Karl Ulrich Voss, Burscheid / Germany:
Some of my reader's letters (just those in English)


Oct. 17, 2015
Refugees; Nancy Gibbs „A modern exodus“, TIME of October 19, 2015, p. 4, and further refugee-related articles of the same TIME issue

I definitely cherish Germans heartely welcoming refugees. But that may be their very debt as well – regarding that the significant majority of the new exodus is emerging from areas of misfired German interventions of the last two decades, be it by military force, be it by a resolute diplomacy, aiming at regime changes.

I cannot help thinking foreign policy is done by modern “Zauberlehrlinge”. Like Zbigniew Brzezinski, when he trustingly justified fuelling up jihadism by the then desired fall of the Soviet empire, in that famous 1998 interview with the Nouvel Observateur, Paris.

Brzezinski: «Oui, la CIA est entrée en Afghanistan avant les Russes …», Le Nouvel Observateur January 15, 1998; to be retrieved e.g. under http://www.voltairenet.org/article165889.html
Le Nouvel Observateur:
Vous ne regrettez pas non plus d’avoir favorisé l’intégrisme islamiste, d’avoir donné des armes, des conseils à de futurs terroristes?
Zbigniew Brzezinski:
Qu’est-ce qui est le plus important au regard de l’histoire du monde? Les talibans ou la chute de l’empire soviétique? Quelques excités islamistes où la libération de l’Europe centrale et la fin de la guerre froide?


Aug. 3, .2012
Iraq war / balance of wars; Peter Beinart's commentary "The War We Abandoned" (Newsweek Aug. 8, 2012, p. 12)

Measures of accountability for military missions would be most valuable, and they are clearly worth our highest efforts, as regards political, research and jurisprudential ressources. It seems most cynical shooting billions and billions into outer space, e.g. for an mostly idle ISS, or tracing down the ultra tiny Higgs boson at the same price. But to scarcely investigate the driving forces behind the recurrent military bloodshed and the balance of military missions - the military sector itself being funded abundantly at the same time.


July 22, 2012
Daily Mail
Batman massacre; Dominic Sandbrook's Saturday Essay (Daily Mail of July 21, 2012, p. 18f)

Thanks for Dominic Sandbrook’s lucid analysis! My statement would be almost the same –with a slightly different tone: It may be a possibility that widespread anger suddenly turns into mob rule, even in decent and tolerant Britain. But the more imminent danger for Western democracy is the ongoing lack of political interest, a widespread fatalistic behaviour of middle class citizens still voting but not intellectually interacting with a more or less stable political class or caste.

And there could and should be a lot of debate - and politicians' responsiveness - around vital topics like economics or foreign and security politics, just to name a few items, where you don’t work out ever lasting solutions by the methods of natural sciences – but where you have to deal interests of groups not unlike the way of a humming bazaar. Democrats may be very intelligent and helpful – if you allow them taking an active stake in their res publica. They even might find out that panem et circenses aren’t necessarily for their benefit.


June 19, 2012
successful launch of a rocket built by a private enterprise; Paul Marks, Sparking the next space age (NewScientist of 12 May 2012, p. 6)

I'm not too happy. Wasn't the plot of early 007-movies just that: Some nasty NGO built a rocket to trigger a hassle between the great powers? And didn't we count launcher technologies as a most pestilent ability needed to build weapons of mass destruction? At least I wouldn't want that kind of outsourcing going all around the world. 


June 13, 2012
Time Magazine
Drones; Michael Crowley “Drone Dilemma” (TIME of June 18, 2012, p. 14)

Terrorism being most of all a weapon of those physically weak, the counterstrategy to be expected against a growing swarm of drones will be twofold: Looking for a conspirational habitat in densely populated places – and carrying the battle back to the metropolitan areas of the West. Both may but must not mean the same regions.

Roaming drones will be benevolent for election campaigns and for a certain type of industry, but may turn out very bad for us citizens. I’m sure we can get more life & peace & value for money out of non-military strategies.


May 24, 2012
Greece’s weak economical status; Fareed Zakaria's article "Time to say Danke" (TIME May 28, 2012, p. 12)

It’s so comforting to be thanked, even by third parties. But I’m far from sure having deserved that “Danke”. Didn’t I pave the whole of Greece with costly German weaponry – same way and same time as archrival Turkey – and didn’t I plunder the Athens treasury by those sales? Did I really foster a self sustaining young Greek industry and welcome its exports over the past 20 years?

I’m afraid that Greece, slim and small and placed on the rim as it still is, has no extra resources for reform (although: German tabloids recently pressed Greece to ultimately sign over their Islands in the Sun). Even worse: Greece is the perfect model that the West is politically unable to give equal opportunities to peripheral marketplaces, e.g. for Afghanistan, Iraq, or the Maghreb reform countries. I’m sorry. I’m definitely not proud.


Nov. 14, 2011
Libya intervention; "Time to Go, Or No?" (TIME Nov. 14, 2011, p. 11)

The anatomy of the Libya intervention would be more significant including the numbers of military and/or civilian casualties, wouldn't it? But a body count may be a little less effective in advertising hardware like Typhoon and Mirage fighters. To answer the question posed: If you break it, you own it.


Oct. 27, 2011
Nature, the comment underneath was published under
Intelligence research; Sue Ramsden et al., Verbal and non-verbal intelligence changes in the teenage brain, Nature 2011, doi:10.1038/nature10514

It would be most interesting to know: Are there any hints that an increase / decrease of verbal or non-verbal abilities and a corresponding development of gray matter can both be induced by social or environmental requirements? It seems to be quite plausible a thesis that the individual tries to arrange its limited resources according to those priorities defined by the surrounding conditions. Or even: That its special portion and spectrum of intelligence may be attributed in a quite flexible work-sharing scheme. That would mean a more responding concept, at the same time more characteristic for biological systems such as man or group. For a special case an interaction between resources and intelligence is – in my opinion – convincingly established, cf. Jianghong Liu et al., Malnutrition at Age 3 Years and Externalizing Behavior Problems at Ages 8, 11, and 17 Years, Am J Psychiatry 161:2005-2013, November 2004 = http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/1 61/11/2005.

By the way: Flexibility of intelligence obviously poses a major explanatory problem for vertically immobile societies – with stable layers self-rectified by a concept of calibrating or irrevocable IQ-judgments. I reckon that in revolutionary – as in teenage – phases significantly increased leaps of individual intelligence would be detectable, and due to major economic disorders and to forced societal disruption as well.


Oct. 25, 2011
Afghanistan; "Why the U.S. will never save Afghanistan" (title of vol. 178, No. 16, 2011 of Oct. 24, 2011)

The U.S. will never save Afghanistan, basically because Afghanistan never aired an SOS. Or because compassion is not the classic payload of drones.


Oct. 25, 2011
Libya; Asne Seierstad, "Black and white in Libya" (Newsweek Oct. 31, 2011 p. 4)

"If you break it, you own it" is the common rule for military intervention. But Libya may show the dilemma of modern warfare: You may easily break a system by air strikes. But fixing is done on the ground.


Sept. 1, 2011
Libya; TIME Sept. 5, 2011 "The World after Gaddafi"; esp. Fareed Zakaria "Winning from behind - How the Lessons of Iraq paid off in Libya" p. 16

The Gaddafi-cover differs considerably from the frontispiece with Bin Ladin crossed out in red blood; it's more like "Gone with the Wind". But make very sure Hosea 8:7 will not apply: The coalition economies should not try and make a bargain or a nice habit out of this low-budget type of regime change.

The prospects after the very-from-behind overthrow of Mohammad Mosaddegh had seemed very bright at first glimpse, especially for AIOC/BP – and very, very bad in the aftermath, up to the present days, for all of us.

