Europe's 'Moral Outrage'

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Kevin R
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Europe's 'Moral Outrage'

Post by Kevin R » Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:20 am

From the WSJ:

Europe's 'Moral Outrage'

The Continent cares about "human rights" only when it can bash America.

Sunday, December 4, 2005 12:01 a.m. EST

Europe is enthralled by another American "torture scandal." Governments demand the truth behind allegations, first made by the Washington Post last month, that the CIA has operated covert prisons in Europe and secretly transported terrorist suspects through European airports. Human Rights Watch claims to have located the prisons in "New Europe"--Poland and Romania.

The outrage on the Continent is deafening. Franco Frattini, the normally level-headed European Commissioner for Justice, threatened "serious consequences," including the unprecedented "suspension of voting rights" in the European Union for the Poles and Romanians if the allegations prove true. After all, "European values" would have been violated.

It is difficult to comment on the substance of the allegations because there isn't much substance at the moment. Both the Romanian and Polish governments have denied the reports, while Washington promised to look into the case. So for the time being, there are only allegations and a lot of moral outrage. That moral posturing, though, deserves a closer look.

We'd be the first to applaud Europeans for finally concerning themselves with moral principles instead of commercial interests. Many of the Middle East's problems, including terrorism, would be easier solved if Europe were seriously concerned about morality. Europe would no longer be Iran's No. 1 trading partner, and its companies wouldn't be able to attend trade fairs in Sudan anymore.

Unlike American companies--recently defamed in Germany as "(blood) suckers" and "locusts" by the former government--European firms are quite busy in Sudan. The chamber of commerce and industry in Stuttgart has enthused over what great opportunities Sudan's oil resources offer to German companies.

Lest people think they are doing something morally reprehensible, the salesmen from Stuttgart prefer to describe the massacres of black Africans in Darfur as "political disturbances." The German economics ministry, which sponsored the German pavilion at last February's trade fair in Sudan, will also support next February's event, the chamber of commerce assures its members.

Where is the outrage? How does that jibe with supposed European values?

Or who in Europe has heard of Soghra, an Iranian woman sentenced in October to death by stoning for adultery? Or Mokhtar N. and Ali A., hanged last month in a public square in Iran for homosexuality?

In much of Europe's public debate, the true meaning of human rights has degenerated into a tool that gives anti-Americanism an aura of legitimacy. The real, horrendous human-rights violations in the Middle East, North Korea, China, Cuba, etc., are largely ignored or relegated to news blurs on the back pages. For front-page coverage, you need an American angle.

It is often said that this has nothing to do with anti-Americanism but with the fact that democracies, such as the U.S., must be held to higher standards. Really? Let's look at some recent European violations of human rights.

In October, the European Council's Commissioner for Human Rights inspected what the French call a detention center for foreigners. Alvaro Gil-Robles believes it is more properly called a dungeon. "With the exception of maybe Moldavia, I have not seen a worse center," he said about the facilities underneath the Palais de Justice in Paris, located not more than a few hundred yards from Notre Dame.

And what was Europe's reaction to these astonishing accusations? A yawn, a few wire reports and press pickups; that's it. After all, those prisoners, locked up under horrendous sanitary conditions, without natural sunlight and ventilation, some of whom, according to one prison guard, have in desperation mutilated themselves and smeared their blood on the walls, were only simple illegal immigrants. No need to suspend French voting privileges on their account, that's for sure.

Let's imagine for a moment the media coverage, the moral outcries and the calls for inquiries if those unfortunates had not been harmless migrants held in the City of Lights but jihadi terrorists held by Yankee soldiers?

Or take the double standard about allegations that CIA planes have used European airports to bring terror suspects to third countries where they might be tortured. The fact that Europe routinely sends back thousands of asylum seekers to countries where they could be tortured does not make the front pages, though. As recently as October, Amnesty International accused the Spanish government of violating the European Human Rights Convention for the mass expulsion of African migrants from the Spanish enclaves in Morocco. "Torture and bad treatment is endemic in Morocco," Esteban Beltran, the director of the Spanish Amnesty International section said.

