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Saturday, February 27. 2016
It's not the intention, but it has been the result because, for each event since 9-11, government feels called upon to "do something." In addition, governments rarely refuse opportunities to have power over the citizen.
Hence the Patriot Act, the absurd DHS, etc. Even the arguments against $100 bills include terror fears.
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I think most Europeans would agree that America has only itself to blame for the loss of freedoms, and that it is one of most paranoid cultures many of us have ever known. Americans are obsessed with the idea that there's a "boogie man" lurking somewhere in the world coming to get you.
Let's start from the beginning. No sooner had the fledgling American government established itself, it repeatedly abused the natives, broke treaties and stole their lands from Virginia to California. From there it was down hill with "the only good Indian is a dead Indian" resulting in America's largest mass execution. Thirty-eight Sioux were ordered to the gallows under the hand of President Lincoln in 1862.
So now let's look every major war America has been involved in and the rationale for sending American soldiers into harms way since the Civil War:
1.) Spanish-American war and the Philippine-American war "Remember the Maine".
2.) WW1 "Remember the Lusitania"
3.) WW2 "Remember Pearl Harbor"
4.) Korea & Viet Nam "Better dead than Red"
5.) Somalia...not sure why you went there in the first place. But that ended badly.
6.) Iraq "Remember 9-11" followed by "They have weapons of mass destruction". And no one ever found them. I might remind you N. Korea also had WMDs, but you weren't too interested in looking for them there.
...and don't get me started with your irrational fear of zombies.
In just about every case, your government came up with an excuse to get itself involved where it had no business being in the first place. Not since 1812 has any foreign military power landed troops on American soil, invaded your cities or attacked your civilian population. In almost every war you people have been involved in, history has proven your government intentionally made up some plausible excuse for a conflict by creating a situation if needed to resolve.
And you wonder why the rest of the world doesn't trust you? You're like a little child that runs around the classroom punching other students because you think they're saying bad things about you behind your back. Then you get put in the time-out corner and think everyone's out to get you. Meanwhile the other kids are going out for recess and you wonder why you're stuck in the corner "not able to come out and play".
If you want to find that "boogie man" that keeps getting renamed "the Huh, the Nazi, the Islamists" I suggest you try looking in the White House. I think you'll find that "boogie man", the one really responsible for your situation, is why you've been losing your freedoms.
Whew, Karl. That is rough. There indeed is truth in it, though.
A little naive. The U.S. makes mistakes, that I can agree with. But to state that U.S. "get ... involved where it had no business being in the first place." is naive at best and willfully blind at worst. We make treaties with other nations for mutual protection and because there really are nations who would achieve world domination if we did nothing. If you understand the treaty and still claim that we become involved where we have no business than you are dishonest. If you do not understand the treaties and make such a claim than you are ignorant.
Re: Iran's WMDs. It is a little ironic for a German citizen to be criticizing the U.S. for trying to prevent Saddam from having/building WMDs. Germany contracted with Saddam in the 90's to build facilities that would be used to make WMDs. Germany, Holland and France were complicit in Iraq's WMD program. Perhaps you should research this before you lecture other countries about what they do in world affairs. I might add at this point that the U.S. under Clinton at that time knew Saddam had hired European companies to build facilities to manufacture WMDs and he did nothing about it. THAT was our fault we should have exposed the money grubbing European traitor companies for what they were.
Cheer up though. With Iran's new wealth you will have another opportunity to step up and refuse to build a terrorist nations weapons capability. But you better hurry because Germany, France and Holland are again falling all over themselves to arm Iran. Who will be attacked next? Indeed NY City is high on the terrorists list but I think they would be just as happy with a large European city as well. Good luck.
I agree that we are to blame for our losing our freedoms, but I think you're being a bit harsh, Karl.
