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Maybe He Sailed Up The Rhine   | Main | First He's The Messiah

The Uncle Seems Real


Categories: History, Political Commentary
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OK, Occam's Razor would indicate that Barack Obama has a maternal great uncle (i.e., his mother's mother's brother), named Charles Payne (middle initial unclear) who served with the 355th Infantry that liberated one of the camps in the Buchenwald complex, despite previous concerns on that score.

It seems very unlikely that he would have a great uncle by that name, and that someone by that name would have had that service record, who also was an Obama political supporter, and he would put forth such a story, and that they are not the same person, despite the confusion about the middle initial. So, if we ignore the "Auschwitz" reference, and the fact that he calls his great uncle his uncle (understandable, given that he had no actual uncles, at least on his mother's side), the story is accurate.

But it's not that easy to ignore Auschwitz.

That's because "Auschwitz" has become one of the most emotionally charged words in the English (well, OK, it's not English--it's German) language. It's one of the most emotionally charged words in any language, for anyone who is aware of what happened there, and few educated people aren't, regardless of their native language.

The word is significant in the context of the Obama campaign for two reasons.

First, because it has such emotional connotations, particularly for Jews, with whom Obama has had trouble closing the deal, it looks like he's pandering to them. I'm not saying that he is, but it has that appearance.

Auschwitz was the site of the deliberate extermination of many of them (as well as Catholics, Gypsies, homosexuals, and others deemed "unworthy of life" by the National Socialists aka Nazis) and one might cynically think that an attempt to say that one of his family members was responsible for the liberation of the camp would give that constituency a warmer feeling for him, despite his many foreign policy advisors who clearly are not fans of the state of Israel (e.g., Zbig).

Buchenwald, on the other hand, while atrocious beyond normal human understanding, was merely a slave labor camp, and not historically abnormal in a time of war. The people who died there did so under the stress of work and disease, rather than as a deliberate attempt to wipe them off the planet. Which, of course, says much more about human nature and history than it does about the Nazis.

But beyond that, it is of concern because it reveals a profound ignorance of history and/or geography.

Anyone familiar with the history of World War II knows that Auschwitz (despite its Germanic name, which like Dansk to Danzig after the conquest in 1939, was a rename--the Polish name is Oswiecim), was in the occupied country of Poland, which before the war had hundreds of thousands of Jews, and after the war had...virtually none.

Furthermore, anyone familiar with that history knows that American troops never advanced past the River Elbe, in Germany, and that the Soviet forces advanced all the way across Poland and into eastern Germany, raping and pillaging as they went. Which is why there was an East Germany. Has Barack never heard of that "country," which was a colony of the Soviet Union, of which his mother was not obviously unfond (to understate the issue)?

No one, in other words, familiar with that history, would imagine that an American soldier, under Patton, had contributed to the "liberation" (scare quotes because the Soviets never liberated anyone--they only enslaved them) of Auschwitz.

Obama didn't know this. Nor, apparently, did anyone on his staff, since he had been spouting the same fable since 2002 and no one had bothered to correct him. Or if they had, they were ignored. I'm not sure which is worse.

Given his unfamiliarity with Jack Kennedy's less-than-successful negotiations with Khrushchev, it makes one wonder what else he doesn't know.

[Late evening update]

Some have taken issue of my characterization of Buchenwald as "merely a slave labor camp."

This has to be taken in context. I'm not sure what part of "atrocious beyond human understanding" with regard to that camp the commenters don't understand.

I wasn't excusing it in any way. I was simply pointing out that in the historical context of war, in which civilians were generally enslaved or killed, and disposed of when they could no longer work, it was hardly abnormal. Auschwitz (and Treblinka, and Sobibor, and Chelmo, and Betzec, and Majdenek) were in a separate class, previously unknown, which gave rise to the term "genocide," in which the intent was to wipe out an entire people. I'm sorry that some don't get the point.

[Thursday morning update]

Well, I certainly seem to have stirred up a hornet's nest among some. Let me pick up the remains of the straw men that were strewn around and kicked apart here overnight.

For the record, I did not say, or imply, that Buchenwald was a summer camp. I did not say, or imply, that the leftist Hitler's crimes were a "drop in the bucket" compared to the leftist Stalin's. I did not say, or imply, that working people to death is not murdering them. I did not say, or imply, that anyone's death (including Anne Frank's) was less tragic because it occurred at Bergen-Belsen than at Auschitz. I did not say, or imply, that I would "smile with satisfaction" if I were at Buchenwald instead of Auschwitz.

I'm not sure how to have a rational discussion with anyone nutty enough to have managed to infer any of the above from what I actually wrote.

Also, for the record, I am not now, and have never been a Republican, or (AFAIK) a "right winger," unless by that phrase one means a classical liberal. As for "sitting down with my Jewish friends and discussing this," I not only have Jewish friends, but Jewish relatives by blood, or perhaps I should say had, because they include many who doubtless died in both types of camps.

[Update a few minutes later]

One other straw man. I did not say, or imply, that because of this single incident Barack Obama was unfit to be president of the United States. But it is part, albeit a small one, of a much larger tapestry.

[One more update]

To the people in comments asking me what I meant by this, or why I wrote it, I don't know how to better explain my points than I already have. If after having actually read it carefully, for comprehension, you still don't get it, or willfully choose to misinterpret it, I can't help you.

[Update again]

OK, I'll make one attempt, for those who think that I am somehow "minimizing" what happened at Buchenwald. Perhaps they don't understand the true meaning of the word "atrocious," as in the phrase I used, "atrocious beyond human understanding."

I wasn't using it in perhaps a more popular (and trivial) sense as "that movie or meal was atrocious." I was using it in its most literal sense, as in a place where actual atrocities occurred. The two words are related, you know?

[Update about 9:30]

If I change the phrase "merely a slave labor camp," which is what seems to be generating such irrational fury and umbrage, to "not a site for the extermination of a people on an industrial scale," will that mollify people? Probably not, but I'll do it anyway.

[Afternoon update]

I'm wondering how much of the rampant insanity, straw mannery and outrage in comments would have been avoided had I merely omitted the word "merely".

[Friday morning update]

I have one final (I hope) follow up post on this subject.

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» OBAMA'S GREAT UNCLE SPEAKS. from PrestoPundit

This one is Jon Payne, the much younger brother of Charles T. Payne, the WWII vet.  Jon Payne was something of a "sibling" to Obama's mother, and knew Barack when he was a boy.Obama's great uncle Charles T. Payne of... Read More

209 Comments

bbbeard wrote:

Mr. O'Bama is one of the least informed major candidates to come along in a long while, perhaps even the least informed in my lifetime. The more I see of him, the more I ponder the similarities to Chauncey Gardner from "Being There".

Recall that W was raked over the coals for not knowing -- off the cuff -- the name of the Prime Minister of Ireland. I thought at the time that this was a bizarre demand, inasmuch as I have three degrees from MIT, am a political junkie, and I didn't (and still don't) know the name of the Prime Minister of Ireland.... But the depths of Obama's ignorance are being plumbed daily and we haven't hit bottom. Auschwitz? Buchenwald? What difference does it make? Who cares where it is? Kennedy and Krushchev? Friends, right? That's why relations with the Soviets were so mellow back in the 1960's, right? "How's it going, Sunshine?" Wellesleyan? Where did the other ten states go? Rev Wright a racist? Who knew? Afghanistan is part of are Arabia, right? Hamas is a terrorist group? I thought it was that stuff you eat with pita chips... (okay, I made that last one up).

The sad thing is that I think it really doesn't matter to the electorate. As W figured out a long time ago, most people don't vote for "smarts", they vote for "likeables". And Obama does sound good. I hate to draw the parallel, but Reagan bitterly disgusted the MSM of his day -- it seemed he could never get his facts straight, but no actual voter seemed to care. As the story goes, Reagan would include in his stump speech a story about a welfare queen in Los Angeles who scammed $300,000 a year and owned three Cadillacs. The press would fact-check (what a concept -- MSM fact-checking), and then bemoan the ignorance of the Republican candidate... because it turned out the welfare queen lived in Chicago, not Los Angeles, and it wasn't $300,000, it was $150,000, and dang it, they were Lincoln Town Cars, NOT CADILLACS! THIS GUY IS MADE OF TEFLON! But people understood and bought into Reagan's world view, despite the "gaffes". So I'm afraid that enough people will buy into this Iraq-war-sucks, it's-our-fault, let's try being nice to our enemies, let's share, avoid-the-money-culture... that our next President will be a Chauncey Gardner with Farrakhan clones pulling the strings.

BBB

Xrlq wrote:
Furthermore, anyone familiar with that history knows that American troops never advanced past the River Elba, in Germany, and that the Soviet forces advanced all the way across Poland and into eastern Germany, raping and pillaging as they went. Which is why there was an East Germany.

A decent point, but not as strong as you suggest, given that Buchenwald would become part of East Germany, not West.

andy wrote:

Unless you're going to accuse the U.S Holocaust Memorial Museum of lying (which, really, you're free to do), I think the assertion of :

"Buchenwald, on the other hand, while atrocious beyond normal human understanding, was merely a slave labor camp, and not historically abnormal in a time of war. The people who died there did so under the stress of work and disease, rather than as a deliberate attempt to wipe them off the planet."

...is disturbing.

"Merely a slave labor camp?"

From the site:

"Beginning in 1941, a number of physicians and scientists carried out a varied program of medical experimentation on prisoners at Buchenwald in special barracks in the northern part of the main camp."

...and...

"Periodically, prisoners throughout the Buchenwald camp system underwent selection. The SS staff sent those too weak or disabled to work to euthanasia facilities such as Bernburg, where euthanasia operatives gassed them as part of Operation 14f13, the extension of euthanasia killing operations to ill and exhausted concentration camp prisoners. Other prisoners unable to work were killed by phenol injections administered by the camp doctor."

I'm not sure that being executed for being too weak to work qualifies as dying "under the stress of work and disease."

Further, reading a history of the camp from the German memorial site (http://www.buchenwald.de/), makes the assertion of it being "merely a slave labor camp" laughable, but in a very sad way.

When the camp was liberated, there were some 21,000 inmates left... in the camp's history, 14,000 had perished. Maybe they just should have worked harder.

To be sure, the horrors of Auschwitz were Buchenwald compounded multiple, multiple times, but to actually type, with all seriousness, "merely a slave labor camp?"

You must be joking; either that or you have some right-wing equivalent to BDS, in which minimizing the horror of human suffering is ok so long as it stops Obama from being President.

(By the way, I'm most likely voting for McCain, despite efforts like yours to make me swing the other way.)

Rand Simberg wrote:

"Buchenwald, on the other hand, while atrocious beyond normal human understanding, was merely a slave labor camp, and not historically abnormal in a time of war. The people who died there did so under the stress of work and disease, rather than as a deliberate attempt to wipe them off the planet."

...is disturbing.

What part of "atrocious beyond human understanding" do you not understand? I wasn't defending Buchenwald. I was simply pointing out that Auschwitz was even worse, and especially to Jewish people.

MarkJ wrote:

Minor geographical correction to an otherwise good post:

The river in Germany you mention is actually the ELBE."

The Elbe also holds some notoriety since it's where the cremated ashes of Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, and the Goebbels Family were reportedly dumped in 1970 by the Soviets after being repeatedly exhumed and moved after the war.

Conversely, there is an ELBA. It's the island off the Italian Tuscan coast where Napoleon was interned after he abdicated in 1814. He subsequently escaped the following year and, as we all know, things didn't turn out so well for him at Waterloo.

Rand Simberg wrote:

The river in Germany you mention is actually the ELBE.

Thanks, fixed.

Eddie wrote:

I find it interesting that everyone is getting excited about Obama confusing Auschwitz with Buchenwald. The reason I find it funny is that the actual extermination camp at Auschwitz-Birkenau was at Birkenau not Auschwitz. So you are just as wrong as Obama. He probably didn't hear the story first hand and it is quite posible he was told Auschwitz scince it is the brand name concentration camp. If I had to guess 90 percent of Americans think Auschwitz is in Germany. In the end anyone who lets this be the deciding factor in the 2008 election for them is just sad.

PrestoPundit wrote:

Note well that Buchenwald became more that "a mere slave labor camp". At the end thousands were starved to death, and stacked in warehouses. Even before the end, folks were worked to death, malnourished, etc. -- and the mortality rate was staggering. Not a gas using Auschwitz style extermination camp, but a death camp never-the-less.

Skyler wrote:

I doubt anyone is less a supporter of Obama than I am, but this is a non-issue. Uncle is often a generic term used for varying degrees of sanguinity. I have great uncles and what not and addressed them all as uncle.

To confuse Buchenwald with Auschwitz is not that big of a deal. Both were terrible, and it was more than 60 years ago. One is not historically illiterate simply because they named the wrong camp.

This is the most minor of slips, and is essentially correct for the purpose for which it was used.

The danger with complaining about silly things like this is that it detracts from the really serious problems this man has. If people are going to complain about this, which is obviously unimportant, it will cause people to think that the other issues are equally unimportant.

jon wrote:

I have got to say that if this is a faux pas that makes Obama unfit for the Presidency, then McCain should be removed immediately from the Senate for getting fundamental facts wrong about a current war. Whether it was Buchenwald or Auschwitz matters quite a bit less than whether or not the Sunnis or Shiites are trained in Iran.

In other words: double dumbass on you.

