Rice with Belgian fries, please!

On Wednesday, Condoleezza Rice arrived in Brussels to visit NATO headquarters. She also had a meeting with the European Commission, with Belgian prime minister Guy Verhofstadt and minister of foreign affairs Karel De Gucht.

Around 11:15 am, while Air Force Two the modified Boeing 757 was taxiing on the tarmac and officials were preparing to welcome the Secretary of State, Secret Service Diplomatic Security Service personnel and Belgian protocol officials were quarrelling about how close reporters could approach the plane.

Let's have a look at some screenshots from Belgian commercial TV station VTM (see below).

UPDATE 1: The complete newscast is available until Tuesday as a Windows Media stream. The Rice item starts at 17:30 in the cast. Broadband - Narrowband.

UPDATE 2: On this video (Windows Media, 30 seconds, 1 MB) you can see the same incident but from a better perspective.


"You don't have to give orders here, you are in Belgium!"
(bad English, translated from: "vous n'avez pas à donner des ordres ici", i.e. it's not your business to give orders here)

UPDATE 3: After the US agent involved in the incident told his side of the story on my blog, several Belgian newspapers (De Standaard, Het Nieuwsblad) have written about it, with a reference to this blog. Later this week, I will write a followup, comparing the version on this blog with what the newspapers made of it.



Air Force Two The plane is taxiing on the runway at Brussels airport.


Members of the Belgian press are coming very close to the plane.


US secret service diplomatic security agents are getting nervous... Apparently they order Belgian reporters to pull back.


A Belgian protocol chief disagrees: "This is not your plane..."


"... you are in Belgium!..."


"... we are the boss here ..." (Belgian TV translates: "you are not the boss here")


US secret diplomatic security service agent: "If you push me again ..."


"... you're gonna go!"


Belgian protocol assistant: "No, you don't say that!"


US secret diplomatic security service agent: "Don't say what?"


Belgian protocol chief: "You are in Belgium!"


While they are still quarrelling, Condi appears in the doorway.


There she comes.

In ten days, Air Force One will be landing at the same airport, carrying George W Bush. Stay tuned, we'll keep you posted...

Reacties

#35377

American

 

All theyre trying to do is keep the reporters and such from Condi and the plane. Thats all. thats theyre job. Thats what the Belgian government would have had to have agreed to before they even planned the trip. Stupid Belgian guy says its not even his plane!

#24028

noname

 

Belgian protocol chief is right, you paranoïd imperialists!
I don't think any american agent would accept orders from a foreign agent, so why would we??

#17721

Jonathan Wright

 

OMFG , why even bother to discuss this matter ? Belgians are not in any way dumb or impolite ( I mean , how would you react if a Belgian security squad ,or whatever, gave all the commands in a US airport )I say the belgian guy's reaction is perfectly normal . In fact the incident is just so silly , it's not even worth discussing !

Belgium :
Flemish ( 6000 000 )
French ( 4000 000 )
German ( 100 000 )

> They're not french you know ...

#15198

tee saine

 

I'd be interested in knowing what authority our agents have when protecting our leaders on foriegn soil?

#8993

John Murchison

 

It's generally known Belgians have a much higher education.

I'am American, and i'am deeply shamed. This shows again the arrogance of the Americans. Hooray for the Belgians.

An embarassed american citizen.

#7425

LVB

 

@Willems: sorry, but I had to censor your message in respect of the privacy of the person involved. By the way, the Secret Service had nothing to do with this incident, it was Diplomatic Security.

#7408

Willems

 

I know the man from the US Secret Service. His name is BXXXXXX MXXXXXXX, he lives near my house in Belgium 1930 Sterrebeek, XXXXXXXXXstraat XX.

He uses a diplomatic car XXXXXXXX registration in Belgium CD X XXX.

He is married and has a little child.

Everybody in Sterrebeek hopes he will leave Belgium as soon as possible, because he is violent when he drinks beer.

A fan off LVB

[message modified by LVB for legal reasons, privacy etc. - 2005-04-19 @04:30]

#7317

David

 

Another thing i 4got to mention. Just look how the american guy smiles. He enjoyes creating the trouble. He likes it. Thats low man i tell you

#7316

David

 

Ok right, first of all for all these pathetic people with their remarcs. The Belgian sec guy says "This is not you're plain" 'cause he means they are controlling the airport and they are in charge of the securing the area. And it's a way of saying, it's my job to lead it all safely. I can understand his reaction against the posture the us security agent takes. He thinks that wherever he comes he's in charge of security. And tell me why would a belgian press guy do an effort to kill Rice there. The just want a stupid pic for there job. BTW this quit a lot of bullshit some people are giving with the seal of the usa on the plain and whatever.

I'm sorry but some people have to look furthur than the exact words and take a look at what happend and the reason of the reactions. I can understand the american sec guy didn't understand what the guy was meaning but still if you've seen the pics and clips you see it ain't a diplomatic way of reaction the american guy has.

