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In defence of Europe

Mark Mardell | 18:00 UK time, Thursday, 5 June 2008

German, French, Belgian and Spanish flags fly next to the European Union stars above the small compound, which is ringed with sandbags and razor wire. It is patrolled by soldiers with black rifles slung at their hips.

Military vehicles are packed tight by the large air-conditioned tents. Inside, men and women in a variety of camouflage stare at their computer screens and occasionally glance up at the large maps of an unfamiliar country.

Soldier at computer screenThe EU has deployed the 1,500-strong battlegroup to Vontinalys where, as you will know, the first ever free elections are threatened by the powerful local mafia and the pirates offshore, who grow bolder and more dangerous by the day.

Only this morning fighters were scrambled when a light aircraft intruded into EU military airspace. The plane was forced to the ground and two people have been arrested, but we don't yet know the nature of the threat.

What, you've never heard of Vontinalys? Don't bother Googling it. It's a country elaborately, even lovingly, imagined for the purpose of an EU war game.

War game mapBut the EU battlegroup is no work of fiction. At any one time there are two such rapid response groups on stand-by to go anywhere in the world for short missions, the military arm of the EU's foreign policy. Some see them as just the germ, just the beginning, of a European Army.

In July two new battlegroups will be on stand-by. This one is made up of Germans, French, Belgians, Spanish and medics from Luxembourg . The other is a solely British concern, with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers at its heart. One of my colleagues jokes it is, nevertheless, multi-national, made up of Scots, English and Welsh. Anglos, I supply, as well as Saxons.

The ministry of defence, rather more po-faced, says: "The EU Battlegroup initiative was driven by the UK, and we recognise that one of the positive aspects of the initiative is the chance to work with other countries on providing a rapid-response capability to the EU.

"Although the EU Battlegroup we are providing in 2008 is UK only, the 2010 UK-led EU Battlegroup is based on the UK/Netherlands Amphibious Landing Force and we are actively exploring multi-national options for future UK-led EU Battlegroups."Military helicopters on exercise

Sadly for those of us with TV cameras, there is no jumping out of helicopters, no tanks rolling across the plains, no rapid firing. The men and women inside the tents are staring at made-up maps on computer screens and ordering non-existent planes to take to the air. It is a test of their command operation, not the skills of troops.

We are actually on exercise in southern Germany, and by far the most exciting action was a helicopter ride, swooping low over farms and forests. Operation "European Endeavour" is designed to test out command abilities. Much of the language used in briefings wouldn't be out of place in the boardroom of a soft drinks manufacturer, or indeed the BBC. The Normandy landing is described as "an immense battle space management problem".

The battlegroups, never yet deployed in anger, have been going for four years now. But expect another big push by those who want something more.

Mark Mardell in helicopterSome of the impetus will come from the Lisbon Treaty, if it comes into force, and part from the French when they take over the EU presidency in July. The French White Book on defence is being kept under wraps, partly because President Sarkozy wants to announce it in a big speech on 17 June and partly so as not to frighten voters in Ireland, where neutrality is a touchy subject, ahead of the referendum..

But I'm told its heart will be:

A call for EU countries to spend more on defence, perhaps a specific proportion of GDP;

A proposal to beef up the rapid reaction forces, so they could operate in two or three areas of the world at the same time;

A call on countries to make available more aircraft for such operations;

A new headquarters, probably in Brussels, to control such operations.

Broadly the UK government will welcome measures that they see as practical and oppose those that are seen to duplicate Nato. But officially they won't comment until the proposals are made.

Sitting alongside his fellow senior officers from France, Spain and Belgium the German chief of staff, a small, tough and rather rumpled-looking man makes it clear such proposals must succeed.

German Chief of Staff Gen Wolfgang Schneiderhan"I am utterly convinced that the European Union has to develop its ability to react to military and civil crises. Working together with Nato we can improve the ability of both organisations to tackle the threats that face our world," says General Wolfgang Schneiderhan.

The big problem is finding countries that want to contribute - not ideas to a philosophical construct, but troops and helicopters to real missions where people could get killed. The Irish have a tradition of neutrality, as do the Scandinavian countries. The German parliament is very wary of operations that look more like war fighting than peacekeeping and the German public flinch if a single solider is killed. Poland is likely to help out, with its large and powerful military.

Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, the Polish MEP charged with producing a report on the future of EU foreign policy, wants the European Parliament to vote before soldiers go to war. He wants the EU to wave a bigger stick than it's got at the moment.

"I think we should continue to be a soft power, stabilising, peace-making, helping to construct," he says. "But we should start being a hard power as well, which means a common foreign and security policy including a European army. We are heading towards this goal by creating EU battlegroups and Eurocorps. But it should be further strengthened and increased and better financed."

I ask Liam Fox, the shadow UK defence spokesman, if further development of an EU military role, indeed a European army, is a bad thing . He says: "We have long accepted we have an EU military capability for when the United States couldn't or wouldn't act. But if you are talking about the development of a European force in competition to Nato that is very different."

Back at the operation among all the camouflage a silver-haired gentleman in a suit is talking in a rather upper-class British accent. I ask him what his job is. He's the political officer and his job is to give advice about how the operation is going down among the local population. But does he think the EU needs to develop this role?

"I would say that if the EU feels comfortable doing this it is another club in their golf bag. So if the countries of the EU are willing to do it in this setting and they are a bit more reluctant to do it under the Nato setting it's probably better that we do it, than worry about the packaging."

But doesn't it undermine Nato?

"Nato is big, old and ugly enough to cope with it. If you want something doing where a lot of furniture needs to be broken then you do need Nato. But not everything needs furniture to be broken and sometimes it's possible to do something with this sort of force at an early stage and before you need to break a lot of furniture."

On my helicopter ride back to Stuttgart I reflect that the military, the US, even the British Conservatives seem happy with not only EU battlegroups but movements towards something like a European Army, even though it seems a term out of the nightmares of those who fear a greater role for the EU. Does it make you shiver, or feel safer in your bed?


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  • 1. At 6:46pm on 05 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    I'm sure that European Army is perfectly capable of intervening in Vontinalys and overcome its local mafia.

    It's just European forces capability to intervening in them other countries and defeating their gangsters which makes me wonder.

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  • 2. At 6:50pm on 05 Jun 2008, chris smith wrote:

    you fight and die for your country not the EU no way i am fighing for them

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  • 3. At 6:56pm on 05 Jun 2008, mikewarsaw wrote:

    As long as a Euroforce is complementary to Nato and not in competition with it then that's OK. Nato waves a big stick. A Euroforce should handle smaller, more local needs.

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  • 4. At 7:14pm on 05 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Mark writes: "The French White Book on defence is being kept under wraps, partly because President Sarkozy wants to announce it in a big speech on 17 June and partly so as not to frighten voters in Ireland, where neutrality is a touchy subject, ahead of the referendum.."

    Another reason for the traditionally neutral Irish to reject the Lisbon Treaty.

    I'm sure that the Irish 'no' camp are aware of this typical slight of hand by the EU and are publicising it widely in Ireland.

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  • 5. At 7:18pm on 05 Jun 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    Forgive me if I am mistaken, but I thought there was a different aim at the heart of the two organisations. As that political officer said, Nato is a hammer swung by the west to hit nails; but as far as I am aware, the battle groups are small and extremely mobile, and meant to be deployed to prevent small situations exploding out of control. They were to be swiftly deployed to the scene of the incident, and then to seperate the two sides until everyone had calmed down. If this is the case, there is no real overlap of responsibility.

    As that stands, I think it is an excellent thing. I have no wish to imply anything about the American forces, but it would certainly appear that America itself is seen as somewhat of an inherent enemy to certain groups, and we know there have been some incidents concerning American troops mixing badly with a local populace. Perhaps a European, with a mix of languages and the experience of having to work in a multi-cultural environment might be better placed to mix with the population?

    All this begs the question of enlargement too, but I do not think that is the way war is going. Large standing armies are quickly becoming obsolete thanks to technological advances, and in my opinion small, dedicated, highly skilled battle groups with the most up-to-date technology are undoubtedly the way forward.

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  • 6. At 7:32pm on 05 Jun 2008, John Haynes wrote:

    Frankly, it is a totally pointless exercise, the Continental EU members have at least on the "Western side" of Europe, been too used to sheltering under the US umbrella. They neither spend enough on defence nor as Afghanistan demonstrates, are willing to deploy troops into war fighting situations.

    Those who have bravely, the Dutch and the Danes, are among the smaller EU countries, the larger ones like France, Germany, Italy and Spain, are next to useless militarily

    Exercises looking at computer screens seems about appropriate, keeps them employed I guess, the UK should keep a distance, our Forces are busy enough already. This initiative was part of Blair sucking up to Chirac if memory serves me well, a typically vainglorious stunt for both of them.

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  • 7. At 7:52pm on 05 Jun 2008, andfreedom wrote:

    The thought of an EU Army does not even register, how can you have a Political Union (even a trade bloc) without a means of protection, of resistance to external threats? Wars are already fought under the banner of NATO, why not the EU?

    The point that does worry me is the huge number of countries within the EU that have a history of "neutrality" (or turning a blind eye and pretending it isn't happening). If we are to have an EU Army it cannot, neigh SHOULD not, be the same old faces that are constantly present in current operations. An EU Army where only the UK, Germany, France, Poland and the Netherlands (and others) contribute is meaningless. If other nations within the EU are not willing to risk the lives of their citizens (their prerogative) for the greater security of the EU populous as a whole, then a fund (or something of the like) should be implemented to compensate those nations willing to contribute for the extra burden placed upon them. Even the most basic War Games (or Let's Get Better At Killing Weeks as they should be called) must cost a huge amount of money, and place an enormous burden on the Soldiers, Logistics Officers, and all others involved.

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  • 8. At 8:45pm on 05 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    My first thought was that it was a reference to the April Fools joke many years back about a small Surrey village declaring itself independent and being attacked by the UK army who were trying to defeat the rebels. It even had superb radio commentary I recall.

    Then I realised that this is more about an alternative to Nato since the French dropped out many years ago, no doubt the new EU rapid response force that Sarko is going to announce will be obliged to be equipped with French build munitions at vast overrunning cost, enough said I think.

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  • 9. At 9:17pm on 05 Jun 2008, yaasehshalom wrote:

    Nato needs to be disbanded and replaced with something that isn't led by the USA and its political interests.

    I'd be in favour of this - more in favour of it than I am of Nato anyway - but there are several problems with it

    1) It cannot work if all countries don't agree to it
    2) Not all EU countries have the same foreign policy - there are several "blocs" within the EU - there's us, who basically do everything America say, there's Germany and their links to France, and Germany's links to Russia ...
    There is the former Eastern Bloc ...

    There are countries like Ireland and Belgium which are traditionally neutral ...

    So it's going to be impractical

    3) Does anyone think that the EU, in its current form, is definitely going to last forever? It is undemocratic, and to a large extent unaccountable and unelectable. Is there not a way that this gradual centralisation of power by the EU while national (and regional/subnational - look at Spain, look at the UK ffs) governments still claim sovereignty, could lead to the dissolution of the EU or at worst a Balkans type scenario?

    I'm not scared of an EU superstate or anything like that, but I don't think something like this can actually work, and certainly not the way the EU is at the moment.

    4) How much power will the EU army actually have? Will it be paralysed by disagreements between EU nations as I mentioned above, or could the military power to match the economic power of the EU become a superpower to rival the USA? If so, I don't want any part of it, I think coutnries trying to be "stronger" and "more powerful" than other countries is part of what''s destroying our world ...

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  • 10. At 9:33pm on 05 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    I do not oppose a possible European Army as long it is complementary to NATO and our alliance with the United States of America.

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  • 11. At 10:29pm on 05 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    "I am utterly convinced that the European Union has to develop its ability to react to military and civil crises. Working together with Nato we can improve the ability of both organisations to tackle the threats that face our world," says General Wolfgang Schneiderhan.

    The biggest threat to face the UK is the "EU".

    We don't need the "EU" to defend us from something.

    We need something to defend us from the "EU".

    The "EU" is a dictatorship. The Lisbon treaty is being forced upon us unless the Irish save us.

    The way the Lisbon wotsit is being forced upon us is enough to justify describing the "EU" as a dictatorship.. No doubt there are other justifications, but we don't need them.

    Maybe the Irish don't want to save the Brits, but they will be saving everybody else in the "EU" if they vote no.

    "Does it make you shiver, or feel safer in your bed?" asks Mark.

    It makes me want to run out of Europe screaming!

    There should be no "EU" Army because the "EU" is not fit to command an army. Its finances are a mess. Its politics are a mess. Its morals are a mess. It has no right to exist.

    I have been told by British and German "EU" lovers that the UK does not have the right to leave the "EU" even if almost 100% of the population want to .

    I was living in Germany during the Falklands war. Hardly anybody was on the side of the Brits. Some thought the Argies should not have invaded but should not be resisted. Many thought they had every right to invade and that a geographic unity should be a political unity like Europe should be.

    UK watch out! Switzerland watch out!

    An "EU" army could become the SS of the "EU"-dictatorship.

    Which reminds me of the ex-SS man who repaired my telephone:

    Quote: "They always say such nasty things about us. They are always talking about a united Europe. That's all we wanted: a united Europe." Or something like that.

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  • 12. At 10:41pm on 05 Jun 2008, markaurelius wrote:

    While the ambition of a European is good, if only to fight for European values ahead of naked American aggression.

    However Europe is hindered by the lack of consensus.

    Who would intervene in Darfur ? Even the US doesn't get involved despite the presence of oil because they won't face up to the Chinese power.

    And didn't the Belgians suffer casulties at the start of the Rwanda genocide. Would Europe have a capability to strike back ?

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  • 13. At 11:00pm on 05 Jun 2008, Old-Man-Mike wrote:

    Excelent Blog

    Eoin_og sets the logic out very well. As the Chinese saying goes - A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

    The rational for NATO as a military force disapeared with the implotion of the CCCP (USSR) Slowly by surely, not this year, maybe not for 5 or ten years more with the United States tell Europe that they are big boys now. Looks to your own defence. We Cannot/willnot carry this military, political and economic burdan any longer.

    See it coming and be prepared.

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  • 14. At 11:03pm on 05 Jun 2008, vanwoof wrote:

    OK, I haven't heard of Vontinalys, but it does bear a rather striking resemblance to Nova Scotia, in Canada. Is this the EU's way of making some indirect comment about the nature of our Canadian democracy? ;)

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  • 15. At 11:15pm on 05 Jun 2008, steve_real wrote:

    there's too much going on now
    for very large nations within greater Europe to be miltarily sidelined
    because of internal policy constraints.

    I need all of Europe to be force equals
    what's so wrong with Equality anyways?

    right now we need ships
    to take on pirates in Africa.

    the German Navy is there
    yet their hands are tied
    I need more European force equality.

    take the safety
    off for once

    this is a good start
    but you need a total rework
    not just a whitewash friends


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  • 16. At 11:19pm on 05 Jun 2008, Pagliacci wrote:

    I think that having a "European Army" isn't such a bad thing in and of itself; NATO is a military alliance, whereas the European Union is a coherent political entity and bloc that should probably be able to defend itself as one, not having to rely on NATO/America or the EU's individual member states operating by themselves. So, with this view in mind, I support these battlegroups, and hopefully an expansion of them in the future.

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  • 17. At 11:20pm on 05 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    As soon as they have an agreement on the ERRF it won't matter if any member states are neutral or not.

    Especially when they appoint the unelected Commissioner in chief Jefery Archer to run the whole show. If he isn't arrested prior to the post becoming available...

    Or perhaps Sir Mark Thatcher could take the job... wouldn't want to waste all that experience flying sorties from South Africa into Equatorial Guinea... and not to forget the international rescue mission to air lift him out of the Sahara...

    By EU standards they are both infinately qualified...

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  • 18. At 11:38pm on 05 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    #11 Suffolkboy2,

    Like you I've been in Belgium and Germany and was in Belgium during the first gulf war when munitions were refused by the then government, partly since they had been involved in the building of Sadam's bunkers. Many people apologised to me for their government but they were mostly for some reason still supporting the Argentine in the finished Falklands war. What worries me most is the general presence of such selective support and if an EU force was ever to be deployed, boy oh boy will it be a problem. Add to that the presence of the French to whom organising a pi**-up in a brewery is too complicated, and whose most realistic achievement is 'yet another defeat pulled from the jaws of victory' and I'm afraid I cannot trust such a force.

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  • 19. At 11:42pm on 05 Jun 2008, greypolyglot wrote:

    Hm, maybe the answer is for the British Armed Forces to enlarge hugely by the enlistment of our youth who spend all their time either playing "shoot 'em up" games or shooting and stabbing each other for real and then to supply the entirety of the EU force as mercenaries paid for by all the other countries who don't really want to fight anyway.

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  • 20. At 02:23am on 06 Jun 2008, jon_toronto wrote:

    On paper, the only difference between an EU army and NATO is the absence of the US (Canada will willingly do whatever the Americans tell them to do; I know, I live there - however, they will convince themselves that they acting independently whilst doing so). I once read an article by a Telegraph columnist, who argued that both are silly because they are designed to protect W.Europe against the USSR, which no longer exists. Just look at the design of the Eurofighter. Perfect at evading Soviet radar, but surplus to requirements at bombing Indonesia or wherever. No, the important difference between the two is that the fundamentalist people in the US like to start wars, so alliance with these people is more of a liability for the Europeans than an asset.

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  • 21. At 03:33am on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    About a European army there is lot to say, as this project has been pushed for quite some time :

    1) NATO is a military alliance of the past.
    As much as it is important for European countries to redefine the terms and objectives of their alliance with North America, present-day NATO is a) a political tool used by the US to play "divide and rule" in Europe by antagonizing Russia purposefully and b) a tool box used to subisidize US military industries (requirement for interoperarability)

    2) An European Army has essentially nothing to do with NATO, but it is not meant to be a counterpoint to the US. Rather it is meant to rationalize European armies capabilities progressively.
    This would allow a greater operationability of European armed forces (2nd in size after China).

    3) Because of fears that this is used as a trojan horse against US influence in Europe, operational battlegrounds and a rapid reaction force (of up to 50k troops) have been designed to act as support or complementary to NATO forces, in operations where NATO is neither necessary nor desired, until such tile that those fears have been calmed down.

    4) European military industries are not just French. Most countries (even neutral ones like Switzerland or Austria) have such ones.
    An integrated industrial complex will take a lot of time, but the most difficult task will be the integration of an europan defense policy.
    That will require a more rationale positionning of troops, capabilities and bases (ie : closing national bases that are duplicate to other national bases).
    All of which will require lot of political leadership, but will also save a lot of money in operating costs, while freeing more capabilities (troops and hardware).

    5) Any of this is so sensitive to national sentiments that it will be done progressively so as to prove it's nothing dangerous, but on the contrary very common sense and taxpayer-wise.
    The only things that could add pressure for this to hasten are a) foreign invasion (barely imaginable, even russian one) and b) unravelling of NATO due to US hubris (increasing aggressive pressures on Russia, recklessly using NATO for military aventurism, debasing it by transforming it into a "League of Democracy" ...)

    In any case, a country has to be able to defend itself or be a servant to a greater power.
    If Europeans want some freedom to act for themselves, they have to wake up to the fact that they have to defend themselves.
    The US was never in Europe for Europe's sake but as a first line of defense for US soil in case of a war with the USSR (Europeans were barely more than proxies).
    And since the end of the Cold War, the US has willingly refused to disband/renegotiate NATO or to integrate Russia in it for no other reasons than its own misguided national interests (hegemon power using "divide and rule" realpolitik).

    The same way you don't like to depend on Russia for gaz, it makes no sense to depend on the US for security. That still doens't mean you have to be confrontational, you just have to renegotiate the terms of your alliances.

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  • 22. At 05:14am on 06 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 23. At 05:41am on 06 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    On second thoughts , maybe the EU does need an army !
    To defend the EU Commission , European Parliament and gravytrain bureaucrats , from the uprising of maybe nearly 2,500,000 Eurosceptics , believers in National Sovereignty , who are the enemy within ; who would delight in destroying the dictatorship and federal state of Europe .

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  • 24. At 06:17am on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    To Huaimek, here comes another conspiracy freak.

    A federation (Latin: foedus, covenant) is a union comprising a number of partially self-governing states or regions united by a central ("federal") government. In a federation, the self-governing status of the component states is typically constitutionally entrenched and may not be altered by a unilateral decision of the central government.

    Now, try to explain how a federation/federal government can truly be a dictatorship ? because it would supersede national sovereignty ? Then I guess it means that any government is dictatorial in nature because it supersede any individual freedoms.

    Do you truly believe your government to be a dictature ? try to be honest if you can ...

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  • 25. At 07:43am on 06 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    What do staff officers of mighty European Army do when they defeat their enemies once more?

    They switch off their PlayStations and go to bed.

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  • 26. At 07:50am on 06 Jun 2008, paulnw2 wrote:

    An EU army will never be effective, just like UN 'peacekeeping' missions. There are too many diverging national/political interests at stake.
    For example, imagine that the conflict in Yugoslavia hadn't happened yet, but did in a few years time. Would the EU be able to agree a war-fighting, as opposed to 'peace-keeping' mission to save the Bosnian Muslims from slaughter? Never. Europe did nothing and it took the Americans to step in hard before the fighting stopped.

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  • 27. At 07:54am on 06 Jun 2008, BernardVC wrote:

    Belgium hasn't been neutral since WW2.
    Neutrality was killed of when Hitler invaded 10 May 1940.

    The Irish and Skandies with their so-called neutrality are the worst kind of hypocrites though, worse even than most european countries.

    Whereas most european countries are part of NATO and at least try do just a bit more than free-riding on the US for their defence (see Cold War), the Irish and the Swedish (the Fins were neutral in the Soviet camp duing the Cold War) don't even have the guts to accept that they a) are freeriding and b) will be defended by NATO/US/EU in case of war. Even more, if these nations were really neutral, then what are they doing in the EU and other international organisations (like the UN) in the first place?

    And the anti-EU crap that's being spouted here is typical in it's hyperbole and ignorance.

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  • 28. At 08:31am on 06 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    To Starbuck11.

    You give a studied definition of a Federation , which is how the megalithic political organisation at Brussels would like to see itself . The Constitution was rejected by France and the Netherlands .

    The EU likes to call itself a democracy .
    " Government of the people , By the people , For the people "
    Many people across Europe feel that they are not represented or heard ; despite there being a European parliament of failed politicians and people whose previous political experience may have been at local government level , if any .

    We see The EU Commission dictating to Sovereign Governments , rules , regulations , laws ; which we the people do not like or wish to accept .

    I do see The British Government to be a dictature in some respects .
    Namely with regard to The Lisbon Treaty , which British People would like to vote for or against at a Referendum .
    Our Government is under pressure from the European super state not to hold a referendum , which might scupper there political ambitions yet again .

    In my earlier comment , I should have ommitted the word " Federal ", as a word of which I do not sufficiently know the full definition .

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  • 29. At 08:42am on 06 Jun 2008, Gruenebaum1 wrote:

    We all know that NATO was there to keep the Americans in, the Russians out and the Germans down.

    Now that the US cannot even win a war in a rather small mid-eastern country and the cold war is over, it's time for Europe to rethink its defence.

    I am afraid that the UK won't be of much use, given the "us and them" mindset. Even the BBC seems to have difficulties closing the WWI chapter.

    Mark, you surely get around in Europe and for me this is the reason for your excellent reporting (your predecessors never ventured far from the Irish pubs in the European quarter in Brussels and seemed to have talked to the barmaid only most of the time).

    But now you should rush back: Tory MEPs are found to steal big from the European taxpayer. That's a story that should get full attention in the UK.

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  • 30. At 08:43am on 06 Jun 2008, WernerR11 wrote:

    I'm for a EU defence, but not before it is clear what this will involve.
    First, if we go ahead with such plans , which will be very costly, it should be serious, so there must be ground rules.
    -The primary objective of an EU army must be the obvious: defend EU soil. This means
    things like Perehil(Spain-Morocco) , the Falklands is the job of the EU army to defend.
    Turkish-occupied Cyprus is also the EU's army job to recapture, because it is EU soil occupied by a third country's military. It would be silly to have an army to send abroad and not interested in defending EU soil against foreign troops.

    Are the member states clear what they need the army for? If not, there is no point in discussing any further
    -The second point that must be clarified
    is the rules of engagement in missions abroad. Like Afghanistan, or possibly Iran.
    If we go in, this should be done with the consent of the EU population and with clear objectives. Can we trust someone to take these decisions? I do not think Solana is that person.
    -Last, to fight together, Eu citizens must feel as one nation. Which means Poland's concerns will be british concerns too. I do not think we are there yet.
    So, yes, EU defence may be a good idea, but only if we are clear what we have in mind. Hiding the problems under the rug and keeping things fuzzy has never been sound policy.

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  • 31. At 08:58am on 06 Jun 2008, Fluffy Thoughts wrote:


    Spending 6% of GDP on defence, and having "political officers" appointed to the EURO-Wehrmacht! EUSSR indeed...! :(

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  • 32. At 08:58am on 06 Jun 2008, aaron_wa_state wrote:

    As an American I feel like I need to comment on some of the statements that were made by other posters. From my point of view a greater E.U. military force is necessary for Europe. There has been a lot negative things said about NATO and U.S. foreign policy in general. Now given not all of these comments are without merit. I too disagree with many things that the U.S. has done in recent years and I'm not going to sit here and give the same patriotic diatribe that other U.S. posters often give. However, with that said the constant anti US sentiment has gotten quite ridiculous. It is possible that the U.S. supports a broader E.U. military role because its in Europe's best interests. The cost of Nato on the U.S. taxpayer and public in general has been quite great. The U.S. knows that it does not face the same threats and that having a strong presence in Europe means much less to our national interests than it did before the fall of the USSR. So I really think that Europeans need to stop acting like their doing Nato a favor(when in all reality they have been nursing off of Nato for years) and start looking at ways to create their own national defense strategy.

    P.S. Personally as an American I really don't like the idea of my countrymen shedding blood for nations that refuse to even pick sides in issues that effect their own national interests.

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  • 33. At 09:01am on 06 Jun 2008, Fluffy Thoughts wrote:


    "Even the BBC seems to have difficulties closing the WWI chapter."

    Get over it. We respect all veterans, regardless of side. Well, all except those who were true believers of dictatorship.

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  • 34. At 09:22am on 06 Jun 2008, Ticape wrote:

    I, for one, sleep better at night because America is playing and waving with their big stick.

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  • 35. At 09:33am on 06 Jun 2008, G-in-Belgium wrote:

    Gosh, the psychoneurotic club seems to be swelling...

    I like see our military co-operating, and trying new ideas. It may well fall flat on it's face, but at least I'm happy that those deciding realise that in Europe, imperialism is a thing of the past (apart from in a few contributors heads).

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  • 36. At 09:34am on 06 Jun 2008, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:

    About time [some] Europeans countries started spending more for their own defense. At 6% GDP from each EU state, this hypothetical EU military would give the United States a run for its money--though hopefully the American and European militaries would still be allies and not rivals.

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  • 37. At 09:59am on 06 Jun 2008, wilsonjames wrote:

    I wouldn't hold your breathe AnonymousCalifornian. Some of the more rabid Europhiles would rather chew their own fingers off then agree with, or side with America. And they have the gall to call anyone from the UK who has doubts about the EU a xenophobe!!

    And Gruenebaum1, er, surely and 'us and them' mindset is the point in a war-type situation? You're not French are you, 'cause that would explain it?

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  • 38. At 10:18am on 06 Jun 2008, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:


    Do you have to insult the United States in EVERY SINGLE ONE of your posts?

    What happened to you to make you so spiteful that you have some compulsion to rip into the USA or its people so frequently, even when the topic isn't American related?

    Is it because *some* Britons are fonder of the United States than the European Union? If so, that's pretty petty.

    a) That's not the United States' fault.
    b) Britons can choose the countries/unions toward which they are affectionate.
    c) If the EU wants all Britons to love their Union (many already do), then they'll have to earn that love, not point out why the supposed rival is so bad.

    NATO was *formed* to keep the Soviets out of Western Europe and to keep Germany down--it was seven measly years after Germany murdered millions of civilians across Europe and subjugated much of Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Central Europe, and France (and North Africa). If you were in charge, wouldn't *you* want to keep Germany down? And in any case, West Germany was soon admitted into NATO a few years later--DUE TO AMERICAN SUPPORT AND OVER THE OPPOSITION OF MANY WESTERN EUROPEAN COUNTRIES. NATO *was born* in part to prevent Germany from becoming a murderous country, but for the bulk of its 'life,' NATO definitely hasn't had the suppression of Germany as a major goal.

    As for the keeping-Americans-in part, NATO wasn't necessary. The United States is still 'in' Japan and South Korea without there being an NPTO (North Pacific Treaty Organization). The United States was trying to contain the Soviet Union, and for that, the United States would try to have a presence in Western Europe--with or without a NATO.

