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Ephemerides (September 2002)
September 30, 2002
Whether or not New Jersey law permits it, the Democratic Party will try to insert a replacement for Robert Torricelli as its Senate nominee. It will probably succeed, largely because the media will wail about how unfair it is to deprive Democratic voters of a name on their party line. "This is America. We don't have one-party elections," we will be told - and the public will buy it.
Nonetheless, the New Jersey Democrats are utterly undeserving of sympathy. They nominated Senator Torricelli with full knowledge that he had taken tens of thousands of dollars of personal gifts from a shady businessman and had been rebuked by the Senate for doing so. The businessman's explanation was that the presents were bribes, the Senator's that they were the fruit of friendship. The latter claim is almost as damaging politically as the former. What sort of "friend" gives another man clothing and jewelry?
But the New Jersey Democratic Party, having had every opportunity to consider the matter, gave Senator Torricelli its endorsement. Its leaders reckoned that, running against an obscure Republican in a state where Democrats have done well in recent years, the incumbent would "get away with it". My heartstrings won't flutter if they are now compelled to live with the consequences of that judgement.
Would I feel that way if Republicans were in the same bind? I hope so, but the fact is that I'm not likely to get a chance to find out. No Republican with a record like Torricelli's would make it into the primary, much less out of it. Witness Illinois Governor George Ryan, who gave up his reelection bid in the face of a scandal in which his direct personal involvement is unproven. The Illinois GOP had no desire for such a standard bearer, whether or not it was possible to argue that he was not technically guilty of any criminal offenses.
As I have noted elsewhere, American politics has an entrenched system of double standards and holds Republicans to a much higher one. Annoying though that fact may be at times, a political party can scarcely have any greater advantage than the expectation that it will be more honest and honorable than its opponents and that its bad apples will be tossed out of the barrel. Senator Torricelli is a timely reminder of that fact.
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September 25, 2002
"Meanwhile on the Senate floor Tom Daschle goes mad" was National Review Online's laconic comment on the Majority Leader's denunciation of the President for "politicizing" the war against terrorism. There is much that can be said about this strange tirade, but what most stands out is Senator Daschle's evident desire to do what the Left accuses the Bush Administration of wanting to do, namely, stifle debate on national security issues.
"Politics" is the way that constitutional governments resolve controversial questions. Is there any controversy right now about Iraq? Senator Daschle would like to declare that there isn't and that it is therefore a breach of fundamental fairness to criticize Democrats for their positions. But the grudging willingness of Congressional Democrats to accept some form of authorization of an invasion of Iraq - they are quibbling fiercely about the details - hardly shows that they agree more than nominally with the Administration. Blocking action would be political suicide; only a handful of Democrats back it for reasons more profound than expediency.
Certainly Al Gore, overwhelming front runner for his party's 2004 Presidential nomination, didn't sound supportive yesterday, when he came out noisily in favor of doing nothing about Iraq. (For analyses of the speech, vide Donald Sensing, "Fisking Al Gore on Iraq", Michael Kelly, "Look Who's Playing Politics", Charles Krauthammer, "Gore's Glass House" and Stephen F. Hayes, "War Is Hell . . . For the Democrats".) In the past (e. g., in 1996 and earlier this year) , as many observers were quick to point out, Mr. Gore was just as noisily in favor of swift regime change in Baghdad. That he has chosen this moment to change his mind shows that either (i) he is so embittered by defeat that he will reflexively oppose any Presidential policy, without regard to its merits, or (ii) he knows that the Democratic Party is strongly antiwar and is putting himself at the head of the parade. At least some of his fellow Democrats believe the latter.
For instance, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D.-Cal.), who recently disclosed that wearing an American flag lapel pin causes her "embarrassment", said of Mr. Gore's speech, "Well it sounds a lot like what I said on the floor of the Senate about a week ago." Asked whether she thought that Gore's opinions were "outside the Democratic mainstream", she replied, "No, I don't." [National Journal Hotline, "Gore: One Man Is an Island", 9/24/02]
On the AP wire [via Nexis - apologies for not having a generally accessible link], Senator Richard Durbin (D.-Ill.) is quoted as saying that "many Democrats" agree with Gore. He himself appears to be one of them, as he complains about "going it alone" and alleges that Republicans are "dragging out" Iraq to distract attention from the economy (the same concept as Herta das Hassefrau's, less provocatively stated).