Another thing belgiummaight look small but don't underestimate us. Remember that. (just for the record the one who secured mastercards and designed the visa system are from belgium so, we're not just fries-eaters)

#5808

Barbara

 

PJ: ahem- you forgot knuckle-dragging, belly-scratching and gun-toting, you ignorant rube.

Oh, yeah. Beer-drinking.

This is so much more fun than watching the Oscars.

#5802

PJ

 

@ Tom

You completely missed the sarcasm. Congratulations. I thought we Americans were supposed to be the thick ones.

#5786

Tom Pity

 

@PJ:

It wouldn't surprise me to see you walk right into the Belgian embassy in Washington. After all you Yanks own the whole world, don't you, and you go everywhere with a swagger and call the shots, or try to, whether you're invited or not.

#5785

PJ

 

@Effaralgan,

I grew up in Washington DC, and have run past the Belgian embassy on many occasions. It is clearly on swampy American soil. Nothing Belgian about it. Maybe I'll try and drop in for a visit next time I'm there. I'm sure they'll let me walk right in. After all, it is my country.

#5768

coco

 

@Dennis

I live in Brussels and I think that's pity what you said : As a "flemish-belgian" I am ashamed for this unprofessional Walloon security-guy!

We don't care about where we come from, it's just a fucking supercop, like all the people in the "high administration's level".

Problem between flamish and french, it's just because you express what the politicians want to, personnaly I don't care about it, when I go in Vlaanderen I speak in flamish, and there is no problem. We have to try to live together, there is biggest problem for Europe, per exemple the invasion of MUSLIM!!!. 30% of new babies in Brussels get muslim names!!! About that I am very afraid!!!

then to continue stories with flamish belgian an wallon belgian, it's a big waste of time.

#5766

Dennis

 

As a "flemish-belgian" I am ashamed for this unprofessional Walloon security-guy!

I would rather see Flanders as an independent nation. We have nothing in common with those Walloon people. They are French, we are not. Belgium simply does not exist: there is no Belgian language, no Belgian culture, no Belgian media, etc.

Flanders has more inhabitants than Denmark, Finland, Ireland,... so why aren't we allowed to have our own nation? Let those anti-American Walloon people go to France. Au revoir!

#5744

Effaralgan

 

@ Aspro:

I have seen Kleine Brogel (as boys my brothers and I used to ride to the base on our little bikes and lie down behind the runways to see the fighter planes come down over our heads) and as far as I remember the local soil is just your ordinary sandy Belgian stuff. Nothing American about it.

#5740

Aspro

 

May I, as a Belgian, inform you, that your plane, with MSS Rice in it, arrived on the Airfield of Melsbroek, and NOT on Brussels International Airport (where Airforce 1 arrived) Melsbroek Airfield is a military airbase, so security there has to be done by the Belgian Air Force (BAF). If the Americans want to secure theyr own plane, they should have landed on the American Airbase of Kleinebrogel, which should have been American Soil...

#5723

Jeff in Oregon USA

 

PJ, bigotry is exactly what it is. In fact, this crazed anti-American hatred has some interesting features in common with traditional European anti-Semitism. I suspect they are both the products of some underlying psychotic mental condition.

The best thing about sites like this is that it allows people to see that many Europeans do not share that hatred. When Americans hear only the voices of the bigots, the situation can only deteriorate. I do not want to see a generalized hatred of Europeans take root in the US, but some of these bigots seem to be trying hard to provoke that result.

I believe from my own experience that the US is generally a more tolerant society than Europe. I've traveled around Texas, and nobody there was ever unpleasant to me even though they knew I was from a "blue" state and am certainly not a conservative. Visiting Germany about 20 years ago, I had abuse and insults hurled at me on a few occasions just because I was American (interestingly, it was only the younger people who did this), and it seems to be an increasingly common experience of Americans over there.

Not only has the US been attacked many times by Islamic terrorists as de andere kijk points out, but Osama bin Laden's own pre-September-11 writings dwell on our lack of forceful response to such outrages. He saw this as evidence that we are weak and would never fight. The result of this thinking was what we saw on September 11. Since then, at least, the examples of Afghanistan and Iraq have shown that regimes who facilitate attacks on us or even plausibly behave as if they intend to do so will suffer for it. Notice that since we adopted this aggressive policy, our territory has not been attacked again. It is achieving that security, not trying to please every sticker-pissing imbecile on the planet or hand-wringing about phantasmal "international law", that is the proper concern of the American government.

#5720

PJ

 

I'm an American who's been living in Europe for a few years now. Despite being an ignorant, trailer-dwelling, environment-destroying, racist rube from middle AmeriKKKa, I speak a few of your languages, and am able to read your press. (Not Flemish, however.)

