigert werden. Wo es nötig ist, kann durch schulinterne Lösungen (z.B. Teilungsunterricht) religiösen Befindlichkeiten Rechnung getragen werden.

#Gewaltbereite Salafisten bekämpfen
Ihre Grenze wird die Toleranz des freiheitlich-demokratischen Staates dort haben, wo Religionsausübung zur Gefahr für die Freiheit selbst wird, die er garantiert. Deshalb müssen gewaltbereite Gruppierungen innerhalb der salafistischen Strömungen wie bisher mit den Mitteln des Verfassungschutzes beobachtet und, wenn nötig, durch Verbote, polizeiliche Präventions- und staatsanwaltliche Verfolgungsmaßnahmen
bekämpft werden.

Zur Förderung der %%religiösen Integration%% fordert die Neuköllner SPD zudem folgende religionspolitische Maßnahmen:
*Die Kultusministerkonferenz wird aufgefordert, sich auf bundesweit einheitliche Regelungen zur Anerkennung von zwei muslimischen Feiertagen zu einigen, an denen muslimische Kinder von der Teilnahme am Unterricht befreit werden.
*Die Ausbildung von Imamen und Religionslehrern an deutschen Universitäten muss ausgebaut werden. Ergänzend zu Tübingen, Münster und Osnabrück müssen auch an einer Berliner Universität Studiengänge für die Ausbildung von Imamen und Lehrerinnen und Lehrern eingerichtet werden.
*Bund und Länder müssen Kriterien entwickeln, unter welchen Voraussetzungen islamische Glaubensgemeinschaften als Körperschaften Öffentlichen Rechts anerkannt werden können. Das geistliche Personal muss über einen theologischen Abschluss einer deutschen Universität verfügen und sich zum Grundgesetz und der freiheitlich-demokratischen Grundordnung der Bundesrepublik Deutschland bekennen.
*Im Land Berlin muss der Grundsatz durchgesetzt werden, dass nur Lehrerinnen und Lehrer mit einem Abschluss in Islamischer Religionslehre von einer deutschen Universität islamischen Religionsunterricht erteilen dürfen.

 Dieser Beitrag wurde am  veröffentlicht in  Quelle

American Exceptionalism

American Exceptionalism 
A Double Edged Sword 
By Seymour Martin Lipset

Chapter One: Ideology, Politics, and Deviance

Born out of revolution, the United States is a country organized around an ideology which includes a set of dogmas about the nature of a good society. Americanism, as different people have pointed out, is an “ism” or ideology in the same way that communism or fascism or liberalism are isms. As G. K. Chesterton put it: “America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence. . . .” As noted in the Introduction, the nation’s ideology can be described in five words: liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, populism, and laissezfaire. The revolutionary ideology which became the American Creed is liberalism in its eighteenth- and nineteenth-century meanings, as distinct from conservative Toryism, statist communitarianism, mercantilism, and noblesse oblige dominant in monarchical, state-church-formed cultures.

Other countries’ senses of themselves are derived from a common history. Winston Churchill once gave vivid evidence to the difference between a national identity rooted in history and one defined by ideology in objecting to a proposal in 1940 to outlaw the anti-war Communist Party. In a speech in the House of Commons, Churchill said that as far as he knew, the Communist Party was composed of Englishmen and he did not fear an Englishman. In Europe, nationality is related to community, and thus one cannot become un-English or un-Swedish. Being an American, however, is an ideological commitment. It is not a matter of birth. Those who reject American values are un-American.

The American Revolution sharply weakened the noblesse oblige, hierarchically rooted, organic community values which had been linked to Tory sentiments, and enormously strengthened the individualistic, egalitarian, and anti-statist ones which had been present in the settler and religious background of the colonies. These values were evident in the twentieth-century fact that, as H. G. Wells pointed out close to ninety years ago, the United States not only has lacked a viable socialist party, but also has never developed a British or European-type Conservative or Tory party. Rather, America has been dominated by pure bourgeois, middle-class individualistic values. As Wells put it: “Essentially America is a middle-class [which has] become a community and so its essential problems are the problems of a modern individualistic society, stark and clear.” He enunciated a theory of America as a liberal society, in the classic anti-statist meaning of the term:

It is not difficult to show for example, that the two great political parties in America represent only one English party, the middle-class Liberal party. . . . There are no Tories . . . and no Labor Party. . . . [T]he new world [was left] to the Whigs and Nonconformists and to those less constructive, less logical, more popular and liberating thinkers who became Radicals in England, and Jeffersonians and then Democrats in America. All Americans are, from the English point of view, Liberals of one sort or another. . . . The liberalism of the eighteenth century was essentially the rebellion . . . against the monarchical and aristocratic state–against hereditary privilege, against restrictions on bargains. Its spirit was essentially anarchistic–the antithesis of Socialism. It was anti-State.


In dealing with national characteristics it is important to recognize that comparative evaluations are never absolutes, that they always are made in terms of more or less. The statement that the United States is an egalitarian society obviously does not imply that all Americans are equal in any way that can be defined. This proposition usually means (regardless of which aspect is under consideration–social relations, status, mobility, etc.) that the United States is more egalitarian than Europe.

Comparative judgments affect all generalizations about societies. This is such an obvious, commonsensical truism that it seems almost foolish to enunciate it. I only do so because statements about America or other countries are frequently challenged on the ground that they are not absolutely true. Generalizations may invert when the unit of comparison changes. For example, Canada looks different when compared to the United States than when contrasted with Britain. Figuratively, on a scale of 0 to 100, with the United States close to 0 on a given trait and Britain at 100, Canada would fall around 30. Thus, when Canada is evaluated by reference to the United States, it appears as more elitist, law-abiding, and statist, but when considering the variations between Canada and Britain, Canada looks more anti-statist, violent, and egalitarian.

The notion of “American exceptionalism” became widely applied in the context of efforts to account for the weakness of working-class radicalism in the United Stat
es. The major question subsumed in the concept became why the United States is the only industrialized country which does not have a significant socialist movement or Labor party. That riddle has bedeviled socialist theorists since the late nineteenth century. Friedrich Engels tried to answer it in the last decade of his life. The German socialist and sociologist Werner Sombart dealt with it in a major book published in his native language in 1906, Why Is There No Socialism in the United States? As we have seen, H. G. Wells, then a Fabian, also addressed the issue that year in The Future in America. Both Lenin and Trotsky were deeply concerned because the logic of Marxism, the proposition expressed by Marx in Das Kapital that “the more developed country shows the less developed the image of their future,” implied to Marxists prior to the Russian Revolution that the United States would be the first socialist country.”

Since some object to an attempt to explain a negative, a vacancy, the query may of course be reversed to ask why has America been the most classically liberal polity in the world from its founding to the present? Although the United States remains the wealthiest large industrialized nation, it devotes less of its income to welfare and the state is less involved in the economy than is true for other developed countries. It not only does not have a viable, class-conscious, radical political movement, but its trade unions, which have long been weaker than those of almost all other industrialized countries, have been steadily declining since the mid-1950s. These issues are covered more extensively in chapter Three. An emphasis on American uniqueness raises the obvious question of the nature of the differences. There is a large literature dating back to at least the eighteenth century which attempts to specify the special character of the United States politically and socially. One of the most interesting, often overlooked, is Edmund Burke’s speech to the House of Commons proposing reconciliation with the colonies, in which he sought to explain to his fellow members what the revolutionary Americans were like. He noted that they were different culturally, that they were not simply transplanted Englishmen. He particularly stressed the unique character of American religion. J. Hector St. John Crevecoeur, in his book Letters from an American Farmer, written in the late eighteenth century, explicitly raised the question, “What is an American?” He emphasized that Americans behaved differently in their social relations, were much more egalitarian than other nationalities, that their”dictionary” was “short in words of dignity, and names of honor,” that is, in terms through which the lower strata expressed their subservience to the higher. Tocqueville, who observed egalitarianism in a similar fashion, also stressed individualism, as distinct from the emphasis on “group ties” which marked Europe.

