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Trittin Accused Of America Bashing

Germany's Enviromental Minister, Jürgen Trittin claimed in a speech that Hurricane Katrina might be an effect of US policy toward global warming. DW-World readers responded to his comments.

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Trittin claims that Katrina is a result of bad environmental policy

The following comments reflect the views of our readers. Not all reader comments have been published. DW-WORLD reserves the right to edit for length and appropriateness of content.

I find Trittin's comments pompous and offensive! I do not believe he speaks for all Germans--thank goodness. My husband and I have served five tours of duty in Germany starting in 1979 and ending in 1997. We both have a great love for this "adopted" country of ours and have many good friends there. It pains me to think that anti-American sentiment runs so deep that someone would insinuate that we "deserve" this tragedy! Trittin should be reprimanded for his insensitive comments and also be reminded of the sacrifices many Americans have made on behalf of his country. The citizens of Germany are probably as upset by his callousness as many Americans are and they should speak up -- I'm confident these wonderful, friends of Americans will do just that. -- Cecelia Abrams

Trittin was absolutely right. There is no wrong time to hear the truth, especially when so much is at stake. There is a lot of opinion being expressed here that is almost identical. I am glad that someone in authority somewhere is not afraid to join in. -- David Frazer, USA

It is pretty much accepted that Germans have a real problem with Americans--such a strange way to repay an old friend. But that's ok, now we all know where we stand. -- Jerald Ronish

I agree that Mr. Trittin's remarks were ill-timed, inopportune and to some degree, inhumane. As a German who has lived and worked in the US, I am well aware of the difference in communication styles between Americans and Germans. Some Germans tend to be overly direct and provocative, which is often perceived as rude. Even here in Germany, Mr. Trittin (a member of the Green Party) has a history of being rather outspoken, even "arrogant". For my part, I feel Trittin is simply trying to preserve an already heavily damaged world environment. In doing this he is stepping on too many toes, nationally as well as internationally. My heart goes out to those stranded in New Orleans. -- Antonia Stokely, Germany

I am an American college student in Birmingham, Alabama. After reading the comments posted by Americans I was taken aback. How can Americans or Germans make a judgment on what one person says (i.e. Trittin). Maybe Trittin is correct in theorizing that pollution is a cause to global warming and this is his way of criticizing the Bush Administration for not signing the Kyoto agreement. His comments do not reflect the feelings of all Germans and vice versa. It is this process of stereotyping that turns one country against another. -- Scott Hughe, Birmingham, Alabama

Sad that this individual has completely failed to verify his facts before pointing fingers and spewing politically motivated bunk. In every country there are those who believe anything they are told and those who take the time to look up the facts for themselves. This is true in in both Germany and the US. The historical facts indicate there was a lull in hurricane activity in the last decade and we are now simply returning to normal activity levels. Unfortunately, people were lulled into thinking it was OK to build up areas that never should have been built up. But what's done is done? Let's all pull together and stop this useless finger pointing. -- Peggy Ives

Is Trittin also going to blame the Rhein and Danube floods on the US? Forget the fact that they have been flooding for hundreds of years, it is all global warming. If one looks at hurricane records, New Orleans has been in the path of Hurricanes long before the industrial revolution even started. When you live below sea (or lake) level and the dam breaks you get flooded. It happens in Holland but doesn't get blamed on the Dutch. No, when it happens there it is called "nature." -- Rick Oelkers

While Trittin's comments were perhaps made at the wrong time and therefore deemed "insensitive," they are still very relevant. When will the American people wake up to the fact that their government cares little for the environment and the impact this disregard is having on world weather patterns. Bush is just not interested in energy conservation and the whole world has to suffer because of his policies. Until the US government takes global warming seriously, the American people will blindly continue buying huge, gas-guzzling cars and creating an incredible amount of waste. Our thoughts are of course with the people directly affected by the hurricane but Bush has got to wake up! -- Paul B., UK and Germany

I think that the people of Germany are kidding themselves if they think that the comments of the likes of Mr. Trittin have any impact on Americans. We have grown accustomed to the constant criticism offered by Germany and, at this point, could care less. -- Richard Hondlik

Trittin's remarks may have been a bit too sharp and ill timed, but it can't be denied that Bush ignores global warming and the science behind it, and has no policy to find alternative energy sources. Many Americans are also frustrated about the lack of a responsible conservation policy by the Republicans, who have been denying global warming for years. It is a shame that some Americans are hypersensitive about foreign criticism and see legitimate criticism from friends as being anti-American and often find it difficult to see themselves as others see them. -- Conrad Weiler

I do not think the majority of German people feel that the U.S.A. brought this tragedy upon themselves. I believe that the German people can think for themselves and understand that this is simply a horrible act of nature. I hope that I am correct in thinking that my relatives and friends in Germany feel our loss as much as we do. I am extremely proud of being German but sometimes I am troubled the comments of some Germans about America. No culture is perfect and most of the time we get along. It's usually the politicians that screw things up. -- Heidi Gagnon

As an American, I think Trittin's remarks about Katrina and the reality of global warming are entirely appropriate. Unfortunately, most Americans are not nearly as pragmatic and realistic as the Germans. It would certainly not surprise me if the majority of German citizens agree there is a connection between catastrophic weather events and global warming. It will be interesting to see if Americans will be willing to learn from this horrible event. -- Suzanne Gentling, Glen Rose, Texas

New Orleans is a bowl that sits between the Mississippi River and Lake Pontchartrain, with levees holding these waters back. When the weather came they were not strong enough or high enough to withstand a hurricane like Katrina. When portions of these levees broke the water flooded New Orleans. If anyone is to blame it should be the elected officials of New Orleans. They should have increased the strength and height of the levees long ago. Don't blame our government or President Bush or global warming for a natural disaster. -- Peggy Carter Adams

I think Trittin's smug words reflect the attitude of all Germans, or for that matter, all Europeans. After defending Europe for over sixty years, all they do is mewl about how terrible we Americans are. I'm sick of it. Keep your money; we'll take care of our own. May I suggest that you reflect on your own problems for a change--starting with your "schadenfreude." That's a word you understand, right? -- Judith Willms

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