Do American and European values differ?
|Nearly four out of five Europeans asked
in one poll said they thought Americans and Europeans have different
values. Almost as many Americans agreed. But the Inglehart Values
Map (see p.257 of Free World) shows a much
more complex picture. Do you think we have different values? If so,
what’s the biggest difference?
Debate - Page 1/13
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Bernard Baars, USA
As a US citizen born in Europe, I have become increasingly
concerned about the direction Europe is taking. The deep irrationality
of anti-Americanism among the "chattering classes" is especially
disturbing. One can be a rational critic of US policies, but this is something
very different. It is compounded of rage and envy, not unlike a bad case
of adolescent rebellion. Europe has been dependent far too long on the
US for its defense. It is time to cut NATO loose.
It is better for Europe to be entirely on its own in foreign
affairs. Nothing concentrates the mind like reality. In the next decade
the nuclear genie will be out of the bottle. When the EU has to cope with
nuclear threats from Iran, North Korea, and who knows else, without being
able blame America for everything --- or to play both sides against the
middle, as it did with Saddam --- it will have to grow up fast.
Ladislav Éhn, Slovakia
The answer to the question is yes. We differ in values.
The problem with the EU is it won't last. We in the EU cannot agree on
the issue of values. The Americans have at least the 'American Dream',
but we in the EU have nothing. Just look at the porblems with the inclusion
of Christianity in the 'constitution' of the EU.
If we can't agree on such basic things like values than
the only thing that keeps us together is the economy. There was never
a multinational conglomerate that was held together only by economic factors,
which survived the tests of time. Culture, values and ideology are essential.
Europe has no ideology, it doesn't understand its own values and culture
Christian Guthie, UK, Europe
The above if very a stimulating opinion but also very American.
It is the irrationality of America which frightens Europe (and the rest
of the world). Don't make this into an anti-american issue.
Old is often used as a reverant tone, signifying dignity
and experience. Old Europe has gained a lot of experience through its
bloody history. And one of the valuable lessons learnt is that even though
at times there are wars that can be won, there are others where everybody
just digs deeper and deeper trenches with no clear winner. In this case
the trench being dug is the war on terror...
The big mistake the US has made is to alienate its friends,
by deriding them for their holding their own opinions on how to deal with
the matter. Hey guys! That's what friends are for! That is what democracy
is all about!
We ARE with you on fighting terrorism believe it or not.
But in a more steady manageable fashion. After all, WE have lived with
terrorism for decades. And thousands of people have lost their lives because
But eventually these guys screw up and get caught. Note,
that nowadays on the Basque are still fighting. All the others have gone
into retirement or been caught. And so it would happen with Bin Laden
and his crew. So the lesson from Europe is: don't go guns blazing into
the world like a big pissed off bully (and earn more enemies as you go
along) but play the stealthy sleuth who eventually gets his baddy.
That, on only that is ther REAL difference. It is a difference
of approach, not objectives. We aren't really anti-american (seen the
amount of SUVs of the road lately?) but afraid of what America is getting
us all involved in - and that there won't be a happy ending like in a
Remember the world loves America but it doesn't like a
bully! So for once, listen to us instead of shouting us down as yellow
bellies etc. Leave that stuff in the school yard.
As an EU citizen who has lived (and appreciate) in the
US (America, excuse me, is a continent to us and not a country) for a
while, I do not agree with this analysis at all. It doesn't look to me
that the european vast majority of people (I'm not sure what kind of social
cathegory is the 'chattering class', transposed in a European context...)
has a 'anti-(North)American' attitude. On the contrary, most people think
that it looks like United States are going on a isolation trip itself
after these last sad years, not being able to listen and to cope with
multilateral alliances and strategies, becoming even more a "sheriff
nation" of ambiguous and opaque goals and objectives.
Is this a childish and adolescent attitude, compuonded
of rage and envy (envy of what, I wonder...the NorthAmerican way of life
is no european dream anymore)? I do not think so. It is the rightful excercise
of free judgement on the acts of THIS Repubblican and very controversial
(even inside the US) n.american administration, whose macroscopical errors
are just evidence for all to see. It is about time NOT to cut NATO on
the loose, but for the US administrations to start participate as a Member
and not a Owner to it, and to UNO, and all other international assemblies.
Right now, by the way, the popularity of US around the free world (not
only Europe, then) is at its lowest level: are we going to blame the world,
or are we going to start investigate the causes? The problem could be
an excess of NorthAmericancentrism, which is now turning into isolationism.
To have a different look at US' foreign policies of the
The Black Book of America , Autor: Peter Scowen
Gabor Palasti, Miskolc, Hungary
Is the question an assumption that American values are
uniform? I wonder what a Democrat and Republican would have to say about
that, especially in a near election debate. And likewise: is the question
an assumption that European values are uniform? That an Englishman, a
German and a French would not be able to go into a hot debate over their
very own values? And how about values on the level of different social
classes? Wouldn't a European corporate leader find a common voice and
common ground of values with his American counterpart much easier than
with his own Labour Union activist from his very own country, or with
the priest of the church building next to his company seat?
I think that the question asked in this topic is just way
too vague to answer.
We're fed up that the US is attacking countries without
any international permission. We're fed up that the US is neglectimg international
law. I hope that Kerry wins the elections. We Europeans are fed up with
Bush. That's a very common view throughout Europe.
Joe Greene, London, UK
So we have to 'grow up fast' eh? Your system of Government
and Laws didn't spring naked from the Boston Tea Party you know. Your
language, and culture, is rooted firmly in Europe: and when was the last
time your country was invaded? And do you seriously think American military
bases during the cold war, existed solely to protect European interests?
We need no lessons from America on reality, or the threat of World War:
we've had two of them thank you very much.
Our anger is not directed at ordinary Americans, it is
directed against your government, who got us into this mess in the first
place, by spuriously linking Saddam Hussein to so called WMD, and the
events of September 11th. It is your government and the people who support
it who need to grow up.
Matt Malone, England
Europe and the USA are not seperate cultural entities that
cannot co-exist or interact with one another. Quite the opposite. The
truth is that the jibes on both sides of the Atlantic about "old
Europe" and the "Texan cowboy" do not help matters, however
one may feel about the policies of both Europe and the USA. I do believe
that a Kerry administration will help to rebuild the bridge across the
Atlantic that is so crucial for the Western world as a whole. Although
there are differences in the European Union's broadly social democratic
political model and the US's inclination to the liberal free market, the
essential tools for the construction of democracy are there.
Garton Ash mentions in his book how many Western European
states are more closely related in terms of economic and domestic policy
to the United States than to some of their Eastern European EU partners.
Even in foreign policy, the perception that every US diplomat is in office
only to plant the stars and stripes across the Middle East and every oil-producing
state does not ring true. Neo-conservatism is the preserve of the likes
of Wolfowitz and Cheney in the Pentagon. The State Department (the engine
room of US foreign policy) was and still is riddled with scepticism about
the entire doctrine.
Charles Warren, USA
"We're fed up that the US is attacking countries without
any international permission." Gee, I don't remember European empires
ever asking American permission before attacking anyone when they straddled
"We're fed up that the US is neglectimg international
law." How can we be neglecting international law ? Since law is the
will of the strong, we ARE interntional law. All else is European pieces
of paper and empty sentiments. Power in the real world comes from strength.
Not empty sentiments, pieces of paper, and the delusion that you are somehow
going to persuade America that it has a "moral duty" to let
a European consensus tell it what it can or cannot do. Europe chose cradle
to grave social welfare and 35 hour workweeks instead of power. Well,
you made your choice. Live with the consequences.
"I hope that Kerry wins the elections. We Europeans
are fed up with Bush. That's a very common view throughout Europe."
George Bush, with is religious piety, his indifference to any need for
European or UN "legitimacy", and his unabashed patriotism is
an extremely typical American of the heartland. He is no aberration.
Phil Karasick, Seattle, Washington, USA
Yes, Mr, Joe Greene, Europe in general and Britain in particular
need to grow up.
There are vast, serious and unbridgeable differences in culture and values
between the U.S. and Europe. Americans are overwhelmingly Individualists.
Many of us strongly believe that the Individual -- not the Group, not
the Many, not the State -- is overwhelmingly the most important element
in society. The so-called "Good of the Many" does not outrank
the "Good of The Few". Many of us believe that people who are
poor are that way because they rightly deserve to be so. We believe that
every Individual has the right to get born, to receive at least a guaranteed
minimum level of education -- but that beyond that, you are entirely on
your own. We believe in holding individuals responsible for their own
actions and for the consequences of their own decisions. We believe that
there is no "right" to Free or Government- (translation: Taxpayer-)
funded) Medical Care, no "right" to be supported at Taxpayers'
Expense for years or generations at a stretch as an alternative to working.
We believe that the only "rights" Americans are guaranteed,
are the Rights enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights
-- life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, in whatever form that may
take. We don't believe in a European-style Nanny State. And we will not
be bullied or browbeaten into "living up to European ideals".
If we wish to ignore our less-well off citizenry, that is our right. Homelessness
on "your" part, does not "auto-magically" translate
into Tax Increases on "my" part.
The fact that "Europe, Canada and most western democracies are committed
to a welfare state" is not a reason why America "should"
also be so inclined. The "Everyone else is doing it" argument
doesn't work on us. We aren't going to "hop to it". We aren't
going to "get with the program". We have a Right to be the nation
that we want to be, regardless of whether this is different from what
you "want us" to be like. We don't want to be like you. We want
to be like us -- like Americans. If our Colonial-era ancestors had wanted
us to think and act "just like Europeans", they would have stayed
in Europe instead of fleeing to America in pursuit of freedom and opportunity.
And if "the rest of the World" was such a wonderful place, people
would choose to stay there, rather than continuing to try to emigrate
I think these last elections have proven that Americans
don't have a clue why there is so much resentment throughout the world
over the direction their country is going.
Just read the above statement "we ARE international law" well
Mr Warren sorry to have to wake you up but you have as a nation taken
the road to becoming obsolete and most of all isolated. Do you seriously
believe we really care? I'm not loosing my civil rights, I'm not beeing
lied to, I'm very happy with my social system but then again I'm also
not illiterate as most Republican voters are so I can inform myself and
see through the propaganda.
I recently read a book on how propaganda and political manouvering was
carefully orchestrated by some smart people in pre war Germany. They also
didn't need support from no one, limited civil rights, considered beeing
intelectual as a weakness (unless you were on their side obviously) and
I guess I don't have to remind you what the results were do I. Well this
is what your country is starting to look like more and more each day a
right wing neo conservative neo fascist gay bashing moslim hating country
with no morals and values whatsoever apart from doing it all in the name
of some God who according to Bush keeps blessing America for everything
We at least in Europe try to have values that everyone can somehow feel
related to. Now this is a very difficult task as Europe is a big mixup
of differnt ideologies and values but I think our leaders are at least
trying. In the US this easy you are either a God fearing all American
cowboy or you live in a big city where people understand that America
is going the wrong way and they will pay the price no one else.
I would like to simply state that the President of the
United States has one job and one job only, and that is to represent and
foster the interests of the United States ONLY. He is not supposed to
be concerned with the concerns of the globe. He was NOT elected to be
President of the world.
In other words, He is beholden by oath to do what is in OUR BEST INTERESTS.
European leaders need to do what is in Europe's best interests. If their
is conflict, there is conflict, and we should settle it like the close
cousins we are.
Anti-Americanism is entirely appropriate. The recent US
election showed the George Bush is indeed not an aberation. The American
(United Statesian?) people need to learn that actions have consequences.
They also need to understand that their lifestyle is unsustainable and
they need to make changes. Almost everyone here is in deep denial. Europe
is in the same situation in this regard, just not as bad.
Do American and European values differ? Would a "born
again Christian" campaigning on a crusader platform be elected anywhere
Michael Remler, United States
One of the many glories of the United States is the ability
of the constitutional order to maintain both diversity and unity. The
EU is trying to master that trick under different circumstances but it
remains to be seen if it can. We are a large and very diverse polity.
I have a teaching line I use for Europeans. - Everything you believe about
the United States is true ... and the exact opposite is EQUALLY true.
Allen Franklin, USA
As an American living in California, I feel as much out
of touch with much of America as the rest of the world does. I am very
disheartened by the results of the election. Yet, when I think about things
- I voted against Bush, not for Kerry. Both parties are owned by big business
and the Republicans are becoming captives of the religious right.
I told my wife I wish California could join a few other 'blue' states
and form our own country. Failing that - I told her maybe we should think
about Canada or Ireland. I am just too old to learn a new language (GRIN!)....