Toby wrote:

Technically Auschwitz and Danzig were not post-39 "renames". Those areas had been German (for want of a better expression) or had had substantial German urban populations for almost 700 years by 1939. Most of the towns from the Oder/Elbe to Transylvania to the Baltics had legitimate German names all through the Middle Ages.

Just a technical correction that does not affect the gist of your post.

"Alex Jones" wrote:

It is no coincidence that our first MTV-era president, Ronald Reagan, was fond of telling audiences stories of how he had helped liberate concentration camps at the end of World War II, when his only experience with a Dachau or Treblinka was sitting in a darkened room watching movies of those events. "You believed in it because you wanted to believe it," Reagan once told a reporter who thought he had seen Reagan on the set of a movie which didn't feature him at all. "There's nothing wrong with that. I do it all the time."

moqui wrote:

the important point of Obama's statement is his assertion that his "uncle" was psychically shattered by the event, so much so that he shut himself up in an attic for months upon his return home. This portrait feeds into the leftist myth that all returning warriors are damaged goods. We, of course, know that is not true. Some, yes, and they deserve all the care and support we can give them. All? No way.

The key thing to check into is whether his uncle went shithouse rat after Buchenwald, or if it is just a lazy stereotype by BO.

andy wrote:

What part of "atrocious beyond human understanding" do you not understand? I wasn't defending Buchenwald. I was simply pointing out that Auschwitz was even worse, and especially to Jewish people.

I don't think you were defending Buchenwald. Not at all.

I do think you were intentionally downplaying, or simply ignorant of, the horror in an attempt to make Obama's gaffe look worse than need be.

ic wrote:

it makes one wonder what else he doesn't know.

How about the number of states we have? 48? 58? whatever!

After teaching a couple of years in Constitutional Law, he said he wasn't familiar with the Second Amendment.

Sally wrote:

Obama has so few profound experiences of his own to draw on that its understandable for him to "borrow" stories from others. This is true of most of us. We draw inspiration from other people's lives, from heroism we see on TV or read about in books or hear about from Mom or our teachers or pastors.

Of course, Obama didn't see his uncle as heroic; he saw him as a shattered wreck trapped in the attic and in dire need of a government program. If the information posted above is accurate (the Uncle has apparently lived a long life and has enough money to make political donations), the Uncle managed to find a way out of the attic at some point. How? I guess we'll never know, maybe because it doesn't serve the victim narrative.

moqui wrote:

come off it, andy. "Atrocious beyond human understanding" can in no rational way be seen as "intentionally downplaying or simply ignorant of" anything. Even if you win this by some exceeding fine semantic scorecard, you are making a fool of yourself.

cv wrote:

Also his great uncle did not enlist the day after Pearl Harbor!!

andy wrote:

come off it, andy. "Atrocious beyond human understanding" can in no rational way be seen as "intentionally downplaying or simply ignorant of" anything. Even if you win this by some exceeding fine semantic scorecard, you are making a fool of yourself.

Perhaps you and I view the phrase "merely a slave labor camp" differently.

I'm not even interested in the "we hate Obama" aspect of it, being no friend of his anyway. I simply question how anyone can use the word "merely" in the context of a Nazi camp.

But, hey, you go on believing that Buchenwald was summer camp and, really, in light of Stalin's crimes against humanity, Hitler's were merely a drop in the bucket. OK?

mcg wrote:

Andy, you're an idiot. You find me a real summer camp that is "atrocious beyond all understanding" and you'll sound credible. Merely is entirely appropriate given the context. Jesus told his followers to hate their mothers and fathers too, but unlike you they at least understood the relative comparison being made.

Rand Simberg wrote:

"andy," if you think that "atrocious beyond human understanding" is semantically equivalent to a "summer camp," it's hard to know how anyone can have a rational conversation with you.

andy wrote:

mcg -

Thank you for your substantive comment and name-calling.

I recommend you look up the meaning of "merely."

Buchenwald was not simply a slave labor camp, as has been pointed out by others.

Rand -

The use of "summer camp" was clearly hyperbole to mirror the errant use of "merely" in describing Buchenwald as nothing more than a slave labor camp. That this was lost on you makes me wonder why I bother.

Ken Murphy wrote:

Oh for cryin' jimminy cricket. I'm not even entirely sure who my biological granddad is on either side. My legal granddads served in the Battle of the Bulge on my Dad's side, and in the Pacific on my Mom's side. That's about as much as I can tell you because they never talked about it when they were alive, which was a while ago. What my Dad did in the Air Force he wasn't allowed to tell me. Should I not ever run for office because I might get the story about the buttons wrong?

It's amazing that anyone even half-way intelligent bothers to run for office anymore. This kind of nonsense is why we end up with the kinds of candidates we do. I need to dig up a copy of Umberto Eco's 'Foucault's Pendulum'. He had a word for splitting hairs four ways.

My political calculus is easy:

Ron Paul = ideal candidate (because the man gives more than a passing nod to the Constitution)
Bob Barr = not acceptable Libertarian substitute
Ralph Nader = just not my style, man
John McCain = status quo
Hillary Clinton = status quo
Barack Obama = not status quo

Since I apparently can't vote for my preferred candidate, I have no choice but to vote for the not status quo. We've got serious issues to deal with in this country, and what we're doing right now is not working. Put that in your poll and smoke it.

Michelle wrote:

As W says, this is really sad. I can't believe it's even on memeorandum. You all need something else to do with your lives. Could I suggest painting my house? I'll take bids now.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Rand - The use of "summer camp" was clearly hyperbole to mirror the errant use of "merely" in describing Buchenwald as nothing more than a slave labor camp. That this was lost on you makes me wonder why I bother.

Apparently, the phrase "slave labor camp" is lost on you. Are you familiar with any colors other than black and white?

It is an accurate description of the ongoing nightmare that was Buchenwald. But as bad as it was, it is not as bad as a site for the deliberate extermination of peoples, as Auschwitz and the others I mentioned were.

GeoffB wrote:

The phrase "anyone familiar with the history of World War II" assumes a lot. My U.S. history course did all it could to lump in the Americans and Russians as one big happy family that liberated the hell out of Europe and isn't that grand while downplaying that while the U.S. liberated, the Russians conquered. So I won't fault Obama for not knowing the Russians liberate Auschwitz.

What rankles here is not that Obama doesn't know history, but that he doesn't even seem to know much about those family members who he claims inform his views. Let's summarize Obama's statement in the context in which all this came up:

Says Obama, "John McCain thinks he knows what veterans need just because he was a naval aviator and POW, grew up in a military family, was the son and grandson of admirals and has a son in Iraq. Friends, I know a lot more about what our veterans need because... because someone in my family was involved in something unpleasant in World War II and they say he had a real hard time of it and didn't want to talk about it."

What's scary about Obama, though, is not that he's mixed political opportunism and bad history. What's scary is the picture he's painting of how he thinks. It's Memorial Day, the day we honor those who gave their lives in our country's cause. He tells us about his great uncle, who helped liberate Buchenwald. So does he tell us how proud he is that a family member helped make a freer, better world, and that he wants to lead the kind of Armed Forces that makes that happen? Does he tell us how fortunate it was that if those people had been brought under the forces of evil that created Buchenwald, the forces of good embodied in America put an end to it? No, he tells us that the whole thing was really rough on his great uncle.

One of the duties of the Commander in Chief of the United States Armed Forces is to send our brave men and women into harm's way to keep us safe and free, and to carry the load that places on the conscience. Whether you're a former soldier or not, it's not a job for sissies. There are hard choices to be made, and to be lived with. How can we count on Obama to make those hard choices in more ambiguous times when he looks, for God's sake, at the liberation of a Nazi slave camp, and his first thought is not pride that America liberated those people, but shame that we don't have better government programs for veterans? I'm all for helping veterans; we owe them a lot. But that starts with honoring and respecting the work they've done to keep our country free. And I don't think Obama gets that.

RMD wrote:

The author's comments defending his downplaying of Buchenwald is pathetic and deplorable. That's quite a bit of yourself to sell off to try and make a small political point, Mr. Simberg.

"Buchenwald, on the other hand, while atrocious beyond normal human understanding, was *merely a slave labor camp*, and not historically abnormal in a time of war. *The people who died there did so under the stress of work and disease, rather than as a deliberate attempt to wipe them off the planet*. Which, of course, says much more about human nature and history than it does about the Nazis."

Historically inaccurate and moreover morally repugnant. Really? Downplaying the severity of a Nazi concentration camp to take a swipe at a candidate? Take a look at this picture, then take a look at yourself in the mirror, Mr. Simburg.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Buchenwald-J-Rouard-10.jpg

Michelle wrote:

Geoff, you are clearly the winner.

When you start rationalizing about whether one camp was worse than another, well, you qualify to paint my house.

How much weight to you give to Salaspils? Was it worse or better than other camps?

Robert wrote:

I think Andy aptly made the point that Buchenwald was part of the Nazi's genocide. One aspect of the Holocaust that people find particularly horrifying was its methodical and pre-meditated nature. Using some of the victims as slave labor (under the conditions that Andy illustrated) before killing them (one way or another) was just part of that methodical genocide. Had the Nazis had won (or, more plausibly, had the war had gone on longer), everyone at the labor camps would have been killed, one way or another. "Merely" was an inartful choice of words at best, and offensive at worst, but more importantly, you are making a false distinction.

I think Skyler and Andy got it right.

andy wrote:

Rand -

I think if you simply said something like "my use of the word 'merely' in reference to Buchenwald as a slave labor camp was in error, a poorly chosen word in the midst of writing a lengthy blog post," everyone who has taken exception would - whether they believed you or not (and I, for one, would accept you at your word) - let it go.

Instead, you choose the self-righteous path of indignation (don't feel bad, I did the same from time to time when blogging, much to my dismay these days).

It was NOT "merely a slave labor camp," as has been pointed out.

Further, I fail to see how running a camp designed to purposefully extract labor, until death, in support of a war machine that was partially dedicated to genocide in other camps, is morally separable from the devoted death camps themselves.

If I make you hold a gun to an innocent man's head while I squeeze the trigger, am I "merely" a witness to the crime?

Just admit your word choice was poor and move along.

I am - goodnight!

I agree the confusion would not ordinarily be regarded as major. There were differences between Obama's story and the truth, but each individual miss is the sort that people make all the time.

However.
There were multiple unfacts in the same story,

He is making similar mistakes repeatedly, and

Obama brought it up himself.

I wouldn't base my presidential vote entirely on the one issue, but it is precisely the sort of thing voters should keep track of.

Mr Lady wrote:

I think that maybe the point you've overlooked is that, while others may have used straight out assassination, your camp in question used slave labor and disease AS A MEANS OF murder. Soaking their heads in acids would not have made the Merely A Hair Salon. Performing horrific medical experiments would not have made them Merely a Bad Surgery Unit. They were Merely an Extermination site, who used labour as a means to an end.

Michelle wrote:

The argument here is embarrassing. People in Europe can read it and see that Americans use something like what happened in WWII so frivolously . . . it's shameful. . . utterly shameful.

But you are getting hits and God loves capitalists and popular people, no?

RMD wrote:

@ Geoff

"How can we count on Obama to make those hard choices in more ambiguous times when he looks, for God's sake, at the liberation of a Nazi slave camp, and his first thought is not pride that America liberated those people, but shame that we don't have better government programs for veterans? I'm all for helping veterans; we owe them a lot. But that starts with honoring and respecting the work they've done to keep our country free."

That's the most twisted logic I've seen in a while. How you got shame from Obama's statements is beyond me. What better way to show appreciation to our troops than to recognize how hard their job is, how much they sacrifice, and demanding better treatment for them? It seems like what *you* don't get is that paying lip service to our previous military accomplishments does nothing to actually help our troops in any substantial way. A different speech may have made you feel warm and fuzzy, but I'm pretty sure our men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan would prefer someone honor and respect them by advocating real programs that will help them financially and otherwise when they get home.

Rand Simberg wrote:

The distinction between a slave labor camp and an extermination camp is not false at all. It is one thing, horrific as it is, to use humans as beasts, and then dispose of them when they are useless for such purposes because they have been worked almost literally to death. but it is no new thing in human events. It is another thing entirely to deliberately wipe them out simply because of their ancestry, religion, or sexual orientation.

I'm not sure what to make of people who cannot make such a distinction. Except to think them moral midgets.

tom swift wrote:

The Polish name of Danzig is Gdańsk.

Confusing Auschwitz with Buchenwald, or any of the other 50-odd camps, is not a trivial error. Obama isn't some 20-year-old fresh out of indoctrination camp (that is, modern liberal-arts college). He's a middle-aged man who has had plenty of opportunity to read some history. His general ignorance of 20th century affairs is turning out to be quite remarkable.

Personally, I think he's dumb as a post. His boosters keep telling us how smart he is, but there's precious little evidence for it.

Robert wrote:

Rand, who got selected for the slave labor camps? Why were they selected? Jews were sent to the labor camps as part of a genocide. People in other groups were sent to labor camps for the same reason they were sent to extermination camps. If I'm wrong about this, I hope someone will correct me, ideally by using the resources of the US Holocaust Museum.

buzz wrote:

"It is no coincidence that our first MTV-era president, Ronald Reagan, was fond of telling audiences stories of how he had helped liberate concentration camps at the end of World War II,"

Uh, no. He did say he was part of a film crew that shot footage of the camps AFTER they were liberated. This was untrue. I find nothing that suggests Reagan ever told anyone he helped liberate concentration camps.

mike s wrote:

The problem with the Auschwitz/Buchenwald gaffe, to me, is that if Obama is really "proud" of his uncle's service, why the hell didn't he know the truth? This is a stupid mistake and DOES show a tremendous ignorance of what really should be, amongst the educated, an elementary point. But the fact that someone would claim to be proud of their uncle liberating a Nazi camp and not even know which freakin' camp? Come on - that's lame. If I could remotely attach myself to one of those men who defeated the Nazis I'd have a shrine in my home. Apparently Obama really isn't that impressed. Doesn't that say something about him?