And what about Senator Daschle himself? Immediately after the President's speech to the U.N., he sniffed that the case for deposing Saddam Hussein without waiting for him to attack us hadn't been made "conclusively". Then the poll numbers came in, and he announced that he would help rush a supportive resolution through Congress. That sounds more than a lot like a battlefield conversion, an impression that is not lessened by his tepid reaction to Mr. Gore, as quoted in the Washington Times: "A lot of people in this country have many of the same concerns that the vice president spoke about. But I think at the end of the day, there's an interest on the part of most Democratic senators to express support for the effort [in Iraq] and to give the president the benefit of the doubt." Such enthusiasm! Not quite in a league with Senator Lieberman's response to his former running mate: "I have never said that, and I don't believe it. I'm grateful President Bush wants to do this [in Iraq], and I don't question his motives."
The specific point of disagreement that most riled Senator Daschle was the President's insistence that the proposed Department of Homeland Security be exempt from many traditional civil service rules that protect badly performing workers from discipline. The Democrats don't like that idea, as is their right, and have been asserting for months that the President is merely using national security as a pretext for stripping away the rights of government employees. The President declared last week that the Democratic position put "special interests", i. e., public employee unions, above legitimate security needs. That sounds like a proper political issue to me. The Democrats are free to contend that the civil service system is compatible with homeland security or that protecting workers from possibly arbitrary punishment is a higher good, but there is no rationality to Senator Daschle's attempt to place the question beyond politics and stigmatize the President for arguing about it. His unwillingness to espouse the Democratic position forthrightly suggests that he truly does not take the war on terror all that seriously.
"A man convinced against his will/ Is of the same opinion still." Senator Daschle & Co. have become sunshine hawks only out of necessity. It is right and proper for the President to ask, and for the electorate to wonder, what will become of their support after the ballots have been counted. The war is far from over. There will be many more occasions on which Congressional backing will be essential. On the showing so far, there is reason to doubt that most elected officials of Senator Daschle's party will proffer it more often than two months out of every two years.
Further reading: The Wall Street Journal, "Playing Homeland Politics" (Senate Democrats would make the Department of Homeland Security more sclerotic than the rest of the federal government.)
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September 22, 2002
At this point, in the wee hours of tomorrow in Berlin, it looks like Chancellor Schröder's Red-Green coalition has maintained its majority in the Bundestag, though that majority is now narrow indeed. Unfortunately, any majority is a victory for anti-Americanism. The Chancellor is the first major German politician of the post-war era to stir up enmity toward the United States as a campaign tactic. Not even during the Vietnam War did anyone but occasional extremists appeal to voters on that basis. In this first outing, it was not the path to a landslide but is likely to be credited with keeping Schröder in office despite four years of economic stagnation. We can expect others to ape his line and that of his egregious Justice Minister Herta ("Bush is Hitler") Däubler-Gmelin.
It is a minor consolation that, according to the Daily Telegraph (last paragraph), Herta das Hassefrau was rejected by her own constituency in what was supposed to be a safe SPD district and may be dropped from the cabinet. If the Social Democrats had repudiated her before the election, that would have meant something. Now, having gotten the electoral results that they wanted, they are trying to play Americans for fools by making a meaningless gesture.
Some American fools are, of course, easy to play with. The ineffably fatuous Joe Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, says, according to ABC News, that we shouldn't be angry with Herr Schröder, because he was just "doing what a lot of politicians do, trying to get out his base." Doesn't it occur to this seminal thinker that it might mean something when a politician's "base" consists of people who think that George W. Bush is not much different from Adolf Hitler?
Rumania, let me observe, is nearly a thousand miles closer to the Middle East than Germany, and its government believes that its "base" will be pleased by paintings of Osama bin Laden in Hell. Might that not be a more congenial environment for American troops than a Saddam-friendly Germany?
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September 20, 2002
The non-apologetic apology is a political art form, and one can only admire German Chancellor Schröder's mastery of his craft as he writes to President Bush, "I want to let you know how much I regret the fact that alleged comments by the German justice minister have given an impression that has offended you." The "alleged comments", detailed in yesterday's entry, compared the President to Adolf Hitler and added, for good measure, that he would be in jail if the U.S. had laws against insider trading.
