Big Earthquakes in USA
LiveScience reported on January 15:
“As disaster crews and scientists investigate the havoc wrought in Haiti, questions emerge as to whether such a vastly destructive disaster could happen at home in the United States. In fact, cities are located near dangerous earthquake zones all throughout the country, from the most infamous on the West Coast to potential time bombs in the Midwest and even on the Eastern Seaboard…
“Stretching from northern Vancouver Island in Canada to northern California is the Cascadia subduction zone, where one giant plate of the Earth’s surface is diving deep beneath another one. ‘The very largest earthquakes all occur on subduction zones,’ said seismologist Geoffrey Abers at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory of Columbia University in New York. ‘These are also the faults that make very large tsunamis that propagate across ocean basins to cause a lot of damage.’
“These ‘megathrust earthquakes’ that threaten Seattle, Portland and Vancouver can be magnitude 9 or greater, geological records reveal… The Seattle Fault runs right through downtown Seattle…
“The most well-known earthquake zone in the United States is the San Andreas Fault, where the Pacific Plate and the North American Plate are sliding past each other, running along heavily populated areas of California. Still, other fractures in the earth threaten the state as well, such as the Hayward Fault that lies mainly on the east side of San Francisco Bay, and [a] previously unknown fault that caused the 1994 Northridge quake… Geologists expect the Los Angeles area will eventually be struck by an earthquake larger than any seen in recorded history…
“Three of the largest earthquakes in North America recorded in history originated from the New Madrid fault system over the course of two months from 1811 to 1812. These magnitude 7 events shook with enough power to apparently force the Mississippi River to temporarily flow backward. The quakes — the largest ones ever known in the center of the United States — have raised fears of a ‘big one’ there sometime this century. The closest cities to the New Madrid fault system are Memphis and St. Louis…
“The ancient Ramapo Fault runs near New York City… A number of other ancient faults go from Canada all the way at least to South Carolina… Alaska experiences the most earthquakes in the United States, more per year than the combined total of the rest of the country. The nation’s largest recorded earthquakes have all happened there as well. ‘The last big earthquake in 1964 there was the largest ever recorded in the United States at magnitude 9.2,’ Abers said. ‘It destroyed several towns and it heavily damaged Anchorage. The risk of tsunami is high for coastal areas as well…'”
We can expect many more big earthquakes to occur soon on a worldwide scale. On January 17, Reuters reported that “A 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck off the southern coast of Argentina on Sunday… The quake was centered about 220 miles (355 km) southeast of Ushuaia, Argentina, at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km).” On January 18, Reuters reported that “A magnitude 6.0 earthquake hit Guatemala’s Pacific coast near the border with El Salvador on Monday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported. It said the quake, 64.2 miles (103.3 km) deep, was centered 60 miles (97 km) southeast of Guatemala City.” CNN reported on January 19: “A 5.8-magnitude earthquake struck Tuesday off the Cayman Islands…” The Washington Post reported on January 20 that Haiti was hit “by a 6.1-magnitude tremor — one of the strongest aftershocks since the 7.0-magnitude quake crippled this city eight days ago.”
“America Must Tread Carefully in Haiti”
On January 18, Der Spiegel Online reported on the German reaction to America’s involvement in Haiti, which has been overwhelmingly positive. However, it is also pointed out that in this world of political maneuvering and jealousies, hidden dangers are lurking for the US.
The magazine wrote:
“UN chief Ban Ki-moon has appealed for patience as anger mounts in Haiti over the tardiness of the relief effort and aid groups criticize the US management of the airport… The aid is starting to get through to Haiti. But it is insufficient and it is not reaching enough of the people who desperately need it…
“The US is preparing to send in more troops to deal with the aftermath of the 7.0 quake… While planes and ships are descending on the country to provide relief, the US- controlled airport is proving to be a bottleneck and the ports cannot be used because of quake damage…
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:
“In this catastrophe the United States is showing its best side. Helping its neighbors in their hour of need is one of America’s primary virtues. Washington is reacting to the crisis in Haiti with a kind of general mobilization, even an invasion of mercy. The humanitarian superiority of the US has already raised suspicions. France has criticized the abrasive way the Americans at the airport have taken command, as the completely helpless government in Port-au-Prince abandons control to the US soldiers.
