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Saturday, January 07, 2006

Merkel criticises Guantanamo Bay (Go Angela!)

The US detention camp at Guantanamo Bay (nicknamed Gitmo) should be closed. It's illegal by any national or international definition. The UN has not been given permission to visit it under circumstances that would allow for a fair investigation. Hundreds of men, imprisioned, without charge, without evidence, with a sham military tribunal as their only legal option... no end in sight.

Angela Merkel, Germany's new Chancellor is speaking out just before meeting King George II in Washington. Good for her.

For more background on Gitmo, or to learn how you might take action on this, have a look here.

A note of concern from this article:

"At a news conference on Saturday, Mrs Merkel defended her comments, but said she would not demand the immediate closure of the camp when she meets with President Bush next week.

'That's my opinion and my view and I'll say it elsewhere just as I have expressed it here,' she said.

Human rights campaigners have protested over Guantanamo Bay
'My talks with leaders of other countries don't consist of my expressing demands but of exchanging views.'"

Why can't she "exchange" this particular "view" with the Shrub, then? She can say it here, there, but not everywhere? Maybe if more people who have the chance WOULD look him in the eye and say, "You know, everybody else thinks this is a pretty crappy way to conduct business," he might get a stronger message.

Thanks, as always, for bringing this to out attention, Gary.
You make a good point, Julian. I think if the rest of the world took a harder line with him he would be forced to stop running around like a spoiled child. He reminds me of Squire Trelane in "The Squire of Gothos" episode of Star Trek--running around & playing with people's lives for his own amusement.
I'll give her the benefit of the doubt for now. Although she just started few months ago she's shown more balls than many of her European colleagues. I read on BBC today that she had a meeting with Condy as well:

"In Berlin, Ms Rice and Mrs Merkel sought to dampen down the discussion about alleged CIA practices, the BBC's Ray Furlong reports."

Mrs Merkel said Ms Rice had given "important" reassurances that the US would use "every lawful means" to protect citizens from the threat of international terrorism.


For what it's worth..
I think Julian brings up a good point. I often measure the respect I have for someone by the extent to which they are willing to stand up for what they believe in.

That being said, I have to wonder if the reason Mrs. Menkel isn't going to voice her opinion directly to the president is because she assumes that he will have heard/read her comments prior to their meeting and knows where she stands.

Then again, the way to affect change in this world is to continue to fight and stand up for what you believe in, even if that fight falls on deaf ears.

Thanks for the thoughtful post, Gary.
Whoops, I guess I didn't read my post carefully enough before submitting! I meant Mrs. Merkel, not Menkel. Obviously. :)
I would think she would get more respect for her stand by stating her position directly to him and not assuming he'll hear her message through some other medium. Thanks for the input, all!
I think Ms Merkel should hire Julian as her US Advisor and Lauren as her PR manager. Dimitri could probably translate...
Haha, we would make quite a team, I'm sure!
Why not, I'll provide the puns!
My very dear friend Mark lives in Weisbaden and works for the Army Corps of Engineers and he says that Germans are truly hoping that Merkel will be the strong voice that they want her to be when it comes to Bush. He said that Germans know that their economic situation is such that the last thing she needs to do is alienate any allies, but some things trump economics and one must stand firm no matter what.
He said people tell him all the time, "We hate Bush. We don't hate Americans." He is a gay Republican who voted for John Kerry... he certainly understands that position.
I believe this illustrates the difference between sentiment and caring, and the dangers of intellectual agreement.

That is, sentiment is a matter of strong feeling, while caring demands that it be express through action. Here sentiment lies against Gitmo et al, but she really doesn't care about it. She is in intellectual agreement with the opposing view, but she has not assimilated the agreement to full expression.
Well said PT (progressive traditionalist)!
I believe Merkel will aspire to become a German version of Thatcher - not much room there besides "I", "me", "my country"...
Her position on Gitmo is tounge and cheek ... to keep the SPD and Greens happy for an other month or two.

P.S. Great Blog!
Fellow bloggers - please welcome Zee! I always visit the site of a visitor and found his Sunburst to be quite wonderful. Go say hello if you can...
Y'all are having a wonderful time over here and you probably don't need my two cents. I'll just invite those of you who haven't found me and "worried american" to visit us at isamericaburning.blogspot.com.

Dmitri, Julian and Elizabeth are already there but we'd enjoy more visitors.

And of course you're always welcome at granny, my sort of family blog.
P. Trad., excellent point.

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