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Teflon Europe
National Review Online ^ | March 17, 2006 | Victor Davis Hanson

Posted on 03/17/2006 3:00:35 PM PST by dr_who_2

They’re just as bad as we are, only worse.

The prison at Guantanamo Bay was designed to interrogate terrorists and jihadists swept up from the battlefield: the idea was to keep them as prisoners of war in a war that was undeclared, and as enemy combatants without uniforms or officers. It had a no-win mandate, and will probably close soon due to international outcries about its supposed barbarity. Yet, for all the fury about its existence, not a single detainee has died there in over four years of operation.

In contrast, the European Milosevic just dropped dead while under custody of the U.N. at the postmodern tribunal at The Hague. This follows the recent suicide of Croatian Serb leader Milan Babic, likewise an inmate in a European detention center.

Few in Europe said much about the deaths of such high-profile prisoners, whose barbarity differed from that of many of the killers in Guantanamo mostly in order of magnitude. If American Rambos can keep alive Muslim jihadists, with their radically different customs, religion, languages, and diets, why cannot the more sensitive Europeans ensure that fellow Europeans don't drop dead in their jails?

We often hear about how incompetent the Iraqis, under American tutelage, have been in trying Saddam Hussein. After all, his trial is only in its initial stages, two years after he was captured. But compared to the more illustrious court of The Hague, Saddam's trial is racing along at a rapid clip. Before his sudden death, Milosevic had been in court for four years without a verdict. In terms of utopian international jurisprudence, the reprobate Milosevic died a free man, at his last breath still innocent until proven guilty.

The public wonders why the incompetent Americans can't catch Osama bin Laden, or at least Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Few note that it has been over six years since the collapse of the Serbian rogue regime, and still no one seems to know where either Radovan Karadzic, or his military commander, Ratko Mladic, is hiding inside Europe — not exactly the Sunni Triangle or the borderlands of the Hindu Kush.

Might a circumspect European ever acknowledge to us, "We know how hard it is to catch a Zarqawi since we can't get Karadzic or Mladic," or "It's tough trying war criminals like Saddam — look at our dilemma with Milosevic"? If a French bestseller insisted that 9/11 was staged by the U.S., will the next conspiracy thriller allege that Milosevic was poisoned by a European cabal fearful that the killer of Muslims might beat the rap at The Hague and cause a backlash from radical Islam?

Europe cringed at George Bush's use of cowboyisms, like "smoke 'em out" and "dead-or-alive" — hardly the parlance of sober and sophisticated statesmen, who should hint at, rather than brag of, their substantial military power. But once again, contrast Bush's words with Jacques Chirac's recent boastful threat that France would consider a nuclear response to any country sponsoring a terror attack against it. Had Bush said anything close to that, the Europeans would be trying to indict him in Brussels for war thought-crimes.

These contrasts in perception and reality between Europe and the United States could be expanded — whether we look at the maligned Patriot Act and the new anti-terrorism legislation being enacted across the Atlantic, or the manner in which Arab immigrants live in Dearborn versus Marseilles, or the infringements abroad on free speech.

The more interesting task is not listing such hypocrisies, but explaining them. Some of the exegeses are now well known since September 11: Europe is weak and America far stronger, so the latter is held to a higher standard, as the former suffers from loud envy and public resentment.

The powerful don't care as much to dress up their omnipotence with utopian affectations; the weaker, in lieu of military strength, have only such pretensions. And note how America's forging of closer ties with Japan, Australia, and India somehow does not meet European requisites of "multilateralism" — a neologism for deference to Europe.

There is also a more disturbing element at play. Europe triangulates with the non-West against the United States, both to corral American influence and to seek economic advantage by offering a more sensitive Western commercial alternative. That means, in the case of the Middle East, a desire to reveal European empathy to the Islamic world. So there is a blanket condemnation of much of what the United States does, without any acknowledgement that detaining killers, trying former heads of state, and hunting down populist terrorists are not easy — even for the European Union.

When Westerners die in Afghanistan, it is back-page news; but in Iraq, the deaths make the front page. Why? Because the "bad" war in Iraq was supposedly "unilateral," while the "good" war to dethrone the Taliban is now a multilateral enterprise. Yet to the jihadists, there is little difference between the two: a German soldier in Kabul looks every bit the crusader that the American in the Sunni Triangle does. We in the West make the distinction between the wars; the radical Islamists don't.

Are there consequences to this double standard? For a growing number of Americans, who were nursed on affection for things European, there grows now a weariness with the Europeans. We don't listen much to what they say; and we assume that their pot will always call our kettle black.