“‘This kind of criticism will only increase as soon as thousands of GIs go on patrol in order to provide temporary security. America must tread carefully in Haiti — after decades of interference and occupation. No one can help more at the moment than the superpower. Later, however, many will claim to know how things could have been done better. The good deed of today can in the long term become a terrible curse.’
“The Financial Times Deutschland writes:
“‘The frustration of the foreign aid workers’ and the helpless people in the face of a humanitarian disaster is understandable. However, the bottlenecks occurring in Haiti are unavoidable and the criticism is unfair. When an earthquake completely destroys the already weak infrastructure of a poor country, then blockages are unavoidable…
“‘One thing is striking about the operation in Haiti: The US has taken a leading role. Not only is it sending an enormous amount of material and personnel, it is also coordinating much of the aid coming from other countries. However, it would be negligent if the international community were to depend on the US or other big powers to do the same in future disasters — the US reacted far too late in the case of the tsunami five years ago…’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes:
“‘As if the international aid organizations didn’t have better things to be doing, a narrow-minded rivalry has begun over the “leadership.” Mexico has already called for a session of the UN Security Council with the aim of strengthening the role of the US in handling the relief effort. And in Europe, too, people are seeking the limelight by attacking the US, which is putting in motion the massive capabilities of its forces, providing huge amounts of money and mobilizing prominent fundraisers.
“No power in the world is better placed to get things off the ground. That is the political truth: Nothing works without… America’s determined involvement, no matter how generous other providers of aid may be. Without Washington’s long-term engagement, Haiti has no future…'”
The world is still hoping for and looking to the United States for leadership. But confidence in American accomplishments will diminish more and more. Even now, the US is blamed for apparent shortcomings, dealing with Haiti, while nobody else has been willing to assume any leadership role in this crisis.
France Accuses the US of Trying to “Occupy” Haiti
Britain’s Times on Line has been much more critical towards the humanitarian relief efforts in Haiti. In its article of January 18, titled, “France and America bicker as Haiti aid fails to reach city,” the paper wrote the following:
“The international effort to deliver humanitarian aid to the victims of last week’s Port-au-Prince earthquake was hit by bickering today as a French government minister accused the Americans of trying to occupy Haiti instead of helping it. Thousands of American soldiers have poured in to Port-au-Prince airport since President Obama announced that he was ordering a ‘swift and aggressive’ campaign to help millions of Haitians left homeless by last week’s 7.0 magnitude earthquake.
“Six days after the quake, however, precious little aid is getting beyond the airport perimeters – largely because of security concerns – and aid agencies with long experience of operating in disaster zones have complained that their flights in are being blocked unnecessarily. Among the aircraft turned back by American air traffic controllers who have assumed control at Port-au-Prince airport was a French government Airbus carrying a field hospital… Speaking to Europe 1 radio from an EU ministerial meeting in Brussels this morning, Mr Joyandet said that the UN would have to clarify the role of the US in the Haitian aid effort. ‘It’s a matter of helping Haiti, not occupying Haiti,’ he said…
“One of the MSF flights turned back on Saturday was carrying a large inflatable hospital of a type that MSF have used in various disaster zones since the Kashmir earthquake four years ago. The flight was diverted to the neighbouring Santa Domingo and the hospital and the medical supplies are having to be brought in overland…
“Ordinary water supplies are polluted and broken, and bottled water is selling for $6 a bottle on the black market in the streets. On the rare occasion that a water truck appears on the streets, it is mobbed. Even the most visible camp for homeless people… has not a single fixed water supply, aid distribution point or clinic to assess the needs of the wounded… At the airport, many soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division have been hanging around since Wednesday night without leaving the complex. One of them, Private First Class Patrick Jones, told The Times that only a few supplies of food and water had arrived…
“The delays are causing anger and frustration, and leading to unrest and violence. Witnesses report large-scale, organised looting by groups of youths armed with knives in the tight grid of streets next to the Champs de Mars homeless camp, stripping the last remaining supplies from the empty city… A New York Times [newscaster] reported seeing four alleged looters dumped by police at the national cemetery, three dead and one dying from gunshot wounds. Mobs of Haitians are also reported… taking the law into their own hands, with at least one confirmed case of a looter lynched to death.
