Gerhard Schröder, 18.03.2003

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12.09.2001

Gerhard Schröder:

Meine Damen und Herren, ich habe dem amerikanischen Präsidenten das tief empfundene Beileid des gesamten deutschen Volkes ausgesprochen. Ich habe ihm auch die uneingeschränkte – ich betone: die uneingeschränkte – Solidarität Deutschlands zugesichert. Ich bin sicher, unser aller Gedanken sind bei den Opfern und ihren Angehörigen. Ihnen gilt unser Mitgefühl, unsere ganze Anteilnahme.

Ich möchte hier in Anwesenheit des neuen amerikanischen Botschafters Dan Coats noch einmal ausdrücklich versichern: Die Menschen in Deutschland stehen in dieser schweren Stunde fest an der Seite der Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika.

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Was immer auch die Ursachenforschung der nächsten Stunden und Tage an Tätern und Verantwortlichkeiten für den 11. September zutage fördern würde, so war zumindest völlig klar, dass der Einsatz von Terror gegen die Zivilbevölkerung von den USA und ihren internationalen Partnern fortan politisch und moralisch geächtet und mit allen Mitteln bekämpft werden würde.

Und »alle Mittel« würde im Fall der USA tatsächlich alle militärischen Mittel meinen. Allerdings konnte ich mir zum damaligen Zeitpunkt Folter und andere Menschen­rechts­verletzungen – Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib – nicht vorstellen, auch nicht das Ausmaß der Bürger­rechts­einschränkungen in den USA und jene »Politik der Angst« der Regierung Bush, die das Land über Jahre hinweg im Griff halten sollte. Dazu reichte meine Fantasie an jenem 11. September 2001 schlicht nicht aus.

—Joschka Fischer, »I am not convinced«, (Köln: Verlag Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 2011), 14.

This is immensely important. American society as a whole has forgotten, and of course the generation now entering adulthood has never known anything other than the current madness.

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Declining standards in the US State Department

Vijay Prashad:

I’d like to say that at least when Secretary of State Colin Powell went before the United Nations and openly lied about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, he lied and provided evidence based on lies. In other words, the forceful interrogations produced some material which was totally erroneous, but at least they provided false evidence. In this case, they haven’t bothered to provide any evidence at all. There’s a decline in standards, I must say, in the U.S. State Department.

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Truthout:

Interestingly, Bolton and Pompeo’s quest for war with Iran has publicly put them at odds with President Trump, who reportedly told his acting Secretary of Defense that “he does not want war with Iran.” It also puts them at odds with some of Trump’s strongest supporters, like Fox News’Laura Ingraham and Tucker Carlson, who have publicly stated that a war with Iran would lower his electability in 2020. If this is the case, then sustained public, media and congressional pressure might prompt Trump to realize that enabling his top two foreign policy appointees is simply more trouble than it’s worth.

Sustained public, media and congressional pressure might prompt the President of the United States to realize that enabling the Secretary of State and National Security Advisor in their quest for war with Iran is more trouble than it’s worth because the two are in conflict with two Fox News commentators and the President’s re-electability is lowered?

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FDR’s Second Bill of Rights

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Imperialism and the Stupid Show

John Steppling:

There is also today a crisis in education. And it is intimately related to the environmental crises. Informally I have spoken to educators in Norway, where I live, and they are both frightened and appalled at the loss of cognitive skills, the erosion in writing and even speech, in students at the high school and college level. Students, they say, cannot understand even simple verbal instructions. They cannot concentrate for very long and are easily distracted. And they can barely read.

Guardian:

Jon Stewart has delivered a scathing rebuke of Congress and its handling of benefits for 9/11 first responders and victims, telling US lawmakers their “shameful” inaction is “an embarrassment to the country”.

Stewart, the comedian and former host of The Daily Show, has been a forceful proponent of legislation providing federal funding for medical treatment for survivors of the 9/11 terror attacks.

I read the Steppling essay this afternoon. When reading The Guardian this evening I had to read the article’s headline several times followed by the first couple paragraphs to confirm the subject of the article was indeed what it sounded to be.

Steppling ends with “Education is critically important, and stopping the extreme privilege of the elite class”  in the same way Giroux often ends essays with prescriptions for improving American education which in no way shape or form are going to be followed. The trend, in fact, seems to be if anything an accelerating dumbing down. This reminds me again of Natoli’s observation that the genie is out of the bottle and there’s no putting it back. For years I’ve been hearing acquaintances refer to what they’ve just seen from comedians like Stewart or John Oliver as if this had some import, but I’m increasingly realizing that I’m still not really grappling with the implications here. People whose primary sources of information on the world are videos and sound bites have no way of gaining any sort of perspective on the fact that their primary sources of information on the world are videos and sound bites, and this is only changing for the worse. I am realizing that what I need to be reading are not recommendations which will never be followed but rather thoughts on how best to live in this brave new world.

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Stalag VIII-A, Görlitz

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