Archive for the ‘German’ Category

Race, Obama, World: After U.S. Breakthrough, Europe Looks in Mirror

November 12, 2008

In the general European euphoria over the election of Barack Obama, there is the beginning of self-reflection about Europe’s own troubles with racial integration. Many are asking if there could be a French, British, German or Italian Obama, and everyone knows the answer is no, not anytime soon.

By Steven Erlanger
The New York Times

It is risky to make racial comparisons between America and Europe, given all the historical and cultural differences. But race had long been one reason that Europeans, harking back to the days when famous American blacks like Josephine Baker and James Baldwin found solace in France, looked down on the United States, even as Europe developed postcolonial racial problems of its own.

“They always said, ‘You think race relations are bad here in France, check out the U.S.,’ ” said Mohamed Hamidi, former editor of the Bondy Blog, founded after the 2005 riots in the heavily immigrant suburbs of Paris.

“But that argument can no longer stand,” he said.

For many immigrants to Europe, Mr. Obama’s victory is “a small revolution” toward better overall treatment of minorities, said Nadia Azieze, 31, an Algerian-born nurse who grew up here. “It will never be the same,” she said, over a meal of rice and lamb in the racially mixed Paris neighborhood of Barbès-Rochechouart.

Her sister, Cherine, 29, is a computer engineer. Mr. Obama “really represents the dream of America — if you work, you can make it,” she said. “It’s a hope for the entire world.”

But the sisters are less optimistic about the realities of France, where minorities have a limited political role, with only one black deputy elected to the National Assembly from mainland France.

Has the Obama election caused any real self-reflection among the majority here? “It’s politically correct to say, ‘O.K., great! He’s black,’ and clap,” Nadia said. “But deep down, there’s no change. People say one thing and believe another.”

Read the rest:
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/world/europe
/12europe.html?_r=1&oref=slogin

NATO’s Superbowl Loss?

March 5, 2008

by James Zumwalt
Human Events
March 5, 2008

The 2007-2008 NFL season witnessed the march of one of the greatest teams in professional football history fall 35 seconds short of perfection. Despite its loss in Superbowl XLII, the New England Patriots demonstrated tremendous success in fielding a team each week with single unity of purpose — to win.

Each team member had equal responsibility to achieve this goal, knowing the rest of the team relied upon him to execute his assignment with maximum intensity and effort.

Imagine, however, if some team members, at the outset of the season, placed limitations on what they were willing to do on the field? What, for example, would have been the result had a defender informed the coach he would only defend against the pass for 20 yards out but not beyond that? Or, worse, if a fully capable player, fearing injury, opted to sit on the bench the entire season, unwilling to share the risks, leaving his fellow teammates to take hits for him.

No coach would ever field such a team, knowing that doing so would spell disaster.

Ironically, on a much more important field — a battlefield in the war on terror — this is exactly what is happening.

In 2003, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai asked NATO to help stabilize his country and provide security against the threat of the Taliban insurgency. Under a UN mandate, NATO took action, becoming the first ground mission in the six decade history of the alliance. French and German forces were sent to the north of Afghanistan; Italian and Spanish forces west; and US, British, Dutch and Canadian troops south — where most of the fighting takes place.

NATO’s mission in Afghanistan was an enormous evolution for the alliance. It represented the first time the Alliance was taking action against a threat outside the European theater.

This was an important step because the member nations, recognizing that the threats to their mutual security posed by terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were global, necessitating more than purely local action.

The future of NATO as a credible force, with single-minded unity of purpose, turned on its performance in Afghanistan.

And it has failed.

Despite the strategic importance of NATO’s success in Afghanistan, it quickly became apparent not all team members came to win. Promised manpower levels were not provided. Some team members placed operational restrictions on their forces. They were not allowed to operate at night.

Others were barred from operating in those areas where the threat was greatest and, thus, help needed the most. Some even put limitations on the distance forces could patrol outside their bases. It was clear not all team members had the same unity of purpose in mind, content to leave other team members to take the hits for them.

Instead of fielding the 18-1 Patriots, NATO fielded the 1-15 Miami Dolphins. President Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have been pressing our NATO allies to do more in this very important fight.

Trying to at least get those nations imposing limitations on the use of their forces, Gates has pointed out, “Brothers in arms achieve victory only when all march in step toward the sound of the guns.” He repeatedly encouraged NATO team members to make their restrictions as benign as possible.

But their continued failure to do so is making the military commander’s mission in Afghanistan a nightmare as leaders need constantly consider what assets can be used at what times and in what locations. Missions are impeded as commanders fail to have unlimited access to all resources in-country. This is no way to fight a war you intend to win.

Leaving a disproportionate share of the risk and responsibility for fighting the Taliban and stabilizing Afghanistan to only a few members of the NATO team is a recipe for disaster. It undermines the team concept of all for one and one for all. It undermines support for the mission by a public who senses less than a full commitment to maximizing the application of military force. Why show up for the game if you’re not going to give your all towards achieving victory? Such a lack of risk balance has prompted Canada, which has suffered the
highest casualty rate of any country, to threaten a withdrawal of its forces next year if other member states fail to contribute more to combat operations.

President Bush has made clear, “Afghanistan is NATO’s most important military operation. By standing together…we will protect our people, defend our freedom and send a clear message to the extremists — the forces of freedom and decency will prevail.”