The US was terrible to many of the Indian tribes, but the really negative feeling toward from the whites really got going during the Manifest Destiny period. Maybe the US shouldn't have migrated west. Of course, that's an easy thing to say when you live in a continent that is fully settled. When they started moving west, they were brutally attacked by warring tribes. Not all the tribes were as antagonistic but unfortunately, they ended up all being the subject of racism. They were shamelessly ripped off and lied to. To add insult to injury, we put them in reservations and kept them in a socialistic environment where, for example, they couldn't borrow against the value of their land. This was supposed to be for their benefit so they wouldn't sell their "country", but that and other policies were devastating to them.
As for paranoia, I would like to hear about any regional or world power that has not had it's bouts with what you refer to as "paranoia." There are periods in the history of England, France, Germany, Russia, Japan, China, to name a few, that could be characterized similarly. Not to pick on Germany, but you should be well aware of those periods when Germany had its own episodes.
As for your other points:
#1 - Spanish American War - probably your best case. The little I've read says the fervor for the war was kindled by yellow journalism, but I agree that we didn't have a very solid justification for that war.
#2 - WWI - Europe was killing itself. The Lusitania's sinking was an excuse, but I also understand that the allies were seriously hoping we would get into it. Our involvement also helped bring then end to the bloodshed. Maybe we shouldn't have bothered.
#3 - WWII - It's hard to see our paranoia in WWII. We were attacked by Japan and then Germany declared war on us - much to the relief of England and the countries invaded by Germany and Italy. Maybe if Japan hadn't attacked us and Hitler hadn't declared war on us, we should have minded our own business and let Europe get run over by Germany and Asia run over by Japan.
#4 - Korea & Vietnam - The Domino Theory was a reasonable working premise, North Korea being the first domino (not counting China which was in civil war before WWII. The Northern Korean Army invaded South Korea. The UN which was set up to keep the peace, decided that it was not in the interests of peace to allow a civil war to break out - especially when the Soviet Union (and later China) were outside antagonists - so it ordered the Korean Conflict (not technically a war since the UN is supposed to keep the peace!). I guess we, Australia, and the dozens of other countries that fought with us against communism shouldn't have bothered. I mean a free society is so over rated!
Speaking of the Domino Theory, after Korea, the communist countries invaded or heavily supported communist insurgencies in Hungary, Czechoslovakia, Vietnam, and Cambodia to name a few. All of those antagonists were ruthless, bloodthirsty regimes that were collectively responsible for murdering over 100 million civilians. Maybe we really were paranoid, but you don't have to squint hard to at least see a pattern forming.
#5 - Somalia started out to be a humanitarian mission (not the first time we sent in troops to help people in need for no benefit to ourselves). It was poorly thought out and executed and probably shouldn't have been attempted.
#6 - Iraq - I'm not sure why Iraq was the prime target. Part of it was probably a long ball with the hope that a functioning liberal democracy in the center of the Middle East might be a model for other Middle Eastern countries. Of course there were other reasons for going in there. UN resolutions (now when a country behaves in a manner threatening to other countries, the UN issues a resolution - none of which are ever backed up with anything) and WMD to name a couple. Actually, chemical and biological warheads were found and there was a convoy of trucks carrying "something" to Syria during the war. True, it wasn't the large scale programs that we thought but then they weren't the large scale programs that EVERY intelligence agency in the world thought (I believe including Germany's). Now why hassle Iraq and not North Korea (funny to bring them up here because if that paranoid Gen. MacArthur had been listened to, there would be no North Korea and all the Korean peninsula would be lit up at night and visible from the Space Station)? I admit that it is an interesting question, and I'd have to guess that it might be because North Korea is expected to be less of a problem because it is dirt poor, or more of a problem because they are allied with China.
You say we never seem to miss an opportunity to get involved in somebody else's business. I would guess that if you were in England, France, Belgium in 1918 or 1945 (or even in Germany or Japan in 1945 - the Japanese LOVED MacArthur when he ran the country) or South Korea in 1953 you would be pretty thankful that we butted in where we "didn't belong." I bet the vast majority of the people of Cambodia and South Vietnam (who weren't communists) wished we had stayed there past 1975 and actually finished the job. It also seemed like there were a lot of happy people with purple thumbs in Iraq when they got to actually vote for their government.