RMD wrote:

@Simburg

Look all, the man who downplayed the severity of a Nazi concentration camp to make a quick point on his political blog has called us moral midgets. Pot, kettle, black. Some advice Simburg - when you've dug yourself into a hole, stop digging.

mcg wrote:

Andy, I'm frankly not above name calling. What can I say, I'm juvenile. You're still an idiot.

"Merely" means "and nothing more." That is, he was saying that Buchenwald was a slave labor camp "and nothing more"; i.e., not an extermination camp like Auschwitz. It is an entirely appropriate construction in context, a context he made quite clear by his further description of it as ""atrocious beyond human understanding."

That there were significant differences between Buchenwald and Auschwitz is undisputed. Even in the rarified air of unspeakable evil, it is possible to draw comparisons and distinctions. So indeed, you might quibble with the assertion that Buchenwald was a slave labor camp "and nothing more." FIne. It doesn't make it a poor word choice, or an attempt to minimize the horrific nature of the camp. And it doesn't change the fact that extermination camps like Auschwitz-Birkenau earned particular infamy that it does not share.

Mr Lady wrote:

Moral Midgets? Because we can see that working people to death is MURDERING THEM? Wow.

andy wrote:

Andy, I'm frankly not above name calling. What can I say, I'm juvenile. You're still an idiot.

Well, you're right about one thing: you ARE juvenile.

"Merely" means "and nothing more."

Very good, you win a cookie. It was more than a slave labor camp (even my 70+ yr old father can Google with great success, so I wish you the best in your endeavor).

The rest I leave to you and your questioning mind to resolve.

AlphaFactor wrote:

You're trying to build a case against Obama becoming president based on THIS?

My god, what is wrong with you???

Robert wrote:

Buzz, Regarding Reagan's false claim to have visited newly liberated concentration camps, the story is cited in mainstream biographies and is addressed on countless websites. My problem is that I can't figure out which sources a skeptic like you might find convincing. Here are some sources - I wonder if any of these will satisfy you?

One reference I've found comes from Edmund Morris' "Dutch: A Memoir of Ronald Reagan". I don't have the text from the book, but wikipedia article on Regan's presidency says "In 1983, he told prominent Jews � notably Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir of Israel, Simon Wiesenthal, and Rabbi Marvin Hier of Los Angeles � of his personal experience vis-�-vis the Holocaust, saying "I was there," and that he had assisted at the liberation of Nazi death camps. The wikipedia article then cites "Morris, Edmund (1999), p. 113."

Other references:
http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2004/08/so-i-guess-john-kerry-has-been-dining.html
(The above reference has the most detail - it extensively quotes "President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime", by Lou Cannon)

Here's a review of Lou Cannon's book
http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CEFDD1E38F937A15757C0A967958260

http://www.thenation.com/doc/20000327/alterman
http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/features/2003/0309.mendacity-index.html
http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,98224,00.html

conumbdrum wrote:

Jesus, this is pathetic. So the latest right-wing meme is: Obama transposes the names of two notorious concentration camps, thereby proving he is too ignorant to be president. (This is particularly rich when coming from those who've spent the last seven-plus years swooning over the greatness of George W. Bush, a man who can barely assemble a coherent sentence... but that's politics, I suppose.) Surely it's possible that Obama could possess a modicum of intelligence in spite of not knowing the placement of Nazi prison facilities, even the famous ones.

Meanwhile... the GOP has graced us with a candidate who still can't distinguish the Sunni from the Shia (you know, the people involved in THE WAR WE'RE ACTUALLY FIGHTING THIS VERY MINUTE), even after getting it repeatedly wrong over the last few months. Won't somebody (a bright high school student, say) sit McCain down with a pencil and notepad and gently explain the most basic details of Mideast politics?

But you guys keep pushing that "Obama's too dumb to be president" line, by all means. That'll go down a treat with the Joe Sixpacks out there come November. Oh well, I suppose it's less predictable than playing the "Uppity Negro" card...

Leo wrote:

"Obama didn't see his uncle as heroic; he saw him as a shattered wreck trapped in the attic . . .."

Where did he say he didn't view him as a hero? Or did you just make that up? Most grownups can hold handle the notion that someone who goes through a war can be a hero even if they were injured or suffer from PTSD.

Frankly, if I were a veteran reading this, I would be pretty pissed off at the idea that unless I was totally unaffected by my experiences, I couldn't be a "hero" in your eyes.

Tom Maguire wrote:

"It is no coincidence that our first MTV-era president, Ronald Reagan, was fond of telling audiences stories of how he had helped liberate concentration camps at the end of World War II, when his only experience with a Dachau or Treblinka was sitting in a darkened room watching movies of those events."

Well, kinda sorta:

"Under the headline "Reagan's Real Feelings," the newsletter carried an approving account of an article in Ma'ariv, an Israeli newspaper close to the government. The article said that Reagan had told Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir, during his November 29, 1983, visit to the White House, that the roots of his concern for Israel could be traced to World War II when he photographed the Nazi death camps. Afterward, Reagan said, he had saved a copy of the death camp films for himself because he believed that the day would come when people would no longer believe that six million Jews had been exterminated. Years later, said the article, Reagan was asked by a member of his own family if such an event had really occurred. "That moment, I thought this is the time for which I saved the film and I showed it to a group of people who couldn't believe their eyes," Ma'ariv quoted Reagan as saying. "From then on, I was concerned for the Jewish people."

That seemed odd to the reporter, and eventually he quizzed the White House:

"...I told him that his answer wasn't good enough and that I needed to know Reagan's personal response to what he was alleged to have said. Pretty soon, I received a call from James Baker, who preferred to talk to reporters on background. Not this time, I said. Baker was a great douser of fires, particularly in an election year. He went to Reagan immediately and called me back, saying that the president had told him he "never left the country" during World War II and "never told anyone that he did." Baker said Reagan had told him he kept a copy of the film on the death camps after he left the service because he remembered that World War I atrocities had been questioned and "didn't want atrocities against the Jewish people to be forgotten." Reagan had told Baker that "a Jewish friend" had questioned him about the accuracy of the death camp reports a year or two later. Reagan had shown him a copy of the film. I put this in a column that concluded with the reservations that I hold today:

"How could Shamir and Wiesenthal, fluent in English and known for their grasp of detail, have misunderstood so completely what Reagan said to them in two different meetings more than two months apart? What Jew would doubt the existence of the Holocaust?"

SO who knows what Reagan actually said? Does the White House version, in which Reagan said something like "I put together a film of German atrocities" and was misunderstood to have taken the film in Germany, not merely edited it back in Hollywood, defy belief?

http://www.nybooks.com/articles/916

bbbeard wrote:

conumbdrum:

"Pathetic"? How about, "Co, sweetie, can you read directions? DON'T RESUBMIT IT IF/WHEN IT HANGS UP AND GIVES YOU A '500' PAGE".... Mistakes like this kinda undercut your scintillating diatribe....

BBB

I don't doubt that BHO is a reasonably bright guy, he graduated from Columbia and Harvard after all. I couldn't do that. The real story here is the lack of MSM fact checking and follow-up. They would not have allowed McCain to get away with such claims. I expect though that I will be use to this double standard by November and stop cussing under my breath.

TallDave wrote:

A labor camp is not in the same ballpark of evil as an extermination camp.

r�nato wrote:

I think the operative phrase here is, 'a distinction without a difference.'

A labor camp is not in the same ballpark of evil as an extermination camp.

Really? Is that your final answer? I propose you try that one out on a Holocaust survivor and report back on how many teeth you have left.

Robert wrote:

Wikiepedia articles on the Holocaust make the distinction between Nazi "forced labor" and the Nazi practice of "extinction through labor". Forced labor might be what TallDave is thinking of, while "extinction through labor" was a method of genocide.

Sally wrote:

Leo, I'm not the one trivializing the need for traumatized vets to receive proper care, Obama did that. We know nothing about the uncle except he served in the military and then lived in the attic for 6 months, supposedly because he was burdened by his military experience. Who knows if that's true?

Who knows anything about the uncle except that soundbite? And for Obama it doesn't matter. It sounded good. It fit the narrative. Vets aren't to be honored for their service, they're to be pitied for their sacrifice. They are just another special interest group for Obama to pander to on a particular holiday. Another group of deprived Americans who can be promised a program.

In the same speech he said women military are sexually harrassed. And they need a government program too according to Obama. I'm surprised he didn't bring up a female neighbor or a female school friend who served in the military and got pestered by some hormonally charged corporal just to illustrate his point. But then he probably doesn't know any. He had to reach back 60 years just to find any personal connection to someone who served in the military.

If Uncle Charles hadn't gone up to the attic when he got home from WWII, we never would have heard about him. And now that the story has been challenged, we probably won't hear about him again.

Voice of Reason wrote:

Wingnut Logic 101: Anne Frank died at Bergen-Belsen -- therefore her death was less tragic than if she'd died at Auschwitz.

scarshapedstar wrote:

"Buchenwald, on the other hand, while atrocious beyond normal human understanding, was merely a slave labor camp"

Wow. Just wow. Quote of the campaign for sure. Heck, you ought to do like the purple bandaid BS and make "Party at Buchenwald, dudes!" pins.

Fun Fact: Tens of thousands of people were shot, poisoned (or both), and stacked like cordwood and dissolved with quicklime at Buchenwald.

I'm not the first to say this, but please, if you think Obama has some kind of Jew problem, by all means, alleviate it with your death camp hagiography. And spare us the sophistry about what you "really meant". My god.

scarshapedstar wrote:

By the way, we get the point. The point is that if you'd been imprisoned at Buchenwald while the Nazis poisoned you and then shot you in the head after X hours so that they could chart its effects on your internal organs after a given amount of time, you'd have smiled with the satisfaction that comes with knowing that you weren't slaughtered at an "A-list" genocide facility.

Seriously, I recommend you invite all your Jewish friends over for dinner and then explain this "reasoning" to them. It couldn't be any more painful than the "Schindler's List" episode of Seinfeld.

Please, in the name of all that's holy, take a look in the mirror, get someone else to read your sophistry, and admit you have a serious problem.

Jaybird wrote:

Hey, Drudge is reporting that Obama's just made a *MAJOR* gaffe!

He just said that Auschwitz was a death camp but Buchenwald was "merely a slave labor camp"!

When questioned further, he pointed out that "plenty of people die in wars".

Oooh, now the news programs are reporting that he said something like "I apologize if anyone was offended by something they read into something that I didn't say."

Is this really someone you want making decisions for you, I ask?

rnato wrote:

Here's what the veterans of the 89th Infantry Division think of your 'a work camp is not as bad as a death camp' bullshit:

Concerning the service of Mr. Charles Payne: C.T. Payne was a soldier in the 89th Infantry Division. He served in the 355th Infantry Regiment, Company K. The 355th Infantry Regiment was the unit to liberate Ohrdruf. Mr. Payne was there.

For those who seek to minimize the horrors of Ohrdruf since it was a 'work' camp and not a 'death' camp, we have but one word: shame. Ironically, this argument has been made to us time and time again by various Holocaust-deniers and other pro-Nazi groups.

Would you like to reconsider what you wrote?

Anonymous wrote:

A labor camp is not in the same ballpark of evil as an extermination camp.

A labor camp IS and extermination camp. Seriously, people.

SarahW wrote:

Without attempting to split hairs too finely, one further distinguish between Buchenwald and the subcamp that involved the 89th - Ohrdruf.

http://www.89infdivww2.org/ohrdruf/ohrdrufintro.htm

Robert wrote:

Looks like this particular blog posting is being discussed at length here:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/?p=10482

And elsewhere (via links in the above link). This posting really struck a nerve.

MlR wrote:

There were distinctions to be made between the extinction and concentration/slave labor camps. Nevertheless, you overstate the commonality of German brutality in the latter. Concentration camps are not extraordinarily rare in ethnic-based conflicts, but I wouldn't call them common. In addition, their degree can vary greatly.

In the Boer War, of course, the British gave them their name. Although many died, most deaths were unintentional and due to disease and starvation, making it more a matter of negligence than outright murder. The same could be said, for example, for Algerian internees of the French during their war of Independence.

In other instances, such relocation camps have been created without significant deaths. Both us and the British, for example, created "strategic hamlets" in Vietnam and Malaya to seperate vulnerable/hostile populations from insurgents. There were logistical screw ups, particularly in the former effort, but very few, if any deaths were involved.

The German concentration/work, in addition to the extermination camps, were of a much deadlier degree than those in most other wars. Tens of thousands of deaths - mostly intentional - and institutionalized sadism. This stuff isn't unique to the Nazis by far, but neither is it necessarily a common occurrance. That said, there's still a distinction to be made between outright death camps and their cousins.

And oh yeah, for some of the idiots above...my (non-Jewish and Jewish) family was at both Aushwitz and some of the various slave labor camps. There's your supposed moral superiority card. But then again, that's completely fucking meaningless. The facts are the facts, or not, no matter who says them.

Dansip wrote:

There is a simple distinction between labor camps and death camps.

Many people, including my father, survived labor camps. Few people survived death camps.

