Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass slammed the United States

Nobel laureate Grass slams U.S. for 'systematic' and 'merciless' crimes

(AP) - BERLIN-German Nobel literature laureate Guenter Grass slammed the United States Tuesday for what he described as "crimes" and other actions that only encourage terrorism and strengthen dictatorial regimes.

Speaking at the opening of the 72nd International PEN congress in Berlin, Grass sharply criticized the United States over the war in Iraq.

"The war that they wanted and that ignored the laws of the civilized world encourages terror and has no end," said Grass, 78. He added that "the crimes of the U.S.A. ... are systematic, constant, infamous and merciless."

He also criticized the U.S. administration for its approach to countries such as Syria, North Korea and Iran, describing it as "a policy that could not be dumber or more dangerous."

"Dictatorships - and there is no shortage of choice - are labeled rogue states, which as a rule strengthens the countries that are boastfully threatened with military strikes," Grass said.

Grass, a prominent left-wing figure in Germany, is respected as the voice of the post-World War II generation who has untiringly warned his compatriots to remain vigilant against racism and war. He also has long been a critic of U.S. policy.

The German playwright and novelist was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1999.

His comments were greeted with a standing ovation.

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