“Dorsainvil Robenson, a policeman chasing down looters in the capital, said: ‘We do not have the capacity to fix this situation. Haiti needs help … the Americans are welcome here, but where are they? We need them here on the street with us.’”
Der Stern Online added on January 19 that “one week after the earthquake, Haiti might drown in chaos.”
President Obama’s Huge Loss in Massachusetts
The election of Republican Scott Brown as new senator of Massachusetts will have tremendous negative consequences for President Obama and the Democrats. The importance of Brown’s victory cannot be over-emphasized.
The Associated Press reported on January 19:
“In an epic upset in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the U.S. Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office…
“The loss by the once-favored Democrat Martha Coakley in the Democratic stronghold was a stunning embarrassment for the White House after Obama rushed to Boston on Sunday to try to save the foundering candidate. Her defeat on Tuesday signaled big political problems for the president’s party this fall when House, Senate and gubernatorial candidates are on the ballot nationwide.
“Brown’s victory was the third major loss for Democrats in statewide elections since Obama became president. Republicans won governors’ seats in Virginia and New Jersey in November… Brown will become the 41st Republican in the 100-member Senate, which could allow the GOP to block the president’s health care legislation. Democrats needed Coakley to win for a 60th vote to thwart Republican filibusters.
“The trouble may go deeper: Democratic lawmakers could read the results as a vote against Obama’s broader agenda, weakening their support for the president. And the results could scare some Democrats from seeking office this fall. The Republican will finish Kennedy’s unexpired term, facing re-election in 2012.”
Reuters added on January 20:
“Dealing a stunning blow to Obama, Republican Scott Brown won a bitter election battle in Massachusetts on Tuesday seen by some analysts as a sign of voter anxiety over the president’s policies amid double-digit unemployment and a sluggish economic recovery. Brown’s win deprived Democrats of a crucial 60th Senate vote they need to pass the healthcare bill… and push through other big measures on climate change and financial regulatory reform…
“The election upset in Massachusetts compounded the problems confronting Obama as he reached the one-year anniversary of the day he took office with soaring paeans to hope and change. Since then, Obama’s public approval rating has fallen from 70 percent-plus at his inauguration to around 50 percent now, among the lowest of recent presidents at this stage in their tenure…”
Times On Line wrote on January 20:
“Republicans scored an historic victory overnight that put President Barack Obama’s agenda in jeopardy exactly a year after he took power – and which could kill his plans for healthcare reform. A little-known Republican state legislator won Edward Kennedy’s old seat in the US Senate in Massachusetts in what appeared to be a massive protest vote against the party that controls both chambers of Congress and the White House… Scott Brown, a lawyer, military officer and former male model, has promised to use his Senate vote to defeat the Democrats’ healthcare reform, which was on the brink of passage after decades of trying.
“Democrats pledged to try to push through healthcare reform despite the loss, but they risk a popular backlash if they do so… The Democrats now face failure on healthcare or the risk of employing strong-arm tactics that could be devastatingly unpopular. The most straightforward would be to force through a vote in the Senate before Mr Brown is officially certified as a senator – thereby using their old 60-seat super majority. Another option would be persuading the Democrat majority in the House to vote through the weaker version of the healthcare bill that had already been passed by the Senate.
“A more convoluted approach would be to pass the Senate’s bill and repackage the additional measures into a budget reconciliation bill – this kind of legislation can be passed with a simple majority of 51 in the 100-seat Senate. All three approaches would be dismissed as dishonest by the Republicans although the latter tactic was used by George W. Bush to force through two sets of tax cuts.
“The only other options available to Mr Obama are to persuade one or two Republican senators to change their minds on the issue, probably at the cost of further concessions, or to give the legislation up altogether and risk limping towards the mid-term elections in November having failed to achieve his defining domestic policy pledge.
