Illegal Exports12 Mar 2003
Amiland cites a story from Die Welt on illegal exports by German firms to Iraq. But he draws the wrong conclusion. This does not support the den Beste speculation that covering up illegal exports might be a motive for German opposition to the war.
The dozens of cases of illegal exports have been uncovered by German prosecutors. If the German government is trying to cover up these exports, why haven't the prosecutors been muzzled. They are, after all, very sensitive to political pressure, as was shown in the case of Helmut Kohl and the "black suitcase".
Speaking of Kohl, if there were government collusion with illegal exporters, it would have had to have begun well before the German regime change in 1998. That means all 4 major political parties would have had to have known about it and cooperated. Seeing as even arms exports to allies is a senstive political topic, and the extremely pro-US course of the Kohl government, this is very difficult to imagine.
Indeed, if a goverment can be blamed for the illegal actions of business, then the United States is as much to blame, as the second leading illegal supplier to Iraqi weapons programs (according to the leaked Iraqi report to the UN).
No, the illegal exports simply prove once again the econimc truism that boycotts are never effective. If you have the goods, a willing seller, and a willing buyer, a transaction is going to take place, illegal or not, whether the goods are illegal drugs or illegal missile parts. German firms may be particularly amoral, and thus particularly willing to sell, but there is no deeper conclusion to be drawn.
Update Mrs. T says that it's all a plot