These commentaries have been followed by a myriad–thousands upon thousands–of books and articles by foreign travelers. The overwhelming majority are by educated Europeans. Such writings are fruitful because they are comparative; those who wrote them emphasized cross-national variations in behavior and institutions. Tocqueville’s Democracy, of course, is the best known. As we have seen, he noted that he never wrote anything about the United States without thinking of France. As he put it, in speaking of his need to contrast the same institutions and behavior in both countries, “without comparisons to make, the mind doesn’t know how to proceed.” Harriet Martineau, an English contemporary, also wrote a first-rate comparative book on America. Friedrich Engels and Max Weber were among the contributors to the literature. There is a fairly systematic and similar logic in many of these discussions. Beyond the analysis of variations between the United States and Europe, various other comparisons have been fruitful. In previous writings, I have suggested that one of the best ways to specify and distinguish American traits is by contrast with Canada. There is a considerable comparative North American literature, written almost entirely by Canadians. They have a great advantage over Americans since, while very few of the latter study their northern neighbor, it is impossible to be a literate Canadian without knowing almost as much, if not more, as most Americans about the United States. Almost every Canadian work on a given subject (the city, religion, the family, trade unions, etc.) contains a great deal about the United States. Many Canadians seek to explain their own country by dealing with differences or similarities south of the border. Specifying and analyzing variations among the predominantly English-speaking countries–Australia, Canada, Great Britain, New Zealand, and the United States–is also useful precisely because the differences among them generally are smaller than between each and non-Anglophonic societies. have tried to analyze these variations in The First New Nation. The logic of studying societies which have major aspects in common was also followed by Louis Hartz in treating the overseas settler societies–United States, Canada, Latin America, Australia, and South Africa–as units for comparison. Fruitful comparisons have been made between Latin America and Anglophonic North America, which shed light on each.

Some Latin Americans have argued that there are major common elements in the Americas which show up in comparisons with Europe. Fernando Cardoso, a distinguished sociologist and now president of Brazil, once told me that he and his friends (who were activists in the underground left in the early 1960s) consciously decided not to found a socialist party as the military dictatorship was breaking down. They formed a populist party because, as they read the evidence, class-conscious socialism does not appeal in the Americas. With the exceptions of Chile and Canada (to a limited extent), major New World left parties from Argentina to the United States have been populist. Cardoso suggested that consciousness of social class is less salient throughout most of the Americas than in postfeudal Europe. However, I do not want to take on the issue of how exceptional the Americas are; dealing with the United States is more than enough.


The United States is viewed by many as the great conservative society, but it may also be seen as the most classically liberal polity in the developed world. To understand the exceptional nature of American politics, it is necessary to recognize, with H. G. Wells, that conservatism, as defined outside of the United States, is particularly weak in this
country. Conservatism in Europe and Canada, derived from the historic alliance of church and government, is associated with the emergence of the welfare state. The two names most identified with it are Bismarck and Disraeli. Both were leaders of the conservatives (Tories) in their countries. They represented the rural and aristocratic elements, sectors which disdained capitalism, disliked the bourgeoisie, and rejected materialistic values. Their politics reflected the values of noblesse oblige, the obligation of the leaders of society and the economy to protect the less fortunate.

The semantic confusion about liberalism in America arises because both early and latter-day Americans never adopted the term to describe the unique American polity. The reason is simple. The American system of government existed long before the word “liberal” emerged in Napoleonic Spain and was subsequently accepted as referring to a particular party in mid-nineteenth-century England, as distinct from the Tory or Conservative Party. What Europeans have called “liberalism,” Americans refer to as “conservatism”: a deeply anti-statist doctrine emphasizing the virtues of laissez-faire. Ronald Reagan and Milton Friedman, the two current names most frequently linked with this ideology, define conservatism in America. And as Friedrich Hayek, its most important European exponent noted, it includes the rejection of aristocracy, social class hierarchy, and an established state church. As recently as the April and June 1987 issues of the British magazine Encounter, two leading trans-Atlantic conservative intellectuals, Max Beloff (Lord Beloff) and Irving Kristol, debated the use of titles. Kristol argued that Britain “is soured by a set of very thin, but tenacious, aristocratic pretensions . . . [which] foreclose opportunities and repress a spirit of equality that has yet to find its full expression. . . .” This situation fuels many of the frustrations that make “British life . . . so cheerless, so abounding in ressentiment.” Like Tocqueville, he holds up “social equality” as making”other inequalities tolerable in modern democracy.” Beloff, a Tory, contended that what threatens conservatism in Britain “is not its remaining links with the aristocratic tradition, but its alleged indifference to some of the abuses of capitalism. It is not the Dukes who lose us votes, but the ‘malefactors of great wealth. . . .'” He wondered “why Mr. Kristol believes himself to be a ‘conservative,’ ” since he is “as incapable as most Americans of being a conservative in any profound sense.” Lord Beloff concluded that “Conservatism must have a ‘Tory’ element or it is only the old ‘Manchester School,’ ” i.e., liberal.

Canada’s most distinguished conservative intellectual, George Grant, emphasized in his Lament for a Nation that “Americans who call themselves ‘Conservatives’ have the right to that title only in a particular sense. In fact, they are old-fashioned liberals. . . . Their concentration on freedom from governmental interference has more to do with nineteenth century liberalism than with traditional conservatism, which asserts the right of the community to restrain freedom in the name of the common good.” Grant bemoaned the fact that American conservatism, with its stress on the virtues of competition and links to business ideology, focuses on the rights of individuals and ignores communal rights and obligations. He noted that there has been no place in the American political philosophy “for the organic conservatism that predates the age of progress. Indeed, the United States is the only society on earth that has no traditions from before the age of progress.” The recent efforts, led by Amitai Etzioni, to create a “communitarian” movement are an attempt to transport Toryism to America. British and German Tories have recognized the link and have shown considerable interest in Etzioni’s ideas. Still, it must be recognized that American politics have changed. The 1930s produced a qualitative difference. As Richard Hofstadter wrote, this period brought a “social democratic tinge” to the United States for the first time in its history. The Great Depression produced a strong emphasis on planning, on the welfare state, on the role of the government as a major regulatory actor. An earlier upswing in statist sentiment occurred immediately prior to World War 1, as evidenced by the significant support for the largely Republican Progressive movement led by Robert LaFollette and Theodore Roosevelt and the increasing strength (up to a high of 6% of the national vote in 1912) for the Socialist Party. They failed to change the political system. Grant McConnell explains the failure of the Progressive movement as stemming from “the pervasive and latent ambiguity in the movement” about confronting American anti-statist values. “Power as it exists was antagonistic to democracy, but how was it to be curbed without the erection of superior power?”

Prior to the 1930s, the American trade union movement was also in its majority anti-statist. The American Federation of Labor (AFL) was syndicalist, believed in more union, not more state power, and was anti-socialist. Its predominant leader for forty years, Samuel Gompers, once said when asked about his politics, that he guessed he was three quarters of an anarchist. And he was right. Europeans and others who perceived the Gompers-led AFL as a conservative organization because it opposed the socialists were wrong. The AFL was an extremely militant organization, which engaged in violence and had a high strike rate. It was not conservative, but rather a militant anti-statist group. The United States also had a revolutionary trade union movement, the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW). The IWW, like the AFL, was not socialist. It was explicitly anarchist, or rather, anarcho-syndicalist. The revived American radical movement of the 1960s, the so-called New Left, was also not socialist. While not doctrinally anarchist, it was much closer to anarchism and the IWW in its ideology and organizational structure than to the Socialists or Communists.

The New Deal, which owed much to the Progressive movement, was not socialist either. Franklin Roosevelt clearly wanted to maintain a capitalist economy. In running for president in 1932, he criticized Herbert Hoover and the Republicans for deficit financing and expanding the economic role of the government, which they had done in order to deal with the Depression. But his New Deal, also rising out of the need to confront the massive economic downsizing, drastically increased the statist strain in American politics, while furthering public support for trade unions. The new labor movement which arose concomitantly, the Committee for (later Congress of) Industrial Organization (CIO), unlike the American Federation of Labor (AFL), was virtually social democratic in its orientation. In fact, socialists and communists played important roles in the movement. The CIO was much more politically active t
han the older Federation and helped to press the Democrats to the left. The Depression led to a kind of moderate “Europeanization” of American politics, as well as of its labor organizations. Class factors became more important in differentiating party support. The conservatives, increasingly concentrated among the Republicans, remained anti-statist and laissez-faire, but many of them grew willing to accommodate an activist role for the state.

