A War Crime, nothing else

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

First, they made the world believe to have successfully killed ISIS-K terrorists in the late August drone strike in Kabul. When even they realized that something had gone wrong again, they tried to cover it up as long as possible. This time, German public television was on the scene shortly after the attack and interviewed people from the immediate neighborhood where the drone struck. These people told a different story from the start than American officials, who quickly stated that no other military in the world uses drones more safely than the United States. In reality, they murdered children, purely by “accident.” This is what Christian retaliation looks like in response to an attack by terrorists.

After the mess the Americans made in Afghanistan, they are already planning the next invasions. AUKUS – the “security agreement” for the Indo-Pacific Region – with the British and Australia, came out of blue sky. Biden, this time, could have been Trump. The treaty is reminiscent of Victorian imperialistic alliances before the First World War and Roosevelt-policies in the Second World War, when spheres of interest in the Southeast Asian region were to be “secured”, deliberately provoking potential confrontations with Japan.

In order not to create any false impressions: this new agreement is ostensibly not directed against China, because in a confrontation with this country the Americans would more than likely go down. Moreover, why would they even fight a country to which large American corporations like Walmart have outsourced much of the American manufacturing base to make the most profit possible instead of creating good paying jobs for their own people at home? Rather, the US once again wants to poke around in regions of the world and explore lucrative expansion opportunities where it is anything but wanted. This just screams for new proxy wars against small countries, this time not with ground troops, but with new war technology that is labeled “infallible”, especially when in the hands of the American military.

After all, the arms business is the main concern in the land of the free, because it secures billions in profits, no matter if the war is lost or won. If children die in the process, as in Afghanistan – that is collateral damage, which is accepted with hypocritical excuses. The poor French are now angry because their submarine deal with Australia was screwed up by the Biden administration. But that’s too bad.

When the time comes, when the next bang occurs, the Americans at home will be told the next lie. People who have fallen for the insane “Make America Great Again” philosophy believe everything they are led to believe anyway – as soon as it is about feigned “American patriotism” and “American freedom” that has to be defended, next time somewhere in South-East Asia.

Vietnam is long forgotten.

Get Vaccinated

From My Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Very rarely do people in Union County, Georgia, get to read anything sophisticated stemming from local sources. Everything is apparently strikingly fine-tuned within the unwritten norms of a buddy system stuck in old habits. But every now and then, the reader is amazed at the rationality of a published opinion, as happened recently in an otherwise rather dull weekly newspaper.

It is a letter to the editor from a health expert who, in very simple but all the more forceful terms, urges previously vaccine-averse people in a somewhat backward area to get vaccinated against Covid. Seldom before have I read anything more sensible on a local level in this area, where I have now lived for ten years.

The expert rightly points out in his brief op-ed the extremely tense situation in local hospitals, caused by the Delta variant, stating that “Covid is exploding in our area.” He urgently appeals to the population not to believe the circulating scare stories about the vaccine including conspiracy theories and instead to get vaccinated.

There is really not much to add – except something that no one obviously wants to hear: If there are indeed people who believe in all possible nonsense and only not in what is rational, then the insightful have a democratic*** right to be protected from them. After all, every drunk driver must rightly expect severe punishment for endangering the lives of others.

Those who not only refuse to contribute to the protection of society in a pandemic, but, on the contrary, deliberately endanger others, should face consequences that affect their daily lives in public locations. A constraint? Of course, for no one has the right to put the lives and health of others at risk. And if these visionary hillbillies can’t put one and one together, they should at least think about the unvaccinated children.

Unfortunately, far too many “officials” in Union County have also failed in their responsibilities by allowing themselves to be obviously exploited for political purposes rather than standing up to unreason. This is especially true for the local school authorities, for they could all foresee what would happen without mandatory masks in the schools.

Note:***For some, a little explanation may be necessary at this point. “Democratic” in the proper sense does not refer to the Democratic Party (of which the author of these lines is not a supporter, by the way), but to the basic principles of democracy.

An Almost Collective Failure

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Once again the compassionate, everything and everyone understanding citizen of the world spoke to his people.

The American president’s pithy remarks yesterday are surprising, because just a few days ago he sounded quite different. But it is he who is largely responsible for the chaos at Kabul airport.

It is amazing how the American pattern repeats itself over and over again. After the deaths of 13 soldiers, Joe Biden found words that have become standard in this country – it is what most Americans want to hear, although the supporters of the right-wing spectrum may not believe this president on this point. Because many of them falsely believe that it was he who screwed things up in Afghanistan. Yet, Biden “merely” handled the exit to another American tragedy in an incompetent manner that could hardly have been worse.

