Wednesday, June 25, 2003

Which is why I'm not spending the Euros

My sweet wife and I were planning do a trip to Europe - Normandy, Belgium, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Peneemunde - or something like that. Given the recent rise of crap like this, we're going to Australia instead.

"I've spent 100 days a year for the past 30 years in Europe, and, generally, people always managed to differentiate a government's action from its citizens," says Rick Steves, a Seattle-based tour operator who specializes in Europe. "But I have never seen this level of frustration in my lifetime. They just can't understand our push for war, especially the younger generation." Steves says the current climate is in stark contrast to the "breathtaking" we-are-all-Americans sentiment that gripped Europe on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Europeans were sympathetic to passing Americans on September 11. Let me call the press! Seems to me our reaction would have been a little different.

The day after the Paris metro gets gassed or a dirty bomb irradiates the City of London, our reaction to our passing European traveller will not be: "I'm so sorry" but "we'll take care of it."

The former is comforting. The latter is useful.