Hitler Remark Rankles White House

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From the Associated Press
Hitler Remark Rankles White House
Thursday September 19, 2002 10:40 PM

WASHINGTON (AP) - As tensions rise between the United States and Germany
over differences on Iraq policy, the White House on Thursday called a
German government minister's comparison of President Bush to Adolf
Hitler ``outrageous and inexplicable.创

Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin told a small group of labor union
members on Wednesday that Bush was going after Iraq to divert attention
from domestic problems. ``That磗 a popular method. Even Hitler did
that,创 the German newspaper, Schwaebisches Tagblatt, quoted her as saying.

The minister called the report misleading but did not deny the remarks.
``I would regret it very much if this matter were to cast the slightest
shadow on my respect for the president of the United States,创 she
said.

Opposition conservatives vying to defeat Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder's
Social Democrats in Sunday's parliamentary elections called for her
resignation.
``This shows what Schroeder and his Social Democrats really think of our
American allies,创 said Thomas Goppel, an aide to conservative
challenger Edmund Stoiber.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A German government spokesman said Schroeder could not imagine
Daeubler-Gmelin had meant to liken Bush to Hitler.

``If anyone were to compare the American president with a criminal, they
would have no place in the government,创 Schroeder said on German
television network ZDF.

With the balloting approaching, Schroeder has offered repeated and
outspoken opposition to Bush's drive for action against Iraq's Saddam
Hussein, creating discord between the two allies.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Bush press secretary Ari Fleischer sought to downplay the impact on the
relationship between the countries, but reacted strongly to the
minister's remarks.

``The United States and Germany have a very long and valuable
relationship, and relations between the people of the United States and
Germany are very important to Americans,创 Fleischer said. ``But
this statement by the justice minister is outrageous and
inexplicable.创

In Thursday's editions of The New York Times columnist William Safire
quoted former German Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping as telling a
meeting in Hamburg last month that Bush wanted to overthrow Saddam to
please ``a powerful - perhaps overly powerful - Jewish lobby.创

A spokesman for Scharping, Thorben Albrecht, said the ex-minister spoke
at the closed-door event but never made the remark.

Meanwhile, Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., warned that ``America bashing创
by Schroeder is damaging U.S.-German relations.
He said that if Schroeder wins re-election and does not show a more
constructive attitude toward dealing with Iraq, ``then the U.S. Congress
must seriously consider moving U.S. forces out of Germany and stationing
them on the territory of other NATO allies who do support the United
States...创

Helms, a former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is
not seeking re-election this fall.

Guardian Unlimited Guardian Newspapers Limited 2002

 

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