Pete Berry, UK
I think Gabor (above) has raised a very important point.
From outside there is a very natural (but wrong) tendency to stereotype
all individuals in a country on the basis of their current leader. When
Margaret Thatcher was our PM I was often irritated when e-mail correspondents
from the US congratulated me on holding firmly to views that were deeply
repugnant to me. If the US election showed anything it was surely that
there is a very deep political divide there. It makes even less sense
to characterise every EU citizen as being 'childish', pro-Arab - or anything
As ordinary citizens of 21st Century Earth one of our challenges is, perhaps,
to find a way of identifying individuals and groups in other countries
who hold views with which we are sympathetic and to open channels of communication
with them. Particularly difficult within Europe where we have an immediate
problem with language (though we have the technology :) ). Another challenge
of course is to listen to those who hold *different* views to ours and
try to understand them better without trying to start a dialogue by calling
them names like children in a schoolyard.
We perhaps need to Globalise our politics - and grow up.
Phil Karasick, USA
Yes, Mr. Greene, Europe in general and, I think, England
and France in particular need to grow up. Yes, Joe Greene, American military
bases during the cold war, did exist solely to protect European interests.
They certainly could not possibly have prevented a nuclear strike by the
Soviets against the U.S. mainland.
Perhaps you will explain how stationing thousands of U.S. troops stationed
halfway around the world from their homes and families; keeping them on
constant alert to defend the lives, safety and freedom of people who appear
to despise them; encouraging U.S. troops to spend millions of dollars
of their own money to benefit the economy of the 'host' country; and paying
foreign governments tens or hundreds of millions of dollars for the "privelege"
of stationing our troops to defend 'your' freedom -- perhaps you will
explain how all this benefits America?
J David Levy, USA
Sitting in Tucson, AZ, it is hard for me to understand
what European values are, muchless how to answer the question of whether
they are the same as American values. But I will try.
To being with, in the US, we would much rather see the world adopt our
values than clean up after the mess left over from other value systems.
Take the issue of illegal immigration from Mexico. Why should the United
States become home to million of illegal aliens seeking a better life
here because the Mexican Government has failed them so miserably at home?
Taking the issue to the Europeans (not the Blair Brits who we love so
well!) Why should Americans subsidize the socialist medical practices
of so many European nations? It is because of European (and Canadian)
pricing policies on drugs that Americans have to pay so much at home.
Why should we adhere to the United Nations when most member nations are
either totalitarian dictorships, or royal monarchies? Why shouldn't we
lecture the rest of the world on freedom and prosperity when we are the
most free and prosporous nation in the world?
Why should we consider France a legitimate allie when half of France supported
the Nazis in world war II? Why should we look to the Netherlands for moral
understanding in a place where drug addition and prostitution is legal?
The old Europe has learned nothing. The old Europe would be speaking German
if it weren't for the lives lost of American young men, twice.
Yes, we are conservative, but conservative Americans, as embodied by George
Bush, are the party of love, tolerance, freedom and prosperity. That said,
I belive this is what most Europeans want as well. It is a matter of policy
differences, not positional differences. I gues in that light, the values
of Americans and Europeans are not so different at all.
David Lennard, British Born, Spainish resident,
I lived in the usa for 8 years, and very nearly took citizenship.but.................
in the end, i felt european; it's hard to put a finger on the differences,
but they had less to do with abstract values than with their practical
the ruthlessness of the american social model is disquieting to one born
and brought up within the european social consensus.
(the first time i heard the phrase 'health industry' rather than health
service sticks in my mind. i said to the person who used it that i felt
uneasy about being treated by a doctor who depended on me for his income:
could i be sure that he would not delay my 'cure' for the sake of my continuing
custom and therefore his pocket? my american friend replied that under
no circumstances would he entrust his health to a doctor who got paid
whether or not his patients recovered)
yet in the moral field, the qualities that americans see as 'values' are
for the most part kindly and simple; love your country, don't mess with
human life, welcome those who ask for your help, protect and defend the
unfree and the oppressed.
both parts of the 'divided states of america' that simon schama wrote
about in the guardian last friday (nov5th) hold these values; they differ
in the way in which they feel these values should be applied in domestic
and international policy, and in the ways in which they should interact
with each other and with more difficult imperatives: freedom of choice,
plurality in society, mutual tolerance.
we europeans, however, distrust overt religiosity, have died in horrible
numbers in the name of patriotism and thus regard it rather sceptically,
are rather doubtful about the impact of too many huddled masses arriving
on our shores, and would find it hard to defend ourselves, let alone anyone
the growing divergence of the world views of america and europe, whose
most profound values are not only shared, but descended from a common
ancestor called 'the enlightenment',is the result of, among other factors,
the vastly different historical experiences of the two continents in the
20th century. one result of differing histories is the different application
of shared values. we are witnessing this today,and commenting on it, from
both sides of the atlantic, in a variety of registers, from the shrill
to the cynical.
it would be nice if this site concentrated on debate rather than rhetoric,
and comprehension rather than insult. if we have to have a global policeman,
far better for that policeman to have the US constitution than the russian
or chinese ones, or the UN charter for that matter, and far better for
the policeman to realise that a good policeman is a part of the community
and responsible to it.
one last point, to end this slightly rambling discourse,: if we in europe
really and truly felt that we couldn't stand what america was doing any
more, we could use the very powerful weapon we have - economic attack.
refusing to trade with america, withdrawing investment,not buying any
more US government debt, boycotting the cinema and mcdonalds, would make
any american administration sit up and take notice. but talk is cheap
and action costs.
Michael Remler, United States
I would point out to Mr Franklin that Bush got 44.28% of
the vole tin California.
Reply to J. David Levy
It seems I can't get through the week without reading another blinkered
american claiming that, where it not for lost American lives, Europe would
now be speaking German. Can the defeat of the Nazis not just as easily
be attributed to the Russians? Incidentally, over TWENTY MILLION Russians
died in the conflict.
Secondly, do you really think that a unified Nazi Europe would not have
posed any security threat to the United States? Britain could involved
in the first wordl war for fears that a German victory would upset the
balance of power within Europe. Same thing?
Thirdly, would it really have been in America's economic interest to lack
prosperous European trading partners ?
Fourthly, given that the whole of Europe isn't speaking Latin, why should
we assume that Europe would be entirely German speaking now? Bit fatuous,
Chris Wainscott, Indianapolis, USA
I think Europe made a grave mistake by not siding with
the USA against Saddam Hussein. Europeans assumed the war against Iraq
was a whim of Bush. They ignored the fact that 70% of Americans supported
the war at the time of the invasion. A stand against the war was a stand
against most American citizens, people who truly viewed Europe as a faithful
friend and ally.
Had the West stood united against Saddam, war probably would have been
avoided. Saddam was encouraged by our divisions and played against them
until America was finacially commited to war (Once our army was massed
half a world away, it was too late to turn back based on potentially false
guarantees from Saddam).
Here is why American's supported the Iraqi War... Americans were still
in shock from 9-11. Americans knew Saddam had WMD during the 1990's (The
UN destroyed many but was forced from Iraq before all were destroyed).
Saddam was a sworn enemy of America. Saddam had tried to assassinate an
ex-president. Terrorists and fanatics worldwide were encouraged by the
success of the 9-11 attack. America had no reason to believe Saddam would
not supply terrorists with WMDs. Saddam was defying the terms of his surrender
during the first Iraqi War.
All of these combined factors led to a strong desire for war with Iraq.
Americans were afraid and they really did view Saddam as a threat to their
security just as Europe saw the Eastern Block countries as a threat to
theirs during the last half of the 20th Century.
If there is a moral difference between Europe and America it is that Americans
believe they have a duty to stand beside friends and allies even when
there is considerable risk to America (Providing a nuclear umbrella for
Europe during the Cold War was risky business but American's embraced
it because of a sense of duty to our allies).
In comparison, Europe did not rise to the ocassion during the Iraqi War.
Faced with a rare instance where Americans needed support from its friends
and allies in Europe (instead of the other way around), they were left
to fear and to fret on their own. Maybe the fear was exaggerated by the
shock of 9-11, maybe it wasn't. Regardless, it led to a war that was probably
The friends and allies of America who stood against America during the
war are as much responsible for the war as members of the coalition. A
West united in purpose probably would have convinced Saddam into submitting
to continued inspections.
I believe Europe is trying to justify its faithlessness to the American
people by blaming GW Bush for the war. This past election has made it
clear that Europes betrayal was to the American people, many of whom spent
time in the military fighting in Europe during the great wars, or defending
Europe during the Cold War.
In regards to morality... standing for what is right instead of what is
wrong... there is really no comparison between America and Europe. The
two have a different perception of the terms.
Johanna (Joan) Moren, Sweden
Mr Bernard Baars, Please, who gave us the problem of Nuclear
Weapons? Your very own country. What I would like to know is how badly
you feel about this.
Who has dropped Nuclear bombs? Who has used chemical weapons?You have
and we are paying for it.
The only way to counteract your aggressiveness is to have one too. You
don't mind taking out a poor crippled country like Irak but you don't
seem to be so anxious to hit Korea,do you?
I have had to live through all those wars you have started on all the
countries that didn't agree with you.
I am a 75year old great-grandmother and <I am sick and tired of you
Americans telling me I must now hate another country in your great ambition
to rule the world. Wake up to yourself and read your History.
If you were my grandson I would turn you over my knee and smack your bottom.
Michel Bastian, France
Lots of replies that have nothing to do with the topic
on this board, so I shall confine myself to the question asked: do the
US and the EU have different values?
Well, yes and no. The US, like the european states, have a value system
based on a history of common cultural development. Not only do we have
a common religious background (mostly christian), we also have a very
similar political culture. The basic concept of democracy is the same
in the US and in Europe: the object is to avoid injustice and oppression
by having the people rule their own destiny. That being said, there have
been differences lately, and these differences are important:
1. there is a marked influence of religious and "moral values"
issues on american politics. This influence has increased drastically
with the Bush administration. In Europe (and this includes Britain), we
tend to studiously divide religion and politics due to our history: we
have found that religion, when injected into politics, tends to radicalize
political discourse pretty quickly. Things turn "fundamental"
almost instantly when politics are based on beliefs rather than on rationality.
This, in our opinion, is not a good thing.
2. Our basic perception of what a state should do is radically different.
The american approach is: government should only serve to provide a sound
basis for furthering personal goals. The american dream is one where every
individual has an equal opportunity at living the life he wants to live
and fullfils this dream. If the individual doesn´t make it, too
bad for her/him. In a sense, this is a darwinist approach.
The european approach is much more complex: it recognizes that there has
to be equal opportunity, but it also recognizes that some individuals,
due to a plethora of possible factors, will not be able to live a decent
life, let alone fulfill their personal dream, even if given equal opportunities
at the start. Therefore, european states developed the concept of a "social
market economy". The object is to find a balance between equal opportunity
for all and a social "net" to provide at least a basic standard
of living for those who are not able to fulfill their personal dream.
Also, with the inception of the EU, the "european dream" has
evolved into a model that differs from the american one in that it takes
into account globalization. As Jeremy Rifkin so aptly pointed out in his
book "The European Dream", the european model is designed to
create a stable conglomerate of nations that can insure a peaceful coexistence
of these nations while at the same time respecting national identities
and interests as much as possible. This is the challenge Europe is facing
at the moment. If this model works (and we´re still not sure that
it will), it could be the prototype for a completely new concept of a
Frank Billot, Europe, France
>They ignored the fact that 70% of Americans supported
the war at the time of the invasion.
We don't ignore that, we are just appaled at their lack
of judgment. Be they 70% does not make it truth or sound.
>Had the West stood united against Saddam, war probably would have
This war had no reason to be. To avoid this shameful war
would have needed a US opinion less jingoistic, not poodle allies.
>why American's supported war
is because of self-righteousness of those whose believe
in being in a 'blessed country'. Which insulates them from having any
distance to their own propaganda.
>Americans believe they have a duty to stand beside
friends and allies
remember it took Pearl Harbor to have them stand behide
> Americans needed support from its friends and
allies in Europe
we can be friends. Here what you needed most is the sound
advice of friends with some intelligence and sensibility about how the
world goes : something you slowly (but not quick enough) discover in the
irak quagmire : people don't just obey to force, it takes time to change,
it takes intelligence, respect and knowledge of others' culture to help
As far as allies goes, it should depend on what you stand for. In this
case, we had better not go along with 'coalition' (is that not your own
new version of what alliance stands for ?)
>standing for what is right instead of what is wrong...
there is really no comparison between America and Europe
definitely. and we sure know what we proudly stand for.