As recently as July 8, he had responded to a reporter’s question by saying that it is “highly unlikely” that the Taliban would overrun the entire country. This had proven how out of touch he was with reality. He was clueless about the historical realities in Afghanistan, which a president before him had already thrown to the wind: George W. Bush, the man leading an administration actually responsible for what we see today.

To a certain extent, however, responsible are also the millions of Americans who fell for primitive slogans 20 years ago and who, with their consent, supported the American adventure in Afghanistan and Iraq in the name of freedom and thus made it possible in the first place.

From this point of view, it is eminently notable that the crusade ends under the same slogan from the mouth of an American president with which it began in 2001: “We will hunt them down.”

A Special Kind of “Freedom”

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

In 23 years of living in the US, I never really “warmed up” to the American culture of life. The closest I came to supporting America in recent years was related to the US women’s soccer team – and not only because of their enthusiastic play, but also how civilized they behaved off the field, especially when it came to showing true character by unitedly rejecting the visit to the White House, where a perverted buffoon was president.

Unfortunately, this nation is not as united in its sanity and a responsible-minded, true devotion to the Fatherland as this outstanding soccer team.

The sometimes unnerving American bluster about freedom can certainly correspond to an individual’s view of things – or to a widespread self-deception. Americans obviously have to stress over and over again how free they are because in reality they are unfree, and they are unfree because there is no basic guarantee of fair wages in their country, much less of universal health care affordable to everyone.

How can people call their country a free country when the vast majority of their own population does not even have the freedom to not have to constantly worry about the essentials of life that define a true and just democracy?

Change Starts in the Head

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

As expected, the USA is now tearing itself apart in recriminations over Afghanistan. While many Republicans are trying to whitewash history with their own version of “alternative facts”, Joe Biden is in some ways the executor of Trump’s policy, who engineered the crucial withdrawal from Afghanistan. The unfortunate, deplorable minds are the die-hard supporters of the Republican party who are falling again for every falsification of history, as they did when George Bush started the American journey into the disaster after the terror attacks of 9/11. With so many people absorbing and believing in so much nonsense, putting party ideology first, there is no prospect of positive change for the USA.

Change starts in the head.

And yet adults in particular, who have experience of life, should know better – one would think. Many apparently don’t: “They are as stupid as they were born and have never learned something new”, says an old proverb. One can see it in the obtuse statements in the social media, in the colorful cartoons posted by grown people who want to express something that others have long since invented. They parrot other people’s opinions while they themselves are unable to summarize their own thoughts in writing. Each and every one of these self-proclaimed patriots is responsible for the deep rift that continues to divide the United States.

Only through such misguided souls could someone like Trump make it to the presidency.

“We will hunt them down, we will smoke them out”

President Bush’s War on Terror ends in Disaster for the entire West

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

For twenty years, international troops under U.S. leadership were in Afghanistan with the goal of providing peace and security, including their very own ideas of democracy. Now, the Taliban are closing in on Kabul. They ride in captured American pick-up trucks; a fighting force seemingly from the middle Ages. American interference once again turns out to be a failure all along the line: wherever they show up with their military, only disaster comes out. These days, the allies are rushing to fly out their embassy staff before they too fall into enemy hands. Meanwhile, a human tragedy is emerging for Afghans who thought they could trust the West.

History is often easy to internalize. To do this, you sometimes just need to remember quotes from the past and compare them with the present. Thereby, it would be helpful especially for Americans and their country to learn from history. The only problem is: People who fell for the phrases at that time, fall for all possible charlatanry also today and do not want or cannot remember their own words from yesterday. From which follows: Those are incapable of learning to whom it does not even occur to draw conclusions from the past.

The allegations that circulated and were deliberately spread among the American public even before President Bush’s war on terror began less than twenty years ago were nothing more than the result of obtuse propaganda hammered into Americans almost continuously via the media. It was a typical example of how, even in a democratic country, people’s patriotism was exploited by the cheapest methods.

The following should give pause for thought:

“I’d rather the war be there [in Iraq, Afghanistan] than in our own country.”
I heard this sentence over and over again back then from the mouths of regulars, most of them staunch Republicans. Nobody should want a war anywhere, because it can always strike back and hit you. People don’t believe it until it happens.

“He [Saddam Hussein] is just like another Hitler. We need to take him out of there.”
This was a similar saying from that time, hardly to be surpassed in ignorance to the facts. For comparing a big shot like Hussein with Adolf Hitler is one of the most surprising sentences, while incoherent assessments I have ever heard. Hitler controlled, for a short time, almost all of Europe and kept the whole world in suspense. The German Wehrmacht was the strongest military force of its time, and it took the rest of the world nearly six years in a combined effort to defeat it. Hussein, on his part, had nothing of that sort to display. He never possessed the weapons of mass destruction that were attributed to him, serving as the main reason for a mindless military invasion. If he had possessed them, the USA and its allies would hardly have attacked him – for he would have used them instantly. That simple fact would not go into the heads of most Americans at the time.