This pattern, however, gradually inverted after World War 11 as a result of long-term prosperity. The United States, like other parts of the developed world, experienced what some have called an economic miracle. The period from 1945 to the 1980s was characterized by considerable growth (mainly before the mid-1970s), an absence of major economic downswings, higher rates of social mobility both on a mass level and into the elites, and a tremendous expansion of higher educational systems–from a few million to 11 or 12 million going to colleges and universities–which fostered that mobility. America did particularly well economically, leading Europe and Japan by a considerable margin in terms of new job creation. A consequence of these developments was a refurbishing of the classical liberal ideology, that is, American conservatism. The class tensions produced by the Depression lessened, reflected in the decline of the labor movement and lower correlations between class position and voting choices. And the members of the small (by comparative standards) American labor movement are today significantly less favorable to government action than European unionists. Fewer than half of American union members are in favor of the government providing a decent standard of living for the unemployed, as compared with 69 percent of West German, 72 percent of British, and 73 percent of Italian unionists.33 Even before Ronald Reagan entered the White House in 1981, the United States had a lower rate of taxation, a less developed welfare state, and many fewer government-owned industries than other industrialized nations.

© 1996 Seymour M. Lipset

source WP

The whole book is online: Click here or here.



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Framework for Elimination of Syrian Chemical Weapons


Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

September 14, 2013


Taking into account the decision of the Syrian Arab Republic to accede to the Chemical Weapons Convention and the commitment of the Syrian authorities to provisionally apply the Convention prior to its entry into force, the United States and the Russian Federation express their joint determination to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program (CW) in the soonest and safest manner.


For this purpose, the United States and the Russian Federation have committed to prepare and submit in the next few days to the Executive Council of the OPCW a draft decision setting down special procedures for expeditious destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program and stringent verification thereof. The principles on which this decision should be based, in the view of both sides, are set forth in Annex A. The United States and the Russian Federation believe that these extraordinary procedures are necessitated by the prior use of these weapons in Syria and the volatility of the Syrian civil war.


The United States and the Russian Federation commit to work together towards prompt adoption of a UN Security Council resolution that reinforces the decision of the OPCW Executive Council. This resolution will also contain steps to ensure its verification and effective implementation and will request that the UN Secretary-General, in consultation with the OPCW, submit recommendations to the UN Security Council on an expedited basis regarding the UN’s role in eliminating the Syrian chemical weapons program.


The United States and the Russian Federation concur that this UN Security Council resolution should provide for review on a regular basis the implementation in Syria of the decision of the Executive Council of the OPCW, and in the event of non-compliance, including unauthorized transfer, or any use of chemical weapons by anyone in Syria, the UN Security Council should impose measures under Chapter VII of the UN Charter.


The proposed joint US-Russian OPCW draft decision supports the application of Article VIII of the Chemical Weapons Convention, which provides for the referral of any cases of non-compliance to the United Nations General Assembly and the United Nations Security Council.


In furtherance of the objective to eliminate the Syrian chemical weapons program, the United States and the Russian Federation have reached a shared assessment of the amount and type of chemical weapons involved, and are committed to the immediate international control over chemical weapons and their components in Syria. The United States and the Russian Federation expect Syria to submit, within a week, a comprehensive listing, including names, types, and quantities of its chemical weapons agents, types of munitions, and location and form of storage, production, and research and development facilities.


We further determined that the most effective control of these weapons may be achieved by removal of the largest amounts of weapons feasible, under OPCW supervision, and their destruction outside of Syria, if possible. We set ambitious goals for the removal and destruction of all categories of CW related materials and equipment with the objective of completing such removal and destruction in the first half of 2014. In addition to chemical weapons, stocks of chemical weapons agents, their precursors, specialized CW equipment, and CW munitions themselves, the elimination process must include the facilities for the development and production of these weapons. The views of both sides in this regard are set forth in Annex B.


The United States and the Russian Federation have further decided that to achieve accountability for their chemical weapons, the Syrians must provide the OPCW, the UN, and other sup
porting personnel with the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites in Syria. The extraordinary procedures to be proposed by the United States and the Russian Federation for adoption by the OPCW Executive Council and reinforced by a UN Security Council resolution, as described above, should include a mechanism to ensure this right.


Under this framework, personnel under both the OPCW and UN mandate should be dispatched as rapidly as possible to support control, removal, and destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons capabilities.


The United States and the Russian Federation believe that the work of the OPCW and the UN will benefit from participation of the experts of the P5 countries.


The United States and the Russian Federation strongly reiterate their position on Syria as reflected in the Final Communique of the G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland in June 2013, especially as regards chemical weapons.


The two sides intend to work closely together, and with the OPCW, the UN, all Syrian parties, and with other interested member states with relevant capabilities to arrange for the security of the monitoring and destruction mission, recognizing the primary responsibility of the Syrian Government in this regard.


The United States and the Russian Federation note that there are details in furtherance of the execution of this framework that need to be addressed on an expedited basis in the coming days and commit to complete these details, as soon as practicable, understanding that time is of the essence given the crisis in Syria.


Annex A

Principles for Decision Document by OPCW Executive Council


1. The decision should be based on para 8. Art. IV and para. 10 of Art V of the CWC.


2. The decision should address the extraordinary character of the situation with the Syrian chemical weapons.


3. The decision should take into account the deposit by Syria of the instrument of accession to the CWC.


4. The decision should provide for the easy accessibility for States Parties of the information submitted by Syria.


5. The decision should specify which initial information Syria shall submit to the OPCW Technical Secretariat in accordance with a tightly fixed schedule and also specifies an early date for submission of the formal CWC declaration.


6. The decision should oblige Syria to cooperate fully on all aspects of its implementation.


7. The decision should address a schedule for the rapid destruction of Syrian chemical weapons capabilities. This schedule should take into account the following target dates:


A. Completion of initial OPCW on-site inspections of declared sites by November.


B. Destruction of production and mixing/filling equipment by November.


C. Complete elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014.


The shortest possible final deadline, as well as intermediate deadlines, for the destruction of Syrian chemical weapons capabilities should be included into the schedule.


8. The decision should provide stringent special verification measures, beginning within a few days, including a mechanism to ensure the immediate and unfettered right to inspect any and all sites.


9. The decision should address the issue of duties of the OPCW Technical Secretariat in this situation and its need for supplementary resources to implement the decision, particularly technical and personnel resources, and call upon states with relevant capacities to contribute to this end.


10. The decision should refer to the provisions of the CWC obliging the Executive Council, in cases of non-compliance with the Convention, to bring the issues directly to the attention of the UN General Assembly and the UN Security Council.


Annex B

Joint Framework on Destruction of Syrian CW


The Russian Federation and the United States of America agree on the need to achieve rapid elimination of Syria’s chemical weapons, thus reducing the threat posed to the people of Syria. They are each prepared to devote high-level attention and resources to support the monitoring and destruction mission of the OPCW, both directly and in cooperation with the United Nations and other States concerned. They agree to set an ambitious goal of eliminating the threat in a rapid and effective manner.


Both parties agree that a clear picture of the state of Syrian chemical weapons could help advance a cooperative development of destruction options, including possible removal of chemical weapons outside of the Syrian territory. We agree on the importance of rapid destruction of the following categories:


1. Production equipment


2. Mixing and filling equipment


3. Filled and unfilled weapons and delivery systems


4. Chemical agents (unweaponized) and precursor chemicals. For these materials, they will pursue a hybrid approach, i.e., a combination of removal from Syria and destruction within Syria, depending upon site-specific conditions. They will also consider the possibility of consolidation and destruction in the coastal area of Syria.


5. Material and equipment related to the research and development of chemical weapons


The two parties agree to utilize the “universal matrix”, developed in the course of consultations by our two National Security Councils, as the basis for an actionable plan.


They agree that the elimination of chemical weapons in Syria should be considered an urgent matter to be implemented within the shortest possible time period.


The parties agree to set the following target dates:


A. Completion of initial OPCW on-site inspections by November.


B. Destruction of production and mixing/filling equipment by November.


C. Complete elimination of all chemical weapons material and equipment in the first half of 2014.


The Russian Federation and the United States will work together closely, including with the OPCW, the UN and Syrian parties to arrange for the security of the monitoring and destruction mission, noting the primary responsibility of the Syrian government in this regard.


Syria – a communist perspective

Ira Wechsler (PLP) 8/28/2013

 This has nothing to do with any stated red line and saving face.
It has everything to do with declining US influence and control of the oil
spigot in the Middle East and the billions in profits that are stake for big
oil in the US.