Afghanistan is NATO’s Superbowl. But while NATO leaders pledge to stay the course there, they are doing little to demonstrate a winning commitment. It was recently revealed that Prince Henry — third in line to the British throne — secretly spent more than two months as a combat soldier in Afghanistan before his presence was revealed by the media.

The bad news is the media placed greater value on reporting this story than on limiting risk to human life; the good news is Henry’s front line deployment demonstrated the Brits’ unity of purpose and commitment to the principle all team members are equal and should share equal risks. If only we could get all our NATO team members to accept this standard.

Short of that, NATO’s quest to win its Superbowl may well go the way of that of the New England Patriots.

James Zumwalt is a retired Marine who served in the Vietnam and Gulf wars. He has written opinion pieces on foreign policy, defense and security issues for dozens of newspapers. He is president of his own security consulting company.

Note to Berkeley: Marines Are Not The Enemy

February 2, 2008

By Michelle Malkin  •  January 31, 2008

“Osama bin Laden couldn’t have said it better,” American Legion National Commander Marty Conatser said of the Berkeley City Council Resolution, which tells the Marines that they are not welcome there. “Disgraceful, disloyal, ungrateful. These words are too kind in describing the actions of the public officials in Berkeley, who voted for this disgrace.

Nonetheless, our Marines continue to bravely serve and in so doing, allow Americans to spout such foolishness. The American Legion not only strongly condemns this action by the City Council but also believes that a sincere apology is in order to all Marines, past and present.”

U.S. Marines conduct a search for insurgents during a training ...
U.S. Marines conduct a search for insurgents during a training simulation of a search through an Iraqi city built at the U.S. Marine Base in Camp Pendleton, California, June 29, 2006.
REUTERS/Mike Blake 
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Conatser, the leader of the nation’s largest veterans organization, was referring to a measure passed by the Council 6-3 Tuesday, that tells the U.S. Marine Corps that one of its recruiting stations is “not welcome in the city, and if recruiters choose to stay, they do as uninvited and unwelcome intruders.”The City Council marched in complete lock-step with radical anti-war group Code Pink in attempting to drive out Marine recruiters from its San Francisco suburb. The City Council also voted 8-1 to give Code Pink a free parking space in front of a recruiting station, along with a free sound permit for protesting once a week.Marine recruiters at Berkeley have faced harassment from protestors who regularly block nearby sidewalks, generate excessive noise and disrupt business.”I have been a recruiter in the National Guard and I know that it’s tough duty, with long hours,” Conatser said. “What these recruiters do is essential to our national security.Without recruiters we have no military. And I don’t think we can count on the flower children from Berkeley to protect this nation when it comes under attack. They have to remember that Marines are not the enemy; the terrorists are.”Conatser pointed out that The American Legion strongly supports the war on terrorism, passing a national resolution of its own.”Resolution 169 was passed unanimously by The American Legion in 2005 and it has been re-affirmed every year since. It reminds Americans that you can not separate the war from the warrior and that the American people should stand united in support for our troops who are engaged in protecting our values and our way of life.”

With a current membership of 2.7-million wartime veterans, The American Legion, http://www.legion.org, was founded in 1919 on the four pillars of a strong national security, veterans affairs, Americanism, and patriotic youth programs.

Legionnaires work for the betterment of their communities through more than 14,000 posts across the nation.
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U.S. Marine Corps,
Berkeley
BERKELEY – Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates offered Friday to help the U.S. Marines leave town by negotiating an end to the lease for their recruiting station, even as he backpedaled on a City Council resolution declaring the Corps “uninvited and unwelcome intruders” in the city.In the face of an onslaught of pro-military criticism from around the country, Bates, a retired Army captain, also issued a statement that said the City Council’s resolution Tuesday night “did not adequately differentiate our respect and support for those serving in the armed forces and our opposition to the Iraq war policy.”He said he would ask the council to modify the resolution at its next meeting, scheduled for Feb. 12.

A Marines spokeswoman said Friday that the Corps has no intention of abandoning its space at 64 Shattuck Square that has been the subject of protests for months.

The council voted 6-3 Tuesday to tell the Marines that their recruiting station is not welcome in the city. In a separate vote, the council supported the women’s peace group Code Pink by giving it a designated parking space in front of the recruiting station once a week for six months and a free sound permit for protesting once a week from noon to 4 p.m.

The council also voted to explore enforcing its law prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation against the Marines.
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Letter from A Former POW to Mayor of Berkeley

Dear Mayor Bates and the City Council of Berkeley: It is because of the Marines, Soldiers and Sailors that you are not conducting city business in Japanese or German. Here is an excerpt from the poem “What is a Vet” that follows.

Mike Benge civilian VN-POW 1968-73

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag,Who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.”

WHAT IS A VET? Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a aged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together,a piece of shrapnel in the leg, or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity. Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking.

What is a vet? He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweatingtwo gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t runout of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

She – or he – is the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.
He is the POW who went away one person and came back another – or didn’t come back AT ALL.

He is the Quantico drill instructor that has never seen combat – but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.

He is the parade – riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand. He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of  The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep.

He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket – palsied now andaggravatingly slow – who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when thenightmares come.

He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of hiscountry, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not haveto sacrifice theirs.

He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known. So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded. Two little words that mean a lot, “THANK YOU”.

Remember November 11th is Veterans Day.

“It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of thepress. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer,

Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag,Whoserves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, Who allows the protestor to burn the flag.”

Father Dennis Edward O’Brien, Lt. Col., USMC
Space shuttle Atlantis lifts off from pad 39A at the Kennedy ...