Evidently this is Phil Karasick's U.S.
The rest of us just live here.
I find it really funny and a litlle bit sad reading Frank
Billiot from France about Pearl Harbour and Americans. France has signed
a military agreement with Poland before World War II in case of Nazi attack.
Finally, we know what happened next...
Let's be honest and objective.
KL Kohl, US/UK
I heard the author on public radio this morning but could
not get through on my cell phone to put my tuppence-worth in. I am a dual
American-British citizen who lived in England for nearly 20 years. I have
now lived back in the U.S. for four years. I live in Massachusetts, so
my fellow statesmen and women are reeling, as I am, from the election;
and now I am interested to see that there is information circulating on
the internet (and television news last night) about the possibility of
an investigation and recount, at least in Ohio and Florida if not elsewhere.
I believe there probably was wide-spread corruption in the handling of
the vote and count. I believe that is how bad things have gotten here
in the U.S. I have certainly seen significant and worrying changes since
The fact that the self-righteous and hypocritical "religious"
right has been able to hijack this election - as they did they last one
- is proof. Even if the election was legitimate, and I doubt that, the
fact that 51% of my fellow Americans would voluntarily choose a man who
is nothing more than an empty suit led astray by cynical henchmen for
the lunatic right -- well, this is a country I do not recognize. This
is a country where I do not feel at home in the least.
Bush manifestly lost all three "debates." He presented himself
as the empty-headed, simple-minded clown that he is. He cannot handle
complex thought; he cannot consider or contribute to complex issues in
the world or in this country. 51% of voters preferred him to an intelligent
and intellectual grown-up.
I do not think that 51% cares one single bit for Europe or the rest of
the world. They do not understand, and if they do, they do not care how
the world views them; because they are not interested, or not able, to
view the world with reason or insight or sensitivity.
I remain puzzled as to why Blair supported and continues to support Bush.
I believe Blair will be replaced in Britain and that will be the end of
the "special relationship" until - if only ever - rational minds
can prevail in the U.S.
Susan Starke, USA
Re: Johanna Moren's comment
Nuclear weapons were developed by European refugee scientists. America
did not "give" such weapons to the world anymore than it "gave"
the world the computer, another transnational intellectual project. Chemical
weapons were used by the Axis during WWI. Why the selective historical
amnesia? The USA has not behaved angelically in every instance throughout
its history, but its current demonization at the hands of some Europeans
is ridiculous. The USA is not the cause of every evil of the modern world,
and Europe is not a Utopia of peaceful enlightenment. Drop the hypocritical
sanctimony, please, and then we can have a real conversation about our
Tom McLaughlin, US
The values "divide" is trivial. In most areas
of social and cultural life, the US and western Europe are converging.
This is most evident in the sweeping transatlantic changes affecting the
most important social entity of all, the family. In both the US and Europe,
a large percentage of the population no longer believes it necessary or
appropriate to marry, bear children and raise children, or else does so
haphazardly and late in life. Cohabitation and out-of-wedlock childbirth
are considered acceptable, in some places even the norm. A majority of
Americans, like a majority of Europeans, accepts legal abortion and tolerates
open homosexuality. An extreme indidvidualism as regards sexuality and
family choices prevails on both sides of the Atlantic.
Though we westerners consider these normal and uncontroversial, in fact
these attitudes constitute a truly revolutionary change in social mores
that has not occurred anywhere outside the late 20c west (except perhaps
Japan). In fact it's quite easy for an American family to live and integrate
itself in Europe and vice-versa, whereas it would be extremely difficult
for individualistic and tolerant western families from either the US or
Europe to integarte themselves into and get along with the traditionalist
societies on our respective southern borders.
This historic shift has profound consequences for western demographics
and thus for all aspects of political and economic life: social spending,
the role of the state, immigration and economic policy. In another twenty
years' time the grand transatlantic pissing match over other issues will
seem a quaint memory. The truly enormous issue looming over each side
of the Atlantic is the demographic one, and on that issue, we have more
in common than not.
Albert Brecken, Greenwich, Conneticut, US
Recently the US gave the World a very convincing "demonstration"
of one of it's "values"-- the equality of people. This was when
President Clinton was required to appear in a Court of Law.The attorneys
for the Plaintiff, Paula Jones, argued that the Plaintiff could not be
denied Due Process of the Law simply because the defendant happened to
be President of the United States.The Supreme Court agreed, and their
ruling was a unamimous decision. Consequently,the person in the most exalted
office in the World had to answer to the grievance of a "lowly"
Where else in the World does this commitment to the basic equality of
Phil Karasick, Seattle, Washington, USA
You are more than welcome to live in the U.S. You are more than welcome
to disagree with the results of the election, if you so choose. You are
more than welcome to disagree with me. However, in fairness, I should
point out to you that no one is "forcing" you to stay here in
the U.S. I like the way things are going in the U.S. just fine. If you
aren't similarly happy, you are more than welcome to try to elect people
who represent your views. Of course, there is another alternative, as
well, namely: "Delta Is Ready When You Are".
Phil Karasick, Seattle, Washington, USA
Johanna (Joan) Moren:
Yes, the USA did develop the first crude atomic weapons. In answer to
your question (asked of another poster), I don't feel badly about that
at all. Nuclear weapons are not a "problem" at all. Nuclear
weapons are a "product". You further asked "Who has used
nuclear weapons?". The answer is that no one has ever used nuclear
weapons. The A-bombs dropped on Japan were "atomic" weapons,
not "nuclear" weapons. And I for one am very proud that we used
those weapons and dropped those bombs. And given the same choices and
the same circumstances that existed in August 1945, I would vote to drop
those atomic bombs on Japan again. I would do it again. With no hesitation
at all, I might add. And I make utterly no apologies whatsoever for the
use of those weapons. And if you are unhappy with that, that's really
just "your, Individual" problem -- not mine. Those weapons were
instrumental in bringing to an end the most horrific conflict in all the
recorded history of Mankind, a war in which roughly 50 million people
had already been slaughtered with conventional, non-nuclear weapons. I
don't see you shedding any tears for those slaughtered people. Incidentally,
your comment about the U.S. supposedly using "chemical weapons"
is untrue. The U.S. has never used chemical weapons. And you didn't live
at all through any "wars that we started" against countries
that supposedly "disagreed with" America. We certainly "disagreed"
with Nazi Germany, but we did not start that conflict at all, and we were
dragged into yet another interminable European war for the second time
in a century. Incidentally, your own country of Sweden was guilty and
is guilty of war crimes and of crimes against Humanity for Sweden's having
violated its own so-called "neutrality" and aided and provided
transport for Nazi troops. Those Nazi troops then attacked, conquered
and enslaved Sweden's own neighboring country of Norway. Sweden piously
(and falsely) claimed to be "neutral", but as Sweden's actions
demonstrated, apparently in the minds of the Swedes there are different
definitions of being "neutral", since Sweden didn't extend the
same courtesy to the Allies. Wake up and read your own History, Johanna
Moren. You live in a nation whose government collaborated with the Nazis
at the highest levels of Government. If you were my grandmother, I would
spit in your face on behalf of the thousands of Norwegians whom your government
helped the Nazis to murder.
affiliation/country: Seattle, Washington USA
Sandra Cleary, Massachusats, USA
It is somewhat comforting (if also disconcerting) to see
that some Europeans are as irrational in their political argument as some
Americans. On the original question of values: of course we Americans
share fundamental values with Europe--after all, that's where we got them,
the evangelical fundamentalism and the Enlightenment liberalism. That
on particular policy questions there will be differences between (and
within)Europe and America should not be surprising. We are in the midst
of great changes in the world order, and great threats to the security
of all our countries. No one I know of has a crystal ball telling us exactly
what we should do, so we have to reason it out, argue it out, and then
hope for the best.
As Mr. Berry pointed out, we should avoid confusing the leadership of
a country at any point in time with the people of the country. Mr. Bush's
policies are troubling to many Americans (at least 48% in fact). His cavalier
treatment of allies is, I believe, not only embarrassing but detrimental
to American and European interests. Most Americans believe in the separation
of church and state and, if our two hundred plus years of history mean
anything, this flirtation with fundamentalism will not last.
I am deeply concerned about the policies of my present government but
not about the fundamental strength of the American system, grounded as
it is in the values of the European Enlightenment and the deeply rooted
cultural traditions of Europe which immigrants brought with them when
they founded it. Mr. Karasick, individualist that he is, speaks only for
Eric Christopher, Student, California, United
Again, the core of the argument here is the similarity (or difference)
in values between the U.S. and Europe. Several points raised above are
well-stated and should be expanded upon:
1. There is little doubt about the universality of democracy and certain
civil rights in the Western tradition. All jokes and comments about the
Bush administration's rights record aside, I believe that no American
or European will ever willingly sacrifice democracy and its civil trappings.
There will always be components of European and American society that
cling to the tenets of free speech, separation of church and state, the
right to assembly, and the like. These elements will continually fight
to expand civil liberties in the face of elected officials and electors
they believe have sacrificed too much for economics, security, or self-interest.
2. The approach to democracy and civil rights have different characters
in America and Europe. Americans are a litiguous and combatative bunch.
We fight for civil rights on the streets and in the courts. Europeans
have a more (pardon the pun) civil approach and generally prefer compromise
in the political realm. This doesn't mean we don't hold the "same
truths to be self-evident." Americans are often polarized on issues,
owing to the traditions of our two-party democracy. Europeans tend to
be splintered into smaller factions on the issues - not polarized.
3. On social issues (such as social welfare, unemployment, gay rights,
etc.) Americans and Europeans are also not so different. Again, owing
to the combatative two-party system of American politics, 50.1 percent
of the population can force a value on the other 49.9. The beauty of democracy
is that the next election, the 49.9 can take back their statehouses or
Congress and swing the system back to their favor. The European parliamentary
systems rely more heavily on long-term compromise and "centrist"
approaches to issues. Americans do have a welfare policy...it's just not
as generous as the European ones. It must be this way because we had to
get it past the other 49.9 percent. Europeans have universal health care...it's
just not as good (in general) as health care in America. It must be like
this because the right would lose the center if it sought to take it away
4. Those that would bash the 52% of the U.S. population that voted for
Bush, go ahead. This administration has a character unlike any previous
one - mostly for the worst. But have faith in our system. We did vote
for the guy (at least 52% did). It is still a democracy. He will be held
accountable for his policies - both domestic and international. But this
is also an important distinction - Americans are a self-centered bunch
of individuals. We'll look after ourselves first. Yes, yes, we know that
we have responsibilities to the rest of the world. But we have to have
money to feed our families first. Yes, yes, this may come at the expense
of our Third World policies. But Africa doesn't elect the president of
the United States. If Bush f-s up badly anywhere, we'll take care of it.
But it's our destiny if we decide morals are more important than Kyoto.
There's no great divide here. Our underlying values systems are remarkably
similar. It is our approach to implementation that is different.
Phil Karasick, Seattle, Washington, USA
>We don't ignore that, we are just appalled at their
lack of judgment.
Translation from European illogic: "Your judgement
and opinions are different from ours, and ifd you really had judgement
you'd of course agree with our views. So, since you don't agree, it must
be because you have an appalling lack of judgement".
>Be they 70% does not make it truth or sound.
Be they 70% of the U.N. General Assembly siding with Sadly
Insane Hussein, does not make it right, truthful or sound.
>This war had no reason to be. To avoid this shameful
war would have needed a US opinion less jingoistic, not poodle allies.
This war had every reason to be, not the least of which
was to finally at long last force that toothless, gutless, corrupt and
venal anti-American "star chamber" the U.N. (which ought to
be dismantled, in my opinion) to finally act on its words and remove Sadly
insane Hussein from power once and for all. There is nothing whatsoever
"shameful" about removing a tyrant from power.
>Here what you needed most is the sound advice of
friends with some intelligence and sensibility about how the world goes
How the world appears to go, according to the French, is
that murderous tyrants like Saddam Hussein are coddled (as long as they
keep buying French-made goods and selling oil to their "friends"
at cut-rate prices), allowed to remain in power, allowed to thumb their
nose at the U.N., and allowed to cheat on U.N. sanctions with the help
of their friends in Europe who skimmed bribes and kickbacks from the U.N.
"Oil For Palaces" program.
FOR SALE: One French Army rifle. Excellent condition. Never
fired. Dropped once (while running).
Frank Billot, France, Europe
Let's be honest and objective.
France failure in 1940 does not make it less objective that the US did
not get involved until Pearl Harbor, and for that matter did not rush
to rescue Poland in 1940 either.