After the invasion of Iraq the
puppet government gave over 70% of oil concessions to Exxon-Mobil. But with the
reshuffle of power in the Shia-dominated Iraqi regime, an increasing number of
contracts are now going to Chinese and Russian oil concerns. In fact the Shia
government is leaning closer and closer to Iran as well. Iraq is the second
largest supplier of oil in the Middle East now pumping close to 3 million
barrels a day and still expanding production. Russian influence in Iran and
Syria has been growing. The Russians only naval base in the Mediterranean is on
that narrow swath of coastline that Syria has along the Mediterranean. China as
the world’s second largest industrial producer is thirsting for direct
contracts with the biggest Middle East oil producers for its expanding
industry. Now it must go mostly through Exxon-Mobil and other western producers
to meet their strategic needs in crude oil.
This is unsatisfactory to a global power. That is why they are developing
nuclear carriers and submarines so they can extend their naval power into the
Persian Gulf region and expand influence in that region.

reality has caused a bit of a panic in the ruling circles of US imperialism.
They want to continue their hegemony in the region. That is why as their
economic power is shrinking they must destabilize the Assad regime , topple it,
and kick the Russians out of their naval base on the Mediterranean. Next stop
Iran. There have been numerous initiatives regarding sanctions against Iran.
Not primarily because of their nuclear development, but more importantly their
alliance with Russia. Russia is their largest trading partner. Iran is still
one of the largest oil producers and an even bigger natural gas producer. They
already have a pipeline extending to the natural gas fields in Turkmenistan, a
fact that disturbs US energy companies and the State Dept and Pentagon greatly.
The ultimate projection of US imperialist power would be to overthrow the
clerical regime in Iran and install a friendlier government there. Friendlier
to US oil interests. Israel would love to help the US attack Iran, but the
threat of Russian intervention is a key stumbling block.

So all in all this whole conflict in Syria is a proxy war of the three major
imperialist powers for domination of resources, markets, and labor. War in
Syria could eventually lead to world war on a global scale.

August 2013


 My name is John Loftus. It is
probably kind of silly to have an Irish-Catholic as president of the Holocaust Museum.[1]
A lot of us wonder why we even have a Holocaust Museum
for Jews. Every ethnic group has genocide. What was the largest number of
people killed? During the middle passage of slavery, tens of millions of Africans
died during the slave trade. What ethnic group had the highest percentage of
their people killed? It was not the Jews; it was the Armenians. One out of
every three Armenians in the world died in Turkish deportations in World War I.


 How about an Irish Museum?
The population of Ireland
went from eight million to five million. How about a museum for the Native
Americans? More than 700 tribes completely disappeared several centuries ago.
They were just murdered.


 The genocide against the Jews was terrible,
but more terrible than I realized. When I first became involved, I discovered
that there was something critically different from all the other genocides. Murder
was just a means to an end. Nobody wanted to kill all the Africans; they were
valuable property. Instead, they wanted to keep them as slaves. Even the Turks
did not want to kill all the Armenians; they just wanted the land back. People did
not want to murder the Native Americans; they just wanted to steal the land. They
wanted the Native Americans out of the way. But for the first time in the
history of man, someone said, “Let’s kill all the children.” The Holocaust was
the first time there was an organized government effort to systematically wipe
out an entire ethnic group. It was a crime so monstrous, it had never been
conceived before. Arguably, the Holocaust was the lowest point in human


 I did not know much about the subject at all,
but I had a special interest, because, during the Carter and Reagan
administrations, I was a Nazi War Crimes Prosecutor.[2]
 To be honest, I joined because I thought
it would look good on my résumé, and I might get a free trip to Germany
out of it. But when I became involved, I had a most unusual assignment. They
sent me to work with the intelligence agencies. I received all these top secret
clearances to work with the Central Intelligence Agency and all the other
groups to see if I could find any clues to whether there could be Nazis in America.


 I never did get my free trip to Germany; instead, I got lots of free trips to Suitland, Maryland — a
nice little town right outside of Washington,
That is where the United States
government buries its secrets — literally. There are twenty storage vaults underground.
Each vault is one acre in size. The last scene of the Raiders of the Lost Ark[3]
is what these underground vaults are really like — only not as organized as
they are in the movie. Quite by accident, I got lost and ended up down in the
nuclear warfare document storage vault. In the nuclear vault, I stumbled across
a group of Nazi files that neither I nor anyone else was supposed to see until
the year 2015. I discovered, much to my embarrassment, that many of the Nazis I
had been assigned to prosecute were already on the government payroll as part
of a Cold War spy operation that got all messed up. The British secret service
was supposed to be dumping freedom fighters in America to be trained and sent back
behind the Iron Curtain. Instead, the head of the British operation, a
Communist double agent named Kim Philby, was sending us war criminals instead
of anti-communist freedom



 I received permission from
the Central Intelligence Agency to blow the whistle. In 1982 I appeared on 60
Minutes in a thirtyminute interview with Mike Wallace. It was the longest
episode he had ever done. When the episode about Nazis in America aired,
it caused a minor national uproar. Congress demanded hearings, Mike Wallace got
an Emmy Award, and my family got death threats. Ever since that 60 Minutes
show, I have become a lawyer who represents people in the United States
and in other governments who want to be whistleblowers. They want to bring up
some of the truth of what happened. When I was in the underground classified
vaults, I foundthat there were secret files on the Holocaust. Now, in the last
couple of years, the British government has started to release some of its files.


 During World War II, the Allies broke the Nazi
codes, which were called the “ultra secret.” After breaking the codes, the
Allies were able to read some of the secret intelligence. One of the first codes
they broke was for the Nazi Einsatzgruppen, the mobile killing units that were
the first attempts of the SS at organized massacres of Jews. Every week the
British secret service would decode these Nazi documents and show them to
Winston Churchill. Churchill was amazed, but would not say anything. In fact,
as early as September 1941 the British government was getting accurate weekly
totals of the number of Jews being killed. Churchill was reading the orders to
kill the Jews sometimes before they were received in the field. The problem was
too much paperwork for the code breakers, so they sent a memo to Churchill that
said, “It is now clear beyond any doubt that the German police are killing
every Jew they can lay their hands on. Therefore, we won’t even bother reporting
on this issue in the future.” That memo was sent in October 1940, just after
the war had started, and the massive killing machinery was underway. British
policy was to say nothing about Jews being killed, because they did not want to
have Jews immigrating to Palestine.
It might have upset the Arabs or interfered with the oil supply.


 In 1942 President Franklin D. Roosevelt found
out about the secret codes, and he wrote the British, asking if they would join
him in a public appeal to Hitler to release the Jews from the concentration
camps. I will never forget the British response, “If we press Hitler too hard,
he might do it.” And where, the British wanted to know, would all the Jews go?
They could not get into Palestine.
President Roosevelt could not get a single Jew into America. Every nation in the world
had closed its gates to the Jews, so Roosevelt
cut a deal with the British. If Roosevelt would agree that the Jews would be
expendable to the war effort, then, in return, the British would agree to a Nuremberg trial to
prosecute the killers afterward. Think about the choices they made. As more and
more of these classified files come out, we are faced with the fact that people
like Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill might be accomplices to the
Holocaust, because they kept silent. At worst, they were lying to the American
public and saying there was no proof.


 A friend of mine in an intelligence agency
sent me a letter yesterday. He and his dad were assigned to the Vatican during World
War II. President Roosevelt had a special emissary there trying to get the Pope
to argue for the release of Jews. The State Department said we could pretend
the Holocaust was not happening. And they did pretend this killing was not
occurring. The indifference toward the treatment of the Jews went way, way
back, and this indifference was not just against the Jews. One of the first things
that Hitler did when he came to power was to sign a law that provided for the
killing of retarded beings, because he believed they were useless. The retarded
children were moved into sanitariums, and because sterilization was too
expensive, the Nazis simply gassed them. Word of this got out, and all the
churches in Germany,
both Protestant and Catholic, got together and put an end to the program. They
stopped the killing. What a choice that was. They stood up against the Nazis
and successfully stopped that program.