The Chancellor claims to believe, according to Reuters, that das Hassefrau was misrepresented by a local newspaper, but her denials, as I noted yesterday, are really affirmations that she meant what she was quoted as saying. Her version is that she compared Bush's and Hitler's "methods" rather than their "persons". Even if that were true, the comparison is no less of a lie and an outrage, and she doesn't even bother to deny the slanderous allegation of criminal activity.
Herr Schröder, in the course of apologizing unapologetically, professes to believe that no one who thinks what his Justice Minister says has any place in his cabinet. But if such sentiments truly distress him, is it not odd that he takes Frau Däubler-Gmelin's non-denying denial as satisfactory? If an American cabinet member were accused of, say, antisemitism, what would we think if the President accepted the excuse, "I only meant to compare the methods of the Jews to Satan's"?
One must wonder, if das Hassefrau says such things in public, what she is doing in private, as she makes decisions concerning investigations, arrests and extraditions. If the Justice Minister of a major European country, one in which al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups have operated extensively in the past, believes that American foreign policy is no more than an attempt "to divert attention from domestic difficulties", how much confidence can we have in those of her actions that directly affect the War on Terror? Is it prudent to rely on her country as an ally against Islamofascism, or ought we to regard it as, at best, an unsympathetic neutral?
Those are questions that the Chancellor's weasel-like performance is starting to answer. If he is still Chancellor after next Sunday's elections, and if he does not promptly give das Hassefrau the boot, they will become very serious questions indeed.
To second a thought that Senator Helms has already broached: Why should our principal European military bases be located in Germany, a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union? The only reason is inertia. If the German government now wishes to become a neutral in the first great struggle of the new millennium, it would make strategic sense to honor its wishes. Countries closer to the new scenes of conflict - Rumania and Bulgaria come to mind - might be happy to replace the Germans as our hosts.
Further reading: John Fund, "Herr Clinton"; Michael Barone, "German Poison"
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Letter of comment: Mike Lion (9/22/02)
September 19, 2002
When Lady Thatcher used to make nasty remarks about Germany, I would sigh and reflect on how the most admirable states(wo)men can fall prey to petty prejudices. Now I begin to wonder whether she wasn't right.
It is hard to recall an occasion on which a high-ranking official of a nominally friendly government has insulted the President of the United States as viciously as German Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin did yesterday. The statement that got the most attention was, "Bush wants to divert attention from domestic difficulties. That is a popular method. Hitler did that before." Even without the H-word, Frau Däubler-Gmelin reeked of Cynthia McKinneyism. The idea that America's anti-terrorism campaign is an artificial diversion implies that al-Qaeda's attacks last September are either unimportant or themselves some kind of construct.
Lest anyone think that her hatred for Bush/Hitler was casual, the Justice Minister added her legal "expertise". As reported by the Daily Telegraph:
Ms Däubler-Gmelin also claimed in an interview with the Schwabisches Tagblatt newspaper that if insider trading laws had been in force in the 1980s when President Bush was involved in the oil business "then Bush would be in prison today".
Of course, "insider trading laws" were "in force in the 1980s", and an SEC investigation found nothing untoward about Mr. Bush's activities (as I have discussed elsewhere). It is bad enough when American columnists get such facts wrong, but what is the excuse for the Justice Minister of an ally?
After raising a bit of controversy, Frau Däubler-Gmelin offered a defense that proved her critics' point. "I did not compare the persons Bush and Hitler, but the methods," she averred. But the comparion is an extremely odd one, for Hitler did not start World War II in order to "divert attention from domestic difficulties". The German dictator was, alas, popular at home in 1939. He claimed credit for substantial economic improvement since taking power and had silenced all effective opposition. He went to war because he was a fanatic ideologue, not as a way to boost his ratings in public opinion polls. There is, in brief, no parallel between the "methods" that the German McKinney ridiculously imputes to our President and the methods of Hitler. She simply put the two men's names together in order to proclaim that she regards them as moral equals.
Our ambassador to Germany has delivered two protests to Berlin, but there is not much that we can do at the moment except watch for the reaction of the German public. If Frau Däubler-Gmelin does not suffer a political eclipse like Representative McKinney's, if she remains a member of the cabinet and a respected figure in her party, that will tell us a great deal about the future course of our relations with her country.
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September 16, 2002
So now begins the end game in Iraq. Saddam Hussein, hoping that "something will turn up", has started what he and his ally Kofi Annan anticipate will be an unending series of Iraqi concessions, followed by retractions, followed by negotiations, just as happened before the UNSCOM inspectors were ousted in 1998.