Now things are starting to come to a crisis, and the Europeans are learning belatedly — after the French riots, the bombings in Madrid and London, the murders in the Netherlands, and the craziness over the Danish cartoons — that their appeasement failed and the radical Islamists hate them even more than they hate us.

China and Russia are no help with Iran. They value Iranian oil more than European friendship, and assume that Persian terrorists and nukes will always point west rather than eastward. Hamas shows no gratitude for huge past European grants to the Palestinians — only resentment that the checks are late for such newly elected terrorists.

As is always the way of the pack, there is a tired conventional wisdom circulating among pundits that the days of American activism are over, and a new, more realistic and multilateral approach — read Euro-like — must correct the neoconservative excesses of the past.

But I wonder: Are we going to look to the European practice of trying war criminals? Should Saddam be transferred to Milosevic's now empty cell? Is the model coalition in Afghanistan all that much more loved or effective than the one in Iraq? Should we shut down Guantanamo and outsource its inmates to The Hague? Have the European police done so much better in hunting down a Mladic or Karadzic than our soldiers have in their more muscular hunt for Osama? And will the United Nations, the EU3, the Russians, and the Chinese, in multilateral fashion, really stop the Iranian nuclear program — or simply stall meaningful action until they can collectively shrug, and sigh, "Oh, well, just another Pakistan, after all"?

— Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author, most recently, of A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.


TOPICS: Editorial
KEYWORDS: guantanomobay; hanson; milosevic; vdh; victordavishanson
Everbody's favorite arch-neocon hits the ball out of the park.
1 posted on 03/17/2006 3:00:39 PM PST by dr_who_2
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To: dr_who_2
The Europeans can't even bring their trial of a Serbian strongman to a conclusion and they have the effrontery to lecture Iraq about its non-adherence to European judicial standards. What's funny is how the American Left defends European snobbery towards those ex-colonial subjects. As Victor Davis Hanson has observed brilliantly, there's this assumption Europe can do no wrong. In truth, Europe is far more incompetent than that slander the Left has hurled without basis, against the Bush Administration.

(Denny Crane: "I Don't Want To Socialize With A Pinko Liberal Democrat Commie. Say What You Like About Republicans. We Stick To Our Convictions. Even When We Know We're Dead Wrong.")

2 posted on 03/17/2006 3:09:46 PM PST by goldstategop (In Memory Of A Dearly Beloved Friend Who Lives On In My Heart Forever)
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To: dr_who_2

I have always wondered if the French who criticize Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib, for that matter, recall the little matter of the Algerian civil war during which their own methods for extracting information were not always exemplars of gentleness...


3 posted on 03/17/2006 3:14:43 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill
In the most egregious cases, they bound prisoners to chairs, propped their eyelids open, and made them watch Jerry Lewis movies.

{/sarc}
4 posted on 03/17/2006 3:44:03 PM PST by USFRIENDINVICTORIA
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To: goldstategop
The Europeans can't even bring their trial of a Serbian strongman to a conclusion and they have the effrontery to lecture Iraq about its non-adherence to European judicial standards.

The Hague tribunal is not a European tribunal. It was set up by UN and has support of USA too. Dutch have more influence on this tribunal because it is on their soil.

The reason why the trial against Milosevic could not be brought to a proper conclusion (other than his death) was that it is impossible to prove the guilt for a genocide which did not take place.

5 posted on 03/17/2006 4:25:41 PM PST by A. Pole (Alexander Solzhenitsyn: "Live Not By Lies")
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To: dr_who_2

Awesome article.
Every word rings true and the analysis hits home.

Have VDH in the title in brackets - that will catch the attn of more like mindeds out there. Am surprised this thread received so little traction.


6 posted on 03/18/2006 5:08:14 PM PST by voletti (Awareness and Equanimity.)
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To: dr_who_2; voletti; neverdem; Lando Lincoln; quidnunc; .cnI redruM; yonif; SJackson; dennisw; ...


    Victor Davis Hanson Ping ! 

       Let me know if you want in or out.

Links: FR Index of his articles:  http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/keyword?k=victordavishanson 
His website: http://victorhanson.com/     NRO archive: http://www.nationalreview.com/hanson/hanson-archive.asp

7 posted on 03/20/2006 4:26:41 AM PST by Tolik
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To: A. Pole

In America, the Hague is seen as 100% EU.

The American support, through the UN is correctly seen as Clintonian window dressing for his attempts to wag the dog.

There is no support for the ICJ in the US, other than to be used as a talking point - for something that we must avoid - in elections.


8 posted on 03/20/2006 4:41:15 AM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: dr_who_2

Great article.


9 posted on 03/20/2006 5:42:51 AM PST by jveritas (Hate can never win elections.)
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To: dr_who_2

I prefer to call it "Hypocrite Europe".