 Only a few months later, the people of Germany made
another choice. They turned away and pretended the mistreatment of the Jews was
not happening. The early mistreatment of Jews was a matter of world opinion. In
fact, everybody knew what was going on. In 1939 there was a headline in the Los
Angeles Examiner quoting Hitler as saying that he would kill the Jews if the
West would not accept them. But what were they not saying? It is very clear.
Why didn’t the United States
take the Jews in? We had plenty of room. There are about 5,000,000 Jews in America today,
which is the largest population in the world, even though they are only about three
percent of our population. Most Jews in the world are alive in America,
because we let them in around World War I. We gave them sanctuaries from the
persecutions going on in Russia.


 In your grandfathers’ times, when the Great
Depression hit in 1929, people did not want to compete with immigrants for
scarce jobs. As a result, they wanted to close the doors not only to Jewish immigration,
but most immigration for that matter. Congress refused to budge, and the last
bill to admit Jewish refugees died in a Senate Subcommittee in 1939. Even
though the war was going on, we still could have rescued the Jews. There was a
Polish underground, and the Jews asked the Polish people to send their
underground freedom fighters to liberate the concentration camps. The Polish
refused, because they did not want to get involved. Every time the Jewish issue
was raised, it was met with indifference. The Jews are not our people. The
choice was made to do nothing and was repeated over and over again.


 President Roosevelt, on the eve of the war,
called for an international conference to try to find a place of sanctuary for
the Jews. The Evian Conference found that there was only one country in the
world, a little Carribean nation, that would take the Jews, but only if a
substantial amount of money was paid. Everybody was willing to close their
eyes. Part of the problem was that it was hard for people to believe that the
most civilized nation in the world, Germany, was running around killing
babies. There was actually a Polish agent who came to Washington and told Supreme Court Justice
Felix Frankfurter what was going on. Justice Frankfurter is Jewish, too.
Justice Frankfurter turned to the agent and said, “I know that you believe you
are telling the truth, but I do not believe it.” It was hard for Americans to
accept. Although the president, the intelligence agencies, and the State
Department knew, the American public, by and large, did not know the full
extent of the violence. There were a few newspapers, like the Boston Globe,
that did a good job of reporting it. But most of the papers, like the New York
Times and even the St. Petersburg Times, buried the report of the Holocaust on
the back pages — if they mentioned it at all. There was a huge weight of


 My friend Eli Weisel, who was a concentration
camp survivor and won the Nobel Prize, said there were three great evils in
this century — communism, fascism, and indifference — and indifference is the
deadliest of the three. That is easy to say. Think of all the choices that
people made. Even the Vatican
kept silent. All people had to do was to speak out. The Catholic Cardinal of Bulgaria
made the choice to speak out. The SS came to him in Bulgaria and said, “We want you to
round up the 3,000 Jews for deportation.” When the train arrived, out came
3,000 non-Jewish Bulgarians led by the Cardinal. The SS said, “Where are the
Jews?” The Cardinal said, “Jews are Bulgarians. You want Bulgarians, we are
Bulgarians. Take us.” The SS was so embarrassed that they pulled the train out.
There were 42,000 Jews in Bulgaria
at the beginning ofthe war, and there were 46,000 when the war ended. It was
one of the few nations that actively made a choice to help save people.


 In studying the Holocaust, we learn about the
choices we make. I had a similar choice when I was in those intelligence vaults
and saw all the records of Nazi recruitment by the Central Intelligence Agency
and other agencies. Quite frankly, I was told to keep quiet about this, not to
mention it. The choice I made was to quit the government, to leave my nice job
as a federal prosecutor, and sit down and write a book about what I had seen. I
saw something down in those vaults that would haunt me for the rest of my life.
When I was in the nuclear vaults, I stumbled across a diary stamped secret. It
was written by a Jewish man named Sol who lived in that borderland between Poland and Russia. Today, we call it Belarus, but in
the days before World War II, the Jewish people called it the Pale of
Settlement. For several hundred years, there was a seventy-five mile wide strip
of land between the borders where Jews were allowed to live. And you could go
from Vilna to Minsk to Baranovitche to Pinsk, all the way down to Romania. Some of these cities and
towns were ninety percent Jewish. The Pale was the most densely populated
Jewish settlement on the face of the earth. Unfortunately for the Jews, they
were right in the middle of Hitler’s invasion path for Russia. When
the German army came through, they did not have enough German soldiers to take
care of the huge Jewish population. Consequently, they asked the local, non-Jewish
citizens to serve as volunteers. People made choices.


 One of the volunteers in charge of Sol’s life
was Dr. Stankievich, an educated man and doctor of humanities. It was ironic
for the Jews, because they soon recognized Dr. Stankievich as the inventor of
the sardine method of execution. Dr. Stankievich would have his police force
and local collaborators round up the Jewish people and march them out to a road
where ditches had been dug on either side. At gunpoint, the Jews would be
forced to disrobe, climb in the ditches, and lay on top of each other head to
toe. Stankievich arranged them in this manner so he could shoot through a
double layer of bodies and save ammunition. A layer of dirt over the wounded, a
double layer of bodies, a layer of dirt, and so on. However, the worst thing
about the sardine method of execution was not discovered until after World War
II when American Red Cross doctors conducted autopsies on the graves. They
found no evidence of wounds on the smallest victims. Apparently, to save the
price of a bullet, Dr. Stankievich ordered that the babies be buried alive.


 As a reward for his efficiency, the SS
promoted Dr. Stankievich and made him the mayor of Baranovitche, the second
largest city in Belarus.
That is where Sol lived. On the day that Dr. Stankievich arrived, there were
50,000 Jews in the ghetto of the central part of the city where Jews were being
imprisoned. Six months later, there were only 5,000 Jews; the rest had been
killed. Six months after that, only 500 Jews were alive to work as skilled
laborers in Dr. Stankievich’s concentration camp. Sol lost his wife, his 3
kids, and all 110 members of his family. Think about that. Every relative, every
friend, every face he had known on earth had been murdered. This little Jewish
barber did an amazing thing. Sol dug a tunnel under the Nazi concentration camp
and led the last 126 Jews in a breakout. They made it to the swamps, as far as
the fields of Russia,
and joined up with other Jewish fugitives. They did not run away. Instead, they
made a choice. Hundreds of miles behind Nazi lines, this tiny group of young
Jews, some of them in their early twenties, organized into a partisan
resistance brigade, called the Bielski’s Brigade. They took up arms, went back,
and fought against the men who had murdered their families. The young women in
particular were so adept at blowing up railway lines that they crippled
Hitler’s supply trains to the Eastern Front.


 Dr. Stankievich put a price of 10,000 marks on
Sol’s head. Six of Belarus’s
SS police battalions were assigned to track down the Jewish Brigade. At the end
of World War II, Bielski’s Brigade was the most highly decorated partisan unit
on the entire Eastern Front. But there were only a few thousand survivors, and
Sol was one of them. Sol remarried a young woman whose life he had saved during
the breakout of the camp, and, by the end of the war, she was pregnant. Sol did
not want to have his child grow up under Communism, so he and his young bride
took up their rifles again, shot their way across the Russian border, and
escaped across central Europe to Italy. They then immigrated to the United States.


 When Sol got here, he did not put the past
behind him. He sat down and wrote his memoirs about what had happened to the 50,000
Jews from his little corner of the world who would never be able to speak for
themselves. Proudly, Sol took a copy of his manuscript to the United States
government. Someone, somewhere in our State Department, stamped Sol’s memoirs
secret and then hid them down in the nuclear vaults where I stumbled across
them four decades later. I knew within a little while what they were trying to
hide. One of their anti-Communist freedom fighters, who the British secret
service had recruited, was Dr. Stankievich. They asked our State Department to
hide him and we did. We brought Dr. Stankievich to New York and gave him a job as a broadcaster
at Radio Liberty. You have to remember it was the McCarthy era, and nobody
believed all the charges about war criminals in America. Dr. Stankievich told the
State Department that he could find more freedom fighters. By 1952 the record
showed Dr. Stankievich had relocated almost the entire Nazi government of Byelorussia to the little town of South River, New


 I could not believe the intelligence file. I
actually had to go see for myself. I took a security detail, met with a local
informant provided by the New Jersey State Police, and went to visit South River, New
. It is an amazing place with a private
cemetery for the Belarus SS. In the cemetery, there is a monument to the Nazi’s
president with his picture and title on it. Next to the local church is a
monument to their SS division. To make things worse, all this time Sol had been
living less than a half hour away. What a tragedy. Here is this heroic Jewish
man who fought against the Nazis and Communists and came to America to find
freedom, only to end up living in the shadow of the men who murdered his own kids.
What would you do?