So yes, we sometimes stick our noses where it doesn't belong and even we chafe at being "the world's policeman", but as it was mentioned here some time ago, if we don't do it, somebody else will and you might not like who that is or why they might do it. My question is why doesn't more of Europe defend or promote freedom? It seems that when a tyrant invades/dominates/oppresses another country, there is a lot of cluck-clucking about what a shame it is, but for the most part, we are the only one's doing anything about it. The world's a smaller place than it used to be and getting smaller. Things that happen in other parts of the world will end up affecting us all more and more. None of what I've said should be interpreted that we haven't made mistakes. When you do things, you make mistakes. When you do big things, you make big mistakes. When you have friends, you try to support and defend them (until now). We want to have friends who are free, so we get involved.
To respond to your question of BD (below) about our losing our freedom - I have to shake my head and agree. We have been throwing our freedom away at an accelerating pace for fifty years. I think part of it is that we are, or were, rich and figured it would always stay that way. The things that happened in other countries wouldn't happen here because we're different. We will likely find out that we're not actually different, but if we don't wise up soon, even that lesson will be over our heads.
We are this side of the pond are trying to figure out what you all are doing in Europe. You seem anxious to throw your entire culture, economies, and governments away! You seem happy to be governed (or rather ruled) by a bunch of nameless, faceless, and unelected bureaucrats Brussels. As quickly as we are killing ourselves, you seem to be in overdrive. I say that in the knowledge that many of us seem eager to join you.
May God have mercy on all of us!
@ Bird Dog - Don't get me wrong. America is a great nation, with some of the most caring and wonderful people on the planet. I have old American friends and colleagues for whom I care deeply. Many Germans do. America has done great things, and anyone smarter than a french fry has to acknowledge the accomplishments of your great country.
But please explain to me how you could start a country - from scratch - with near endless resources, a blank slate for your government, the benefits of the industrial revolution, more freedoms and rights than any country or people have known in the history of mankind, no oppression about what religion you want to practice - and in less than 200-years, throw it all away?
It's why we keep asking ourselves over here - what's wrong with you people?
It is due to the degradation of our governmental officials. To get in office they promise the unmotivated people every thing for free/no responsibility attached ideal. Self centered immoral "leaders" destroying the country for power and profit.
Just look at the destruction Merkle has cause with her unimpeded import of unskilled illiterate violence prone masses from the middle east. Wouldn't one think the leaders in Europe could have figured out the devastation that would result before they allowed the masses into Europe?
@ GWTW - I'm not exactly sure why the Europeans working with Saddam to create WMD's is a problem for you. Iraq didn't sign the Chemical Weapons Convention until 2009 so they were within their rights to produce and stockpile them for the Iraqi military. It is well documented that Mr. Rumsfeld met with Saddam and arranged significant military assistance for his war with Iran including chemical weapons and the means to deliver them with artillery shells during the Iran-Iraq war. So again, what's the problem?
Talk about naïve - do you seriously believe the US is there to protect the little guy? Where was the US to prevent the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda or Darfur. I guess these countries don't produce enough oil to warrant mutual alliances. But coming from a country that nearly wiped out it's own indigenous people and denied human rights to slaves while publishing those same rights in your Bill of Rights, you have little room to talk. But I guess you can over look that part of American history because it's inconvenient and all in the past. Fair enough - no American alive today killed a Native American or owned a slave. So it's all good.
Should I point out the president Obama still hasn't signed the anti-land mine agreement? Do you need to be reminded of the stupidity of dumping automatic weapons into Mexico in hopes of tracing them to drug dealers? At least one US border agent was murdered by these very same weapons - but I'm sure his family is okay with that since it was all done with good intentions.
The US is THE largest weapons retailer in the world followed by Russia and China. You sell weapons to some of the most oppressive regimes in the world with the worst human rights records like the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Djibouti, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. You give Stinger missiles to Afghan Freedom Fighters one day, then call them Terrorists the next. Its this "friend on Monday, foe on Tuesday" mentality you display with total disregard to how that works out when you pack up your troops and go home. If you're not sure what I mean by that, ask anyone who was in Saigon back in 1972 what it was like when you abandoned them to the Viet Kong. Remind me again how many Bosnian or Serbian refugees you welcomed to the US after your involvement in 1995?