Unfortunately, it seems the opinions expressed by a few of your posters are becoming more and more common. I'm coming to believe that anti-Americanism is an officially sanctioned form of bigotry here, and the unreasoning hatred expressed against President Bush is its purest form. Anti-European sentiment in the US is NOTHING compared with this.

Luc, sites like yours are a breath of fresh air. I'm glad I was able to hear some more reasonable voices here. Thanks for this site, and thanks for your support.

P.S. Belgian beer is the best.

#5703

Joe

 

@Some Guy: so you mean that Nato HQ should move to London or The Hague (or maybe Moscow), because they support your defense policy? And over 4 years, when Hillary or Martin Sheen will be elected they will move back to Brussels?

Nato HQ cannot systematically move to a nation that licks your president's ass.

#5698

de andere kijk

 

@k9:

America has already been attacked, many times! the assassination of American diplomats in the seventies, the occupation of the embassy in tehran, the suicide bombings and hostages in beirut, the hijackings of airplanes, the Achille Lauro, the bombing of the disco in Berlin, Lockerbie, the bombing of the WTC, the bombing of the Khobar Towers, the bombing of the US embassies in Tanzania and Kenya, the suicide mission against the USS Cole, and finally 9/11.

A strong response from the US was therefore long overdue and therefore definitely legitimate according to "international law". Who's still talking about "pre-emptive" wars now?

The enemy may be invisible, hiding, harboured in some cases by rogue regimes, but he is definitely clearly defined.

You have to fight him: political and economic means are necessary and they are being deployed, that may go unnoticed with all the media noise about iraq, but also military means are necessary. The cold war was also fought with those means albeit sometimes through proxies or covertly.

But you simply have to go after the terrorists, as the US did in Afghanistan, you have to attack rogue regimes like the one in iraq, saddam may not be linked to 9/11, but did harbour terrorists, the opportunity to invade iraq was there (the WMD issue, the obstruction to the weapons inspectors, the violation of UN resolutions in itself offered plenty justification), with hindsight (!), Iraq did not possess WMD, but containment, using the oil-for-food program and the no-fly-zones, was no tenable policy in the long term, ultimately, saddam would come out stronger, so it was right to deal with him. If only the nazis (rheinland militarisation) and imperialist japan (china) were also handled in time, a lot of suffering would have been avoided.

#5694

Chuck Simmins

 

Iraq: Invaded Kuwait, was defeated by a UN sponsored military operation and signed a ceasefire.

Used WMD against its own people and also against Iran, which it also invaded.

UN spent much of the early 1990's destroying WMD in Iraq. Vast amounts were not found nor accounted for.

Iraq violated ceasefire many times, always grounds for the resuming of hostilities.

Iraq supported terror groups and terrorists, with basing, financially, and with advice and assistance.

Iraq continued WMD research, concealed equipment vital to an atomic weapons program, and experimented with biological agents on human subjects.

After the Liberation of Iraq, no evidence has been found to account for the missing WMD stocks. Much evidence has been found about violations of the ceasefire including illegal missle development, continued research into biological agents, and widespread belief in the highest levels of the Iraqi military that WMD stockpiles existed.

Iraq now has a freely elected government, 1/3 of which are women. The criminals that ran the country and looted it for thirty years are dead or in jail. Iraq poses no threat to its neighbors and it no longer supports international terrorism.

BTW, how many Belgians were ever tried for their parts in the atrocities in the Congo?

#5691

Some Guy

 

Nice site. However, in looking at some of the comments here (such as the hopes of self-proclaimed Belgians for my President's assasination), I can't help but wonder why NATO HQ is located in a strategically insignificant nation so clearly opposed to our defense policy.

#5679

k9

 

@ neil

No the US/UK did not provide the mayority of all weapons to russia, they did however help a lot. Mainly in transportation wich enabled the russians a swift campaign.

Most of the military hardware used was russian build you are forgetting how huge russia is and how little of it germany controlled.

#5678

k9

 

@ Jeff in Oregon USA

Yes I think its reasonable to wait before you are attacked, certainly if the threat is so smal as it was in iraq.

Iraq did not have WMD, nor did it have the means to deliver them.Add to that the constant watch of not only the US/UK but also the UN and several other agencies.

Iraq was NO threat to the US, that is almost clear to everyone, could it have become a threath in the future? Perhaps but on such basis you cant start a war.

btw: there is international law . The geneva convention is a fine example of that.

What do you think the US would do if tomorrow al qaida detonated a nuke in new york? Level sereral arab cities? I doubt it, attack iran?

This is the problem with terrorism, iets not as with the cold war a clearly defined enemy, you can fight it but not with pure military means, iraq or afghanistan proves this, you need more then just that.

#5669

Carnier.kurt

 

good work you did your job that's wat your paid for to secure the plain outsite .