Frank Billot, France, Europe
Mr. Karasick's posts are the very incarnation of the divide
between this america's value (not the 49%) and europe's at large.
beyond the shabby neocons rethoric, its 'logic' can only resort to a supposed
defense of S.Hussein to justify a war with 'every reason to be'. forgetting
how deep the ties where between US administration and Hussein (cf. Rumsfeld's
visits to the man, the stolen report from UNSCOM from which the pages
related to US Firms weapons and chemicals trading to Irak have been suppressed).
This hollow rethoric can only fool those who want to believe it, and we
are really appalled by the numbers of them, and even more proud of what
we stand for as europeans.
btw, the display of macho values that your last line reveals is so comforting
in that regard : sounds so much pre-school arguing...
Phil Karasick, Seattle, Washington, USA
Reply to Jakub:
>Secondly, do you really think that a unified Nazi Europe would
not have posed any security threat to the United States?
Europe was essentially unified under Nazism from 1940 on,
after the Nazis conquered France. A unified Nazi Europe did not pose any
security threat to the United States. The USA's security was never threatened
by this fact. The Nazis could not possibly have invaded the United States.
They couldn't even invade England from a distance of about 10 miles across
the English Channel without their air cover, and they lost their air cover
during the Battle of Britain.
>Thirdly, would it really have been in America's
economic interest to lack prosperous European trading partners ?
Which trading partners? Germany was certainly prosperous
prior to its ill-conceived invasion of the USSR.
>Fourthly, given that the whole of Europe isn't
speaking Latin, why should we assume that Europe would be entirely German
speaking now? Bit fatuous, no?
No, it isn't. At one point in its history, almost all of
Europe was indeed speaking Latin, because most of Europe had been conquered
by the Empire that brought Latin to the rest of Europe. Eventually that
Empire crumbled, and Latin faded largely out of existence. By 1944 almost
all of Europe west of the USSR was learning to understand German, if not
speak it. Perhaps, in time - perhaps 50 to 100 years - even the Nazi Empire
might have crumbled and been defeated and passed into History without
any intervention on America's part. Of course, by the time that happened,
all of Europe would likely have been turned into one huge concentration
camp. Perhaps that is acceptable to you.
H. Chase, Huston, TX, U.S.A.
American Values and the Religious Right
A few people here have made some comments about American fundamentalism
creeping its way into our politics. This is a valid concern, one that
I share, and yet I voted for Bush.
How is this rational?
Right now, our media industry is rather out-of-control. Hollywood and
the news media have become so enmeshed as to be virtually indistinguishable
from one another when looked at objectively. They're even owned by the
This, in the eyes of many people, is a Bad Thing.
Firstly, the most pressing problem is that the news is no longer the vehicle
for objective truth that is so essential to our freedom as to have its
rights outlined clearly in the Constitution. We cannot function as a liberal
democracy without proper information.
However, it seems that we've been somewhat temporarily victimized by our
own commercialism, in this regard. News is cherry-picked and sensationalized
according to what sells, which is not always what is most important. Most
truly important stories are rather... well, boring-sounding and require
more explanation than can be condensed into a 30-second soundbite on Larry
It is also overwhelmingly dominated by the political ideologies of a certain
class of persons in our culture who are pretty far from representative
of the average citizen. This does not make them correct in their views,
or in any position to know what is For Your Own Good, merely that they
are able to convey these opinions using the forum of the news media, which
is a one-sided conversation.
On the Hollywood side of things, they've gotten to the point of offensive
decadence. Violence, edgy sex, glorifying divorce and philandering, idealizing
impossible standards of physical beauty... it's resulted in a lowest-common
denominator kind of "entertainment" that, frankly, a lot of
us have grown weary of enduring. Oh, for the days when hearing Lauren
Bacall say to Bogart with a flirty smirk, "You do know how to whistle,
don't you? You just put your lips together, and blow," was considered
sexy enough without having to see her actually demonstrate the insinuation.
There's a lot of debate about how much influence this has had and is having
on our future generations.
Amidst this debate is the ridiculousness of political celebrity endorsements.
I might be willing to take seriously someone like Mel Gibson who has managed
to maintain some vague semblance of moral relation to the rest of us,
but for the most part, celebrities live in that Other World Over There
which has only a smattering of commonality with our everyday lives. That
is, after all, the whole point of their existence as actors... to draw
us away from reality.
We realize, on some level, that this problem is of our own creation. The
media would not exist as it does if we weren't demanding to be wowed by
stories of shark attacks, sex scandals and things that explode. We wouldn't
have such turgid awful movies as Armagheddon grossing outrageous sums
of money if people weren't buying tickets.
But, American capitalism and democracy has a way of working things out.
While we wring our hands and fret over What To Do about this, we realize
that we can change the channel, buy different movies, and get our information
from other sources. And so we are doing, little by little. The supply
will eventually conform to our demands. But, before it does, there is
a period of backlash and chaos as the pendulum crashes through the establishment
on its return swing.
This is what Europeans are witnessing now in the form of commercialized
Christian morals pre-packaged for ease-of-use. The magnetic bumper-mounted
Jesus-fish industry is booming right now. Normally, this would work itself
out rather unspectacularly.
Unfortunately, this was aggravated by 9-11, largely because it was committed
by people who did so for religious reasons. In response, a lot of otherwise
passive self-help-Jesus-is-my-therapist Christians gelled together with
the brimstone fundies.
So yes, it's now become a religious war (although we prefer the term "values"),
but they made it a religious war, first. Before 9-11, few people in this
country cared one whit about whether a person was Muslim. The stereotype
of a Muslim used to be equated with quiet industrious people who owned
convenience stores; now it has suddenly and violently shifted into wild-eyed
suicide bombers who lust for our destruction. Ack! Jesus, help!
Myself, I'm an apathist when it comes to religion. Is there a God? Who
cares? But, I care very much about what the Muslim extremists believe
because they FORCED me to care. I'd rather side with the Christians on
this one. We'll worry about stem cells later.
However, do not think for one moment that all of us who voted for Bush
are simply going to passively sit back and let him choke religion down
our throats (On that note, "In God We Trust" is not choking
me... that's a stupid thing to argue over now). Most of us hold dear the
notion that people should be able to believe whatever stupid crap they
want to, so long as they don't impinge on anyone else's right to believe
in their stupid crap. 51% vote for bush does not mean that 60 million
Americans are illiterate, gay-bashing, Christian-Zionist zealots who think
that champagne is of the Devil. The ones you're hearing are, like most
zealots, the loudest.
In the vein, Bush isn't quite as stupid as he's been portrayed. Or, at
least, his administration isn't. I think this is why we are seeing a more
temperate Bush now that the election is over. He knows that only a small
number of the total people who voted for him support the fundy agenda
- the rest of us want him to finish the war, secure our borders, maintain
our power in the international community, get the economy back in order
and then go away. He knows that "political capital" does not
equate a fiat to sermonize from Capitol Hill, nor to give the whole world
the star-spangled finger.
I'll give him four years to do that.
And that, my friends, is my humble opinion on the current temperature
of American values and politics.
I wouldn't presume to speak of European ones.
Fancypants, New York City, USA
Phil Karasick from Seattle is displaying for the world
to see the very profound combination of ignorance, insecurity, and fear
that recently elected the international terrorist G.W. Bush.
This "Red State" mentality includes the hatred of gays, the
hatred of women with its anti-abortion fanaticism, the hatred of any rationality
or intellectualism that challenges fundementalist Christian Evangelical
bigotry, and above all, the deep unabiding hatred of any person or country
that challenges America's "God-given," unconstrained right to
wage war on anyone, at any time, at any place for any reason.
At this very moment, Phil, witness the utter obliteration of Fallujha
in Iraq by a cowardly and deeply racist American military who use phosphorous
ordinance, overwhelming airpower supremacy, and execution squads to murder
Iraqi freedom fighters desperately attempting to defend their homeland
from the criminal American occupiers.
BTW Phil, Americans participated in WWI where use of poison gas was widespread.
Phil, America gave Saddam Hussein the very chemical weapons that Saddam
used to gas the Kurds. Also Phil, G.W. Bush gave Saddam the military intelligence
that Saddam used to poison gas the Iranians in a war started by Saddam
at America's insistence. And Phil just in case you have forgotten, it
was the American government that used biological weapons (syphillus) against
African-Americans in the Tuskegee Syphillus experiments.
Hey Phil, America was the first country to use nuclear weapons (the reason
was geo-political so as to constrain Stalin in Manchuria). The use of
nuclear weapons had nothing to do with saving American lives or defeating
Japan as American propaganda claims. The use of nuclear weapons by the
USA against two civilian, non-military targets was one of the greatest
crimes in recorded history.
The USA continues to include nuclear weapons in its weapons arsenal and
is currently developing and soon deploying a new generation of tactical
nuclear weapons. Meanwhile the USA demands that its current enemies, Iran
for example, must never develop nuclear weapons!
The USA's ally Great Britain was the first country to ever use poison
gas from the air in furthering its Imperial designs. It did so against
the Shia of southern Iraq in its policy of ethnic cleansing, murdering
10,000 Shias in three months in the 1920's.
Europeans and the world should know that Phil's and G.W.Bush's Republican
Party defines itself by exclusion. The Republican Party's office-holders
at both the state and national levels are 99 percent White to the exclusion
of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.
In short, the values of Phil, G.W. Bush, and their Republican Party have
more in common with the values of Osama bin Laden and his fundementalist
Islamicists, whereas the Anti-Republicans in America share many of the
values of "Old Europe," including the French who bequeathed
to the world the brilliance and humanity of Voltaire, and the ideals of
the French Revolution: freedom, egalitarianism, and brotherhood.
Jed Clampett, Arkansas
Just a quick question Michael Remler in the 'states. What's
a "vole tin"?
Phil Karasick, Seattle, Washington, USA
>Frank Billot, France, Europe. Let's be honest and
objective.France failure in 1940 does not make it less objective that
the US did not get involved until Pearl Harbor, and for that matter did
not rush to rescue Poland in 1940 either.
I agree, let's be honest and objective. "Armchair
quarterbacking" and 50+ years of hindsight do not change the Fact
that the US had no "reason" whatsoever to get involved in World
War II prior to Pearl Harbor. There was utterly no legitimate "reason"
that the US should have dived headlong into yet another interminably long,
bloody and wholely European conflict or taken sides against a German nation
that was not a threat to the security of the USA and which had not attacked
US forces, US interests or the US mainland. Nor was there any "reason"
that the US "should" have "rushed to rescue Poland in 1940,
either". The US did not have a mutual-assistance treaty with Poland
that obligated the US in any way to declare war on behalf of Poland. Therefore,
it wasn't our fight. However, it was France's and britain's fight because
those countries did indeed have a mutual-asstance treaty with poland that
obligated them to come to Poland's defence.
>Mr. Karasick's posts are the very incarnation of
the divide between this america's value (not the 49%) and europe's at
Why, thank you!
>beyond the shabby neocons rethoric, its 'logic'
can only resort to a supposed defense of S.Hussein to justify a war with
'every reason to be'.
Please show me specifically where I ever "defended"
Saddam Hussein in any way, shape or form whatsoever. I would be quite
gratified if the Iraqi people strung Sadly Insane Hussein up by a meat
hook in a public square a'la Mussolini, and saved the Iraqi people the
cost of a trial, not to mention saving the world the embarassment of having
to watch Saddam Hussein successfully bring a U.N. trial to a grinding
halt, as The Butcher Of Belgrade, Slobodan Milosevic has already done.
The Liberation of Iraq did not and does not need to be "justified",
as far as I am concerned. Had it been left up to you, Sadly Insane Hussein
would still be cheerfully having people murdered by his secret police
and thrown into mass graves.
>forgetting how deep the ties where between US
administration and Hussein (cf. Rumsfeld's visits to the man, the stolen
report from UNSCOM from which the pages related to US Firms weapons and
chemicals trading to Irak have been suppressed).
The ties between Saddam Hussein and France run far deeper
than any involving the US. US troops have already had to contend with
being fired on by Saddamites wielding French-made Roland antiaircraft
missiles -- missiles which France was banned from selling to Iraq under
the terms of a UN arms embargo.
A bit about Saddam: He wears a beret. He has a moustache.
He likes expensive cognac, adult movies and flashy French cars. He has
a mistress. And he is utterly amoral, totally devoid of any moral principles
or any understanding of the difference between Right and Wrong. It's easy
to see why the French had an affinity for Saddam Hussein: He's one of
them. He's French.
