Former German foreign minister and leader of of the Social Democracts Frank Walter Steinmeier has a nice piece in Der Spiegel recalling Chancellor Gerhard Schröder's refusal to join the Bush/Cheney Iraq War debacle.  At the time, it was perceived by the delusional US press as an impertinent slap in the face by an ungrateful US ally:

{My translation}"We are prepared to show solidarity. But under my leadership this country will not be party to adventures."

These two sentences articulated Gerhard Schröder's position on the Iraq War.  And with this he crossed an imaginary red line which every postwar German government had honored up to then. Never before had a chancellor sol openly criticized American leadership. Never before had a chancellor demonstrated his independent judgement and decisiveness.  And the reaction both domestically and internationallly was predicatably strong. Donald Rumsfeld, the secretary of defense at the time, refused to shake the hand of his counterpart Peter Struck. Angela Merkel, the leader of the opposition told a US newspaper: "Gerhard Schröder doesn't speak for all Germans."

Gerhard Schröder was right in his rufusal to be "Bush's Poodle" like Tony Blair.  The Iraq invasion turned out to be an even greater disaster than Schröder could have imagined at the time.  And even though he is despised today by many in Germany for his neo-liberal economic policies and his embrace of Vladimir Putin, all Germans should be grateful that Schröder kept his nation out of the trauma - the lost "blood and treasure"  - of a war that was based on lies.

But in the US today, some are still unable or unwilling to confront the truth.  In her memoir Spoken from the Heart Laura Bush blames Gerhard Schröder for "forcing" her husband to invade Iraq.  

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