By the way i am the Belgium Citizen from Gent that made the complaint from the stickers campagne today i was in Het Laatste Nieuws editon Oost Vlaanderen page 15.

[email protected] feel free to contact me.

#5666

KKK

 

@TS

"My how offensive we Americans are...trying to protect our diplomats! The nerve of us!"

It's about an American telling a European where he can or cannot walk within Europe.

And this while you're actually here to beg for money to pay your war in Iraq.

#5665

FreedomFries

 

@Jeff:

"if you think it's reasonable to expect a country under threat of attack to sit passively and let the attack happen before taking any action, you are simply not living in the real world

"

Strange reasoning dude...

So, ... it's okay for North Korea to bomb the US?

I'm curious to see when Europe will be next...

As the EU is planning to raise a EU-army, I guess that could be considered as a threat too.

And the recent talks about a possible decision to lift the arm-trade-embargo with China caused the US-gov to talk about "reprisals".

I guess we're next.

#5664

Jeff

 

@Neil

"The only possible exception to this would be when we liberated them from the Nazis, a mistake we will never repeat. After all, has not every Belgian now pissed on our flag?"

The only reason the US attacked the nazis was that they knew that the nazis planned to attack the US too.

It _is_ a good thing for us the US came and helped. BUT this does not validate every other action taken by the US.

#5663

Dirk

 

"Haha, the Belgians rant at the Americans to act like good guests. Perhaps we'll comply when you act like gracious hosts."

They Native Americans did. Look where that got 'em.

"Funny comments by some Euros here about Americans shooting first and asking questions later. Ironically, the American did nothing and the Belgian resorted to physical violence. "

Well, I really wish the US would have used this kind of "physical violence" on the natives too. And in Vietnam, And in Abu Graib.

#5624

JTHC

 

Haha, the Belgians rant at the Americans to act like good guests. Perhaps we'll comply when you act like gracious hosts.

It seems that the American agent was concerned by the press not acting in accordance with a prior agreement. That seems reasonable. Did he "order" them to move back? Perhaps, but even if it was wrong of him to "order" anyone around, he didn't do anything, did he? On the other hand, what business did the Belgian official have physically assaulting him? Funny comments by some Euros here about Americans shooting first and asking questions later. Ironically, the American did nothing and the Belgian resorted to physical violence.

As a security officer, the American had every right to be concerned. It has nothing to do with not respecting Belgian security; it has everything to do with taking personal and professional responsibility.

#5622

Jeff in Oregon USA

 

Luc, thanks for the information. As you say, this is surprising, but comprehensible in the context of the twisted logic which diplomacy sometimes requires.

(Congratulations on the quality of your English, by the way. I've studied other languages and I know it takes hard work to reach the level of being able to express yourself so fluently.)

I think the two postings above tell the tale. The American diplomat, representing our "stupid" nation, apologized to a Belgian official about a situation in which the Belgian official was clearly in the wrong. The Belgian government apparently has no interest in disciplining one of its representatives who physically assaulted an American security agent who was appropriately performing his duties in enforcing security rules agreed on by officials of both countries. Is it the American side which is displaying stupidity, arrogance, etc.?

To DS Special Agent, if you're still reading this: I can assure you that nobody here (except the most hard-core leftist wingnuts) thinks you did anything to apologize for.

To Joe: I can't speak for Neil (he can speak for himself), but as for me, I must have missed the episode of "All in the Family" where Archie Bunker praised the Russian army and voted against a Republican president because he didn't like his conservative domestic agenda. Not everyone who believes in a strong defense and sticks up for his country is a conservative. The world isn't that simple.

And feel free to piss on anything you want, but don't delude yourself that expressing your political views that way makes anyone other than yourself look stupid.

#5619

Outlaw Mike

 

Neil: "After all, has not every Belgian now pissed on our flag?"

I CERTAINLY NOT!!! Neil, you got to understand this: the media here are Neocommunist!!! They will only show you what they want you to know! Brussels is a city with 1,000,000 inhabitants and the protesters ran in the hundreds on the first day, maybe 3,000 to 4,000 today. Take these examples: state-run Flemish TV saw fit to report yesterday on a sad group of some 20 anarchist youngsters SOME SIXTY KLOMS FROM BRUSSELS doing relatively extensive interviews with them. Such are the items that get coverage! The main daily, De "Standaard", sported yesterday, on pages two and three, fat negative headers referring only to the anti-US viewpoints of the Socialist Party. The main weekly magazine, "Knack", for its political analyses will ALWAYS invite a certain rabidly anti-American prof from the University of Ghent, Rik Coolsaet. This is also the same fossil who is always invited to the studios of Flemish TV for another round of Bush-bashing. Do you know that on the eve of OIF another Professor, Marc Cogen, in a debate on TV with Coolsaet, DEFENDED Operation Iraqi Freedom? When the TV moderator heard that, he was so aghast that he asked again if Mr. Cogen really thought the US had the right to invade Saddam's Iraq. Mr. Cogen answered again in the affirmative and Mr. Cogen was never invited again. Coolsaet is, time and again.