 I knew it would be controversial, but I went
to the assistant attorney general of the United States and asked permission
to prosecute a British intelligence agent as a Nazi war criminal. I showed him
the Stankievich file and permission was granted. Secretly, I ordered all the United States
agencies to put a trace out for Sol as a key witness in the future trial of Dr.
Stankievich, but everyone reported back no trace. Sol was missing and, in view
of his age, had been presumed dead. It was terribly sad, but it did not stop my
trial preparations. I had my staff run every Nazi document in the world that
even mentioned Dr. Stankievich. It was an enormous research job, and Dr.
Stankievich was ungrateful enough to die two weeks before we could bring
charges against him. He died peacefully in bed, a citizen of the United States.
There was a big sigh of relief in the British Embassy. The British government
asked the American government to terminate further investigations of similar cases,
because it was much too embarrassing for the British to dig up all their old
Holocaust files. Better to let the Nazi’s die of old age. I was ordered, for
reasons of foreign policy, to stay out of the vaults and forget what I had
seen. But how? How do you forget about someone like Sol?


 I told the government that I would not
participate in the cover up, and I resigned from the United States Department
of Justice. I sat down and wrote the manuscript of my first book. I dedicated
the book to Sol, a Jewish man, who bore witness to the Holocaust, and to Meg,
my newborn, so that she may never have to witness such a tragedy. My family has
endured much criticism for the decision I made to keep fighting this battle,
but we received one good thing out of it. After the 60 Minutes show, I received
a telephone call. I was told the government had made a huge mistake. It was
Sol; he was still alive. My wife and I asked the old freedom fighter to keep
his identity a secret, because he was an old man entitled to his privacy. Sol
was still living less than a half hour away from the Nazi compound in South River, New
. Apart from a few of my fellow prosecutors
back at the Department of Justice, no one in America
knew Sol, but they remembered him in Israel.


 Years ago, the Israeli Secret Service tracked
Sol down, and they flew him to Israel
for the dedication of the Yad Vashem, the Israeli Museum
of the Holocaust. Sol brought with him a picture that became part of the
museum’s collection. It is in our museum today, too. The photo, which shows a
couple of rows of young Jewish men and women standing in a forest with crossed
armbands full of ammunition and holding their rifles, is one of the most famous
photographs of the era. The picture is titled, “A Jewish Resistance.” Sol is in
the front row, second from the right. Quite a guy. He lived an exemplary life.


 I remember one day I was speaking to a group
of high school students up in New
of all places, and Sol came along. He was sitting
in the audience. Nobody knew who he was. It was obvious from the questions I was
getting that most of these students were of Eastern European descent, and their
parents, church groups, and civic organizations had told them that the
Holocaust did not happen. They thought that Germans may have killed a few Jews,
but none of their people were involved — no Poles, no Ukrainians, no Russians.
I tried to tell the students that the SS kept meticulous records. The armies in
the Holocaust were not German, they were mostly local volunteers. They were men
who got a kilo of sugar for every Jewish person they shot trying to escape. Sol
told me the only German he ever saw was the commandant in his camp. Everyone else
was one of Stankievich’s local collaborators. I had all these documents, but
the students did not want to see documents. Some of their parents had been
there during World War II. They had not even been born then. They wanted a
witness. Suddenly Sol stood up in the audience and said, “Tell them. Tell them
who I am.” He was willing to sacrifice his anonymity, to risk his life again,
to bear witness to the truth. It was an act of incredible courage.


 I told my daughter Meg that there are still
heroes in this world, because her father had met one. Sol made a choice to
testify about the truth, and you have chosen to be here with us today. That is
a very positive choice. Yours is the last generation on earth that will ever
have the opportunity to meet with a Holocaust survivor. You are the hinge
generation. Whichever way you go, that is how history will record it. Teach
your children in the future that all of us, Jews, Gentiles, black, white, and
brown, can never afford to let genocide come back again. It will always come
back unless we work together to stop it. We have to make the right choices; we
cannot be indifferent. I know from your very presence here today that you are
people of courage, conscience, and commitment.



John J.
Loftus, 2000. President, Florida
Holocaust Museum
B.A., Boston College,
1971; M.P.A., Suffolk University, 1977; J.D., Suffolk University
Law School
1977. This speech, including the statistical and factual assertions, is derived
in large part from John Loftus & Mark Aarons, The Secret War against the
Jews: How Western Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People (St. Martin’s Press

Mr. Loftus
is an author, lecturer, and attorney. He authored The Belarus Secret (Knopf 1982)
and Valhalla’s Secret (A. Mthly. Press 1990),
and he co-authored Unholy Trinity: The Vatican, the Nazis, and the Swiss Banks
(St. Martin’s Press 1993) and The Secret War against the Jews: How Western
Espionage Betrayed the Jewish People (St. Martin’s Press 1995). In addition to
his literary accolades, Mr. Loftus has served as a Nazi War Crimes Prosecutor
and a consultant for 60 Minutes and Prime Time Live, and he currently operates
his own private practice, Loftus Law Offices, as well as Loftus Lectures.

[1] The Florida
Holocaust Museum,
located in St. Petersburg, Florida, is the fourth largest Holocaust
museum in the country. The purpose of the museum is to educate the public on
the devastation of the Holocaust, promote tolerance and respect, and honor the
millions who lost their lives in the Shoah. Fla. Holocaust
, General
Information <> (accessed
Aug. 14, 2000).

[2] A war crimes prosecutor is responsible for the
investigation and prosecution of people responsible for serious violations of
international humanitarian law, namely breaches of the Geneva Convention of
August 12, 1949. Serious violations may include willful killing, torture, willfully
causing serious bodily injury or great suffering, and extensive, unjustified destruction
and appropriation of property.

[3] Raiders of the Lost Ark (Paramount Pictures
1981) (motion picture).


Dear Lawrence O’Donnell, Don’t Mansplain to Me About Russia

Tonight, I went on Lawrence O’Donnell’s show, and Lawrence O’Donnell yelled at me. Or, rather, he O’Reilly’d at me. That O’Donnell interrupted and harangued and mansplained and was generally an angry grandpa at me is not what I take issue with, however. What bothers me is that, look: your producers take the time to find experts to come on the show, answer your questions, and, hopefully, clarify the issue at hand. 

I was invited on the show to talk about Obama’s (very wise) decision to cancel his Moscow summit with Putin, about which I wrote here. I am an expert on Russia. In fact, it is how you introduced me: “Previously, she was a Moscow-based correspondent for Foreign Policy and The New Yorker.” I’m not going to toot my own horn here, but I was there for three years, I’m a fluent, native speaker of Russian, and, god damn it, I know my shit. 

Which is why I wish you’d let me finish answering your bullshit question, which went like this:

“Julia, to start [the White House statement canceling the summit] with the Snowden factor, for the Russian statement to say, ‘this is a situation which we did not create,’ is of course a lie. They were in complete control of the outcome of what would happen to Snowden from the second he arrived at that airport. But administration, are you surprised that the administration included it in their official statement about the decision?” 

Okay, no I was not surprised about their decision to include it in the official statement because Snowden was the catalyst for this decision, and it was a good decision because Russia and America have not been getting along and have not been getting anything done for a while now. Like, for a good year and a half. 

But I decided to contest O’Donnell’s premise that Russia had this thing planned and under control from the beginning, and that they did, in fact, create the situation. We then squabbled over whether Putin personally controls everything in Russia: what TV anchors say, everything that happens at Sheremetyevo, even every breath that Snowden takes. “Julia, Julia, Julia. You aren’t seriously suggesting that Vladimir Putin and the Russian government did not have complete, total, absolute control over the outcome of Edward Snowden entering that airport in Moscow?” (“That airport in Moscow” is called, say it with me now, SHEH-REH-MEH-T-YE-VO! See, helps to have a Russia expert around!)

Because O’Donnell didn’t let me get a word in edgewise after that, let me explain.