”Gone with the Wind”: see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gone_with_the_Wind
Hosea 8:7 reads at the beginning: "For they have sown the wind, and they shall reap the whirlwind."
To the former Iranian president Mohammad Mosaddegh and his overthrow by the operation AJAX, planned by CIA / MI6, in 1953 see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammad_Mosaddegh


June 4, 2011
Libyan conflict & death of bin Laden; “closeup 5/15/11 Benghazi" + “X”-cover of the same issue (TIME May 20, 2011)

The “closeup 5/15/11 Benghazi" and the X-cover of that issue made me think of a fictitious “closeup” – fictitious whilst nevertheless near to reality:

Rebels continued to make gains in their struggle to end Mohammad Najibullah's 4-year
rule with fighting intensifying in the mountains of western Afghanistan.
Here, civilian volunteers in the rebel army work an obstacle course in
Kandahar, the country's second largest city and the rebels' main stronghold.

One of those civilian volunteers & rebels made it to the frontispiece of the TIME magazine some 20 years later, then being crossed out by an "X" in red blood. Looking closer at the TIME's "X" gallery you may find more characters that in ascending phases of their respective careers had been judged somewhat bold but helpful by influential U.S. citizens, e.g. Saddam and even Hitler. The Great Game far to often makes for grave miscalculations and the Libyan conflict may give rise to two further "X", one of whom still being without a known picture.”

The “closeup 5/15/11 Benghazi" is to be seen here: http://lightbox.time.com/2011/05/20/closeup-best-pictures-of-the-week-may-13-%e2%80%93-may-20/#1
The accompanying text of the original “closeup” of TIME, May 20, 2011 had been (red ink shows where I have modified it in my reader’s letter shown above):

Rebels continued to make gains in their struggle to end Muammar Gaddafi's 42-year
rule with fighting intensifying in the mountains of western Libya.
Here, civilian volunteers in the rebel army work an obstacle course in
Benghazi, the country's second largest city and the rebels' main stronghold.

The “X”-gallery of TIME: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2069579,00.html 
For early and very momentous contacts between U.S. intelligence personnel (Cptn. Truman Smith) and Hitler see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ernst_Hanfstaengl 
For the crucial period that switched Saddam from friend to foe see http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,971291,00.html


March 24, 2011
Fukushima reactor disaster; Jeffrey Kluger "Fear Goes Nuclear" (TIME of March 28, 2011, p. 25)

Possibly there's one more crucial lesson to be learned, for most power stations: In spite of their much criticised location the Diesel generators seem to have been bravely operational for some additional 40 minutes after the tsunami impact. The first hand problem may therefore have been the huge amount of sludge and sand the ground wave of a tsunami is propelling - you may remember the scary dark paint rapidly spilling over the land in the first videos. Within seconds this must have almost suffocated the interface desperately needed not only for cooling the fuel rods inside the vessel, but also the Diesels and even the especially heat-stressed circulation pumps. That cooling interface seems not to have been redundant and there was no easy way of a shortcut.

Similar problems with the seawater intake are said to have arisen with the 2004 Sumatra tsunami at the Kalpakkam reactor near the Indian city of Madras. But Kalpakkam wasn't hit that much and had some more time for a safe shutdown.


March 24, 2011
World energy / Libya intervention (Newsweek March 21, 2011, p. 26 and 14)

Bjoern Lomborg "Done with the Wind (Newsweek March 21, 2011, p. 26)
It's near to a belief, human ingenuity could or would soon solve our planet's energy problems. Simple truth is, our species is consuming fossil resources a million times faster than they were deposited some 100 million years ago. Yes - advanced exploration and extraction technologies will give us some additional years. Which means give it to the West. But powerful extraction at the same time speeds up environmental stress and energy consume. Turn it over and over again - energy transformation stays metabolic and has natural waste products, if it shall stay efficient. If you want to have more energy you will have to save it.

Rosemary Righter "Right to Protect" (Newsweek March 21, 2011, p. 14)
The strangest argument for R2P is currently being discussed in Germany: "Just because the West contributed rejoicingly to Gaddafi's military hardware, it shall now be morally obliged to arm the Libyan insurgency." The merchants of death should be bathing in champagne by now. And the Danzig and the Sudeten interventions suddenly look somewhat rectified. Until further notice I will rate sovereignity the more efficient principle - at least as long there is no global mechanism enforcing clearly designed individual rights - and never enforcing them arbitrarily. This seems to be almost Utopia.


Dec. 22, 2010
Newsweek, published Jan 10/17, 2011; see article / my comment underneath
assassination of nuclear scientists of Iran; Ronen Bergman "Killing the Killers" (Newsweek Dec. 20, 2010, p. 31)

Unfortunately, there is a bad tradition in assassination projects deriving from Israel and they did not always point to German killers. In 1952, a bombing attack on the German Chancellor Konrad Adenauer failed, killing a defusing specialist in Adenauer's office. Very much later that initiative was attributed to Menachem Begin, who presumably had tried to disrupt negotiations between Germany and Israel on the compensation issue. What's worse: Those dirty tricks are deadly poisonous to the underlying values of the West - values dating back to the Roman "Leges Duodecim Tabularum". Even that very ancient code of 450 a.C.n. constituted, that no free man was allowed to be killed without a judicial decision.

In his booklet with the somewhat ironic title "Eternal Peace" Immanuel Kant addressed means like assassination as an inherent obstacle to future peace, right on his first pages: "No state shall, during war, permit such acts of hostility which would make mutual confidence in the subsequent peace impossible: such are the employment of assassins (percussores), poisoners (venefici), breach of capitulation, and incitement to treason (perduellio) in the opposing state". Or take Kant's Categorical Imperative: "Act only according to that maxim whereby you can, at the same time, will that it should become a universal law." And ask, whether we in the West should and would accept assassination as a ubiquitous instrument of foreign policy. Knowing a little about Hassan-i Sabbah, father of terrorism, I wouldn't propose.

Trying to hit Adenauer: http://www.faz.net/s/RubFC06D389EE76479E9E76425072B196C3/Doc~E35BBCD5A37DA47809AD4F6A865C6332B~ATpl~Ecommon~Scontent.html
Duodecim Tabulae: http://www.hs-augsburg.de/~harsch/Chronologia/Lsante05/LegesXII/leg_ta09.html
Kant / Perpetual Peace: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perpetual_peace
Kant / Categorical Imperative: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Categorical_imperative
History of assassinism: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassins

My reader’s letter was published in an abridged version, needing some additional comment:

I’d like to obviate misunderstandings in respect of my reader’s letter addressed to the “Killing the Killers” article and published in the Jan 10/17 issue.  
My reference for a “bad tradition of assassinations” had been the proven attack on the German chancellor and clear philo-Semite Konrad Adenauer ordered by Menachem Begin in the early Fifties. That reference was skipped whilst editing and now the letter seems to point at the pre-war assassination of the German diplomat Ernst vom Rath by the Jewish refugee Herschel Grynszpan mentioned in a letter printed right on top of my comment.  
To make it very clear: This is a completely different setting and none of the respective conclusions in that letter seem very convincing to me: I very much doubt that the 1938 pogrom in Germany had needed the Grynszpan case. Grynszpan was more of a pretext for a street-test of brutal anti-Semitism, founded on organizational efforts not to be done in a couple of days. The holocaust is even less to be rooted in vom Rath’s assassination. I guess that the “Triviality of Evil” was even more trivial than Hannah Arendt had described, which is the more frightening. The holocaust was certainly based on a long tradition of anti-Semitism in Germany – and even in America, looking at Henry Ford’s poisonous pamphlets of the early Twenties, which became a well-respected bible for the up-and-coming German Nazis. But the ultimate trigger for annihilation of thousands and millions seem to have been the severe shortages and logistical problems caused by the German war-machine, that also made for millions of Soviet civilians starving to death because war had devoured their stocks and livelihood. In an official documentation of German concentration camps was to be learned that concentration camp executives successfully proposed murder on an industrial scale to get rid of people not to be fed anymore and rated clearly inferior in importance to “ordinary” German citizens.  
Nevertheless there is a quite disturbing, even tragic aspect, and in that limited context the Grynszpan-case may be cited here: I guess that the today behaviour of Israel as a community is not to be understood without the collective trauma of pogroms going on for centuries and culminating in the holocaust, becoming a conditio sine qua non and a founding myth for the State of Israel. This may have imprinted a deep xenophobia on the whole of a people, feeling completely secure only amongst birds of a feather and being cruel to others, even to those without any might. This may explain some of the “David vs. Goliath” - techniques and not wanting to justify it I think there is much less fault in that than in the organization of genocide. But cruelty seems to reproduce especially on the side of former victims and may then be most detrimental on and on. I would like to alter this path.