10 posted on 03/20/2006 5:43:27 AM PST by jveritas (Hate can never win elections.)
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To: bill1952
In America, the Hague is seen as 100% EU.

Very convenient but not true.

11 posted on 03/20/2006 5:47:43 AM PST by A. Pole (Carly Fiorina: "Technology will 'disappear' in 25 years")
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To: dr_who_2

It had a no-win mandate, and will probably close soon due to international outcries about its supposed barbarity.

On release, each prisoner should be given a one-way ticket to a European nation from the list of those that have criticized Guantanamo. The treatment of the prisoners on arrival and after, until they leave that country, should be closely followed and reported.

12 posted on 03/20/2006 5:49:18 AM PST by ml1954
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To: dr_who_2

VDH is the best connector of dots writing today.


13 posted on 03/20/2006 5:54:26 AM PST by maica (You are being lied to. By elements in the media determined that Iraq must fail. - Ralph Peters)
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To: dr_who_2

Wow. Just wow.

While I love VDH, many of his columns lately have seemed flat, prepared just to meet a deadline.

*This* is *not* one of them.


14 posted on 03/20/2006 6:04:42 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: A. Pole

Okay. How about non-American?


15 posted on 03/20/2006 6:11:59 AM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: bill1952
Okay. How about non-American?

It is natural that people confuse the location of this tribunal with its legal status. Same as some could confuse UN with US since the UN is based in New York.

You cannot base your reasonings on popular perceptions.

16 posted on 03/20/2006 6:21:06 AM PST by A. Pole (Milosevic: "And when they behead your own people [...] then you will know what this was all about.")
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To: dr_who_2
High profile prisoners in American prisons who are disliked by those in power have died much like Milosevic did, through an "unfortunate" mishandling of medications. Remember the fate of Jim McDougal in the Federal penitentiary in Fort Worth during the Clinton years.
17 posted on 03/20/2006 6:39:46 AM PST by Wallace T.
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To: A. Pole

What "muscle" there is, diplomatically, politically and militarily, behind the Hague ICC, is largely European.


18 posted on 03/20/2006 6:41:36 AM PST by FreedomPoster (Guns themselves are fairly robust; their chief enemies are rust and politicians) (NRA)
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To: A. Pole
The reason why the trial against Milosevic could not be brought to a proper conclusion (other than his death) was that it is impossible to prove the guilt for a genocide which did not take place.

Bingo. That whole situation was vintage Clintoon. We sided with terrorist killers against a sovereign and legitimate government. That said, I'm sure Milosevic saw some bad stuff done during his time in power, but the truth is that there's no way you can make the case that he was any worse than his enemies. Yet, he is the one who was brought into a courtroom, not his enemies. And the reason is simple: Milosevic's enemies were muslims, the ultimate protected group in this world.
19 posted on 03/20/2006 7:01:44 AM PST by JamesP81
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To: FreedomPoster
What "muscle" there is, diplomatically, politically and militarily, behind the Hague ICC, is largely European.

Not European - just Dutch. Hague is a Dutch city. Blame the Dutch.

20 posted on 03/20/2006 7:01:44 AM PST by A. Pole (Milosevic: "And when they behead your own people [...] then you will know what this was all about.")
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To: dr_who_2
and will probably close soon due to international outcries about its supposed barbarity.

Based on whose authority? Certainly not the hand wringing of Euro-weenies. Could happen if enough jellyfish Pubs jump on some anti-military, anti-American security, terrorist sympathizer RAT legislation I suppose.

Otherwise a good piece from VDH.

21 posted on 03/20/2006 7:06:31 AM PST by prairiebreeze (Take the high road. You'll never have to meet a Democrat.)
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To: Billthedrill

I have always wondered if the French who criticize Guantanamo Bay or Abu Ghraib, for that matter, recall the little matter of the Algerian civil war during which their own methods for extracting information were not always exemplars of gentleness

Now THAT'S a very good question.


22 posted on 03/20/2006 7:21:36 AM PST by Valin (Purple Fingers Rule!)
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To: dr_who_2

There are two reasons the Eurotrash elites get by with what they do:

1. Their left wing mediots and ours protect them and try to destroy any self protection we attempt.

2. The immediate reflex to support the Eurotrash in America by liberal and so called conservative Americans whenever an article like this comes out. Before the day is over and this thread grows cold, so called conservatives will be supporting the Eurotrash and ripping GW for wanting to protect Americans.


23 posted on 03/20/2006 8:01:50 AM PST by Grampa Dave (How long has the NY Slimes, Compost, and LA Slimes been Enroning (cooking) their books?)
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To: dr_who_2

"Everbody's favorite arch-neocon hits the ball out of the park."