Which side the United Nations Secretary-General is on was made clear as can be when he served as the bearer of Iraq's purported agreement to readmit the inspectors and hailed it as if it satisfied the demands that President Bush laid down in his speech to the U.N. last Thursday. But the President put forward five conditions, not just one, that Iraq must satisfy:
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately and unconditionally forswear, disclose, and remove or destroy all weapons of mass destruction, long-range missiles, and all related material.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all support for terrorism and act to suppress it, as all states are required to do by U.N. Security Council resolutions.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will cease persecution of its civilian population, including Shi'a, Sunnis, Kurds, Turkomans, and others, again as required by Security Council resolutions.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will release or account for all Gulf War personnel whose fate is still unknown. It will return the remains of any who are deceased, return stolen property, accept liability for losses resulting from the invasion of Kuwait, and fully cooperate with international efforts to resolve these issues, as required by Security Council resolutions.
If the Iraqi regime wishes peace, it will immediately end all illicit trade outside the oil-for-food program. It will accept U.N. administration of funds from that program, to ensure that the money is used fairly and promptly for the benefit of the Iraqi people.
If Saddam really accepts the resumption of weapons inspections and really lets the inspectors search where they want, when they want, without advance notice, without interference and without harassment, he will have satisfied part of one of the President's prerequisites for peace. Were Mr. Annan an honest broker, he would have reacted to the Iraqi statement with, "That's a start. Now what about expatriating al-Qaeda terrorists, granting freedom to the Iraqi people, making reparation to those who suffered from your aggression and barbarism in the Gulf War, and placing your oil sales under U.N. supervision?"
Happily, the White House's response showed that it hasn't abandoned clear thinking: "This is not a matter of inspections. It is about disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and the Iraqi regime's compliance with all other Security Council resolutions. This is a tactical step by Iraq in hopes of avoiding strong U.N. Security Council action. As such, it is a tactic that will fail. It is time for the Security Council to act."
I doubt that Saddam and Kofi ever expected to fool George W. Bush. Their target audience is elite opinion in the United States and Europe, where an anonymous EU official has already been quoted by ABC News as mouthing the Iraqi line: "The question now is whether the Americans will take 'yes' for an answer."
Once American and British forces start on the road to Baghdad, the war isn't likely to last long. The crucial battle will be fought not then but over the next few weeks and not in the Middle East but in Washington, New York and Brussels.
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September 11, 2002
A reader has responded to my September 6th entry with a fierce attack on Europe, ending with the declaration:
See the good in that [survey] all you want, but my children will give nato and europe the respect it deserves in the future--NONE.
My father is a veteran of WWII and his birthday is Sept 11th.  I''m so ashamed of europe I could die.
It's easy to sympathize with such sentiments as one listens to the sounds of schadenfreude floating across the Pond, but sympathy is not the same as agreement. The European lumpen-intelligentsia who assail us are just as much Europe's enemies as America's. To a large extent, the War on Terror is a war in behalf of the pro-European Europe as well as ourselves.
Let us never forget that Americans, including those whose ancestors came from Africa or Asia, are Europeans, too. What is called "anti-Americanism" is really a rejection of a large portion of the European heritage. The authors of tirades against "Americanization" are equally hostile toward European tradition, religion, literature and history. They see no reason to prefer Western civilization to the barbarities of sharia and naturally feel more affinity for Third World terrorists than for First World victims.
Glib condemnations of European colonialism, religious intolerance, racism and participation in slavery ignore the fact that those practices have always been the human norm. Europeans practiced them more successfully than most, but they were also the first people in history to reject them. One of the consequences of "multiculturalism" and the weakening of European hegemony has been that all of those old, natural evils are making a comeback. The anti-European Europeans condemn only what can be blamed on Europe or America. They are quite complaisant about Red Chinese colonialism, Moslem bigotry, African racism and Sudanese or Saudi slavery.
Those are the Europeans who so outrage Judy, but there is no reason to think that their fundamentally anti-European views are vastly more prevalent in Europe than in the United States. Anti-Europeanism looks strong at the moment, because most European countries have left-wing governments, and most governing left-wing political parties have powerful multiculturalist wings. The next election cycle could alter that picture, already changed in Italy, France and the Netherlands, quite dramatically. Even if it does not, multiculturalism will continue to be a minority fetish that has made clever use of coalition politics and state-subsidized media to leverage its position.
