This came to me as a comment from a less newsjunky friend of mine, who basically said – “hey, Bush has not done anything crazy lately”.

I then went on to explain that this was not really true, as the Schiavo story clearly reached pretty high levels of craziness, despite the high standards we’ve grown accustomed to from the Bush administration. But, for once, the craziness was directed internally and not towards the hapless outside world.

Maybe it’s a good thing…

If you read what little has been written in the European press about the Schiavo case, it is described as a “normal” heart-wrenching right-to-die story, i.e. it is about a difficult medical/ethical decision and a torn family, some hotly debated legal decisions, and some attempts at political posturing around it.

A good example is this BBC story: Anger growing over Schiavo death

A French story can be found here: L’Américaine Terri Schiavo est morte

So, it has been mentioned, and obviously the interventions by Congress and Bush have been noted, and the strong mobilisation of the religious conservatives.

But a lot of that is fairly reminiscent of the debates that take place once in a while in our countries when a tragic case comes to light, with superficially similar roles: someone in the family wanting to pull the plug, the legal battles that go with it, debate about what the doctors may or may not do, religious authorities weighing in, conservative groups opposing any “right to die” and so forth (The most recent debate in France was around the case of Vincent Humbert, a young man terribly injured in an accident and who requested himself the right to die. It’s not exactly the same situation as for Schiavo, but it broaches similar themes). However, these debates never triggered 24/7 coverage, death threats or middle-of-the-night bills.

The coverage of the Schiavo case by European media, similarly, does not reflect the difference in intensity in the debate. De Lay is simply presented as a Majority Leader, with little background on his other current travails; there is little mention made of the blanket coverage of the story in the US. Superficially, it appears as a “normal” debate on a tough issue, and it gets some coverage but that’s it.

What we do notice is that, in the meantime, there is less belligerant talk about Iran, North Korea, Venezuela or elsewhere.

So, maybe, as a suggestion to you guys: keep the wingnuts busy with domestic social issues, it will help keep the world a little bit safer…

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