Tuesday, March 4, 2003

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Overstatements about Germany

The debate about Iraq is starting to debilitate people's good judgment. For example, suddenly everyone is making loopy statements about German history that perhaps should be reconsidered.

On the antiwar side, Mark Kleiman finds what he believes is the "stupidest, most offensive argument" in the entire debate in this Guardian lead editorial from last Friday:

German men won the vote as far back as 1849, albeit subject to a property qualification, at a time when Mr Bush's country practised legalised slavery. Bearing in mind that America only became a full democracy in 1965, and Germany in 1946, there is a case for saying that Germans have at least as strong a democratic tradition as Americans.

On the other hand, methinks Andrew Sullivan may be indulging in some hyperbole in his latest post on the real agendas of various international actors in the Iraq debate. Most of them make sense, but this line on Germany is over the top:

For the Germans, it's about a new national identity. The Germans have never been able to sustain a moderate polity on their own. They veer from extreme romantic militarism to romantic pacifism. Their current abdication of all strategic responsibility for Europe or the wider world is just another all-too-familiar spasm from German history.

Bloggers, commentators, protestors, I beg you... no more abuses of German history!

posted by Dan on 03.04.03 at 09:46 AM