If he could have proved that some of those poor souls trying to reach Europe to start a better life were in fact terrorists, and if he could have also somehow implicated the U.S. in their expulsion, he might have been able to get an audience for his complaints.

Anti-Americanism is so prevalent in Europe that it has permeated almost all areas of public discourse--from arts to politics to economies. "American conditions" is a popular German slur against alleged social coldness in the U.S.--one that former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder has "successfully" used to reject necessary economic reforms. And just as it has poisoned the economic debate in Europe, anti-Americanism also poisons the debate about how to deal with terrorism. Any measure that involves the U.S. is almost immediately tainted as being beyond the pale.

That's particularly true because in the public debate in Europe, as all too often in the U.S. as well, terrorism is still seen as a conventional threat. That it is decidedly not, one doesn't need to trust the Bush Administration alone. Here is what Europe's antiterror czar, the Dutch Gijs de Vries, told us recently: "Bin Laden has called the acquisition of nuclear weapons by terrorists a religious duty. There is every reason to believe that here, as elsewhere, he is deadly serious about this."

Those decrying secret prisons and tougher interrogation methods (assuming the allegations have some validity) have yet to spell out what kind of "humane" treatment they would give to bombers whose mission it is to destroy Western civilization. If they can't, their complaints are hypocritical and intellectually shallow. How many bombing murders on European soil does it take for this realization to sink in?
"Free trade, one of the greatest blessings which a government can confer on a people, is in almost every country unpopular."

-Thomas Macaulay

herman
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Post by herman » Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:16 am

Well, this is a no-brainer, isn't it?

Comparing the EU's reactions to this shipping of suspected terrorists for no-holds-barred detention centers formerly used by the communist police to what happens in Darfur is silly logic.

The EU is the EU's first business. Imagine what the outrage would be in the US if a foreign nation would use Kentucky for illegal stuff, and refuel at JFK.

Should the EU be more concerned about Darfur? Yes. However, the US cherrypicks its causes too. They attacked Iraq because Iraq was easy to attack (that's what they thought); they didn't attack North Korea, which has nuclear capability for sure.

On a more factual basis, it is rather interesting that at first Rice said a full response would be coming shortly. And then it didn't come.

This piece reads like a way to prepare for "Let's talk about the EU instead" move. In other words, as far as the WSJ is concerned it's okay to torture people, put them in jails without process and never look at them again. And because it doesn't look pretty, you do it in some faraway place - which of course is the fatal flaw in this set of stupidities. Your faraway is somebody else's close by.

But anyway, what am I doing on this topic? This is of course set up as another round of Europe bashing, topic nr 37 dedicated to those evil Europeans, and their biggest crime is not applauding at everything the US does.

pizza
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Post by pizza » Mon Dec 05, 2005 7:25 am

herman wrote:Well, this is a no-brainer, isn't it?

Comparing the EU's reactions to this shipping of suspected terrorists for no-holds-barred detention centers formerly used by the communist police to what happens in Darfur is silly logic.

The EU is the EU's first business. Imagine what the outrage would be in the US if a foreign nation would use Kentucky for illegal stuff, and refuel at JFK.

Should the EU be more concerned about Darfur? Yes. However, the US cherrypicks its causes too. They attacked Iraq because Iraq was easy to attack (that's what they thought); they didn't attack North Korea, which has nuclear capability for sure.

On a more factual basis, it is rather interesting that at first Rice said a full response would be coming shortly. And then it didn't come.

This piece reads like a way to prepare for "Let's talk about the EU instead" move. In other words, as far as the WSJ is concerned it's okay to torture people, put them in jails without process and never look at them again. And because it doesn't look pretty, you do it in some faraway place - which of course is the fatal flaw in this set of stupidities. Your faraway is somebody else's close by.