About 60% of the those that went through Buchenwald complex lived. Less than 1% of those that went through Auschwitz lived.

Buchenwald was profitable for the Nazis. They were in the middle of a war, they needed all the production they could. Buchenwald used people like coal, destroying them to make things that were useful to the war. It was evil.

Auschwitz was not profitable. It used resources on an industrial scale that the Nazis desperately needed elsewhere, simply to kill on an industrial scale. It was beyond evil. We do not have a word for what it was.

It is, I know, too simple a comparison for the brilliant minds of the left to contemplate. For my deep stupidity, thinking that such monstrosity must not happen again, I humbly apologize. I am proud that the United States emptied Saddam's prisons full of children, ended the shreddings of living prisoners by him and his Nazi Bath party. I understand that you believe that makes me a fascist myself, and beneath your contempt.

I will live with your scorn.

Robert wrote:

MIR, I think you missed Rand's point. Rand was clearly trying to highlight that the extermination camps were for genocide - the intentional destruction of an entire people. As I commented above, I think Rand is mistaken because he does not seem to be acknowledging that the Nazis used labor as a means of genocide. But you are obscuring the genocide distinction when you only talk about the brutality of the German camps, and certainly when you make comparisons to the Boer war or Algeria. I'm not suggesting any moral calculus and I'm not diminishing anyone's suffering - I'm just trying to clarify Rand's position (as I understand it). To sum up: Rand's point is that it isn't about brutality, it is about genocide.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Michelle wrote:
"The argument here is embarrassing. People in Europe can read it and see that Americans use something like what happened in WWII so frivolously . . . it's shameful. . . utterly shameful."

Europe here, Norway to be precise.

Not going to speak for all over here (no one can) but I find it interesting to see how much is made up over making a distinction between camps that were different. If I didn't know better I would think this all touched a very raw nerve for Obama supporters, but you're not all Obama supporters right?

Mere slave labor (camps or elsewhere) and industrial genocide (camps or elsewhere) are different. Since a lot of commenters here don't seem to see the difference I'll try to illuminate it: granted a lot of people suffered horribly and died in both but if there is no difference between the two then why did the National Socialists send primarily Jews from all over Europe to the extermination camps rather than to the forced labor camps?

Anyone who knows anything at all about the motivations should be able to understand that there's a fundamental difference in play between a camp created for the purpose of killing people in the most efficient manner as quickly and effortlessly as possible so as to just be rid of them and on the other hand camps made to make use of people as slave labor.

Yes among those who arrived at the extermination camps some of the fit youngsters and adults were used as slave labor to operate the extermination until they became unfit. The distinction is still there regardless. Also since the camps filled up fast not everyone ended up where they would have if there had been spare extermination capacity. The distinction is still there regardless. The National Socialists also had an oversupply of slaves and as such didn't treat their "animals" like "responsible" slaveholders would. The distinction is still there regardless.

Still don't get it? The extermination of what in their view was the lowest sub-human classes was their gospel while the use of slave labor was simply putting resources to use.

Robert wrote:

Habitat Hermit, since the targets of genocide, the Jews and the Roma people, did get sent to Buchenwald, I don't see why it matters in the context of Rand's argument.

Also, I think the distinction you are making involves only who would die first. The Nazis planned to kill 30 million Slavs, Slavs who the Nazis were first sending to forced labor camps, but ultimately to their deaths if the labor didn't kill them. The war ended before this phase of the plan was carried out.

Karl Hallowell wrote:

I don't see this as a useful story. Rand doesn't indicate why Obama should know the location and specific nature of Nazi concentration camps. Second, I find claiming one camp is less evil than another based on slightly different purpose is foolish. My limited understanding of the Buchenwald complex is that it was not a straightforward part of the genocide-based industry. Parts were POW camps with relatively humane conditions while others were gateways to the deathcamps where German industry got some work out of the victims before they died or were sent away to die. How does the outcome become less evil, if you toil under hellish conditions for a few years until you're too weak to work before getting sent to places like Auschwitz? Is it better quality of life? I don't see it.

Moneyrunner wrote:

As I wrote Does Barack Have an Uncle and Did He Liberate Auschwitz?

I agree with Rand that there was probably an "uncle" and that he was in the Army during WW2 and he probably participated in the liberation of a labor camp called Ohrdruf.
But here is what I look away from watching the video of his speech:

So what we appear to have is something that�s commonly known as �resume inflation.� And that�s what you get when you have a man who has no real experience. When what you have is an empty suit who is trying to pretend that there is substance there.

But what was the point of the fable? The point was really to try to connect with the American people by telling them how callous the government is about the emotional problems of its soldiers. The �uncle� is supposed to have spent six months in the attic, having experienced the sights he encountered in the liberation of Ohrdruf, an experience that may have lasted less than three hours.

The punch line is that Obama will make sure that America�s fighting men and will get all the mental care they deserve.

That�s it. That�s the punch line. That�s the reason for the fable. That�s what American fighting men are good for: a story line for a health care pitch. And the combat vet is cast in the eternal role that the Liberals have created for him: the crazy uncle in the attic. Just wait until Barack discovers another uncle whose wartime experiences drove him to drink and living in the street when he isn�t shooting up a beer hall on Saturday nights.

Habitat Hermit wrote:

Robert I think Rand's argument was the difference between the different types of camps and what they represent. And while there was some overlap between the camps it was for practical reasons rather than ideological ones.

One won't see the difference from the perspective of the dead but one should see the difference from the perspective of the National Socialists. I really think the almost supreme importance they gave to Judenfrei should be enough on its own to peer into their abyss and establish the difference. Some argue that it was even more important to them than winning the war (certainly most of the SS saw it that way).

That is the reason for the differences already pointed out by others both in regard to the disparity in survival rate and the reason why it was acceptable to lose money on not just operating the extermination camps but also all the additional work involved in "cleansing".

I think it's wrong to say that it's all the same, and even if for the sake of argument one postulated that exactly the same groups of people were sent both places the difference between the camps would still remain: one kind was targeted at industrial level speedy extermination at any cost while the other wasn't. Such "kill factories" processing live humans into dead had never been seen before and haven't really been seen afterwards either, at least not in the same industrial high-volume fashion. That is what Auschwitz symbolizes, it is the symbol of the Holocaust.

Drew wrote:

This has to be the most pathologically stupid post I have ever read. The extreme dead ender wing of the GOP has sunk to the point where they try to parse the difference between a concentration camp and a slave labor camp. Good job idiots! Thankfully you morons have demnostrated to most of America that everything you touch turns to sh!t. So Mission accomplished. Now you and Michelle Malkin go sniff out the hidden jihadi meaning in the Starbucks logo.

Jonathan Simon wrote:

Sir:

I'm a 42-year old Jewish male living in New York state. Two close family relatives are survivors of the Holocaust, both still living.

I'm not affiliated with any political campaign or candidate, and, if anything, lean more to the Republicans these days, mostly as a result for their stronger support of Israel.

I've read your post carefully, including the updates, and think you should probably reconsider your position. I'd actually suggest you apologize.

I think there a plenty of reasons to think that John McCain would be a plenty President than Barack Obama, but a inaccurate reference to the death camp his great-uncle helped liberate just isn't one.

What's most disturbing -- and I've really tried to understand why you would do this -- is your attempt to minimize the efforts of soldiers who were part of liberating those camps that didn't happen to have active gas chambers and crematoria.

As any even casual student of the Holocaust knows, all of these facilities were in fact death camps -- no Jew or other undesirable was ever intended to live for long within its fences, even when their labor was deemed valuable to the Nazi regime.

The idea that Obama glorified his uncle's service by referring to Auschwitz as opposed to the nearly-as-famous and equally-horrifying Buchenwald is so ridiculous that it requires my response.

I have never written in to any blog before, and I'm not inclined to do so in the future. So please take my words in the spirit in which they are given -- which is as someone who might otherwise agree with you -- but in this case, you're wrong. And it's offensive.

Jonathan Simon
Tribeca, New York
10007

Rand Simberg wrote:

What's most disturbing -- and I've really tried to understand why you would do this -- is your attempt to minimize the efforts of soldiers who were part of liberating those camps that didn't happen to have active gas chambers and crematoria.

I made no such attempt. I did no such thing.

The idea that Obama glorified his uncle's service by referring to Auschwitz as opposed to the nearly-as-famous and equally-horrifying Buchenwald is so ridiculous that it requires my response.

Thank you for your opinion. I continue to disagree.

kafka wrote:

I don't get how the distinction between the camps is relevant- it was a simple misstatement- Buchenwald instead of Auschwitz.

salvage wrote:

Wow.

You're an idiot.

Breschau wrote:

What's most disturbing -- and I've really tried to understand why you would do this -- is your attempt to minimize the efforts of soldiers who were part of liberating those camps that didn't happen to have active gas chambers and crematoria.

I made no such attempt. I did no such thing.

Then I simply have to ask: what is the point of this post? Why bother to draw a distinction between the two camps? Why did you use the word "merely"?

Why did you write this?

Leo wrote:

Sally wrote:

"Who knows anything about the uncle except that soundbite? And for Obama it doesn't matter. It sounded good. It fit the narrative. Vets aren't to be honored for their service, they're to be pitied for their sacrifice."

See, Sally, he didn't say this either. You simply start with the assumption that everything he says is a lie and then are incensed at everything he says because--you think--"he doesn't really mean that; I know what he really means."

And I'll admit, if you assume everything a politician says is a lie it is easy to come up with reasons not to like that politician. But that doesn't make them true.

The fact is, support for good veterans' care is not based on pity, it is based on respect for service. It's based on the idea that that service must be repaid by doing right by our soldiers when they get home.

If you assume I'm lying, it will be easy to ignore what I've said. But I'm not lying.

Sally wrote:

Leo, I didn't say Obama said it. I'm saying it. The uncle is a plot device. He's a prop.

Obama isn't interested in talking about his uncle except to say that military service in WWII traumatized him and as a result he was up in the attic for 6 months. We have no insight into the uncle's condition beyond that because the uncle's WW II experience isn't important to Obama otherwise.

Ask yourself this: would Obama have been talking about Uncle Chuck if he hadn't gone and lived in the attic for 6 months? Which, frankly, doesn't sound like all that bad of an idea in the first place. Maybe he just wanted to be alone with his thoughts. Work things out for himself. Which apparently worked quite well since he's not in the attic anymore.

Oh, yeah, I forgot, we're not allowed to take care of ourselves. We have to accept our victim label and get enrolled in a government program where some non-military serving Wesleyan grad can achieve personal satisfaction performing a little "community" service.

LiL Q wrote:

Buchenwald wasn't merely a slave labor camp. As John Cole points out, they did experiments resulting in death. They injected people with poison and let them die or killed them for the autopsy. They also gave people chemical burns. They essentially tortured people. And between 33,000 to 56,000 people died there. I bet there was no such thing as merely a slave labor camp. Those poor people were used by sick Nazis as guinea pigs. And to claim that the camp was merely a place where people were worked to death is disregarding the lives that that wretched place claimed.

Andy Freeman wrote:

> try to parse the difference between a concentration camp and a slave labor camp.

I note that our friends on the left have no problems distinguishing Stalin's atrocities, which they excuse if not laud, from those of Hitler.

Che, Ho Chi Minh, Mao, the list goes on and on. The only leftist murderer that the left criticises is Hitler.

I think that it's the fashion sense.

joe from Lowell wrote:

It doesn't matter how much you clear your throat now, you were plainly comparing Buchenwald with Auschwitz, to minimize the horror of the former.

And, you did so inaccurately.

skyler wrote:

Why would anyone ever write something like this. What fool would ever say Buchenwald was merely a slave labor camp. Wow.

Leo wrote:

Exactly, Sally. You are saying it. You are inventing Obama's motivations and psychology whole cloth.

And you aren't too interested in finding out whether your inventions are true or not, or you would know that Obama has mentioned his relatives that fought in WW II in many of his speeches. I can't recall whether he ever brought up this particular uncle before, but the notion that he only brings up his veteran family members as victims is simply false.

The notion that we should not provide care to veterans because it turns them into victims is faily disgusting. The troops have paid for their care with their blood and sweat. It is our obligation to provide it to them. You characterize injured troops as victims, but in fact they are people who have served their country, many of them as heros. And they are entitled to be treated fairly by that country.

scarshapedstar wrote:

The 89th Infantry hates america:

Concerning the service of Mr. Charles Payne: C.T. Payne was a soldier in the 89th Infantry Division. He served in the 355th Infantry Regiment, Company K. The 355th Infantry Regiment was the unit to liberate Ohrdruf. Mr. Payne was there.

For those who seek to minimize the horrors of Ohrdruf since it was a 'work' camp and not a 'death' camp, we have but one word: shame. Ironically, this argument has been made to us time and time again by various Holocaust-deniers and other pro-Nazi groups. We will let the testimony of survivors and veterans speak for themselves.

It has been recorded that in Ordruf itself the last days were a slaughterhouse. We were shot at, beaten and molested. At every turn went on the destruction of the remaining inmates. Indiscriminant criminal behavior (like the murderers of Oklahoma City some days ago). Some days before the first Americans appeared at the gates of Ordruf, the last retreating Nazi guards managed to execute with hand pistols, literally emptying their last bullets on whomever they encountered leaving them bleeding to death as testified by an American of the 37th Tank Battalion Medical section, 10 a.m. April 4, 1945.

