Between the eyes

Via Instapundit: –Europe was not as outraged by Auschwitz as by Guantanamo Bay” –Some guy who survived the Holocaust

Harsh, bitter words. Certainly not diplomatic. But honest and surprisingly pro-victory. (Democrats: More of this please!)

US Rep. Tom Lantos (D-CA) apparently said this or something to this effect to a group of Dutch politicians. The group favored pulling their troops out of Afghanistan because Guantanamo Bay symbolizes “everything that is wrong with this war on terror”.

yemen map target rich environment Can you say “Target Rich Environment“?

I would put forward that a better symbol of everything that is wrong with this war on terror might be this: USS Cole plotter freed by Yemen

Jamal al-Badawi will be kept under effective house arrest after pledging allegiance to Yemen’s president.

Badawi was sentenced to death in 2004 for his role in the bombing, but escaped from jail early in 2006. He handed himself in two weeks ago.

Carry out that sentence by the end of 2005 and maybe this wouldn’t be just more proof that the law enforcement and justice system approach the Fourth World War is not the solution.

He escaped from jail after being sentenced to death. So the response is to place him under house arrest. Well, “effective” house arrest.

Tell us which house. Pay no attention to the droning in the sky tonight. Sentence fulfilled.

Again, this threat by the Dutch to pull their troops from Afghanistan is just another example of how NATO has let us down. This article in the Canadian media basically whines that the offers to the Dutch are “just enough to keep them in place”. Apparently, motivation to fight terrorists comes from how much you can get your back scratched. I would put forward that this, too, symbolizes “everything that is wrong with this war on terror”.

I’m sure that many will criticize the US legislator for making this statement (assuming he really did) to Dutch officials. And if the words hurt our ability to convince NATO members to deploy troops, I guess the criticism will be justified. But if we have to beg our friends to help us fight terrorism in the one place that everyone seems to agree is a battleground in the war against terrorism, I wonder how good those friends really are.

So does the Prime Minister of what has proven to be one of America’s closest friends
. And, besides some members of the government claiming that alleged prisoner abuses at Guantanamo Bay trump all else, even the Dutch are not terribly pleased with other NATO members.

Meanwhile, let’s all sleep peaceably in our beds at night knowing that there are Yemeni police officers standing ready to keep convicted terrorist plotters under “effective house arrest”. Several of them, in fact. Working in shifts.


  1. I mistakenly posted that Lantos survived Auschwitz. He did’t. But he is Jewish and was born in Hungary in 1928 and his family had to take refuge in a safe house during WW2. The error was only up for about two minutes but I wanted to make sure to document the change.

  2. I live in Europe and that I think Lantos has it right. Guantanamo got far, far more bad press than Grozny, Darfur, Burma, Zimbabwe, the Iranian nuclear program etc. This is plainly irrational and to blame this on the Bush administration would be equally irrational. Obviously, to confront real evil is not as comforting as bashing the US. But the deeper point is that these ‘allies’ either think being in Afghanistan is in their interest (in which case they couldn-

  3. el gordo You should review Germany’s Defense White Paper from a year ago. Reducing Bundeswehr to Weimar Republic numbers (under 100,000). 5 Division HQs, 13 Brigade Equivalents. About the size ground force of the Iraqi Border Guards and National Police… Most of that money if for aircraft and ships…

  4. It would make perfect sense that Europeans would be more shocked by Guantanamo than by Auschwitz, for two reasons. Back then, Europeans had a lot on their own plates. And – not coincidentally – they knew what the Nazis were like, so Auschwitz had no shock effect, just anger. By the way, Australia is not a friend of the USA, and never has been. It is better described in an article I wrote for an Australian magazine in October, 2001: But, contrary to recent reports, we are not on the same side as the USA, in a larger sense. Indeed, we could with profit repeat de Valera’s 1945 speech about small countries caught up in larger struggles. Though we should not be US clients we should be on the side of justice – without seeking to enter into any position of dependence ourselves. In Terry Pratchett’s words, ‘We’re just on two different sides that happen to be side by side.’ We know perfectly well that being a friend of the USA is like being a friend of Rome, or the friend in Oscar Wilde’s short story ‘Ther Devoted Friend’, and that it’s very like a junk bond issue when seen from this end of things. We remember what happens to friends of the USA when the wind changes, like the story of the US Marines who stopped refugees from rushing the last helicopter out of the Saigon Embassy by telling them it wasn’t the last one, that it would be back; true or not, it’s illustrative of the larger point that the USA pulls out of Indochina before telling Australia, which has to rush after, or invades Grenada without so much as a courtesy call to inform Britain, and so on. We understand, of course, and we wouldn’t dream of begrudging you your freedom of action – but we understand.