Yes. I am seriously suggesting that. I am also seriously suggesting the following things:

  • Vladimir Putin is not omnipotent. He does not control everything that happens in the Russian Federation, a vast and often inhospitable landmass that spans 10 time zones. 
  • Similarly, Barack Obama does not have total control over the minutiae of the United States of America.
  • Putin does not orchestrate, he reacts. Putin is no chess player. He is a knee-jerk, short-sighted little tyrant. Don’t give him credit where credit isn’t due.
  • Americans, especially Americans who have never been to Russia, overestimate the abilities of both Putin and the Russians. Because, I mean, come on. Tank!
  • The Russians did not create the Snowden situation; Julian Assange and the U.S. government did. Assange insinuated himself into the situation and sent Snowden to Ecuador (the country granting him asylum) through Russia (his great friend). 
  • The Obama administration trapped Snowden in Russia. The U.S. unsealed the charges before it had Snowden in custody, revoked his passport, then downed the plane of the president of a sovereign state over other sovereign states because it thought Snowden was on board. The only place, by design, where Snowden could go was back to the U.S. Where he was charged with espionage, for which the maximum punishent is death.
  • Russia is a brutal place where whistleblowers are harassed and killed, but Russia, unlike the U.S., has no death penalty. And it is only because the Russians made a stink about it, that Eric Holder was forced to come out andassure the Russians that Edward Snowden won’t be put to death. This happened over a month after Snowden’s arrival in Moscow, and after the charges of espionage were unsealed.
  • If a Russian Edward Snowden ended up in JFK Airport, there is no way in hell we’d turn him over to the Russians. Not in a hundred years, and not ever.
  • You can’t back Putin into a corner and leave him no options. If you are a world leader worth your salt, and have a good diplomatic team working for you, you would know that. You would also know that when dealing with thugs like Putin, you know that things like this are better handled quietly. Here’s the thing: Putin responds to shows of strength, but only if he has room to maneuver. You can’t publicly shame him into doing something, it’s not going to get a good response. Just like it would not get a good response out of Obama.
  • The Obama administration totally fucked this up. I mean, totally. Soup to nuts. Remember the spy exchange in the summer of 2010? Ten Russian sleeper agents—which is not what Snowden is—were uncovered by the FBI in the U.S. Instead of kicking up a massive, public stink over it, the Kremlin and the White House arranged for their silent transfer to Russia in exchange for four people accused in Russia of spying for the U.S. Two planes landed on the tarmac in Vienna, ten people went one way, four people went the other way, the planes flew off, and that was it. That’s how this should have been done if the U.S. really wanted Snowden back.
  • However, the decision to blow off the Moscow summit was a good one. See yesterday’s post.
  • I am not a Putin apologist. I think he and his people do bad things, like kill people and fleece the country for its wealth. But neither do I think he’s oppressing the Russian masses. He is their most extreme and natural, their most post-Soviet manifestation.


My main beef with O’Donnell is not that he wouldn’t let me make these 11 points—because, let’s face it, that’s not what th
e TV is for—but that he did exactly the same shit Russians did to me when I was in Russia. They assumed that the U.S. and its government was one sleek, well-functioning monolith, that Obama was omnipotent, and that everyone in the world, including other important (and nuclear!) world leaders, act and must act as Russia demands it should, using Russian foreign policy calculus, and with only Russian interests in mind.

Sound ridiculous? Believe me, it sounds just as insane in reverse. The problem is that this was not in the ranting comments section, but was coming from the host of a prime time, national television show. And if you don’t have the good sense and education or, hell, the reporting experience to know better, then just let the guests you invited on speak.

Otherwise, don’t waste my fucking evening.

For the video follow this link: Source

The Munich Olympics – Nixon’s reaction to the massacre

How Nixon got shot of Munich 


By Amir


members of the Israeli delegation to the Munich Olympics were murdered by
people belonging to the Black September organization, or killed in a failed
rescue attempt, on September 5, 1972. One angle of the story remains vague: the
politics and diplomacy in the wake of the terror attack. 


Now the
missing information has been supplied, thanks to the declassification last
summer of secret documents from U.S. President Richard Nixon’s administration. Some
verbatim excerpts from these documents provide a rare lesson in personal and
international relations, with the help of an American team then headed by
President Nixon, Secretary of State William Rogers, his rival – and ultimately
successor – National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger, and Kissinger’s deputy,
General Alexander Haig. 


have got to hit somebody’


5, 10:35 P.M. Haig reports to Nixon that all the hostages have been killed. “The
Israelis are going to react,” he says. 


“Who are they going to hit though?” 


“Lebanon, though they will find out where based [sic].” 


“They are capable of it. They have got to hit somebody, don’t you


minutes later, Nixon says to Haig: “Hell, what do we care about Lebanon. Think
we have to be awfully tough. I want you to run that by a couple of people. Any
nation that harbors or gives sanctuary to these international outlaws – we will
cut off all economic support. Obviously Lebanon. Jordan’s another. Don’t know
who else we have relations with.” 


Haig: “We
may have some Chinese problem on this.” 


“Screw the Chinese on this one. Be very tough.” 


10:55, Haig phones Rogers and tells him that Nixon plans to call a meeting at
8:30 A.M. the next day. “He has asked you to come over and sit down and
see where to go on this. He’s threatened to break relations with nations that
harbor or give sanctuary to these guerrillas.” 


“He can’t do that, especially when we don’t know which nations. What we
are trying to do tonight, we are trying to get some protection against a JDL
[Jewish Defense League] blowup.” 


“He always wants to do something. We have to be careful not to do
something he will regret.” 


minutes later, Nixon tells Haig over the phone: “I might consider showing
our position on this by flying to the Israelis’ funeral. Tell them that I am
here at the White House getting reports as they come in, and that I am saddened
and shocked by this terrible incident and we will comment in the


11:25 P.M. Rogers and Haig talk on the telephone. Rogers suggests that Nixon
issue an executive order for a day of mourning in Washington with flags at half-mast. 


talked to Rabin’


6, 1972. Morning. Nixon and Kissinger, some of the time in conversation with
Rogers and Haig, some of the time with White House Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman,
Kissinger’s rival in ingratiating himself with Nixon: 


“Now, let me say a word about the Israeli situation, Mr. President,
because I feel very, very strongly about it. I look at it the way we would look
at it if eight Pakistanis killed eight Indians. I think you have been a
statesman … And I don’t think we should throw it away in cheap shots. And
this thing could easily turn now. My great fear is, World War I started because
the Austrians had been frustrated for 15 years, had the archduke assassinated;
the Germans and the whole world was outraged. And they thought that for once
they would have a free shot, and they were going to settle the Serbian problem
once and for all.” 


“The Austrians thought so?” 


“I beg your pardon?” 


“The Austrians thought so?” 


“The Austrians thought. Now, my worry is that if we say to the Israelis
too much that the …” 


Nixon: “I talked to Rabin last night.
He sure hasn’t talked that way.” 


Kissinger: “Well I would really like
to talk to Rabin in a formal way today when he comes back.” 


Nixon: “The thing that I would
emphasize to Rabin, I hadn’t thought on this, which would be a very good test
for the Israelis – I don’t know whether they are able to do it or not. Mrs.
Meir, and she’s the only one that can do it, should call upon the International
Olympic Committee to go forward with those games.” 


Kissinger: “I agree with


Nixon: “But the other reason is she
can say, ‘Well that’s what my boys would have wanted.’ It will make them look
good rather than … You see, the trouble with the Jews is that they’ve always
played these things in terms of outrage. You’ve got the Jewish Defense League
raising hell and saying we ought to kill every Arab diplomat. What we have to
do is enough here, that we’re showing an interest. It’s my thought that the
best thing here is to let Rogers take the lead in the damn thing – rather than
me … We’ve got to show we care on this one because, you were in this country,
well I guess you weren’t, you don’t really know, Henry, what the Jewish community
will do on this. It’s going to be the goddamnedist thing you’ve ever saw. Did
you see both papers this morning?” 


Kissinger: “Yes.” 


Nixon: “And you’re absolutely right
that that can stir it all up into something very, very … so we’ve got to show
the greatest understanding and sympathy and the rest so that they don’t get
into the hands of the extremists.” 


Kissinger: “Mr. President, Haig and I
have been on the phone half the night with the Israelis, who wanted us to do
the opposite of what you suggested, which is the right thing. They wanted us to
appeal to the International Olympic Committee to cancel it [the


Nixon: “They’re crazy. But they want
to look good, don’t they? … You see, that’s exactly … the reason Mrs. Meir
should do it. She’s the only one that can. Is that what the terrorists want?
They want to make it appear that they’ve stopped the games. It’s like these
assholes that tried to stop us running the government.” 