“The Democrats’ defeat in Massachusetts was particularly ironic because healthcare reform was Senator Kennedy’s lifelong passion until his death from brain cancer in August… The state – often considered the most liberal in America with legal gay marriage and its own universal healthcare plan – has not elected a Republican to its other Senate seat since 1972.”
German Reactions to President Obama’s Defeat
Der Stern commented on January 20 that with the defeat of the Democrats in Massachusetts, President Obama’s image as a “messiah” has clearly and totally evaporated.
Der Spiegel Online wrote on January 21:
“The World Bids Farewell to Obama… German commentators say it is the end of hope…
“The Financial Times Deutschland writes: ‘… For everyone else in the world, this means that they will have to bid farewell to a candidate for whom the hopes were so high. They will have to say goodbye to the charisma they fell in love with. Obama will be staying home after all.’
“The left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘In addition to health care reform, Obama’s reputation has primarily been harmed by the high unemployment rate and the increasingly unpopular war in Afghanistan. It will become even more difficult in the future for the president to push projects through successfully. Not just because Republicans now have a means of preventing it, but also because the Democratic camp is deeply divided. Some would like to see the party shift toward the center — wherever that may be — whereas others want the party to position itself to the left. Such a battle is hardly a good sign for the mid-term elections in November. Massachusetts could prove to be an omen.’
“The center-right Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung writes: ‘Of course the president rejects the interpretation that the Massachusetts election was a referendum on his first year in the White House. But he cannot ignore the fact that his health care reform package is not popular, the situation of the country’s finances is seen as threatening and many voters blame the high unemployment rate on the party in power — on the Democrats, led by Obama…'”
Ahead–Stormy Relations Between China and USA
The Financial Times wrote on January 18:
“Google’s clash with China is about much more than the fate of a single, powerful firm. The company’s decision to pull out of China, unless the government there changes its policies on censorship, is a harbinger of increasingly stormy relations between the US and China. The reason that the Google case is so significant is because it suggests that the assumptions on which US policy to China have been based since the Tiananmen massacre of 1989 could be plain wrong. The US has accepted – even welcomed – China’s emergence as a giant economic power because American policymakers convinced themselves that economic opening would lead to political liberalisation in China.
“If that assumption changes, American policy towards China could change with it. Welcoming the rise of a giant Asian economy that is also turning into a liberal democracy is one thing. Sponsoring the rise of a Leninist one-party state… is a different proposition. Combine this political disillusionment with double-digit unemployment in the US that is widely blamed on Chinese currency manipulation, and you have the formula for an anti-China backlash.
“Both Bill Clinton and George W. Bush firmly believed that free trade and, in particular, the information age would make political change in China irresistible… So far, the facts are refusing to conform to the theory…
“Google’s decision to confront the Chinese government is an early sign that the Americans are getting fed up with dealing with Chinese authoritarianism… To date, the Obama administration has based its policy firmly on the assumptions that have governed America’s approach to China for a generation… But, after being censored by Chinese television in Shanghai and harangued by a junior Chinese official at the Copenhagen climate talks, Barack Obama may be feeling less warm towards Beijing…
“Even if the administration itself does not move, the voices calling for tougher policies against China are likely to get louder in Congress. Google’s decision to highlight the dangers of cyberattack from China will play to growing American security fears about China. The development of Chinese missile systems that threaten US naval dominance in the Pacific are also causing concern in Washington. Impending US arms sales to Taiwan are already provoking a dispute…
“A trade war between America and China is hardly to be welcomed. It could tip the world back into recession and inject dangerous new tensions into international politics…”
On January 21, 2010, Times On Line wrote the following:
“Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State, dramatically raised the stakes with China over internet freedom today, insisting that that [sic] those who carried out cyber attacks should face ‘international condemnation.’… Mrs Clinton said she expected China to make a thorough and transparent investigation of cyber attacks on Google… ‘The United States and China have different views on this issue. And we intend to address those differences candidly and consistently.’ Mrs Clinton also criticised China for restricting Internet access and erecting other electronic barriers to the free flow of information.”
America is predestined to lose more and more power and influence in the world. Deteriorating relationships with China will hurt greatly the US economy.
