The Legend of Wooley Swamp

What ever happened to nuance? Jabberwocky is being spewed up by the left and right as they try to drag us into their Wonderlands. This blog charts a path out of this swamp of simple truths and false certainties. And from time to time, it'll be a place for more light-hearted musings.

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Monday, December 05, 2005

Jabberwocky, Get Ye Back! The Doctor is In

Tonight, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is expected to arrive in Berlin. Folks here are focused on what they plan to tell her – as well as being somewhat concerned that she might arrive on a secret CIA flight, which their radars will fail to detect. But they are forgetting that it is she who is the messenger. Instead of the desired kowtowing you can expect some much needed tough love.

Dr. Rice, not least because she is just that, a ‘Frau Doktor’ ( the possession of a PhD guarantees worship around these parts,) enjoys considerable respect and admiration here. Much of this comes from her work during the Two plus Four Treaty talks, which cemented German reunification in 1990. Another doctor, Dr. Merkel, certainly remembers. Ms. Rice was always a friend of Europe, so one can hope that these sauceboxes pay close attention to the constructive criticism she will dish out.

Tables are turned. Dr. Rice tends to
offer better advice than my childhood
sweetheart Lucy ever did to good
ol' Charlie Brown.
(c) Charles Schultz

As I hinted at in my Euro Flu post last night, this is one important house call. The Doctor is In. So make use of it.

In keeping it short, I close by linking to the one story everyone seems to be talking about here. In yesterday’s Washington Post, the great Dana Priest (surely up for the Pulitzer Prize next year) told the tale of a rendition gone horribly wrong. The victim was a German national and the disgraceful saga involved an overly ambitious junior Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) official, a former Soviet spy mistress, Macedonian police, real Black Ops and a meeting between the U.S. Ambassador and the German Interior Minister.

If you read the whole thing, I can guarantee an eye-opening experience. Aside from the ‘shocking’ details, you will also be served up a nuanced view of a story that is being distorted beyond all recognition by the media and politicians over here. That alone may prove enlightening. Since they can't break stories on their own, that kind of distortion is all they seem to be good for.

You would think that for once, they might ask if their own penchant for editorializing the news as well as the obsession with jabberwocky and conpiracy might be preventing from acting as journalists. But no. Lastly, should you read the article, you’ll get a taste of what Condy Rice is likely to tell her European friends.


UPDATE: Found a good story in the German press on the Secretary's visit. Since I've been castigating the Fourth Estate here, I thought I'd better link to it. Here's Mathias Rüb's piece (in German) from the Frankfurter Allegemeine Zeitung. The headline reads "CIA Flights: No Kowtow During Berlin Visit." Like I said. Furthermore, it actually goes into some detail about the debate in Washington, and as someone who wonkishly follows this, I find it quite representative.

It also cites numerous sources in the "extremely pro-European State Department" who are getting sick and tired of European preaching and the ever-increasing signs of anti-Americanism. I mean, if you're losing these folks, you're in trouble. I think Rüb is cautiously telling his readers, from his perspective as a Washington-based correspondent, that he himself agrees with this analysis.

Funny how when someone actually spends time in e.g. the U.S., they come to realize that they no longer accept the stereotypes available at home. In this case, the supposed lack of debate in the U.S., which in fact is much more vigorous than it is here. In addition, Germans who are often themselves subjected to ludicrous generalizations, will tend to empathize with Americans once they realize they share the very same problem.

Finally, Rüb´s article offers a mea culpa, and acknowledges that the German media has been ignoring all kinds of stories in the American press re: CIA, renditions etc. for close to a year. My point would simply be that if they had been doing their job, Germans would have a broader understanding of the issue they're now so outraged about. And this is turn would have helped cool some very hot heads.

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