No matter how many I talked to back then – the result was almost always the same. The majority of Americans were unstoppable in their euphoria and belief that whatever their government was doing was right. Certainly, a legitimate rage about unprecedented terrorist attacks on their country played a significant role to fume their judgement.

“We will hunt them down, we will smoke them out.”
Remarks by President George W. Bush on September 17, 2001, to employees at the Pentagon. He repeated this phrase as if in a Wild West movie at several other occasions.

In truth, the military invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq made little sense, if only because the terrorist attackers of September 11 essentially not only came from Saudi Arabia, but were also financed from there. Saudi Arabia, however, is the closest U.S. ally in the region, albeit not for reasons of sympathy but of profit from the oil business. The price for this American hypocrisy could be costly: For the disastrous and maybe intended miscalculation of the Bush administration – politically, historically, and geostrategically – could now, after the withdrawal from Afghanistan, carry toxic smoke back to the US. The Taliban, once equipped and trained by the Americans, will in all likelihood find with their present advance sufficient basis and encouragement to launch terrorist attacks against the U.S. and its allies anew and around the world.

Thus, nothing remains of the goals that President Bush announced less than twenty years ago. To hunt down the real culprits of 9/11, there was no need for wars started by the USA, as the elimination of Osama bin Laden has shown. It is very likely that governments with which the U.S. is friendly are also behind dubious plots against the Americans, just as the Americans once created the Taliban to pit them against the Soviets. It is inconceivable.

The ones who suffer are always the innocent. Large parts of the Afghan people have believed the grandiose announcements of democracy and prosperity and are now suffering the revenge of the Taliban, while the West abandons its promises and cowardly runs away.

American Opportunities, American Unscrupulousness

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

It is often said that the USA is the land of unlimited opportunity. For me, this proud claim seems to come from a bygone era. I must have missed that time. And even if this statement was ever in common use – which it was -, it is inherently false: for not everyone has the doors open to them that are opened to others by skill and ability, and not infrequently by pure chance. Perhaps this is called the luck of life, and not everyone is a born academic. The non-academic or someone who has not progressed beyond a simple school-leaving certificate has no less value for society, because there must also be someone who puts his hand in the dirt to produce food. After all, well-heeled people can’t eat their money.

Over time, the sayings about the U.S. that circulated in Europe, especially after World War II, must have relativized themselves. Because the “freest country on this earth” has long ceased to exist. A country in which a very small upper class is allowed to hoard most of the wealth, almost untroubled by any legislation and at the visible expense of the majority of its own citizens, thereby restricting their possibilities, can hardly be considered unreservedly as a free land. A country that allows individuals to outsource entire branches of production to India or China because profit is more important than the well-being of their own compatriots is probably better served by the term “dictatorship of money.” And when it is obvious that any political, federal administration of this country, including the branches of legislature, stand idly by and watch these goings-on because they are part of the deal, then the structure of this country is almost taking on mafia-like forms.

Taking all these phenomena into account, the arc from the American oligarchy mentioned here to the events of January 6, 2021, is not stretched far. For the storming of the Capitol by propaganda-blinded hordes is nothing other than an expression of the abuse of American idealism by the influence of power and money – led by unscrupulous, populist politicians interested only in their own selfish gain. The fact that they are risking the fate of the entire country in the process is apparently not realized by millions of Americans, which no longer rules out Donald Trump’s return to the White House.

Critical Race Theory: The Paradox is DeSantis

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

At the instigation of Governor Ron DeSantis, the State Board of Education has banned Critical Race Theory from public classrooms in Florida. Instead of dealing with the unpleasant things of the past, he wants to confront students “with [his and his kind’s] facts rather than trying to indoctrinate them with ideology.” Is the man afraid that American schoolchildren might know too much, ask awkward questions, or even end up becoming Marxists? It is preposterous.

From the historic standpoint, it is hard to deny that the United States of America was built on the oppression of others. From the 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence, only one never owned a slave (John Adams). Writes US-Historian Edmund S. Morgan: “To a large degree, it may be said that Americans bought their independence with slave labor… The paradox is American, and it behooves Americans to understand it if they would understand themselves”.1

Morgan also wrote: “For the historian it poses a challenge to probe the connection: to explain how a people could have developed the dedication to human liberty and dignity exhibited by the leaders of the American Revolution, and at the same time have developed and maintained a system of labor that denied human liberty and dignity every hour of the day.”2

Twelve Nazi years of my native Germany have profoundly damaged our history forever, and in school it became the core of our consciousness – the unimaginable atrocities committed in the German name. The nation of inventors, innovation, poets and thinkers. Should the Germans remain the only nation today to thoroughly come to terms with their past? 3

Of course, remembrance and admonition of evil must nowhere take a back seat – we owe that to the victims, no matter which country it concerns.