Rumsfeld has visited with a number of world leaders. The
fact that he actually behaves properly as a guest and shakes hands with
his host does not mean that he "endorses" his host's policies.
Jacques Chirac has embraced and shaken hands with Yasser Arafat. From
this I can therefore clearly conclude that Chirac heartily endorses Arafat's
policies of wanting to wipe the State of Israel off the map. Of course,
given the number of virulent anti-Jewish incidents taking place in France
-- synagogues and Jewish religious schools torched or defaced, Jewish
cemeteries vandalized, Jews violently attacked in broad daylight -- this
is not at all a difficult conclusion to draw. We should remember that
antisemitism and hatred of Jews is hardly "new" in France. We
are talking, after all, about a country that collaborated at the highest
levels of government to send French Jews on a one-way trip to the Holocaust.
>This hollow rethoric can only fool those who want
to believe it, and we are really appalled by the numbers of them, and
even more proud of what we stand for as europeans.
What you stand for as Europeans appears to be a willingness
to tolerate the continued existence of any dictator, no matter how murderous,
rather than use force to remove that tyrant from power. This is particularly
true if the dictator in question is cozy with amoral Frenchmen, imports
millions of Euros worth of expensive French champagne/cognac/automobiles,
and buys off France by selling oil at cut-rate prices.
>btw, the display of macho values that your last line reveals is
so comforting in that regard : sounds so much pre-school arguing...
You people in France never met a dictator you didn't like,
did you -- Vichy, Hitler, Idi Amin, the Ayatolluh Khomeini. The list goes
on and on. You never learn, do you........
Phil Karasick, Seattle, Washington, USA
>Fancypants, New York City, USA - Phil Karasick
from Seattle is displaying for the world to see the very profound combination
of ignorance, insecurity, and fear that recently elected the international
terrorist G.W. Bush.
You can just refer to him as "The President, Again".
Sorry to burst your bubble but I don't feel at all insecure or afraid.
Of course you can choose to think of me as being "ignorant"
if you wish. *YAWN* You'll have to work harder if you intend to offend
>This "Red State" mentality includes the
hatred of gays,
Can you provide any evidence that I personally have any
hostility whatsoever to gays? Incidentally, Washington State where I reside
is a "Blue State", not a "Red State".
>the hatred of women with its anti-abortion fanaticism,
Can you provide any evidence that I personally have any
hostility whatsoever toward women? Incidentally, Washington State enacted
Roe V. Wade provisions into the state constitution years ago.
>the hatred of any rationality or intellectualism
that challenges fundementalist Christian Evangelical bigotry
Sorry to again burst your bubble, but I'm not Christian
or Evangelical. And if your ranting is what passes these days for "rationality"
or "intellectualism", the nation is in much sorrier shape than
was ever imagined before.
>At this very moment, Phil, witness the utter obliteration
of Fallujha in Iraq by a cowardly and deeply racist American military
who use phosphorous ordinance, overwhelming airpower supremacy, and execution
squads to murder Iraqi freedom fighters desperately attempting to defend
their homeland from the criminal American occupiers.
At this very moment, FancyPants, witness the rescuing and
liberating of Falluja in Iraq by a brave and well-trained US military
that is carrying out the directive of Iraqi Prime Minister Allahwi to
free Fallujah from the grip of criminal Islamic occupiers and terrorists.
Kindly provide evidence that the US military is using "phosporous
ordnance" or of what relevence that is, even were it true. Also,
kindly provide evidence that the US military is "deeply racist",
or else please admit that you are lying. I'm proud of the US military
and the job they are doing.
>BTW Phil, Americans participated in WWI where use
of poison gas was widespread.
BTW FancyPants, the US "participated" in WW1
and helped defeat Germany after the European Allied powers of Britain
and France were exhausted from 3 years of continuous warfare. And we are
Heroes for having done so. If you don't happen to like that fact, that's
unfortunate for You, but that's kind of just the way it goes. The fact
that the US "participated" in World War I, and that chemical
weapons were used by both the Allies and the German-allied countries,
does not "prove" in any way, shape or form that the US had anything
at all to do with the "use" of chemical weapons. There is no
"guilt by association" whatsoever. The US never "used"
poison gas, and the US is not "responsible" in any way, shape
or form for the actions of other countries' troops.
>Phil, America gave Saddam Hussein the very chemical
weapons that Saddam used to gas the Kurds.
Excuse me but that is utter rubbish. It is a well-documented
fact that Saddam Hussein's regime used an elaborate network of dummy "front"
companies to obtain nuclear, chemical and biological weapon components.
Saddam's regime Stole far more than it was ever "given". And
no one in America ever "forced" Saddam to carry out chemical
weapons attacks against the Kurds. The responsibility for that is Saddam's
and his alone. I realize that the Left has always had an ideological mind-block
against the idea of Individual Responsibility, and you continue to demonstrate
this admirably. Saddam alone was responsible for his actions.
>Also Phil, G.W. Bush gave Saddam the military intelligence
that Saddam used to poison gas the Iranians in a war started by Saddam
at America's insistence.
Also FancyPants, the US never once gave Saddam's regime
anything that could be used as offensive weapons. Furthermore, your claim
that Saddam's murderous invasion of Iran was allegedly "started by
Saddam at America's insistence" is an utter crock and a falsehood.
Saddam decided on his own to attack Iran with absolutely no "prompting"
or "insistence" by America whatsoever. Kindly supply evidence
to prove your claim or else admit that it's a crock. Once again -- Saddam
himself and he alone was responsible for his own actions -- NOT America.
If he wanted to launch a surprise unprovoked war against Iran on his own
initiative (which is what he did), the US was not exactly going to shed
any tears over a bunch of Iranian fanatics who had held US diplomats hostage
for 444 days, but the US never "insisted" on Saddam starting
his war against Iran- he did it entirely on his own, and for his own reasons.
>And Phil just in case you have forgotten, it was
the American government that used biological weapons (syphillus) against
African-Americans in the Tuskegee Syphillus experiments.
And fancyPants, just in case you have forgotten (or, more
likely, never learned in the first place), the American government never
once used "biological weapons" against African-Americans in
the Tuskeegee Syphillis experiments. If you had bothered to read up on
the Tuskeegee Experiment, you would have learned that the American Government
never "gave" syphillis to anyone -- the men in the study were
already infected with syphillis when they entered the study.
>Hey Phil, America was the first country to use
nuclear weapons (the reason was geo-political so as to constrain Stalin
Hey FancyPants, America never used "nuclear weapons"
at all. The bombs dropped on the two Japanese targets were atomic, not
hydrogen. And the dropping of those Bombs was absolutely the correct decision.
However, the reasons for dropping the Bombs had nothing to do with "geopolitical
reasons" (contrary to the usual lies and propaganda from the "Numbnutz
Chimpsky We-Hate-America Brigade") and had nothing whatsoever to
do with trying to "constrain Stalin in Manchuria". The US government
had ASKED Stalin at the Potsdam Conference to launch a military offensive
against Japan. Stalin invaded Manchuria two days AFTER the U.S. dropped
the first A-Bomb, on Hiroshima. In typical Stalinist Communist vulture
style, Stalin launched an imperialist war to seize territory from a Japan
that was already essentially beaten by the might of the US Navy and the
US Army Air Force.
>The use of nuclear weapons had nothing to do with
saving American lives or defeating Japan as American propaganda claims.
Contrary to typical Communist propaganda from the Numbnutz
Chimpsky Brigade, the use of atomic weapons had everything to do with
defeating Japan and saving the estimated 250,000 American lives and millions
of Japanese lives that would have been lost in the planned invasion of
Japan, had the Bombs not been dropped. The clearest and most obvious evidence
of this are the facts that Japan refused an Allied surrender demand before
the first atomic bomb was dropped, and then again refused an Allied surrender
demand before the second atomic bomb was dropped. Only after the second
A-Bomb was dropped, did the Japanese government ageree to capitulate.
And even then, the Emperor had to put down a military rebellion against
>The use of nuclear weapons by the USA against two
civilian, non-military targets was one of the greatest crimes in recorded
Rubbish, as usual. The Japanese had virtually pioneered
the definition of war crimes in their imperialist aggression in Asia.
In their decades-long invasion of China, the Japanese saw nothing whatsoever
wrong with razing Chinese cities,bombing non-military targets or slaughtering
unarmed civilians (in the Rape of Nanking alone, the Japanese slaughtered
over 100,000 Chinese civilians). If the Japanese didn't want their cities
razed and their civilians slaughtered, perhaps they should have first
considered the consequences of inflicting atrocities on "other peoples'"
There are no "degrees" or "levels" of "dead".
The people who died at Hiroshima were not "more dead" than the
Japanese who died in the firebombing raids on Tokyo (or, for that matter,
the millions of defenseless people whom the Japanese murdered). "Dead"
>The USA continues to include nuclear weapons in
its weapons arsenal and is currently developing and soon deploying a new
generation of tactical nuclear weapons.
The USA has reduced its nuclear weapons stockpiles drastically
following the end of the Cold War and is paying the former Soviet republics
billions of dollars to assist them in dismantling and disarming their
own nuclear stockpiles.
>Meanwhile the USA demands that its current enemies,
Iran for example, must never develop nuclear weapons!
That's exactly how it should be. It's bad enough that there
was a 50+ year-long arms race involving the US and the USSR, an arms race
which is thankfully over. A nuclear weapon in the hands of Islamo-fascists
is a terrifying possibility.
>The USA's ally Great Britain was the first country
to ever use poison gas from the air in furthering its Imperial designs.
It did so against the Shia of southern Iraq in its policy of ethnic cleansing,
murdering 10,000 Shias in three months in the 1920's.
Which, of course, has nothing whatsoever to do with the
USA. Once again, "we" in America are not "responsible"
for "other countries" and "other governments'" actions.
>Europeans and the world should know that Phil's
and G.W.Bush's Republican Party defines itself by exclusion. The Republican
Party's office-holders at both the state and national levels are 99 percent
White to the exclusion of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.
So you are now claiming that Condaleeza Rice and Gen. Colin
Powell are actually white people with brown paint sprayed on their faces?
The Republican party doesn't "exclude" anyone. Bush doubled
his share of the African-American vote in the 2004 election and won the
majority of the Hispanic vote, especially in Florida.
>...whereas the Anti-Republicans in America share
many of the values of "Old Europe".....
That's why the Anti-Republicans are as screwed up as "Old
Europe" is. And that's why the Anti-Republicans keep losing elections.
They still refuse to recognize that Marxism is on the Ash-heap of History,
and that the Cold War is over and Capitalism WON.
Getting back to the question that started this thread,
Europe and US hold different values. A 2003 poll shows that 80% of US
citizens believe in war as a way to bring justice and undo wrong doings
while 60% of Europeans don't believe that war can bring any benefits whatsoever.
The majority of US citizens supports the death penalty while the Europeans
do not. The EU even requires the abolition of any such laws before a country
can join. These are major differences and the leaders in their global
policy can only express these views. That's all there is to it.
Which one is the way forward is hard to say. One thing is clear though,
capitalism the way we know it is dying and something new will emerge.
The next years will see the end of working from 9 to 5, the end of the
family, the end of the mass production, the development of new fuels and
energy sources - yeh I'm a big fan of Alvin Toffler I know :). The very
notion of "country" fades when a strike in taiwan shakes european
and US companies alike. Both EU and US face serious challanges if they
are to cope with those changes.
Thus beeing said, to me it looks like you american guys are trying to
hard to keep your life-style unchanged while the whole world around is
changing. Why are you fighting for oil when it's going to run out in 50
years anyway is beyond my understanding. You could have used those money
to research some new fuels or something.
The EU on the other hand needs time to sort out its internal debates but
don't see it as a bad thing. The leaders look wise enough and I strongly
believe something brilliant will come out of it in the end. They just
MIchael Remler, United States
Sorry for the typo. It was the "vote in."
Fancypants, Ground Zero, NYC
How wonderful to hear from you again, Phil Karasick from
>>*YAWN* You'll have to work harder if you intend to offend me.
Dear Phil, my response to your American propaganda and
the other American propaganda on this blog has nothing to do with offending
you or anyone else for that matter. Clearly offending Europeans, Noam
Chomsky, and the remainder of the world is your goal, but not mine.
You Phil, are simply the current courier and representative on this blog
of a culture of militarism, white hate, homophobia, and misogyny.
>> Incidentally, Washington State where I reside
is a "Blue State", not a "Red State".
The "Red State" mentality is represented by the
program of hate furthered by a regressive, repressive, culturally out
of touch, white-supremacist, hate-filled Republican party. You remember
Zell Miller, Phil?