While the immediate imperative of U.S. policy must be to thrash Islamofascism so soundly that no one can ever again believe that Allah is on its side, our long-term goal should be to preserve, foster and extend the culture that we received from Europe and which has become the common bulwark against barbarism on all continents. If we separate ourselves from the Europeans and regard them as enemies, we doom civilization on their shores and impoverish it on our own.
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September 6, 2002
A new poll of U.S. and European views on war and peace, trendily titled "Worldviews 2002", appeared this week. From its 45 page summary of findings, almost all news accounts have extracted just two factoids: that 60 percent of Europeans believe that the U.S. should invade Iraq only "with UN approval and the support of its allies" and that 55 percent agree with the statement, "American foreign policy has contributed to the September 11 attacks". Those are interesting tidbits, but other results are more significant. If the survey is reasonably accurate, vigorous U.S. action against terrorism in general and Saddam Hussein in particular enjoys far more support on the "European street" than among the continent's politicians, journalists and intelligentsia.
First, though, some caveats about the poll's significance and accuracy:
Polling was conducted between June 5th and July 6th. Public opinion can change a lot in two months, and Europeans have been hearing nonstop anti-American screeching from their newspapers, radios and TV's during that period.
"Europe" was represented by six countries: France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland and the United Kingdom. That represents a sizable slice of Europe, but one can't be confident about extrapolations to the region as a whole. Eastern Europe certainly seems underrepresented, and one wonders about the rationale for including the Netherlands rather than Spain. (N.B. Poll results for "Europe" are weighted by adult population, which makes them more useful than the unweighted figures sometimes derived from international surveys.)
The U.S. data differ sharply from other polls conducted at about the same time. On overall conduct of foreign policy, Wordviews says the 53 percent of Americans rate the Bush Administration "excellent" or "good" and 44 percent "fair" or "poor". The NBC/Wall Street Journal poll for the same month reported that 64 percent approved and 28 percent disapproved the President's foreign policy. On dealing with terrorism, the Worldviews split was 55%-43%, NBC/WSJ 75%-20%. These differences are striking and hard to explain. The NBC/WSJ figures are in line with the majority of polls, suggesting that some factor may be biasing the Worldviews responses in a direction unfavorable to U.S. policy.
Having said that, let us assume that the European numbers are reliable and look at what they tell us about attitudes across the Pond.
1. Europeans don't want to defend themselves. Asked whether their own country's defense spending should be expanded, cut back or kept the same, 33 percent of "Europe" was for reductions, 42 percent for the laughably inadequate status quo, only 22 percent for increases. The one country with strong sentiment for better defense was Poland (45 percent for more spending, only 14 percent for less - almost exactly the same percentages as in the U.S.). On the other hand, 45 percent of Germans and 52 percent of Italians want to cut back. As long as Europeans show no desire to maintain First World military forces, the EU's aspirations for superpower status (endorsed by 65 percent of Europeans) will continue to be playground fantasies. Among Europeans who favored making the EU a superpower, 46 percent changed their minds when asked whether that position would be worth additional military expenditure.
2. Europeans have no distaste for American leadership. Asked how desirable it was "that the U.S. exert strong leadership in world affairs", 64 percent said "very" or "somewhat" desirable, 31 percent "somewhat" or "very" undesirable. The pro-American percentage was, interestingly but maybe not surprisingly, dragged down by France, which split evenly, 48 to 48 percent. Britain, by contrast, was 72%-25% and Germany 68%-27%. The worst non-French result was Italy's far from hostile 63%-33%.
Likewise, Europeans don't seem alarmed by American military power. Fifty-seven percent were in favor of increasing U.S. defense spending (triple the European Union's) or keeping it the same. Only 35 percent want to see it cut back (just about the same percentage as desire a smaller European defense effort).
3. More Europeans view the Bush Administration positively than one might think. Listening to the Eurochatterers leaves one with the impression that the continent seethes with resentment against American "unilateralism". In fact, the President's overall foreign policy gets "excellent" or "good" marks from 38 percent of the respondents. In Italy and Poland, if one can believe the poll's U.S. numbers, approval is higher than in the United States (62 percent positive in Poland, 57 percent in Italy). On American handling of terrorism, opinion is split to within the margin of error (47 percent positive, 50 percent negative). Even more surprising is the division on "relations with Europe": 48 percent to 49 percent. Astounding, in light of the President's foolish acquiescence in steel tariffs and farm subsidies, is the 43%-44% division on whether the U.S. "practices fair trade with Europe". We do badly, of course, on global warming and the Arab-Israeli conflict. On "the situation in Iraq", the numbers are also lopsidedly negative (21 percent positive, 71 percent negative) but not easily decipherable. The U.S. response to the same question was 32 percent positive, 62 percent negative. At least some of the disapprovers clearly think that the President is doing too little to promote "regime change" rather than too much.