But anyway, what am I doing on this topic? This is of course set up as another round of Europe bashing, topic nr 37 dedicated to those evil Europeans, and their biggest crime is not applauding at everything the US does.
Yes Hermie, what are you doing on this topic? Why, that's really a no-brainer. Bashing America, what else? Europe's biggest crime? I'm sure you don't want to talk about it. And what a great human rights activist you turned out to be. The torture allegations are already fact in your view. Never mind proof. That's -- umm -- what's it called? Due process? Hermie cries bitter tears for accused terrorists, but doesn't give a split pea about due process for those accused of torturing them. Due process for accused terrorists but not for their accused captors? What a gem of a hypocrite you are, Hermie.

herman
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Post by herman » Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:00 am

pizza wrote:Hermie cries bitter tears for accused terrorists, but doesn't give a split pea about due process for those accused of torturing them. Due process for accused terrorists but not for their accused captors? What a gem of a hypocrite you are, Hermie.
As usual you're battling strawmen.

Please show me where I cry "bitters tears for accused terrorists."

Please show me where I even talk about prosecuting torturers.

The only thing you can deduce from my posts on these issues is that I think torture is morally wrong and practically useless (victims will say anything to make you stop). But I guess these are "far left" ideas to you.
Last edited by herman on Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:37 am, edited 1 time in total.

herman
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Post by herman » Mon Dec 05, 2005 8:36 am

the usual double post, sorry

pizza
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Post by pizza » Mon Dec 05, 2005 12:22 pm

herman wrote:
pizza wrote:Hermie cries bitter tears for accused terrorists, but doesn't give a split pea about due process for those accused of torturing them. Due process for accused terrorists but not for their accused captors? What a gem of a hypocrite you are, Hermie.
As usual you're battling strawmen.

Please show me where I cry "bitters tears for accused terrorists."

Please show me where I even talk about prosecuting torturers.

The only thing you can deduce from my posts on these issues is that I think torture is morally wrong and practically useless (victims will say anything to make you stop). But I guess these are "far left" ideas to you.
You pretend to miss the implications of your own posts. This is part of it:

"In other words, as far as the WSJ is concerned it's okay to torture people, put them in jails without process and never look at them again. And because it doesn't look pretty, you do it in some faraway place - which of course is the fatal flaw in this set of stupidities. Your faraway is somebody else's close by."

Where do you find proof that "it's okay to torture people"? Never mind your outrageous attack on the WSJ's editors' morality. Where do you find proof that anyone has been tortured? Simply because someone says so? What's the point of your post if the issue is still open and hasn't been decided? Are you pretending that you're open minded about whether torture has occurred? At least be honest about your position, difficult as it may seem.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:19 pm

Lets not forget Europe's zeal to sell arms and weapons technology to China in spite of that nation's treatment of Tibet.

No, there is no evil in the world except that committed by the U.S. and Israel.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

herman
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Post by herman » Mon Dec 05, 2005 3:29 pm

Barry Z wrote:No, there is no evil in the world except that committed by the U.S. and Israel.
There you go again, Barry. We've been over this before, I have never said anything about Israel. You admitted that. But you seem to be heading that way one more time, just for the sake of the argument, rather than the truth.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:15 pm

herman wrote:
Barry Z wrote:No, there is no evil in the world except that committed by the U.S. and Israel.
There you go again, Barry. We've been over this before, I have never said anything about Israel. You admitted that. But you seem to be heading that way one more time, just for the sake of the argument, rather than the truth.
Herman,
You must have been too busy looking for spelling errors to notice that I didn't mention your name a single time in that post.

Are you going to deny that there is an overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel bias throughout much of Europe? But that being the case, whether your anti-Americanism spills over into an anti-Israel bias, as it does for so many of your fellow Europeans, was not on my mind while writing that post. I'll have to take your word for it that it doesn't (and I can't recall reading anything from you that would lead me to believe anything to the contrary).
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Yasser
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Post by Yasser » Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:40 pm

Barry Z wrote:Lets not forget Europe's zeal to sell arms and weapons technology to China in spite of that nation's treatment of Tibet.
Barry,

I hate to be the devil's advocate, but Europe are not the only ones to sell weapons technology to China. Isreal did the same thing:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4108446.stm
Yasser

herman
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Post by herman » Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:47 pm

Barry Z wrote:Are you going to deny that there is an overwhelmingly pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel bias throughout much of Europe?
Well, I am of course at a terrific disadvantage compared to you. I happen to live in Europe, whereas you get the truth via the media - the same media which you reject when it's about other issues, perhaps.