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  • 39. At 10:27am on 06 Jun 2008, Richard196 wrote:

    NIce idea, but like everythig nto do with the EU it will cost loads, have no real bite and will just dissapear under seas of paperwork will businessmen get rich....

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  • 40. At 10:36am on 06 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    G-in-Belgium @35 wrote: "I'm happy that those deciding realise that in Europe, imperialism is a thing of the past".

    Really? What then, are the aspirations of the EU if not for Empire?

    Funnily enough, the EU reminds me most of the House of Hapsburg: even its motto - Tu, felix Austria, nube ('Let others wage wars, but you, happy Austria, shall marry') - is appropriate (though with generous subsidies, 'regional development funds' and CAP replacing dowries).

    A EU army is surely, therefore, unnecessary. Make strudel, not war.

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  • 41. At 10:37am on 06 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    This European army (an embryo as Mardell well described) will enjoy from more popular support than Nato do at least in continental Europe.

    EU has built herself as a soft power, adopting a defensive and peace-keeping role around the world.

    It's not an easy task to agree a common foreign policy or Europe, since this continent has modelled the rest of the world through the history. But it isn't impossible once we realize that international game of influence is played by major actors, and not by middle-sized powers.

    As to Malvinas war, more than 25 years ago, Spain favoured a peace accord between UK and Argentina. So UK received help from her allies even in that early stage of the EU (ECC then).

    Finally, Parsley (Perejil) island is just a tiny deserted island and it's not a subject of dispute anymore between Spain and Morocco. Moroccan army briefly invaded Parsley as a way to protest against the anti-Moroccan and anti-Arab policy by the Spanish PM Aznar, happily out of power nowadays.

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  • 42. At 10:40am on 06 Jun 2008, franjohn wrote:

    An EU army would be quite unique if previous and current performance of our European "Partners?" is considered. We would have the French and Italians providing refreshments, Spanish and Germans in charge of entertainment leaving the British and Poles to do the fighting. This may appear very cynical but what is happening in current conflagrations inspres little confidence. (I have not mentioned the Belgiums as I am not sure just what they could do!)

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  • 43. At 10:46am on 06 Jun 2008, Arnie_Aardvark wrote:

    Ah it looks as if Gordon Brown will be needing a visit to his proctologist, urgently! He would appear to have been well and truly shafted by his French counterpart. If Gordon has to increase the defence budget to 6% GDP that equates to £100 billion compared to the £40 billion or 2.4% now, this will necessitate massive cutbacks in spending in other areas, health, education, welfare etc. Oh and don't be surprised when then full details come out to find they also will include 2 years compulsory military service in the EU army for those between the ages of 18 and 30.
    In these EU plans I don't see any plan to increase EU spending on defence which would mean cutting the CAP budget, it all appears to be loade on to individual countries.
    By the way you wont be able to object to these plans EU countries have signed away their sovereignty to the EU in the Lisbon treaty.

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  • 44. At 10:50am on 06 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To AnonymousCalifornian (36):

    Why should European countries spend more on defense? At the moment there are no adversaries that would threaten Europe with an invasion or attack. The current spending levels are enough for Europe to defend against any of its neighbors and neighboring regions so why spend more on defense?

    In the future as Russia and other powers grow more, it might be a good idea for European countries to spend more on defense, but even in that case it would be from 2- 3% of GDP. You only use 6% of your GDP on defense if you think that defensing your country starts 10000km away in some Umztanista where you are spreading democracy, peace and market economy to uncivilized natives. I think Europe tried that and there are many memorials in different capitals commemorating this. I think we should pass this round thank you very much.

    To BernandVC (27):

    What free riding are neutral countries doing? Nordic countries spend quite much to defense when you take in account the compulsory conscription for all males. Have you been in the army? Do you know how to handle a weapon? Nordic countries are neutral because of their geography as in Russia is next to us and always will be next to us. To this date it has been seen better to keep up credible defense and to be tied politically and economically to west, but still keep friendly relationship to Russia.

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  • 45. At 10:58am on 06 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 46. At 11:05am on 06 Jun 2008, RCalvo wrote:


    What in Gruenebaums post angers you so much? The snide reference to Iraq? That's a statement of fact, unpleasant as it may be. Or is it the "Americans in, Russians out, Germans down" line? That's a famous quote from a rather unimpeachable source: Lord Ismay, NATO's first secretary general. If he didn't know what NATO is about, I don't know who does...

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  • 47. At 11:18am on 06 Jun 2008, News All Stars wrote:

    So can anyone tell me what's wrong with NATO these days?

    Why do we need another armed force in Europe?

    Isn't this just another waste of tax payers money from European countries?

    Look how many countries have resisted making contributions over the last few years, in particular France! In the end, the same few countries would do the actual fighting, whilst the others offered verbal support or quite possibly nothing at all if they didn't agree with the actions being taken.

    Look how long it takes the EU to decide to do anything now, any need for fighting or peacekeeping would probably have passed before they even make a decision!

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  • 48. At 11:19am on 06 Jun 2008, G-in-Belgium wrote:


    Shame, as I've always put my faith in "Strength Through Unity" (Belgian motto, funnily enough, though it's sometimes hard to believe). I don't think the EU wants to be a "military command", and firmly trust it to be more on the lines of supranationalism. I may be wrong and maybe it's all a huge conspiracy and soon we'll all be part of the Matrix. Let's just hope Keanu Reeves believes in reincarnation.

    I'm all for Strudel though.

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  • 49. At 11:23am on 06 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    OK, Moderato .... you're right: My answer to Franjon @42 suggesting what the Belgians could do was below the belt... literally.

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  • 50. At 12:02pm on 06 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I'm glad to see Europe can now defend itself. As an American taxpayer, I'd love to see the US pull out of NATO and Europe. The money could be far better spent at home for say paying for medical care.

    Frankly, in the fictitious battle between the fictitious European Rapid Reaction Force and the Fictitious mafia and pirates of Vontinalys, I put my money on the Vontinalysians. Who is Europe kidding, it can't even manage a handful of drunk British soccer hooligans.

    With the US gone from NATO, the EU would have to find other ways to deal with the military situations it can't possibly deal with. It could negotiate, after all if there is one thing Europe is famous for it is talk. In fact, Europe produces more of it I think than the rest of the world combined. If that doesn't work, it could take a vote. Failing all else, it could do what it did in the crisis in Kosovo (and in World War II), it could go to the US and beg. Now there's a good doggie.

    I'd like to see how the already fragile economies of Europe would fare if they had to pay for their own defense instead of relying on the Amrican taxpayer under the pretense of an alliance. Some alliance, it's strictly a one way affair. Perhaps they'd be a little less smug about the world and the limitations of government resources to solve all problems for all people if they had to be completely self reliant. Yes, I am certain that the Vontinalysians would win....without even a shot being fired. The only war Europeans wold ever have a chance at winning is a war of words.

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  • 51. At 12:03pm on 06 Jun 2008, Mega-King wrote:

    In the long run it would mean a closer Europe with stronger economic ties as European arms and aviation manufacturers vie for EU contracts.
    Europe should work as a team. We are too small a continent to be squabbling and working against each other. The USA is strong, and with China and India now taking their place at the world stage, Europe needs to step up aswell, and we can't do that individually. We must work as a team to ensure we are not stepped over or sidelined to a 2nd rate status.
    If one of the ways that we as Europeans can show that we are here and willing to take an active role in the world, independent from the USA is by creating a continental military force then so be it.

    The UK should be one of the main players in Europe, and should stop attempting to be a world player as it is naive and fruitless.

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  • 52. At 12:57pm on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    Thanks MarcuAurelius for that classic pseudo military macho tirade about the US and NATO.
    The reality is that the US want to keep NATO in Europe, not for Europe self-interest but for the US goal of global leadership.
    NATO is good for US weapon sales and is good to anchor US influence in Europe.

    There is no "security" vacuum in Europe, with or without NATO, but there are challenges like the Balkans or criminality (terrorism is included in that definition). No ex-Youguslavia states posed any invading threats to any EU countries, but armed militia and mafias did/do represent a threat to trade and stability.
    But you don't fight crime with a battalion of Leclerc or Leopard. Even counter-insurgency or specop missions require more flexible (and smaller) units.
    And btw, though I strongly support the right of individuals to self-determination, the Bush administration inflexible position has been hugely detrimental to the negotiations over Kosovo. The Russians didn't help, but they were never expected to, they always were in for the spoils.

    As for Europe "weakening" economies, I'm not sure you really awakened to some harsh realities ... but otherwise quite good from a "rest of the world" perspective.

    If the US want to spend 6% of GDP playing the new imperialists, I can only wish them bad luck. Coz that's what they'll deserve for playing with other people lives for the sake of their egos.

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  • 53. At 1:11pm on 06 Jun 2008, Freeborn John wrote:

    There is clearly a long-held ambition in Paris to decouple the defence of Europe from the Americans. For several decades they proposed a Western European Union (WEU) as the vehicle to achieve this goal, but so long as the threat from the USSR remained a real one, NATO remained an essential institution. As some pro-EU commentators here have mentioned the threat from Russia is now diminished and I believe this (together with the upcoming French presidency of the EU) is what allows speculation about an EU defence now even when it must be clear to all that this would be a far weaker and less credible defence than that provided by NATO.

    The WEU went nowhere for 40 years as should this latest French plan. The UK should never get itself into the position of providing EU defence guarantees to Continental countries outside the context of NATO. We have never been a land power and I see no reason why any guarantees we provide now would be any more credible than that we provided to Poland in 1939. Without the USA the UK would be almost alone in providing effective capability, but on a smaller scale. We would not be receiving anything of remotely comparable value from EU partners that either lack effective military capability or have simply never proven their reliability in times of crisis in the way the Americans have.

    The future direction of the Americans should also be taken into account. Senators McCain and Obama are promoting similar concepts of a new international organisation that one calls a ‘League of Democracies’ and the other a ‘Concert of Democracies’. The idea is essentially for an UN-lite organisation consisting of perhaps up to 60 democracies intended to enforce the peace when the UN cannot reach agreement. This idea (which is essentially identical to Kant’s ‘League of Peace’) has several great advantages over the French plans, being backed up by greater military capability, capable of reaching out to the actual trouble spots in the world (which are largely outside or Europe), and being intended to unify the West rather than split it.

    I would personally prefer to see a more exclusive body than McCain envisages, e.g. formed by NATO evolving to take in English-speaking countries in the Pacific and other reliable partners such as Japan, S. Korea, etc. and perhaps keeping some of the less reliable or capable Continental countries out of veto-wielding positions in its unified command. This might grow to provide more than just a defence and foreign policy setting role, e.g. to offer EU-like rights for the free movement of workers between its members worldwide.

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  • 54. At 1:13pm on 06 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    "We would have the French and Italians providing refreshments, Spanish and Germans in charge of entertainment leaving the British and Poles to do the fighting." [#42]

    Isn't it almost exactly what we, North Americans, see in Afghanistan?

    "I'm all for Strudel though." [#48]

    Those who opt for strudel usually end up eating sauerkraut.

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  • 55. At 1:32pm on 06 Jun 2008, BewilderBabe wrote:

    It's a long way from the idea of an economic union, isn't it... I don't like the sound of it.

    Some of the comments suggest Euro Army should replace NATO, others say it mustn't. So we might have NATO, Euro Army, then there is the UN peacekeeping force too. Talk about potential confusion for who should be doing what.

    I think Euro Army will be big waste of money. British Army badly paid and underequipped, how will UK be able to afford to be in Euro Army as well?

    Why do we need it? What is the threat?

    Plus, guaranteed to provoke the Russians surely?

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  • 56. At 1:39pm on 06 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Mega-King @51, "2nd rate status" is a bit ambitious. With the exception of the British (and possibly the French on a good day - if they're not on strike ;-), EU armed forces are barely 3rd rate. None of them would last a week a serious army (like, say, Turkey's or Iran's) or even a determined militia such as the Horrid Hezbollah.

    All the political posing in the world will not achieve anything if EU member states are not willing to - at least - triple spending on defence; and to play hardball with the new manpower and toys they acquire (and this goes for the UK too - hearing about our 'sailors' weeping 'cos the nasty Iranians confiscated their iPods was the most embarrassing thing I've ever experienced).

    If European countries would rather spend their budgets on their welfare states and CAP then that is their right. But they can't have it both ways.

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  • 57. At 2:02pm on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    Freeborn-John a "league of Democracies" as spelled out by the neco-con advisers of Mccain is a non-starter for several reasons.

    First it doesn't acknowledge the loss of influence of the US worldwide.
    Iraq and WOT (Guantanamo, CIA rendition as examples of double-standards) aren't just the ones. The unilateralism of the US government (shared on both side), the lack of interest in genuine multilateralism, the weakening of the US economy and the lack of leadership abilities (US concerns are not the concerns of the rest of world : poverty, climate change, trade are what matters, not WOT) all devalue US power.

    Secondly, it assumes that the variable definition by an exclusive Washington beltway of whose country is a democracy or not, is sufficient to mean they would automatically side with the US, notwithstanding the permanent interests of those countries (India and South Africa, mentionned as recruits by the legue proponent, do beg to differ on aligning their policies to the US).

    Third, do you really believe that a "League of Democracy" with the express purposes of being a more aggressive/exclusive tool than NATO already is, is going to get the favors/cooperation of countries like Russia, China or even India on a range of issues that cut straight to their beloved notion of sovereignty (ring any bells Mr UK-do-it-alone ?) ? Because if so, then you should get a walk outside the real world : regional democracies are already cutting deals with those powers, in order to enlist their cooperation in stabilising and enhancing their prospects, not against the US, but in competition to the US. The US being mostly watching on the sidelines atm.
    I re-phrase, small and medium-size powers are not interested in a League, they are interested in playing the bigger powers one against the others. They are hedging their bets and getting the best deal as suit their needs in a specific time. the US pre-Iraq war allies cherrypicking if you want, but the other way around and with no permanent basis.

    Fourth, if a pacifist constitution like the Japanese is what you call a "reliable" partner in a military coalition, then you are more of a fool than I thought. Unless ofc, you were looking for more blue helmets.
    Basically, South Koreans have no interests in military adventures either.
    And both are very much looking for a much brighter partnership with China.

    Fifth, if you believe that the UK has no Continental interests then if you may have misread your country's history. The UK might be an island, but controlling the waves doesn't help her in preventing wars (Brendan Simms, Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714–1783)

    Finally, even McCain has started to tone down rhetoric about the "League" ... pundits and advisors the sort of Krauthammer, Kristol and Kagan are not the best for the US to regain some leadership, quite the contrary.

    Best regards,

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  • 58. At 2:18pm on 06 Jun 2008, G-in-Belgium wrote:


    That's OK, I like a good choucroute garnie.

    As long as I don't have to put up with ultra-nationalism, xenophobia and people getting all uppity and defensive about their geopolitcal unit...

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  • 59. At 2:52pm on 06 Jun 2008, finbinfin wrote:


    If any EU country suffered a full scale invasion, it would be national armies of EU member states and other NATO forces (ie America) that would repel the invaders. And national armies would deal with lesser threats to the territorial integrity of their borders (even the 'neutral' countries have forces to do this!).

    So then, the Rapid Reaction Battlegroups are for dealing with small scale conflicts outside the EU? Apart from a handful of African countries, the only realistic theatre for them must surely be the Balkans. But what if Croatia, Bosnia and even Serbia join the EU and then descend into ethnic conflict once more? We would then have a multinational EU force engaged INSIDE the EU.

    With this precedent set, would the EU ultimately use physical force on non-complant member states or on countries that block ratification of new treaties? No wonder Ireland is worried!

    I know that is a ridiculous bit of futurology, but there IS something here that reminds me of the run up to the English Civil War- that is, once you establish an EU Army (to crush an Irish rebellion?!), who controls it?

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  • 60. At 3:15pm on 06 Jun 2008, EthanThorn wrote:

    Good article, as for my part, as an American i would have to say that i actually favor a disbandment of NATO. It's simply outdated today, and as someone else mentioned, it's origins aren't as noble as many think, but initiated out of self-serving reasons, primarily to bog down the USSR in Europe if war ever broke out. I'm proud of my country, but I'm not so foolish as to believe that we don't make mistakes, and clearly we do (Iraq). An EU Army would in the end would serve European interests. Could go on, but it looks like Starbuck11 pretty much covered what i wanted to say in a much more eloquent and logical manner!

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  • 61. At 4:25pm on 06 Jun 2008, AnonymousCalifornian wrote:


    Will agree with you that 6% is a tad high (the United States spends around 4% of GDP on the military--excluding special funds for Iraq and Afghanistan).

    That stated, all countries should have the capability to defend their nation when necessary. You might not discern any major threat to your country today, but tomorrow (theoretically, literally tomorrow) that could change. You have to prepare for unseen military threats the same way you have to prepare for a natural calamity.

    As is, many European countries rely too much on the United States--which basically translates into American taxpayers subsidizing European defense. For instance, Iceland (not an EU country, but still) doesn't even have a military of its own. The United States provides military protection. Ireland is similar, though not as extreme.

    From a European point of view, you shouldn't trust others (Americans) with your safety. From an American point of view, Americans shouldn't be paying to defend foreigners, especially foreigners who can afford to pay for their own defense.

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  • 62. At 4:27pm on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    An interesting article about the differences of views and objectives on NATO purpose (and European Defence thereof :))

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  • 63. At 4:34pm on 06 Jun 2008, Joshua Scarlett wrote:

    I think in theory, A European Force is an excellent idea for international operations. But why should EU nations have to bulk up their defence expenditure, when it could be concentrated on more pressing issues.

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  • 64. At 4:51pm on 06 Jun 2008, Freeborn John wrote:

    Starbuck11: An EU-sceptic can support NATO but not an EU army on the grounds that NATO's defence of Europe, by including the North Americans, is a much more credible and effective one. On the other hand, an EU supporter who opposes NATO despite the reduction in effective security must either be logically inconsistent in their support of collective international action, or have some baser motivation to explain their opposition to institutions which include the USA.

    Your diatribes here clarify that your support for the EU is at bottom motivated by anti-Americanism. I hope therefore that we will not be seeing more pious posts from you (such as #24, etc.) proclaiming the virtues of the multi-national federation over the nation state when you have come out so strongly against McCain's "League of Democracies" and Obama's "Concert of Democracies".

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  • 65. At 5:15pm on 06 Jun 2008, Gheryando wrote:

    Yes, I support an EU army. The Battlegroups are great.

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  • 66. At 6:13pm on 06 Jun 2008, lordBeddGelert wrote:

    This sort of EU 'scope-creep' needs to have the kibosh put on it pronto.

    Apart from being another 'Step to a Superstate', the EU Force would be totally useless, as they simply couldn't agree on anything, let organise an orgy in a brothel.

    But it keeps armies of eurocrats in a job trying to pretend they've got some work to do.

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  • 67. At 6:17pm on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    Freeborn-John, you keep amazing me at how misled you are willing to be, and as to how misleading you are willing to appear.

    Criticizing NATO is no proof of anti-americanism per se, as support for collective European Defense is proof of Europhilia. It is a statement of basic realpolitik.
    Are you going to paint Americans who think NATO should be disbanded as anti-american ? For one thing I'm pretty sure, is the sincerity MarcusAureliusII is(and others), when he professed his patriotism.

    That doesn't mean I got to agree with him.
    You may brand me anti-american because I wished ill will to the US, if they wanted to keep running amok with foreign military adventures. Frankly, that's really the worst I can wish them, as the consequences of such policies would be more than dire for many more people than just US citizens.
    That wouldn't be very christian either.
    Yet how many pastors and columnists have claimed divine retribution on the United States because of some US citizen or US organization acting in ways they oppose ? Are you also, you a Brit, going to call them traitors or anti-american ?

    Really, that would be the worst nationalistic way to stiffle debates and silence criticisms.

    My support for the EU has nothing to do with anything that is not european. It comes from a deep sense that european communities have a historic opportunity to build a shared future rather than rely on the past structures (nations, states), that times and again have proved misguided.
    By sharing sovereignty, we are actually giving a say to our neighbours to stop being frightened by the unknowns of what we might do or might not do.
    By building a common space of prosperity, we are giving each other a shared interests in our well-being

    If that perennial mistrust and jealously between european nations can progressively be abolished, that will truly be a monumental HUMANIST achievement.

    I'm not sure our North American cousins (culturally and historically) can really grasp the heritage of 2000 years of imperialist wars, religious conflicts and ideological arrogances, that is both our glory and our shame as Europeans.
    They had their share of losses and conflicts, but no offense meant, your country has never been really subdued. Being defeated is not an act of cowardice or incompetence, but a fact of History. the big H.
    And I'm not talking just 20th century, which is a footnote in European history. I'm talking 2000+ years of European brutalities to find a relative haven for prosperity.

    Today nation-states are not capable of evolving toward this future. They are fully capable of defending their citizen interests, but in essence they are surviving, not developping.
    They can only further the narrow goal of their constituents instead of the greater common interest.

    Maybe, it'll just be a dream in the end, but I clearly think the EU has better prospect for ensuring the welfare and the interests of european citizens than individualistic national states.

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  • 68. At 6:22pm on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    as to your accusations of me being anti-american (maybe I am after all :)), let me be clear one more time about NATO.

    I support alliance between equals, not between a master and its servants.
    But NATO is not a an Alliance between equals. No need to have a Phd to realize this.

    I do support an alliance between European countries and North America, as we do share many common areas of interests, but NATO is a cold war relic.

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  • 69. At 6:22pm on 06 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    I think that EU Army is a great idea; always was, and always will be.

    And now, about much less important issue: Russia's announcement that it will double the price of gas for Ukraine as of January and an impact it might have on independence of EU countries' political decision-making process this winter....

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  • 70. At 6:35pm on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    as long as Russia can get a better deal in selling its ressources to Europe, than by subsidizing it to ex-soviet federation states, gas and other commodities will keep flowing.

    Isn't it the same deal with the Saudis and the US ? As long as we can sell our oil to you, we don't send Jihadis as bonus (european humor ...)

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  • 71. At 6:38pm on 06 Jun 2008, ABERPENS wrote:

    I wonder how many of those supporting an EU Army have ever served in the British Army,As a veteran of 24 years service I am against this idea.I devoted my service to Queen and Country and would not offer any alegience to an EU state.My contact was to be a British serviceman and I believe all service personnel should be given the chance to resign in the event of

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  • 72. At 6:42pm on 06 Jun 2008, ABERPENS wrote:

    I wonder how many of those supporting an EU Army have ever served in the British Army,As a veteran of 24 years service I am against this idea.I devoted my service to Queen and Country and would not offer any alegience to an EU state.My contact was to be a British serviceman and I believe all service personnel should be given the chance to hand in their resignation in the event of an EU STATE control.

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  • 73. At 6:49pm on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    Aberpens, an EU army is a misnommer.

    In essence, these are elements of national army working under a multinational command structure.
    Their ultimate loyalties remain to their respective governments.

    NATO is a multinational command structure
    UN is a multinational command structure

    Do British troops operating any of those, had to renege of their oath of allegiance ?

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  • 74. At 6:55pm on 06 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    What a paranoia is this that any time someone stands for a united Europe is automatically accused of anti-Americanism!

    Even if you would prefer a EU army rather than current Nato is not either a proof "you are against Americans".

    Foreign policy and approach before a variety of global issues are clearly different, if not divergent, between Europe and US, playing UK a sort of "bridge role" that no one has asked for it, and it's more based on British interests, created by the special Angloamerican relation, than the altruism of bringing friends together.

    Of course we can co-operate in a wide range of conflicts as we actually do, but this doesn't mean we have to submit ourselves to this unilateralism carried out by the US in the last two decades.

    It's not against anyone, it is in favor of ourselves as citizens of the old continent.

    Side by side, but not underneath. Everyone at his home, and God everywhere.

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  • 75. At 6:57pm on 06 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    This is yet another absolute disgrace. But fortunately we can still widely use it in the Irish referendum to tell the people there that once Lisbon passes, Ireland will be forced to join in on common defence projects. Ireland certainly doesn't expect to be defended by the rest of Europe but not contributing anything itself, now does it?

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  • 76. At 7:03pm on 06 Jun 2008, mcdv1975 wrote:

    @Anonymouscalifornian (38)

    you didn't know that Grünebaum is against democracy? He much prefers the idea of an unelected undemocratic and unaccountable elite (EU politburo/commission and council) making the laws and being able to override elected national parliaments at will.

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  • 77. At 7:15pm on 06 Jun 2008, Ticape wrote:

    I wouldn't say NATO is useless, the oldest Alliance still in force signed between England and Portugal in the 14th century still had its use in the 20th century. NATO might not seem useful now but who knows what will happen in 500 years or so. :)

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  • 78. At 7:32pm on 06 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Starbuck11 @68 wrote:

    "I support alliance between equals, not between a master and its servants. But NATO is not a an Alliance between equals. No need to have a Phd to realize this."

    I agree with you totally. When the other EU nations put in as much effort, cash, personnel and blood as America does, then they may be considered as equals. Until then a bit of humility and a 'thank you' for 60 years worth of nuclear umbrella wouldn't go amiss.

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  • 79. At 7:45pm on 06 Jun 2008, Freeborn John wrote:

    Starbuck11 (67/68): I am not accusing anyone of being anti-American solely on the basis of not supporting NATO. I am saying you are in fact anti-American based of the remarks you have made here, such as calling the US a "hegemon power" (for not allowing Russia to join NATO!), thanking another poster for his "classic pseudo military macho tirade about the US", wishing the US "bad luck" for "playing the new imperialists", accusing them on the one hand of unilateralism and elsewhere saying the McCain/Obama proposal for a new multilateral institutions is designed "with the express purposes of being a more aggressive tool than NATO", etc.

    You like to talk a lot about realpolitik and claim repeatedly that US influence is on the decline. The demographic trends indicate otherwise. The USA was a superpower in 1945 when its population was 140 million. It is now 300 million and projected to rise to 400 million by 2050 and 500 million by 2100. The UN projects the UK population rising from 58.8m in 2000 to 69m in 2050, Canada from 30.6m to 42.7m, Australia from 19m to 28m and New Zealand from 3.8m to 5.2m. In contrast the population of the Continent is falling, with that of Germany and Italy each predicted to fall by 8% by 2050 and even steeper declines occurring throughout Eastern Europe and Russia. The UK already has a very well established relationship of trust with the Americans. No Continental country except France has any credible defence capability, and France (which flunked out of NATO 40 years ago when its plan for a US-UK-France directoire to control the organization was rejected) can in no way be regarded as reliable. No matter which way you look at it the realpolitik that you like to talk about is that the UK must and will continue to prioritize its key security relationship with the Americans.

    What country are you from Starbuck? Can you tell me why we in the UK should put greater faith in unproven security arrangements championed by a country like France whose stated goal for 40 years has been to decouple the US from the defence of Europe and applauded here by you between outbursts of anti-American invective?

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  • 80. At 7:53pm on 06 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re # 70

    You really don't get it?

    Most of gas you (EU) are getting is not even Russian; its TURKMEN!

    Russia does not allow Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan to build or let others build any pipelines bypassing Russia so that Kremlin can turn-off spigots and blackmail whoever it wants wherever it wants (preferably in winter) into submission.
    And if stops its deliveries to Ukraine - God help you, because Ukrainians won't.
    [first, they'll help themselves, just like the last time]

    And no, Moscow does not need EU buying its oil nad gas to get cash. Russia's own oil/gas fields (e.g. Sakhalin I and II) are actually much closer to China than to Europe, and PRC will gladly buy any amount. And so will India.

    So don't delude yourselves: you'll do it at your peril.

    Oh, and better be nice to Georgia and Turkey rather than criticizing them; otherwise you may get zilch from Azerbaijan.

    BTW. Do you think that Russia pays Turkmens and Kazakhs MARKET prices for their goodies? :-)))

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  • 81. At 7:57pm on 06 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To ScepticMax (78):

    Oh please...

    Military expenditures:
    USA - 583,283,000,000$
    EU - 311,920,000,000$
    China - 59,000,000,000$
    Russia - 40,000,000,000$

    Active troops:
    China - 2255000
    EU - 1867279
    USA - 1426713
    Russia - 1037000

    Reserve force:
    EU - 3786430
    Russia - 2400000
    USA - 1458500
    China - 800000

    EU countries spend more than enough to defense and have comparable amount of active and reserve troops. Armaments of EU countries from Leopard and Leclerc tanks to Eurofighters, Dassault Rafales, Gripens, Tornados and large amount of other hardware sold by US to Europe make Europe credible in defense.

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  • 82. At 8:39pm on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    To Freeborn-John,

    In 1945, the US was not a superpower, but a great power. It reached the status of superpower later on.
    As for me describing the US as an hegemon, or talking about US hegemony is nothing but common talk. Including US an UK commentators.

    Now, if power is measured by population, then I guess that China and India (both of which reached over a billion people) should be considered hyperpowers. Such an analysis is laughable.
    American power is on the wane. I never said it had disappeared or that the US would be a third-world country in a decade. That would just be stupid for you to make this kind of assertions.

