Skip to comments.Germans, French Object to Saddam Execution (GRRRRRR!)
Posted on 07/01/2004 12:11:25 PM PDT by areafiftyone
PARIS - Baghdad's decision to re-establish the death penalty ahead of the war crimes trial of Saddam Hussein (news - web sites) evoked a mixed reaction in Europe, recalling the split across the continent over the war that toppled the Iraqi leader.
Germany and France, two of the most vocal anti-war opponents, strongly stated their opposition without exception to the death penalty and called on Iraqi authorities to ensure Saddam a fair trial.
In Berlin, the government's top human rights official, Claudia Roth, criticized Baghdad's move to reinstate capital punishment, which was suspended during the U.S. occupation.
"To start out this way does not send a good signal," Roth told The Associated Press. "I think it would have been a signal of democratic strength had they not reinstated the death penalty in Iraq (news - web sites)."
France called on Iraqi justice officials to hold a trial that conforms to principles of international law, and the government reiterated its opposition to the execution of convicts.
The 25-member European Union (news - web sites) intends to let Iraq know of its opposition to the death penalty, said Emma Udwin, external relations spokeswoman for the European Commission (news - web sites).
But while capital punishment is outlawed across the continent, attitudes hardened farther east among the newer EU members, where support for the war was strong.
Latvian Foreign Ministry spokesman Rets Plesums said that whatever happens to Saddam after his trial is a matter of concern for Iraq not the Baltic state.
"We are hoping that the new Iraqi courts will conduct the trial as fairly as possible, but I don't think our government will offer an opinion about what happens to Saddam Hussein," he said. "It's not our business."
Latvia, a recent newcomer also to NATO (news - web sites), ardently backed the U.S.-led invasion and contributed more than 100 soldiers to the coalition after fighting ended last year.
Poland, another supporter of the war, offered a similar view. Poland just decided to extend its troop deployment of 2,400 soldiers in Iraq until Dec. 31.
"Our reaction is obvious. This is a sovereign decision of an independent court and of the Iraqis themselves," said Boguslaw Majewski, spokesman for Poland's Foreign Ministry.
Roman Kuzniar, a political scientist at the Warsaw University, said the list of crimes committed by Saddam Hussein "would justify the death penalty."
Poland had capital punishment before ousting the Communist government in 1989, then eliminated it in order to join the EU.
Turkey, a Muslim nation with aspirations to join the EU one day, formally ended executions as part of its bid for membership. But many Turks still feel capital punishment is justified in some cases.
"The conscience of the people will not be satisfied if he doesn't face the death penalty," said Burhan Kuzu, a top lawmaker from Turkey's governing Justice and Development Party. "If they give the death penalty to him, this decision will not disturb me."
Let em yap.
Old Europe, once again, doesn't get it. New Europe does.
This is not surprising.
The French and Germans are mad because if Saddam isn't around, they won't be able to get kickbacks for the oil for food program anymore.....
I really wish someone, an Army, The Germans, Latvia or a boy Scout troop would make France surrender again....
Germany's economy is collapsing under the weight of its socialist welfare programs, and she thinks she can lecture about 'democratic strength? Shut the f*ck up.
Objection overruled. Now sit back down France and Germany before I have you placed in shackles and removed form this court.
Cut bait or fish.
They have to say this. If word gets to Hussein that the French and Germans are supporting his execution, Hussein will start talking about all the little deals he had going with them during the 90's and even while we were bombing Iraq.
They secretly want him dead ASAP. But they are scared of what he'll say.
In the words of a local drunken coach "f--- 'em, no really, f--- 'em"
(I've decided to self-censor as I don't want to be suspended for saying what I'm really thinking.)
REVIEW & OUTLOOK
Europe vs. America
Germany edges out Arkansas in per capita GDP.
The growing split between the U.S. and Europe has been much in the news, mostly on foreign policy. But less well understood is the gap in economic growth and standards of living. Now comes a European report that puts the American advantage in surprisingly stark relief.
The study, "The EU vs. USA," was done by a pair of economists--Fredrik Bergstrom and Robert Gidehag--for the Swedish think tank Timbro. It found that if Europe were part of the U.S., only tiny Luxembourg could rival the richest of the 50 American states in gross domestic product per capita. Most European countries would rank below the U.S. average, as the chart below shows.
The authors admit that man doesn't live by GDP alone, and that this measure misses output in the "black" economy, which is significant in Europe's high-tax states. GDP also overlooks "the value of leisure or a good environment" or the way prosperity is spread across a society.
But a rising tide still lifts all boats, and U.S. GDP per capita was a whopping 32% higher than the EU average in 2000, and the gap hasn't closed since. It is so wide that if the U.S. economy had frozen in place at 2000 levels while Europe grew, the Continent would still require years to catch up. Ireland, which has lower tax burdens and fewer regulations than the rest of the EU, would be the first but only by 2005. Switzerland, not a member of the EU, and Britain would get there by 2010. But Germany and Spain would need until 2015, while Italy, Sweden and Portugal would have to wait until 2022.
Higher GDP per capita allows the average American to spend about $9,700 more on consumption every year than the average European. So Yanks have by far more cars, TVs, computers and other modern goods. "Most Americans have a standard of living which the majority of Europeans will never come anywhere near," the Swedish study says.
But what about equality? Well, the percentage of Americans living below the poverty line has dropped to 12% from 22% since 1959. In 1999, 25% of American households were considered "low income," meaning they had an annual income of less than $25,000. If Sweden--the very model of a modern welfare state--were judged by the same standard, about 40% of its households would be considered low-income.
In other words poverty is relative, and in the U.S. a large 45.9% of the "poor" own their homes, 72.8% have a car and almost 77% have air conditioning, which remains a luxury in most of Western Europe. The average living space for poor American households is 1,200 square feet. In Europe, the average space for all households, not just the poor, is 1,000 square feet.
So what is Europe's problem? "The expansion of the public sector into overripe welfare states in large parts of Europe is and remains the best guess as to why our continent cannot measure up to our neighbor in the west," the authors write. In 1999, average EU tax revenues were more than 40% of GDP, and in some countries above 50%, compared with less than 30% for most of the U.S.
We don't report this with any nationalist glee. The world needs a prosperous, growing Europe, and its relative economic decline is one reason for growing EU-American tension. A poorer Europe lacks the wealth to invest in defense, a fact that in turn affects the willingness of Europeans to join America in confronting global security threats. But at least all of this is a warning to U.S. politicians who want this country to go down the same welfare-state road to decline.
My bet is that is EXACTLY what the Iraqis are saying when they hear about this.
You really should have pinged 'GRRRRR' to this thread.
France? Germany? Are those places still around? Why?
My 3rd Grade teacher had a saying that still holds true today-"Empty barrels make the most noise."
Ain't it sooooo true!!!
I'll bet they put more effort into thwarting his execution than they did to HELP us!
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