I would say there is not an overwhelming "pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel bias" in Europe. Many people have had serious doubts about Sharon's past, and do not favor the settlement stuff. But that does not equal anti-Israel.

Let me give you a Dutch - German example. The former president of the European Centra Bank was a Dutch man; his wife - a private citizen, mind you - was indeed rather pro-Palestinian and anti-Israel. She was universally considered to be a nut case.
But that being the case, whether your anti-Americanism spills over into an anti-Israel bias, as it does for so many of your fellow Europeans, was not on my mind while writing that post.
Of course I have also explained about a million times I am not anti-American. No one who knows me as a person, whether they are American or European, has ever come close to calling me "anti-American". Rather the contrary. Just like right-wing zealots like Pizza and Corlyss think I'm on the "far left," it only looks like I'm anti-American to you because you have this huge anxiety about everything and everybody that is not as ideologically worshipful of the US as you are. In regular life I have never met Americans who have this problem. Even though you have moments you allow yourself some doubts about issues like religion in schools and sexual politics, you are completely black and white most of the time. Your brain just stalls. Unlike any other country the US cannot do any wrong is your apparent feeling, and anyone who even thinks so, just has to be anti-American. Well, I don't think so.

How my nonexistent anti-Americanism would make a natural spillover into anti-Israel, is yet another mystery to me. Is this the same kind of thinking that makes uneducated Arabic kids say America is a jewish consipracy? Well, it's your thinking, not mine.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Mon Dec 05, 2005 4:56 pm

Yasser wrote:
Barry Z wrote:Lets not forget Europe's zeal to sell arms and weapons technology to China in spite of that nation's treatment of Tibet.
Barry,

I hate to be the devil's advocate, but Europe are not the only ones to sell weapons technology to China. Isreal did the same thing:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/4108446.stm
I'm aware of that Yasser. My point was that Europeans constantly whine about the immorality of the U.S. dealing with totalitarian regimes (something I've openly stated is necessary in certain circumstances), when they do the same thing.
We call that hypocracy, which was the theme of the column at the top of this thread.
Last edited by Barry on Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:08 pm, edited 4 times in total.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

Barry
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Post by Barry » Mon Dec 05, 2005 5:00 pm

herman wrote: .... Even though you have moments you allow yourself some doubts about issues like religion in schools and sexual politics, you are completely black and white most of the time. Your brain just stalls. Unlike any other country the US cannot do any wrong is your apparent feeling, and anyone who even thinks so, just has to be anti-American. Well, I don't think so......
In other words, on issues for which I take a more liberal stance (i.e. when I see things as you do), I'm openminded and reasonable; but when I take a more conservative stance (i.e. Based on my reading, I see threats and realities that your blinders don't allow you to comprehend), I see things only in black and white.

We call that the pot calling the kettle black.

As far as you being a left winger, anyone with half a brain realizes that the European and American political sprectrums do not resemble each other in any way. You may be a moderate where you come from, but you're not one here. And I accept that I would be regarded as a right winger by many Europeans, but I'm very much a moderate in this country. I view each issue independently and don't feel the need to fall in with the base of my party out of loyalty. That's why you'll see me taking hard left positions on some issues, hard right positions on some, and centrist positions on others. I think we'd have a much healthier political system (both in Europe AND the U.S.) if more people took such an approach.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

herman
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Post by herman » Tue Dec 06, 2005 7:08 am

Barry Z wrote:As far as you being a left winger, anyone with half a brain realizes that the European and American political sprectrums do not resemble each other in any way. You may be a moderate where you come from, but you're not one here.
It seems essential to your points that you do not ingest anything people say unless it confirms your prejudices.

I have told you a million times no one I socialized with in the US thought I was left wing, or anti-American.

So, how can I spell it out for you more clearly? There are differences indeed in the political spectrum indeed between the US and Europe, although I believe this applies more to professional politicans than to regular people. But anyway I was not regarded as left-wing by my American friends, and, no, the people I socialized with were not Trotskyist Chomskyites.

