BERLIN -- When asked why German peace protesters were singling out American bases and missions for demonstrations, U.S. Ambassador Vernon A. Walters turned toward his German questioners and shrugged his shoulders.
"We're used to anti-Americanism. When it rains, the Americans are guilty. When it's dry, the Americans are guilty. I only wish that the number of [protesting] people in front of the Iraqi Embassy was the same as in front of mine," Mr. Walters said on German television.
Despite Mr. Walters' subdued reaction to the sometimes shrill anti-Americanism of German peace protesters, German officials are worried. Chancellor Helmut Kohl, for example, said Germany's partners felt a "certain irritation" that German demonstrators were criticizing the United
States while their troops were fighting Iraq.
To placate the allies, Mr. Kohl is contemplating tax increases to pay for more help for the war effort. He also is sending a delegation to Israel today to show solidarity and announced yesterday a $165 million aid package for Israel.
The daily demonstrations and strikes have become more radical as the war has progressed. Some signs at demonstrations read, "U.S.: World Genocide Central," and a poster criticizing the war shows a picture of U.S. troops preparing to fire machine guns and beneath it a picture of Palestinian women screaming.
Except for a few die-hard Communists, few participants believe their actions to be anti-American. The demonstrators do, however, seem to have an uneasy feeling that the United States is to blame for the outbreak of hostilities and is dragging the world toward catastrophe.