Monday, May 30, 2005

German Home Truths

David's Medienkritik has done a great job highlighting the shameful comments the German Ambassador to the US made just before Memorial Day.

I just sent the German Embassy in Washington the following missive.


I am writing to request that Ambassador Ischinger retracts forthwith the three false statements he makes in his recent New Yorker article.

His statement, amended to correct his "unfortunate omission" of the phrase “(since 1990)”, reads as follows.

"In the last year or so, as we've engaged in discussions about the transformation of the Middle East and democracy, I have told my American friends that the region in this world that has seen the most transformation and change is Central and Eastern Europe (since 1990)--without shedding a drop of blood. So don't preach to us."

1. The ambassador ignores the slaughter during the 1990s of an estimated 200,000 people in the Former Yugoslavia plus rape, mutilation and torture on a level not seen since the Nazis. This happened a short flight away from Germany. The ambassador’s omission is all the more regrettable given Germany’s role in this tragedy, first in fermenting the Serb/Croat civil war during its WW2 occupation of Yugoslavia, and then in 1991 triggering its break up by premature recognition of Slovenia.

2. The ambassador next falsely claims that German wisdom caused the transformation of the former Warsaw Pact nations to democracies. In fact the relatively peaceful victories in the East were achieved by the steadfastness and sacrifice of the America and its allies in the worldwide war against Communist tyranny. Germany played little part in this.

3. Finally, the ambassador falsely claims that modern Germany has a superior political wisdom to the US. Yet the current German state is less then 50 years old, having been created after the defeat of its Nazi predecessor, by Russia, the US, Britain and their allies, at enormous cost in blood and treasure. By contrast, the US and UK together possess almost 500 years of experience as functioning democracies – over 10 times that of ambassador Ischinger’s Germany. German politicians would do well listen to the “preaching” of these more experienced nations.

By choosing the week before Memorial Day to publish these false and patronizing statements, the ambassador highlights his nation’s contempt for the American sacrifices to which Germans owe their liberties. After withdrawing his false statements, he should resign.

I shall be publicizing this letter, in the hope that future German administrations will learn from this offensive episode.