For example, the offfical platform of the Republican party is anti-abortion
and anti-gay marriage. The international terrorist and most hated human
being in the world, G.W.Bush, personally seeks to amend the American constitution
to ban gay marriage.
Of course, "gay marriage" is simply code language for an outright
homophobe agenda. Anti-abortion is also code-language to keep women 'barefoot,
silent, and in the kitchen,' the goal of the ovewhelmingly male-dominated
>>At this very moment, FancyPants, witness the rescuing
and liberating of Falluja in Iraq by a brave and well-trained US military
that is carrying out the directive of Iraqi Prime Minister Allahwi to
free Fallujah from the grip of criminal Islamic occupiers and terrorists.
Dearest Phil, almost all of the American propaganda coming
out of occupied Iraq is replete with racist American hate. Racist American
soldiers are now under investigation for multiple murders and executions
of innocent, brave Iraqi freedom-fighters. This includes one American
officer who murdered an injured Iraqi in order to 'put him out of his
It includes another innocent, badly injured Iraqi freedom-fighter in a
Falluja mosque who American 2nd Lieutenant Erick Anderson shot in the
face for absolutely no reason.
In response to this killing in Falluja, American Sergeant Nicholas Graham
said: "You can't trust these people [the Arabs]... He [the American
soldier] did nothing wrong." (The Guardian On-line)
Phil, do you not see that this commment by an American soldier in Iraq
is just a little racist? How about a lot racist?
Killing the injured, Phil, is what is done to animals, not human beings.
But the American military is trained to see their opponents as animals
and that is why the racist, homophobic, misogynist American military is
so utterly out of control in Iraq and why they have imposed a complete
information lock down over their war crimes in Falluja.
Hey Phil, why has Al Jazeera been outlawed by Bush's puppet Alad Allahwi?
To insure that American war crimes will never become known to the outside
In spite of this, the Red Crescent suggested yesterday that as many as
800 civilians had been killed during the bombardment of Falluja.
>> The US never "used" poison gas, and
the US is not "responsible" in any way, shape or form for the
actions of other countries' troops.
>Phil, America gave Saddam Hussein the very chemical
weapons that Saddam used to gas the Kurds.
>>Excuse me but that is utter rubbish.
The corrupt Reagan administration knew exactly what they
were doing in insuring that their puppet Saddam received illegal chemical
weapons from American companies: it was to seek revenge on the Iranians
for freeing themselves of the other criminal American puppet, the Shah
Phil, when human rights groups condemned Saddam for gassing the Kurds,
it was the international terrorist Ronald Reagan and G.H.W. Bush, creators
and supporters of the Nicaraguan Contra terrorists, who refused to also
condemn Saddam. In fact Republican administrations continued to support
Saddam and financially reward him by advancing Saddam huge unsecured credits
in order to pay for his criminal American-Iraqi agenda.
>>Also FancyPants, the US never once gave Saddam's
regime anything that could be used as offensive weapons.
Again Phil, in addition to the poison gas itself, G.H.W.
Bush himself gave Saddam sattelite data in order to poison gas the Iranian
troops who were attempting to protect their country against an American-inspired
invasion initiated by the American puppet Saddam in 1979.
The consequences of the American poison gas used against the brave Iranian
troops can still be seen today with untold thousands of Iranians still
requiring treatment for respiratory ailments.
Phil, the American international terrorist Henry Kissinger commented that
it was wonderful that the Iraqis and the Iranians were killing each other
at such a great rate. Henry Kissinger also helped Augusto Pinochet in
Chile get away with the murder of 30,000 innocent Chilean citizens.
>> the American government never once used "biological
weapons" against African-Americans in the Tuskeegee Syphillis experiments.
Hey my buddy Phil, in the Tuskegee experiments the American
government monitored the progress of syphillitic infections in African-Americans,
lying to them about their infections and refusing to supply them with
the medications that could have terminated the syphillus. Some of the
African-Americans died because of this refusal to supply medications.
This is biological warfare, just the same as the criminal experiments
performed by the Nazi Dr. J. Mengela and his biological and acclimatizing
experiments on concentration camp inmates.
Again Phil, the American Tuskegee experiments confirm and reaffirm the
deep American cultural tradition of seeing people of color, Native Americans,
African-Americans, Vietnamese, Mexicans, Japanese, and many other ethnic
groups as ANIMALS.
>>Contrary to typical Communist propaganda from the
Numbnutz Chimpsky Brigade,
Noam Chomsky is not a "chimp," he is not an animal,
It is intersting Phil how you see your opponents as animals. Why do you
think that is, Phil? You may have some racist tendencies that you need
to deal with.
>>the use of atomic weapons had everything to do
with defeating Japan and saving the estimated 250,000 American lives and
millions of Japanese lives that would have been lost in the planned invasion
of Japan, had the Bombs not been dropped.
Oh my woefully misinformed Phil, the American naval forces
had Japan completely surrounded. The Japanese homeland had absolutely
no fuel even for their fighter planes to defend the major Japanese cities
against the criminal American fire-bombing campaign. The Japanese were
incapable of defending Japan.
The American forces would never had invaded Japan because Japan was already
defeated. The use of nuclear weapons had nothing to do with saving American
lives. It was to promote the American hegemony and to deter the Russians
who were threatening territorial expansion into Manchuria and China. The
Americans were scared of this possibility and not of the Japanese.
Come on now Phil, even supporters of the 1945 American nuclear terrorism
of Japan now admit that the second nuclear bomb was completely unneccessary
for their tactical purposes.
>The use of nuclear weapons by the USA against two civilian,
non-military targets was one of the greatest crimes in recorded history.
>>Rubbish, as usual.
This is an amazing reponse by you Phil. The world community
can now see the full, unremitting nature of the true heart of America:
white-supremacist, racist hate.
>Europeans and the world should know that Phil's and
G.W.Bush's Republican Party defines itself by exclusion. The Republican
Party's office-holders at both the state and national levels are 99 percent
White to the exclusion of Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, and Native Americans.
>>So you are now claiming that Condaleeza Rice and Gen. Colin Powell
are actually white people with brown paint sprayed on their faces? The
Republican party doesn't "exclude" anyone.
Phil, a handfull of African-Americans in the Republican
party simply does not compensate for the overwhelming anti-Republican
response by almost all African-Americans. The southern states hold the
greatest number of African-Americans but they are just not represented
in the national Republican party at all. To repeat, The Republican Party's
office-holders at both the state and national levels are 99 percent White.
>>Bush doubled his share of the African-American
vote in the 2004 election and won the majority of the Hispanic vote, especially
The international terrorist Bush received 11% of the overall
African-American vote, and a reduced number of Latino votes as compared
>>They still refuse to recognize that Marxism is
on the Ash-heap of History, and that the Cold War is over and Capitali
What has Marxism got to do with what we are discussing
Phil? Hullo Phil, are you still with us?
Let me guess, Phil: is it because Americans see Marxism no matter where
Americans desperately need Marxism, Terrorism, and any of the other "-isms"
to further their racist, Imperialist agenda and to feed the insatiable
American appetite for the war machine and for racist war.
Yes, I think that Europeans and Americans share basic values
founded in The Enlightenment.
How these values are weighted may be somewhat different at different times,
within America and in relation to Europe.
Unlike Phil, I do not assume that I speak for everyone in this nation...and
fwiw...you don't, Phil.
It is another example of the hubris of a certain segment of this population
to assume they, alone, represent American values.
People like Phil can be found all over America, but so can people like
For many of us who do not support Bush, the difference in values is starkest
between Americans, not between Americans and Europeans.
Susan, The Volunteer State, Tennessee
I see many simlarities and many striking differences in
Europeans and Americans.
Americans are an optimistic people. We, for the most part, have a can-do
attitude and believe we can accomplish our goals. Europeans are more pessimistic.
I read a recent Harris poll which shows that Americans feel very positive
about their system of government and the constitution (77%), but Europeans
did not view our government in a positive light, but most interestingly,
they didn't view their own governements nor any other governments in a
positive light. Americans genuinely like ourselves and others more than
Europeans believe that everyone should live more or less the same, in
other words, equal outcomes. Americans do not want to see anyone live
in poverty, but we are not concerned about equal outcomes. It does not
bother me in the least that Bill Gates is rich beyone measure and I'm
not. It would be a tragedy if I could not become as rich as Bill Gates
through my efforts. Americans love the idea of self-determination. That
is the real American Dream: the opportunity to achieve to the best of
Americans can admit we have and will always make mistakes. I don't see
this behavior in most Europeans, with the exception of the British.
Most Americans have a very tangible sense of right and wrong. For the
most part, we do not believe in moral relevancy. And when we see a wrong,
we want to make it right. We have little patience with the kind of diplomacy
that it practiced in Europe.
Of course, Americans are more religious and most Americans attend church.
Many Americans feel that Europeans have lost their way.
Americans engage in acts of charity in a much more personal level. We
think less about large human problems, but do more about small human problems.
We come to the aid of our fellow citizens in distress. If a neighbor's
house burns down, it would not be uncommon to find other neighbors offering
aid, shelter and even monetary contributions. We volunteer to serve in
homeless shelters, hospitals, soup kitchens. We spend less time formulating
policies to solve large global human problems. I don't think that we buy
into the idea that we can really solve problems with "aid."
We are discouraged that after years of aid, there is seldom a dent in
the problem and our aid is often used as a weapon by thugs to control
Americans are individualists. We believe that governement should serve
each community first and reflect that community's values. We like the
fact that we have state and local laws which differ because we are a diverse
population. We resist federal laws and want to keep them to a minimum.
Yes, we have local laws that some Europeans find absurd, but if a majority
of the local population supports such laws, then the laws are appropriate
for that community. It's a very big country, you can always move to another
Americans have a strong since of patriotism; we love our country, our
flag, our values. Europeans confuse this with nationalism. We have no
desire to conquer others or rule other nations, contrary to the belief
of many Europeans.
We know we have a big stick and often feel guilty about using it even
when it is in our best interest to do so. Europeans don't seem to realize
that their stick has been whittled away and they are negotiating from
a position of weakness. Americans may confuse this with jealousy, but
Europeans are playing the only hand they have.
Americans don't travel often to Europe and have little contact with Europeans.
We have shorter vacations and tend to take them at a sunny locale either
in America or lately in Mexico. Europeans do not realize that most Americans
don't have time to travel to Europe, even if they had the interest, which
many do not.
Europeans and Canadians constantly carp and complain in public about the
high cost of everything. Americans would simply take another part time
job to make more money and solve the problem rather than engage in long,
non-productive discourses about the state of the economy or our individual
Americans pay lip service to the UN, but many of us feel that it is just
a dog-and-pony show. We really don't expect the UN to do anything. Privately,
we hope they won't. We feel the UN is impotent to do anything but make
meaningless resolutions and we certainly do not want a UN coalition on
the battlefield with American military forces. Coalitions, other than
with English forces, are simply for show. We don't really expect Europeans
to fight in an actual battle.
Do the values of the United States and Europe differ? Obviously,
yes, otherwise there would have been greater support for the war against
terrorism. Some people in the US and Europe choose to see terrorism as
a "nuisance to be lived with", as the unlamented Senator Kerry
claimed, and some in the US and Europe, choose to see terrorism as a real
threat to humanity. History will decide who is right, but, in the meantime,
I far prefer to defend against it, then to take the view that everything
will be all right if we ignore it. History demonstrates the latter is
the path to distruction. Remember Chanberlain.
Had the US responded to the Iranian hostage crisis, Somalia, the embassy
bombings or the first World Trade Center attack in a more direct manner,
the course of history might well have been different. Each attack on US
property and/or citizens was ignored until 9/11 when we could no longer
ignore the attacks on our country for over thirty years.
For those who are opposed to President Bush, it should be remembered that
he is not responsible for Europe, he is responsible for the safety of
the people who live in the US. While I am sad that the friendship with
many of our European "allies" has been frayed, I would remind
them that they too are looking out for their own interests. Unfortunately,
those interests do not seem to be in concert with ours. The values of
appeasement, collective "group think" and pacifism, when we
have been harmed, are anathema to Americans - or at least 52% of them.
As an aside to Fancypants, It's hard to believe we live in the same state.
If your values are so different from the values of the majority of the
population of our country, then perhaps you should choose to live elsewhere,
where your "hate America first" rhetoric will be more appreciated.
Phil Karasick, Seattle, Washington, USA - "You people
in France never met a dictator you didn't like, did you -- Vichy, Hitler,
Idi Amin, the Ayatolluh Khomeini. The list goes on and on. You never learn,
do you........ "
Augusto Pinoche, The Shah of Iran, The current House of Saud, would you
like me to go on?