Sept. 19, 2009
Islam; Ishaan Tharoor "A gentler Islam" (TIME September 21, 2009, p. 52)

What a nice idea! To act authentically - which lies at the heart of Sufism - the West should go ahead as a guide: No hierarchy, except of wisdom, no material assets, neither paradise nor hell, no Manichaean Divide, only shades or intensities of good, and any man with a lifelong chance to proceed to happiness and to unity with God. Be sensible: That may sound quite like the original Jesus, but it wouldn't be the West any longer.

Further on: If we would exploit Sufism in a divide et impera manner, just to erode and split up the world of Islam, there would be uncounted numbers of victims. E.g. in Iran Sufis seem to be object of severe discrimination and prosecution already.


July 23, 2009
German Standort; Stefan Theil: "What lurks beneath" (Newsweek July 27, 2009, p. 22ff)

Over the years I read a lot of writings on the wall: Germany's labour force were vacationing - or skiving off work - almost all the year, taxes and tributes were exceedingly high, and the German Angst would roam destructively. The end would be economically at hand. Well, German export still makes a good living. Foreign direct investments in Germany are prospering as well. But yes, with techno-scepticism there may be a point. Using the most advanced US office suite, I feel like dying in friendly fire.


March 14, 2009
risks of science / wreck of the Large Hadron Collider; Mark Buchanan "They said it could never happen" (NewScientist of 20 Jan. 2009, p. 32f)

In 1994 I joined a delegation to Australia, convincing our government colleagues down under to underwrite a landing agreement for a project called EXPRESS ("Experimental Re-entry Space System"). Among others we made use of a risk assessment of an Australian university that "proved" ultimately low probabilities of damage in any scrutinized aspect.

Less than one minute after takeoff from Kagoshima Space Center, Japan, EXPRESS was out of control. The reason was and nobody would have previously thought of that: The carrier's position control system had run out of fuel a little early. Just after some hours it went down in the highlands of Ghana. Fortunately there was absolutely no damage. The capsule had cleverly decided on a regular landing sequence, not a "high speed landing" as we had thought most probable under the given circumstances.

The scientific output of the EXPRESS experiment was marginal and wouldn't have been much better without that deviation. All in all it made me feel that science - especially when lots of energy, mass and speed are employed - has a lot of child gambling. The wreck of the LHC now somewhat reminded me of EXPRESS, even if it produced just a black hole of public money.

P.S.: Some additional information concerning EXPRESS (in German):
- http://www-public.tu-bs.de:8080/~i9901701/common/vortraege/express.htm
- http://www.raumfahrtkalender.de/raumfahrtchronik/19950100


January 7, 2009
Tim McGirk, “The battle over Gaza” (TIME vol. 173, no. 2 / 2009 of Jan. 12, 2009, p. 12ff)

We know what it looks like on the moon or inside an atom, or even how an iPhone has to be cleverly designed. But research on peace preservation seems to be much less fruitful. How come? Maybe there are no hundreds of billions of dollars or euros being employed in this special field. Or the gadgets used in conflict research aren’t that gleaming and sexy.

Or it may be an undying Cro-Magnon property, that – in the case of assumed military superiority – he notoriously gives attacking the benefit of the doubt.


November 17, 2008
election of Barack Obama (Newsweek Nov. 17, 2008, "44.")

So the invisible man has finally surfaced, and basically out of his own strength. I can clearly see Ralph Ellison up in the skies, dancing and receiving rich κδος from any god around.


November 12, 2008
election of Barack Obama; "Passing the torch" by Joe Klein (Time Nov. 17, 2008, p. 22f)

Being a true believer in Disney's tales and characters since the fifties I knew it for sure: After an impressing row of white presidential ducks a mighty cool, community minded black mouse was bound to grab the torch. This indeed is very startling for the remaining fauna - of the States and of the world.

Old Walt himself may not have dreamt of that consequence, though.


August 21, 2008
TIME Magazine
conflict between Russia and Georgia; "Staring down the Russians" by Zbigniew Brzezinski (TIME August 25, 2008, p. 18)

Brzezinki's advices sound a bit shrill bearing in mind the dialogue whilst a 1998 interview published in the French Nouvel Observateur: "Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists? B: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?" There he had figured as a sort of master of the bear trap.

Understandably he now seems disappointed about the course of the Great Game: He now has Talibanism and Putinism, while the moral values of the West are lying openly shattered in Iraq. Some of it is clearly imputable to himself.


The original part of the interview "LES REVELATIONS D’UN ANCIEN CONSEILLER DE CARTER - Oui, la CIA est entrée en afghanistan avant les Russes..." (Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 Jan. 1998) was:
N. O. - Vous ne regrettez pas non plus d’avoir favorisé l’intégrisme islamiste, d’avoir donné des armes, des conseils à de futurs terroristes?
Z. Brzezinski - Qu’est-ce qui est le plus important au regard de l’histoire du monde? Les talibans ou la chute de l’empire soviétique? Quelques excités islamistes ou la libération de l’Europe centrale et la fin de la guerre froide?

The complete interview in an English translation is to be found under: http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html


July 7, 2008
New Scientist
brain research; Linda Geddes "Are autistic savants made, not born?" (NewScientist 7.6.2008, p. 10)

The findings of the Thioux approach may reach a lot beyond the closer field of autistic abilities. They may show that outstanding properties are sometimes more due to dedicated practice than to a genomic imprinting, as it was only recently shown for top chess players.

Strange enough: It seems that quite opposing characters like Thomas Mann and Adolf Hitler shared some “savant” features. Both are said to have memorized complex readings with high accuracy even after years – which gave Hitler several simultaneous teleprompters for his demagogic speeches. And both shall have had a talent for effectively analysing characters just seconds after a first encounter. In the case of Hitler it is said that his special form of petrified memory contributed to the disaster of WW II. For up to the very end he adhered to a coinage and to conclusions dating back to the time of his early adolescence.

It would be very interesting to know the circumstances favourable to those special traits.


As for the top-chess-players' analysis, see Philip E. Ross, The Expert Mind, Scientific American, August 2006.
The findings to Mann / Hitler are derived from
Manfred Koch-Hillebrecht „Homo Hitler – Psychogramm des deutschen Diktators“ (1999), see http://www.amazon.de/Homo-Hitler-Psychogramm-deutschen-Diktators/dp/3442756030


Feb. 29, 2008
Michael Elliott's article „A Call to Arms“ (TIME Feb. 25, 2008, p. 19)

German political élites should definitely discuss repositioning foreign policy. They should discuss that item especially with their voters. President Koehler correctly insisted on the democratic aspect in Munich on Oct. 10, 2005, when the Bundeswehr celebrated its 50th birthday.

Further on we must a.s.o.p. adjust international and domestic law, including the American War Powers Act, to new realities. Doing so we should thoroughly und verifiably enumerate the cases for military interference. Choices are: e.g. military aggression, gross inhumanities, and organized terrorism. Choices are not: supposed shortages of supply. The rule of law does say “legislate first, shoot later” and it only works according to the "golden rule", i.e. reciprocal. Nothing else can make this world a safer place - especially not the notion of vested interests coerced by brute power.


Jan. 10, 2008
US primaries ("Iowa's Finish Line", TIME Jan. 14, 2008, p. 20)

For Obama, an ever unpredictable Iowa at least became a promising start. Perhaps that was because of a hidden message in his name. Spell it backwards and you'll read, translated from Latin: "I'll fall in love." Not too bad an alternative, if to be extrapolated to a new affection of America for the whole planet.


Jan. 7, 2008
US primaries (Fareed Zakaria "The Power of personality", Newsweek Dec. 24, 2007 p. 17)

It's just that variety of views through different cultural prisms that makes for America's vitality, creativity, and possible empathy. But irrespective of that potential and of that integrating power - foreign policy seems dominated mostly by the way of the w.a.s.p. And that way is clearly more headstrong and less willing to meet others halfway.