At the very least show some honesty and own up to the innocent lives lost for which America is directly responsible before you beat your chest in indignation about how other countries manage their political or military affairs.
No one made you the world's police. But thanks for trying
World's police. Yes, that is a dilemma of a (The) world power. Hubris.
All I can say is that the US rarely if ever has imperial desires.
Isolationism has been tried.
I have no desire for the US to run the world. Just to defend the US and allies.
NATO is obsolete. So is the EU.
The U.S. did indeed give aid to Iraq during the Iraq war. But not weapons they simply provided satellite data about Iran’s troops. You have been duped by the internet misinformation network.
I did not say the U.S. is there to protect the little guy. Funny how you now seem to think we should stick our nose in even more places. What I specifically referred to is that without a friendly super power Russia and China would have already divided up the entire free world.
Did we nearly wipe out our own indigenous people? Again you are reading too much propaganda. Indeed the European settlers had to fight off the Indians and from the other side of that coin the Indians had to fight off the European settlers. Probably the Indians killed more settlers than settlers killed Indians. There was no genocide except I do believe that the Indians did indeed want to kill all the European settlers. But in the end it was small groups on both sides fighting individual battles. There were a few organized military style fights by both sides as well but significant in their infrequency and inconsequence.
Denied human rights to slaves? Slavery was what the country inherited not what it created. Almost all of the slaves were made into slaves by black Africans and sold to Arab slavers in Africa and moved from Africa to the new world by European countries, companies and ships. Slavery was foisted on us before we ever became a country. In the constitution, which you allude to in your comment on the bill of rights, was a compromise. By 1776 entrenched slavery in the South was a reality and the only way they could create a nation was to lay the groundwork for eventual freedom for slaves. The U.S. to their credit is the only country that ever fought a civil war to free the slaves that the Europeans brought here. Ironically there were more white slaves in Africa in 1776 than there were black slaves in the U.S. You may not have learned in history that slavery was a worldwide problem and NOT just a problem in the land that became America.
You are incorrect. China is in fact the worlds largest weapons dealer not the U.S. followed closely by Russia. If however you ONLY consider the very expensive jet fighters that the U.S. does indeed sell than the dollar amount exceeds that of China. However most of the oppressive regimes buy their jets from France and Russia not the U.S.
Stinger missiles ended Russia’s foray into Afghanistan. You think we should have ignored that or encouraged that???????
"friend on Monday, foe on Tuesday" I assume you realize that we do not have control over what other countries do. If they will work with us than we try to make a difference if they change their mind and than work against us you seem to be arguing that we should never try to change them or do good things with them. I’m not sure that is a legitimate idea to build a foreign policy on. Right now we are friends with Egypt but I have no doubt sooner or later Egypt will go the other way. Should we encourage that or precipitate that by unfriending them when they are working with us?
Viet Nam: Yeah I pretty much have to agree with you on that. We had a fool, a young inexperienced man for president and he started something he could not control. Vietnam was a mistake
Bosnian or Serbian refugees: Why? They still have a country and that’s is their home.
@ GWTW - I would agree that American did inherit slavery. And yet it has been promoting it ever since under the guise of the Democratic party. Since the turn of the 1920's and the creation of the Federal Reserve, the US has created a financial system that has enslaved more people to banks than Southern plantation owners could have imagined. But at least they give equality to include minorities, women and college students.
If America was established in 1776 as for "Europeans bringing them here" it was the American slave trade actually, owned an operated by the Americans if any slaves came into America after that date. Not from the "Europeans" , aka - the British and certainly not the Germans, French, Spanish, French or our Nordic neighbors.