Actually, Dr Hanson is a Registered Democrat, and that probably would eliminate him from being a neo con.

http://victorhanson.com/articles/dowd082705.html

August 28, 2005
America’s Historian in Chief
by Alan W. Dowd
American Legion Magazine

"This interview with Victor Davis Hanson by Alan Dowd of the Sagamore Institute for Policy Research was conducted on April 5, 2005 in Indianapolis, Indiana, and published in the September 2005 issue of the American Legion.
Victor Davis Hanson emerged from the relative obscurity of his academic post at Fresno State University on September 11, 2001, to become something akin to America’s “Historian-in-Chief.” Spurred by a legion of eager editors, Hanson has translated his expertise in classical military history to the war on terror. The result is some 300 essays (and counting) and a literal army of devotees. He notes with pride that he receives 10 to 20 supportive emails each week from U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan."

"His primary platform for explaining this first war of the 21st century has been a decidedly modern mode of communication — the World Wide Web. With the dependability of Old Faithful, Hanson’s weekly commentaries have poured forth from the web-based daily of National Review, one of the forbears of the modern conservative movement. But Hanson reminds those who dismiss him as a Republican shill that he’s a registered Democrat."


24 posted on 03/20/2006 8:06:59 AM PST by Grampa Dave (How long has the NY Slimes, Compost, and LA Slimes been Enroning (cooking) their books?)
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To: A. Pole

You did not answer the question.

What is the American component of this Court?


25 posted on 03/20/2006 8:23:49 AM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: bill1952
You did not answer the question. What is the American component of this Court?

That USA with UK were pushing for establishment of the Tribunal in UN, provided funding and followed up with diplomatic support.

UN by itself would not do it (out of five permanent members of Security Council, Russia and China were not enthusiastic and France was wavering, it was US and UK leading the charge). EU was divided (Greece, sometimes France tended to be pro-Serb and other members had doubts).

And the last but not the least the most robust part of NATO military efforts was US.

26 posted on 03/20/2006 8:39:37 AM PST by A. Pole (Wimpy: "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today.")
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To: Grampa Dave

Grampa,

Wouldn't that make him precisely a neo con?

It has been my understanding that one must first have been a democrat to have become a newly minted (neo) conservative: examples of founding members of the movement are John Podheretz and Irvig Kristol. Later, famous neos are Richard Pearl (Perle?) and Paul Wolfowitz.


27 posted on 03/20/2006 9:32:13 AM PST by Plymouth Sentinel (Sooner Rather Than Later)
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To: Plymouth Sentinel

Not if he still claims to be a Democrat.


28 posted on 03/20/2006 10:21:46 AM PST by Grampa Dave (How long has the NY Slimes, Compost, and LA Slimes been Enroning (cooking) their books?)
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To: A. Pole
I'm not communicating very clearly.

The clinton years are done. - No, I do not capitalize his name.
We don't appease terrorists at this point in time, at least not as offical policy.
I totally agree that Milso should not have faced charges.
I was absolutely dismayed by the Serbian conflict, and predicted in writing that 'this will return to bite us right on the ass.'

What is the makeup and mandate of the ICJ, and what is the mandate and makeup of the Hague tribunal?

Its not a rhetorical question, I simply haven't researched it, so I asked you in the context of this post, because you seem to know quite a bit about it.

As far as the US being the sine quo non of NATO, well, that is nothing new at all.

29 posted on 03/20/2006 10:37:29 AM PST by bill1952 ("All that we do is done with an eye towards something else.")
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To: Grampa Dave

Difficult to see how he could be a conservative at all and register as a Democrat in California of all places.


30 posted on 03/20/2006 4:27:53 PM PST by dr_who_2
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To: bill1952

Sorta off topic, but I seem to recall that Milosivic resisted being brought to the Hague, and was only conveyed there after Bush was inaugurated? For some reason in my mind, I remember thinking what did Bush have to do with it. Am I wrong?


31 posted on 03/20/2006 6:34:34 PM PST by Chani (Life is fatal. The 100% statistic is compelling.)
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To: A. Pole

truth bump


32 posted on 03/25/2006 12:39:41 AM PST by teldon30 (Far right, elitist, sexist, cynical religious bigot and looter)
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To: Chani
For some reason in my mind, I remember thinking what did Bush have to do with it. Am I wrong?

Why do you hate Bush?

33 posted on 03/25/2006 6:45:25 PM PST by A. Pole (Solzhenitsyn:"Live Not By Lies" www.columbia.edu/cu/augustine/ arch/solzhenitsyn/livenotbylies.html)
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