Today I'm privileged thanks to G-d and you gallant fighting men. I'm here to reminisce, and reflect, and experience instant recollections of those moments. Those horrible scenes and that special instance when an Allied soldier outstretched his arm to help me up became my re-entrance, my being re-invited into humanity and restoring my inalienable right to a dignified existence as a human being and as a Jew. Something, which was denied me from September 1939 to the day of liberation in 1945. I had no right to live and survived, out of 80 members of my family, the infernal ordeal of Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Ordruf, and its satellite camp Crawinkle and finally Theresinstadt Ghetto-Concentration Camp.

Rabbi Murray Kohn

ar wrote:

I note you say "Leftist Hitler" and "Leftist Stalin" not Fascist Hitler or Fascist Stalin.
That tells me all I need to know about you. Intellectually dishonest and full of shit.
Yeah and I bet Buchenwald was a like a walk in the park compared to Auschwitz. Almost not worth liberating.
Moron!

joe from Lowell wrote:

"Leftist Hitler"

Clearly, this is someone whose musings on events in the 30s and 40s deserves serious attention.

*rolls eyes*

Rand Simberg wrote:

I note you say "Leftist Hitler" and "Leftist Stalin" not Fascist Hitler or Fascist Stalin.

They were both leftists, and they were both fascists, in the broadest sense of the word. They were in fact allies up until Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union. The left only revised history to call Hitler a right winger because of the anti-semitism and his betrayal of Stalin.

I bet Buchenwald was a like a walk in the park compared to Auschwitz. Almost not worth liberating.

And yet another straw man. What part of "atrocious" do you not understand? I never said, or implied, that it was either a "walk in the park," or "not worth liberating."

I'd say that "moron" much better describes someone who could come up with such an insane interpretation of what I wrote.

509th Bob wrote:

Hey, this is funny! You start with a clear and concise post, and the comments thread turns into:
"I'm outraged!" "I'll take your outrage, and raise it!" "Noooo, I can haz more outrage than you!" "No you can't, because I'm Keith Olberman, and NOBODY can be more outraged than ME!."

Good post, I liked it.

TimPundit wrote:

" I note you say "Leftist Hitler" and "Leftist Stalin" not Fascist Hitler or Fascist Stalin.
That tells me all I need to know about you. Intellectually dishonest and full of shit. "

Bravo.

I agree. This guy who wrote this article doesn't know shit about history, that's for sure. Wonder if he also doesn't know what Chamberlin did to "appease".

Go back to your day job. Just because you have an internet connection and a keyboard doesn't mean you know jack.

Anonymous wrote:

Leo, I'm not a camp follower of Obama so I don't know about the many many speeches he's given where he praises his relatives who served in WW II. As I said earlier, he doesn't have any experience of his own to drawn on and apparently he doesn't know anybody who has served more recently. As he said of himself, he didn't serve because he didn't have to. That by itself tells you what he thinks of military service.

I acknowledge that I don't see those who serve in the military as victims. But Obama does. And I don't see them as needing to be "cared for" because they paid for that care with their "blood and sweat". Many who have served our country in the military never bled and probably don't sweat that much. Clearly there are some who did and do bleed and their injuries, mental or physical, should be treated. And we do that already.

I see military service as an honor and a privilege. Obama doesn't. As I think any vet would tell you, not all who serve end up in combat. And even those who perform amazing feats of courage and valor under fire reject the title of hero. They're just men and women doing their duty and not for fame or profit. Which in this country these days, that is pretty heroic.

Rand Simberg wrote:

This guy who wrote this article doesn't know shit about history, that's for sure.

I know enough to know that the full name of the Nazi Party was the National Socialist German Worker's Party, and that its platform was quite leftist. Really, if you take away the genocide and the racism and war mongering, just what was it about Hitler that you didn't like?

Jaybird wrote:

In the future, you may offend fewer people if you just post Obama, Hitler Hitler Hitler Hitler.

At the very least you'll get a handful of people who show up to say "dudes, get a sense of humor".

As it stands, you've made a huge gaffe, you're refusing to apologize for what you said but are instead only barely apologizing if anyone was offended which was, you point out, not your intention... All in all, you're acting like a caricature.

Dude.

Come back to this post in a year.

Maybe you'll see what other people are seeing.

ar wrote:

Quit trying to do all the late justifications. Your entire article is trying to turn Obama's minor mistake into a huge deal. Unfortunately there is not too much to work with. The uncle unfortunately for you did exist. He was a great uncle not an uncle, but you won't get much traction out of that. So what does that leave us with. Oh! the concentration camps! Lets see. There was a mistake in that. But you can make it look worse by saying, yet not saying that Buchenwald was somehow less than Auschwitz. When called upon it, can argue endlessly via infinite updates over the word atrocious, and claim no one understands your brilliant argument.
Any one who calls you on it is outraged!
Sorry buddy the word is not outraged. Its just disgust at the dishonesty and subsequent backpeddling.
As I said moron!

Rand Simberg wrote:

As it stands, you've made a huge gaffe, you're refusing to apologize for what you said but are instead only barely apologizing if anyone was offended which was, you point out, not your intention...

I disagree that I've made a gaffe at all, let alone a huge one. And no, I'm not apologizing at all, because there's nothing to apologize for. All I'm doing is pointing out that I didn't write what so many, in their inability to comprehend clear English, seem to fantasize that I did. If some people choose to be irrationally offended, that's their problem, not mine. Nobody made them come to my web site and misread it.

Jaybird wrote:

As I said, come back in a year.

Maybe you'll reach a conclusion other than "everyone else except me is stupid and thin-skinned."

Rand Simberg wrote:

As I said, come back in a year.

Maybe you'll reach a conclusion other than "everyone else except me is stupid and thin-skinned."

Possibly, but unlikely. Anyway, it's not "everyone else except me." Many commenters clearly understood the actual point and intent of my post, even if you didn't.

r�nato wrote:

Like all blogging wingnuts (and our so-called president), you just don't know when to stop digging the hole and instead, in your stubbornness, you dig it even deeper.

Please, continue to pursue this retarded and profoundly offensive line of inquiry. Please write letters to the editor to newspapers nationwide about how a Nazi slave labor camp is morally superior to a Nazi death camp.

I can't think of any better way for you to help elect President Obama.

Breschau wrote:

Many commenters clearly understood the actual point and intent of my post, even if you didn't.

Could you please explain the "point and intent", for those of us who are somewhat confused? Why did you write this?

joe from Lowell wrote:

The left only revised history to call Hitler a right winger because of the anti-semitism and his betrayal of Stalin.

BZZZT. Dude, read a book for a change. And not one by Jonah Goldberg. The left, both in America and around the world, was denouncing Hitler and Mussolini as right-wingers from the beginning. The left didn't denounce Hitler as a right winger when he was supporting the fascists in Spain against the anarchists, socialists, communists, and republicans?

Then, of course, there is the rather inconvenient fact that Benito Mussolini, the inventor of the term "fascist" and the founder of the first Fascist Party, proclaimed fascism to be a right-wing philosophy, directly in conflict with the leftist ideologies of socialism, liberalism, and communism.

Really, if you take away the genocide and the racism and war mongering, just what was it about Hitler that you didn't like?

You man, except for the defining features of his movement and rule?

Well, there was the fact that he and his economic advisors stated that business owners were the natural fuhrers in their workplaces, who had the natural right to the obedience of their employees, who, in turn, had a natural duty to obey their fuhrers.

Oh, and the close relationship between the Nazis and the industrialists. And the embrace of the old Prussian military. And the constant denunciatin and persecution of leftists, socialists, trad unionists, and liberals. And the harkening back to a mythical past. And the nationalism.

And, also, his oft-stated belief that human history is driven by conflict among national/racial groups, without regard to economic classes, and his denunciation of the leftist idea that history is driven by conflict among economic classes, without regard to national identity. Oh, and his deliberate effort to organize his party and society into national/race-based solidarity.

But, really, other than that, he sure was a doctrinaire leftist.

Robert wrote:

I think I understand the distinction you are making regarding the camps, although I disagree with it. But I don't understand the connection between that distinction and Obama. I've read your original post quite a few times now and I still don't understand it. Why do you think Senator Obama said "Auschwitz", and not "Buchenwald"?

Rand Simberg wrote:

Could you please explain the "point and intent", for those of us who are somewhat confused?

No, apparently I can't.

I don't understand the connection between that distinction and Obama. I've read your original post quite a few times now and I still don't understand it. Why do you think Senator Obama said "Auschwitz", and not "Buchenwald"?

I don't know why he said Auschwitz instead of Buchenwald, but my theory is that a) he is historically ignorant of the history of the war, and used the most familiar name to most people who have heard of the Holocaust, but are not familiar with the details, and b) (though this is less likely, but possible) he chose a name that would ring more iconically with the Jewish base that he continues to court. I don't know whether either of these are true, but a) seem pretty compelling, because he did it with is grandfather in the Iraq speech as well. And as I wrote, what concerns me is that not only does he not know the difference, but no one on his staff seems to know either. Though presumably they have finally learned it after this incident.

Dude, read a book for a change. And not one by Jonah Goldberg.

And the one by Jonah Goldberg is wrong because...? You've read it, and critiqued it?

there is the rather inconvenient fact that Benito Mussolini, the inventor of the term "fascist" and the founder of the first Fascist Party, proclaimed fascism to be a right-wing philosophy, directly in conflict with the leftist ideologies of socialism, liberalism, and communism.

No, he was a life-long socialist. And liberalism was not considered a "leftist" ideology at the time (and still isn't in Europe), though his philosophy (as was socialism and communism) was certainly in conflict with it.

Leo wrote:

Sally:

"I see military service as an honor and a privilege. Obama doesn't."

You made this up.

"I acknowledge that I don't see those who serve in the military as victims. But Obama does."

You made this up.

"[H]e doesn't know anybody who has served more recently."

You made this up.

You are ascribing motives and thoughts to Obama based on nothing more than your own preconceptions and fantasies.

Rand Simberg wrote:

"I see military service as an honor and a privilege. Obama doesn't."

You made this up.

Go read his commencement speech from the other day. He talks about all kinds of service--except military service. It seemed quite revealing to me.

An Observer wrote:

It's good fun to watch the wingnuts self-immolate over this. Keep it up, nutcases! None Dare Call It Conspiracy!

Bill Maron wrote:

Rand, I came late to this party but obviously too many partook of the Kool-Aid. I understood what you wrote and how you meant it. Obama's misrememberances about so many things in his life makes me think he has done this for so long without getting called on it, he can't stop. When the hardest thing in your life experience is getting through Harvard, while not easy, doesn't really compare to 5 years in a NV prison camp. For those who might mention race, he went to Columbia and Harvard and a private HS. I wish my kids were treated so poorly.
Those attacking your writing style have far too much time on their hands and levels of "nuance" greater than Kerry's.

Daveon wrote:

All I'm doing is pointing out that I didn't write what so many, in their inability to comprehend clear English, seem to fantasize that I did.

And there it is. Again. It's not Rand, its the rest of us. The same pathetic line he's been using for years when he says something obnoxious or idiotic. "It wasn't me, its the rest of you misunderstanding me."

This is probably the dumbest thing you've said on your blog that I've read. You still have some way to go to equal some of your statements on sci.space.policy

Take a long look in the mirror, take a walk and take a few days off.

You need it. You used to be a credible person, you've been sinking to new depths since 2002.

joe from Lowell wrote:

"Granted that the XIXth century was the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy, this does not mean that the XXth century must also be the century of socialism, liberalism, democracy. Political doctrines pass; nations remain. We are free to believe that this is the century of authority, a century tending to the 'right', a Fascist century." - Benito Mussolini. The founder of fascism. And inventor of the term "fascism."

Rand Simberg wrote:

"It wasn't me, its the rest of you misunderstanding me."

Here we have a perfect example. I never wrote, or implied that.

I said that some seemed to have that problem (and that apparently includes, as usual, you). Many others had no problem at all understanding what I wrote.

joe from Lowell wrote:

But, hey, seriously, asking if I've read Jonah Goldberg's book sure does go a long way to refuting the distinctions I pointed out between fascism and leftist ideology.

Rand Simberg wrote:

The fact that Mussolini chose to call his philosophy of the right doesn't make it so. It was clearly socialist.

Sally wrote:

Leo, why are you so reluctant to concede that Obama doesn't value military service and sees it as a burden? At least he doesn't value it in the same way he values community organizing.

Why not own the position? It's one shared by other Americans, it's not exactly revolutionary. Maybe it's a winning position for all I know.

Here's what he said about why he didn't serve:

"Obama, speaking to reporters aboard his plane Saturday, countered that the idea that he can't speak on veterans' issues because he didn't serve in the military "makes no sense whatsoever."

"I didn't serve, as many people my age, because the Vietnam war was over by the time I was of draft age and we went to an all-volunteer Army. But obviously I revere our soldiers and want to make sure they are being treated with honor and respect," he added."

http://www.startribune.com/nation/19234469.html

At Wesleyan, he said the following:

"There are so many ways to serve and so much need at this defining moment in our history. You don't have to be a community organizer or do something crazy like run for President. Right here at Wesleyan, many of you have already volunteered at local schools, contributed to United Way, and even started a program that brings fresh produce to needy families in the area. One hundred and sixty-four graduates of this school have joined the Peace Corps since 2001, and I?m especially proud that two of you are about to leave for my father?s homeland of Kenya to bring alternative sources of energy to impoverished areas."

http://www.wfsb.com/news/16389467/detail.html

Nowhere in this speech to college grads, all of serving age, supposedly the best and the brightest among us, does Obama even come closing to suggesting that they might honor his call to arms by showing up at the nearest recruiting station. But they lucked out just like him, they don't have to serve because it's all-volunteer now. Obama can encourage them to volunteer for the Peace Corps, just not the Marine Corps. Same same right?