    As for estimates of country population, low birthrates and reluctance of new migrants, sure will complicate matters for Germany and Italy, but so will it be for Japan and South Korea both down 13% in 2050.
    Were they not among your prime choices as asian countries for a "League", because of their reliability to US power (aka compliance) ?
    Anyway, these are projections. Lot can happen if interventionist policies are put in place.

    And btw, if I remember correctly, the biggest increase in births in the UK will not come from traditional WASPs, but South Asians. Not necesserily the communities who have proved the best at adapting to a more modern UK society.

    To ScepticMax,

    Indeed, the UK should gratefully thank the US for being able to be under their atomic umbrella. The UK is not in charge of the technology for the nuclear missiles on Trident submarines.
    Yet they handsomely pay for the privilege to be on a short leash.

    To Powermeerkat,

    I do know that Russia was very effective in co-opting the Turkmen and other Central Asians in prefering Russian infrastructures rather than the Nabucco projects to carry gas to Europe.
    It sure gives less independance of action in energy security, but that doesn't change the fundamentals : Russia want to trade with Europe.
    So does the US.
    Because Russia want to increase its influence (like the US), doesn't it mean it is any more dangerous.
    As for China, Russia is very wary of chinese suberversive "colonisation" of the Far East. But no so from the EU.
    So no, Russia is not a threat. It's a difficult partner who wants to do business and be respected.

    To all who still don't get it,

    The US has one single overarching interest : the US citizens.

    Bad news if europeans must all burn to safeguard those interests (extreme example I agree), don't expect anything else from the US but to do it.

    It's just foolish to expect a foreign power to look after your security or interests for "free".
    Was the US fighting, or even helping, to safeguard the British Empire before and during the WW2 ? How much helpful was the US during Suez ? Wasn't the Reagan administration actively opposed to the UK in the Falkland Wars ?

    The difference with the European Union is that member countries have an active stake in each member security interests. It is after all, their own security that is also at stake ...

    The same way that UK "elites" and Atlanticists were fooled by the notion of privileged partnership, that they thought they could influence (or even dictate) the course of US policy, you still keep entertaining the illusion of the US as a "benevolent empire". Remember Iraq ? Do you think the Bush administration waited for n10 "go ahead" ? .... please be serious, if not honest

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  • 83. At 8:57pm on 06 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:

    An European Army will strengthen NATO: An European Army will probably focus on European conflicts so the United States can concentrate on conflicts far behind the borders of The Grant Old Continent and her sphere of influence.


    ''The USA was a superpower in 1945 when its population was 140 million. It is now 300 million and projected to rise to 400 million by 2050 and 500 million by 2100. The UN projects the UK population rising from 58.8m in 2000 to 69m in 2050, Canada from 30.6m to 42.7m, Australia from 19m to 28m and New Zealand from 3.8m to 5.2m. In contrast the population of the Continent is falling, with that of Germany and Italy each predicted to fall by 8% by 2050 and even steeper declines occurring throughout Eastern Europe and Russia.''

    Israel has barely 7 million inhabitants but is more powerfull then the combined strenght of the Arab nations (300-400 million inhabitants). The size of your population doesn't always matter.
    Besides, your information is incorrect. The UN predicted the Turkish population to be 75 million by now but Turkstat estimates it to be just over 70 million. The UN didn't forecast the rapid decline of European fertility either. The most reliable information about the future demographic development of the world can be found on

    ''And no, Moscow does not need EU buying its oil nad gas to get cash. Russia's own oil/gas fields (e.g. Sakhalin I and II) are actually much closer to China than to Europe, and PRC will gladly buy any amount. And so will India.''

    Unfortunatly for Russia it will take a long time before China will replace Europe as her most important trading parther. Without European cash Russia will go bankrupt in no time.
    Transporting Russian oil from Siberia to South Asia is much to expensive for India. That's why India imports Arab and Iranian oil.

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  • 84. At 9:01pm on 06 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Jukka_Rohila @81

    Bearing in mind that the EU includes great fighting nations like Malta, Sweden, Austria and Ireland, - not to mention the self-imposed limitations on deployment, terms of service, the high number of support personnel, etc. - I'd say that as an effective fighting force the 1,426,713 American troops are worth ten times the 1,867,279 troops the EU can allegedly deploy.

    In fact I'd stake my life on it.

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  • 85. At 9:02pm on 06 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #81

    1. EU is not a country. Nor is a member of NATO. #78 refers to EU nations and their individual contribution to the Alliance, both in blood and treasure.

    2. Official figures pertaining to military expenditures of China and Russia are as ficticious as they were in good old Cold War days. Besides, maintaning its manpower costs Beijing and Moscow merely a fraction of what a comparable personnel costs in USA or Western Europe. Costs of armament/ammo manufacturing ditto.

    3. Amount of hardware/manpower doesn't say much about somebody's defense credibility/combat readiness. France, for example, had a large standing army and plenty of military hardware in 1939 and what?! It turned out to be not a roaring tiger but a cowardly skunk. Italian Army became a butt of American jokes as soon as first GIs landed in Sicilly. Spaniards in Russia...On the other hand Turks in Korea..
    [Oops, sorry, I forgot that Turkey is not a EU member and never will be]

    4. How many enemy planes have those Rafales and Gripens shot down? What's a combat experience of their pilots?
    I think you know the answer so I don't have to be cruel.

    5. The crucial piece of equipment determining somebody's defensive/offensive capability is BALLS, also known as COJONES.
    Any streetwise kid learns that v. quickly.

    Unfortunately Old Europe has lost its testicular fortitude long time ago.

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  • 86. At 9:04pm on 06 Jun 2008, Ticape wrote:

    81. The numbers you posted are meaningless, USA can project her power anywhere in the world due to her 11 aircraft carriers + gods knows how many US bases there are around the world.

    'EU' only has 6 Aircraft Carrier (3 UK, 1 French, 1 Spanish and 1 Italian) and only the French one is nuclear powered.

    That's just projecting the power, if we look at the equipment oh my... I can assure you several European countries (especially the minor ones) are using outdated equipment or "hand me down" equipment from USA. USA is certainly way more advanced, Europe has to play catch up in multiple but it isn't inclined to do so.

    78. "Until then a bit of humility"
    A British person telling others to be humble... Is this the famous "irony" that us lowly continentals never get? ;-)

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  • 87. At 9:12pm on 06 Jun 2008, BackintheEUssr wrote:

    To Starbuck11 - for days now I have marvelled at your massive contributions to the various threads on this blog.
    Although I strongly disagree with much of what you write, I cannot fault your devotion to the EU project.
    Do you employ a think-tank?

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  • 88. At 9:14pm on 06 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:


    US has allowed itself to pressure the EU to accept Turkey membership. Can someone imagine the EU pressing the US to admit, say, Argentina into NAFTA?

    I personally support the Turks' aspirations to become EU citizens. But I don't think American "help" is the best tool to achieve it, like we saw in Bucarest, where US pressures resulted useless for its purposes.

    Since the last schism over Iraq war, I'm increansingly optimistic: this EU army embryo goes accompanied with a more independent European policy.

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  • 89. At 9:19pm on 06 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Ticape @86,

    I was actually speaking as a good European.

    64 years ago this very day, thousands of Americans (and Britons, Canadians and other allied troops) died on the beaches of Normandy - the first step in liberating this continent from it's own ideological follies (nazism, fascism and appeasement among them).

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  • 90. At 9:24pm on 06 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    You said it: 60 years ago.

    Only 35 years ago Greeks, Portuguese and Spaniards, let alone Latin Americans, suffered cruel dictatorships under the American umbrella "protection".

    No need to be rancorous, but we'll be better off in the future if we protect ourselves.

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  • 91. At 9:32pm on 06 Jun 2008, Freeborn John wrote:

    Starbuck11 (82): It seems you are still in denial. No matter how you look at it, the Continent is going to get weaker in the 21st century relative to the English-speaking world in general and the USA in particular. In fact no region of the world will lose influence and military capability faster in our lifetimes than the Continent.

    Even if EU countries could be regarded as equally reliable as the Americans an EU-based defence is clearly weaker and less credible to the Russians and others than NATO. We should very seriously question the motivation of any country advocating EU-based defence as it is clear they value their real defence less than their anti-Americanism. President Sarkozy of France has recently (EUobserver, 16 July 2007) said "I want Europe to be capable of ensuring its security autonomously". In my opinion such countries cannot be regarded as reliable partners for the UK either and should be given a hard choice between full (veto-wielding) membership of NATO and participation in the EU defence. Otherwise once this EU army is established we can expect the usual suspects in Berlin, Brussels and Paris (if it were foolishly to be allowed to rejoin NATO as a full member) to use their vetoes in NATO to paralyse that organisation whenever they want to ensure that the EU is the only organisation willing to act.

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  • 92. At 9:33pm on 06 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To 84, 85, 86:

    The point of numbers was to put a firm ground on where to base the discussion as in many comments there has been strong sentiment that either Europe doesn't have credible defense or Europe is paying considerably less than they should.

    To 84:

    Sight. Sweden is very well defended country. Sweden's defense as well as Finland's defense rest on reserve force. Both countries when mobilizing their war time army can bring up over 250 thousand well equipped troops (actually in Finland we have much more weapons, previously Finnish wartime force was over 485 thousand, same with Sweden). Sweden also has sizable and modern tanks and fighters.

    The thing is that many armies in especially continental Europe are specialized on defending their countries against an attack/invasion, not specialized on doing that to other countries.

    To 85:

    This whole thread has focused greatly on the defense of European Union countries and EUs potential capabilities to defend itself. What those numbers prove is that European Union as an combination has adequate power to defend itself.

    And again, todays magic word is defense. Its one thing to put a man to defend his country, it's another thing to put that same man 20000km away to bring peace and democracy.

    To 86:

    Now the question that you should ask is does Europe want to project force everywhere in the world? Does Europe want to be on even par with US or better yet why it even should? The important thing is that Europe spends enough and has enough force for its defense. Now it doesn't have force or capability to invade some country in other side of the world, but then again why it should?

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  • 93. At 9:36pm on 06 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    To Powermeerkat,

    "It turned out to be not a roaring tiger but a cowardly skunk. Italian Army became a butt of American jokes as soon as first GIs landed in Sicilly. Spaniards in Russia"

    Yeah, that the kind of comments that give such a good names to Yanks all over the world.
    What was the outcome of the US first experience of (limited) Blitzkrieg at Kasserin Pass in 1943 (4 years after the start of WW2, you might expect to have learn something ...) ?
    Wasn't the European Theater won in the East ? Sorry for breaking a favorite US myth ... but definitely thanks for helping stop the Soviets halfway through Germany.
    I would really like to know where would be the US republic if it never received weapons, amunitions, troops, officers and a fleet in 1778 ? After all you had been so successful in 1812 against a much less numerous British force ...

    Anyway, using past battles of a long time ago to describe the level of preparedness of today's armies is really a non-starter.

    "Unfortunately Old Europe has lost its testicular fortitude long time ago."

    That's the kind of rash attitudes that Iraqi refugees are thanking the US so much for ... please keep us entertain ("us" meaning me and anybody marvelling at US capabilities)

    To Ticape,

    You are absolutely right. Projection of power and inter-operability between armed forces is what matters.
    And this is what a rationalization of European armed forces is so much important.

    To BackintheEUssr,

    I guess you were ironic.
    My opinions are mine and mine alone. I do not "employ" anybody to express them for me :)

    Best regards all,

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  • 94. At 9:54pm on 06 Jun 2008, Eoin_og wrote:

    Hmmm, this debate has exploded somewhat, with plenty of nuggets of info amongst the debris of constructive debate.

    But it appears another debate that has taken shape: Whether the EU should have to defend itself, and whether it is/ or indeed ever will be, able to do so. My tuppence worth is the following, dealing first with the original question of the EU battlegroups:

    - The EU cannot defend itself absolutely, but I am fairly certain that the only superpower that could invade tomorrow and be sure of success is the USA. I do not believe Russia would have the military capability to capture and invest the entirety of the European Continent.

    - The EU battle groups are, of course, not there for defence of the nations. They are a multi-national battle group aimed at preventing local conflict escalating into something bigger, which is a particular problem identified in recent conflicts in Africa, I believe. They are there therefore to prevent wars, as opposed to fighting them.

    - I think they will be much more useful than UN peacekeeping forces because (I hope) they will be authorised to (i) return fire if necessary, and (ii) intervene if they see abuses going on.

    For these reasons I support them. Regarding the larger issue of the EU army: I think the EU could form one, although it is some way in the future; spending enough money and pooling military technology would soon enable the countries to catch up with the USA, and anyone else; the problem here is not resources, but rather political will and ill-will, as memories of the two world wars run high. If the last is overcome, then we could see an EU army.

    And to make a couple of last comments. I firmly believe that ground and spaced based weapon systems (targeting, etc) will allow developed countries to reach a level where anyone desiring to fight them will have to adopt tactics that those opposing the US currently do, i.e. guerrila warfare and terrorist attacks. For the latter, only good intelligence helps (aside from reforming society), whilst for the former, what is required is small, highly trained and well armed units to respond instantly with smart targeting. An aircraft carrier, for example, is not a great deal of use when one man in a crowd is firing his Ak at you.

    And the last comment, and I do hate to criticise; some comments made about America have been unfair to an extent, but to state that EU states do not have courage (I have a dislike for the words actually used) to fight is somewhat off, and does nothing for the debate. Can I also point out the irony in post #85 where after a long, protracted argument using a great deal of figures no. 5 involves what can only be a subjective and I am certain ill-informed and insulting personal opinion; perhaps the best response, living in an age of short soundbites, is to point out that nations do not play at the level of streets.

    I hope the good information and points continue to roll in

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  • 95. At 9:59pm on 06 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Can someone imagine the EU pressing the US to admit, say, Argentina into NAFTA?[#88]

    Yes, but it would not be necessary.

    Argentina will be admitted to AFTA (All-American Free Trade Association)anyway as soon as it meets basic economic requirements.
    And so will Brazil. Although the first of ABC countries admitted to AFTA will be Chile, because its most qualified, thanks in no small measure to economic/market reforms introduced by certain ruthless right-wing dictator whose name makes your blood boil, so I won't mention it here, but who saved Chile from a predicament of Cuba, whose ruthless left-wing dictator has already transfered his (and his family's) multi-million assets to Spain with a full knowledge and tacit approval of certain Spanish leader, code name 'Cobbler'. :-)

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  • 96. At 10:02pm on 06 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    Betulli @90 - I'd say that the Greeks, Portuguese and Spaniard were the authors of their own (mis)fortune.

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  • 97. At 10:14pm on 06 Jun 2008, Irish1409 wrote:

    To all those people talking about Ireland #75 and others the EU battle group would have to protect Ireland as even though we are neutral we are members of the battle and have troops that take part in battle group traning in the nordic battlegroup devision which comprises of 2800 troops . So this has nothing to do with Lisbon as we are already involved with the group regardless of the threaty being passed or not.

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  • 98. At 11:22pm on 06 Jun 2008, Ticape wrote:

    #96; yes and no; Its way more complicated then that. I can't speak for Greece but Portugal and Spain's instability (which led to the eventual rise of fascism) can be traced back to the 19th century and it started with the Peninsular War, along the way there were outside events such as the British Ultimatum (Pink Map) and the Spanish-American War that contributed to the instability.

    And of course in the Spanish Civil War, it were the Axis who supported the fascists and yet the Allies weren't interested in a 'civil' war. But this is really off topic. :p

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  • 99. At 11:50pm on 06 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:


    If you defend convicted genocide Augusto Pinochet is your business, but you won't make me defend insted Fidel Castro.

    Castro's assets in Spain? No news at all, it sounds to me though Neocon propaganda to recruit, unsuccessfully, more governments for its lonely blocade against Cuba.

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  • 100. At 00:03am on 07 Jun 2008, RockhoundP wrote:

    "Was the US fighting, or even helping, to safeguard the British Empire before and during the WW2 ? How much helpful was the US during Suez ? Wasn't the Reagan administration actively opposed to the UK in the Falkland Wars ? "

    True, Eisenhower was furious that GB and France had invaded Egypt to seize the Suez Canal, and pressured GB to end the military operation immediately, thereby officially ending the days of Empire and clearly defining who the "senior partner" really was. In the minds of Americans of the time, the US had fought WWII to end dictatorships, fascism, and empires, and had no stomach for supporting French and English imperialism. Furthermore, part of the "deal" that Roosevelt made to help GB in World War II was that the British Empire would let its colonies go free. Roosevelt did not intend for Americans to die in order to preserve Britain's colonial empire. Of course, the US also acted out of self interest, realizing that a German/Japanese alliance would be a threat to US interests.

    However, regarding the Falklands, although Reagan publically tried to remain neutral, because many US companies had interests in Argentina and they were a major trading partner, in fact the US military provided spy satellite information on Argentine troop dispositions and warship deployments to the MoD. The US military also provided behind-the-scenes logistics support and material. Although US troops would never have been involved in combat, there is no doubt that Reagan would not have allowed Great Britain to be defeated by Argentina.

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  • 101. At 00:51am on 07 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I like the idea of European unity. I think it is much more fun to watch 26 men who can's swim hanging on to each other for dear life hoping one of them will get an inspiration and save them all than to watch them drown individually.

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  • 102. At 06:02am on 07 Jun 2008, gunsandreligion wrote:

    Personally, I believe that the idea of
    a European army is a good one, but
    you guys have a long way to go.

    If you cherish the ideals of representative
    government, free press, freedom of religion,
    etc, you're going to have to pull together.

    I don't think you have to worry about
    the Russians marching back in to Poland
    tomorrow, but we are entering a multi-polar
    period of international affairs. It's simply
    unrealistic to expect the US to remain
    the sole superpower for long, or for it
    to be able to protect you against any
    and all threats.

    The 21st century is liable to be marked
    by conflicts over resources as we continue
    to screw up the planet, so a little help
    from you guys would certainly not be

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  • 103. At 07:02am on 07 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    We are talking about a European Army !

    What does that mean ?

    Most member states have some sort of a military defence force . Many are pacifist and only good for defending their own country , policing , or humanitarian aid in a foreign country .

    A European Army suggests a troop force and munitions drawn from all member states , under a central European Command . When you have , perhaps the majority of member state militia being pacifist how can you amalgamate them together , with fighting troops of another country .
    An earlier contributor said he was a veteran soldier of many years experience , said , that he would require a let out clause , as he would not serve in such an army . Soldiers do not like to find themselves in a battle scene alongside men they can't trust , who might be yellow bellies , with no guts to fight .
    I have heard mention of an European Rapid Reaction Force . As made up from most European military forces ; I doubt that they could or would fight their way out of a paper bag .

    As most member states have their own military defence force , why not leave it to them to protect their own country .

    I can only assume that the European Union would like to show a higher , more glorious profile ; parade the army and munitions through the streets , as the Russians do ; Or have mounted Cavalry as the British and Italians do , to show the world an impressive military might .

    I am not an Amerigofile , but why is it that everyone has it in for the Americans . When there is a crisis in the world they are among the first to come to the rescue and bring aid . If anywhere in the world has a disaster , they expect the American to come to their aid . When the Americans have come , they are then reviled , for heavy handedness , incompetence or whatever . The United States might still be called a developing nation , they make grave errors of judgement , as in Vietnam and Iraq . Saddam was a terrible tirrant , and his sons perhaps even more dangerous , at least they were got rid of .
    The Americans and Nato forces maintained the balance of power with the Soviet Union ; that must eventually have helped to bring about the end of the cold war . The Americans should save their money and let the "Mighty " Europeans look after themselves .

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  • 104. At 07:21am on 07 Jun 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    Re post 103, I really do not think such name caling and use of terms such as 'yellow bellies' useful.

    I do not want to see a European army as I would see it as another symbol of a supranational state I do not want to see. Having worked with many different nationalities it is not a question of courage or lack of it.

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  • 105. At 08:17am on 07 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    1. US support for UK during Falkland War is well known: guys from MOD think that US recon sat info was of critical importance during that operation.

    BTW. Notice that nobody from the Continental Europe's Left expresses any satisfaction that Argentininian military junta has been defeated, and as a result toppled.

    2. One doesn't have to go back to days of 'drole guerre' to look for examples of West Europe's cowardess and appeasement.

    If you ask Czechs, Estonians, Hungarians, Latvians, Lithuanians, Poles, Slovaks, etc., why they don't believe (and they don't) that West Europeans would ever come to their defense if going got really tough they (particularly the younger Eastern/Central Europeans) don't quote their behaviour in the 30's, 40s and even 50s, but the total lack of support in Bonn, Paris, Rome, Madrid, etc., for their aspirations and efforts to set themselves free in the 60s, 70s and even 80s.

    Ney, even today, (and this forum is a perfect example) they are being told that they are "troublemakers" from the "Russian sphere of influence". [sic] That "they don't know when to shut up" (Jacques Iraq's famous phrase). That they are "Trojan donkeys of US within EU" ( German Chancellor Schroeder's equally famous description of the Poles.

    No wonder then that Eastern/Central European countries put much more confidence in US regarding security matters, and that's why, while making all the right noises officially (in Brussels) they don't believe - off the record, of course - that EU is de facto much more than a (useful) Common Market.

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  • 106. At 09:22am on 07 Jun 2008, Gheryando wrote:

    Congrats Mark, your blog is really drawing some discussion. Thanks for doing your part in explaining the EU project to the British public. (Although I doubt the majority here are British)

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  • 107. At 09:33am on 07 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To powermeerkat (105):

    Ah, world war 2, the endless source of conversation, I know I should not add to this topic as it seems newer ending... Regarding help from western Europe I would like to point to Finland...

    When Soviet Union attacked Finland, the winter war, both Sweden and Norway sent gave monetary, material support and volunteer troops. Other countries and nationalities also contributed to the war effort. Also Italy and Mussolini were very favorable to Finnish effort and would have sold fighter planes if Germany hadn't blocked the sale. France and Britain also offered large number of troops, thought more or less to secure and occupy north Scandinavia harbors and mines.

    Now in the continuation war, after first Germany had attacked Soviet Union and Soviet Union attacked Finland, Finland got much help from Germany that sent troops in Finland. In 1944 when Soviets made their offensive it was largely because of German supplies that Finnish could stop the offensive and not be overran by Soviets.

    It should be noted that during the WW2 large number of other Europeans than Germans served in Waffen SS. So if we look at the Finnish front or other countries war efforts its false to say that different countries and nationalities don't help each other.

    Some trivia...

    It should also be noted that Finnish front of war was the only place were jewish and Germans were fighting along in the same side. Finnish army also operated field synagogue.

    After the war when Finland made peace with Soviet Union, Soviets demanded that all German citizens must be interned. Finnish goverment collected all German citizens in Finland and interned them to upper floors of Hotel Torni in Helsinki. Allied Control Commission was also accommodated to the same hotels lower floors.

    1941 UK declared war against Finland. However USA nor no other allies declared war against Finland.

    In the end I think that it useless to go back to world war 2 or any previous place in history to get support for an argument as usually history offers so many contradictions and views that you can get support almost to any position.

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  • 108. At 09:35am on 07 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    "German city bans waste from Italy"

    So much for European solidarity.

    What's wrong with Italian trash?

    Worse than the German trash?

    [for example growing piles of neocommunists and neonazis in German Bundestag]

    Can't Hamburg oficials just dump it in the city's Red Light disctrict? [Verdi Union members haven't started their next trash removal strike yet]

    P.S. If there was a real European defense Lufthansa would buy/bail out Alitalia and KLM - Iberia. And Surete would teach Deutsche Telecom how to install decent wiretaps. And Deutsche Post officials (in return) would teach SocGen managers where to invest their money. And BAE would instruct Siemens how to get fat contracts by paying bakshish but not getting sued. That's what I'd call a common European defense.

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  • 109. At 09:59am on 07 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #107

    I'm sure you know much better than I do what support Finland got from Western Europe when it was being, well ...finlandized, and when its Southern Karelia was forcibly (and illegally, may I add) annexed by Russia.

    Ney, even today (right here) I read that a pipeline (NorthStream) from Russia to Germany "is going to run from Russian [sic] city of Vyborg..."

    [BTW this gasline is going to be layed over unexploded German and Russian corroded chemical shells lying on the Baltic seabed.
    I'm sure you know what Scandinavian nations (particularly Sweden and Denmark) think about this result of the Ribbentrop-Molo...err....Schroeder-Putin Pact?]

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  • 110. At 10:35am on 07 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    "Poland and the US have reached an agreement in principle to install a controversial American missile defence system on Polish soil."

    "Czech fears over missile defence radar".

    Last BBC headlines on the issue.

    It seems the "Old New Europe", also socalled Central Europe, is revising her former enthusiasm over US help in defence.

    But don't desperate! You still have the Newest Europe, or Southeastern Europe (except Greece and Serbia), that are more than eager to hold Pentagon projects

    The 2,5 Albanias (Tirana, Pristina and Skopie) cannot wait for you!

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  • 111. At 10:59am on 07 Jun 2008, Ticape wrote:

    The famous western betrayal, does not refer to the entire western Europe but to UK and France which did betray the eastern countries, to give themselves more time. At the end though Britain didn't want to sacrifice the Benelux countries (hypocrisy?) which costed them France. But that's history by now.

    "total lack of support in Bonn, Paris, Rome, Madrid, etc."
    I'm not sure why Franco would support a bunch of liberals in Eastern Europe during the 50s. Just narrow that list down to London, Paris and Washington (oh wait that's not in Europe)

    "What's wrong with Italian trash?"
    If you read the article you would have known that Italian trash is too radioactive. Of course do continue twisting facts or news articles to make Europe like a bunch of fools.

    "That "they don't know when to shut up" (Jacques Iraq's famous phrase). That they are "Trojan donkeys of US within EU" ( German Chancellor Schroeder's equally famous description of the Poles."
    And yet neither of them are in office any more, in fact the French even voted an Anglophile in office. So what did the Americans do after Bush's "You're either with us or against us"? (democracy at its finest) :-)

    "BTW. Notice that nobody from the Continental Europe's Left expresses any satisfaction that Argentininian military junta has been defeated, and as a result toppled."
    BTW notice that nobody from the continental Europe's left expresses any dissatisfaction that the Argentinian military junta has been defeated.
    I love these word games, I'm wondering though why Political left would support a dictator that's right.

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  • 112. At 12:11pm on 07 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I'm wondering though why Political left would support a dictator that's right." [#111]

    Dictators supported by the Left are always right. Or haven't you noticed?:-)

    Oh, and re generalissimo Francisco Franco (who's still dead). At the time of his reign liberal left (progressive socialists) were ruling in Eastern/Central Europe.

    Those who opposed them were "fascists" and "reactionaries". So what excuse Franco had for not supporting opposition in that part of Europe? :-)

    P.S. re "Anglophiles".... It's been duly noticed what kind of 'support' UK got from the "Continentals" when one of this citizens was poisoned wih polonium-210 by agents of a non-EU entity.

    And that UK government had been advised then by the said Continentals "to shut up" rather than ruin Western
    Europe's "productive relationship" with KGB/FSB mafia run 2-bit dictatorship.

    P.P.S. No, Washington, D.C. is not in Europe yet. But even if we (its inhabitants) are mighty scared of a future powerful European Army we say proudly to Brussels sprouts: NO PASARAN! :-)

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  • 113. At 1:05pm on 07 Jun 2008, Ticape wrote:

    "Dictators supported by the Left are always right. Or haven't you noticed?:-) "
    Not really, considering America being right supported fascists also right means that your statement is false. :-)

    "Those who opposed them were "fascists" and "reactionaries". So what excuse Franco had for not supporting opposition in that part of Europe? :-)"

    Those who opposed them weren't just fascists but mainly consisting of people who wanted a social democracy. But wait a minute... a social democracy is not only left but its also libertarian in nature. A fascist regime is right and authoritarian in nature aka the complete opposite. :-) (Of course that didn't stop the USA in supporting fascists regimes)

    "Anglophiles".... It's been duly noticed what kind of 'support' UK got from the "Continentals" when one of this citizens was poisoned wih polonium-210 by agents of a non-EU entity."
    That happened in 2006, that Anglophile went into office in 2007. :-)

    "No, Washington, D.C. is not in Europe yet"
    Yet? I didn't say 'yet', why are you twisting my words? I simply pointed out that USA is included in the western betrayal and its not only Western Europe (which you were implying) :-) I think next time I will be more to the point instead of subtly implying it.

    But we're off-topic, we're supposed to be talking about the European army not about events that happened 60 years ago.

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  • 114. At 7:51pm on 07 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    You prefer to talk about something which will happen 60 years from now?

    OK. Let talk about European Army.

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  • 115. At 8:20pm on 07 Jun 2008, centralcoast wrote:

    The usual Euro bashing, I suspect coming from Brits and my fellow Americans. This is usually the same crowd which becomes indignant over the lack of western European cooperation.

    Well, I agree, there has been a lack of cooperation, but snotty comments informed by jingoistic pride isn't going to help.

    It is a start. Maybe some constructive comments and criticism would be more in order than the childish bashing I see go on by some here.