“Falling into the Abyss”
Deutsche Welle reported on January 20:
“Speaking in parliament on the second day of a four day session to debate her government’s 2010 budget proposals, Chancellor Angela Merkel said… ‘We have managed to do the right thing to prevent falling into the abyss…’
“The draft budget, proposed by Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble, foresees the highest deficit in Germany’s post-war history. Total expenditures for 2010 are expected to reach some 325 billion euros; 33 billion euros more than last year. The largest, single outlay at nearly 147 billion euros is earmarked for social services. Schaeuble warned that public spending would be cut in 2011 and said ‘grave decisions lie ahead’…
“Merkel said the goal of her government was to bring the economy ‘intelligently out of the slump’ and defended controversial tax cuts agreed on by her center-right coalition. The chancellor said she aimed to have the economy back to its pre-crisis growth levels by 2013.”
Chancellor Merkel’s choice of words (“falling into the abyss”) is quite remarkable in light of a prophecy in Revelation 9, stating that the ancient Roman Empire would be revived, under German leadership, by coming out of “the bottomless pit” (or “abyss” in Greek; compare the rendering in the New International Version; the Revised English Bible; and the New Jerusalem Bible, among others.).
“German Support Key to European Efforts in Middle East”
The Netzeitung wrote on January 18:
“Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a historic… joint cabinet meeting in Berlin with top ministers on Monday. The gathering of the two governments, the second ever after a similar meeting in Israel two years ago, will address urgent security issues such as Iran and underline the strong bond forged in the wake of the Holocaust. Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel were also to hold bilateral talks focused on efforts to revive Middle East peace talks…
“Media have widely reported that Israel has ordered a sixth Dolphin-class diesel submarine from Germany… The submarines are believed to have a range of 4,500 kilometres (2,800 miles) and the capacity to launch nuclear-capable cruise missiles…
“Germany is playing a leading role in efforts to broker a prisoner exchange between Israel and the Islamist Hamas movement for an Israeli soldier held by Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip since 2006…
“Meanwhile Avi Primor, the former Israeli ambassador to Berlin, on Monday called on Germany to back an international security force to ensure peace and stability in the Middle East… He said Germany would not necessarily have to send troops to the region, but that Berlin needed to take the political responsibility for its creation… [Primor] said German support was key to European efforts in the Middle East…”
Europe, under German leadership, will soon intervene in the Middle East to bring “peace” to that war-stricken region. However, this intervention will only lead to more war.
“Who Killed Masoud Ali Mohammadi?” — Terrorists “Above Iran’s Law”
Der Spiegel Online wrote on January 18:
“The recent assassination of physicist Masoud Ali Mohammadi in Tehran was baffling even by Iranian standards. The regime claims he was murdered by foreign agents, while some observers think he may have been killed to warn other opposition supporters. There is even speculation that Hezbollah was involved…
“The killing is one of the most puzzling in the history of the Islamic Republic of Iran, a country not exactly lacking in assassinations… Tehran… did everything it could to create the impression that foreign powers were behind the attack…
“It is certainly true that the Israeli government fears nothing more than nuclear weapons falling into the hands of a fanatical regime that threatens its existence… But why would agents have wanted to kill Mohammadi? His friend Shirzad says that he ‘cannot recall that he did any research on nuclear issues’…
“This suggests that the assassination could also have been meant as a warning to other people who were tempted to step out of line… A militant group from Lebanon… which maintains close ties to its fellow Shiites in Iran, has experience with the use of explosives to liquidate its enemies, namely Hezbollah, which, with Tehran’s help, has been fighting archenemy Israel for years from its base in southern Lebanon. Hezbollah members are also believed to be supporting the fanatics in Iran in their efforts to quell the ‘green rebellion’ in the streets of Iranian cities…
“Could the attack on the professor bear the signature of Hezbollah involvement, as members of the opposition speculate? On the other hand, Tehran’s intelligence agencies are very technically adept and could easily have built any type of bomb themselves… Whoever Tehran’s Chief Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi presents as the killer, he is highly unlikely to belong to Hezbollah or the government security apparatus. In Iran, the members of those organizations are considered to be above the law.”