This sincere reverence he shows for military service, you find me the speech where that's on display,

Anonymous wrote:

It was clearly socialist.

Yes, clearly. As you keep asserting. Without evidence. And in the face of the unquestioned factsd I put up above.

I'm going to go get my favorite Nazi quote now, to show you how moronic and historically ignorant you are.

Leo wrote:

Rand wrote:

"Go read his commencement speech from the other day. He talks about all kinds of service--except military service. It seemed quite revealing to me."

Exactly my point. You, like Sally, believe you already know what Obama thinks, so you listen to him for moments when he "reveals" his true feeling which, you are totally certain, are concealed just beneath the surface. You are focused on an imaginary inner life that you've created for Obama, and nothing Obama does can change the fact that, in your view, he is concealing his true dastardly nature.

Many people in this thread have read this blog post and assumed they know what you "really think." You have been accused of being a holocaust denier, of being intellectually dishonest, and generally being an awful person. They've ascribed to you thoughts and feelings that you don't have.

And its a lie right? You aren't a holocaust denier. You aren't intellectually dishonest. You don't have the thoughts and intentions that people believe they can divine from your writing. These people come to your website with a preconcieved notion of what they will find; they don't grant you the benefit of an assumption of good faith.

Perhaps there is a lesson here. Perhaps when people assume someone is speaking in bad faith, as these commentors have done with you and as you have done with Obama, they are not very good at really hearing what is being said. Perhaps--this is just a thought--it is not all that helpful to assume you know what someone thinks before you hear what they have to say.

Daveon wrote:

I said that some seemed to have that problem (and that apparently includes, as usual, you). Many others had no problem at all understanding what I wrote.

You said that "many" of us seem to have that problem. But nice try.

In that "some" people who read your blog don't have that problem isn't really surprising. A minority of your fans have always been pretty out there linguistically. The fact remains that time and time again you end up claiming that its the rest of us who can't understand you and that you were perfectly clear.

You're not. Haven't been since... hmmm... probably around 2000/2001 actually.

Take a walk, feed the ducks, stop frigging posting and come back and actually parse some of you stuff before you realize what a complete idiot you are making yourself look with this.

Sally wrote:

Leo wrote: "Perhaps--this is just a thought--it is not all that helpful to assume you know what someone thinks before you hear what they have to say."

I posted directly above what Obama has had to say about his own lack of military service and his exhortation to college graduates to service in any capacity except military service. I'm not trying to read his mind, I'm listening and reading his own statements.

You on the other hand are taking his plain words and telling us, oh he didn't really mean it THAT way, you're misinterpreting it, you're fantasizing.

joe from Lowell wrote:

"Only the employer can decide. Many employers have for years had to call for the 'master in the house.' Now they are once again to be called the 'master in the house." - Adolf Hitler's Chief Economic Theoritician, on unions.

Quite the socialist, eh?

Rand Simberg wrote:

nothing Obama does can change the fact that, in your view, he is concealing his true dastardly nature.

That is not my view.

I didn't say that he has a "dastardly nature." I just said that there's no evidence that he values military service. He occasionally pays lip service to it when it is politically necessary, but I think that the fact that it's the one kind of service that he left out of his commencement speech (no doubt inadvertently, because in his disinterest in the subject, it wouldn't occur to him to include it) is significant. Had one of his staffers reviewed the speech and noticed the absence, they might have pointed out that he ought to include it, for political purposes, and he probably would have. But no one bothered, because like him, they don't value military service either, just as they don't (or didn't) know where Auschwitz was, or who liberated it.

You said that "many" of us seem to have that problem.

OK, many. Many is not all.

Daveon wrote:

Many is not all.

No and nor is it "some" - you can't even keep your self straight in this thread.

As I said, get up from the computer, close the browser, walk away and don't come back for a few days then read this thread in total.

If you still like what you read... well...

Pete wrote:

Yes, Hitler the well-known leftist.

If you're going to drop nuggets of pure bullcrap like that, perhaps you shouldn't talk about other people with sentences that begin like this: "I'm not sure how to have a rational discussion with anyone nutty enough..."

Bill Maron wrote:

Yeah joe from lowell, then there was that whole Volkswagen or "peoples wagon" thing, the state run "daycare" and "athletic camps". No socialism there.

Rand Simberg wrote:

No socialism there.

Yeah, the nerve of that Hitler guy, having a National Socialist German Workers Party, and all those social programs, giving socialism a bad name.

The only significant difference from communism was that Hitler's socialism was national, instead of international.

Tom wrote:

To quote Rand Simberg: "Really, if you take away the genocide and the racism and war mongering, just what was it about Hitler that you didn't like?"

There are many things that I didn't like about Hitler, but there is another thing I didn't like about him is that he's a rightwing like you. You need to re-take the history because you've failed history. Badly.

By the way, in Japan, "Liberal Democratic Party" is a conservative political party. The title of the political party doesn't mean anything to me. Everyone (beside from rightwingnuts) already know that National Socialist party is a conservative authoritarian-loving party.

Rand Simberg wrote:

There are many things that I didn't like about Hitler, but there is another thing I didn't like about him is that he's a rightwing like you.

And what is it about me that's "a rightwing"? And like Hitler?

The title of the political party doesn't mean anything to me.

Well that's pretty obvious.

Surely you meant to write something more intelligent than this?

sigh wrote:

It's not "everyone" misunderstanding the original post, only dumb lefty Olbermann wannabes. Ignore the lefty trolls. They always hate it when people point out the fact that Hitler was a lefty.

Leo wrote:

You start from the assumption that he doesn't value service, then find it incredibly "revealing" that he didn't mention military service in one speech, despite his having mentioned in many others. That's an assumption of bad faith. If I apply the same rules to you, judging the "merely" as an incredibly revealing tell and the surrounding material as just "political correctness" it would be pretty easy to conclude you are a Nazi apologist. But you aren't a Nazi apologist, and Obama doesn't distain military service.

Assuming someone is lying or concealing their true feelings is not a viable way to evalute arguments.

Rand Simberg wrote:

You start from the assumption that he doesn't value service

No, I didn't start with any assumptions. I am inferring that he doesn't value military service because he has said that he didn't serve because he didn't have to, and it was the one form of service that he left out of his list of types of service in his advice to the graduates. If there is some evidence that he does value military service, I am open to seeing it (not that it would make me likely to vote for him).

And the notion that I'm a Nazi sympathizer certainly can't be sanely inferred from anything I've written, here or elsewhere.

Bill Maron wrote:

"Everyone (beside from rightwingnuts) already know that National Socialist party is a conservative authoritarian-loving party."

As opposed to a liberal authoritarian-loving party? Many of his ideas WERE liberal at the time. Why do you think he was in those beer halls and not university campuses? He needed the WORKERS on his side.

Lift your head from the Kool-aid trough once in a while.

Tom wrote:

It's pretty evident that our dear blog OP didn't know jack about Buchenwald, and posted his drivel after scanning a couple of Google links. He then used the "atrocious beyond normal human understanding" line as a blanket disclaimer to be called upon if he were challenged.

Read a book or two, you idiot.

Oh, and grow a sense of morals.

Mitsu wrote:

Buchenwald was merely a work camp?

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/94/Buchenwald-J-Rouard-10.jpg

Yeah, I'd love to have spent the war in such a "work camp." Give me a break.

Rand Simberg wrote:

It's pretty evident that our dear blog OP didn't know jack about Buchenwald, and posted his drivel after scanning a couple of Google links.

That is "evident" only to idiots.

These folks seem to think that there is a useful distinction between concentration camps and extermination camps. Go argue with them, moron.

And yet another straw man. The stuff must be on sale.

I'd love to have spent the war in such a "work camp."

I didn't say it was a "work camp." I said it was a slave labor camp. You know, with slaves? Whose lives are of little or no value to the slaveholders?

And no one has said that one would want to spend a minute, let alone a war in one. What part of "atrocious beyond human understanding" do you and the some of the other illiterate morons here not understand?

Anonymous wrote:

Yeah joe from lowell, then there was that whole Volkswagen or "peoples wagon" thing, the state run "daycare" and "athletic camps". No socialism there.

Nope. No socialism there.

Socialism: A theory or policy of social organization which advocates the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc. by the community as a whole.

What you mean in POPULISM, which comes in both left and right varieties.

BTW, the Russian Liberal Democratic Party is fiercely nationalist, anti-semitic, lauds Stalin, and denounces cosmopolitan elites.

Bill Marion takes the cake, though: Why do you think he was in those beer halls and not university campuses? He needed the WORKERS on his side. Ladies and gentleman, the Republicans are now the more-socialist party in American politics.

sigh wrote:

Libtards are so Orwellian in their logic. "We can't argue facts so let's just redefine the language!"

joe wrote:

The only significant difference from communism was that Hitler's socialism was national, instead of international.

No, not really. Did socialists insist that class conflict was artificial? Did they argue that the private owners of capital, land, and industry have the right not only to the ownership of those things, but to the government-enforced obedience of their workers?

Did socialists believe that political power was divinely granted to certain ubermen, who had the divine right to compel others to obey?

Why, no, they did not. In fact, they argued precisely the opposite of every one of those points.

Socialism, like Fascism, has an actual definition, and certain defining characteristics. "Bad stuff done by the government" is not, in fact, part of that definition.

joe wrote:

The only significant difference from communism was that Hitler's socialism was national, instead of international.

No, not really. Did socialists insist that class conflict was artificial? Did they argue that the private owners of capital, land, and industry have the right not only to the ownership of those things, but to the government-enforced obedience of their workers?

Did socialists believe that political power was divinely granted to certain ubermen, who had the divine right to compel others to obey?

Why, no, they did not. In fact, they argued precisely the opposite of every one of those points.

Socialism, like Fascism, has an actual definition, and certain defining characteristics. "Bad stuff done by the government" is not, in fact, part of that definition.

Sally wrote:

Leo, I think I get it. You think we should believe in the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. In religious terms, that would be called having faith. We must have faith that Obama is as good and as decent as we hope he is and ignore or minimize whatever information we might have to the contrary.

This is a strange approach to electing a President, the idea that we must attribute to Obama positions and ideals that he himself has never claimed while ignoring the ideas and values he HAS made known.

This is the true delusion.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Did socialists believe that political power was divinely granted to certain ubermen, who had the divine right to compel others to obey?

So the people in Josef Stalin's (Man of Steel) Soviet Union (you know, the place called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) weren't socialists? Who knew?

twc wrote:

Fine. Great-uncle rather than uncle, and Buchenwald rather than Auschwitz.

This reveals a "profound ignorance of history" and is deeply disturbing to you?

Man, you're really reaching. I've rarely seen anyone so overeager to be outraged.

joe wrote:

So the people in Josef Stalin's (Man of Steel) Soviet Union (you know, the place called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics) weren't socialists?

Yes, they were socialists. And that's why the Soviets' theory of political power was based not on a belief in Stalin having a divine right, but on the (alleged) support of the people/workers.

C'mon, you're making this too easy for me.

I need to find me a higher order of wingnut to argue with.

joe from Lowell wrote:

Man, you're really reaching. I've rarely seen anyone so overeager to be outraged.

I think it's telling that the outrage hasn't changed a bit, even as the supposed justification for it has changed.

First, he was outraged that Obama would make up a story about his uncle serving in the Army. Then, he was outraged that Barack Obama would pander. Then, he was outraged that Barack Obama would not know a great deal about World War II history.

You know the old saying about "With this much manure, there must be a pony in here somewhere?" This is precisely the opposite. With all of these ponies that keep turning up for Senator Obama, he just knows there's gotta be some manure in there somewhere. And he's going to keep pretending he smells it, no matter what turns up.

Leo wrote:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confirmation_bias

I think that link may be helpful to you.

Meanwhile, as long as we're judging based on "inferences," I'm going to draw the conclusion that you are a typically dishonest right-winger who saw an error about a German place name and took it as an opportunity to score cheap political points by minimizing the horrors of the holocaust. And I think the record will show that my evaluation was significantly more considered and fair minded than you deserve.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Man, you're really reaching. I've rarely seen anyone so overeager to be outraged.

I'm not only not "overeager to be outraged," but unlike the leftwingnuts who are visiting here (presumably from places like Balloon Juice, judging by referrals) I'm not outraged at all. Sorry, but I don't consider what Obama did outrageous.

I'm going to draw the conclusion that you are a typically dishonest right-winger who saw an error about a German place name and took it as an opportunity to score cheap political points by minimizing the horrors of the holocaust.

You are free to draw whatever nutty conclusions you want--I certainly have no control over how your mind malfunctions. There is nothing in my post that minimizes the horrors of the holocaust, or apologizes for the Nazis. Perhaps you missed the part where I pointed out that the Jewish population of Poland was essentially wiped out completely?

Jim wrote:

C'mon people, why all the angst about Nazi extermination/death/labor camps. Don't you know that Dunkin Donuts was trying to use Rachel Ray to push terrorist goals?

The utter stupidity of the far right is breathtaking. Having to chose between the left and the right is essentially a choice between dumb and exponentially dumber.

markg8 wrote:

Eisenhower himself ordered US troops to see
camps like Buchenwald we liberated to steel themselves as they killed old German men and 15 year old kids in house to house fighting in the last months of the war.

He ordered German civilians to bury the dead in those camps so they could never say "We didn't know."