    Lead, follow, or get out of the way. And keep your playground attitudes at home.

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  • 116. At 9:29pm on 07 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Dear Mark,

    Please tell us what is happening in Northern Kosovo.

    As I understand it the "EU" wanted to deploy its police force there knowing the the locals did not want it as they know full well that the locals here in the UK do not want their Lisbon wotsit.

    Inevitably there was trouble there as there must be here.

    I have seen nothing about it on the news recently. Has it really all gone quiet or is there a sort of voluntary censorship going on?

    I believe that British troops should not be sent there as the Northern Kosovans have the right to be independent, just as we have the right to be independent of the "EU" no matter how many pieces of paper Blair and his fellow conspirators sign.

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  • 117. At 10:03pm on 07 Jun 2008, ScepticMax wrote:

    centralcoast @115

    I think I'll continue with my "snotty comments" and "playground attitude" - especially as it's my taxes that pay for this charade. (And this website too, actually).

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  • 118. At 11:41pm on 07 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    The reason you're seeing the usual Euro bashing is that I haven't been posting on this thread very much. When I post the quality of Eurobashing is much higher since it is usually backed up with facts.

    So is it assumed that there will be a European super state that is worth defending. How is Europe going to defened itself against real threats; global warming when China, India, and the US won't cooperate, a demographic time bomb when the indiginous population isn't reproducing fast enough to replace itself and the population is shifting toward illegal immitrants from Northern Africa, the Middle East, East Asia and most of them are uneducated, capture of resourses including energy by China and India, inability of its products to compete with America's and Japans on a technological basis, and I could go on and on. How will a military force deal with the real threats?

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  • 119. At 01:45am on 08 Jun 2008, Irish1409 wrote:

    SuffolkBoy2 seeing as you are so concerned about ''Northern Kosovans have the right to be independent'' what would you say to allowing the Scottish , Welsh and Northern Ireland being independant of the Uk as if the Northern Kosovans have the right so must they. And the UK government is independant of the EU as im sure if the government wanted to they can leave if there is majority from the public , no one has a gun to the heads of the government forcing them to stay in the EU Oh and blair didnt sign the Lisbon treaty Gordon Brown and David Miliband did so it shows how much you know about your own government

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  • 120. At 08:43am on 08 Jun 2008, Fluffy Thoughts wrote:


    Irish1409. Off-thread, but I think you'll find that the English are amongst the keenest supporters for independence within the UK. As for Northern Ireland, they are the most supportive of the Union, and that support appears to be growing. [Sources; BBC, The Economist.]

    Good luck with your Constitution Referendum. I am sure the EU-superstate has regional plans afoot to create super-regions (to assist it's bureaucracy). Rule from London anyone...?

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  • 121. At 08:44am on 08 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    MarcuAureliusII (and others),

    You seem to assume that the only good diplomacy is "gunboat" diplomacy. What has it do with global warming ? Do you believe that you can co-opt India and China because of the US fleets in the Pacific or Indian ocean ? Seriously, did you learn anything from the Iraq fiasco ...
    The EU has real diplomatic influence. Sticks are useful, but carrots are much more interesting when promoting an interdependent and stable international order. The real trick is to convince countries they have a real national interest in being stakeholders of such a system.
    Tools like "League of Democracies" are just the opposite as their aim is to exclude and oppress non-members.

    Of all the countries you described, only Russia has any meaningful aernoval force projection capabilities. Still, Russia, China and India are mostly terrestrial armies counter-checking each others in the Far East and Central Asia.
    They don't represent any vital threats to EU interests.

    EU navies are contributing much more to securing international shipping lanes than they do for example ...
    European nuclear capabilities are only meaningful in the case of the French arsenal, which is truly independant from US oversight and control (as compared to the UK dependence on it). Yet why should we start a new atomic winter by engaging in an arms race ?

    The EU need for force projection is only relevant in the perspective of rapid deployment of peacekeeping forces, not as tool of an invasion. Therefore today's armed forces configuration are adequate. They can even be improved through integration and force specialization.
    Europeans are the largest aid contributor to UN peacekeeping operations and the only-ones the UN rely upon when it wants not just boots on the ground (developping countries contingents), but also effectiveness and accountability.

    In the same vein, a "Power" is not just determined by raw population numbers. Even though at current trend, EU countries are expected to see their populations declining from around 530+ million to 430+ million by 2050, a lot can still happen if he right policies are put in place.
    As for our neighbourhood, it will require more, much more than tanks and fighter pilots to ensure there is no political, economic and migrational crisis. It will require trade and development.

    As for European technological capabilities, we are way more developped than you seem to imagine. Where have you seen we can't compete with Japan or the US in technological advancements ? or is it that we have prefered to specialize in some areas (like Japan and the US) instead of wasting efforts everywhere. Remember it next time you switch on your mobile phone or in a few years when the Galileo system will be operational (ie ago quod agis) :)

    Despite your initial grandstanding, I haven't seen much facts in your above post, but a lot of fantasies and pseudo-macho rhetoric.

    Best regards,

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  • 122. At 10:00am on 08 Jun 2008, buckeridge wrote:

    @ Centralcoast no. 115

    Absolutely spot on - the playground attitude, self-righteous posturing and closet xenophobia prevents any effective debate on the EU. Then again, if they keep the debate to hysterical comments and hyperbole about "superstates" and the "politburo", that conveniently avoids the need to come up with any cogent arguments! ;)

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  • 123. At 10:12am on 08 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    It seems to me when Europe's war of words fails, gunboat diplomacy is all that is left. Britain may have won the peace in the war of words at Munich in 1938 but the Wermacht defeated Britain. You can rewrite or reinterpret history all you like but the fact is Britain lost World War II. The war of words the diplomats waged didn't help the Kosovars. It didn't stop the Arabs from trying four times to destroy Israel.

    So what trick are you talking about in global warming, carbon credits? Now there is a complete fraud if ever there was one. At its best, the wealthy countries will buy their way out of any of their own reductions by buying credits from poor countries who will not make the sacrifices for the rich they promised. What will the developed world do to punish them, starve them into submission? China is extremely inefficient, about on sixteenth that of the US. How will diplomacy deal with that. Of course the entire idea has long been exposed as a farce, a scam where companies and nations far overstate their carbon footprint to get more credits than they deserve and they have gotten away with it all over the EU. What will happen when American farmers who feed much of the world find it more profitable and far easier to sell their carbon credits to power companies than to grow food. Look at what has happened to the price of food already when just a small percentage of it has been diverted to biofuel.

    The EU will get a chance to try out its peacekeeping force if Obama wins. The US will start pulling out of Iraq early next year and will be gone I'd say rather quickly. Europe can clean up the mess it helped create by not cooperating in forcing Saddam Hussein to comply with the UN demands for inspection and removal of his WMDs. How will Europe cope with the regional war in the Middle East when the US does pull out and oil shoots up to $300 a barrel?

    Europe's technological prowess when compared to that of the US and Japan can only be called pathetic. IF and when Europe ever figures out how to get Galileo to work, the US has already warned it will shoot it down and you know perfectly well why. But that's a big IF. As for the rest of it, a very sorry state of affairs. One cheap low budget shot to get to Mars, a lot of bravado, a failure, and it gave up. The EU Space Agency was going to show NASA how to do it at 1/8 the cost. The only thing the EU Space agency has to do with space is the space its offices takes up. Europe is still trying to figure out how to build a civilian version of a 40+ year old American military transport the C5A. It's been a disaster.

    BTW, the US doesn't send its soldiers to be subservient to UN peacekeeping forces. I don't think it is legal. I don't even think NATO command of American soldiers by non Americans is leagal under our Constitution either. It was bad enough we funded the naive delusion of of the UN, this leage of democracies is one more delusion. I don't know who put that bug into McCain's ear but it must have been a European. If the UN isn't working and it can't be fixed, we should just say so and get out.

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  • 124. At 1:01pm on 08 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    # 119. At 01:45 am on 08 Jun 2008, Irish1409 wrote:

    "... what would you say to allowing the Scottish , Welsh and Northern Ireland being independant of the Uk...?"

    I have already answered this question elsewhere. As far as I am concerned if the Scots, Welsh, N. Irish wish to be independent then they have that right. Equally if Scotland wishes to break away from the UK then other places have a right to be independent of Scotland and be part of the rest UK or not. I am thinking of the Shetland Isles and bits of Scotland bordering England, if that is their desire. Clearly it would not be realistic for a square mile of central Edinburgh to stay with England.

    "... no one has a gun to the heads of the government forcing them to stay in the EU"

    Not as far as I am aware.However our 'democracy' in the UK has clearly not functioned. We have a rubbishy voting system in the UK but in general representative democracy seems not to be working because the members of the established parties have become so arrogant that they refuse to represent the people. They think they own the people. About 80% of Brits want the referendum we were promised and about 70% want to vote "NO!". I have read that about 80% of Austrians want a referendum which they are not going to get and about 67% of Germans do not want the Liubon wotsit.

    "Oh and blair didnt sign the Lisbon treaty Gordon Brown and David Miliband did so it shows how much you know about your own government."

    Point-scoring childishness. I wrote: "...we have the right to be independent of the "EU" no matter how many pieces of paper Blair and his fellow conspirators sign." Milliband qualifies under "fellow conspirators"

    I do no longer know much about my "own government." It is not my own government. It is the agent of a foreign dictatorship. I don't listen when its members speak because I know they do not mean what they say.

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  • 125. At 2:04pm on 08 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Today's Süddeutsche Zeitung writes:

    "Vor allem in den Bereichen Justiz und innere Sicherheit soll es häufiger Mehrheits-Entscheidungen geben."

    Which I read as:

    "There will be more majority voting above all in the areas of justice and internal security."

    I believe that that would mean continental police being able to operate here almost as if they were in their own countries. German police will be operating in Austria in the Euro-football-wotsit , which means carrying guns. I don't want German or Austrian or Italian or Spanish police operating like that here.

    The Süddeutsche refers to a crisis if Ireland votes no. That will be a pseudo-crisis. It will be a real crisis if they vote yes and we get fascist continental policemen beating people up and gunning them down here.,tt6m1/ausland/artikel/545/178997/

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  • 126. At 3:14pm on 08 Jun 2008, centralcoast wrote:

    At 11:41 pm on 07 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII I chuckled at the first paragraph!

    My first reaction to the rest was that you present great material for a number of blog topics, but then it occurred to me that we do need to approach the security issue in a holistic fashion. Your points are well taken re the non military threats that you outline.

    I know governments don't always act as if it is so, but allocating funds is a zero sum game. Only by looking at all security threats can we prioritize resources and training effectively.

    I'll leave it at that before I drift too far off topic. :)

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  • 127. At 5:02pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    We would have the French and Italians providing refreshments, Spanish and Germans in charge of entertainment leaving the British and Poles to do the fighting." [#42]

    Isn't it almost exactly what we, North Americans, see in Afghanistan?

    Are you saying the poles and the Brits are doing all the fighting.
    And where is the we in this. merkitten you have not signed up to fight. so where do you get WE,see in afganistan. You saw nothing.
    You never been there.

    you talk tough.but like most americans your full of talk nothing else.Talk so much you don't think.
    From another Yank

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  • 128. At 5:05pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    Official figures pertaining to military expenditures of China and Russia are as ficticious as they were in good old Cold War days. Besides, maintaning its manpower costs Beijing and Moscow merely a fraction of what a comparable personnel costs in USA or Western Europe. Costs of armament/ammo manufacturing ditto.

    what overstated to seem like a great nation. or understated so as to fool people into complacency.
    You point is not clear .clarify.

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  • 129. At 5:17pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    And that UK government had been advised then by the said Continentals "to shut up" rather than ruin Western
    Europe's "productive relationship" with KGB/FSB mafia run 2-bit dictatorship.

    and the american leader looked into putins eyes ,with a little twinkle in his eye said
    I can see this mans soul and he is a friend someone we can work with etc etc.

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  • 130. At 5:24pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    You can rewrite or reinterpret history all you like but the fact is Britain lost World War II.

    I think it is you who rewrites,but you have a tendency to do it because you can rarely back your weird ideas up.

    Do you think if Hitler had got europe ,america would have been able to wait until most of it was over (while making millions in war bonds and supplying both sides)then run over to say" we saved you. "
    maybe america realised with the Japs on one ocean(and boy did they surprise the americans). Yea another great US victory.
    The germans on the other well that would make them surrounded worse still you would only have the russians as your allies. what a laugh that world would be.

    Marcus the unwise still making it up as you go

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  • 131. At 5:24pm on 08 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    The fact is (although we pretend it isn't so) Western Europe lost three world wars and is in the process of losing a fourth. World War one was fought to a stalemate where all of the countries were pouring the lives of their young generation down a rat hole. They were dying like flies in a useless battle of trench warfare that got nowhere and would have gone on forever. Had the US not come in and intervened, it might still be going on to this day. Inexperienced and poorly equipped as it was, it turned the tide. The issues surrounding WWI were never resolved and haven't been to this day. The wars in the Balkins during the 90s under Milosevic were part of it. The only possible justification the US had for going into Serbia to save the Kosovars is that Greece and Turkey were about to take up where they'd left off in 1918 with the weapons the US thoughtfully provided them under NATO to fight World War III.

    In World War II, the Wermacht overran all of mainland Europe easily. The French Maginot line, a typically European conception as grandiose as it was useless didn't stop the Wermacht for one second, they simply went around it. The British were absolutely helpless and could never have held out against the Nazis on their own no matter how they try to delude themselves. Their glorious battle of Britain was a turkey shoot and they were the turkeys. They were rescued by American material and military might and they came within a hair's breath of being subjects of the third Reich. They were even pummelled in the far East by Japan. They had NO capability to fight and win against a real enemy, only against helpless undefended nations they subjected to their cruel exploitive imperial Empire for centuries. Again they rewrite history as though they were responsible somehow for winning. As for the role the Russians played, the US supplied them with a billion dollars (a lot of money in the 1940s) to keep sending bodies into battle to be chewed up by the German military machine so that the Wermacht would be too tied down in the East to send the rest of its forces to fight in the West. The value of the Russians was to keep marching to their deaths and thereby tie down a large part of the Wermacht. It wasn't until the US and Britain began to take their toll on heartland Germany's ability to fight that the Soviets actually were able to turn the tide of battle in the East. Had Hitler not stupidly insisted on taking Moscow, the Nazis might have won the Eastern front anyway.

    In World War III, had the US pulled out of Europe once the fighting of WWII was over, the entire continent would have been overrun by the Red Army. As it was, Greece and Austria were barely saved. The US fought the Soviets in a war of ecnomic attrition costing trillions of dollars, the scaling up of the arms race by Reagan bankrupting both governments causing the final collapse of the Evil Empire. It's a victory many West Europeans will never forgive America for yet they pretend it was won by Pope John Paul II. What a joke the European version of history is.

    And now we see in World War IV, the war against extreme Islamic jihad to Moslemize the world whether by the Suni backed al Qaeda or the Shia backed Islamic Revolution run from Teheran, the Europeans have no stomach for a fight. Worst of all, they would emasculate the United States, many of whose citizens know that they only way to keep your freedom is to fight and maybe die defending it. And why should the Europeans know that? Whenever their freedom has been at grave peril, someone else did the real fighting and dying for them, the Americans. Their part in it? Marginal at best, usually they were just road kill.

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  • 132. At 5:44pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    Europe is still trying to figure out how to build a civilian version of a 40+ year old American military transport the C5A. It's been a disaster.

    in what way is this airbus based on aC5a
    what with the C5a being a plane with a wing at the top of the fuselage and the air bus NOT.
    That being the biggest give away.

    Would have thought an expert engineer like you to have noticed that.I suspect that someone in the aviation industry might be able to explain why moving the wings tens of feet up the side of the fuselage might change the aerodynamics.
    in fact maybe said to be a different plane.

    as for Boeing's Dreamliner.
    seems to be as big a dream as the airbus.

    And it is the world that is paying to fix america's arrogant attitude.
    the same world that is paying for the UK 's arrogant attitude.
    Now when your off your US high horse MA2 how many components in each of these planes is US made. because wouldn't it be funny if the systems inside were built by many people not just red blooded americans.
    lets say some european aviation firms.(well for a long time boing used rollesroyce engines.most of the food was served from british made galleys. etc etc.

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  • 133. At 5:45pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    remember PEARL HARBOUR.

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  • 134. At 6:04pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    many of whose citizens know that they only way to keep your freedom is to fight and maybe die defending it.

    You don't fight go sign up then talk so tough.

    Free trip and food provided to you courtesy of the american taxpayer to afganistan or Iraq,you pick .go on join up.

    Like I told marcus erroneous before , not all americans believe his crap. Most don't . Most of the veteran I know do not think Iraq was a smart Idea.
    and most resent people talking of others dying so that ill informed and colourinsensitive types(oh is that racists)can spout this rubbish out.
    It was not europe who couldn't handle fighting.
    It was europe that thought fighting should be tried as last result.not a first choice.
    but well being wise you would probably know the difference between using your brain and ..being ignorant.

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  • 135. At 6:08pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    many of whose citizens know that they only way to keep your freedom is to fight and maybe die defending it.

    You don't fight go sign up then talk so tough.

    Free trip and food provided to you courtesy of the american taxpayer to afganistan or Iraq,you pick .go on join up.

    Like I told marcus erroneous before , not all americans believe his crap. Most don't . Most of the veteran I know do not think Iraq was a smart Idea.
    and most resent people talking of others dying so that ill informed and colourinsensitive types(oh is that racists)can spout this rubbish out.
    It was not europe who couldn't handle fighting.
    It was europe that thought fighting should be tried as last result.not a first choice.
    but you have no time for that as you call for others kids to go fight.
    Why do you spend so much time attacking europe, is it because you miss it. awww how sweet.

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  • 136. At 6:09pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    boing will be boeing but same thing.

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  • 137. At 6:20pm on 08 Jun 2008, Welshmaninmilano wrote:

    If I may correct you on one point - Welsh, Scottish and Irish are not "Anglos". The name Anglo Saxon comes from a conflation of the names of people known as Angles and Saxons - both peoples arriving from Germany in the latter part of the first millenea. So, Anglos are Germans, as are the Saxons.

    Also (call me pedantic if you like), doesn't the acronym "NATO" stand for "North Atlantic Treaty Organisation"? Has the north Atlantic expandedinto a world-wide ocean - or is it just wrong now? Why not campaign to re-name it to something else? A challenge for you...

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  • 138. At 6:27pm on 08 Jun 2008, DutchNemo wrote:


    ''What a joke the European version of history is.''

    Your version of history is a joke. The United States is good and Europe is evil, the United States is brave and Europe is cowardly, all events worldwide can be traced back to the 'war' between Europe and the United States. This is what you believe isn't it? You hate Europe and all its inhabitants (wasn't Marcus Aurellius I an European?) because you had a couple of bad experiences. You fail to see the world and Europe are more complex then you could ever imagine. You fail to see Europeans criticise the United States a lot but that we also admire her. The majority of the Europeans prefers a closer relationship with the United States and a majority of the Americans (91%) prefers a closer relationship with Europe. Unfortunatly for you but you are a minority view.

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  • 139. At 6:47pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    spot on Dutchy,
    Strange thing is it's probably because he hates so many liberals in America and secretly desires to return.

    Somewhere where he will be disliked for being american for which he can always answer"you just hate americans"

    In his own country he comes up against americans that call him a bigot and worse.
    they look past the american (as they are themselves) and see the back end of a donkey

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  • 140. At 6:55pm on 08 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    jacksforge, you seem very angry a the world but if you want to vent it all on me, go right ahead. Just don't expect your nonsense to go unchallenged.

    One would not expect that after 40 years, the design of an aircraft body of comparable size and configuration to the C5A would not change in its details. That would negate everything learned about aerodynamics for four decades. Even the Europeans aren't that dumb. But just look at the general configuration of the two planes and the resemblance is unmistakable....even for you :-)

    Like everything else in a plane, the engines whether made for Boeing by Rolls Royce, Pratt and Whitney, or General Electric went to the low bidder. Any of those three companies could build identical engines to the same drawings and specifications. In fact, the minute internal details of one versus another are just a matter of the particular philosophy of the engineers employed and assigned to a particular project in the company with the contract at any given moment in time.

    That EADS is in great trouble is in no dispute. Its management in turmoil, its pet projects the A380 and A350 years behind schedule, way over budget and bedeviled with a myriad of technical and logistical problems, that's what you get when a corporate entity is run by governments instead of private industry no matter what you call it. For example, where different components of the A380 are manufactured is controlled by political directives, not the best manufacturing capabilities or most rational logistical choices. Its very existance is a monument to ego and shortsightedness. The last thing most airlines want now is a super duper jumbo jet. I've flown on 737s recently that were half empty and a 757 that must have been at least three quarters empty. Imagine an A380 three quarters empty. What economy would that be? And what a nighmare loading, offloading, and collecting baggage on a fully loaded one. It could take hours.

    I don't care what the veterans you know sitting around in tents or log cabins in Oregon or wherever you are think about Iraq. The opinions of armchair generals don't count. Personally I think the invasion was a great idea, it just came about 12 years too late. The job should have been finished off in 1991 in Desert Storm. It was President Bush 1 who didn't have the political will to do the job, President Clinton who had no will to defend America at all, and President Bush 2 who kowtowed to Britain's domestic political rumblings by granting Iraq a 6 month delay which cost far more than it should have and didn't find the WMDs because there was plenty of time to hide them...probably in Syria. If you want me to agree that the war was badly managed, I'll agree. As usual the US stopped fighting long before the battle was won and paid a heavy price for that mistake. I don't think we'll ever learn. But in the end, Iraq was a brilliant idea, it's outcome excellent for the US....if Obama should become President and doesn't throw it all away. The entire political map of the Middle East has changed for the better. And now we will have lots of new bases in Iraq from which to launch pre-emptive wars on Iran and Syria. And it's high time we got on with that job too. What are we waiting for, Ahmadinejad to actually get an atom bomb?

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  • 141. At 8:07pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    what made you think i'm angry with the world.True i find you to be an abusive racist meglomaniac,but that in no way shows anger at the WORLD.
    I do realise that anger at america is not anger at the world then the World series isn't really a world series either is it?

    "The opinions of armchair generals don't count. "

    That would be you.

    "As usual the US stopped fighting long before the battle was won and paid a heavy price for that mistake"
    tell that to those fighting that were out there. tell them when they did not shoot the unarmed civilian that they were weak .
    tell the soldiers that fought so you can rant that Iraq is a "BRILLIANT idea".
    you have showed nothing to prove your analytical abilities in you rant.

    Airbus is in trouble.yes

    there is no simularities between the planes ask anyone to google the two and see if they can spot the difference.

    Bush 1 showed some sense when he said why would you want to upset that cart.

    Oh but your always right because you are MARCUS THE WISE.(about nothing).

    But back to the armchair generals(which is what you are) the real generals had to be kicked out or replaced until they could get in line with YOUR WAR.

    So as my buddy the vet said to you before.
    Why don't you go sign up WIMP.

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  • 142. At 8:32pm on 08 Jun 2008, DenisOLeary wrote:

    As this thread seems to be wending its way to a weary end without any particular conclusion being drawn, maybe it is worth recalling that it was the meeting between Blair and Chirac in St. Malo in 1998 that laid the foundation for present developments. Why Mark should be seemingly surprised escapes me.

    The UK and France are the two Member States of the EU that are (a) nuclear powers (b) permanent members of the UN Security Council and (c) the Member States that can project most military power.

    Not one, but two, generations of diplomats and military advisers have spent their careers trying to balance the Atlanticist and French wings of the NATO alliance since De Gaulle pulled French forces out of the integrated military command in 1966.

    Chirac edged away from his Gaullist roots. Sarkozy is trying to complete the process. It will not end in tears nor will it lead to anything worth talking about. Since Suez, both the UK and France know who the big guy on the block is. He just wants them to foot more of the running costs.

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  • 143. At 8:40pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 144. At 9:03pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    what you have to complain to the mods because my answers were to true for you eh.hero man

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  • 145. At 9:13pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    well maybe it is because i pointed out how wrong you are on almost all topics you discuss. like the Air bus being almost C5 get real . go google a picture yourself.
    nothing you say is relenant because it is so wrong that it belongs in the fiction section . along with your version of history.

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  • 146. At 9:16pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    And mods either send me this has been stricken note or post it. whats the problem.
    You want me to back up my claims because i'm ready to.

    MA2 as to the war being badly managed .yes we agree . i'd say the AMERICANS TOTALLY SC$%#%%# at their end.

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  • 147. At 10:08pm on 08 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:

    It always amazes me that no matter what country a blog is based in, some American will always show up to embarrass America. As an American this is unfortunately not an isolated case. It is sad to say but most Americans do not know much about the world. Most Americans do not care about the world. Most Americans think that the world should be thankful to them for ensuring their freedom. What they never say is how much what they have CHOSEN to do has benefited them economically. By them choosing to be the superpower of the world has allowed them to do as they wish.

    If America had not helped out Europe in WWII, the Europeans would not have been the only ones to suffer. Instead Americans never even talk about the Soviets role in WWII. They never talk about how they got involved in the war 2-3 years after the war had begun. They never talk about how they only got involved after Japan had attacked them. What they never talk about is how much getting into a fight late and having a country who's industry had not been affected, who's mainland (48 states) were out of range of bombers, provided an extraordinary benefit. Mike Tyson could also have a comeback if his opponent had run a marathon before the fight.

    Then we have the cold war. Where America (being such a nice country) decided to go and help out our friends in Europe. Thankfully they still had all their bases over there from WWII (even now after the end of the cold war they still have them) It is amazing that America was such a good country to protect Europe against AMERICA's enemy and biggest threat.

    What is most amazing about Americans is that they never learn. You would think that after Korea, Vietnam, and now Iraq they would come to understand that having the biggest most powerful military is not all that it seems. But Grenada was a big success.

    The threat from Russia to Europe is minimal. They are both going to be getting closer and closer to each other. China, Europe, Russia, are all tied to each other economically and getting more so each day. In fact my personal opinion is that America should be the country that is worried. We have a large debt, slowing economy, two wars going on, our influence in the world is gradually declining.

    What is the biggest problem is that America and Americans will never comprehend or understand that our influence is declining. And I really don't think America could handle just being a member of a group of powerful nations. The American technological superiority is a joke, newsflash!! just because a company is American does not mean its products are developed or manufactured in America.

    People have to understand that this is a country where Bill Reilly and Sean Hannity is considered reporting. This is a country where in the republican debate one of the contestants said that the Muslims hated us because we messed around with their countries for so long. To this the entire group of candidates laughed and all said "they hate us because of our freedom." This is a country where there is still people that think Saddam Hussein had something to do with 9/11. This is a country where everybody supports Israel but most people could not find it on a map. This is a country where people like "MarcusAureliusII" above think that with the eyes of the world on it (and American satellites) Iraq was able to move WMD's into Syria and that Syria would accept these when the country next to it was getting ready to be invaded because of them.

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  • 148. At 10:40pm on 08 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I never complained about your postings here or anywhere else. The decision to not publish them was taken by the moderators all by themselves. And why should I complain. Each of your postings just brings more material for me to demonstrate just how wrong you always are.

    Well if the Americans did not manage the war well it is their own fault. As I said, first they should have gotten the job done in 1991. Failing that, they should not have waited six months from September 2002 to March 2003 while they engaged in a futile and pointless effort to get another Security Council resolution. If the British government's perceived need to act in defense of its own security would be held hostage by its own people to the whims of Russia, China, Germany, and France at a meeting where their sharply contrasting interests would make such a resolution impossible that should have been their problem, not America's.

    Have the Brits fought well? They got badly beaten in Basra. This most recent time they fought from their barracks. The British military is so incompetent, it allowed Iranian speedboats to approach a British Royal Marine warship and take fifteen marines captive unchallenged in broad daylight, this a long time after the lesson of the Cole. what do you call people who don't learn from other's mistakes? One good thing about not having the French fighting in Iraq, they'd almost certainly have only gotten in the way. The bad news is that the US pulled its punches, held back from fighting in a way that proves war against the US is pure hell. The prospect of your (anyone's) nation's government risking war against the US should be everyone's worst nightmare. Iranians should be quaking in their shoes at the prospect. But the US was more preoccupied with public opinion and winning hearts and minds than about killing the enemy. If it had fought WWII like that, the Axis would have won.

    I really wonder why you stay in Oregon and why you are so angry. If you hate America so much, why don't you go back to Britain where everything is so much better? Please don't tell me it's because of your pets again, that just won't fly.

    So far the entire question of whether or not the EU is even worth defending has not been discussed. For my part, the answer to that question is clear enough. It's a resonding no. Besides, who will it be defending itself against...that it can beat?

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  • 149. At 11:13pm on 08 Jun 2008, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:



    Obviously almost everybody reading this will know who Fritz Dinkhauser is, but for the few who don't:

    In the elections in Tyrol, the brand new party "Liste Fritz Dinkhaus" has won 18.3% of the seats and become the second largest party in the Tyrolean Parliament and stopped the OeVP from having an absolute majority.