A7-News reported on January 19:
“Evidence is mounting that Hizbullah may have been behind last week’s assassination of Professor Ali Mohammadi… Within a day of the assassination, Iran accused ‘Zionists’ and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of being responsible for the murder. The government on Monday warned it will take revenge against the two countries.
“An opposition group has claimed that a Hizbullah assassin was photographed at the scene of the bomb explosion and that Iran hired its ally Hizbullah to carry out the murder in order to scare opposition forces. A blogger associated with the opposition named the possible assassin as Abu Nasser Hossein, identifying him as a prominent Lebanese Hizbullah member who has been in Tehran and who has been involved in suppressing demonstrations…
“The bomb blast, a rarity in Tehran although not uncommon in outlying areas of Iran, was similar to the modus operandi of Hizbullah explosions in Lebanon.”
It appears very likely that Iran’s fanatic and totalitarian regime was behind this murder–either directly or through Hezbollah or Hizbullah–to intimidate opponents and to gain support from the Iranian people for military or terrorist actions against Israel and the USA. At the same time, any meaningful “sanctions” against Iran appear highly questionable, in light of the economic interests involved, as the next article shows.
One-Billion-Euro Deal Between Germany and Iran
AFP reported on January 20:
“Iran has signed a one-billion-euro (1.44-billion-dollar) deal with a German firm to build 100 gas turbo-compressors… The contract provides for the unnamed German firm to transfer the know-how to build, install and run the equipment needed to exploit and transport gas… The German company has already delivered 45 such turbo-compressors to Iran… Industry experts said [that the company is apparently]Siemens… But the National Iranian Gas Company… denied the signing of a deal.
“The reported 2010-2015 deal for material not under an international embargo comes as the Islamic republic faces the threat of new financial, technological and international trade sanctions over its disputed nuclear programme… Iran has the world’s second largest proven global gas reserves after Russia but so far has played only a minor role on the gas export market…
“The government daily Iran Daily said the contract was signed at the start of the week and would be a ‘relief for many German businesses that have long complained about restrictions on trade with Iran’ under sanctions. Germany and China are Iran’s top trading partner after the United Arab Emirates…”
Ongoing Violence in Afghanistan
Times On Line reported on January 18:
“Taleban militants struck in the heart of the Afghan capital today, launching suicide attacks on key government targets around Hamid Karzai’s presidential palace. Kabul’s streets were all but abandoned as traders fled their stalls amid fears of more spectacular attacks. Shops and banks closed early as smoke billowed across the city during a four-hour battle to restore order.
“At least ten people including seven insurgents and a child were killed and almost 40 people were injured when a Taleban suicide squad launched a series of coordinated attacks on the edge of the presidential palace, where more than a dozen new Cabinet ministers were being sworn in…
“A few hundred metres… away gunmen attacked the Ministry of Finance, the Ministry of Justice, the Afghanistan National Bank, a shopping centre and a cinema… A Taleban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahed said 20 suicide bombers had infiltrated the city. ‘This is the work of our Holy Warriors,’ he said…
“It was the biggest assault on the capital since October 28 when gunmen disguised as police officers stormed a guest house used by United Nations staff, killing at least 11 people including three UN employees. In February last year suicide squads stormed the Justice Ministry, while in January 2008 a similar tactic was used to overrun security guards outside the five star Serena hotel.”
