German media criticizes Obama and US for death of Osama bin Laden

US President Barack Obama in Miami, March 4, 2011.

From Charles Lane, the Washington Post: [M]any of Obama’s erstwhile Euro-fans are feeling a twinge of buyer’s remorse. By ordering a covert raid on Pakistan that resulted in Osama bin Laden’s death at the hands of Navy SEALs, Obama has earned the kind of condemnation Europe’s cognoscenti once reserved for his predecessor, George W. Bush.

And nowhere is the chorus more moralistic than in Germany, where former Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, a Social Democrat, has pronounced the action “clearly a violation of international law.” The quality press is full of carping and quibbling. Handelsblatt called the raid “an act that violates both the international prohibition of force and humanitarian law." Der Spiegel, under the headline “Justice, American Style,” reports an expert’s view that it’s “questionable whether the USA can still claim to be engaged in an armed conflict with al-Qaida.” Elsewhere in the same journal, a reporter calls NewYork celebrations of bin Laden’s death “reminiscent of Muslims celebrating in the Gaza Strip after the 9/11 attacks.”

To be sure, the criticism is not universal. The newspaper Bild opined that “it is not only good that bin Laden is dead. It is also good that the U.S., after ten agonizing years, has finally freed itself from his terrible stranglehold.” Chancellor Angela Merkel pronounced herself “glad” that the terrorist chieftain was dead. 

But German clerics and politicians immediately chided Merkel for her lack of tact, claiming that she might inflame the Muslim world. And Bild is a right-wing tabloid, the less-than-respectable news source of strap-hangers consruction foremen.

The fashionable critique of Obama and the U.S. achieved its purest form on ARD Television, Germany’s equivalent of the BBC, where commentator Jörg Schoenenborn pompously observed that nothing good could come from Obama’s Bush-like breach of international law. “Al Qaeda will seek revenge,” he asserts, “so, is the world any safer? No.” Yet Americans dance in the streets, which Scheonenborn attributed to something essential, and essentially primitive, in the American character. The USA is, after all, “quite a foreign land to me. What kind of country celebrates an execution in such a way?”  (photo: Getty)

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