    My point is that this could not happen in the UK. With 18.3% you would probably not get anything. So because people know you wouldn't get anything they wouldn't vote for you and you wouldn't even get the 18.3% you were entitled to.

    And this is why we are the prisoners of the "EU". They system is locked into some stupid state just as my computer sometimes becomes jammed. When my computer does it, I don't accept it.

    If I was in Innsbruck and got on a bus for Salzburg to some extent I would have handed my sovereignty over to the bus driver. If however the bus driver, having agreed to take me to Salzburg, then started to head towards Italy I would not accept his right to do that. I wouldn't say "Oh, he is the bus driver , he is sovereign."

    If this madman then set off down some steep mountain road at a ridiculous speed, singing the "EU" national anthem I would feel perfectly entitled to grab the wheel and ram the bus into the rocks at the side of the road. Better to destroy the bus than to destroy the occupants.

    I am not saying that we should necessarily adopt the Tyrolean voting system. It does seem to be better than our but I believe there are systems that are better still e.g. the single transferable vote system, which is what I think the Australian use.

    Maybe it would be more expensive than our system. It would still be worth it. I believe that people are dying in this country because of the inadequacies of the health system. Much of that money that Blair gave to the useless "EU" could have been spent on health. British soldiers have been sent to die in Iraq on the basis of a dodgy dossier. They have been sent without adequate equipment.

    The business with the health service and Iraq amounts in my opinion to murder by neglect.

    I believe that Blair has lost more British lives that all the victims of 9/11. Blair likes to talk about extremists. He is an extremist and we have had him in power because we have a rubbishy voting system.

    One of the few ways in which the "EU" might be of use is if we could get it to force us to change our voting system so that our "democracy" would function better and we could get out.

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  • 150. At 01:15am on 09 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    Dear MarcusAureliusII #148,

    It's rare that I see so much foolishness, you have claimed to know about wars and planes, then please explain that to a WWII base for bomber ground crews why the safest place to be when the US were practicing was in the target zone. Please also explain why the US films show a Fortress dropping an endless stream of bombs when their bomb bay was tiny. Please also explain why if you see a Lancaster and Fortress side by side the difference in their bomb bay was quite amazing, the Lanc didn't need several planes stacked above to give the impression of being a munition delivery machine. Please also explain the meaning of friendly fire and why the UK's casualties are often that. Please also explain why the harrier is too difficult for US pilots.

    Finally if the US is so great please explain why your congress refused Sir Hiram Maxim's invention of the machine gun forcing him to vacate the American dream and go to South London, where it was developed and got him a Knighthood. He also invented many things, including arguably the light bulb which was disputed by Us patent laws, likewise he designed aircraft, and one actually flew before the Wright brothers albeit it could not be controlled as it was track bound. Finally his still existing invention was the Maxim captive flying machine, and it still enthralls the public in the Blackpool pleasure beach amusement park 104 years after it's first launch, still with the same mechanism.

    Can you explain why such a genius felt it necessary to leave the US as money was certainly not his reason?

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  • 151. At 03:40am on 09 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    Well said , 105 !

    It was tragic how Britain let down Poland and the Czechs at the beginning of the second world war .

    Many Poles and Czechs escaped and fought alongside the British Army and airforce . Others served with the American forces .

    I have a Czech friend , whose father served with the Czech Army based in Britain . When his father escaped on christmas night on skis , his mother was imprisoned by the Germans for refusing to say where he was . This baby boy was discovered two days later by relatives , who looked after him until his mother was released 2 years later .
    Meanwhile his father had come to England to serve with the free Czech Army . Yaro became a close friend of my father a British army officer and all our family . Our house was home from home for Yaro . I remember well sitting on his knee , while he read a Czeck childrens story .
    We always remembered him ; though after the war , when he returned home to Prague , the Russians came . My mother said we must not write , for fear we might get him into trouble . In fact Yaro served in the post war government and was very outspoken against the Soviet army ; for which he was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment , but serve only 5 years .
    He died in 1991 and was given a heroe's state funeral .
    When I eventually went to Prague , I was too late to see Yaro alive ; but I was so happy to meet his son Yaroslav and grandaughter .

    My biggest worry for East European countries is that the EU is full of promises that may not be fulfilled . I think their main object is to tie themselves to the west for safety . I believe they feel more allegiance to the United States than Europe .

    I went to the Opera Carmen in Prague , set in a Soviet style womens prison , but with wonderful music and singing . The best seats cost about £10 , I asked Yaroslav if he ever went . He said no , that such things were far too expensive . He had been a senior civil engineer , building power stations .
    Over a few excellent Czech beers , we discussed the future if and when they join the EU . I said to him , that I was so afraid for them that the cost of living would rise so fast , that they wouldn't be able to afford to live at all .

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  • 152. At 04:54am on 09 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:

    MarcusAurelius 11,

    I think you have been watching too many hollywood war movies , Soldier Ryan ! Where the Americans , All Purple Heart Heroes , won the second world war by themselves .

    American munitions and fire power are of the best ; but I am not sure that American servicemen are of the best disciplined in battle .

    It is true that Britain was effectively defeated in world war 2 . I expect Hitler thought that too ; that it was merely a mopping up operation in the west . Hitler made the fatal error of attacking Russia . The Russians , history repeats itself , as they did to Napoleon , drew the Germans deeper and deeper into Russia ; so that when winter came they were frozen and starved in their trenches and supply lines cut off . They should have beaten the Russians at Stalingrad ; but ruthless Stalin recruited more and more men from Siberia , tanks and munitions produced around the clock . When one army was defeated another appeared .
    When the Americans eventually joined the war , there was an alliance between Britain , America and Russia , to fight together to defeat the Nazis .
    By the latter part of the war Germany had no effective airforce , or fuel to fly their planes . After the Famous D Day landing the British and Americans move east to Germany as the Russians ruthlessly move west .

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  • 153. At 06:15am on 09 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:

    "MarcusAureliusII" is obviously somewhat of an intelligent guy. This is my first time here, but after reading through 20-30 of his comments it is obvious that he is probably an intelligent guy. What is also obvious is that no matter what he is going to be pro American. And when I say that I mean that he is not even open to any faults that America has.

    If Europe fails at something then it is because they are incompetent. If America fails at something it is because something caused it to happen. His view of history and the world at present is completely based on the idea that America can do no wrong and is the most powerful, unstoppable, country in the world. What he never mentions is its failings in Vietnam, Korea, or Iraq. What he never mentions is that six years after the invasion of Afghanistan they are still fighting guys living in a cave. What he never mentions is that most factories are now outside of America. What he never mentions is that the idea of an "American" company is basically a joke. What he never mentions is that the idea's he holds firm to are from the 1950's.

    You know, I would never expect him to change his views. For some reason he wants to come onto a European/world website where people are more inclined to the socialist (that is such an evil word here in America) That is is right. But what I find funny is the amount of time he puts into it. The amount of time he puts into giving his opinion when really it does not mean much. He is either retired (hence still living in the past) or young and doesn't have a job (hence being a loser).

    Where I am in life I am happy. I served America for 11 years as a pilot who served in Kosovo and Afghanistan. My brother serves America for the last 15 years. What is funny is that we both have come to same conclusion of American colonization. I remember sitting back and watching world events where thousands of innocent people were getting killed and they never called us up. Sadly by the end of my term in the military I had come to the conclusion that we were one step above mercenaries. It is sad when you finally realize that the group of individuals you were with for the past few years were basically used to secure the economic interests of America. The whole "fighting for freedom" motto seems so stupid now. But guess what me and alot of other pilots really believed that after 9/11. What does our government go and do? that is right, invades a country based on lies. You know how it feels when a few hours after you completed a mission you turn on the tv and see a bunch of dead civilians on CNN?

    Guess what "MarcusAureliusII" When America had not even been discovered the Europeans were fighting wars. You may think that realizing that war (after thousands of years) is not the proper way is a bad idea. But if you look to the recent past of America the Europeans were absolutely right. We have lost Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. We have won Grenada, Panama, and the first gulf war (with the rest of the world). To say this is a winning record is basically a joke. With the ruthlessness of the Soviets we would have most certainly have lost that war.

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  • 154. At 08:16am on 09 Jun 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    Marcus Aurelius I have avoided replying to your posting as I am not sure if you are an E.U. enthusiast who is being deliberately provocative to undermine support for those who have a more realistic view of the E.U. and also not sure how useful it is to refight the Second World War. However in case there is an off chance that you genuinely hold these views I wish to put the counter point of view.

    Yes Germany defeated the British, French, and Polish in land Battles in 1939-1940 (with the assistance of Russia in reference to Poland). However Britain was certainly not defeated per se. It still had the largest part of it's fighting forces and what is some times forgotten today an Empire and commonwealth that in total had over a quarter of the world's population. I am not a person who glorifies the British empire but in real politik terms it was massive and the Germans knew this and really would have preferred not to fight the British.

    When Bitain retreated from France in 1940 feelers were put out to Britain from Germany for a peace treaty. At this time it would have been fairly easy for Britain to agree. She had her back against the wall, Russian was still allied to Germany, there seemed to be no possibility of victory. Britain could have walked away with her empire intact and let Germay run wild over continental Euriope. If Britain had taken this course of action I have no doubt Germany would have defeted Russia in 1941-1942. Russia would have had no supplies of arms from the West and would have been in a hopeless situation. In addition Germany would of only been fighting on one front.(see below)

    With Germay master of continental Europe they could have started another front in China and met up with their Japanse allies. At this point even America could not have defeated the axis powers.

    However this did not happen Britain fought on, with the wonderful assistance its commonweath and empire soldiers. The Battle of Britian thwarted Hitlers plans for an invasion of Britain. This meant he had to keep many Divisions in France and other Western countires just in case and could not throw them all against Russia.

    Russia fought well and drained the axis strength, with the help of British and Americal munitions. Most of the ships that helped supply Russia were British merchant men and the Royal Navy. Many thousands of lives were lost in these operations.

    In the mediteranean the brave Maltese people and the British Forces prevented the Island falling into German hands. If this had happened the Germand would have controlled the Mediteranean.

    In the middle east Brish forces defeated the Nazis at Al Alamein. This prevented Germany getting hold of oil supplies and undoubtedly had a critical part on the outcome of the war.

    In the far east the British campaign in Burma also held down many Japeanese Divisions which would of otherwise be turned against America.

    In the invasion of Europe, British, commonwealth and empire Forces made up a third of the allied forces. It is highly unlikely any invasuion would have been succesful with out them.

    There are many other campaigns the British and it's commonwealth and empire soldiers fought in but for the sake of brevity will not go into them here.

    I wish to pay tribute to all peoples of the commonwealth and British empire who fought against the Nazis. Including Canadians, Australians, New Zealanders, Indians, those from the West Iddies etc etc. who gave their lives in this great struggle for democracy.

    But of course victory would not have been possible without the brave Americans and Russians in this war who also laid down their lives. The Russians in particular paid a very heavy price. I could go into the Battles and campaigns each fought in but for the sake of brevity I do not intend to. Even so it would only be just to mention the sacrifice of Russians at Stalingrad and the stunning victory at Kursk.

    We should also remeber the Poles and free French, as well as the many in the resistance through out Europe.

    What I am not doing is harking back to the days of the British empire, it is history and I would certainly not want to return to it.

    I guess what I am saying is that Britain could not have won the war without it's allies, but nor could the Americans and nor could the Russians.

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  • 155. At 09:07am on 09 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    I never complained about your postings here or anywhere else. The decision to not publish them was taken by the moderators all by themselves."

    Neither have I. But I would not be surprised it that poster was blocked altogether.

    Let's wait and see.

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  • 156. At 10:27am on 09 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    Anyway, among all that bravado, here remain the fact that Russia and China (or India and Iran) do not present an existential military threat to the EU, even though thay are highly competitive players in geopolitics.

    But unless your aim is to start a new global war, there is also no need to have 1.8 million soldiers for force projections. 100k-200k would be far enough, especially for the kind of peacekeeping or law-enforcement missions that the EU has in mind.

    Armed forces integration will allow more specialization with more efficient allocation of taxpayer money, while certainly helping conscript armies to move decidedly to a professional army (it'll take at least

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  • 157. At 10:34am on 09 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    (my apologies for mistakenly sending my post too early)

    (it'll take a least a decade or more to convince Germany on this for example)

    Thirdly, the EU will have more use for trade diplomacy than for gunboats, when it will want to co-opt other powers in adopting common or interdependent policies.

    Finally, any talk of EU army is nonsense as it will be a multi-national command structure with no allegiance to the EU, but to member-states with orders to uphold the EU ideals of pan-european solidarity.
    Something that is already at work in NATO, but contrary to NATO where decision-making rest with Europeans only.

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  • 158. At 10:41am on 09 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    Mark's post is about the present and future. So let's put aside historical rows, which is a cul-de-sac discussion.

    What matters now there's no going to be an internal war: never again. Even the hottest conflicts, like Turkey-Greece, is on track of conciliation.

    Next step as Mardell described should be to co-operate in order to face future challenges, acting as a soft power. Remember Europe is (and wants to be) Venus, according to our Mars American friends.

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  • 159. At 10:49am on 09 Jun 2008, Old-Man-Mike wrote:

    The point of these battle groups is to have a fire blanket in the kitchen so that a fire on the cooker can be smothered before it gets out of hand, setting the kitchen on fire and mybe burning the house down. If the factory down the road goes up in smoke, then call the Fire Brigade, particularly if what is inside is unclear. NATO is the Fire Brigade.

    Europe is quite capable of providing its own Fire Brigade howbeit at present with a volunteer crew. However, human nature being what it is, as long as the USA will provide the Fire Service then not much will be done.

    For this reason I think that the USA shound withdraw their forces and fire power from Europe and leave us to build up our own Fire Serice. Of course they may not like the colour we piant the fire engines or what equipment we invest in but you cant have it both ways.

    BTW the Spainish as with other countries that come to mind, are not bad fighters. History show that they are if anything too good at it. We are now putting our fighting spirt into sport and business. Mich more constructive and entertaining.

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  • 160. At 1:06pm on 09 Jun 2008, Freeborn John wrote:

    If any supporters of an EU army really cared about effective security they would prefer the more credible and effective deterrent provided by NATO. If they really cared about multi-lateral action they would favour the broader church of NATO to a limited regional grouping. If they cared about the actual security problems in the world, their countries would today be contributing effectively to NATO action against the Taliban in Afghanistan. When they prefer a degraded security divorced by real-world issues we know there is another agenda at work.

    "Transforming the European Union into a single State with one army, one constitution and one foreign policy is the critical challenge of the age" -- Joschka Fischer, former German Foreign Minister (The Guardian)

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  • 161. At 1:46pm on 09 Jun 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    Re 160, to a large extent agree with what you arE sayng. Does any one really think the E.U could provide a unified commmand to take quick and effective action in a rapidly changing military situation.

    NATO is tried and tested, it works. Why do we want a parallel organisation within the E.U. which would be subject to the usual E.U. Politics.

    This is part of the drive of some in the E.U to further increase it's power and influence and give it further trappings of statehood.

    By all means European countires should work together, but within NATO.

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  • 162. At 1:57pm on 09 Jun 2008, Starbuck wrote:

    Ah Freeborn-John, you like to take soundbites and denaturing them out of their context ...

    Like this one at the beginning of the Schroeder's era, when Joshka Fischer had big plans for transforming the Greens's views on government :

    "Transforming the European Union into a single State with one army, one constitution and one foreign policy is the critical challenge of the age"
    Joschka Fischer, German Foreign Minister"
    The Guardian, London, 26th November 1998

    Followed 2 years later, by this statement :

    "Germany's foreign minister, Joschka Fischer, wrong-footed those who have portrayed him as Europe's arch-integrationist yesterday by distancing himself from the ambitious project for political union outlined earlier this month by the chancellor, Gerhard Schröder.
    In a move that will delight the British government, Mr Fischer instead lauded proposals made by Tony Blair and went out of his way to express sympathy for London's concerns about the transfer of parliamentary sovereignty. "

    And 10 years later, there are still no EU army (but multinational structures and a rapid reaction force), no Constitution (maybe in 4 days some piece of it) and a hesitating common foreign policy.
    Yet europhobes/sceptics are crying wolf everytime federalistic comments are publicized ... is it because they are too damn smart at foiling those plots or is it just because, well ... they are crying wolf ??

    The natural short-term and reactionnary view of populists and nationalists is what force europhiles to take a very fragmented and incremental approach to federalism.
    And if you still claim this to be too undemocratic, then I guess (again) that the real non-democracy start at home (ie : Westminster), not in Brussel or anywhere else : vote your government out at local and national level !! protest in the streets !! practice civil disobedience !!

    But act instead of whining and parroting lies ... that is if you still know what responsibilities citizenship truly entail :)

    Best regards,

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  • 163. At 2:25pm on 09 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    I'm old enough to remember Joshka Fischer viciously kicking a policeman already felled during one of demonstrations organized by German peacniks (video of that incident is still in public domain).

    And what is Joshka doing these days?

    [I do know what Gerhard's doing: still on the same payroll]

    BTW. What's NPD's and PDS position on unified European Force?

    I only ask , because neo(?)Nazis and former(?)Commies have become quite a force in its own right in the German Bundestag.

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  • 164. At 2:26pm on 09 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 165. At 2:32pm on 09 Jun 2008, Bill4747 wrote:

    Hello! I am an American, and I fully support the concept of an EU army. Every nation, or close alliance of nations must be able to defend itself, and project power when the need arises. Nato serves as the structure that is capable of projecting that power at this time.

    However, European nations have a long history of millitary excellence. There is no reason why Europe could not field a powerfull millitary force. Other than the Will and need to do so. I would hope to see a powerfull Europe as an equal partner to North America.

    I wonder what Europeans think of Turkey? With my American eyes, I see a Muslim nation that has a powerfull millitary that wants to be a part of Europe. Wouldn't it be very good for Europe to embrace Turkey into the EU immediately?
    Carrot instead of the stick perhaps?

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  • 166. At 2:48pm on 09 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Are you using Galileo's software by any chance?

    There is no #164 post.

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  • 167. At 2:58pm on 09 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    147. At 10:08 pm on 08 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:

    very well put.
    Another (of many americans) that do not think like the unwise old emperor.

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  • 168. At 3:09pm on 09 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:


    Thanks for your conciliatory message.

    Over Turkey, Europe is split:

    France, Germany, Austria and Netherlands oppose Turkish membership.

    UK, Spain, Italy and Greece give support to Ankara aspirations.

    After 40 years knocking the door, in 2004 EU finally accepted Turkish candidacy and , if reforms keep going on, Turkey can be EU member before 10 years from now.

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  • 169. At 3:34pm on 09 Jun 2008, Freeborn John wrote:

    Starbuck11 (162): Joscker Fisher is clearly an EU federalist who even in the article you quote says that he "would be happy if there were a federal (EU) system similar to that in Germany". It is clear he was not in 2001 talking about fundamental change in his objective but merely tactical changes to achieve the biggest practical step towards his goal possible at the time. Writing more recently (June 2007) in the Guardian he now favours a "two-tier Europe for the next two decades" with "avant garde countries" led by France and Germany "deciding among themselves" saying that "only a strong Europe can provide the necessary counterweight (to the US)".

    Are you suggesting that Mr. Fischer opposes the creation of a European federal state? Or is against an EU army? Or that the current German Foreign minister (who on May 5, 2008 said he would like to see the creation of "a European armed force") has a different agenda? If you are then you should not accuse others of selective quotations.

    I have outlined practical reasons here why there should not be an EU army. Only those obsessed by anti-Americanism would favour a weaker and less credible EU defence over NATO and aimed at splitting the West in order to (in Fischer’s words) "provide the necessary counterweight" to the US.

    I will not be practicing civil disobedience, but I have protested the denial of democracy outside the Westminster Parliament where all but 8 of the current 646 MPs were elected on manifesto promises to put the EU Constitution to a referendum. There is reason to hope that we will have a new government in two years time elected on a popular mandate to re-negotiate the UK-EU relationship towards one of trade rather than political union.

    It is certainly the EU system that is responsible for the recent degradation of democracy that we have witnessed. This is clear because it is only in the EU that the results of referendums are ignored, or where people are told to keep voting until they get it right, or where governments are elected on a promise to do one thing, but then proceed to march their MPs to vote directly against that manifesto promise. The EU is slowly severing the link between governors and the governed with the institutional dynamics of the EU Council increasingly compelling heads of government to regard their primary duty as being towards one another rather than to the people who elected them.

    p.s. Is it too much to hope that you will reply with substantive points rather than personal abuse?

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  • 170. At 3:35pm on 09 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    #154 # 153 #152,
    it must be a conspiracy.
    You all agree that these views of marcus are rediculass.
    Well done.
    153 thankyou for writing and thankyou for being one of the many military staff who see this war through the eyes of humans rather than the eyes of those vengeful hate promoting cowards that ask others to die for their freedom.

    Now marcus back to the amazing morphing C5a transport plane.
    You still think it is the basis of the airbus?
    Did you know(I'm sure youdid after all you are a engineer,right?) that the wing design on ht airbus is concidered a bit of a new desighn.As it happens not tried out on any other plane in service.
    Heard that from someone in the aviation industry.
    did you notice the dorsal positioning of the wings,as opposed to ventral.
    did you notice the difference in size shape and every bit of tech in the plane.

    And yet in your opinion as an engineer (i know seeing as i'm a lowly Blacksmith I shouldn't comment on tech matters to you the wise engineer) so as an engineer you think these are 'pretty much the same thing.

    Again your powers of analysis are flawed.
    that would make your conclusions flawed.

    By the way I say again to you.
    I stay because the animal cannot travel.
    If you find that repulsive that someone can care for their pet then so be it. Others will understand.
    My wife can travel. no quarentine for humans incase you did not know.

    As for my anger .it is not aa problem,I'm not.You are and as always you blame others for your faults. Your views on the eloquence of your posts is as self delusional as your self appointed title.
    And everytime I prod you, you start ranting and when you do you show everyone how potentially poisonous you are.

    And again I'll go back to where i came from IF YOU SIGN UP AND GO FIGHT YOUR OWN WARS.

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  • 171. At 4:32pm on 09 Jun 2008, jedibirder wrote:

    Hopefully this will lead to a standing Euro army so that the US can get out of NATO. It is long past time (50 years) that the US tax payers have had to pay for the defence of a largely ungrateful and thankless lot.
    I would like to see all US military bases in Europe closed within the next five years and all US military personel removed, post-haste!
    This is not an isolationist just makes sense. Hopefully, the Europeans have taken the last fifty years of relative peace to come to terms with their differences and can conduct themselves as adults.
    Hopefully, after this moronic president that 51% of the US population has hoisted on the world, we will have had a belly full of meddling in other countries and our military can come back home.

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  • 172. At 5:00pm on 09 Jun 2008, Bill4747 wrote:

    Interesting that Greece would support Turkey's bid to enter the EU and Germany would oppose.

    Based on my very limited knowledge. I would have guessed the reverse based on
    Cypress and Immigration.

    On a different topic, would you Europeans take Texas? I don't think the U.S. really needs it anymore. (Humor!)

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  • 173. At 5:05pm on 09 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:

    I think a European army is a good idea. We all know it is not going to be a typical army anyway. But if they can have some joint use bases, have unified combat and aviation training, have unified equipment throughout. Not only will they save money but they will be able to work much better together when they are operating together. It would really be simple just by having standard EU training which can still be done by each country themselves. Have European military academy's where officers get sent for training. Something similar to Goose Bay in Canada where pilots from each different country get sent to train. By purchasing the same equipment (this would probably take a while) and this will also save them money by acting as a single customer. The only thing the Europeans are going to be doing is defense, these battle groups that they already have, and peacekeeping missions. The biggest threat that Europe has is terrorism and that is not something you can beat by conventional means anyway. Serbia was the last country that was a threat to peace internally in Europe and even now they are completely different. The Chinese care only about themselves and they can go over to Africa and get what they want by using money not force. The Chinese have a bigger chance of having a civil war than ever invading Europe. The Russians are going to become stronger and stronger. But in my opinion (whatever that is worth) they now realize that having the biggest country, with the most territory, with all these different cultures, religions, nationalities, is a recipe for disaster. I believe that the Russians are going to flex their muscles and build a strong military but will focus more on becoming a economic power. The world is much different than WWII. Back then going from Ireland to France or going from Sweden to Italy was like traveling to a different planet. Now they still look different but they are all basically the same. They have same democracy, they have same cars, they are basically all the same. Europe is basically all done with war. Every European country has either been an empire, been invaded, been occupied, and has been in many wars. Unless the oil runs out tomorrow Europe is not getting invaded or going to war. Going to the middle east to fight the war on terror is the biggest mistake America ever did and the Europeans are probably never going to go there. The Europeans are basically going to be doing peacekeeping missions (mostly in Africa), and have these battle groups in case of something like Rwanda (again mostly Africa) Nuclear weapons basically changed the idea of war anyway. Europe could be wiped out by America, China, Russia, probably even Israel if they wanted. The idea of invading and occupying countries has repeatedly been shown to be a bad decision. All the countries that pose any serious threat to Europe are all tied to Europe economically. The days where countries are self reliant and the outside world has no effect on them is over. So the Europeans will never have a completely united army like a single nation would have, but they can create a force that works together better and has the same training and principles.

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  • 174. At 5:18pm on 09 Jun 2008, g_rizzly wrote:

    Some off-topic remarks:

    @Freeborn-John (#79): 'Hegemon' means leader (literally, the one who shows the way), which I think is an accurate description of the USA since WW2. In fact, it could easily be expanded to 'imperial (i.e. order-giving) power' for the time period between the collapse of the USSR and the US failure in Iraq War II.

    @MarcusAurelius (#131): Linking the US/NATO intervention in Kosovo with the Greco-Turkish aeronaval conflict prevented by Clinton in 1996 is a complete non sequitur. And you are both presenting some inaccurate facts regarding Greco-Turkish relations and oversimplyfing the situation as well as the geopolitical role of the USA. For starters, military equipment does not come for free; Greece spends 4% of its GDP on it, while Turkey spends 5% and until recently all contracts went to the other side of the Atlantic almost exclusively.

    Re #168 (betuli): Turkey's European adventure has seemingly come to an end - for yet another time. There is a raging power war between the Islamist government and the Turkish deep-state (military and judicial/administrative establishment) as well as a real war in Turkey's southeastern provinces; accession to the EU is currently one of Turkey's last priorities.

    In fact, some analysts in Athens are troubled by the unwavering support that the Greek government is giving to the ruling Islamist party and advise extreme caution. For if the Turkish deep-state emerges victorious once again and manages to dissolve the ruling AKP party and send 70 of its persecuted leaders for a shorter (or longer) visit in prison, the EU in general and Greece in particular will be remembered as staunch supporters of the defeated side in the power struggle. And Greece will face the consequences in Cyprus and the Aegean for itself and all of its European partners.

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  • 175. At 5:30pm on 09 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    As for with drawing from nato on the us's part. fine but take your bases off european missile defence shield. (ok from my point of view.)

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  • 176. At 5:52pm on 09 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:


    It works both ways. Shannon, Ireland (neutral country-not even nato member) American bases in England and Germany are all been used to facilitate our war in Iraq. America would not even consider leaving their bases in Europe if the world had been at peace for 500 years. That is how we have our power in the world. Even a country like Iran would be much more of threat if they had bases in Europe, Asian, S. America that is clear to see. Nuclear aircraft carriers and overseas bases are basically the backbone of American strength. What you fail to realize is that it is this strength that makes America powerful. America keeps this strength to hold on to power in the world. It is good for the world (but also bad at a certain point) but it is really good for America. Canada is a similar country as America but you just have to compare them to America and see that they have much less power. Canada cannot project how the world is run. If Canada had nuclear aircraft carriers and had lots of bases overseas then they would have the power. Iran can't stop off in Ireland on the way to bomb America. Iran doesn't have a big military hospital in Canada if it went to war with America.

    It is a simple thing, America takes the lead role to protect a lot of countries but in return America is the boss. America can take all their troops back home, dock their ships, and then their influence in the world will also decline. Then China or Russia would fill the void and they would be the boss and America would be off at the sidelines.

    So what should the Europeans be thankful for? For them helping us to remain strong?

    Never mind, I forgot we are a Christian nation and we do all of this because we like to help people.

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  • 177. At 00:03am on 10 Jun 2008, betuli wrote:

    g_rizzly 174,

    The EU cannot admit another ban on the ruling Islamist Turkish party. Erbakan's party ban in the 90' took place years before Turkey got the EU candidate status.

    Nowadays is different. The judiciary, and also the military, know they don't have the EU and US support.

    We're not going to reach the scenario where the land slide party winner becomes clandestine and Erdogan goes to jail. That's simply unimaginable.

    There's of course a fight in Turkey between the saviours of secularism and the Government, blessed by the West for its pragmatism and "moderation", setting example for other muslim countries.

    So it's just an internal row, with no future consequences in the international ground.

    I know from Greece is seen with more suspicacy... But everything is going to be alright: Turks want peace and better life conditions, like anyone else.