I don't buy the idea that America went to war over the slave trade. It's noble idea, but if you do a little research on old Honest Abe, he didn't believe blacks to be equal to whites in the first place, which is why he would only give them the right to vote if they fought for the North. I think history would prove out that he was more anti-Confederate than he was pro-black and abolishing slavery was a great economic weapon against the South. Perhaps African-Americans really owe their freedom to Eli Whitney.
It's interesting to note that president Bush offered citizenship to anyone from the US Territories if they enlisted too.
Two books I recommend on the mistreatment of native Americans; "That Dark and Bloody River" and "Over the Earth I come." These two pretty well sum up the US Governments attitude towards native people. Well worth reading. You'll find George Washington actually seized land from every native tribe that fought for the British under the Continental rule of War. Nice move!
Of course settlers had to fight off the Indians, they took their land - repeatedly! There was no "other side of the coin". The US government made a treaty, the settlers broke it by ignoring territorial agreements. The Government didn't do anything when the settlers violated the agreements so the Indians fought to maintain their end of the deal. What "other side of the coin" is there?
Arms industry - See reference; the US is the #1 exporter. (However given China now has a larger economy than the US, you're probably right).
@ mudbug - The German army, like the Japanese, is a only allowed in terms of a defense force. We're restricted by our Constitution which is why deployment during the Gulf War was very tricky. We are not allowed to use our military in an offensive way. You can thank the American government for that one. Plus, given our history, our neighbors tend to get a bit nervous when we show up with guns and tanks, especially in old East bloc countries. Not saying we shouldn't have helped, but given our past, it's problematic. Which supports my theory about why Merkel is bringing in so many Syrian refugees; our military can't really do anything, but at least our Government can by taking them in. I think it's Angela's bit for the whole mess down there.
As for Serbia, you let the Vietnamese come to America in droves...something about "boat people". Why not the Serbs or Bosnians since you intervened there too?
Don't get me wrong.I'm not saying the US shouldn't get involved, but it should stop wasting brave American solders in situations it doesn't fully understand. And it shouldn't go to war under some made up pretense.
You could have an endless debate about the FED and banking and never reach agreement. But I would ask what would you do different? Once the U.S. population exceeded a few hundred million or so and once the world population exceeded a few billion the old precious metal based systems were no longer practical.
Most slaves brought to the U.S. after 1976 were still brought in by foreign vessels and the trade was more akin to the current illegal drug trade than it was to legitimate trade. It was finally stopped and years later a civil war attempted to reverse it all.
Different historians disagree about the civil war but most agree that slavery was indeed the cause. Most citizens in the north believed they were fighting to end slavery and save the union. Most citizens in the South felt they were fighting for states rights and their honor. But one fact remains true; it ended slavery.
I have spent a lot of my time studying the issues around native Americans in this country and I’m pretty well versed on that subject. That anyone, Indian or non-Indian, had negative feeling and expressed them is not surprising but hardly damning. Most people had an opinion but that doesn’t change the facts on the ground. The Indians were the best guerrilla fighter in the world and they killed a lot of European settlers. The settlers did their best to match the Indians and killed their share of Indians. Neither side had overwhelming success over the other. In raw numbers it was pretty even. Hardly either genocide or one sided. As for the land under the law and rules at the time it was not Indian land that is a context we place on it today and not the case at the time. The problem with the Indians who fought for the British and the French was that they were particularly brutal in their actions. After that war ended forgiveness was not an option.
I probably wasn’t clear in my explanation of the U.S. arms trade. We sell billions in Jet planes to Israel and a few other countries but almost no conventional arms to any country. China sells billions in conventional arms and most of that to oppressive countries. So while in dollars our “arms” sales may be as great as China’s it is not comparable. If you put it all in two piles you would have a total of maybe 300-400 fighter jets that the U,S, has sold and China’s pile would literally be billions of bullets, millions of rifles, missiles, artillery and on and on. So to simply compare based on dollar amounts is to misrepresent the truth.
I totally agree with your last statement. However understand that is why ISIS is rising and why refugees are flooding Europe. So be careful what you wish for.
Karl: The German army, like the Japanese, is a only allowed in terms of a defense force. We're restricted by our Constitution which is why deployment during the Gulf War was very tricky.