Sept. 26, 2007
Newsweek; printed Jan. 1, 2008
designing a war against Iran (Dan Ephron and Mark Hosenball: "The Whispers of War", Newsweek Oct. 1, 2007 p. 22)

We have noticed heaps of cynicisms and dirty tricks. Be it Kissinger's later prophetic remark on the first Gulf war ("A pity they can't both lose."), be it Albright's autistic comment on the huge human losses due to the embargo against Iraq ("The price we think is worth it."). Take the so-called Tongkin incident, or the Russian-bear-trap proudly presented by Gates and Brzezinski and nowadays known as Al Qaida or Taliban, or the Kuwait incubator story professionally staged by Hill & Knowlton. Remember the so-called Racak massacre, and those truck based chemical weapons' laboratories falsely presented before the UN. And now perhaps another gin trap, designed for Ahmadinejad.

Now what's really puzzling me: Why are us democrats and our rule of law unable to impeach those lies and liars triggering the deaths and agonies of thousands or even millions of people, whose only sin may have been to stay in regions very strange to us? That way democracy is made to appear less of values and more of a symbol.


Aug. 15, 2007
Iraq war; William Kristol's article "Inside Iraq" (TIME Aug. 20, 2007, p. 13)

If it should be necessary to recruit politicians with special military brand, I would clearly prefer some pre-Vietnam type against a post-Iraq. I refer especially to Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Chief of Staff of the Army, and his deep military experience culminating in his famous presidential farewell address of January 17, 1961. Some of those very gifted lines were about the dangers of the military-industrial complex and the perils of military thinking for freedom and democracy.


Aug. 15, 2007
arms trade; Stephen Glain's article "Locked and Loaded" (Newsweek Aug. 20/27, 2007 p. 32)

Reading about the speeding up of the global arms trade I would like to recommend a few pages of thorough reading to any involved politician: that presidential farewell address by Dwight D. Eisenhower, former Chief of Staff of the Army, of January 17, 1961. Learning by heart some of these most insightful lines would do even better, http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Eisenhower%27s_farewell_address.

It may be quite puzzling for involved politicians, that arms deals don't even boost domestic employment. On the contrary those customarily accompanying "offset agreements", that allow the arms buyers to pay by counter flows of civil merchandise, usually make for a net loss of - less sophisticated - employment at home. Too bad, but that's the harsh reality of the international division of labor.


Aug. 1, 2007
scientific search for Schiller’s bones
"Scull scratcher" (TIME August 6, 2007, p. 37)

I personally would not mind if the "Schiller code" would be kept unbroken, being a descendant of Carl Leberecht Schwabe, who in 1826 unearthed those 23 ominous skulls and in 1805 had organized a small circle of fervent admirers carrying Schiller's corpse to the Kassengewoelbe, the common grave. More important than to touch his bones seems to me to commemorate his peace-minded spirit and his abhorrence in respect of any misuse of power, e.g. in his gripping poem "The Diver" - especially important in this war-torn era. So I deeply agree to pose mind over matter.

A little bit different from Thomas Mann's description there actually has been a church ceremony for Schiller with prayers, singing and speeches on May 13, 1805, but it was just a very limited event compared to the sort of state funeral Goethe obtained later in 1832. Some information surrounding Schiller's (and Goethe's) bones you may find under
http://www.vo2s.de/0030schw.htm, unfortunately just in German.

Addendum: Schiller's memory was later widely exploited for items that would have made him rotate in his coffin, if there was any, e.g. for nationalistic ideologies and - in his town of birth, Marbach - even for a war memorial.


Jan. 17, 2007
future of Iraq (William Kristol "There is a way forward in Iraq" TIME January 15, 2007, p. 18)

Reading Kistol's comment on "The just verdict for Saddam" I cannot help remembering five previous events: That cynical wish attributed to Henry Kissinger amidst the Iraq-Iran war ("A pity they can't both lose!"), the doubtful role of Ambassador April Glaspie only a few days before Saddam's invasion of Kuwait (hiding the red line, if there was any), the faked campaign staged by Hill & Knowlton immediately following the invasion (about those innocent babies allegedly torn out of incubators by Saddam's elite troops), that helped to forge an anti-Saddam coalition, or Madeleine Albright's autistic remark in respect of thousands of real Iraqi kids that had died in the course of trade sanctions ("The price we think is worth it.").

The Kristol position may be called think-tank-clever. But it's not what is globally esteemed as ethical, authentic, or even manly. Peoples that do not produce and toss away tons of news any day will think of that a lot longer than we do. You cannot find a better message for Muslim fundamentalists than this one: The West is devouring his own children, i.e. his satraps. Further on: The West does not care about a million people dying collaterally. Or at best the West sheds false tears - in Germany it's called "tears of a crocodile".

Certainly there is a way forward in Iraq - but it's just more of the same way, leading to mountains of more innocent dead.

As for the 1990 discussion "Who lost Kuwait?" see
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/printout/0,8816,971291,00.html; for the coverage of the same item by Newsweek see http://www.vo2s.de/1990new.tif.


Jan. 4, 2007
Execution of Saddam Hussein (articles concerning the death of Saddam Hussein in Newsweek January 8, 2007)

Saddam Hussein may have contributed heavily to thousands or even millions of Iraqi casualties. But who can be sure history would have been different with another man in his place? For years I am piling copies of notable articles and one of the most unsettling is that one headlined "The Search for Scapegoats" by Evan Thomas et al., Newsweek Oct. 1, 1990, p. 12-13. It shows that by abundant US-official statements Saddam could have come to the conclusion, US forces would not hamper his imminent invasion of Kuwait. The death toll attributable to that – at best - mismanagement and to following economic and military action may easily exceed a million people, given half a million children that shall have died in the course of trade sanctions against Iraq, and more than 650,000 deaths caused by the 2003 invasion and the following anarchy.

By the way, in the cited article an administration official is quoted with "Saddam may have been a monster. But he was our monster." Looking at the early history of Iraq this might be true for the whole of Iraq and for any leadership we try to install over there. That may lead us to a humble clue: Cross culture state building is a mission by far more impossible than those nasty gadgets where you try to steer a small ball through a labyrinth of big holes.

The account of died Iraqi children is derived from the episode, when Madeleine Albright commented on that number
(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Madeleine_Albright). The death toll caused by the 2003 invasion of Iraq is quoted following the most recent study published in The Lancet, comp. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6040054.stm.


Nov. 9, 2006
Stefan Theil "Bundeswehr Blues", Newsweek Nov. 13, 2006 p. 45

Are German military competences really developing too slowly, shyly or timidly? A democratic state may certainly redefine his use of force that may result in human death or injury. But according to my understanding of democracy and the rule of law, there should be - first - a public debate on the vantages, burdens and collateral consequences of such doing and - second - a comprehensible state regulation fixing the substantial 'sine qua non' of the new state form of behaviour. In Germany since 1945, we call it 'Rechtsstaat, Gesetzesvorbehalt, and Wesentlichkeitsprinzip'.

Chancellor Merkel demands a broad public debate of the security and defence policy in her foreword to the 2006 Bundeswehr-Weißbuch. This societal effort is still undone; it could not be replaced by a court decision. And looking at the ravaged state of Iraq or Afghanistan, this seems to be worth while globally.

Germany once taught the world how to design those rockets and jet planes that have become the backbone of nuclear armament and a nightmare to any reflective person born after 1945. Wouldn't it be nice if Germany these days would be a frontrunner in democratically discussing the pro's and con's of military strategies and legally defining conceivable limits to the military?"


Nov. 7, 2006 (59)
Andrew Purvis et al. "Bones of contention" (TIME Nov. 6, 2006 p. 11)

As a matter of fact, chancellor Merkel demands a broad public debate on the out-of-area issue right in her foreword to the 2006 White Book on the German security policy. And I guess that a vibrant democratic debate and the definition of precise and comprehensible limits is a prerequisite for any state use of force that may result in human death or injury. Immanuel Kant even stated that the chain of wars and the streams of blood would only end, if those who definitely carry the burdens of war decide on the declaration of war themselves.