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  • 178. At 01:04am on 10 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Buzet #23
    Looks like the Lancaster had the big bomb bay doors. Of course that doesn't mean it could carry the heaviest payload. It Was a B-29 Stratofortress which dropped 10,000 pound atom bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The largest conventional bomb in WWII was the 5000 pound blockbuster. Now was that an American or a British weapon? The bomb bay doors only have to be large enough to let the bombs out, in fact they may even exit at an angle depending on the racking and delivery system. I'm no authority on how that worked but it seems to me if you want a concession that the Lancaster's Bomb Bay doors were larger, that's OK with me. Which brings up an interesting point. When I lived in France, I noticed that most people had front doors to their homes about 10' to 12' high. Now doesn't that seem strange considering that even a tall human being is only a little over 6 feet? Guess Europeans have a thing about big doors.

    Speaking about refusing acknowledgement of inventions, can you explain why British medicine ignored the discovery of pennicillin for 15 years? In your list of things Americans didn't invent, you left out the fact that the Russians invented jazz. At least they claim they did. ;-) Funny how for a country that didn't invent anything, America did so well for itself.


    You don't think the Americans are the best? Why don't you read accounts of how they fought a battle, marched two days in a blizzard for over a hundred miles and then immediately engaged the Nazis in Bastogne in the battle of the bulge to relieve the American forces under siege? No other army could do that. American soldiers are the best trained, best equipped most effective fighting force in the world. I sometimes wonder about their generals and I know their political leaders do not have the will to win a war. The US has not won a war except maybe for Kosovo and Granada since World War II. They always stop fighting before the enemy is crushed. They have him on the ground, their boot on his throat, and then they let him go to fight again another day. That's because none of them are chess players, they don't know you don't win until the king is dead.

    I wasn't the one who compared the the United States of America to The Roman Empire, it was BBC. Go listen to their six part series "America Age of Empire." They got a lot wrong but it was their conclusion that the world has seen nothing like the US since the Roman Empire and they expect it to stay that way for the forseeable future. Are they right in their prediction? Only time will tell.

    America makes plenty of mistakes. The difference between America though and Europe is that they usually admit to it, try to learn from it, and try not to make the same mistake again. Take Iran or even Iraq for example. The Europeans believed Iraq had WMDs in 2003 just the way they believe Iran is trying to build an atom bomb today. The difference in 2003 is that the US learned something from 1938 while Europe didn't. But I have to wonder seeing how passive the US is towards Iran if that lesson hasn't already been forgotten. Insofar as the wars America lost, as I said above, it was a matter of political will. The US could easily have crushed any of those countries without nuclear weapons in a matter of a few days had it wanted to. It is a lack of will that holds it back. Perhaps if it had some allies who had guts...nah, that's too much to hope for, but there is Israel. At least some of them have guts unlike practically all Europeans. Which European do I admire most? No constest, Vlad Putin.

    Knight321, it bothered you seeing dead civilians in places you had bombed? What do you think happens to people who have bombs drop on them. Hopefully you killed some of the bad guys too. Funny how the other side often uses civilians as human shields to create martyrs. It took the Israelis a long time to undersand that if they want to survive they have to get past that. We on the other hand knew it a long time ago. Now what percent of the people killed in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Tokyo, and Dresden do you think were civilians? If you don't like dead bodies, you should not have become a military pilot. Armies are about killing people. Not every bomb is a smart bomb and not every smart bomb is smart enough.

    You really delude yourself. The throngs all over the world under British rule were not loyal members of the Commonwealth, they were slaves of an cruel barbaric self serving exploitive empire. Do you really think the Indians would have fought for the British? Forced to choose, the Irish would have fought on the side of the Nazis. The forces of the empire were far flung and far away. Germany had a very powerful navy until the battle of the Atlantic when American warships both manned by Americans and "lend leased" to Britain took their toll on the German fleet. Without the US, the empire even if it had somehow coordinated itself would have been too little too late to save Britain from a successful Nazi invasion. Britain was lucky. Those V1 and V2 rockets could just as easily have had mustard gas for warheads.

    Old man mike, I agree. The US should pull out of Western Europe tomorrow. If the Russians try to recapture some of their old near aboad like Ukraine or Estonia, it should be for Euorope to deal with it. The US has fought far too many of Europe's battles for it already. Besides, it's high time they paid the price of military defense. They have skated by far too long on the American taxpayer's back. Let's see how well they do with their own money, how much social safety net they can still afford.

    In a side by side comparison of the C5A and the A380 what is most striking is not their differences but that after 4 decades how similar they are. It would be absurd if they weren't at least somewhat different. BTW, you can be sure the avionics of a modern C5A even if the air frame was built in the 1960s is very different from what it was then. Did you hear the reports on BBC today about the airlines? They are mothballing much of their fleets. The last thing in the world they want now are new planes, especially those that might fly with the better part of 800 seats empty.

    I'll say it again. Turkey and Greece were on the road to war with each other over the same issues they fought WWI over. They would have used the Weapons the US sold them for their own defense in WWIII. It is the only valid reason for the US going into Kosovo and a dubious one at that. The Republicans were against it. The US did not have a dog in that fight. It had little to gain or lose no matter which side won or if a stalemate had ensued for generations. The cold war was over and neither side was a threat to the US. Clinton bowed to the pleas of the helpless Europeans who saw the pictures of the Kosovars being forced to board trains and it reminded them of Auschwitz, the nightmare they'd tried to forget for 55 years. It was more than they could bear. I knew when I saw the TV footage myself it would wind up that way, that we'd have to go to war to end it.

    It is the penchant of Europeans to destroy everything they build up about once every generation. It's only been since America became a European power that it came to an end and no thanks to those all over Europe who would have preferred to surrender to become part of the Soviet Evil empire. Small wonder the Eastern Europeans feel the way they do. They at least still know that had they had to rely on Western Europe, they'd still be captives of the USSR. Now all they need is the EU to continue the subsidies where the USSR left off. That's where taxpayers in Britain, France, and Germany come in. Someone has to pay for those roads and bridges in Hungary.

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  • 179. At 01:56am on 10 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:


    I think you misunderstood my post. As a a member of the military I understood that I would have to kill people and that could also include civilians. My problem is that when a war such as Iraq takes place where it was not a war of necessity, it causes your military members to question their actions and for many of them to lose fate. As we can seen by the amount of officers that have been leaving all areas of the services. The key to a success in war is to have a war that is justified. That is why nobody is complaining about still being in Afghanistan, that is why nobody was complaining after the Japanese attacked us. But if you have wars like in Vietnam and Iraq where there really was no threat to America then if that war is not successful in a short amount of time then ultimately you are most likely to fail. The so called surge in Iraq is basically the same as if the British paid the IRA not to attack them back when the troubles were going on.

    "the Irish would have fought on the side of the Nazis"

    You do know lots of Irish fought with the British during WWII? My grandfather being one of them. Kind of amazing when you think that they did not like each other.

    "In a side by side comparison of the C5A and the A380 what is most striking is not their differences but that after 4 decades how similar they are."

    That is like saying all planes are the same because they all have wings, tail, and engines. Carbon fiber, avionics, fly by wire, fuel efficiency, they are two completely different aircraft.

    "The last thing in the world they want now are new planes, especially those that might fly with the better part of 800 seats empty."

    Aviation is really taking off in India and China. They will need big aircraft like this and there is a market. The bigger problem for Airbus is the low value of the dollar.

    "They always stop fighting before the enemy is crushed."

    Sometimes this is the best option. You have evil leaders out there but you also have to consider what happens if they are gone and there is a power vacuum. Again Iraq is a prime example of this. It would be interesting to see how many people were killed under Saddam and how many people have been killed since we invaded and how many will be killed in the future. The political parties all have their own militias, we are paying the Sunni's not to attack us, the Iraqi jails are a packed full and they still torture people. The only people that have benefited from the fall of Saddam is the Kurds and the Iranians.

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  • 180. At 03:08am on 10 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    You have been brainwashed. Think back to the facts as they were known in 2003. The CIA director George Tenet who was appointed by Clinton told President Bush that Iraq having WMDs was a slam dunk. Prime Minister Blair believed it. M5 was the one that sexed up the Dodgy Dossier. Blair believed it why shouldn't Tenet? Saddam Hussein had kept his nuclear weapons program secret until his Brother-in-law defected to Jordan in 1995 and revealed it to the world, he was its director. That was supposed to have been revealed in 1991 as part of the truce and the UN inspectors appeared no more competent in 2003 than they did in 1993. President Putin warned President Bush that according to Russian intelligence, Iraq was going to attack the US on American soil. People blamed the government for 9-11 only a year earlier because nobody connected the dots. Well here were the dots drawing a very plain picture. And suppose all of these people were right and Iraq had attacked the US after Bush had done nothing except more useless talk? Would you have settled for him being impeached or would you have wanted him assassinated? Congress had access to exactly the same intelligence President Bush had and came to exactly the same conclusion. That is why they voted to approve action.

    Your military leadership right up to the Commander in chief failed to prosecute the war skillfully. They failed to provide enough troops. They failed to seal the borders. They failed to search out and destroy the militia leaders on both sides. They failed to take and secure territory. They failed to attack support coming from Iran and Syria. They were more interested in winning hearts and minds than they were in seeking out and destroying the enemy. They were far too worried about Iraqi civilian casualties and collateral damage than they were about maximizing the numbers of enemy casualties. And in starting the war, they wasted 6 months in a stupid game of trying to get one more resolution in the UN for Tony Blair. Shortly before the invasion Israeli intelligence reported large convoys of trucks headed from Iraq to Syria, that's where the WMDs wound up. And why should we think this is true? Because although they'd never admit it, there is every good reason to believe that the materials for biological warfare and the precursors to chemical weapons were obtained by Iraq from the CIA itself for use against Iran.

    As for Vietnam, it was believed by many who studied Soviet expansionism that the fall of one Southeast Asian country like Vietnam would lead to loss of all of them like a row of falling dominoes. In fact it was called the domino theory. But once again, we had very weak poltical leadership and incompetent military men. It would have been child's play to destroy North Vietnam any number of ways. Once simple way...around the clock bombing for weeks denying the population any opportunity to sleep, induced mass shell shock. Another, destruction of the civilian infrastructure of North Vietnam's main cities like Haiphong and Hanoi. It's amazing how little will there is left to fight when the bulk of your population has no water, not electricity, no gas, not even a sewer system, and is running out of food. Israel gave Lebanon a taste of it two years ago. Next time they may get the full swallow.

    If you really want to win a war, you have to be prepared to kill off the entire population. That was the message Roosevelt sent the Germans and Truman sent the Japanese. That is the only way to obtain unconditional surrender. World War II was the last war of any significance America actually won.

    Is the A380 a C5A? Yes and no. A380's details are very different reflecting 40 years of remarkable aeronautical advance but they are approximately the same shape and size with the same mission, to carry a large load over a long distance. They have more in common than you think. BTW, you haven't heard the US military ask EADS to develop a military cargo version have you? I didn't think so.

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  • 181. At 03:11am on 10 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    man I'd second that Knight.
    well said.

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  • 182. At 04:09am on 10 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:

    See the problem with thinking back is that the administration was doing everything to make a case for war. Me being a regular citizen and not having access to security briefings had to rely on the government. the 9/11 hijacker that had supposedly met with Iraqi intelligence in Prague was deemed incorrect long before the Iraq war. Cheney used this in the lead up to the war when it had already been deemed incorrect. The tubes that they said were for a nuclear program were completely unsuitable for any type of nuclear program. They knew this. The yellow cake from Nigeria had been discredited by Joe Wilson and he had told them this. They still used it in the lead up to war. They later outed his wife who was in the CIA because he told the media. The Iraqi who had defected to Germany and said that he worked on a nuclear program had been deemed untrustworthy by the Germans. Remember Powell in front of the UN? Mobile weapons labs? This guy is the source of that information. They used this guys information even after the Germans said he was unreliable. The United Nations were back in the country. This is interesting, [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] ----------------------------------------------------- "I would say that what's been mobilized to this point -- something on the order of several hundred thousand soldiers are probably, you know, a figure that would be required. We're talking about post-hostilities control over a piece of geography that's fairly significant, with the kinds of ethnic tensions that could lead to other problems. And so it takes a significant ground- force presence." GEN. SHINSEKI Sounds to me like the military was not the problem. ---------------------------------------------------- I really would not trust intelligence from Israel Especially when Israel has a problem with Syria and at that time was probably hoping that they could get America to take care of Iraq and Syria. Israel is only for Israel and you should try to remember that. ---------------------------------------------------- Your views are somewhat out of whack with the year 2008. Can you image if CNN was around in 1940's with live pictures from the battlefield. How about live pictures beamed to everybody's house of the aftermath of the dropping of the atomic bomb. Whether you like it or not the western world has become much more civilized. America can't go and completely destroy a country anymore without regard to civilians. And this is not only because of the world but because of regular Americans. During WWII people son's went off, and everybody got told your son died fighting bravely in battle. Today people find out that their son died by friendly fire, or they were captured and tortured, or you even have videos of their son's getting their heads chopped off by terrorists. If a commander makes a mistake and even a few of his troops are killed, it is a big controversy. WWII was basically fought without nobody knowing what was actually happening except for the people involved. Everybody got told they dropped the atomic bomb and lots of people died but the war is over. In my opinion I think people would not have been dancing in the streets if there was live shots of downtown Hiroshima on their televisions, even if they were happy the war was over. If you think about it the military were the only real source of information, can you image how people's opinion of Iraq war would be if the military was the only source of information? Can you image if you told General Patton that you could have a five year long war with 4,000 casualties? The truth is that life has become more valuable in the western world and even a hardcore country like Israel seen that when they went into Lebanon last time. --------------------------------------------------- The aviation industry has advanced tremendously in the past 40 years. But at the end when it comes to the airlines they want to hold on to the type of aircraft that their customers have become accustomed to. Projects like the Boeing flying wing have failed because airlines are not sure about the prospect of getting people to fly in a wing with no windows. But if you think of carbon fiber (which is still controversial) avionics and glass cockpits, GPS (except the ATC system in this country does not allow airlines to utilize this to its full potential) the increased fuel efficiency, the advancements in turbine engines, it is quite remarkable. There is also nothing really wrong with the basic design of aircraft so the desire to change it is not really there.

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  • 183. At 06:13am on 10 Jun 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    Marcus Aurelius your understanding of history is so shallow a puddle would appear an ocean to you. Take just one point of yours 'do you really think the Indians would have fought for the British_ - No I do not think that, I know it for a fact -

    'At the outbreak of World War II, the Indian army numbered 205,000 men. Later during World War II the Indian Army became the largest all-volunteer force in history, rising to over 2.5 million men in size. These forces included tank, artillery and airborne forces.' -
    'Over 36,000 Indian members of the armed forces were killed or went missing in action, and 64,354 were wounded during the war. Indian personnel received 4,000 awards for gallantry, and 31 VCs.'

    Marcus please note the above, they were volunteers not conscripts.

    I do not want to get into this as it is a side track and away from the substantive issue, but nor will I allow the memory of what those brave men did be cheapened by your stupid and ill considered rants

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  • 184. At 07:24am on 10 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    I wonder why Spaniards are slicing hydrolic systems in their Portuguese collegues' lorries?

    Is this some test of European Force's special ops (sabotage) capabilities?

    Or simply a demonstration of European unity?

    [not unlike the one Germans have just demonstrated on streets of Klagenfurt for everyone to see]

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  • 185. At 08:09am on 10 Jun 2008, Jukka Rohila wrote:

    To MarcusAureliusII (180):

    "If you really want to win a war, you have to be prepared to kill off the entire population. That was the message Roosevelt sent the Germans and Truman sent the Japanese. That is the only way to obtain unconditional surrender. World War II was the last war of any significance America actually won."

    No, that is a sure way to loose the war. If Germans, or rather Nazis and SS, hadn't entered Soviet Union as a conquerors but as liberators and had gathered the sympathies of the local population, it's possible that Stalin could have been overthrown or Germans could have added local man power to take over the communist regime. Also another example is the Morgenthau plan. Morgenthau plan envisioned transforming post-war Germany from industrial to agrarian country, when the plan became public General Marshall complained that the German resistance had became stronger. If you want to win a war, you have to give population and its leaders a better deal than to continue fighting.

    It should also be noted that you have very extreme views about war and peace and conducting military operations. Its one thing to say kill all, but its a another thing to do it, and another thing to testify it.. I really would like to recommend reading a book called the Rape of Nanking or The Fall of Berlin 1945 or a book about the Holocast to give you at least some human touch on how theory of destruction turns into practice.

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  • 186. At 09:11am on 10 Jun 2008, g_rizzly wrote:

    @betuli (177): Obviously there is no comparison between Erbakan and Erdogan. The former simply stepped down when asked by the military in the postmodern coup of 1997, the latter has taken up the glove and gives a hard fight. However, as I wrote, this is an existential power struggle for Turkey and, therefore, accession to the EU is totally unimportant right now. Both sides of the struggle just keep up the pretences for the sake of Turkish economy.

    @MarcusAureliusII (178): No, Turkey and Greece were not on the road to war in 1996 for the same issues they fought in early 20th century. It was a Turkish diplomatic maneuvre in the Aegean, which escalated into a military crisis due to the inexperienced response of the newly-elected Greek government. Fortunately, the US at the time had a more than competent administration and the conflict was averted by President Clinton's decisive intervention. Please, take my word for it or do your own research.

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  • 187. At 12:42pm on 10 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I'm not thrilled about the outcome in Iraq but not nearly so disappointed as the press has tried to portray it as a total failure. The outcome is far rosier than you think despite the human suffering there. This kind of suffering and worse are the consequences of war and the certainty of them should be why even mass murderers like Saddam Hussein would fear war with the US. It was Europe that gave Hussein the illusion he and his country wouldn't suffer this fate and he was wrong.

    You say your government blah blah blah but your government also includes Congress and they having had and heard all of the fact voted overwhelmingly to go to war too. Right, wrong or otherwise, the checks and balances did not allow President Bush to invade single handedly. In fact the buildup and warnings were given a long time to work, the timing of the war dictated by the impending change in the weather and held back until the last possible moment.

    The decision to go to war was not made on a handful of facts that turned out to be wrong in retrospect, it was made on a vast tapestry of evidence which by and large was consistent.

    Just because the Iraqi army was defeated as a unified fighting force, that did not mean the war was over, not by a long shot. This was a very bad mistake our military command made. All the more inexcusable since the USA invented guerrilla warfare over 200 years ago to win its own independence. The skill shown by our military leaders and our civilian political command in the White House and Pentagon was very disappointing. As bad as it was, how would a Barack Obama stack up if he had to direct a war? And the fact that he will appear weak means war will be thrust upon us, it only makes us more vulnerable, the prospect of hurting us badly more tempting to America's enemies.

    You don't trust the intelligence of Israel? Then trust this. If the US does not use conventional weapons to destroy Iran's program to build an atom bomb, Israel will launch a pre-emptive nuclear strike to get the job done. Time is rapidly running out for the US and the world. If and when that day comes, there is every possibility that human life on earth will no longer be viable in the aftermath. It should also give you reason to think that while Iran calls Israel the little satan and wants to wipe it off the map, its real target is the US which it calls the great satan. It has said clearly it wants to create a world without America. It is very dangerous for the world that the people who run Iran, the Mullahs are more preoccupied with the next world than this one. And rest assured that if the Iranians or anyone else do successfully attack America with a nuclear weapon as our government seems inevitably resigned to, the consequences for the human race will be the most devastating in all history. If Obama stands in the way, he'll get bypassed just as Kennedy knew he would in the Cuban missile crisis. Every potential threat real or imagined will be eliminated no matter where and the method used will be the most effective and efficient the US military has at its disposal.

    If you are saying that the US People do not have the will to survive as a free and open nation because the images on their television screens of what it will take to defend the American nation are too horrible for them to bear, then America will survive as a military dictatorship, far worse than anything its worst critics accuse it of. It is not about to quietly disappear from the world. Quite the opposite, a very different and much more horrible world than we can imagine will come into being overnight and America's vast power in every regard will be used without restraint of any kind.

    The Japanese did not have the power to kill off all the Chinese. The Germans almost beat the Russians. Had the US not entered the war, they certainly would have. The Nazis weren't interested in liberating Russia, they wanted them as slaves. They considered Slavs subhuman.

    jordanbasset, 2.5 million Indian soldiers who defended India were not about to travel halfway around the world to defend Britain. For all they cared, Britain could have sunk into the sea. Britain was the most hated nation on earth. That has been forgotten over time.

    The fact remains, the issues between Turkey and Greece over world war I have not been resolved to this day. They still hate each other. Small wonder, they have a thousand year history of it as Europeans.

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  • 188. At 2:25pm on 10 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:

    I would say that a person with your views of the world should never come to power. Unfortunately over the last seven years a administration that had an attitude similar to you has ruined the country. You know a lot, but you also only want to see it your way. The same way this administration was made up of all intelligent people, but were so full of themselves that they made lots of common sense mistakes. '

    Your arguments make no sense and a child can see that America has been left weaker by Iraq. You blame the military but the real blame lies in the white house.(somehow I think if a democrat was president your blame would fall directly to him) The argument that there was a "vast tapestry of evidence" is a joke. The build up to the war was made up of discredited information, from discredited people, and was purposely distorted and blown up to make the threat seem imminent. The Bush administration played on the fact that the media in this country was scarred to appear "un-American". that the public was still angry and scarred from 9/11, and that the democrats, who the republicans have always portrayed as weak on defense, would never risk showing weakness at a time just after 9/11. Go to the senate intelligence website and look up the post Iraq war pre-war analysis from 2005.

    See if we weren't in Iraq right now Iran would not be a problem. Instead we have one of our hands tied behind our backs. We (or Israel) can take out their nuclear program and it probably would not be that hard. But when we have a couple hundred thousand American troops and contractors next store in a country that is not even stable then that is a problem. Too bad because the Iranians were more scarred of Saddam than America. Too bad that the Iranians were scarred of America before the Iraq war and now that they have seen what happened and the reaction of the American public they can rest easy knowing that America will never invade their country. America or Israel (even better for the Iranians) can only really bomb the country. They can bomb the nuclear program and still the Iranians win because of renewed support they will get from their people. You can bomb Iranian military installations but really Iran has been much more productive funding terrorists than doing the fighting themselves. You can even drop a nuclear bomb on Tehran and what would you really achieve? You would take out the government and millions of people. You would then be left with a country like Afghanistan in the 90's with no government and this is the middle east so some other crazy would either take over or it would just become a terrorist haven. The difference being that Iran has lots of oil and Afghanistan does not.

    I am not saying that America should not take out the Iranian nuclear program. But you make it seem so easy and that everything can be taken care of with a nuclear bomb.

    You should start up your own website or something. I am serious you would be a big hit with the far right.

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  • 189. At 3:04pm on 10 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    "On a different topic, would you Europeans take Texas? I don't think the U.S. really needs it anymore."

    Sure but not the Texans:)

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  • 190. At 4:54pm on 10 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    178 corrections
    "Which European do I admire most? No constest, Vlad Putin."

    Almost European.

    "When I lived in France, I noticed that most people had front doors to their homes about 10' to 12' high. Now doesn't that seem strange considering that even a tall human being is only a little over 6 feet?"

    Funny that would make the door higher than most traditional ceilings. After all the people were even shorter in the past.
    In a more modern vernacular it is to
    1; allow taller pieces of furniture to be moved in.
    2; Give a more impressive entrance.
    3; ride horses through the living room
    4; test peoples ability to use a tape measure correctly.

    "Speaking about refusing acknowledgement of inventions, can you explain why British medicine ignored the discovery of pennicillin for 15 years? "

    Well at least they discovered it.
    It was not an american.

    "Funny how for a country that didn't invent anything, America did so well for itself."

    that would be called theft by some.

    "Why don't you read accounts of how they fought a battle, marched two days in a blizzard for over a hundred miles and then immediately engaged the Nazis in Bastogne in the battle of the bulge to relieve the American forces under siege? No other army could do that."

    It's a bit specific isn't it. How do you prove your point here.
    recreate WW2 and the events that would lead to a battle near Bastogne.
    Not feasible .Other battles other days different outcomes.Just a rant by you.
    like the rest.

    "It would be absurd if they weren't at least somewhat different. BTW, you can be sure the avionics of a modern C5A even if the air frame was built in the 1960s is very different from what it was then."

    never suggested it would be the same avionics . did say it is a different plane not based on the c5a at all.
    I agree it is Big.and the c5 is big. but if you see a big apple remember it is not the same as a big orange.
    viability wise. they made it to carry more people on those long distance flights for less fuel. that is simple to understand ,i hope.

    "But just look at the general configuration of the two planes and the resemblance is unmistakable....even for you :-)"

    No it is not. get glasses

    "Like everything else in a plane, the engines whether made for Boeing by Rolls Royce, Pratt and Whitney, or General Electric went to the low bidder. Any of those three companies could build identical engines to the same drawings and specifications. In fact, the minute internal details of one versus another are just a matter of the particular philosophy of the engineers employed and assigned to a particular project in the company with the contract at any given moment in time. "

    Not just american then. are you saying a rolls royce engine performs as well as the american. So europeans can make stuff that works just as good as the US stuff.Which was often made by europeans anyway.

    As to the hate speaches you post on here regularly.
    you have called for enough death, promoted enough racism , promoted hate, promoted war crimes attacked, the US military ,all the US presidents,all the US generals,all europe, all the EU military, all arabs ,all soldiers some specifically, Me (of course), my animal. All Blacksmiths( that was fun) , the BBC , most of the other posters(any that show signs of disagreeing with you, the Russians(infact all nations other than Israel and US.) (you have defended homosexuals , thank you that is very tolerant) .
    Other than this you have tried to demonise all ,other than a few Americans and Israelis.

    You seem to be angry.

    And dangerous .
    These two you have accused me of but again you call it as you see it, but you see nothing but yourself.
    I would disagree with intelligence assessments I have heard here.

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  • 191. At 4:59pm on 10 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    personally I think a EU force able to disentangle it's self from us is a good idea.
    As an anglo american I think the UK should be more for europe.than the states.
    Then I might want to go back, but while america is so IN europe in every way I might as well just live here.

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  • 192. At 6:54pm on 10 Jun 2008, one step beyond wrote:

    Marcus aurelius you really are a silly badly educated and misinformed little man.

    Indians fought and died in most of the campaigns in the second world war. Notably, but not exclusively in Burma and Malaya, the North African campaign (including el alamein and Tobruk), the Italian campaign (being singled out for special praise at Monte Casino) Will you stop besmirching the reputation of these brave men

    I have come to the conclusion you are either a troll or some one deliberately seeking to damage the reputation of americans. I have worked with many americans, I am glad to report I found many good people among their ranks, you are not one of them sir and I will not respond to any more of your infantile posts

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  • 193. At 7:15pm on 10 Jun 2008, RCMoya612 wrote:

    The EU battle groups are an excellent idea.

    They allow joint operations under the banner of the EU without having to wait for an American-led NATO to respond. The units are small enough to rapidly-respond.

    Kofi Annan praised the creation of the battle groups, saying that they are an excellent tool for UN peace-keeping operations.

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  • 194. At 10:15pm on 10 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    Re #178, Marcus AureliusII,

    You really are a case, did you not know the difference between an English ton and a US ton, The ton is a UK measurement and equivalent to 2,240 pounds and most certainly not to be confused with the US "short ton", If you get your calculator out and convert a Five ton bomb, it's guess what, more than 10,000 pounds, so you didn't even know of the tallboy that Lancs dropped from 1944 onwards, slightly before the atom bomb I believe and which was conventional.

    It's just as well Maxim went to the UK though as your great military advisor's thought his machine gun wouldn't work, probably because they had lucrative contracts with Gatling or someone else, not much has changed in 100 years it seems. As for Penicillin, well if you prefer a medicine to be untested and produced whilst no effective way was known then so be it, but 1928 to 1942 was not long in those days, and there is no trace of it being delayed for any reason other that how to produce it.

    By the way, I've just been watching a BBC program by Panorama on the way certain large US companies have been milking the Iraq war, it reminded me that it is only two years since the UK paid off the war debt for the US's aid, um, er, I wonder if the same tricks were played then by your fantastic companies and if that has always been how they treat their so call allies.

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  • 195. At 11:35pm on 10 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    You are daft. No person like me was ever in power in the US. If there had been, a lot of problems like Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Afghanistan, Pakistan would be ancient history, nothing more than pages in a book. Their threats would have been vaporized. I for one would not have had divided loyalties and I would not have given a whit what the rest of the world thinks of the US. Being President of the United States should never be a popularity contest with the world's population. Where that's the case it's the position of a traitor.

    How has the US been left weaker by Iraq? Are we running out of bombs? Have we lost more planes than we can replace? The only thing we are weaker in is the morale of our troops because their leaders have let them down. One great thing that came out of the Iraq war was that we found out who are friends aren't. Now that may make you sad but it makes me happy to know for example that when American security is seen to be in jeopardy, we can count on the French and side with the enemy. If losing false friends makes you feel the country is weaker, so be it. I feel knowing the unpleasant truth makes us stronger. Things might have gone very differently...had they cooperated with the US instead.