If you're interested
I'm sure if you do a bit of googling then you can equally find just as
much support by Britain/France/Europe/The rest of the world of dictatorships.
The reason for many Europeans to disagree with this republican administration
is that we disagree on how to fight the war on terror. Looking at this
administrations attitude to attacking Iraq is a prime example. The war
on Iraq has killed many innocent civilians, while I appreciate that these
'collatoral' casualties were unintended, if you lost a family member to
the army that invaded your country, or saw people you relate to (muslims/arabs)
suffering under under an occupying army, wouldn't you feel anger and hostility
towards those people? The only way I view the way the american war on
terror is as a call to arms for Muslm fundamentalists.
I do agree with the stated US aims in bringing peace and democracy to
the middle east but feel they are being brought about in the wrong way
and believe that many here in Europe agree with those aims.
Paul Zotos, US
I am an American educator who is currently working towards
my doctorate at the University of Durham in the UK. As a result, I have
spent the past three summers in the UK, and the culture divide between
our countries has become quite clear. In the UK, I can go two months without
hearing gays or lesbians derided with impunity. In the UK I can go two
months without hearing someone on national television publically thank
Jesus for some financial or athletic success. In the UK, I can hear the
words "Social Democracy" used with a straight face. In the UK,
even the most conservative post-Thatcher Conservatives understand that
there is such as thing as "society" and it has a responsibilty
to promote equity and opportunity for all its members.
What is most appaling about the US in 2004 is that even those who will
never prosper from the Social Drawinism of our social and economic systems
believe in them and vote for Bush, ensuring that their futures and their
children's will be debt ridden, and that they will be permanently excluded
from access to power. Bush wants to unite Americans? --Yes, as long as
"American" means white, straight, and Christian. No others need
Someone here said that America's mistake was to "deride
our allies." Isn't that what some of us are doing here? The American
left cannot afford to leave patriotism to the right. An American left
that sees America as the source of evil in the wrong will always fail.
Yes, I am deeply troubled by the influence of the christian Right, but
how do Europeans explain the fact that anti-Semitism is so much more pervasive
in secular Europe than in religious America?
Fancypants, NYC, USA
True American Values:
The following are reports about American government experiments on fellow
Americans. This material reveals the true, underlying pathology of "American
The Tuskegee Syphillus Experiments:
From 1932 through 1972, the U.S. Public Health Service allowed more than
400 black men to go untreated for syphilis after offering them free medical
care. The men were never told they were part of a study, clinically named
the Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, nor were they
informed they had syphilis.
Government doctors failed to offer the standard treatment method, mercury
and arsenic, when it became available. Nor did doctors offer penicillin
shots once it became the standard method of curing the disease. The men
received treatment only after the experiment became public in 1972.
By that time, 28 men had died of syphilis, 100 others were dead of related
complications, and 40 wives and 19 newborns had been infected.
The government a few years later paid the survivors and relatives $10
million for damages but without a formal apology.
Belatedly in 1997, President Bill Clinton apologised on behalf of racist
America to the study's 5 or so African-Americans still living.
Other US Government Experiments on Americans:
In the last six decades, gruesome, secret medical experiments waged by
the federal government against U.S. citizens have become the rule, not
the exception. Not only have Americans been left to death by syphilis,
they have also been injected with plutonium and uranium. They have been
blistered with mustard gas, dosed with LSD and sprayed with bacteria--all
by Washington's own admission.
"In September 1994, a congressional subcommittee estimated that up
to 500,000 Americans were endangered by secret defense-related tests between
1940 and 1974.
"In the last six months alone , more than $11 million in apology
money for Cold War-era radioactivity experiments on 29 unknowing people
was paid out by the Department of Energy."
Angela D'Onofrio, Chicago, Il, USA
It is clear to me, especially after reading the previous
entries, that there are Americans and Europeans who agree on most anything.
The question is not do we agree on anything, but reather how do we disagree.
I'm daily dissapointed in the discussions that I'm involved in and hear
around me. I seem to find the value most shared to be this: We are refusing
to listen to each other.
Really listening, would manifest itself in being able to be constantly
willing to reasses and reevaluate our own positions. To claim one position,
set it up as the truth and then sit back with your earplugs in, no matter
what side you are on, is the real tragedy. One thus claims, "I have
ceased to learn and grow", this is, in my opinion, as good as laying
down to die. New information, and new understandings of information must
be our tools with which we engage in this discussion of values. We should
not be afraid or too proud to say to one another, I have learned something
new and have changed my mind. I respect those the most who after thougthful
and humble review of differing opinions, change thier mind.
It's not our different values that keep us apart, but rather our stubborn,
proud, fearful need to hold on to those formerly adopted views until we
are dead. This conversation does not even exist until we are actually
willing to listen to each other and learn. Otherwise, we are just talking
at the other walls which we have built aroud ourselves.
Fancypants, NYC, USA
True American Values - Part II:
Poison gas: Made in the U.S.A for Saddam Hussein of Iraq
How did the means of production of poison gas get to Iraq?
An Aug. 18 New York Times expose uncovers the role of the Reagan-Bush
administration. One of several unnamed U.S. officials who participated
in a top secret operation during the 1980s told the Times that the Reagan-Bush
administration “wasn’t so horrified by Iraq’s use of
gas. It was just another way of killing people. Whether with a bullet
or phosgene didn’t make any difference.”
Over a decade ago, then-Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tex.) revealed that
the American company Bechtel Corporation set up a plant in Iraq to produce
ethylene oxide, a precursor chemical that is easily converted to mustard
Then-Secretary of State George Shultz, who had been president of Bechtel,
sent a hasty warning that Bechtel terminate the $1 billion deal.
Financing for the project came through the Atlanta branch of the Italian
bank, Banco Nazionale Lavoro (BNL), which played the main role in doling
out $4 billion in credits for Iraq’s acquistion of U.S. weapons
In a speech on the House floor Feb. 21, 1991, Gonzalez said, “Well,
of course, Bechtel was there and of course the Secretary of State this
was just one example of the largest corporations in our country doing
extensive business (with Iraq). And what in? Chemical projects.”
Even a right-wing author like Kenneth Timmerman had to acknowledge the
U.S. role and corporate profit motive in arming Iraq. In his book, "Death
Lobby: How the West Armed Iraq," Timmerman charges that the U.S.,
Britain, France and West Germany joined in an orgy of weapons and high
technology sales to Iraq which he called “the biggest arms bazaar
in world history.”
In July of 1986, Reagan’s National Security Advisor Admiral John
Poindexter issued an NS Decision Directive ordering the Commerce Department
to “be more forthcoming on Iraqi license requests” for the
delivery of U.S. technology to Hussein.
Timmerman says, the Reagan-Bush administration was extremely concerned
that “it would have to admit that it had tacitly condoned the creation
of an Iraqi chemical weapons manufacturing capability.”
Timmerman continues, “A careful analysis of export licenses awarded
U.S. companies selling high tech goods to Iraq would show the Department
of Commerce, the State Department, and the Pentagon knew exactly what
the Iraqis were up to and decided to let them steam ahead.”
In a classic “divide and conquer” scheme, the Reagan administration
armed both sides of the bloody Iran-Iraq war, smuggling tons of advanced
weaponry to Iran aboard freighters and Boeing 747 cargo planes in the
infamous Iran-contra conspiracy, which Reagan admitted Nov. 4, 1986.
Marine Lt. Col. Oliver North hid the profits from the illegal Iranian
arms sales in Swiss bank accounts and doled it out to the "Contras,"
who were waging a terrorist war against the people of Nicaragua.
My opinion here is that this is a pointless debate. My
fellow Americans I hate to break it to you but we are basically Europeans
ourselves. The majority of our ancestors came from Europe. The only true
Americans are the native ones that we obliterated in our conquest of this
land. We learned our values from our Europeon ancestors and we still struggle
with the balance between our conservative and liberal sides just has they
have for centuries. The only difference is at this point in time the US
is leaning slightly more to the right and Europe is leaning more to the
left. It really takes both sides for our society to function. Too far
to the left and we loose our individualism. Too far to the right and we
loose our sence of society. I think you will see that the current trend
toward a right leaning government in the US will soon correct itself as
it always has in the past. Most of us over here are not right wing nut
jobs or liberal whacos. We are the people in the middle who realize that
truth and values are a shade of grey rather than black and white. Europe
and the US feel as though they have very different values right now simply
because we currently have a very radical leadership. However, this will
change and soon enough we will return to more level ground. If we do not
I fear the balance we have enjoyed for so long will be lost and if that
happens our days as world leaders will soon come to an end.
>The fact that the US "participated" in World
War I, and that chemical weapons were used by both the Allies and the
German-allied countries, does not "prove" in any way, shape
or form that the US had anything at all to do with the "use"
of chemical weapons. The US never "used" poison gas....
(by Phil Karasick of Seattle)
(BTW, thank you dear Phil for referring to my literary output as "ranting."
What an honor indeed! But you need to do something about your serial lying.
Here is why, Phil...)
True American Values - Part III: Production and Use of Poison Gas by the
USA in World War I.
"Chemical Warfare in World War I: The American Experience, 1917 -
by Maj. Charles E. Heller, USAR,
Combat Studies Institute, Kansas
(with minor editing by Fancypants @ Ground Zero, New York City. My apologies
to Major C.E. Heller, USAR for any errors unintentionally introduced in
Although the U.S. Army's first efforts in chemical warfare were directed
toward "anti-gas" or defensive measures, the development of
the means to retaliate in kind soon followed. On 15 August 1917, with
the approval of the General Staff in Washington, American Expeditionary
Forces (AEF) General Order 108 authorized the organization of special
and technical engineer troops that would be assigned to each army as a
"Gas and Flame" Regiment.
In December, 1917, construction of plants to produce chemical agents began
at Gunpowder Neck, Maryland. By the summer of 1918, the Edgewood Arsenal
there had plants in operation producing phosgene, chloropicrin, mustard,
chlorine, and sulfur trichloride. The arsenal also had a capability for
filling artillery shells, although most of the agents produced were shipped
overseas to the Allies in fifty-five gallon drums. Because of insufficient
time, not one single gas shell manufactured at the arsenal ever reached
an American artillery piece in France. When production of chemicals finally
peaked one month prior to the Armistice, the plants had to stop production
for lack of shell casings. Artillery units and special gas troops fired
American produced war gas, but in French and British shells.
The U.S. Army also adopted, with minor modifications, the French gas shell.
The AEF Services of Supply purchased French shells and painted them according
to an American color code. They were distinguished by a gray body lettered
"Special Gas." A strip colored either white or red or both circled
the shell. Nonpersistent gas had only red, semipersistent gas combined
red and white. The number of stripes indicated the relative persistency,
the least persistent having fewer stripes.
In February, 1918, when the Gas Service was given authority to requisition
its own supplies, all items of gas warfare equipment were placed into
a new category, Class V. In September, 1918, the Army created four subclasses
within the general Class V classification. Subclass A material included
offensive gas supplies, such as gas shells and grenades, that were not
used by gas troops but by the combat arms. Subclass B material included
those gas supplies issued exclusively to gas troops. Subclass C supplies
encompassed aviation, smoke, and incendiary material.
Two months later, General Order 107 expanded the functions of gas officers:
in addition to their previous duties, they would be advisers whose technical
knowledge would be solicited "in the preparations of all plans involving
the extensive use of gas, whether by artillery or by other means."
American defensive doctrine and procedures for dealing with gas warfare
were rudimentary or nonexistent to begin with and evolved during the war,
the same was true of offensive gas doctrine and procedures. The American
Army's Artillery Corps had not determined its own doctrine for gas warfare
prior to entering combat. Instead, U.S. artillerymen borrowed from both
the French and British, as well as from the Germans. The first U.S. field
manual for the use of chemical artillery shells was a translation of a
current French manual. The AEF, emulating the French, classified chemical
shell fire into two types of bombardment. The first type, destructive
fire, consisted of two minutes of rapid fire with rounds landing in close
proximity, so as to create a dense gas cloud that, given surprise, could
inflict heavy casualties. The second type, a neutralizing bombardment,
was fired over a longer period and was used to lower the enemy's physical
resistance and morale. It also interfered with the enemy's activities
by forcing him to wear a mask for extended periods of time. Mustard gas
best accomplished neutralization according to the AEF field manuals.