Denigrating what those soldiers and the survivors went through to try and score political points is disgusting. And sadly also par for the course with Republicans.

Leo wrote:

Rand: Your true feelings were shown by this sentance:

"Buchenwald . . . was merely a slave labor camp, and not historically abnormal in a time of war."

I'd say that's pretty revealing. It's not surprising that you would say elsewhere things that contradict your deeply held belief that the holocaust was "not historically abnormal." After all, you know that's not a politically correct thing to say. But your true feelings are amply demonstrated by this quote.

markg8 wrote:

Eisenhower himself ordered US troops to see
camps like Buchenwald we liberated to steel themselves as they killed old German men and 15 year old kids in house to house fighting in the last months of the war.

He ordered German civilians to bury the dead in those camps so they could never say "We didn't know."

Denigrating what those soldiers and the survivors went through to try and score political points is disgusting. And sadly also par for the course with Republicans.

Anonymous wrote:

So your theory is that Obama said Auschwitz over Buchenwald because he is either ignorant of history or because he thought it would ring iconically with the jewish base he is courting.
The fact that you think like this says more about you than Obama. You have the soul of a right wing hack.
Most rational people would listen to what Obama said, assume it was a mistake and move on. A right wing hack on the other hand would churn out a Ph.D thesis on the subject. I think you are hoping for a gig on a wingnut welfare programme. That is my theory.

joe from Lowell wrote:

You know how it's not "global warming denial," but "global warming skepticism," because they don't totally deny the existence of the warming trend anymore?

It's not "Holocaust denial," it's "Holocaust revisionism," because Mr. Simberg doesn't deny that the Holocaust happened.

You find it offensive to be compared to a Holocaust denier, chief? I find it offensive that you would call Buchenwald "merely a slave labor camp."

Merely my ass. Fifty thousand dead people, bodies stacked like cord wood. There was nothing "mere" about the evil done there.

Rand Simberg wrote:

And the straw men keep marching onward.

Denigrating what those soldiers and the survivors went through to try and score political points is disgusting. And sadly also par for the course with Republicans.

I did not denigrate either soldiers or survivors. And I am not now, and have never been a Republican.

It's not surprising that you would say elsewhere things that contradict your deeply held belief that the holocaust was "not historically abnormal."

I have neither a shallow, nor a "deeply-held" belief that the Holocaust was not historically abnormal. What was different about the Holocaust was the industrial-like efficiency with which it was carried out (what distinguished Auschwitz from Buchenwald).

But the mass killings of civilians, and slave labor, is hardly unprecedented in human history. For instance, you might read up on this fellow Genghis Khan sometime.

Or Tamarlane:

For no apparent reason other than a love of fighting and a desire to increase his royal coffers, Tamerlane invaded India in 1398. His army captured Delhi and remained only long enough to massacre its inhabitants and destroy what they did not remove to Samarkand. Destruction was so complete that it took more than a century for Delhi to return to its preinvasion stature. Tamerlane did not limit his victims to civilians. After the Battle of Panipat on December 17, 1398, Tamerlane put one hundred thousand captured Indian soldiers to the sword.

You find it offensive to be compared to a Holocaust denier, chief? I find it offensive that you would call Buchenwald "merely a slave labor camp."

Then apparently we're both going to be offended, though I will be with much greater justification.

Jody wrote:

The logic in this article is so tortured it's worthy of the Bush administration. There's just so much that's so wrong with everything written, both in the main article and in your bleatings defending it, that there is no point going thru them all.

You should be ashamed.

Rand Simberg wrote:

There's just so much that's so wrong with everything written, both in the main article and in your bleatings defending it, that there is no point going thru them all.

Ummm...OK.

What a persuasive argument.

sigh wrote:

joe from Lowell wrote:
You know how it's not "global warming denial," but "global warming skepticism," because they don't totally deny the existence of the warming trend anymore?

You mean the warming trend that ended in 1998? That one? I also love how you mentioned the term "global warming denial". Now, let's see, who invented that term so that it would sound similar to Holocaust denial? Who's using the Nazis for political points again? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller? Lefties are such hypocrites.

Leo wrote:

"I have neither a shallow, nor a "deeply-held" belief that the Holocaust was not historically abnormal."

Of course you would say that when pressed. You know it is the right thing to say. But I have to say, your saying that "Buchenwald . . . was merely a slave labor camp, and not historically abnormal in a time of war" is pretty revealing.

Had one of your friends reviewed the post before you put it up, they might have pointed out how bad that sentance sounded and to avoid looking like a fascist you probably would have taken it out. But they didn't notice it because deep down they all agree with you that the holocaust was just business as usual during war.

Why, it seems to me that your true beliefs just shine through in spite of all your efforts to cover them up by saying the opposite.

Robert wrote:

What was different about the Holocaust was the industrial-like efficiency with which it was carried out (what distinguished Auschwitz from Buchenwald). But the mass killings of civilians, and slave labor, is hardly unprecedented in human history.

I think you just went off message. (Maybe you are tired from the onslaught).
I thought you were focusing on genocide, rather than on brutality, efficiency, or the sheer number of killings, when you made your distinction between the two kinds of camps. You focused on genocide in the original post, and later when you made the "moral midget" comment. My rebuttal was that moral judgments about genocide don't depend on fast the killing takes place, particularly when the time difference is usefully measured in months (rather than, say, generations), but I accepted your basic premise that genocide is different from a mass killing without genocidal intent. (That distinction is painful to make as well, but it gets made all the time when discussing Rwanda, Darfur, and other hellish situations.)

sigh wrote:

But they didn't notice it because deep down they all agree with you that the holocaust was just business as usual during war.

Hey Leo, since you're a psychic that can read everyone's minds and stuff, I was wondering if you could give me the winning Powerball numbers for the next drawing. Thanks in advance!

Leo wrote:

Irony, thy name is sigh.

sigh wrote:

Leo wrote:
Irony, thy name is sigh.

Now, with you being a psychic and all, you probably forget that it doesn't work in reverse and people are not able to read your mind. So, either you are totally ignorant of the definition of irony, or you're going to have to provide my source quote so we non-psychics can judge the merits of your charge for ourselves. Again, thanks in advance!

Sirkowski wrote:

Merely???

Leo wrote:

sigh: Read my exchange with Sally and Rand. If you are having trouble following it, read it again.

My point throughout has been that it is totally specious to claim to know what Obama thinks about the military and veterans based on cherry-picked quotes and mind-reading. The quote you pulled from my last quote was a direct parady of Rand's comment regarding Obama's commencement speech:

"Had one of his staffers reviewed the speech and noticed the absence, they might have pointed out that he ought to include it [military service], for political purposes, and he probably would have. But no one bothered, because like him, they don't value military service . . .."

Here's what I wrote:

"Had one of your friends reviewed the post before you put it up, they might have pointed out how bad that sentance sounded and to avoid looking like a fascist you probably would have taken it out. But they didn't notice it because deep down they all agree with you that the holocaust was just business as usual during war."

My point is, and remains, that ascribing beliefs to someone based on nothing more than your own assumptions and out-of-context quotes is totally illegitimate. You, apparently, agree. Which is ironic because you thought you were defending Rand's position, but really you were attacking it.

Daveon wrote:

I'm wondering how much of the rampant insanity, straw mannery and outrage in comments would have been avoided had I merely omitted the word "merely".

Lots. Which is why you should be very very careful to make your meaning crystal clear.

Look. I know you think you do. But as a lot of people have pointed out down the years, you don't.

GWB wrote:


You're sickening.

If you want to attack Obama's policies, do so. Attacking Obama because his great-uncle "only" liberated a camp where 30k+ people died is sickening.

Borrow some morals.

Robert wrote:

I'm wondering how much of the rampant insanity, straw mannery and outrage in comments would have been avoided had I merely omitted the word "merely".

Maybe Daveon is right - lots - but you still would have been wrong. You still would have been asserting that 1) Buchenwald wasn't part of a genocide, and 2) it is possible that Obama might have actually known the correct camp was Buchenwald but he said "Auschwitz" because he figured Jews wouldn't be as upset about Buchenwald. Assertion 1 is wrong, and assertion 2 is bordering on derangement. You did say that Assertion 2 was unlikely to be true, so maybe complete derangement hasn't set in.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Attacking Obama because his great-uncle "only" liberated a camp where 30k+ people died is sickening.

You are sickening yourself over something I didn't do.

Rand Simberg wrote:

You still would have been asserting that 1) Buchenwald wasn't part of a genocide

I never made such an assertion, though at least in this case I can see how it could have been mistakenly inferred. I was saying that Auschwitz had that as its sole purpose. (And I continue to be amazed that anyone can think that I am either apologizing for, or denying, or revising the history of the Holocaust.)

2) it is possible that Obama might have actually known the correct camp was Buchenwald but he said "Auschwitz" because he figured Jews wouldn't be as upset about Buchenwald.

I have never posited that Obama actually knew the correct camp, but lied about it for political purposes. I don't believe that he's that stupid, because there's no way that he could get away with such a thing (as all the commentary about it proves). I was simply saying that all he knew was Auschwitz, but that he also knew that Auschwitz had special meaning to Jews (not, of course to imply that they are unaware of Buchenwald).

Somewhere, somewhen, he learned to utter the word Auschwitz (and in the case of the Iraq speech, Treblinka) as a talisman to give him street cred about his World War II/Holocaust knowledge. And I find it interesting that he could have believed that his great uncle liberated Auschwitz for all these years without anyone correcting him on the matter, unless this is the first time he has revealed it to anyone knowledgeable. Why didn't anyone call him on it in the Iraq speech six years ago?

Leland wrote:

Wow, no wonder Obama has so many followers. They seem to be zombies that respond in virtual outrage to perceived atrocities, none of which were ever actually suffered by them.

The sad part lost on all this is that Obama himself didn't liberate anything. His great uncle, I think brother to the grand-mother he couldn't disown; liberated Buchenwald. What is outrageous is Obama using the atrocity that happened in Buchenwald in the 1940's, and the actions of his great uncle, as a means to bolster his campaign and his image.

At the same time, Obama wants to inact policies reminiscent of Mussolini.

Leo wrote:

Rand and Sally: How do you feel about sigh calling you out? He seems to think your "psychic" approach to determining what people think is pretty funny. Are you just going to take that?

Robert wrote:

I was simply saying that all he knew was Auschwitz, but that he also knew that Auschwitz had special meaning to Jews (not, of course to imply that they are unaware of Buchenwald).

In that case, you didn't need to explain any possible distinction between the two camps. Instead of just leaving out the word "merely", you could have omitted your entire paragraph about Buchenwald. Then you would have just been criticizing Obama the same way lots of people do, and you would have avoided all the hubbub. It wouldn't have been nearly as interesting, of course. This way, maybe you'll get lots of new readers! :-)

sigh wrote:

Aw, Leo the Psychic is trying to be cute but fails miserably. Let's look at Leo's psychic assertion:

I'd say that's pretty revealing. It's not surprising that you would say elsewhere things that contradict your deeply held belief that the holocaust was "not historically abnormal." After all, you know that's not a politically correct thing to say. But your true feelings are amply demonstrated by this quote.

Oh great Psychic Leo, please show us how you divined the OP's "deeply held belief that the holocaust was not historically abnormal."

My point is, and remains, that ascribing beliefs to someone based on nothing more than your own assumptions and out-of-context quotes is totally illegitimate. You, apparently, agree.

And based on your first quote above, you're apparently now arguing with yourself.

sigh wrote:

Oops, missed this little gem from the psychic Leo:

The notion that we should not provide care to veterans because it turns them into victims is faily disgusting.

Um, what point are you arguing against here? Oh, that's right, another strawman. Because Sally that you're responding to, never even came close to alluding to such a thing. Your debating tactics are juvenile.

Leo wrote:

sigh: Again, the first quote is a parody of Rand, who finds it incredibly "revealing" that Obama chose to omit military service from a particular speech, and says that when he does mention the military it he is just "pay[ing] lip service" because it is "politically necessary."

In other words, another direct hit on Rand. If you are having trouble keeping up with the conversation you might want to sit this one out for a while. Friendly fire can be devestating.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Leo, we continue to await your alternate explanation for why, in a prepared speech focused on service, military service was not mentioned, and why it's unreasonable to conclude from this that he is at best indifferent to it.

sigh wrote:

Leo, perhaps you should write more clearly if you want to be understood correctly. And that's a direct hit on your writing ability along with your noted strawman tactic in my last quote. You have no room to speak on the OP's writing as long as your "parodies" need a secret decoder ring.

Leo wrote:

Perhaps because, with Memorial Day just around the corner, he knew he would be spending much of the next few days focusing on military service, and wanted to focus this speach on civil and community service. Perhaps because he was drawing from Kennedy's speech or from the history of the Kennedy family, and so took the Peace Corps as his point of departure. Perhaps because a large part of the speech focused on his personal experience of service, and, as has been well established, he came of age in the period between Vietnam and the Gulf War and was not called upon to defend his country.

I don't know what he or his speechwriter was thinking of. And neither do you. So why don't you drop the assumption of bad faith and try to evaluate what the man says rather than what you think he thinks.

1charlie2 wrote:

As one with a relative who was present at the surrender of a camp, I'd never confuse Dachau with any other camp., The two stories he told made waaay too strong an impression on me, though nothing like Auschwitz did when I visited there (yep, it was still in Poland when I left it, if someone moved it, they didn't tell me)

I think O's a straphanger trying to score points late in the game by associating himself with someone who really was there and got the tee-shirt.

