Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Our Favorite German?

I recently attended a press breakfast with Otto Schily, Germany's interior minister and, as I've written earlier, a good friend of Attorney General John Ashcroft. It's a friendship that surprises many on the left and right since Schily is a former Green lawyer who once defended terrorists in court while Ashcroft is a conservative Christian fundamentalist. But the two see eye-to-eye on fighting the war on terror. (Could he possibly be the Ron Silver of Germany?) During the breakfast, Schily expressed his annoyance at some of the press coverage of Iraq. "Some of the press's wording I find irritating," he said. Asked to elaborate, Schily went on, "They talk about these 'insurgents' but they should really be called terrorists. It doesn't matter if they are Iraqis or foreigners. They [inflict] brutal attacks on innocent people, mostly Iraqi people. These are terrorists."

Some German Greens I've spoken to chafe at such pronouncements and are horrified that he could be friends with Ashcroft (the two recently attended a concert at the Kennedy Center). What with Schily's proposals for more stringent security measures, including fingerprinting, facial recognition technology, and retinal scans, I can't imagine they'll have much else to like about the man. But for the Bush administration, Schily may be their best ally in the Schröder government.

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