If ever there were two subjects that Germans know a lot about, world peace and war crimes have to top the list (though not necessarily in that order). And that is why it is immer wieder (always as in again and again) refreshing (not) to hear their latest viewpoints on how various international figures rank upon the scale of being “the greatest danger to world peace”.

And that is why I was surprised (not²) to learn that 47 percent of those polled in East Germany placed George W. Bush at the head of this list. Some obscure Arab politician by the name of Osama something came in far behind with 20 percent of the vote. Kim Jong Il only could manage 12 percent of the vote and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just barely pulled in 11 percent. I’m not making this stuff up.

Now the highly respected political magazine that published this survey, “Super Illu” (there are lots of pictures of politically motivated girls inside, too), cannot claim to represent all of Germany – it’s a regional rag with a predominantly East German touch – but it nevertheless represents all of Germany when it comes to this question. Believe me, it’s true. They really think this way.

Man, talk about kicking a guy when he’s down (just look at that picture up there). Is that hang dog or what? Yup, George W. Bush certainly is down these days, understandably. But it could be worse. Your name could be Donald Rumsfeld (this is where the war crimes part comes in, see?).

That’s right, civil rights activists have asked German prosecutors to sue Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld on war crimes charges. A German law allowing the prosecution of war crimes, regardless of where they were committed, makes this suit possible. And the German prosecutors are salivating all over themselves because well, if the suit fits…

But don’t take any of this personally, any of you fellow Americans out there. These same Germans will also be the first to tell you (if you let them) that they have nothing at all against America per se, they just don’t like its elected government, or any of this government’s policies or its institutions, or the American way of thinking or its culture or its history or practically anything else it stands for. Other than that, you know, I’m okay and you’re okay.

Come visit me at Observing Hermann…

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