What a poseur.

Sally wrote:

Leo, Leo, Leo: the entire point of your argument here is that we aren't supposed to assume anything about Obama and what he really believes or thinks even when he addresses the questions openly. And yet you've done the same thing in your post above, speculating about possible explanations for Obama's failure to encourage the Wesleyan grads to enlist in the military, none of which is supported by anything Obama himself has actually said.

You were challenged to find a speech, a statement, anything where Obama did encourage people to serve in the military. You haven't done that.

You've now been given several examples of where he diminished or omitted military service or mentioned it only the context of pushing for a new or expanded government program for traumatized and sexually harrassed vets in the hopes of winning votes.

I think it's acceptable for Obama to disdain military service. Many of my lefty friends feel the same way. They see it as a loser's game and they would never ever encourage their children to go into the military.

Obama should just be open about it and allow us voters the right to weigh how important we consider his attitude about it to be. For some, it might not be important at all. For others, it might actually be a reason to vote for him. To the extent he chooses to wrap himself in gauze on this (as he does so many other issues), then he leaves us no choice but to deduce, induce, imply and infer from the things he actually does say.


Officious Pedant wrote:

It is sad to consider just how many of you, including the author of this piece, have forgotten the adage:

It is better to be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.

You have descended to the point of comparison among Nazi camps, and speculation as to which is worse, as though it has some relevance to the man's character or that of his nephew. The mind reels at the pathos necessary to take that route, while marvelling at the sheer mendacity required to utter such things as "Well, I had a relative who was there, and his stories make me confident that I have a firm grasp of what it was like there...."

I encourage you to carry what you laughingly call arguments far and wide. Expose as many people as you can, like an innoulation. Recognizing the your insanity will aid us in combatting it.


Leo wrote:

Sally: I was asked for alternative explanations by Rand, and I gave them. Perhaps I should just have left it with my last paragraph:

"I don't know what he or his speechwriter was thinking of. And neither do you. So why don't you drop the assumption of bad faith and try to evaluate what the man says rather than what you think he thinks."

I would add one more possible explanation, one which I think should resonate with Rand. Maybe he just made a mistake. People do. Perhaps, just as Rand apparently did with the "merely" sentence, he made a mistake that has no deep and abiding psychological significance.

I have no investment in any of these explanations. They may all be wrong.

Regarding examples of honoring military service, this is from his memorial day speech:

"You see, America has the greatest military in the history of the world. We have the best training, the most advanced technology, the most sophisticated planning, and the most powerful weapons. And yet, in the end, though each of these things is absolutely critical, the true strength of our military lies someplace else.

It lies in the spirit of Americas servicemen and women. No matter whether they faced down fascism or fought for freedom in Korea and Vietnam; liberated Kuwait or stopped ethnic cleansing in the Balkans or serve brilliantly and bravely under our flag today; no matter whether they are black, white, Latino, Asian, or Native American; whether they come from old military families, or are recent immigrants their stories tell the same truth."

Now I already know you think this is a "gauze" to hide his true feelings. But consider the possibility that it is not.

joe from Lowell wrote:

What was different about the Holocaust was the industrial-like efficiency with which it was carried out (what distinguished Auschwitz from Buchenwald).

Killing at Buchenwald wasn't carried out with industrial efficiency?

Um.

OK.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Killing at Buchenwald wasn't carried out with industrial efficiency?

No. Not compared to Auschwitz-Birkenau, which was not a concentration camp, but an extermination camp, with Zyklon B gas chambers, each of which was capable of killing 2500 at once. There was a debate among the Allies about whether to divert some bombing missions from strategic targets to the rail lines going into the place, to try to slow down the carnage, but it was decided that the best way to help the Jews was to win the war as quickly as possible, particularly given how difficult a target a rail line is.

Wince and Nod wrote:

Leo wins! He provides a quote where Obama encourages military service.

It is generally true that people read things into what other people say and write that aren't there.

Rand hates it when people do that to him. And yet this piece was all about reading things into Obama's speeches that aren't there.

It's really hard to avoid doing this, especially when we really want to know what someone as important as Senator Obama really thinks.

That said, I think it's abundantly clear from his speeches and his policies that Obama is overwhemingly dove. Maybe 75% dove and 25% hawk. Yet Obama does plan on keeping the war going in Afghanistan.

Why would we want someone as dovish as Obama as Commander in Chief while we have difficult, long running war going on in Afghanistan? It's one of the most unfavorable places in the world for anyone to engage in warfare.

Yours,
Wince

Leo wrote:

Well Wince, as a run of the mill lib-tard my knee jerks with responses to your final two paragraphs. But I think I will save that fight for another day.

Daveon wrote:

Why would we want someone as dovish as Obama as Commander in Chief while we have difficult, long running war going on in Afghanistan?

Because that's the right place to have the fight and the right place to win it in. It's a place where they actually want us there. It's a place that has been and has the potential to be stable again. It was the home of a breed of fanaticism that the world is well rid of. A stable Afghanistan also helps with a serious problem we have with a Nuclear Islamic power next door who are one coups away from a fundamentalist regime with nukes.

It makes a lot of strategic sense and its what we should have been doing earlier.

You can win there. We did it once before we just screwed up the end game and have paid the price.

Of course, in my opinion, we're in a "we broke it, we own it" situation with Iraq. But that's a different story.

Anonymous wrote:

Leo wins? There's absolutely nothing in that statement by Obama where he encourages anyone to join the military. He said in the statement I quoted on why he didn't join the military that he "honors and reveres" soldiers. We already had those words from him. Easy to say, apparently not something he ever thought worthwhile to do himself, though, or anyone else either.

If he thinks our military is so valuable and important, why does he not want to see the Wesleyan grads in dress blues? Why is he so proud that they're off to Kenya to serve in the peace corps but not to Fort Bragg or Ramstein or Seoul?

As I've said a few times now, Obama is not alone is disdaining the military as an acceptable career or job choice. Other Americans share that as well.

Obama should just own up to it. There's nothing wrong with being the candidate who thinks that a life spent teaching Kenyans about alternative sources of energy and serving meals at the local food kitchen is of more value than picking up a weapon and standing a post.

He is who he is. Not who you all wish he would be.

andy wrote:

I'm wondering how much of the rampant insanity, straw mannery and outrage in comments would have been avoided had I merely omitted the word "merely".

It took you until sometime this afternoon to wonder about something I made clear just after 7pm last night in one of the first comments?

Fascinating.

Ah well, better late than never, I suppose.

Rand Simberg wrote:

Ah well, better late than never, I suppose.

So, you think that a single word justified all the rampant insanity, straw mannery and outrage? It seems to me like a reasonable interpretation of your comment.

Tim O wrote:

Wow Simberg, you're a real dick aren't you?

Rand Simberg wrote:

Ummmm...no, "Tim O." But you seem to be a real moron.

Voice of Reason wrote:

And I find it interesting that he could have believed that his great uncle liberated Auschwitz for all these years without anyone correcting him on the matter, unless this is the first time he has revealed it to anyone knowledgeable. Why didn't anyone call him on it in the Iraq speech six years ago?

And why aren't you outraged that J McCain, your candidate for POTUS, doesn't know the difference between Shia and Sunnis? Let's see the long blog post on that? It's all about who knows relevant things to today's foreign policy situation, right?

Rand Simberg wrote:

why aren't you outraged that J McCain, your candidate for POTUS

"J McCain" is not my candidate for POTUS, Voice of Idiocy.

Martin Wisse wrote:

Never before have I seen somebody so determined to make a wanker of himself. Well done Rand!

Rand Simberg wrote:

Did you mean to leave an intelligent comment, Mr. Wisse? If so, you seem to have failed.

Richard of Oregon wrote:

Has anyone found out what happened to this great uncle after he left the attic. Where did he go? What did he do. Anyone else who knew him who had stories to tell of the old warrior's experiences? Hungry, I am, for more info about this man who had such trauma from his war experiences. Can anyone help me? Please.

Anonymous wrote:

"J McCain" is not my candidate for POTUS, Voice of Idiocy.

*Sigh* Okay, will you be as obsessed with the Republican candidate's gaffes on the more relevant topics of the day?

Wince and Nod wrote:

Leo,

Don't know whether you are liberal by my definition (you sound center left maybe), but you seem to be far better than run of the mill and far smarter about politics than that insulting word I won't repeat.

Daveon,

Good answer to a question I didn't ask. I asked why we would want Obama in charge if we are fighting Afghanistan. I think we should fight in Afghanistan for nearly all the reasons you mentioned, plus a few more. But I think Obama has shown he would be a poor choice to lead that effort, because (in general) doves don't do long difficult wars in remote backward places well.

Anonymous,

I considered a preeemptive sentence or two against your argument but thought they weren't needed, since your argument was obviously flawed. Those two paragraphs Obama said were highly complimentary to our military. When you honor and revere an institution that way you are encouraging people to join it, even if you don't explicitly say so. That's obvious. In fact, you probably knew I'd say that.

Yours,
Wince

Turd Blossum wrote:

I find it humorous that the same drooling, booger-eating, rightwing androids who slavishly supported a President who couldn't spell "Germany" if you spotted him the "-e-r-m-a-n-y" are outraged about Obama's mistatements in this case.

And Buchenwald is "only" a slave labor camp in the same sense that Mount Everest is "only" a big rock that people climb on. Idiot.

Robert wrote:

The following is admittedly irrelevant to the Obama "fellow soldiers" issue, but I thought it was an interesting historical footnote: Sgt Joseph Beyrle fought in WWII for both the Americans and the Soviets. He was an American soldier captured by the Nazis, tortured by the Gestapo in a POW camp, escaped on his third attempt, encountered a Soviet tank crew, and succesfully convinced them to give him a gun so he could stay and kill Nazis with them. Considered a hero by both armies, received medals from US and Soviet leaders. You can google him for more.

Robert wrote:

Oops, wrong thread!

Green Eagle wrote:

You say: "They were....leftists..... The left only revised history to call Hitler a right winger because of the anti-semitism and his betrayal of Stalin."

You guys are so contemptuous of Obama because he (according to you) doesn't know where Auschwitz or Buchenwald are, yet you yourselves are so ignorant about World War II that you call Hitler a left winger.

Hitler was a right winger. He regarded himself as such and said so constantly. His followers regarded themselves as right wingers. He allied with other right wing groups such as the Steel Helmets. He constantly attacked left wing groups such as the Social Democrats and Communists. He justified his party's existence by the need to destroy Communism.

You say: "No,(Mussolini) was a life-long socialist."

Mussolini basically invented Fascism as a new political movement distinct from others. The allegation above is farcical.

In the words of Jack, "You can't handle the truth." You cannot face the fact that, for your own gain, you have sold your souls to a movement that has produced such monumental evil, so you invent ugly lies to deny the reality of what you are up to. May God have mercy on you.

Dennis Livingstone wrote:

Siteowner,

You do realize that you're a huge asshole, right? I mean, people must tell you so all the time.

Bill Maron wrote:

I wrote this just in case that big steaming pile of dog excrement, Dennis Livingstone, came back to look for a follow up.

Rand Simberg wrote:

You do realize that you're a huge asshole, right? I mean, people must tell you so all the time.

No, actually, you're one of the very few. I suspect that means that it's projection.

Dennis Livingstone wrote:

Hi, Bill! Thanks for the kind words.

And Rand: don't lie. Seriously.

Voice of Reason wrote:

Sen. John McCain has attacked Sen. Barack Obama for not traveling to Iraq to see the �facts on the ground.� But a recent statement by McCain about troop levels has his opponents raising questions about his own knowledge.

In comments to reporters on Thursday, McCain asserted that �I can tell you that it is succeeding. I can look you in the eye and tell you it�s succeeding. We have drawn down to pre-surge levels. Basra, Mosul and now Sadr City are quiet and it�s long and it�s hard and it�s tough and there will be setbacks.�

In fact, as the Obama campaign was quick to point out, the troop level in Iraq is at about 155,000 right now, well above the 130,000 that would mark a return to pre-surge levels.

But you know, somehow the Buchenwald vs. Auschwitz gaffe is just so much more important...

JM wrote:

" in the historical context of war, in which civilians were generally enslaved or killed, and disposed of when they could no longer work, it was hardly abnormal"

Strange wars you're familiar with. Unless it is normal to generally enslave, kill and dispose of your own citizenry. The first victims were German citizens (apart from being disabled, socialist, gypsy, jew or whatever other attribute got them in the camp in the first place)


Bill Maron wrote:

Dennis, Glad you enjoyed them.

JM, are you blind or obtuse? This happens everyday around the world. Myanmar, Sudan, wherever tyrants make their home. It's not right but from a world at large perspective, it's not abnormal.

Lisa wrote:

Ohhhh, so now we are down to: "That Jew killing is not as bad as the Jew killing at Auschwitz. Obama is a fabulist!"

I agree with Mr. Livingstone. You are an asshole. Your assholery could easily be overlooked. But your stupidity, alas, cannot.

flywheel wrote:

I'm sorry that the epidemic didn't get stamped out before it spread to all you macho guys over here.

I hope you all go to shit and fall back in it.

Doug wrote:

You know what? This post, along with some of the absolutely stupid, idiotic comments made supporting this garbage, have finally tipped the scales for me.

Right-wings are officially too stupid to live, and I can no longer associate with them in any way, shape or form.

When the decent right-wingers left out there finally manage to wrestle the political conversation away from these absolute, unequivocal morons, please let us sane, rational people know. We'd be happy to talk then, but not until.

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