4. Europeans like America as well as they like each other. Asking people to rate the warmth of their feelings for a country on a scale of zero to 100 is a pretty fuzzy technique, so one should not lean heavily on these results. Still, the mean score for the U.S. among Europeans was 64 - compared to 70 for the EU as a whole, 65 for Britain and Germany, 62 for France and 47 for Russia. We ranked above everybody else among Britons and Poles, above Germany, Britain and France among Italians, and above Britain and France among Germans.
5. Though they don't want to pay for military forces, Europeans aren't reluctant to use them. Majorities - generally overwhelming - were willing to commit their country's troops to every mission suggested by the poll takers: "ensure the supply of oil" (49%-45%), "destroy a terrorist camp" (75%-21%), "help bring peace in a region where there is civil war" (72%-24% (only 48%-43% among Americans)), "liberate hostages" (78%-18%), "assist a population struck by famine" (88%-10%) or "uphold international law" (80%-16%).
6. Europeans are not indifferent to the Islamofascist threat. Terrorism, Islamic fundamentalism and Iraq's development of weapons of mass destruction were ranked as "extremely important" issues by majorities and as "important" by almost everybody else:
Extremely Important

Islamic fundamentalism
Iraqi WMD's
7. On the European front, Iraq will not be another Vietnam. The survey's most quoted question offered three choices that scarcely cover the entire territory: "The U.S. should not invade Iraq" (26 percent of Europeans), "The U.S. should only invade Iraq with UN approval and the support of its allies" (60 percent) or "The U.S. should invade Iraq even if they have to do it alone" (10 percent). There's no way to know what the middle 60 percent would think if the U.S. had allied support but not UN approval, nor can we tell how many allies acting in what capacity would constitute "support". What is crucial is that these responses do not reveal visceral dislike of American military action, only procedural scruples that are unlikely to outlast a successful campaign. It's worth noting that in the U.S., where anti-war sentiment is vestigial, 65 percent selected the "only with UN approval and allied support" option.
A further series of questions asked respondents whether their own country should take part in a U.S. invasion of Iraq under various hypothetical conditions. Presented were combinations of (i) Iraq's developing weapons of mass destruction or supporting al-Qaeda, (ii) UN approval or non-approval and (iii) expectations of many or few casulaties. The samples here are too small to be reliable for any particular country, but the overall results show majority support in all cases if the UN gives its blessing. (Casualty predictions make no difference at all.) Without UN sanction, most would oppose their own country's participation, but the margins are not huge (in the 40% for, 60% con range for all permutations) and do not necessarily imply opposition to U.S. action.
8. Forceful anti-terrorist measures other than invading Iraq have strong European support. Sixty-nine percent favor "Attacks by ground troops against terrorist training camps and other facilities", 68 percent "Air strikes against terrorist training camps and other facilities",  and 51 percent "Assassination of terrorist leaders". Remember Pompey and the pirates!
9. Despite their opinion that U.S. policy "contributed to the September 11th attacks", Europeans don't question our motives for fighting terrorism. The phrase "contributed to" is unspecific enough to make agreement easy. In fact, there is a reasonable case for the proposition that our failure to react strongly to al-Qaeda's attacks on American ships and embassies encouraged Osama bin Laden to escalate the conflict and thus "contributed to" the attacks. More significant is the question that came next: "Do you think the United States is using these attacks as an excuse to enforce its will around the globe or is it genuinely seeking to protect itself from further attacks?" Here only 26 percent chose the anti-American answer. Fifty-nine percent agreed that we are acting in bona fide self-defense.
Overall, I find this survey heartening. Too often, the voices that we hear from Europe are those of unelected bureaucrats like Chris Patten or desperate politicians like Gerhard Schroeder. It's important to remember that the continent has a right side as well as a left.
Letters of Comment: Judy (9/11/02), Jeff D. Zimmerman (11/16/02)
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