It would lead me too far, but on "Knack" again: I remember clearly a column they once gave to a certain Sheikh al-Ghaffur, who was a Sunni ex-Baathist. This guy was quoted as saying that "the US Invasion was worse than Saddam". Of course this quote is PRINTED IN BOLD and presented as the absolute truth, with nothing to balance it out. Now what do you think when masses of not very critical Flemish readers get this drivel spoonfed week after week after week after week?

You have to understand it's the media! And not only MSM! There are e.g. regional newspapers everywhere. Past summer one of them in my region had an article commemmorating a sad event which took place in the village of Waarbeke in May 44. On returning back from escorting bombers over Germany, US fighters (Mustangs, Thunderbolts) dropped their fuel canisters, often still with some kerosene in it, in Belgian meadows. That day in Waarbeke, tens of locals had gathered around a "baby" to watch the event and collect the fuel. Someone lit a cigarette closeby: KABOOM!!! There were four dead and almost twenty heavily burned. Now anno 2004 there is this regional newspaper recalling what had happened. Do you know what the bold header to the story was? "FOUR DEAD THANKS TO AMERICAN "PRESENT""!!!

And the author of the article did not fail to mention that the Germans, who he apparently did not recognize as "occupiers" of Belgium, sent a truck to bring the wounded to the closest hospital and even stopped at a cafe to get them some beer!!! I SWEAR IT, this is how it was presented!

Neil, think about this for a moment: if people in the US would only get the L.A. Times and the NYT to read, and nothing but CNN to look at, do you think Bush would have been re-elected?

#5611

LVB

 

@Jeff: The US Ambassador to Belgium has personally and privately offered his apologies to Mr Vercauteren Drubbel for the incident. I had heard this indirectly from a source in the Belgian administration and I had mentioned it (in the conditional sense) in a followup posting on my Dutch blog, but not on this English compartment. Since then I have received another confirmation from another source, so I can now say that apologies were indeed offered to Mr Vercauteren Drubbel.

You and I may be surprized by this apology by the US Ambassador, but keep in mind that diplomacy is not an exact science nor some kind of judicial court system where right and wrong are checked. Diplomats have to be dipolmatic, Diplomatic Security has to protect.

There is no news at all of any disciplinary action by the Belgian government against Mr Vercauteren Drubbel.

#5610

Joe

 

Jeff & Neil, you should star in a new sitcom: "All in the Square Family". The return of Archie Bunker, bringing his pal.

And when will so many stupid Americans finally understand that pissing on Bush is not the same as pissing on the "stars & stripes"? Many Europeans really like the USA, but they just don't like Bush and his friends. Simple as that.

#5609

Jeff in Oregon USA

 

@Neil -- good reality check there -- and I was not aware that the US provided the Russians with supplies on that scale. It was still Russian troops who did the actual fighting on the eastern front, though.

The point about destroying Germany's industry reflects back to the earlier argument about Dresden. Dresden and other German cities were the sites of the factories which made the bombers that were hammering Britain and the tanks which had subjugated the Slavic countries and turned them into a genocidal hell-hole. Those cities were legitimate targets.

I'd only take issue with your last two sentences. I would be very surprised if Mr. Cosyns has ever pissed on an American flag, for example, and he's not the only one. A lot of Europeans are bigots and haters but by no means all of them.

Getting back to the original topic, does anybody know whether Mr. Vercauteren Drubbel has been disciplined at all by his government for his weird behavior during this incident?

#5608

Neil

 

All interesting points about the Russians being the ones to save Europe from the Nazis. Of course, this totally ignores the fact that the U.S. both provided the materiel with which the Russians were able to arm themselves (look it up - the US literally provided boots, uniforms, and rifles in numbers that come close to equalling total Russian deployment figures), and reduced German indusrty to nothing. Does anyone really think Russia's antiquated industrial plant could have competed with a fully-functioning German industrial base?

The "Russia saved Europe" argument also ignores the reality that the Russians initilly agreed to share Europe with the Nazis. When WWII ended, they then amassed their forces in half of Europe (which they did not exactly save - ask any Eastern European) and awaited an opportunity to invade. the only reason they dod not is that such an invasion would have mean war with the U.S. - an unwinnable nuclear war.

Last, for anyone attempting a rational discussion with Socialist party members, remember that these people hated us throughout the Cold War and hate us still. There is not set of circumstances under which they will beleive the U.S. is capable of doing, or has done, good. The only possible exception to this would be when we liberated them from the Nazis, a mistake we will never repeat. After all, has not every Belgian now pissed on our flag?

