There’s a interesting if unoriginal article in the Times (sorry for the semi-functional link…) by Stanford professor Victor Hanson. Like many people, he thinks that Europeans are opposed to the war on Iraq because they’re jealous of America.
While I’m not sure this is right, the article is reasonably well-argued, and avoids crass generalisations and untruths. This effect is rather spoilt by the Times subeditor who decided to headline the piece “If it weren’t for America, you wouldn’t be free to protest”.
The ‘but for us you’d be speaking German’ crack is approximately the most trite and stupid thing any American can say while arguing with Europeans. Mostly because it ignores the people Western Europe most needs to thank for its freedom from Hitler – the nine million Russian soldiers sent to certain death on the Eastern Front, fighting the nastiest war of attrition ever. And also the evil, vicious bastard who sent them to die, a certain Mr Stalin.
I’m glad Mr Hanson didn’t fall into this trap, although annoyed that the Times’ sub did. It’s also always worth remembering that while good leaders with honourable motives are often important in safeguarding freedom, the mean bastards with horrible motives can be even more important. Not quite sure what this means in the context of GW Bush…