American Views Abroad

Sunday, April 15, 2007
A sublimely beautiful April week, normally balsam for the soul, were it not the first April in memory when the garden has to be watered. After one of the warmest winters and an unusually early Spring, it is uncanny how four seasons seem to mesh into two.
The pear, cherry and magnolia trees simultaneously in bloom and drenching the garden in white petals provoke an urge to flee from harsh reality, like the news of a close friend's very rare form of blood cancer or the even harsher, more damning, man-made news in the papers and on TV.

Sometimes the idea of saving sanity by not paying attention is enticing. For example, when you read about a democracy looking for a 'war czar' can things get any more bizarre? Need for 'Czar' Shows Chaos of War by Ann McFeatters at 'This is amazingly surreal for a democracy where we're not supposed to have 'war czars' who have unspecified powers over life and death.'

The cover of The New Yorker's April 9 issue shows how to use those 1040 tax forms properly. Craft them into tanks, fighter planes, war ships. In this Sunday's Der Tagesspiegel an editorial on the USA and Iraq makes two hard-hitting points. The first is that the situation today in Iraq can cause the entire region to explode and become totally uncontrollable. The second is the deconstructing of a world power. The present US government has opened the doors of hell in its Iraq politics, in particular because it did not think through its invasion beforehand. It isn't only Iraq, but Guantanamo and the present scandal in the Justice Department. There is no end in sight yet and those who call for staying the course have not recognized the full scoop of what's going on there. (Ein Land geht durch die Hoelle von Stephan-Andreas Casdorff)

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