#5602

Jeff in Oregon USA

 

Outlaw -- Good points, and I note that I did give the credit on World War II to the Russian nation, not to the Soviet regime. My only cavil would be that, while it's true that the Russians did not fight in western Europe (they had to liberate their own territory, which the US didn't), their conquest of eastern Germany and capture of Berlin would have ended the war regardless of what happened or didn't happen further west. When fighting a snake, if you can smash the head, you don't need to worry about the tail.

Is your wife still in touch with people in Poland, or has she been back there recently? I'd be interested to know what Polish people in general think about the changes since the end of Communism. Same with Russians or other eastern Europeans, if there are any reading this.

K9 -- if you think it's reasonable to expect a country under threat of attack to sit passively and let the attack happen before taking any action, you are simply not living in the real world (in which, by the way, there is no such thing as "international law"). It's in everybody's interest that terrorists never be allowed to get hold of a nuclear bomb and use it to wipe out Manhattan. Believe me, you would NOT want to see what the United States would do if that happened.

#5594

Joe

 

Outlaw, go to Russia. Moscow, Novosibirsk, Vorkuta, Sochi, ... wherever. And talk to the people. Ask them if they are happier now under the capitalist regime. Everybody, except those in their blackwindowed Mercedes 600 limos, will say they want to go back to the soviet time. When they had work, could buy food, could get a good education for their kids, and heat their houses.

#5572

Outlaw Mike

 

Jeff/Oregon: "First off, the role of the Russians in the defeat of Nazism should never be forgotten or downplayed..."

I didn't want to imply that Jeff, only I think the honour for throwing the Germans out of Russia and Eastern Europe should go to the ordinary Russian soldier and not to the Communist leadership, which throughout the war showed a callous disregard for the human losses among their own troops. The USSR lost some 13 million KIA and an awful lot of them died because they were considered as "disposable heroes". The life of a Russian soldier meant NOTHING to Stalins generals, and the most outrageous example of this is the fact that when Zhukovs 1st Byelorussian Front and Konievs 1st Ukrainian Front closed in on Berlin in April '45, both Marshals had artillery barrages fired "by mistake" upon each others divisions to be the first to capture the city. Can you imagine Hodges and Simpson ordering their artillery commanders to shell each others troops so that one of them would be the first to take, say, Aachen?

Apart from that, the Ruskis freed only their own country and Eastern Europe from the Nazis. I don't recall Russian troops landing on Omaha Beach or fighting in the Huertgen Forest, as "Jamal di Europeano" seems to think.

Jeff/Oregon: "That being said (and I'm mainly responding to Aristo here), I think my comments on how relatively benign an American-dominated world is compared with one dominated by the Soviet Union (or by most other plausible alternatives) are far more than mere "speculation".""

Agree completely, and it's not that I want to lick American heels. I do have some reservations about the exertion of US power, e.g. while I agree with the logic and reasoning behind the American involvement in Vietnam (to prevent the domino effect), I fear that, given the tremendous discrepancy between military and civilian losses (1/20?) quite a few bombs got tossed around rather carelessly. I guess that happens when you let politicans do the planning. In WWII General Spaatz was allowed to plan a strategic bombing campaign and busted, a.o., the German oil industry. The result was that panzers were abandoned for lack of fuel and Luftwaffe fighters on airfields were drawn by oxen to conserve the fuel otherwise used for taxying. I've read somewhere that in Vietnam Gen. Moore was only allowed to make recommendations while the planning of the air offensives was done by politicans in Washington.

As for the "benign" rule exerted by communist countries: one also has to take into account the QUALITY of life under Communism. My wife, who is Polish, spent most of her youth under Communist rule: life was dull, grey, hopeless and desperate. Nothing to look forward to, no excitement, piss-poor distraction. We know about the 100 million dead because of extreme leftist ideologies (Nazism and Communism), but who will tell the story of the appr. 2.5 billion (?) who spent/spend their life under leftist dictatorships? How do you measure the guilt of condemning two point five billion plus lives to a sad existence, shattered hopes, unfulfilled dreams, seeing your life go by without ever knowing true happiness? In a lifestyle magazine I recently stumbled upon the story of a Russian immigrant, psychologist by formation, who decided to study the phenomenon of happiness because what struck her upon arriving in the States was the sheer amount of people SMILING, which for her was a very odd thing to see.

#5544

K9

 

@ Jeff

"That being said (and I'm mainly responding to Aristo here), I think my comments on how relatively benign an American-dominated world is compared with one dominated by the Soviet Union (or by most other plausible alternatives) are far more than mere "speculation"."

While true, the US' domination isnt all that benign, the US is responsible for screwing up a whole bunch of countrys . Yes for western europe the USA influence wasnt all that bad seeing it would otherwise have been incoporated in the USSR. But for lots of africa , asian or south/middle american nations the US played a big role in the economic, sociale and political problems. Resulting in the the deaths of countless of people.