Yes, I'm aware of that, but you can change your constitution, or you can do more humanitarian missions. There's an endless number of things that Germany can do or do more of.
Looking at this from a different angle - and one I consider closer to your initial post - we are judged by our actions. Just as the US is judged as being paranoid, Germany is feared to always be an aggressor. I don't believe either is true. Just as I agree with BD about NATO and the EU and to my eye, the German and Japanese prohibitions on non-defence military missions is just as obsolete.
But of course, my comments weren't restricted to Germany, but to the West in general. I would like to see more countries defend countries rights of self determination. I suppose the UN was supposed to be a bit of that, but as far as I can see, that didn't last past 1953.
I'm not up on the Serbian situation. Bill Clinton was supposed to have fixed that. As for the Vietnamese boat people, our government made promises to the people of South Vietnam and we reneged on them. I suppose there might have been some regret on our part. We used to have a policy of accepting anybody seeking freedom from political tyranny. That makes sense because they are likely to understand the US better. Now we let unaccompanied children and then we get their parents so their families won't be broken up. It's insane.
I'm skeptical of these "migrations." I think too many are looking for freebies and too many are looking to undermine the host country's society and government. The Syrian migrants are not welcomed in most Muslim countries - like the Palestinians. We - and to a greater extent, you - are being overrun by people who have no interest in understanding our government or culture and the same amount of interest in assimilating. As Bobby Jindal, who was running for President, said, migration without assimilation is invasion. That's where the West in general is and it's cultural and political suicide.
Where was the US to prevent the genocides in Cambodia, Rwanda or Darfur.
Where was Germany?
@ bd - In the spirit of your Sunday school lessons, I offer you Proverbs 16:18 and Matthew 7:4.
I would be a bit cautious about using the term "(The)world power" especially when describing a country with an economy that is now second to the Chinese and has been in a state of decline for the past four decades. A country who's people and government are both fiscally and morally bankrupt and has a military that is also second to China and has proven itself incapable of defeating a sovereign country since 1945.
As for imperialism I would say the American territories of Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands come awfully close to being ruled by imperial decree;
"A territory generally has a territorial governor appointed by the Federal government. They usually do not have any elected body of representatives. In addition they have no representation in Congress."
Then consider the fact that the United States extended the offer of US citizenship to them if their people agree to serve in the US military. Sounds rather "Imperial" to me.
Please - I'm not going out my way to knock the US. Trust me, Germany has a lot of serious issues too which we have to recognize, accept and come to terms with as a nation...and quickly!
But I do agree with you on NATO and the EU. :-)
@ All - Great discussion, debate and argument!! :-) Excellent points and counter points. :-)
I think both our respective countries get more negative press than we really deserve and yes, we both made some horrendous political decisions in the past. In our present time VW did some very stupid things, but it doesn't take anything away from the German people any more than Halliburton or Chase Manhattan diminishes the Americans as a people.
I would completely agree that Americans in general, have done more good than harm out of their generous and friendly nature than any other country. Something we Europeans probably envy in a way. Germany, while only an economic power and incapable of using our military to resolve problems, has at least been able to take on Reunification of the old DDR and we paid for it ourselves. Oh, and we also paid off our war debt while we were at it. You can generally trust the Germans not to default on our debts. In fact, our word for debt "Schuld" is the same word we use for guilt. And Germans take guilt seriously.
I will continue to stand behind Frau Merke as her political track record has been generally very good for Germany and while you can argue the problems of the EU, we have bailed out the Greeks from their own fiscal corruption. I'm not yet ready to "throw her under the bus" for one bad decision, despite the fact it's a big one!
As with the mess in the Middle East, for which the Americans must take responsibility for their part, the immigrant issue is clearly upon the respective governments decision (Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, Germany, etc). In both cases, there were good intentions behind the decisions to go to war or provide refuge to civilians in a war zone. Unfortunately in both cases, the broader ramifications of such efforts were poorly understood, poorly planned and both are creating a nightmare for everyone involved.