 He did so in his booklet "Perpetual Peace". The German title "Zum ewigen Frieden" was somewhat ironically derived from the plate of an inn situated near to a graveyard. And looking at the vast graveyards that Iraq and Afghanistan are made of by now, a global debate would be worth while, whether the military these days is part of the solution or part of the problem.

P.S. To me Kant seems to be most modern scrutinizing the basis of warfare. And I don't see so much difference between a self-centered emperor of the 18th century or - in Kant's terms - a "proprietor of state" and the tactics of George W. Bush. I would assume that the complete Iraq intervention was a kind of selfishly staged war-soap. The perfect timing of the Iraq-cause in the congressional elections of 2002 - leading away from the economy-centered items of the Democrats - and now the just-in-time death-sentence against Saddam Hussein seems to me more than coincidence. And it sounds very freak: Saddam Hussein - a that time buddy of the USA against Iran - is now sentenced to death, and an administration that according to the study recently published in The Lancet caused a death toll of approx. 655.000 does not even assume political responsibility. I add a translation of the quoted passages that are most worth reading and the link, they were derived from:


Immanuel Kant, Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch (1795)
FIRST DEFINITIVE ARTICLE FOR PERPETUAL PEACE "The Civil Constitution of Every State Should Be Republican"
The republican constitution, besides the purity of its origin (having sprung from the pure source of the concept of law), also gives a favourable prospect for the desired consequence, i.e., perpetual peace. The reason is this: if the consent of the citizens is required in order to decide that war should be declared (and in this constitution it cannot but be the case), nothing is more natural than that they would be very cautious in commencing such a poor game, decreeing for themselves all the calamities of war. Among the latter would be: having to fight, having to pay the costs of war from their own resources, having painfully to repair the devastation war leaves behind, and, to fill up the measure of evils, load themselves with a heavy national debt that would embitter peace itself and that can never be liquidated on account of constant wars in the future.  But, on the other hand, in a constitution which is not republican, and under which the subjects are not citizens, a declaration of war is the easiest thing in the world to decide upon, because war does not require of the ruler, who is the proprietor and not a member of the state, the least sacrifice of the pleasures of his table, the chase, his country houses, his court functions, and the like. He may, therefore, resolve on war as on a pleasure party for the most trivial reasons, and with perfect indifference leave the justification which decency requires to the diplomatic corps who are ever ready to provide


Israel vs. Lebanon (Gilles Kepel, A mission unaccomplished, Newsweek July 31, 2006, p. 11 and Richard Wolffe, Backstage at the crisis, Newsweek July 31, 2006, p. 20)

Israel and the U.S. sometimes remind me of the congenial actors' couple of Danny de Vito and Arnold Schwarzenegger. Perhaps Danny should sometimes negotiate his business without an almighty Arnie, grinning grimly over Danny's shoulder. Or Arnie should be equally compassionate regarding the torments and needs of third parties. And no more dreams as to reconstructing whole regions with bullets and bucks.

The result of a more 'A. J. Muste way of peace' would be less autistic, less devastating and more sustainable.


Israel vs. Lebanon (Michael Elliott: "6 keys to peace", TIME July 31, 2006, p. 24)

According to Michael Elliott the first key is to get the U.S. involved. I guess it's more the opposite and that's what was culpably neglected in 1948: Get the people in loco involved and engaged in a fair dialogue. The root of the problem is best described by that misleading catchword of the Zionist movement at the beginning of the 20th century, that reduced a central challenge of the project to a mere logistical problem: to transport "a people without land to a land without a people". Anything that followed were self-enforced amplitudes of violence, for which the second week of April 1948 - the interlinked massacres at Deir Yassin and on to the Hadassah medical convoy near Sheikh Jerakh - is most typical.

It's not that presently the existence of the state of Israel really was at stake. That's just an argumentation rectifying massive forms of "active" defence. It's that individual existences on both sides, the supranational instruments for peace and the humanitarian concept of the Western civilisation are shelled to dry rubble. Ehud Olmert - although or because he has no relevant military career – seems to very much despise A. J. Muste's simple advice "There is no way to peace. Peace is the way." He shouldn't, for his own sake. The first step to peace seems to be dialogue without any arms.


Burscheid / Germany, June 17, 2006
Mahmood Ahmadi-Nejad
President of the Islamic Republic of Iran

Mr. President,
dear Dr. Ahmadi-Nejad

I am not sure whether the President of the United States of America already answered your letter of May 8. Anyway it had the character of an open letter, was published in the internet and has close connections to Germany, the country where I was born and where me and my family live. So please accept my reply as a reaction of a possible addressee.

I will close with some proposals for an agenda to be initiated by Iran. It may initialize a more promising development. I guess it is time for specific ideas and offers leading to action. An exchange of diplomatic views may not lead much further. Right in the beginning I apologize for any undiplomatic formulation that may occur: This is my first letter to a foreign head of state.

1. As you, many of us Germans are trying to find a clause in respect of the growing international tensions, crises and wars, the millions of people being displaced and hurt, even murdered, cities, houses and civil infrastructure being destroyed, local cultures being neglected and eroded and nature being harmed, partly in an irrevocable way. As you, we notice severe contradictions in positions, words and deeds of politicians and leaders. If I may add: politicians and leaders of any nation and creed. …

(See further)


June 13, 2006
German unification and ‘ostalgia’
Andrew Purvis: "Nostalgia isn't what it used to be" (TIME May 29, 2006, p. 28)

I guess that there were or are some US 'friends' with a record of human rights violations even worse than that of the former German Democratic Republic. And that the intellectual claustrophobia and paranoia in American and European universities of the McCarthy era was at least as sophisticated as it was when the GDR was on the descent. You may ask as well, what key roles Capt. Truman Smith, E. F. Sedgwick Hanfstaengl and Charles Lindbergh played, nurturing the totalitarian leader per se, Adolph Hitler. For a today comparison you could scrutinize the Gizmo interpretation of civil rights.

'Ostalgia' may still last for a while. It may vanish into thin air, when the overwhelming might of Western money, media, culture, parties and lobbies, law and administrative skills has somewhat disintegrated. Might made for very different personal chances of 'Wessies' and 'Ossies' from the millisecond of reunification and made reunification a state of colonization. I.e. 'ostalgia' will last for at least two or three generations to come, notwithstanding the unveiling of most inhuman Stasi structures and practices.


May 11, 2006
Newsweek; printed July 17, 2006
war and terrorism; (Newsweek May 8, 2006, p. 13: Fareed Zakaria: 'Osama Needs More Mud Huts')

Most certainly Fareed Zakaria is more empathetical in respect of things thought or planned in the Near and Middle East than I will ever be. Nevertheless I think he is wrong concerning his diagnose, Osama or Al Qaeda were on the decline. At first: Any leadership of Bin Laden may simply be our projection of Western management or administrative principles. Correspondingly Al Qaeda - not unlike the cell-structure of the European terrorism of the Seventies - traditionally is a quicksilver-like form of community that readily transforms and reintegrates and catalyzes societal needs.

And so this may be the most misleading interpretation: That the whole movement is simply working on faith or religion. I would prefer to see it as a problem of an intelligent and angry Youth, mostly of privileged communities and with superb command of Western culture and technologies, that makes use of social and cultural focal points like Palestine, to show their ability as moral leaders. Just like the students' revolution: a purely Cro Magnon type of behaviour. We will see recurrent tides of violence as long as we state that the problems of the world are mainly caused by others - 'oppressive regimes, reactionary social views, illiberal political parties, mindless and virulent anti-Americanism'. The mud-hut-appeal may be globally much more sustainable than we nowadays think it is."


March 31, 2006
Iran, Ahmadinejad, threat of nuclear weapons (TIME April 3, 2006; p. 19: Charles Krauthammer 'Today Tehran, Tomorrow the World'; p. 14ff: Matthew Cooper et al. 'Will this Man get the Bomb?'

