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Letter: Of the Practice of Germanic Languages and Literature

I would like to clarify some of the comments that were attributed to me in the Set. 24 article on the state of U.S.-German relations. I do not, in fact, disagree with any of my colleagues' statements that U.S.-German relations have been strained by Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's outspoken remarks against the Bush administration's unilateral move towards war on Iraq. The point I was making is that voicing criticism of current U.S. policy does not translate simply into anti-Americanism. This is the demagoguery of President George W. Bush's "if you're not for us you're against us" rhetoric. The enormous outpouring of German sympathy, support and solidarity with America after the Sept. 11 attacks attests to the degree to which Germans are "with us." Many Germans, along with many Europeans and even Americans, agree with Schroeder that unilateral action against Iraq is dangerous and misguided. It is not this criticism that is anti-American. But an unprovoked unilateral war against Iraq is sure to produce further anti-American sentiments around the world.


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