Kissinger: “I will talk to Rabin
because they don’t trust Rogers, but they do trust me. But I’ll talk to him


Nixon: “What does Rogers think we
should do?” 


Kissinger: “Well, Rogers thinks we
should declare a national day of mourning. I’m against even that. It’s not our
day of mourning, Mr. President. It’s easy enough now to do a number of
grandstanding … And also, God I am Jewish. I’ve had 13 members of my family
killed. So I can’t be insensitive to this. But I think you have to think also of
the anti-Semitic woes in this country. If we let our policy be run by the
Jewish community …” 


Nixon: “By the radical Jewish
community …” 


Kissinger: “By the radical Jewish
community and declare a national …” 


Nixon: “You understand what I was
talking to Haig about last night was gestures. Let’s do some things here. But
nothing that would make the Germans too mad and so forth …” 


Kissinger: “What I would favor, Mr.
President, is to go to the UN …” 


Nixon: “Me?” 


Kissinger: “Not you. Not physically.
To have the United States to go to the UN and see whether we can get some
international rules on harboring guerrillas and so forth.” 


Nixon: “Now, I’ve called Rabin. I’ve
asked him to call me this morning to get me a report. You know they have the
best intelligence. You know he was so good last night … He says I haven’t got
all the information.” 


Kissinger: “I’m really concerned that
it’s easy enough now there’s a lot of emotion for it, but if they take Beirut,
which they could, they’ll do something.” 


Nixon: “They mustn’t do that … They
can’t start a war over this. You think they might?” 


Kissinger: “I think they might.
They’re in the best position they’ve ever been in. No Russians there. We’ve got
an election campaign. Now I got a promise out of Golda Meir two months ago when
you asked me to that they wouldn’t take military action. But this is an
enormous provocation. And they are emotional. And I don’t want them to think
that they’ve got you in their hip pocket.” 


Nixon: “Well let me say, you have no
problems with Rabin. The way he’s talking, he’s very rational.” 


Kissinger: “Rabin is the sanest guy.
But they …” 


Nixon: “But he has others that are


Kissinger: “They have their own
election campaign coming up next spring.” 


Nixon: “Well, you don’t start a war
over anything like this.” 


The Jewish swimmer


The continuation of the conversation,
according to a memorandum from Haig: 


“The president stated that the United
States should not agree to drop out of the Olympics and that Israel should
remain consistent with the position it announced earlier to see the games


“Secretary Rogers stated that all had
agreed on this stand the day before since it would be a terrible slap at the
Germans to precipitously withdraw. It appeared that the Germans were in deep
difficulty already for their handling of the situation at the NATO air


“Rogers said: ‘Perhaps we should send
some of our athletes such as the U.S. swimmer who is of Jewish descent [Olympic
gold medalist Mark Spitz].’ Dr. Kissinger stated that no resolution would be
likely to pass. The question is how to posture ourselves. The resolution should
talk about rules of conduct of those who sponsor radicals who operate across
international borders. It is probable that the Peoples’ Republic of China would
veto … 


“Rogers stated that it would be
impossible to get any kind of action. Kissinger stated that this was true, but
it would serve as a deterrent to Israeli action … Rogers stated that another
advantage of the tragedy was that it will again underline the need for an
overall settlement. 


“The president commented that it was
ironic that the German government found itself in the position of protecting
Israeli athletes … The president stated that he did not think the flag at
half-mast was a good idea. Kissinger agreed. Rogers said that we would just do
this in public buildings. The president stated maybe just the White House.” 


After Rogers and Haig leave the Oval
Office, the conversation between Nixon and Kissinger continues: 


Nixon: “I want to get him [Rogers]
off of the other thing. As you know, he wants to have a long talk with me this
morning, and [unclear] … I don’t want to get into the Russian thing, so let
him do this thing.” 


Kissinger: “Oh, no, no


Nixon: “[Unclear] Let him be the lead


Kissinger: “Oh, God. The only thing I
want – the Israelis distrust him so much they wouldn’t do a thing without
checking with us anyway … I don’t think he should go to Tel Aviv for the
funeral even if he should engineer an invitation.” 


Nixon: “Bill? Oh, shit


Kissinger: “Yeah, but they might want
him. That might give them some visible American support, and that would embroil
us with the Arabs.” 


Nixon: “Listen, let me tell you
something. My view – this incident blows any chance at [a peace agreement].” 


Kissinger: “You are 100 percent


Nixon: “But the point is, let’s let
Bill be out in front. Your idea of going to the UN, he finally got the point
… And it will be great for him and it will be great for us.” Kissinger:
“Above all, it will be good for you, Mr. President … Because if he goes
up to the UN, he will be doing something concrete. Of course, nothing will come
out. Nothing ever comes out. But we could make a lot of statesman-like speeches
about curbing terrorism.” 


Nixon instructs Kissinger to get Rabin on
the phone, and says: “Would you tell him that … let me put it this way:
Tell him, ‘Look, Mr. Ambassador, the president wants to get Rogers on the right
side of this issue.’ And second, tell him it will be good to put the goddamn UN
on the spot. We want to put them on the spot on this issue, because we think we
got them by the balls here. For him to urge Rogers to go to the UN. Would you
tell him the president would like for him to do that? … 


“Also, tell Rabin that I consider it
very statesmanlike, Mrs. Meir’s statement. Would he please convey that to her.
Particularly with regard to going forward with the games. That I had
independently reached that conclusion, but did not want, of course, to suggest
it. But I think that’s exactly the kind of thing that will make tremendous
points in the world by not trying to knock off the games. That’s what the
athletes would have wanted. Third point is that now that they’re in this good
position, don’t blow it. Tell him, ‘Don’t blow it.’ [Unclear] You’ve got to
remember that the president is their friend. Now we’ve got some world opinion
for them. But don’t … these things can turn very fast.” 


Kissinger: “You’re right.” 


Nixon: “I don’t want them to go
conquer Beirut. I don’t mind them going in and knocking off a few camps, but
even that’s bad right now.” 


Kissinger: “I think …” 


Nixon: “They would be very well to be
the injured, play the injured martyr.” 


Kissinger: “But if we can get to the
UN within the next 24 hours. Now this statement here will hold us for 24


Nixon: “What statement?” 


Kissinger: “Well, where we say we’ve
consulted with other governments. Frankly, I wouldn’t consult because if you do
it, they’ll say no. And if we go …” 


Nixon: “All right.” (Turns to
Bob Haldeman.) “You see, Bob, of course nobody understands what the
president is trying to do here. I’m trying to get Bill doing something! As I
told you last night on the phone, Bob, rather than farting around whether Henry
sees [British Prime Minister Edward] Heath, or [West German Chancellor Willy]
Brandt, or some other. Now Brandt may pose a problem at this point.” 


Haldeman: “The UN thing is an ideal


Nixon: “Let’s talk a little about
lowering the flag. What I’m concerned about is that you can be sure as hell
that [New York City Mayor John] Lindsay [a former Nixon rival in the race for
the Republican nomination] is going to lower the flag, Congress is going to
call for lowering the flag … Here’s the point. [Unclear] Why don’t you order
the flag when some Irish nationalists get killed?” 


Kissinger: “That’s right. What will
Irishmen say if you didn’t lower it when the school children got killed in
Belfast …” 


Nixon: “That’s right. It really hits
the point that the flag ought to be low all the time.” 


Haldeman: “You didn’t lower it when
the guys [from the Japanese Red Army, which launched a terror attack on Lod
Airport in May 1972] went in the airport and shot up the people.” 


Nixon: “Well, it’s the Olympics. The
Olympics, they’re international and all that business. Suppose, for example,
somebody went in and machine-gunned the UN and killed six Arabs


“My instinct is – sure, right now you’ll get a lot of indignation. But
whether more people won’t feel that this is the president of all the people …


“Going too far?” 


“But Bob would have a better judgment than I.” 


“Yeah. Now the idea of the church thing appeals to me if I do it my way. My
way would be I call upon all Americans to go to church and a moment of silence.
But I think, in my way, I quietly slip out of this damn door …” 


“That doesn’t bother me. ” 


“… and pick maybe that little church across the way without … any
notice of it. I just walk round, sit in the church for five minutes and walk
out. Get my point? That’s my moment of silence.” 


“That I think, that has meaning. That has human compassion. You show where
you stand, but you don’t involve the presidency of the United States in an
official act.”