You certainly have to define priorities: Which is the present most dangerous political entity on the planet, even more psychotic than the Nazis, the USSR, Iraqis, and the Taliban? Well, it seems to be a kind of suicide-bombing nation, the Iran under Ahmadinejad. But looking at history, you'll find Western states helping a megalomanic Shah and his ruthless secret service, the Savak, to unlimited power and - after the upheaval against this sparkling, but extremely brutal regime - enforcing another ruthless enemy of Iran, Saddam Hussein, for an attempt of aggression and regime change. Saddam was even subsided by U.S. technology for chemical and biological weapons and by satellite intelligence, and Ahmadinejad was part of the 'Revolutionary Guards' being wiped out in hundreds and thousands per week. So would anyone reckon that the people of Iran are now waiting for an U.S. act of gentleness or empathy? It may be judged very differently in different places, which nation or subgroup is presently running for the title of the most paranoid and most dangerous political entity on the planet.

An addendum regarding the list of nations above, some of whom turned from close U.S. friends to most deadly enemies: It's not so well known these days, but in 1922 the U.S. military attaché Truman Smith asked a certain Ernst Franz Sedgwick Hanfstaengl, who was of half-American origin, to attend the speech of a gifted young demagogue and to report on it later. Hanfstaengl, a very cultivated man, became as deeply impressed as Smith was before. He introduced that man to the Munich upper society. And he gave him shelter after the disastrous Nazi march to the 'Feldherrnhalle'. Hanfstaengl even claimed to have participated in the Reichstag fire of 1933, that became the symbolic grave of the 'Weimarer Republik'. The man strongly recommended to Hanfstaengl's attention was no one less than Adolph Hitler. So U.S. intelligence, that in those days may have thought of neutralizing a communist Russia by the means of a strong and determined Germany, may have had an important part in a career, that ultimately should trigger the development of nuclear weapons. And what was echoing through German streets those days? "Heute Deutschland, und morgen die ganze Welt!"


March 21, 2006
War in Iraq (TIME March 13, 2006, p. 56; Andrew Sullivan, 'What I got wrong about the war')

Was I wrong not to support the war in Iraq? According to Sullivan's essay the reasons to go to war were doubtful up to definitely wrong, but - as well as the King can do no wrong - there shall have been no realistic alternative. Strange enough, arguments in favour of war always seem to be most attractive: A short time before the invasion of Iraq it was discussed that among Arab states Iraq was the political system with the least religious influence and with the most advanced chances for women - for careers in science, economy and politics. And a prominent argument favouring war went this way: Due to this special 'Western' touch Iraq would be - after a short strike of decapitating and regime
change - the perfect starting point for modernizing the Near and Middle East as a whole.

Also note that Saddam Hussein some years ago was a pet of the West, being enforced massively in the first Gulf war against Iran, even by means of chemical and biological warfare. Tens of thousands of Iraqi citizens have paid with their lives for that bizarre choreography of diplomacy, up to this very day. For me that's very difficult to understand.


Febr. 7, 2006
globalization, jobless and wageless growth (Newsweek Febr. 6, 2006 p. 35, Stephen Roach 'The Hollowing Ring of Davos')

The real threat of the paradigm of globalization seems to me that it makes for two focal points of growing conflicts: On the one hand globalization is according to the structure of its promoters and shareholders a globalization on the exquisite level of clubs: Those who benefited most in the poor - and irrespective of their natural wealth poorly developing countries - formed just a special surface visible to us. And these our partners were increasingly developing unsustainable gaps to 'their' peoples. On the other hand globalization needs an ever growing metabolism of production, transportation and consume, even where economy is shifting to nontradable service industries. In a world of finite resources and finite environmental buffers this race increasingly endangers peace.

To encourage intensified trade with the Chinas and Indias of the new world order may for a certain period amplify our consumer purchasing power. But the more sustainable, the more empathetical and the less incisive way of coexistence seems to be a wise reduction of our economical metabolism.


Febr. 7, 2006
freedom (TIME Febr. 6, 2006 p. 19, Joe Klein 'Democracy, the Morning after')

In the world of President Bush, freedom certainly is a special gift: There he acts as God's salesman, presenting the gift of free vote, but really aiming at a long term bargain, not unlike the aggressive promoting of cellular telephones at one dollar apiece.

Freedom plus democracy basically may be interpreted in two different ways: It may be used just as a cute explanation for government, that guarantees mostly undisturbed executive powers. Or it may be understood as a way of transparency, of partaking and of responsiveness. When it came to war decisions, Bush could not exactly praise British and Spanish governments for outstanding transparency and responsiveness, more for willingness.

From my point of view, freedom and democracy are not only an achievement, but a sustainable and necessary risk, even for democrats.


Jan. 21, 2006
US-intervention in Iran (TIME Jan. 23, 2006 S. 27: Michael Elliott, 'Be careful what you wish for')

Iraq isn’t so far from Angola or Afghanistan – this time speaking of a gambling, adventuring, uncontained America going to war. Furthermore I cannot see, that ordinary American, British, or Spanish voters had – or do constitutionally have – any fair chance of influencing the war powers of their ambitious administrations. Nor would I presume that more of the same, or even American omnipotence, would have guaranteed a sustainable victory and stable peace in Iraq, or in the Middle East as a whole.

Iraq simply never was a just case for Goliath / Gulliver and the promised streets of smiles and flowers just were illusions, or propaganda. And therefore any new mission in the region is more questionable and more destabilizing than it was before that cool and fancy "Let’s go!" order. Among states as among individuals, no one should say he was born, or created, to lead. The theory of being a privileged product of ‘Vorsehung’ may be attractive and even inspiring. But it was misleading in any known case. ‘Follow the leader’ may end up very deadly.


Nov. 13, 2005
Karl Rove’s ‚Permanent Campaign‘ TIME Nov. 7, 2005, p. 32f (Joe Klein: 'The Perils of the Permanent Campaign')

Joe Klein's article 'The Perils of the Permanent Campaign' somewhat reminded me of a quotation attributed to Hitler in Robert Harris' brilliant dark novel 'Fatherland'. Hitler is being cited there with: People sometimes say to me: 'Be careful! You will have twenty years of guerilla warfare on your hands!' I am delighted at the prospect. Germany will remain in a state of perpetual alertness.

Well, there are certainly grave differences of guilt. And while Hitler wanted to keep soldiers in high alert, Rove and Bush simply aim at the voters. But there are corresponding so called meme-programmes or timeless, selfisch bricks of shared conscience like 'Life is struggle!' or 'Enemies strengthen leaders!' or 'Attack 'n win!'. Not very surprisingly, the very same memes seem to steer the masterminds behind terrorism. That's presumably because we all belong to the same branch of hyper-aggressive Cro-Magnons, permanently prepared to raid the next valley - shouting 'Rape or be raped!' or 'Live and let die!'


August 11, 2005
Newsweek, printed Oct. 10, 2005
Hiroshima and Nagasaki; 'War without mercy' in Newsweek August 15, 2005 p. 28:

The phrase "Only a dead [x] is a good [x]" is a very flexible verdict, already used unequivocally on Indians, Jews, Japanese, communists, and Mohammedans, whilst completely incompatible to Christian faith. And irrespective of the kamikaze-phenomenon it stays a strange notion that the mightiest machine ever invented was designed and used against humans – in the case of Hiroshima and Nagasaki even purposefully against mostly undestroyed and quite unsuspecting communities without relevant strategic importance: a kind of vivisection.

I can reconstruct Truman's motives in favour of the soldiers still in the field. But I understand that there were concurrent motives of most questionable morality: to deeply impress Stalin and keep Russia out of Japan, to prove the necessity of 2 billions invested in the Manhattan project and show the paramount importance of a military industrial complex, to prove scientific theories and to simply switch on a gadget just delivered. The most puzzling fact seems to me: The fast use of the second bomb – also representing the different plutonium approach and therefore a sort of new experiment – was not triggered by special presidential order and was not even politically discussed. It was decided by military commanders abroad and may be basically due to an unpromising weather forecast. History can be extremely trivial.


August.8, 2005
bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in August 1945 (TIME of August 1st, 2005, p. 24ff)

Mankind made use of the most advanced scientists and engineers, developed its most powerful tool and unleashed the highest peak of energy just to extinct humans, most of them citizens like ourselves. There is something very psychotic about that. And absolutely nothing heroic, also bearing in mind the final lines of Thomas Stearns Eliot’s ‘Hollow Men’.