    And what about the cost? 4000 Americans have died. A tragedy for their families to be sure but evey one of them was a volunteer and we lose as many people to motor vehicle accidents on America's roads every five weeks as we lost in Iraq in five years. The cost has been only slightly more than 1%GDP, not a huge sum for a world war. If you want to know why America is in financial trouble, look at the banks and the mess they made lending trillions to people who were not qualified borrowers. That all came out in a space of a few months. Before that, the economy was in find shape.

    Are you suggesting the United States Military could not easily have defeated Iraq, bombed it to dust if it had wanted to? Then what are we spending all that money for? What is the purpose of all of that equipment and training if we are not going to use it when we think it is necessary to defend our security. Why do our leaders worry more about winning hearts and minds than about finding and killing the enemy? Why do we worry about collateral damage? The world will hate us, it always has ever since our independence. Anything else is a delusion.

    Taking out Iran with nuclear weapons is easy. It's the decision to do it which is the hard part. The question is how much more time do our leaders have to diddle around before it is too late. We have the power to eliminate the Iranian threat with conventional weapons only it will take a lot of them. Israel has only thermonuclear weapons to get the job done. After an attack by Isreal, Iran will not resemble Afghanistan at all. No Iranians will be left alive. Iran will cease to exist as a nation. If Iran's oil goes up in flames the way Kuwait's did, nobody will ever be able to put out the fires. It could be the end for all of us. If America is paralyzed over Iran because its people are unhappy about Iraq, it will get the consequences it deserves. When Obama pulls us out of Iraq, there will be a regional war, no telling how far it will go.

    I have worked with many Europeans and I was never happy with them. They were just about without exception arrogant, poorly educated, rigid in their thinking, uncompromising, and in every way disagreeable. I'm glad I am on my side of the pond. I just wonder why if things are so good on your side so many Euros want to keep coming here. jacksforge thinks of one excuse after another for not going home. All are flimsy, there is no real way to persuade him. The real reason he doesn't leave? He likes it here far better than he did back in the UK.


    The English don't have tons, they have "tonnes." They can't even manage to get that right. BTW, about US companies milking the Iraq war and presumably the US taxpayer, weren't Euros angry that they didn't get a chance to drink at that trough after the war if they didn't share in the fighting. At least the money comes back to the good ole USA.

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  • 196. At 00:04am on 11 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    #195, Marcus AureliusII,

    Please look this up as a Tonne is the metric Tonne (1000kg or approx 2205lbs) and not the UK Imperial Ton (2240lb), underneath are the full details pasted from an 'imperial' measures web site so that you know what imperial measures are.
    Weights (Avoirdupois)
    Units of weights
    16 dram = 1 oz
    16 oz = 1 lb
    14 lb = 1 st
    2 st = 1 qtr
    4 qtr = 1 cwt
    20 cwt = 1 ton

    as mentioned in my last posting a five ton bomb is 5 times 2240lbs, ok now?

    As regards milking, it seems from the Panorama investigation that the US taxpayer could have fed the world from the price these companies have charged you and your fellow taxpayers, are you happy about that.
    PS, the UK was there and I've not heard any suggestion so far that the UK is spending much more than a fraction of the budget the US spends on food, which is a shame as I'm sure our soldiers would love to eat the most expensive food in the world, pity is that your guys are not actually getting it either are they.

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  • 197. At 00:42am on 11 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I really don't know what our soldiers eat. All I know is I've never heard complaints. It's something nobody seems to talk about, it doesn't seem very important. One thing I do know is that the war over food is part of America's war over trade with Europe and here again the US is winning. I don't see American farmers driving their tractors into the nation's capital the way they do in France for example to protest that their subsidies paid for by both the French taxpayers directly and by the EU taxpayers under the CAP aren't enough. If you are a farmer and you can't make money now you are doing something very wrong.

    Funny how the Europeans screamed about hormones and antibiotics in American meat but it was Europe that had mad cow disease and foot and mouth disease that forced Britain, France, and Germany to destroy all of their herds. Soon we will force them to use our GM seeds. We will feed them Frankenfood to subjugate them. Hahahaha.

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  • 198. At 01:39am on 11 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:

    "MarcusAureliusII "

    What years did you serve in the military?

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  • 199. At 02:28am on 11 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I've been a member of the salivation army all my life.

    Isn't it nice that we have an all volunteer military. Now everyone can choose his own career.

    I almost took a job as a civilian engineer on a nuclear submarine...but a better offer came along.

    I'm sorry you regret serving your country and that you were brainwashed into thinking you did the wrong thing. I still appreciate it though, even if you are confused about it.

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  • 200. At 03:14am on 11 Jun 2008, knight321 wrote:


    Ha, it all makes sense to me now about you. I was giving you some respect because I thought maybe you served in Korea and grew up in the post WWII era. But you are just basically a chicken hawk.

    I have no regrets about serving my country. It was some of the best years of my life. Good people in the military and it is an all around good experience. What you fail to realize is you can be in the military and do your job and still not agree with what your doing. That is persons perrogative, I had to put in the time to pay back my country for the training they gave me and you can't really go on a mission and half-*** it because you do not agree with what your doing. If you get shot down over Iraq or Afghanistan you can't say to the guys that find you that you didn't really support the war.

    I am all done with you and you can have whatever views you want. Typical engineer who thinks just because it makes sense on paper that is how it works in the real world. I tell you, you really did fool me. I thought I was talking to somebody that had more experience in the military than me.

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  • 201. At 10:33am on 11 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    To MarcusAureliousII,

    I suggest you visit the site as there you can see how your perfect US government organises it's contracts, even with it's own people, ok, it's only a program and you can challenge it's conclusions, but if only a part is true then that's too much. You will see from the report that catering was one of the scams as throughout the billed amount was on a cost plus system, so the more they claimed (fictitiously or not) the more they made, eg. trucks ran empty endangering drivers just to create an invoice.

    Re Mad Cow, funny that, I was under the impression you have that over there as well so your guys must have been using animal carcases for the animal feed as well probably since it's much cheaper than the plentiful Soybean alternative that you also have. Whilst the UK regulations were too lax, at least we had a valid non-monetary reason to not use Soybean as much, as it's not so easy to grow in Europe as in the US. In case you naively believe that you only have 3 cases just remember that the United States has drastically cut back on the number of cows inspected for BSE as documented in USA Today in August 2006. It's easy to claim that you are free of BSE so that your exports can be resurrected, if you simply turn a blind eye to what happens, no doubt the midnight JCB's operate over there a lot these days if inspections are rare.

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  • 202. At 11:04am on 11 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I attempted to enlist and was rejected for a medical disability. Most of what you say is confused and out of sheer ignorance. Having served in the military doesn't mean you know everything.

    I don't believe one world of the anti-American anti-Israeli tripe BBC routinely broadcasts. It is invariably a litany of deliberate distortions, half truths, and outright lies and almost always out of context of a larger picture. BBC is among the poorest journalists of the large news entities in the English speaking world.

    As I recall there was one cow found with BSC in the US that had been recently purchased from a herd in Canada. It was discovered and destroyed. Nevertheless, it was enough of an excuse for Japan to ban the import of US beef for several years. There hasn't been a case of what you call foot and mouth disease (what we call hoof and mouth disease) in the US for over 75 years and there are no instances of BSC in the US except for that one isolated incident. (there may have been one or two others I am not aware of but they were identified, contained, and the problem never needed to result in any kind of mass slaughter of animals.)

    Despite occasional usually isolated outbreaks of e-coli as we had with some tomatoes recently, by and large, the US consumer has by far the largest variety, cheapest, and greatest food supply in the world. There are no other farmers anywhere that can compete overall in productivity. Only about 2% of our population work in agriculture yet agricultural products are America's number one export. The vast farmland that has been so productive and efficiently run is the difference for much of the world between being fed and mass famine. Diversion of just a small percentage of grain to biofuel has sent food prices around the world soaring. It's just the beginning. Between the high cost of energy, further diversion to biofuel production and the insane restrictions on Carbon footprint including cap and trade the US government will agree to in a few years, US food output will likely drop with catastrophic global consequences.

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  • 203. At 11:42am on 11 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Instead of a comment:

    "Corn hit a record price of $6.672 a bushel for July delivery on the Chicago Board of Trade after the government cut its forecasts for the 2008 yield by 3%. "

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  • 204. At 12:11pm on 11 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:


    Oh no! There goes the price of tacos.

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  • 205. At 1:16pm on 11 Jun 2008, Caractacus1 wrote:

    MarcusAureliusII, Post 202:

    "Most of what you say is confused and out of sheer ignorance."

    Pot. Black. Kettle.

    As this debate has gone on, you have become increasingly incoherent. You began rationally, but have now begun to make poorly substantiated claims.

    One of my two areas of expertise is WWII. Your comments on it have been wide of the mark in about a third of cases and utterly inaccurate in a further third. Your using information in this way undermines your credibility concerning other issues to a serious degree.

    Your earlier comment on the quality of BBC reporting left me wondering how you would explain its being held in high esteem by news-reporting organisations throughout the world.

    To the point:

    The world needs NATO. It needs a large, credible, globally-mobile, decisive force that has the power to challenge all comers.

    The world also needs a Europe that can sort out its local squabbles with a small force that is not designed to be shipped around the world and does not duplicate NATO tasks.

    This way, the US benefits, Europe benefits.

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  • 206. At 1:54pm on 11 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:


    Now why did I expect that diatribe about the BBC, you really have got me laughing all the way to the cafe, all news is edited but if even 10% was true then thats a lot of bucks, and if it's pretty well true then there are some very rich people and companies out there in the US that don't mind who they hurt as long as they can live up to the US motto 'if you've got it flaunt it'. You have some nice people in your side of the world.

    As for BSC, that's either 'Bachelor of Science' or 'Binary Synchronous Protocol', so I guess if you searched on BSC that's why you only found one case. It's actually called BSE and it's etymology: b(ovine) s(pongiform) e(ncephalopathy). As for foot and mouth which some in the US (but not all) call hoof and mouth, we all noticed that half US owned company Merial was responsible for the last UK outbreak, if they do their dangerous research in third party countries then it's no wonder the US has a better chance of not contracting that disease.

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  • 207. At 4:38pm on 11 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    to dear sweet Marcus erroneous

    "I for one would not have had divided loyalties "
    what about ISRAEL?

    "Have we lost more planes than we can replace?" just about ,but way more Hummers and armoured personal carriers.
    (which can't get around the small streets as easy as a landrover(BTW))poke poke

    "The Nazis weren't interested in liberating Russia, they wanted them as slaves. "
    "If you really want to win a war, you have to be prepared to kill off the entire population."

    Slaves no slaves? do i drop it or not?

    that was the point .they failed. why?BTW dead people do not make good slaves so maybe you should plan your destruction of the world to leave a few cause you sure cannot cope.

    "Would you have settled for him being impeached or would you have wanted him assassinated? "

    I would now that is for sure.Impeached as i'm against death penalty.

    "Britain was the most hated nation on earth. That has been forgotten over time."

    now it is america .bet your proud of that. well done.

    "And what about the cost? 4000 Americans have died. A tragedy for their families to be sure but evey one of them was a volunteer and we lose as many people to motor vehicle accidents on America's roads every five weeks as we lost in Iraq in five years. "

    (modersator these are his words so let them stand)

    The English don't have tons, they have "tonnes." They can't even manage to get that right.
    It is ENGLISH, not american. You have never got it right .
    America date system wrong 9/11 should be
    11/9 day month year. makes likes it.America can't
    aluminIum whole world uses. america has aluminum.
    It is america that gets so much wrong.
    like even the brits use metric but america uses a short version of the old imperial system. where pints are smaller etc.

    come on america devise your own system.
    (sorry to all rational americans )

    "They were just about without exception arrogant, poorly educated, rigid in their thinking, uncompromising, and in every way disagreeable. "
    again I direct you to the nearest mirror(which is probably in your hand )

    " If Iran's oil goes up in flames the way Kuwait's did, nobody will ever be able to put out the fires."
    yea so a nuke seems like a pretty bad idea after all eh.

    "jacksforge thinks of one excuse after another for not going home. All are flimsy, there is no real way to persuade him."

    i'll tell you again because you are so unsmart

    I stay because my pet does not like the thought of quarentine.(i have not asked it but have a pretty good idea on that) this is the ONLY excuse I have given.

    Apart from the satisfaction of winding up people like you that are so much harder to find in europe.
    for you are arrogant, poorly educated, rigid in their thinking, uncompromising

    "I really don't know what our soldiers eat. All I know is I've never heard complaints. "
    then you never met a service person who ate field rations for time.(oh but you talk tough but wont show your face to the recruiter.

    "I don't see American farmers driving their tractors into the nation's capital "
    yea they would get shot at by the police.

    I attempted to enlist and was rejected for a medical disability. Most of what you say is confused and out of sheer ignorance. Having served in the military doesn't mean you know everything."

    I doubt it and the BBC will not allow me to print the reasons they probably turned you down.(doubt it was a physical disabillity)Shows the military have better standards than MA2.
    And naming yourself emperor the wise does not mean you know anything.

    "There are no other farmers anywhere that can compete overall in productivity. "
    per hectacre british farmers regularly get yields 3 times that of the US of grain. not many bananas though.
    farming in the USA is years behind.

    In short Marcus the Unwise is here to tell un truths demean all and promote nothing but hate. has been for a long time. doesn't change.
    starts with a comment to seem reasonable then make the rest up. the history , the "facts" the whole lot.
    When someone show that he is wrong he starts belittling comments about their lives, their profession or their service.

    All the time revealing himself to be the donkeys behind he is.
    He has no wisdom and is an example of the solution to world peace.
    Shut up meglomaniacs like this and the world will be safer.
    Don't take him seriously.
    but do not let him troll to ruin more blogs .
    And don't get angry it is way too entertaining to read the rubbish out of his posts.

    (though BBC I believe promoting genocide is actually against your rules )

    Meer kitten off topic as always not even responding to what others have said.

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  • 208. At 4:48pm on 11 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    Buzet class comments
    Knight thank you , and Class comments

    but he's a lump of coal calling the stainless steel kettle black.

    Knight the reason I have been so responsive to his posting is because he has talked war all the time . Insulted vets that are friends of mine . And like I keep asking why not join up. finally he gives this sad answer,way worse than my pet issues.

    but now i am bored of baiting him.he bite too easy.

    I suspect there is a closet in his life.And that is not for me to judge.

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  • 209. At 4:57pm on 11 Jun 2008, skye_eg wrote:

    As always, powermeerkat and MarcusAurelius taking over a blog discussion related to European issues, and turning it into a Europe-bashing fest and rant about how everyone is out to either get America or take advantage of America.

    Europe supposedly continues to hide under America's umbrella for defense. Defense from whom exactly? That question remains unanswered. Defense from terrorism that is the result of decades of US foreign policy, and which cannot be succesfully countered through military means? Defense from the now-defunct Soviet Union? Defense from a capitalist Russia whose interests nowadays are economic growth and not communist revolution? Defense from Iran who is under intense global scrutiny and US embargo? Defense from whom? From starving North Koreans? Or maybe the Swiss are planning to surprise attack the EU?

    Or -maybe- NATO's fearmongering is an effective way in growing an organization that provides Washington the political leverage it needs in international affairs. Like, maybe, requiring new NATO members to agree not to extradite US nationals to the ICC and/or to house American bases within hours' flying time of the Middle East. In return, they get false security from an ambiguous enemy, pennies thrown at their militaries, and a psychological boost for foreign direct investment. Or -perhaps- NATO creates a market for the US arms industry to sell its products to militaries who can be tapped into for future Mideast ventures. It's a win-win situation for the US to maintain what is essentially an ineffective military organization which has never stood a major test, and failed smaller tests (like Cyprus).

    Funny how Europe is accused of not spending its fair share of defense. Americans expect Europe to pick up the tab on America's geopolitical ventures: from arming and funding right-wing death squads in Guatemala, or propping up Middle East dictators (and then taking them down when they are no longer useful), to helping to maintain an overstretched global military presence from Colombia to Okinawa that has far more to do with Washington's geopolitical interests than self-defense. There's a reason why America has an astonishingly high military budget; and it's not because Americans are defending themselves or Europe. Let's be real about this.

    We all know that most European NATO members are reluctant to send more troops to Aghanistan, but note how powermeerkat and marcusaurelius don't bring Iraq into equation. Europe is expected to pick up the tab in Afghanistan, while most US troops and military resources are being spent on a bogus war in Iraq, which even many American right-wingers now recognize as a "mistake" (to say the LEAST). Never mind America's condescending, arrogant, and pretensious attitudes towards "Old Europe's" scepticism over Iraq; Europe is expected to forget America's blunders (and reluctance to admit wrong) and to send hundreds of thousands of European men to risk their lives undoing the mess that decades of American foreign policy created. Remember America crying foul when the Russians invaded Afghanistan to fight the same enemy America is fighting now? Through Pakistani and covert American arming, funding, and training of the mujehedeen, and US-allied Arab regimes releasing Islamic fundamentalists from jail to fight in Afghanistan, Washington lured a dying "evil empire" into Afghanistan, figuring that they could deal with Islamic fundamentalism later, and completely wash the blood off their hands when that time arises. Now, the world is expected to sympathize with America, and join the "democracy" rhetoric, when everyone knows America means otherwise.

    And never mind the indirect incentives Europe already gives the US military, from countless US bases and troops stationed in Europe, to free and unlimited use of European waters and airspace for all of Washington's demands from Mideast-bound military and supply routes, to secret extraordinary rendition flights.

    And of course, blame the BBC for not towing the line that we get from the mainstream US media. Somehow the BBC is biased and truncates the news, because it doesn't feed to the public the kind of lies and propaganda that we get from CNN, FOX, ABC, Westinghouse-owned CBS, and GE-owned NBC. From a complete lack of failure to question the Bush adminstration during the Iraq war's early years, to censoring Mohammed Elbaradei's and Hans Blix's addresses to the Security Council (but broadcasting and re-broadcasting Powell's speech on every channel), to Pentagon-payroll arms industry lobbyists posing on American TV as "independent mlitary analysts"...lies and propaganda aimed at fostering public support of the Iraq war are rife in the mainstream US media, yet let's blame the BBC. I guess the BBC is all part of this grand European conspiracy aimed at taking advantage of the righteous USA, whose only concern is to spread democracy and human rights, of course.

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  • 210. At 7:36pm on 11 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Remember America crying foul when the Russians invaded Afghanistan to fight the same enemy America is fighting now?"

    The same enemy?

    If I had any doubts whose spokesman you really are and who are you defending by hook and by crook, this one sentence revelead your true colours and betrayed your real sympathies. Save your venom: we can download Kremlin press releases and Gleb Pavlovski's anti American diatribes directly.
    And we have no problem of getting L'Humanite, either.

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  • 211. At 11:03pm on 11 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    Dear powermeerkat "210,

    I am most certainly not a Kremlin fan and never have been and never will be, but unfortunately for you skye_eg does have a point with his comment in #209. The Brits tried and failed there and my grandfather was part of that, after that the Russian also thought they could defeat a guerrilla force ideally suited to the terrain and found that not only was it difficult, almost impossible, but when the covert US agencies were supplying help, munitions etc, it was impossible. The only thing that grows there are poppies and they fed them to the Russian soldiers to send them loopy and surprise, surprise, it seems the fields are still producing like mad even though the military are there, maybe that is the same enemy the Russians really fought, and lost, as the US certainly gained a reputation for liking drugs in Vietnam.

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  • 212. At 00:57am on 12 Jun 2008, dennisjunior1 wrote:

    That is protecting the Entire E.U.

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  • 213. At 01:06am on 12 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Can you tell me every detail of Caractacus's uniform?

    At least I got a third of World War II right. Actually it depends on whose history books you read. Your problem is probably you're reading the wrong ones. Yours were written by British historians...or Russian. Try the Hollywood version, it's closer to the truth. Besides, it makes a better story.

    You say the world needs NATO? Fine, then let the world pay for it. I'm sick and tired of paying to defend a continent of know nothing simple minded useless indolent ingrates.

    You say the world needs a Europe that can sort out its squabbles with a small force. Why, has Europe run out of words? Small wonder. Have you had a gander at that monstrosity they call a Consitution? Even if it were in a recognizable language, nobody could read it. In a war of words, Europe would win hands down. That's all it ever does is talk.

    I'm not even going to comment about the quality of BBC's reporting but if you mention a certain topic, I absolutely guarantee your posting will be deleted. BBC is as biased as TASS was, as much a propagandist as Goebels. I do not trust one thing I read, hear, or see from BBC until it is verified by an independent reliable source. Why do other agencies respect it? Who says they do except pay lip service to it but maybe they are snowed by its past glory. It is not the quality organization it once was, not by any stretch of the imagination. Its reporting cannot hold a candle to the best America has to offer such as PBS, NPR, C-Span and others. People keep trying to compare it to our commercial networks. Why? Either because they never heard of the best we have or don't want to face the reality. For example, there is not one BBC interviewer whose skill comes close to Charlie Rose. All of BBC combined knows less about the Middle East than Leon Charney.


    You have a point. I've said all along there is no longer any reason for NATO, the US should pack its bags and leave Europe forever starting tomorrow morning and out completely by tomorrow night. As a mutual defense pact it is worthless. The US was attacked and few NATO members put up more than a token show of force. Had America continued to listen to its first President George Washington it never would have gotten involved with Europe in the first place. What a mistake. Woodrow Wilson was without doubt the worst President the United States ever had. Even Warren Harding didn't come close.

    jacksforge, you don't get an answer. I've wasted enough time with people who hold their knives and forks in the wrong hands. If your pet dies, does that mean you go back to the UK? What if I could arrange with Gordo for you to take him with you and avoid the quarantine?

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  • 214. At 02:23am on 12 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    jacksforge, you don't get an answer. I've wasted enough time with people who hold their knives and forks in the wrong hands. If your pet dies, does that mean you go back to the UK? What if I could arrange with Gordo for you to take him with you and avoid the quarantine?

    A study in mr marcus aureliuos the 2

    "9. At 11:28 am on 11 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    Could I love a communist, a nazi, a Moslem jihadist a Christian, or a Jew? I don't think so. Just being one is crime enough for me especially when they try to enlist me in their cause. Everyone has an idea that they are going to save the world...or worse save my soul. All they want is my help and my money. Oh, one other thing, unlike homosexuals, they DO have a choice in the matter. Remember my old motto, "neither a follower nor a leader be." I don't trust either. I must also add however that Christian missionaries did have their useful cannibal stew pots :-)
    Love and hate are far to valuable and intense emotions to be wasted on large numbers of strangers scattered indiscriminately and dissipated. When people say they love everyone, how much can their love be worth? I save my love and hate for those who truely earn it. Above all, I love myself. I am the best me I know how to be. The opposite of love is not hate, it is indifference. That's how I feel about most people and things. Until I have a good reason to feel otherwise, they are just objects I encounter in my life for a limited period of time. I deal with them as it seems best suits me.

    There are people beyond my immediate family that I love but they do not include surviving members of my larger family, people who just happened to be born to blood relatives. Most of them on both sides turned out to be people I found repulsive. That is why my telephone numbers are unlisted. My father was a liberal in the extreme. If he liked you or felt sorry for you, he'd give you the shirt off my back. While I was still in college, I learned from first hand experience with recipients how little real gratitude there often is for those who donate their own time and money to charity. We see it on an international scale in the way recipient nations treat donor nations too. In the United States, charity is a business like any other, much of it no more than a scam. That's what liberalism is about too, the redistribution of wealth to re-engineer society. Rob from those who have to give to those who don't. In the extreme, it's a presription for slavery through the equal redistribution of wealth. Only in socialist countries where it is their religion, somehow those in charge of redistribution seem to live far better than the rest of society. Don't kid yourself, Christianity and communism have much in common. The only real difference I can see is that in Communism, the state will not allow divided loyalty to the church. The catastrophic failure of the USSR and Communist China are proof that the system flies in the face of human nature to be motivated to produce for ones own benefit, not for the benefit of society as a whole. If I didn't have to, I wouldn't work either, I'd spend my life at play. My philosopher...Ayn Rand. Her little book "The Virtue of Selfishness" had much to do with my outlook on life, much to the horror of my left wing parents. While I loved them very much, I didn't think in matters of the world they were particularly smart, not even close to being in the same league as my grandparents who were made of infinitely stronger stuff.

    brian, how much wiser could they be? They're both dead now. I know why you like them, misery loves company. Now my grandparents were far smarter, much stronger, and had far more sense. They left Europe and went to America or the rest of my family would never have happened. I have observed that there are two kinds of people in life, those who want to change the world and those who make the best life they can for themselves in the one they find themselves in. Of the two, the first type are perpetually unhappy always looking for "the revolution" when justice will prevail. Usually they lead impotent useless lives but on rare occasion they are positively dangerous. The second type are usually much happier and invariably more productive and ironically usually become much richer no matter how poor they start out in life. And believe it or not, some actually change the world unintentionally despite themselves. Biil Gates is an example."

    Time to spend some of that well earned money on therapy .
    As for the pet.
    If it dies I will consider going back.

    Why do you not ever defend your words without making stuff up.
    Do not begin to think I will not pick your letter here apart.To explain some of your angers. You are rather stereotypical I think.
    So don't answer me but i will answer YOU.

    the grandparents you loved and respected WERE EUROPEAN sorry to burst your bubble MATE.

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  • 215. At 02:30am on 12 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    and you accuse me of being angry.:)

    Its reporting cannot hold a candle to the best America has to offer such as PBS, NPR, C-Span

    which is why npr and pbs both use bbc reporters for their world news.

    And show world news, and every time someone quotes their reports you scream left wing media,etc.

    If you watch those channels how did yuo get tobe so missinformed about so much. they generally have pretty balanced coverage with good reports,, did you like the Charlie rose show on those two authors?
    Wow we have so much to discuss.
    Wow didn't they do a good one about how bad this war has been, you are a fraud.

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  • 216. At 03:24am on 12 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "The International Astronomical Union has decided on the term "plutoid" as a name for dwarf planets like Pluto."

    "it stripped Pluto of its planethood and introduced the term "dwarf planets"

    Could a continent similarly be stripped down to a contenoid? Would Europe become a Euroid, a dwarf continent?

    Wow, it's really great to have a following. jacksforge, why don't you sift through all of my postings on various BBC web sites and publish a book of my wit and wisdom? Now tell the truth, is this out of admiration for me...or sheer jealousy. Come on, fess up.

    BTW, I do wish you'd get your facts straight. PBS and NPR rebroadcast BBC news. PBS televises a half hour in the evenings and NPR broadcasts BBC radio in the "wee small hours of the morning." It plays to the insomniac set. The real PBS news is the PBS Nightly News Hour. Occasionally, they will use short excerpts from BBC, ITN, and others in a set up piece or in a brief summary of the headlines in the first five minutes. But that's where the use of BBC ends. PBS picks about three or four topics each evening and selects a panel of the best experts to rationally present competing points of view and discuss their differences. The result is remarkable insight into all aspects of the topics covered. Unlike BBC, PBS does not tell its audience which side of an issue to take, it presents the best arguments of all sides and lets the viewers decide for themselves. Charlie Rose is by far the best interviewer I have ever seen. He gets as much out of his guests as can be gotten. He puts them at ease and they completely open up. The interviews are always non confrontational, often the guests talk to Rose and the cameras as one would talk to an old friend. And he gets top invitees. His interview with Sarkozy last year was an object lesson on how to conduct an interview. By contrast, Owen Bennet-Jones is a rank amateur. He confronts his guests whose views he doesn't agree with right off the bat. This puts them on their guard. He never seems to learn. Often he is so ignorant of the subject related to his guest and so ill prepared that his interviewee has to correct the assumptions of the questions or statements he makes. Leon Charney doesn't skulk around the back alley coffee houses in Damascus or Beirut to find out what is going on in the middle east. He picks up the phone. If he wants to know what's going on in the Knesset, he calls Ohlmert or Natanyahu or Ehud Barak or any of the others. They are on a first name basis. Same with many of the ruling groups in the Arab world. Same with the generals and those in the intelligence community too....on both sides of the Atlantic. He has lots of contacts in the US government especially in the state department who will tell him exactly what is going on and how a particular government sees an issue. How does he know all of this and all these people? He was a negotiator and an attorney for the US government right in the thick of it when it was hot and heavy between the Israelis and Arabs and these people know him and like him. Now how do you suppose BBC gets its information about the Middle East? BBC's coverage of the war in Lebanon was nothing short of awful.

    BTW, when my grandparents left Europe as adolescents, they were only too happy to leave and NEVER looked back. I for one have no desire to trace my ancestry. To me any European connections that are blood relatives are in the same category as the apes we evolved from.

    jacksforge, if I have any anger,it is at my own countrymen who foolishly try to win Europe's friendship and never understand that such a thing cannot be bought. Besides, they are certainly not worthy of it. Don't confuse my utter contempt of Europe for anger, that is the mistake you make.