Racism is an unpleasant topic and does not lend itself to desired images. Yet, righteous Americans must be careful, not least in light of what continues to happen in their country, that they and their own history are not completely muzzled. Florida’s Governor is one of those dangerous, power-obsessed demagogues who want to distort facts in order to make their own people compliant under the guise of a misconceived patriotism. This no longer has anything to do with freedom and democracy – it only deepens the division of American society.

Notes:

[1] See Edmund S. Morgan: American Slavery, American Freedom, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1975, pg. 5.

[2] ibid.

[3] For the sake of historical-political truth, it must be mentioned here that one of the main interests of the communist leadership in East Germany (GDR) was to address the crimes of the Nazi regime down to the smallest detail. After all, Nazis and Communists had been ideological mortal enemies since the Weimar Republic. In contrast, in the other part of Germany – the Federal Republic – the society struggled of coping with German Nazi history until the 1970s, not least in public schools.

DeSantis, the Story Teller

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

“The idea that you can just push God out of every institution and be successful, I’m sorry our founding fathers did not believe that.”

It’s laughable: These words actually came out of the mouth of Florida Governor Ron DeSantis yesterday in Surfside, Fla, in the presence of Florida Legislature and leaders in the local Jewish community. The background is that starting next school year, all public K-12 schools in Florida will be required to hold a moment of silence at the beginning of the day. The phrase “Moment of Silence” clearly replaces the intended wording “prayer” to circumvent the American Constitution. DeSanti’s own, historically untenable commentary unmasked the true intentions, allowing no other conclusion.

This feeble-minded person should receive some history lessons, whether with or without silent remembrance – about the past of his own country. For the “Fathers” during their constitutional convention from May to September 1787 in Philadelphia left the question of religion completely aside to not to prefer one religion over another. For similar reasons, the word “God” does not appear a single time in the American Constitution, on the contrary: The framers of the Constitution in their First Amendment’s Establishment Clause explicitly excluded any endorsement of any specific religion over another as well as the preference of religion over non-religion on the side of the polity, thereby establishing the American Republic de facto as the first secular state in the modern Western world.

DeSantis should quote the founders of his own country instead of putting words in the mouths of the dead. But these lies are purely intentional: American adolescents are to be brought into line before they can even read and write properly. Of course, the better one succeeds in controlling the thinking of others, the better such tactics serve to achieve one’s own goals. Liars like DeSantis have no qualms about hoodwinking the Americans, and they don’t even shy away from children and teenagers. And clearly – “provisions” like the one announced yesterday bring easy votes from the clueless.

Not even the communists in East Germany lied to me to such an extent as Americans lie to their own people.

Twisted Talent: DeSantis for President

The Man who invented Germany in the Middle Ages

From my Writing Room
Copyright © 2021 by Uwe Bahr

Ron DeSantis is an especially known interpretative twister of facts – obvious at least for those who scrutinize his claims -; and he is somebody who has been talking after Trump’s mouth. He is not bothered by any nonsense he utters because he knows that his willing audience will accept anything.

But maybe someone should give him some private lessons in history, because when he tells a certain story with a religious tinge of the three masons “in Germany in medieval times”, all his ignorance comes through.

True, it’s a brilliant story he’s spinning – but unfortunately with a little flaw: For in the times of the Middle Ages, not only did Germany not exist, neither as a country nor as a unified nation – hardly anyone would have known what to do with the term “Germany” up to the 15th century. DeSantis, however, seems to like Germany, because he mentions the country quite often – unfortunately never in a logical context.

With this in mind: What kind of political leaders are these – in this case an acting governor in Florida – who open their mouths and don’t know what they are talking about? Before one speaks, one should know.

Probably this figure also wants to become the next president of the United States of America.

Remark: The first German nation-state was proclaimed on 18 January, 1871, in Versailles; its founder was the Prussian Prime Minister and subsequent Reich Chancellor Otto von Bismarck. The “Germany” to which DeSantis wishes to refer was, from the 9th century onward, called the “Holy Roman Empire”, later of German Nation – a loose, often obscure association of kingdoms, counties, duchies, numbering 330 in the 18th century and often in enmity with each other. For a long time, Austria-Habsburg was the leading power. – This political entity came to an end only late – in 1806 with the Prussian defeat by Napoleon.