Dec. 7, 2003
Iraq conflict; Charles Krauthammer's "Why Bush stays away"' in TIME Dec. 8, 2003, p. 35:

From a public relations point of view, Charles Krauthammer may be right: The leader should mute any sign of grief till the war-job is done. A problem might be, that it's just p.r. - like the cold embedded turkey on Thanksgiving Day in Baghdad - and no good cause to die for. But that may not deter any politician in times, when neither press nor citizens can realistically scrutinize the causes of war communicated by a professional 'public diplomacy'.


Nov. 26, 2003
interview with the former head of the Israeli domestic security service, Ami Ayalon "We feel it every day" (Newsweek Dec. 1, 2003, p. 68)

It's good to hear the simple lesson learned by a professional, his experience showing 'the correlation between poverty, despair, humiliation and terror.' Unfortunately, these days politicians better bargain on fear than on hope. They need the thought of killing terrorists and aborting all inhumanity simultaneously. Next terrorist, next inhumanity - and so on.


Sept. 1, 2003
Iraq war; Charles Krauthammer's "Help wanted"' (TIME, Sept. 1, 2003, p. 27):

I never heard the world asking for the U.S. to play God, especially not in Iraq. Nor that God had told us, the U.S. were his closest match on earth. Or that Iraq or other very disturbing - e.g. islamic - places were god-forsaken. Perhaps just that misconception of being God's next relative makes for gross miscalculations like the idea of entering Iraq on an endless layer of flowers, cheers, and blessings. Compassion for the worlds most pressing needs - and sympathy for the U.S. - would best be shown and generated by investing a U.S. billion per week in globally fighting child starvation and diseases. And this altruistic help would really have a spell of God.


Sept. 1, 2003
Iraq war; Fareed Zakaria' s article "Suicide bombers can be stopped" (Newsweek, Aug. 25, 2003, p. 15)

Fareed Zakaria doesn't give a single hint as to Palaestinean suicide bombers. But reading the headline I cannot help thinking of them at first. And indeed, the Turkish example seems to apply here as well: There is no hope for a victory over terrorism by a limited military - or assassinatory - strategy. To better up the social, economical, and political situation is a conditio sine qua non. That means a noticable step towards freedom and independence, which also are political aims of best western reputation.


July 22, 2003
Iraq war;
TIME, July 21, 2003 p. 16-20 (Micheal Duffy and James Carney: 'A Question of Trust'):

Opening White House internet files of important Presidential speeches on the brink of the last Iraq war, you are guided by a firmly gripping headline: 'IRAQ - DENIAL AND DECEPTION'. Having read a lot since May on antrax germs and their possible origin, on yellowcake, aluminium tubes, mid-range missiles to be launched within 45 minutes, and on oil, I do not know for sure at whom these headlines are pointing - most probably at both sides. That's exactly why the United Nations were founded and why the UN should be chief actor in any peace strategy.

And a President with a habit for cool martial outfit - look e.g. the nice cover of TIME May 19, 2003 - should be heroic enough not to finger-point at assistants, if these report the way they were unmistakenly supposed to. The 'State of the Union' speech delivered on Jan. 28 gives me very strange connotations nowadays, regarding to facts and to virtues.


March 21, 2003
Iraq war; Newsweek of March 24, 2003; interview with Paul Wolfowitz 'It will be a war for the Iraqi people'

Paul Wolfowitz praises 'stand-up guys' like Tony Blair bucking a domestic anti-war tide, and he accuses representatives of other states of demagoguing the Irak-issue and whipping up opinion. Most probably Gerhard Schroeder and Jaques Chirac are meant. Paul Wolfowitz seems to say: "There are lots of questions an intimidated and poorly informed crowd is unable to understand, less to solve, so call for us politicians. And to be a statesman and more than a footnote to history be ready to be alone and decide alone!" Unfortunately, this is the psychology of strong leadership, not of democracy, and there are lots of monstrous examples, including Caesar raping Gallia for an outstanding career - and definitely not to the advantage of mountains of dead, most Barbarians, some Romans.

George W. Bush is eager to deliver democratic values by decisive force to the Near and Middle East. It seems to me that these values are badly victimized by decisive force already, regarding both national and international democracy, especially the United Nations procedures.


March 19, 2003
Iraq war; Joe Klein's 'The Poker Player in Chief' in TIME March 17, 2003, p. 39:

The magic has gone. As a kid I joined Donald Duck's nephews and Uncle Scrooge digging for gold at the Klondyke river (and learned by the way, that dealing is even better than digging). Some years older, I used to stroll through Central Park with Salinger's Holden Caulfield. Then I was diving with Benjamin Braddock, and Simon&Garfunkel were singing in the background. As an adult, I shared the cockpit of Heller's Jossarian and tried to figure out catch 22. The longest and most impressive poem I know by heart is T. S. Eliot's 'Hollow men' - and I was on the beach too. In short: I was sucking in anglo-american culture, democracy, and lawfullness like mother-milk, with that black hole that fascism had left of German history and values.

Today I wish Americans would have learned the lessons I was taught. I see an America claiming uncontested leadership and - as far as I can judge - neglecting international law and institutions it had promoted half a century back. And an America not adhering to basic Christian ethics such as kindness, humanity, and mercy, but favouring the black-and-white-patterns of the Old Testament that amplify fear, terror, and aggression. So there may be consequences even more profound than Joe Klein described: Me and my likes seem to have lost a symbol and a culture to trust in. Bush has already lost the real game.


Oct. 4, 2002
impending Iraq conflict; article 'Heading to Battle' in Newsweek Sept. 30, 2002 (p. 22)

There are recent hints that the US Government significantly contributed to birth and growth of the Iraqui chernical and biological weapons programme and even delivered antrax cultures. That was way back in the days of the Iraq-Iran war, when Saddam still joined the axis of good. Consequently there wasn't too much real time protest against Saddam's barbaric use of those weapons against Iran and against opposing Kurds, and no intervention of course.

It seerns we most of the time fight 'bella iusta' against self designed monsters. Perhaps it is not worth while to discuss those everlasting patterns of the Great Game. lf it wasn't for hundreds of thousands of civilians already victimized by politicians of the 'Zauberlehrling' class. Victims that are mostly children, without any choice of their economical, political, religious or cultural system.


Sept. 26, 2002
TIME, printed in TIME Oct. 28, 2002
Irak intervention; article 'Does might make it right?' in TIME Sept. 30, 2002:

The dangers posed by terrorists may have increased dramatically and conventional military strategy (including non-conventional weapons) may no longer defend a country against non-state-based forms of aggression. But to start a new war against Irak is more like business as usual and not proof of a new way of thinking and understanding. At best attacking Irak may be explained as turning the rifle from a moving target - Osama bin Laden - and aiming at a more or less stationary Saddam. What the world truly needs is a strategy that fights hatred and inferiority complexes by confidence-building measures in the fields of politics, economics and culture. So the U.S. would aquire friends and bin Laden would lose them.


July 31, 2002
re: Nathans Lewin’s article "Detering suicide bombers"

As a German, I am deeply shocked by Nathan Lewin’s proposals of deliberately killing parents, brothers and sisters of Palestinian suicide bombers. I might not be entitled to any moral condemnation because it were Germans who could have destroyed or at least harmed Mr. Lewin’s youth in Poland and most probably hurt or even killed members of his family. So I would like to question just the effectiveness of his ideas – sheer effectiveness being the core of his initiative anyway.

Guess the Lewin proposals would have been implemented and even the warnings were advertised. Most probably a suicide killer would turn up, whose family would have disappeared just in time. Or there would have been recruited even a ‚suicide bomber family‘ or a part of it – just to publicly stage and plainly prove gross inhumanity and immorality of the Israel adminstration. You amplify the pressure and you just have to wait for an even more devastating explosion. Which you only may contain by even more brutal politics: e.g. by deportation of any Palestinian population from first Israel, then Gaza and the Westbank, a development already quite near to the Nazi "Bevölkerungspolitik" in Europe.