And Barry, most people I socialized with in the US would not consider you and your incessant beating of the Global-War drum and your weird advocacy of muzzling the press in any way as "moderate". You know full well that a large proportion of the US population does not want to engage in a long-term global military conflict; whether you like the polls or not, that's what they say. So unless you decide to regard Americans who feel that way somehow as no part of the American people, it would definitely put you somewhere else than in the middle. It's true, you haven't yet gotten around to becoming a hawk on private-life issues such as sexual / reproductive rights, but you are already taking a step towards that in wishing to limit the kind of information the media can provide citizens with.

Classicus Maximus
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Post by Classicus Maximus » Tue Dec 06, 2005 8:40 am

The I Love Condi Show.

Starring Mrs. Howdy Doody as Condoleezza Rice.

1) We don't torture.
2) We do not have secret prisons.
3) We've saved many of your sorry European asses by not toruring suspects in the prisons we don't have.

:oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops: :oops:

And now for a musical interlude, Ms Rice will play her favorite Chopin Etude - The Rack.

Barry
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Post by Barry » Tue Dec 06, 2005 11:46 am

herman wrote:
Barry Z wrote:As far as you being a left winger, anyone with half a brain realizes that the European and American political sprectrums do not resemble each other in any way. You may be a moderate where you come from, but you're not one here.
It seems essential to your points that you do not ingest anything people say unless it confirms your prejudices.

I have told you a million times no one I socialized with in the US thought I was left wing, or anti-American.

So, how can I spell it out for you more clearly? There are differences indeed in the political spectrum indeed between the US and Europe, although I believe this applies more to professional politicans than to regular people. But anyway I was not regarded as left-wing by my American friends, and, no, the people I socialized with were not Trotskyist Chomskyites.
Herman,
Who you hung out with and what they think of you means nothing. I base my view of you on what you write on this and formerly on the other board. I've yet to see an issue for which you failed to take the liberal/left stance.
Again, I'm happy to let people judge me by my own writing. My views on a wide variety of issues are splashed all over the political spectrum. But that's right; I forgot. I'm reasonable on the issues that I take a liberal position on and unreasonable on the ones for which I take a conservative position. How very objective of you.
"If this is coffee, please bring me some tea; but if this is tea, please bring me some coffee." - Abraham Lincoln

"Although prepared for martyrdom, I preferred that it be postponed." - Winston Churchill

"Before I refuse to take your questions, I have an opening statement." - Ronald Reagan

http://www.davidstuff.com/political/wmdquotes.htm
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2pbp0hur ... re=related

herman
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Post by herman » Tue Dec 06, 2005 12:07 pm

Barry Z wrote:Who you hung out with and what they think of you means nothing.
It does in the context you construed. You said I might be moderate in a European context, but not in an American context. I see you now reconstrue "American" so that it means you and people who feel like you.
I've yet to see an issue for which you failed to take the liberal/left stance.
The probem is you have a habit of assuming I have stated a position on all kinds of issues, when I haven't. You have at various times talked as if you knew how I felt about the Palestine / Israel situation (I am obviously supposed to think the wrong way about; the "European way." Just like all Americans in your mind feel the same way, all Europeans are supposed to share one view, even though these are different countries with different histories, languages and political systems). <EDIT: This was a couple of months ago; you seem to have forgotten about it; I haven't, because I went to some length to explain to you how unpleasant these assumptions were to me. You have also fogotten about that.>I suspect you perform this filling-in act regarding various other issues, too.

In reality there aren't all that many political issues I have expressed an opinion about. I many cases I tend to think there are different sides to an issue, and since I am not called to solve any world problems anyhow I don't need to act as if I should, which is probably why Mr Pizza thinks I don't "stand" for anything. I feel a certain way about the Iraq War, based on the fact that I don't people killed in vain; I'm not a big fan of Bush (but I wasn't falling over backwards for Kerry or Gore either); and I think the whining about the "mainstream media" is a silly fad. Then there was Terry Schiavo, and beyond that I would be hard put to think of something I have discussed at any length. I consider many things none of my business.

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