"On the issue of American unilateralism, I think any nation which perceives a serious threat to its security will take action to neutralize that threat."

No it cannot . This is what called a "pre-emptive strike" and this is still not according to internation law. Part of the power the US should come with a responsibilty it sometimes lacks. Strong doesnt mean you can bully or threaten everyone into accepting your rules, and if they dont follow you, destroying them. Strong means you have a reposnibilty to try and guide people and as long as they dont fysicly attack you ignore then in the worst case.

The US only can defend itself AFTER its attacked, just like any policeman in the US want start killing everyone who thinks can become a threat.

"If the Belgian government believed it knew of a serious threat to Belgium, such as nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatics who intended to use them to destroy Brussels, and if Belgium had the power to destroy this threat by unilateral action without outside help, then I believe it would do so, and would have every right to do so, even if it could not persuade other nations to approve. Does anyone want to argue with that? "

Unfortuntly both you and I know this wasnt the case in the US. Yu can say the US believed this but most european (and a lot of others) nations didnt. That is why most european nations wanted more time to make sure iraq had those weapons.

"The other motive for the invasion remains valid. Bush believes that terrorism is a product of the tyrannical nature of most governments in the Islamic world (and thus that the earlier American policy of supporting tyrannical but pro-US regimes was mistaken). "

But you ignore several facts, first the US till supports "tyrannical but pro-US regimes", pakistan and saudi arabie are fine examples. Second terrorisme doest come alone from tyrannical islamic countrys. ETA, IRA, mcveigh all are examples of non islamic terrorists.

" Certainly the turnout in the recent Iraqi election shows that the Iraqi people are trying to make the most of the opportunity which the American invasion has given them."

Vietnam also had elections, a couple of years later the US fled away from it leaving it to the vietcong. Elections how succesfull dont mean a whole lot in a country at war.

"Of course the America-haters will continue to insist that we never do anything for motives other than evil ones. People who blindly demonize a whole country cannot be persuaded, regardless of the evidence. But the evidence remains, regardless of their ravings and insults."

The evidence points in both ways thats the problem. There are benign reasons why the US could invade iraq, but there are also a lot of "evil" reasons.

Some examples:

WMD? => korea, pakistan and iran are a lot more dangerous in that area then iraq who had nothing.

Terrorism? => SAudi arabia, iran , pakistan support more terrorism then iraq/saddam . Saddam still was a secular leader who had little or nothing to do with international terrorism.

helping people?=> The cost of the war, and its effect of saving thousands of lives is nullified by its cost of thousands of life and the simple fact that the 100's of billions spend could have saved millions of lives fighting disease and hunger.

...

#5541

jack

 

Look at Outlaw's language (2 messages above). Can you take such a specimen serious?

#5535

Jeff in Oregon USA

 

First off, the role of the Russians in the defeat of Nazism should never be forgotten or downplayed. The Russians suffered an invasion more brutal and bloodthirsty than, probably, anything the world has seen since the Mongol conquests, and they not only survived but fought back, despite a human cost that would probably have driven most nations to collapse, until they had reached Berlin and the Nazi menace was well and truly crushed. For this the Russians deserve the admiration and gratitude of the world, including the US and Britain, who would have found the defeat of Nazism vastly more difficult (perhaps impossible) without Russia as an ally. It is disgraceful that many Americans fail to recognize this.

That being said (and I'm mainly responding to Aristo here), I think my comments on how relatively benign an American-dominated world is compared with one dominated by the Soviet Union (or by most other plausible alternatives) are far more than mere "speculation". After 1945 the US and the USSR dominated western and eastern Europe respectively, and each built up track records by which they may reasonably be judged. If you can't look at the historical record of the two parts of postwar Europe and see that it shows fundamental differences between American and Soviet behavior toward nations they have the opportunity to dominate, then nothing I say here will persuade you. However, I would be interested in hearing the views of readers who actually experienced life in the Soviet-ruled part of Europe, as Mr. Cosyns's wife apparently did. Note also that it was the Soviet zone which needed a physical barrier to prevent people from escaping to western Europe, not vice-versa.

On the issue of American unilateralism, I think any nation which perceives a serious threat to its security will take action to neutralize that threat. It may attempt to gain approval from other nations -- Bush did make diligent, if somewhat clumsy, efforts to gain European support for the invasion of Iraq -- but when all is said and done, if the perceived threat is serious enough, the nation that feels threatened will take action whether others approve or not. The US takes unilateral military action more often than most other nations, not necessarily because it has a greater inclination to do so, but because it has a greater ability to do so. Like all nations, we will use our military power to defend our territory and people when we feel threatened. If it is easier for us to do this without the help or approval of others, simply because our military power is much greater, then that is nothing to apologize for.