So we have arrived at the very root of the problem, which is not at all adressed in the Lewin paper: The Palestinian side certainly feels justified for a struggle for land and entiteled to any means efficient (!) to defend their rights – eagerly awaiting a Palestinian "Independance Day". And in the scale of values of the Palestinian people – same of the Jewish –land, independence and a glorious future have a much higher ranking than the life of an individual, of a familiy or even a tribe. So the long term solution never lies in detering actions against commonly perceived injustice – and these people read the Bible not the way Nathan Lewin does – but in coexistence and even cooperation of people, who are not so different in looks, habits and some archaic customs as it may seem.

Lewin’s ideas were perfectly fit for the abrahamitic days, when strong, intelligent and often ruthless leaders brought the people of Israel through deserts and dangers to a promised land and where short peroids of peace relied on heavy and immediate retaliation, on deterrence and even aggression. His ideas are not at all fit for times, when land and ressources have shrunk dramatically and we have to cooperate on the basis of live and let live, human rights – and law!


Sept. 16, 2001
terrorist attacks in New York, Washington and Pittsburgh

On Friday, September 14th I joined an ecumenical service in the Stimson Memorial Chapel in Bonn, Germany. I was impressed by the prayers of participants spoken out aloud, expressing deep grief and sorrow, but trusting in God for help, for justice and against retaliation. As a stranger, I did not dare to speak up myself. If I would, it would have been something like the following:

God of mercy,
talk to those who pray to you and make them speak together:
Christians and Jews, Jews and Muslims, Muslims and Christians.
Let the sign of your followers be not a cross nor a star nor a rising moon,
but a circle of three young children, holding their hands firmly, and dancing.


Dec. 11, 2000
US presidential election (TIME no. 24 of Dec. 11, 2000, p. 38 ff "May it please the court")

In principle the evaluation of the US presidential election should be left to the Americans. But that voting and judicial roundabout has much to do with the understanding of democracy in America. And America simply is – and acts as – Europe‘s guiding culture.

Really astonishing appears to me: The controversy essentially raves between two private men. Bush and Gore fight for own ambitions - and ask and get some loyal assistance from government or courts. The voter on the other side does not seem to have a very efficient forum, in order to clarify the fate of his personal democratic voice. It might even happen to him finally being told, that over the struggle of the great chiefs the time the constitution designated for examination and investigation – so sorry – has expired and peace and order have to prevail.

We should remember two quite simple rules of law, an older and a newer one: Ambiguitas (venit) contra stipulatorem. And: Any damage should best be allocated with him, who can prevent or even minimize it in the most efficient way. What I would like to express: If the state caused obviously falseleading election procedures and forms, then in the relation between voter and state it is the state that must ensure sufficient procedures for examination and correction. It seems not very fair to put the voters off on some legal projects in some unnown future. And the courts are perfectly fit to determine criteria for the correct evaluation of votes in accordance with state and federal law. These criteria would even be required under normal conditions, if the margin of error was not that near to the margin of victory as these days.


May 10, 1996
International Herald Tribune
Standort Deutschland; changes in German social systems (International Herald Tribune of May 10, Guido Brunner: "Kohl Sets Out on a Middle Way)

It is sometimes overlooked: Germany also is a pillar against social degradation abroad. If Germany drops the standards the surrounding and partly weaker economies are bound to react accordingly and even further. Movements on the part of Germany will be major contributions to a downward competition for working and living standards set in countries very far away and with a remarkably lower degree of democracy.


May 2, 1996
International Herald Tribune
Holocaust; discussion of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen's book on the Holocaust
(International Herald Tribune of April 16: "New Book on Holocaust Is Assailed in Germany")

Germans appreciate the view that the Holocaust was the most secret work of a very small group of Nazi gangsters. Non-Germans prefer the sight it was an atrocity executed and executable solely by Germans. Both is simplification, both is regression.

Take a closer look at Mr. Goldhagen's thesis: Germans grown up in Germany in the first three decades of the 20th century would most probably not have opposed the social and physical extermination of Jews. Then no one - irrespective of his actual time and place of birth - could ever be sure to have reacted differently if brought up in the same circumstances. To evade this strange notion he would have to argue that Germans have a very special and cruel genetic brand, different from mankind. But this would even more abolish personal German fault. So what - extinct those fatefully inhumane Germans?


Febr. 25, 1996
International Herald Tribune
Deutsche Einheit;
article in the International Herald Tribune of Febr. 23, 1996 (Rick Atkinson: "Do Bonn subsidies help or hamper the East?")

To me there is quite a clue for the sluggish economic situation in Eastern Germany: The German reunification was sort of an "unfriendly takeover". The East was swiftly wired to an overwhelming West in any thinkable way - political parties, finance, production and energy, law - and Easterners never had a fair chance of becoming competitors, to decide on their own. Outspokenly: they were not supposed to.

To create dependency at first and now shut down alimentation would be fatal blow - if you do not effectively further emancipation at the same time.


Aug. 22, 1995
NIKKEY WEEKLY, JAPAN; printed: August 28,1995
Mititärpolitik; Bombardierung von Hiroshima und Nagasaki; THE NIKKEY WEEKLY of August 14, 1995

I refer to reports on WW II and especially to two letters to the editor printed in THE NIKKEY WEEKLY of August 14, 1995 (page 6). It is my impression that those two letters offer a unilateral and quite insulting interpretation of the motives behind the drop of atomic bombs onto Hiroshima and Nagasaki fifty years ago (e.g. N. Hale: "a merciful decision"). So I would like to show an alternative view,:

It is certainly true that Japanese military leaders commenced the hostilities against the USA. But the Japanese victims at Hiroshima and Nagasaki were in their vast majority civilians. And although they were victims, I am far from sure they were the real addressees of the bombs as well. There is quite a convincing hypothesis: the drop of the bombs in the first place aimed at impressing the counterparts of Truman at the Potsdam Conference of July/August 1945 - Truman, a just invested and still very uneasy-feeling American president. To add: according to now opened American files the Nagasaki bomb was also meant to test a completely redesigned ignition system.

The echoes of that demonstration of power strongly outlived that event. We hear them over and over again - from Irak, from France, from China etc. So humanity will never forget those victims, even if some wanted to.


and, lots of letters earlier:


Sept. 29, 1992
Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger; printed: Oct. 2, 1992
military affairs; cancelling the "V 2 - Gedenkfeier" in Peenemünde (KStAnz. v. 29.09.1992)

Hätten wir am Deutschlandtag die Schöpfer der V 2 hochleben lassen, hätten wir auch die der Scud mitgefeiert. Die Scud ist wie die Mehrzahl der heute weltweit ausgerichteten Trägersysteme legitimer Nachfahre der V 2. Scud und V 2 sind brutale Massenvernichtungswaffen, die unter einem verantwortungslose Regime bewußt zum Schaden der Zivilbevölkerung eines anderen Landes entwickelt und eingesetzt worden sind.

Demgegenüber ist der vorgebliche Kontext ziviler (!) Raumfahrtforschung, der etwa den jungen Wernher von Braun begeistert und geblendet haben mag, als Begründung eines V 2 - Festes geradezu absurd. Die Forschung hat sich gegen diese Wirtschaftsidee im doppelten Sinne auch ausdrücklich verwahrt.

Der Vorschlag war, wenn auch der Count-down schweren Herzens in letzter Sekunde abgebrochen wurde, bereits eine verheerende Wunderwaffe gegen das Ansehen des neuen Deutschland im Ausland und unserer Repräsentanten im Inland.


If we actually had arranged a V 2 - festival on the German National celebration day (October 3rd) we would have praised the Scud as well. The Scud missile is - as most of the modern military carrier systems - legitimate descendant of the V 2. Scud and V 2 are brutal weapons of mass extinction and were delibarately designed and used under a ruthless regime to the damage of other peoples.

The pretended connection with civilian Space science, that may perhaps have inspired and dazzled a young Wernher von Braun, is a very absurd motivation against that background. Consequently the science community has repudiated that idea immediatly.

Even if the count-down was broken off in the last minute the suggested celebration already was a devastating 'Wunderwaffe' in respect of the new Germany abroad and in respect of German representatives at home.


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