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  • 217. At 05:30am on 12 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    sifting is not necessary the bbc in it's wisdom and thanks to some competency have made it easy for me to click your diatribes onto my screen.
    and on

    so what your saying is carter had great staff (that admired carter as well)a man who made his contacts while working for the peace loving JIMMY CARTER.

    bbc foreign reporters are used by pbs and your grandparents were european.
    Wow I'm right
    "BTW, I do wish you'd get your facts straight. PBS and NPR rebroadcast BBC news."
    yes i said that.

    I hope your engineering is more than 1/3 correct. (which BTW is not good incase someone did not tell you. after all

    "The reason you're seeing the usual Euro bashing is that I haven't been posting on this thread very much. When I post the quality of Eurobashing is much higher since it is usually backed up with facts. "

    Where's the facts and what was the army's reason for not accepting you.I hear they may have lowered some requirements,maybe you as a true patriot and son of america should try joining up again,or is it a life style choice that keeps you from joining the military so you can get your chance to kill some people legally.
    because you talk a lot of others suffering. and how it is not enough for you.

    " I have observed that there are two kinds of people in life, those who want to change the world and those who make the best life they can for themselves in the one they find themselves in. Of the two, the first type are perpetually unhappy always looking for "the revolution" when justice will prevail. Usually they lead impotent useless lives but on rare occasion they are positively dangerous"

    you were never happy anywhere. you have written extensively on this subject. I will go and get the quotes if you like.
    you seem to have been waiting for the revolution where Israel and the US nuke the rest of the world. pretty angry and dangerous stuff mate.
    and I think Bill gates planned on changing the world maybe you should talk to him.He was pretty driven and not to happy with doing nothing and leaving the world to luddites like me.

    go back read and you may figure out one day what the pet is for it is not a ferret or a fish.

    "Their threats would have been vaporized. "

    have fun vaporising words.

    "indifference. That's how I feel about most people and things. "

    if your so indifferent how come you want to spend all that time effort money and lives killing them.?
    Go get real with yourself

    " If he liked you or felt sorry for you, he'd give you the shirt off my back."

    more issues with generosity .may be you parents felt they spoilt you
    i suspect the only time you gave your time was to get in someones favour.

    "Could I love a communist, a nazi, a Moslem jihadist a Christian, or a Jew? I don't think so."
    so a non jihadist MUSLIM is ok then eh cool you are learning.

    Shall I go on?

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  • 218. At 05:33am on 12 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    marcus erroneous wrote
    "jacksforge, if I have any anger,it is at my own countrymen who foolishly try to win Europe's friendship and never understand that such a thing cannot be bought."

    left this one on its own

    exactly europe would prefer honesty and good actions than being" bought".
    but that is the american way isn't it.

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  • 219. At 06:33am on 12 Jun 2008, Huaimek wrote:


    No amount of training can compensate for a lack of discipline . Maybe discipline is an area where American troop training falls short .

    I do not in any sense belittle American soldiers courage and tenacity in a battle scene .

    I believe that many American lives may have been lost , through groups of men unwarily moving about on their feet , when they should have been flat on the ground , with others giving covering fire . My former wife , sadly deceased , was American ; her father served as an Army Officer in the second world war . He told me that it was common practice for American soldiers , when given an order , to answer back , or question that order .

    Orders are orders , commands , and should be obeyed on the instant .

    I have personally known a US naval captain of Battleship , who had to complain to the government about the lack of discipline , which he had no power to control , which endangered the safety of his ship and all aboard .
    His pleas fell on deaf ears , so he eventually wrote to the press .
    I believe the disaster aboard the US Aircraft carrier Forrestal was largely due to ill discipline .

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  • 220. At 07:05am on 12 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #211 Please, reread the original comment.

    And inform yourself why Russians invaded Afghanistan, what regime they toppled and who originally put up a resistence there.

    There were no mujaheddins in Afghanistan at the time, let alone jihaddists.

    Just as there were no mujaheddins, let alone jihaddists when Moscow troops invaded Chechnya, and Dudayev's government was anything but Islamic in nature.

    Despite latter-day intentional disinformation campaign neither Taliban, nor al-Qaeda were created or existed during the Soviet-Afghan war.

    Al Qaeda was created in Saudi Arabia with a specific objective of toppling the House of Saudis; Taliban was born in Pakistani madrassas AFTER the Soviet-Afghan War, and came to power in Afghanistan taking advantage of a vacuum created when Washington left that ruined country to fend for itself when the original problem (Soviet occupation) has been solved.

    BTW. Its was not "covert US agencies" delivering arms to Afghan resistence but Pakistani Military Intelligence, which had its own pro-Islamic agenda and shipped for example weapons/ammo intended by US for such progressive/moderate resistence leaders as Ahmed Shah Massoud, to such religious fanatics as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar.
    [There were no Americans on the ground then (overtly or covertly) to verify what was going on or to establish whether what Pakistanis were claiming was true or false.]

    Incidentally, there are still some elements in Pakistani Military Intelligence who surrepticiously aid Taliban/al Qaeda in Pakistan because they'd like to turn that country (and not only Afghanistan) into a Sharia-based caliphate.

    There's one thing resenting or even hating America and what it stands (or doesn't stand) for, but quite another intentionally and maliciously promulgate patent lies as facts, which is a typical Socialist/ National Socialist method.

    And that's why, going back to the original topic of that blog, why Americans confronted with those lies and persistent anti-US propaganda emanating from 'Old Europe' are beginning to wonder whether Europeans they'd be expected to defend tomorrow (and make no mistake: they would be, as always) are really worth defending.

    P.S. I agree that Europe in 2008 is not
    threatened by anybody or anything.

    Just as it was not in 1938. Or '48. Or...

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  • 221. At 08:26am on 12 Jun 2008, Buzet23 wrote:

    powermeerkat #220,

    My point was not about the Taliban, who are a relatively recent creation, but rather how the various native tribes in Afghanistan are ideally suited to a guerrilla war. What they (the tribes) called themselves then or now was not my point and which religion they follow and how fanatic they are was also not my point.

    Whether US munitions and arms were supplied to the Afgans fighting the Russians directly or through third parties is not as important as the fact they not only were supplied by it but it was known about. If the US covert agencies had wanted to stop it then they could have, but at the very least they didn't and many say they encouraged it. Which is the truth, well you'll have to ask the then heads of your agencies and see if they really will tell it as it was.

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  • 222. At 10:10am on 12 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #220

    That was not my original point. Anti-Soviet Afghan guerilla has been supported by US (although belatedly). And thank God it has.

    My point was persistent promulgation of a lie that US has created/funded/supported Islamist thugs (al-Qaeda and Taliban) it has to fight today (together with IFOR, may I add).

    Just as a promulgation of a persistent and purposeful lie that that US has brought Saddam Hussein to power - it was Soviet KGB which funneled money and arms to Socialist Baath Party in Iraq (ditto in Syria), and supported Saddam's coup - and that it was Americans who armed his regime/ supplied it with chemical weapons, etc..
    [ in reality Russians, French, Germans and Chinese did, as hardware discovered clearly indicates]

    At the rate 'useful idiots' here are going we may soon discover that it was US who financed Shining Path, FALN, FARC, etc., for decades, built nuclear facilities for Iranian ayatollahs and Syrian dictators and that it was CIA which murdered Alex Litvinenko and almost succeded in killing pope John Paul II.

    BTW. Canadians/Brits/Poles/ are not mad at Americans for having to do the hard and dangerous job in Afghanistan.

    They are mad at those 'Continentals' who find one excuse after the other to limit their NATO obligations to washing dishes and serving food, although one might argue that such duties are also helpful.

    P.S. Since somebody mentioned 'pacifist Japan'...Have you noticed that Japan has become a willing, even eager, participant in an American global Anti Ballistic Missile System which Old Europe is so critical of?
    And Australia is seriously thinking about joining this developing scheme?
    Have you ever wondered why that is?
    You don't think that's because they have some serious money to burn, do you? :-)

    P.P.S. Yes, Afghans are ideal for guerilla war as most mountain peoples are. So are Chechens, Dagestanis and Georgians.

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  • 223. At 12:09pm on 12 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    OK you snoopy nosebody, if you must know then here it is. I requested a pre-induction physical and was classified 4F (medically unacceptable for military service.) because I have 3rd degree flat feet and an underactive thyroid gland. Are you satisfied now? A 25 mile march would put me in a hospital. I would have preferred to have been a fighter pilot but I do not have 20-20 vision. My second choice would probaby have been to serve in the navy. I love the sea. When I requested this physical, I was already a degreed engineer and could have performed usefully on a ship.

    More grist for you snoopy. When I functioned as an engineer, my designs weren't 1/3 correct, they were about 100% correct. But most of my working life I've functioned as a project manager because of my penchant for strategic thinking, planning, and executing plans. I think I might be far more satisfied with BBC if they got their stories as much a 1/3 correct. They dont' even rate that high in my book.

    Most foreign trained engineers I've encountered are awful. Their education stinks. The standards they've been trained to design to are unacceptable in the US. It might interest you to know that the International Electrical Commission (IEC) was set up shortly after WWII I think in Atlanta Georgia for foreign countries so that they would at least have some standard to design to. It's requirements were that it would be cheap so that they could afford it. It is used around the world where the legal consequences of an accident or failure due to technical inadequacy are far less than they are in the highly litigious United States. By comparison to what we use domestically, the hardware is cheap and flimsy, the ratings of wire and equipment marginal, and for engineers accostomed to standards like NEMA, NEC, NFC, ANSI, API, ASTM, ASME, ASHRAE, UL, etc the standards of IEC and their counterparts in other industries are lamentable. Our biggest fear is that in an effort to cut costs American industry will push to allow them here. One example, we distribute power to homes and for use of most normal appliances in other establishments at the more expensive 120 volts, not 230 or 240 common in other countries because it is far less dangerous. I don't know if it's still the way it was years ago but for the longest time European automobiles built for export to the US may look similar to their domestic counterparts but they have many many differences in materials and construction or they would not qualify to be licensed to be driven on America roads. California is particularly severe in its emission standards. Everything was different, even the special kind of shatterproof safety plate glass used in the windows. Generally we do not manufacture or build to DIN or ISO standards. Lamentably, we have just adopted the international building code. I'm sure American architects will continue for some time to far exceed them until the culture gradually changes for the worse.

    The USA is virtually at war with Europe now. It is especially obvious in the realm of trade and culture. The US is winning, its cheap dollar just one arrow in its arsenal, its vast subsidiaries in China another. I am only too glad there is a mutual embargo on imports of meat. The fiction of American meats being tainted with hormones and antibiotics saved us from consuming the very real fact of European meat that was contaminated wtih BSC and foot and mouth disease. The filth of European agricultural practice is as unhealthy as it is disgusting.

    Funny how those in Europe who took no issue with so much America bashing cannot bear Eurobashing, probably because in the world of facts the truth for them is so painful, especially if they are hearing it for the first time in their lives. Europeans can dish it out but they can't take it. Europeans don't like learning that their civilization is highly inferior and doomed to terminal decline, the process already underway. There is nothing they can do about it either. The current problems in the US are not only temporary but actually a contributing factor in accelerating Europe's decline.


    Americans are instinctively resistant to submitting to the arbitrary exercise of authority, that is American culture. This is an important distinction between ours and European culture. If the kind of thing happening with the imposition of the EU were tried by an American government, it would trigger another American revolution. The government would be overthrown by force if necessary to prevent it. Even the method of education is different. When I attended medical school in France, I was astonished to see that they used the method of rote learning abandoned by American educators 150 years earlier. The object of a European education seems to be to fill people with a brain full of facts, the object of an American education is to teach people to think for themselves. That is why Europeans are often viewed (but it is not expressed out of politeness) with complete disdain by Americans. The American stereotype of the Nazi soldier was a human robot but in a sense to me, almost all Europeans are like robots. When they get to America, they often don't cut it in the kind of technical jobs they had in Europe. It is discrimination based on ability, not country of origin. BTW, that is why they usually make awful jazz musicians. Jazz cannot be written down like classical music, the written notes only an approximate guide. With no freedom to think independently, what you call discipline, we call tunnelled thinking and it is not acceptable. It is viewed as a kind of mental illness the result of child abuse. That is why many Europeans who wants to exploit their own creativity, ingenuity, and enterprise for their own benefit and not that of a government and large corporation leaves Europe and comes to America. Arnold Schwartznegger is one of countless examples. That is one reason why Europe is dying, it does not value or even trust the individual. Why do you think they won't even let you vote on the EU in a referendum. Like all other European governments, when you get right down to it, the UK is not a democracy by a long shot. The reason we want your tired, poor huddled masses, wretched refuse, and tempest tossed is because we know that once they are fed and rested and given a chance, they will contribute mightily to further strengthening our far superior civilization which found the enormous potential and value inherent in them your civilization spit on.

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  • 224. At 3:30pm on 12 Jun 2008, skye_eg wrote:


    So, the Russians, Chinese, Germans, Italians, French, etc, etc, have the unethical capability to fund and arm questionable dictators, but the United States have never done so?


    Everyone knows that the United States was Saddam Hussein's ally during the 1980s, and everyone knows that -despite what relations others had with Hussein- Washington was itself a major supplier of arms and funding to Saddam Hussein, even despite allegations of human rights abuses against Kurds and Shiites, Hussein's use of illegal weaponry against the Iranian army, and Hussein's unprovoked attempt to invade of Iranian territory. Ironically, Washington later used all these events *against* Saddam Hussein's regime, in an effort to gain public and international support both for the Persian Gulf War and the 2003 Iraq invasion. It's total hypocrisy, but expect nothing else from American foreign policy. The web of deceit and lies only grows from there: successive US adminstrations and the US military employed PR firms to create rumors and spread propaganda aiming to legitimize America's sudden 180 regarding its relations with Saddam Hussein. Remember Iraqi troops killing Kuwaiti premature newborns? That was a lie. Psy-ops on the American public; it's been going on for many years, and continues to this day. And if you *still* deny American help for Saddam Hussein in the 1980s, then answer this question: remember the American military frigate that accidentally shot down the Iranian passenger airliner? What was the US military doing in the Persian Gulf in the first place? Perhaps, providing some degree of support to Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war? (All the while, secretly selling arms to Iran?) And why -when asked what Washington's reaction would be to Saddam Hussein's long-planned invasion of Kuwait- did US ambasador to Iraq initially say that "the United States has no opinion in the matter"? Could it be because Washington wanted to mislead Saddam Hussein into believing that he would have American support if he were to invade Kuwait, in order to make loyal anti-Iran ally out of him in the 1980s? Could it be that -like with many other wars- Washington has blood on its hands with this one too? Why was there a sudden change of policy? Do you have a logical explanation for this one too?

    Or what about Afghanistan? The United States never funded nor armed fundamentalist Islamic guerrillas? Are you joking? When the Taliban was condemned in the 1990s by the Clinton adminsitration for its human rights abuses, the Taliban publically expressed surprise that they were being condemned by the United States, their former ally. The Taliban was one of the factions of the mujahedeen, supported by Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, AND THE UNITED STATES in the 1980s against the ruling Afghan communist party, and a reluctant USSR who agreed to a UN-sponosred peace deal (which the US-supported side rejected). These Islamic militants were trained by Pakistan, WITH US FUNDING AND WEAPONS. In fact, American-made weapons are still littered around Afghanistan today.

    You can try to deny this all you want -in order to divert attention from Washington's questionable practices which have spawned global anti-American sentiment- but keep in mind that on the BBC website, you are talking to a mostly non-American audience who is more knowneldgable on global affairs and free of the brainwashing lies and propaganda that Americans are being fed from their own media.

    You can spin it however you wish, but nothing you say will clear the blood off Washington's hands. No, Washington has never supported the FARC. But Washington HAS supported Colombia's corrupt government figures (with their ties to drug lords), and right-wing paramilitaries (who have a history of murdering striking labourers, union leaders, even unarmed villagers), in their fight against the FARC. Yes, Washington took a stand against Iran's oppressive Ayotollahs. But Washington didn't take a stand aginst the oppressive Shah; in fact the Shah came to power in 1953 through a US-engineered coup, overthrowing democratically-elected prime minister Mossadegh. The list goes on.

    In your efforts to paint Europe as an ungreatful ally constantly taking advantage of the United States for "defense", you consistently leave out a lot of historical details that do not fit your "burdened and righteous America" narrative. No one here is denying that other major powers have never played a negative role in the wars that have plagued the 3rd world. We're just tired of listening to America's denials that its own role was always motivated by good, and was always a force of good. Nothing can be further from the truth.

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  • 225. At 3:55pm on 12 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 226. At 4:00pm on 12 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 227. At 6:35pm on 12 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    At 8:40 pm on 08 Jun 2008, jacksforge
    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

    At 4:48 pm on 09 Jun 2008, jacksforge
    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

    At 6:07 pm on 10 Jun 2008, jacksforge
    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules

    At 4:00 pm on 12 Jun 2008, jacksforge
    This comment has been referred to the moderators. Explain.

    I'm sorry, I didn't quite get it.

    Would you care to repeat it?

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  • 228. At 02:04am on 13 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I hear that in the UK if you buy an electrical appliance, any appliance, it comes without a plug. Is that true? It would be illegal in the US. Nobody expects a little old lady to install a plug on her new toaster or washing machine. And I also hear you only use one size plug for everything. If you buy a 2 watt electric clock radio you use the same plug they use for a walk in freezer. Now what do you call that?

    BTW, the lot size my house is on is three acres. It takes several gardeners a couple of hours on drive around mowers to cut the grass.

    Here in America we take people at all levels of education from the best scientists and engineers to those who are not only illiterate in English but illiterate in their own language as well. We have millions of unfilled jobs of all kinds. We export lots of unskilled low paying dangerous jobs and factories which produce large amounts of dangerous toxins to other countries where labor is cheap, there are few if any environmental protection laws, and if someone gets hurt or killed on the job they can't sue your company for millions of dollars. We export them to countries like China. Despite that, much to my amazement, according to the Secretary of the Treasury who was interviewd on C-Span a few months ago, America still manufactures 2 1/2 times as much as China. Like I said, within reason we'll take practically anyone who is not a threat, even forgers.

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  • 229. At 02:41am on 13 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 230. At 03:39am on 13 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Sorry jacksforge, in my subdivision, we are not permitted to have sheep...or horses. Four dogs are the limit. I don't know what the limit is on cats though.

    Hard as it is to believe, you know even less about how American homes are wired than the rest of the topics you post nonsense on. All American homes can support 230/240 volt appliances. But because only the largest appliances use this voltage, wiring for these devices is what we call "dedicated" which means one appliance of this type gets one circuit and one outlet only. It's NEC code which is the law adopted my almost every jurisdiction. There are actually many types of outlets with specific NEMA designations for them but most are for industrial applications. If you have an electrical supply house (not Home Depot but a real electrical supply house) near you, drop in and ask for a Hubbell Chart (it's free.) There you will see all of the approved straight blade, twist lock, and pin and sleeve connectors with their NEMA designations and their Hubbell part numbers. Get a free catalogue and you will see many hundreds of them, most within the system, some outside the system. Fortunately, only a few types are needed for most home appliances althogh they come in different styles. An electic clock will fit in the same 5-15 R receptacle as a refrigerator but it has much lighter duty cord and plug.

    No we do not allow or encourage anyone who is not trained to wire their appliances. When an appliance is sold it MUST have a suitable plug installed by the manufacturer and it must meet rigorous safety criteria to carry the UL (Underwirter's Laboratory) listing. Most appliances which do not carry this rating are cheaply made foreign junk. I'm fairly confident that of all the electrical codes in the world, the NEC (National Electrical Code is the toughest.) However, some cities have their own electrical codes...which are even tougher. The National Electrical Code is a subchapter of the National Fire Code which is written for insurance companies. It's primary concern is with electrical safety.

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  • 231. At 04:54am on 13 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 232. At 05:10am on 13 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 233. At 05:16am on 13 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 234. At 05:19am on 13 Jun 2008, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    I suddenly found it necessary to post a message that I knew would break the house rules. I was beginning to feel left out. :-)

    This message will self destruct in 29 seconds.

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  • 235. At 05:49am on 13 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    To refute falshoods contained in #209 and #224 couple of short quotes from Wikipedia, so often quoted here.

    On December 27, 1979, 700 Soviet troops dressed in Afghan uniforms, including KGB OSNAZ and GRU SPETSNAZ ...occupied Tajbeg Presidential Palace.
    [... As planned, president Hafizullah Amin was killed.
    Land mines had killed 25,000 Afghans during the war and another 10-15 million land mines, most planted by Soviet and Afghan government forces, were left scattered throughout the countryside to kill and maim.

    A great deal of damage was done to the civilian children population by land mines. A 2005 report estimated 3-4% of the Afghan population were disabled due to Soviet and Afghan communist land mines.


    Al-Qaeda[...] founded in 1988 by Abdullah Yusuf Azzam AFTER [emphasis mine] the Soviet War in Afghanistan.


    The Taliban[...] was founded in Kandahar in 1994 [long AFTER the Soviet Afghan War] by young, educated fundamentalist Muslim scholars.[Wikipedia]

    As anyone can see lies have short legs and facts are stubborn things.

    P.S. Anybody interested can easily find out on the Web what weapons al-Qaeda terrorists and Talib forces are equipped with, where are they produced, who's selling them and who delivers them.
    Ditto re Saddam's arsenal prior to US invasion.

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  • 236. At 4:42pm on 13 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    Hard as it is to believe, you know even less about how American homes are wired than the rest of the topics you post nonsense on. All American homes can support 230/240 volt appliances.And I also hear you only use one size plug for everything.

    And I also hear you only use one size plug for everything.

    do you get it yet?
    we have one size of plug because all houses switched to 220/240 years ago.
    so all appliances work on any circuit. amazing that

    "If you have an electrical supply house (not Home Depot but a real electrical supply house) near you, drop in and ask for a Hubbell Chart (it's free.) There you will see all of the approved straight blade, twist lock, and pin and sleeve connectors with their NEMA designations and their Hubbell part numbers. Get a free catalogue and you will see many hundreds of them, most within the system, some outside the system. Fortunately, only a few types are needed for most home appliances althogh they come in different styles. An electic clock will fit in the same 5-15 R receptacle as a refrigerator but it has much lighter duty cord and plug."

    what has this rubbish got to do with anything.

    so every time you move an applience in the US you have to rewire the house .
    "lets move the dryer to the garage love" no we can't we would have to get an electrition and re wire the house a bit" wow convenient.

    MA give up nothing you say is near the mark .You rambling "proof" are transparently fabricated irrelevant nonsense.

    "When an appliance is sold it MUST have a suitable plug installed by the manufacturer and it must meet rigorous safety criteria to carry the UL "

    rigorous safety my behind.BTW all euro plugs are fixed at factory.

    FYI i never bought an applience in hte UK that had wires disconected when it came out of the box .DID in the US)

    so basically you wrote all that but never scored a hit .
    give it up MA2.
    learn to love.

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  • 237. At 4:59pm on 13 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    As to your sub devision sound like america ,probably do not let you dry cloths on the line either.
    neighbours have to approve your front gate design.
    Yard workers (because america doesn't get LANDscaping) driving from one boring house to another (only briefly checking there are no other services required).
    Kids suffering from hay fever(sheep eat and pooh out pollen not stir it up (engineer that one)
    You got conned you ain't free.

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  • 238. At 7:01pm on 13 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 239. At 7:07pm on 13 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    Erroneous the second
    "I've functioned as a project manager because of my penchant for strategic thinking, planning, and executing plans."

    many people would doubt that given the evidence.

    "Most foreign trained engineers I've encountered are awful."

    because only americans can be engineers , right.

    "The standards they've been trained to design to are unacceptable in the US"

    what because they work in metric not IMPERIAL.

    "Atlanta Georgia for foreign countries so that they would at least have some standard to design to."

    they were standardising america, and saying if you want to sell here you have to make it work on 110. cause we can't handle you have little tiny postage size lots with GAS mowers because your 110 is not very good for mowing, or for that matter welding which is why here in the states so much welding is done on site with gas powered welders.

    he USA is virtually at war with Europe now.

    wow because you declared war . the rest of america loves us brits they love our accent did you know that.

    good place to be for a brit like that. ha

    "The US is winning, its cheap dollar just one arrow in its arsenal," a financial miracle

    just showing your smarts again

    BSC or is that BSE (like the earlier poster tried to tell you)

    " Lamentably, we have just adopted the international building code."

    What you afraid all those thick euros will out perform you . probably should in your case.

    "Europeans can dish it out but they can't take it."

    we are way more self critical ,it is america that rags on its own if they dare to say there is something wrong, we brits complain about our leaders and nation more than we discuss the weather. but keep up the delusion.

    It is you that has NEVER said one good thing about anywhere.

    As for good old fashioned america.

    Here's a funny one for europeans.
    Here in the states to boil water for a cup of tea(lets say) they use a" water boiler."

    A kettle that has a plug that attaches to the back of the kettle and boils until you unplug it ,and if you do not they boil dry.No on off.(too dangerous?)

    Now us primitive unsafe and useless europeans are using cordless kettles that stop boiling once the water boils.And have been for 20 years (what turn off auto matically,howd ya do that)

    America just got on the cordless kettle thing in the last few years.
    saying you are 100% right is not wise. never met anyone in any field that is,unless they are delusional.and is the sort of statement that get people hurt.

    "Americans are instinctively resistant to submitting to the arbitrary exercise of authority, that is American culture"

    not for a while now.

    heard of homeland security and eavesdropping etc, the freedoms of america stolen and hardly a whimper from the people.

    Elections rigged(maybe) and not a whimper.

    war started for lies, and not a whimper.

    No we can't force the president and his donny and dick to testify .NOT A WHIMPER.

    And anyone who does has to face the like of you(but not you i'm sure)

    "Even the method of education is different"

    what we try to make them think?

    "learning "was"abandoned by American educators 150 years earlier. "

    medical school what engineering not satisfying wow you were busy. did you pass?
    or is that why you are resentful.

    "The reason we want your tired, poor huddled masses, wretched refuse, and tempest tossed is because we know that once they are fed and rested and given a chance, they will contribute mightily to further strengthening our far superior civilization which found the enormous potential and value inherent in them your civilization spit on."

    Because you need those trained educated minds that come from the rest of the world.

    Those other countries educate them and pay for that then they leave to come make money in the states where the locals cannot dream up original ideas because their loose educational system does not work.

    So somewhat nearer to the blog relation to nato.
    AMERICA NEEDS THOSE EDUCATED FOREIGNERS TO KEEP IT GOING .they pay the taxes that keep america in business .
    America pays the taxes to have lots of guns and bombs.
    It's a swap.You get free brain power we get( censored)
    Think wholistic for once come off the high horse(its not real).

    people could like america , many do.

    by the way flat foot is not an excuse for the military any more they are still recruiting.

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  • 240. At 00:41am on 15 Jun 2008, need4reality wrote:

    General Wolfgang Schneiderhan looks quite scarily like Rumsfeld... is he a 'where's Rummie?' decoy or is it me? lol

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  • 241. At 09:34am on 17 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    "placing more emphasis on EU co-operation, Mr Sarkozy is also expected to propose moving closer to Nato command.

    France withdrew from Nato's military structure in 1966 in protest at the dominance of US commanders.

    But Mr Sarkozy indicated earlier this year that France may return to the organisation's military command. "

    Waiting for a flood of comments sugesting that Sarkozy, just like Blair before, and Brown and Berlusconi now, are "Bush's poodles". :-)

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  • 242. At 10:02am on 17 Jun 2008, powermeerkat wrote:

    "What he never mentions is that six years after the invasion of Afghanistan they are still fighting guys living in a cave. "

    Nope, those thugs don't have to hive in caves. They live and regroup let alone rearm) in their comfortable safe havens in Pakistani Waziristan.

    Nope, we have not lost Vietnam. It's Hanoi regime which has lost Vietnam, with a little help from US completely stoned 'flower power". I've been in Vietnam on 30th anniversary of Paris Peace Agreements (which Vietnamese Commies almost immediately violated and invaded S. Vietnam)
    It was a barely mitigated disaster.

    Perhaps that's why Hanoi regime is opening IBM centers and buying Boeing airliners now?

    And why people in Saigon (no, I shall not call it Ho-Chi-Minh City) asked me wherever I went (looking carefuly around before they spoke):

    "When are you going to come back?"

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  • 243. At 1:14pm on 17 Jun 2008, Mark M Newdick wrote:

    We fight for Queen and Country ... not a bunch of corrupt, incompetent and unaccountable Eurocrats.

    The UK should have nothing whatsoever to do with an "EU Army" - what a total joke!

    Besides, we have no experience fighting with European armies - our sole experience with them involves taking their surrender.

    THE UK OUT OF THE EU NOW! Roll on the Anglosphere.

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  • 244. At 4:25pm on 18 Jun 2008, jacksforge wrote:

    good on the patriotism. I hope you don't want us out of euro for the states though 51 state and all that?

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