If the Belgian government believed it knew of a serious threat to Belgium, such as nuclear weapons in the hands of fanatics who intended to use them to destroy Brussels, and if Belgium had the power to destroy this threat by unilateral action without outside help, then I believe it would do so, and would have every right to do so, even if it could not persuade other nations to approve. Does anyone want to argue with that?

The fact that no nuclear-weapons program was found in Iraq does not change this. Not only the US government, but all the major governments of Europe, believed that Iraq was trying to develop weapons of mass destruction. The difference of opinion was over how to respond to the threat. If Bush was misled, so was everyone else. He had to make a decision based on the information available to him at the time.

The other motive for the invasion remains valid. Bush believes that terrorism is a product of the tyrannical nature of most governments in the Islamic world (and thus that the earlier American policy of supporting tyrannical but pro-US regimes was mistaken). Therefore, he believes that if the US can spread democracy in the Islamic world, the terrorism problem will eventually fade away. Thus he set out to create a democratic government in Iraq which could serve as a model for other Muslim states. Having some academic background in the field of Islamic culture, I see some serious flaws in Bush's reasoning, but it is nevertheless possible that this plan will achieve some success. Certainly the turnout in the recent Iraqi election shows that the Iraqi people are trying to make the most of the opportunity which the American invasion has given them. If we eventually leave Iraq with a reasonably democratic government and a freer society than it had before, while also intimidating other pro-terrorist governments with the knowledge that they will share the fate of Saddam and the Taliban if they support future attacks on the US, then in my opinion this outcome will more than justify the invasion.

Of course the America-haters will continue to insist that we never do anything for motives other than evil ones. People who blindly demonize a whole country cannot be persuaded, regardless of the evidence. But the evidence remains, regardless of their ravings and insults.

#5532

Outlaw Mike

 

@Jamal di Europeano: "The Russians saved Europe from the nazi's, not the fucking United States, stupid morons."

Go tell that to my wife, you f*cking moron. She's Polish, and under the commies some days she could only get mustard and gherkins in the shops. Not to speak of how the Ruskis let Warsaw perish in '44.

#5531

Outlaw Mike

 

Thanks for your service, DS Special Agents #1 and #2.

#5529

DS Special Agent #2

 

To the DS SA's from another DS SA,

This board is an excellent illustration for us, as well as all Americans; people are rarely upset for the reasons they think they are.

Notice that very little anger on this blog is related to the actions of the agent in (properly) performing his protective duties. Silly incidents such as these provide a very opportune target for political resentment - a scapegoat, if you will. When you read the news and hear anger at a US action, try to remember that it rarely involves a rational evaluation of the immediate circumstances, but is more likely an excuse to vent more deep-rooted insecurities about American power.

Our job as agents, it seems to me, is to stay above this kind of irrational fray.

#5505

Aristo

 

To Jeff in Oregon USA,

Nice to have someone who can clearly make his point but there are (offcourse) a few things that are a bit simplified. The 'what if' thing about the russians isn't an argument; 'What if' hitler didn't began the war on the eastern front... it's all speculation. And: the Diplomatic Security guy is prejudiced, as the press is too. The truth lies in between them. Furthermore the american government is using the suspected 'terrorist threat' as a legitimation to invade countries who are not bending their knees for the USA. E.G. the war in Iraq was just because of sphere of influence and oil. The anti-american attitude in europe is (also) due to the fact that the USA does whatever she wants without considering other countries standpoints.

But hell.. europe can't do without the USA, face it...it IS the strongest military power in the world. European countries (except maybe england)are to affraid to have casualties in time of war. Maybe the americans need to get more respect for the europeans and vice versa.

#5503

Jamal di Europeano

 

The Russians saved Europe from the nazi's, not the fucking United States, stupid morons.

#5492

Daan

 

Hahahaha....... What a fucking loser is that DS Special Agent...... (which name sounds like a deputy from The Dukes Of Hazard) :-)

Follow the rules of the country, or go fuck yourself in america yankee......

#5485

Outlaw Mike

 

@Dirk: dude, I'm a BELGIAAAAAAANNNN!!!! I am NOT an American!!!

"You guys don't have to start about WW2 because we did the same in 1465 and later..."

Stop with the marijuana. Apart from Philips The Good calling together the "Staten-Generaal" for better administering his lands (the future Holland and Belgium) I don't recall anything important in 1465, certainly not Belgian Paras going to the rescue of the Americans.

"2nd, we're NOT FRANCE, we have NOTHING to do with FRANCE!!! We're an INDEPENDANT country with other laws, other systems and other thoughts! and btw... The Eifel Tower is a monument of FRANCE."

Sigh... you understand nothing at all do you? It was just an example. OK, how 'bout this: do you think King Albert would have done as good a job in calming down Belgians as did Bush with Americans, if Islamonazis had flown a Boeing into the Atomium with 3,000 Belgians dead?

I have heard the biggest part of your expose a million times before and it is not even worth commenting about it anymore. Like I said, try to grow a brain.

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