Artillery counterbattery fire with gas came to be an extremely effective
By 1917, gas made it possible to neutralize a known artillery battery
in as little as fifteen minutes. Effective counterbattery fire over a
wide front could neutralize enemy artillery in only two to four hours.
By the spring of 1918, artillery commanders called for gas shells constantly,
and the number of rounds fired was limited only by the availability of
AEF tactical employment of mustard and other chemical agents improved
somewhat as artillerymen became more experienced. If, for instance, the
exact location of an enemy battery in a wooded area was unknown, an AEF
battery would shell the access roads with mustard, rather than waste limited
gas shells by dowsing the entire woods. The artillerymen would then fire
high explosive shells to damage the access roads and make it difficult
for resupply trains trying to reach the battery to avoid contamination.
The enemy battery would soon have to move. This tactic was also used to
block reinforcements passing through defiles or over bridges. It proved
to be an extremely efficient and economical method of counterbattery fire.
To its credit, First Army HQ urged subordinate corps and divisions to
use gas. Gas was made available by the French to the Americans in a sufficient
quantity to neutralize enemy batteries, strong points, and installations,
and to produce casualties.
Army-level operational planning for the campaign included extensive use
of gas, but its use by corps and divisions was halting. While the First
Army's divisions did gain some confidence in the use of gas towards the
end of the campaign, they never really mastered its employment.
After training with the British Special Brigade, the other gas offensive
arm of the AEF, the 1st Gas Regiment, went into action on 22 May 1918.
The Ist Battalion, 1st Gas Regiment, which consisted of Companies A and
B, reported for duty attached to the 26th Division. On 18 June, Company
B, temporarily attached to the XXXII French Corps, conducted the regiment's
first independent operation. At 2230, seven hundred 8-inch Livens projectors,
emplaced the night before and loaded with sixty-pound drums of phosgene,
were fired at two targets located 1,500 meters away. The first target
was a company of infantry with one Minenwerfer (mortar) company and the
second a reserve battalion of infantry. Artillery fired shrapnel and high
explosive shells in conjunction with the projector attack. A month later
prisoners revealed that this attack caused at least fifty casualties,
including ten enemy deaths.
In the offense, special gas troops could be utilized, according to AEF
manuals, in five tactical situations. In the first, they would precede
an offensive operation, keeping enemy positions in a gas environment until
attacking troops arrived. This tactic would cause casualties and demoralize
and reduce the "fighting efficiency and morale" of the enemy.
Second, gas employed by special troops could eliminate machine gun nests
just prior to an attack. AEF 4-inch Stokes mortars offered the best means
of eliminating a machine gun position: two to ten Stokes mortars firing
phosgene could form a localized concentration, either creating casualties
or forcing the masking or the abandonment of the gun. Third, gas was ideal
for sustained operations. Each night, gas could be placed on enemy machine
gun nests, strongpoints, and troop concentrations, thereby weakening future
resistance. Fourth, after friendly forces had taken an objective, reorganized,
and consolidated their positions, gas employment acted as a temporary
check or block to potential enemy counterattack formations. Fifth, the
doctrine stipulated that in a stabilized situation frequent surprise fire
with projectors could create the high concentrations of gas on suitable
enemy targets from one end of the line to the other needed to harass enemy
troops. In addition, local concentrations of gas, fired from Stokes mortars
on machine gun nests, mortar positions, strongpoints, trench intersections,
and other sensitive points further reduced enemy morale and strength.
(Note: It is clear from this material overall that, to their credit, the
Americans were more restrained in their use of poison gas in WWI than
the other combatants. I assume that the American's restraint was because
there were few people of color to kill in the enemy's ranks!)
Fancypants @ Ground Zero, NYC
(PS: Phil, when are you deploying for Iraq? Remember to keep in touch,
Christian L., London, UK
Some people earlier in this debate seem to view a discussion
of whether America and Europe differs on values as an opportunity to air
all kinds of prejudice, old grudges and perceived historic wrongs. I don‚t
think that is a fruitful way forward, nor does it answer the question
I‚m a European, but I spent a very happy time going to college in
the US and I still count a number of Americans amongst my closest friends.
I have been a „student‰ of this fascinating country for the
better part of my adult life.
Politically I have great sympathy for liberalism in the classical European
tradition (pro social freedom as well as economic freedom). To my mind
it‚s not only an eminently consistent and logical approach, but
also one which flows seamlessly from our Enlightenment heritage of belief
in the power of reason and persuasion as opposed to force, the value of
the individual, separation of church and state and the rule of law to
mention a few tenets.
Europe and America shared these values once. Indeed, in many ways America
practised them more consistently than Europeans did.
Sadly ˆ and I sincerely hope that history will prove me wrong ˆ
I believe the recent US presidential elections may prove to be a turning
point. It may turn out to be the point at which America bid a fundamental
farewell to those Enlightenment values we have all shared for the last
200 years or so.
Both Europe and America have permitted encroachments of economic freedoms
to a larger (Europe) or lesser (US) extent. Crucially however, I think
the key issues are the social freedoms. American conservatives now reign
supreme, controlling the executive, legislative and judicial branches
(since Bush in all likelihood will be able to appoint successors to the
octogenarian Justices Rhenquist and Stevens ˆ thus entrenching an
existing conservative majority).
There used to be a brand of American conservatism, which valued individual
freedom in the social sphere and was pro small-government (fiscal responsibility,
low taxes, small government etc). It shared fundamental values with both
American liberals as well as Europeans of most stripes ˆ even though
there were differences in particulars.
With the rise of fundamentalist Christianity, which now forms the Republican
popular core, and with the election of George W, the pro liberty- fiscally
responsible republicans are a dying breed. In the Senate there are less
than a handful left (Olympia Snowe, Lincoln Chafee and Arlen Specter form
the rump of what‚s left). What we have now is an American conservatism
which is aggressively authoritarian in the social sphere (anti-abortion,
banning marriage between gays etc), aggressively anti-Enlightenment (forever
chipping away at the separation of church and state, hostile to a number
of scientific endeavours from stem-cell research to the teaching of evolution
ˆ but crucially also pro-big government. George W has racked up the
largest deficit in history (9/11 and ensuing stock market crash notwithstanding!)
and that will have to be repaid somehow ˆ and not all will be covered
by cutting medicare/medicaid. He has increased the role and power of the
state, socially and financially like no leftist ever could. In the 40
years since Goldwater - American conservatism has gone from being (on
the whole) pro-liberty in the social sphere and fiscally responsible and
pro-liberty in the economic sphere ˆ to neither. Whilst I have a
lot of respect for a John McCain ˆ I have none for a George W Bush.
For reasons which are too complex to go into here ˆ ideas that now
are mainstream and non-controversial in the great „red‰ heartland
of America, such as: the idea that religion has ANY role to play in family
and society life; that a woman is NOT sovereign over her own body; „constitutional‰
homophobia; that „creationism‰ deserves serious study ˆ
let alone on a par with evolution (a fact in countless high schools across
the bible belt) to mention only a few distressing examples ˆ those
ideas would be laughed out of court in ANY mainstream European forum.
In a majority of American states, you would not stand a chance at the
ballot box UNLESS you espouse these ideas.
Cases in point: The recent resounding defeat of the staunchly Catholic
Signor Buttiglione (who is as close as we‚d get to a fundamentalist
American republican) as justice commissioner of the European Commission
-versus the election not only of Bush but also senators from (I think)
S. Carolina and Oklahoma ˆ the latter going on record wanting to
eliminate gays and unwed mothers (!!) from the education system, just
to mention one of the more overtly bizarre examples.
As distressing as I think it is ˆ in more ways than one America has
chosen a path which is against not just the spirit but also the letter
of its founding document. How far they can go down that road before the
fabric of that truly revolutionary Enlightenment creation begins to tear,
who knows? I remember reading Margaret Atwood‚s „The Handmaid‚s
Tale‰ some fifteen years ago, thinking it was really clever science
fiction, with America as an oppressive theocracy. Her book is turning
out to be spine-chillingly accurate.
Bill Irving, U.K.
I think that Susan of Tennessee's contribution highlights
the main difference between American and European values. Like her, many
Americans take great pride in their short vacations, long working hours,
and capacity to "get by" on less than living wages. In contrast,
industrialists and financiers constantly complain about the financial
and working concessions forced from them by their European workforces.
Might the value Americans attach to deference and obedience be a legacy
of their slave economy? Why are Europeans too proud to make good servants?
Phil Karasick, Seattle, Washington, USA
Here is a view of "European values", from a European:
Vatican aide says Europe squeezing out God
Top adviser sees 'aggressive secularism' as threat to religion
ROME - Freedom of religion is being threatened in Europe by an aggressive
secularism which has made the mention of God "almost indecent,"
a top adviser to Pope John Paul said in an interview published on Friday.
"We have gone from a Christian culture to an aggressive secularism
with intolerant traits," Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger told la Repubblica
daily. "It has started to become an ideology which imposes itself
through politics and does not cede public space to the Catholic and Christian
vision," said the powerful head of the Vatican department in charge
of safeguarding and interpreting doctrine."A struggle exists and
we must defend the freedom of religion against the imposition of an ideology
that presents itself as the only voice of reason," the German cardinal
added. "In the political sphere it seems almost indecent to talk
about God, almost as though it were an attack on the freedom of those
who don‚t believe," Ratzinger said in the interview.http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6530603/
Brenda, NY wrote:
> As an aside to Fancypants, It's hard to believe we live in the same
Dear Brenda, NY: ahh, you are mistaken, but you and I do not live in the
same "state." You Brenda live in the mindset of the "Red
State" irrespective of your geographical or physical location.
>If your values are so different from the values of the majority of
the population of our country,
Yes, my values are diametrically opposed to the so-called "Moral
Values" of "Red State" America, and I am purple-heart honored
by your keen and insightful observation.
>then perhaps you should choose to live elsewhere,
Brenda, NY: you do not disappoint in the slightest. You respond in exactly
the same way that all hypocritical Americans respond whenever any one
dares critique American racism, American homophobia, or American war-mongering.
I love you Brenda, for living up to the hypocrisy that Americans are (in)famous
for all around the world.
And I shall personally represent all Americans who welcome criticism from
any quarter, on any subject. We Americans can take it Brenda, we surely
BTW, Brenda, should I take the First Amendment of the Constitution with
me when I leave? Probably because you sure don't have any need of it.
But I will leave you the Patriot Act, Part I and II, because that is clearly
more to your liking.
> where your "hate America first" rhetoric will be more appreciated.
Oh my gosh, Brenda such passion! It is curious though that you consider
my writings here "hateful."
What does "hate America first" mean anyway? Rejecting anti-abortion
fanatics who murder medical practioners in health-clinics, rejecting homophobes,
rejecting Evangelical attempts to impose reactionary Creationist preachings
in the schools, rejecting $440 billion dollar per annum appropriations
for the American War Department, and rejecting white-supremacist American
imperialism and war-mongering is not "hating America first."
But alienating half of America and the entire world to prove that you
are more tough than a petty criminal like Osama Bin Laden is hating America.
I suggest that the "Red State" prophet G.W.Bush is the real
hater of America, feeding you a numbing diet of fear, lies, and illusions.
Too bad about not finding those WMDs!
Brenda, I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.
Europeans have been very supportive of and participated in the struggle
against terrorism. They didn't support the invasion of Iraq which had
nothing to do with terrorism. In fact it is the most effective recruitment
program Islamic terrorism has. It in all likelihood was a motivating factor
in the recent Islamic extremist violence in the Netherlands. Europe is
much more vulnerable to Islamic extremist violence than the US.
There would be no significant Islamic terrorism if we had just let them
alone instead of interfering in their affairs. If we hadn't supported
both sides in the Iran-Iraq war, shot down a commercial aircraft full
of muslim civilians, stationed troops all over the Persian Gulf region
and in Saudia Arabia and provided billions of dollars worth of weapons
to Israel every year we wouldn't be in this mess.
I don't want to hear about how I hate America. I've lived here all my
life and have as much right to live here as you. What I do hate is militarism.
All of my life corrupt militarists have taken money out of my paychecks
and used it to kill innocent people in other countries who didn't wish
me any harm. The government that runs my country spends many times more
per capita on weapons than any other country in the world and they can't
even bother to defend the country. When terrorists attacked the country
they could only manage to get three fighter aircraft into the air. If
it had happened in the Persian Gulf there would have been F16s swarming
everywhere to protect the oil fields.
It is obvious that the Defense Department does not defend the country;
they just build Empire. In fact the Defense Department has never in its
existance defended the country. Now that we have a Department of Homeland
Security the Defense Department should be eliminated. It's redundant and
a danger to the security of my family.
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