German Media Comments on Terrorism in Afghanistan
On January 19, 2010, Der Spiegel Online published excerpts from the German press regarding the terrorist attack in Afghanistan:
“In its coverage, SPIEGEL ONLINE writes: ‘In the run-up to the Afghanistan conference in London, the attack is evidence of how vulnerable security is in the capital city. As much as politicians would like to discuss perspectives for a withdrawal in London, the Taliban (attack) clearly shows that this intent is hardly realistic right now. The security situation is too precarious…’
“The center-left Süddeutsche Zeitung writes: ‘The Taliban have shown once again that they can have a relatively large impact at relatively little cost. It took only 20 of its well-coordinated fighters to carry the war into the Afghan capital. The attack shows how terrorism can keep on harassing a society and curtailing its freedoms. It also shows how poorly prepared the Afghan security forces are to combat it. Kabul was paralyzed for five hours until the gunfire finally stopped. There was little coordination among the security forces, and a lot of confusion…’
“The conservative Die Welt writes: ‘…The goal is… to prove that Karzai’s government and its Western protectors are not even capable of protecting themselves. If they can’t do that, then how are they supposed to protect the average man, woman or young girl making her way to school?… If the insurgents can continue long enough to spark the rejection and protests of voters in Germany and elsewhere, then they will have won…’
“The left-leaning daily Die Tageszeitung writes: ‘The aim of the attack had less to do with military objectives and more with propaganda… The Taliban demonstrated that there can be no military security in Afghanistan. In the process, they wanted to show that US President Barack Obama’s strategy of a surge aimed at defeating the Taliban militarily cannot succeed. That will make it more difficult for other countries to increase their troop levels and increase pressure to reach a political solution based on the Taliban’s conditions, which include the withdrawal of all foreign troops.'”
Even though the German press wants to convince their readers that the war in Afghanistan must continue and troop withdrawals would be a mistake, the German public is increasingly opposed to Germany’s involvement. Now, the German Catholic and Protestant Churches have joined the opposition to the war, as the next article shows.
German Catholic and Protestant Churches Criticize Afghan War
The Netzeitung wrote on January 18:
“Germany’s Catholic bishops echoed Protestant criticism of the country’s military presence in Afghanistan…
“Munich Catholic Archbishop Reinhard Marx told broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk on Sunday that Margot Käßmann, head of Germany’s Protestant churches, had raised an important debate about the country’s role in Afghanistan. Käßmann has been the subject of intense criticism by politicians and the DBwV German Military Association after condemning the military operation in Afghanistan as immoral, but Marx told the station that the row was ‘long overdue.’
“And head of Germany’s Catholic Bishop’s Conference Robert Zollitsch called for a re-evaluation of military service in Afghanistan and ‘new decisions.’ On Monday the Protestant church umbrella organisation the EKD greeted this support from the Catholics… The debate over the morality of military service in the region expanded as more violence erupted there over the weekend.
“German soldiers opened fire on a car speeding towards a checkpoint in northern Afghanistan, killing an Afghan and wounding another, the military said Sunday… The shooting follows a similar incident on Friday in which German troops shot and injured another Afghan driver whom they said had been speeding towards a checkpoint.
“Germany has the third largest international contingent in the NATO force with about 4,300 troops, most of them in the north where security has deteriorated this year with a sharp rise in attacks on foreign forces.”
Pope Visits Rome’s Main Synagogue
AFP reported on January 17:
“The role of the Roman Catholic Church during the Holocaust hung over a landmark visit Sunday by Pope Benedict XVI to Rome’s main synagogue. ‘Unfortunately many remained indifferent’ as the Nazis slaughtered millions of Jews before and during World War II, the German-born pope said in a speech often punctuated by applause in the cavernous temple. But silence greeted his assertion that the Holy See ‘performed actions of support, often hidden and discreet’…
“The much-anticipated visit came barely a month after the pope angered many Jews by moving his wartime predecessor Pius XII, accused of inaction during the Holocaust, further on the road to sainthood. The Catholic Church has long argued that Pius XII, who was pope from 1939 to 1958, saved many Jews who were hidden away in religious institutions, and that his silence was born out of a wish to avoid aggravating their situation. Speaking before the pope, the head of Rome’s Jewish community demanded access to Vatican archives on Pius XII…
“Benedict’s visit, announced in October, appeared at risk of being cancelled amid howls of protest over a papal decree bestowing the title ‘venerable’ on Pius XII. Adding fuel to the fire, the head of the Roman Catholic Church on Friday urged Vatican doctrinal experts to speed rapprochement with a Catholic fraternity that includes a Holocaust-denying bishop, Richard Williamson… Israel’s ambassador to the Holy See attended but remarked that ‘Catholic anti-Judaism still exists.'”
The relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jews will not improve, but gradually deteriorate.