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There was an excellent article on Tom Dispatch on this very question.
What Does It Mean When War Hawks Say, “Never Trump”?
The Enemies of My Enemy May Be War Criminals
By Rebecca Gordon
…we just heard from 50 representatives of the national security apparatus, men — and a few women — who served under Republican presidents from Ronald Reagan to George W. Bush. All of them are very worried about Donald Trump.
They think we should be alerted to the fact that the Republican standard-bearer “lacks the character, values, and experience to be president.”
That’s true of course, but it’s also pretty rich, coming from this bunch. The letter’s signers include, among others, the man who was Condoleezza Rice’s legal advisor when she ran the National Security Council (John Bellinger III); one of George W. Bush’s CIA directors who also ran the National Security Agency (Michael Hayden); a Bush administration ambassador to the United Nations and Iraq (John Negroponte); an architect of the neoconservative policy in the Middle East adopted by the Bush administration that led to the invasion of Iraq, who has since served as president of the World Bank (Robert Zoellick). In short, given the history of the “global war on terror,” this is your basic list of potential American war criminals.
Their letter continues, “He weakens U.S. moral authority as the leader of the free world.”
There’s a sentence that could use some unpacking.
What Is The “Free World”?
Let’s start with the last bit: “the leader of the free world.” That’s what journalists used to call the U.S. president, and occasionally the country as a whole, during the Cold War. Between the end of World War II and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the “free world” included all the English-speaking countries outside Africa, along with western Europe, North America, some South American dictatorships, and nations like the Philippines that had a neocolonial relationship with the United States.
The U.S.S.R. led what, by this logic, was the un-free world, including the Warsaw Pact countries in eastern Europe, the “captive” Baltic nations of Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia, the People’s Republic of China (for part of the period), North Korea, and of course Cuba. Americans who grew up in these years knew that the people living behind the “Iron Curtain” were not free. We’d seen the bus ads and public service announcements on television requesting donations for Radio Free Europe, sometimes illustrated with footage of a pale adolescent man, his head crowned with chains.
I have absolutely no doubt that he and his eastern European countrymen were far from free. I do wonder, however, how free his counterparts in the American-backed Brazilian, Argentinian, Chilean, and Philippine dictatorships felt.
The two great adversaries, together with the countries in their spheres of influence, were often called the First and Second Worlds. Their rulers treated the rest of the planet — the Third World — as a chessboard across which they moved their proxy armies and onto which they sometimes targeted their missiles. Some countries in the Third World refused to be pawns in the superpower game, and created a non-aligned movement, which sought to thread a way between the Scylla and Charybdis of the U.S. and the Soviet Union.
Among its founders were some of the great Third World nationalists: Sukarno of Indonesia, Jawaharlal Nehru of India, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, and Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, along with Yugoslavia’s President Josip Broz Tito.
Other countries weren’t so lucky. When the United States took over from France the (unsuccessful) project of defeating Vietnam’s anti-colonial struggle, people in the U.S. were assured that the war that followed with its massive bombing, napalming, and Agent-Oranging of a peasant society represented the advance of freedom against the forces of communist enslavement. Central America also served as a Cold War battlefield, with Washington fighting proxy wars during the 1980s in Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua, where poor campesinos had insisted on being treated as human beings and were often brutally murdered for their trouble. In addition, the U.S. funded, trained, and armed a military dictatorship in Honduras, where John Negroponte — one of the anti-Trump letter signers — was the U.S. ambassador from 1981 to 1985.
The Soviet Union is, of course, long gone, but the “free world,” it seems, remains, and so American officials still sometimes refer to us as its leader — an expression that only makes sense, of course, in the context of dual (and dueling) worlds. On a post-Soviet planet, however, it’s hard to know just what national or geographic configuration constitutes today’s “un-free world.” Is it (as Donald Trump might have it) everyone living under Arab or Muslim rule? Or could it be that amorphous phenomenon we call “terrorism” or “Islamic terrorism” that can sometimes reach into the “free world” and slaughter innocents as in San Bernardino, California, Orlando, Florida, or Nice, France? Or could it be the old Soviet Union reincarnated in Vladimir Putin’s Russia or even a rising capitalist China still controlled by a Communist Party?
Faced with the loss of a primary antagonist and the confusion on our planet, George W. Bush was forced to downsize the perennial enemy of freedom from Reagan’s old “evil empire” (the Soviet Union) to three “rogue states,” Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, which in an address to Congress he so memorably labeled the “axis of evil.” The first of these lies in near ruins; the second we’ve recently signed a nuclear treaty with; and the third seems incapable of even feeding its own population. Fortunately for the free world, the Bush administration also had some second-string enemies to draw on. In 2002, John Bolton, then an undersecretary of state (and later ambassador to the U.N.), added another group “beyond the axis of evil” — Libya, Syria, and Cuba. Of the three, only Cuba is still a functioning nation.
And by the way, the 50 Republican national security stars who denounced Donald Trump in Cold War terms turn out to be in remarkably good company — that of Donald Trump himself (who recently gave a speech invoking American Cold War practices as the basis for his future foreign policy).
“He Weakens U.S. Moral Authority…”
After its twenty-first century wars, its “black sites,” and Guantánamo, among other developments of the age, it’s hard to imagine a much weaker “moral authority” than what’s presently left to the United States. First, we gave the world eight years of George W. Bush’s illegal invasions and occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as CIA torture sites, “enhanced interrogation techniques,” and a program of quite illegal global kidnappings of terror suspects (some of whom proved innocent of anything). Under President Obama, it seems we’ve traded enhanced interrogation techniques for an “enhanced” use of assassination by drone (again outside any “law” of war, other than the legal documents that the Justice Department has produced to justify such acts).
When Barack Obama took office in January 2009 his first executive order outlawed the CIA’s torture program and closed those black sites. It then looked as if the country’s moral fiber might be stiffening. But when it came to holding the torturers accountable, Obama insisted that the country should “look forward as opposed to looking backwards” and the Justice Department declined to prosecute any of them. It’s hard for a country to maintain its moral authority in the world when it refuses to exert that authority at home.
Two of the letter signers who are so concerned about Trump’s effect on U.S. moral authority themselves played special roles in “weakening” U.S. moral authority through their involvement with the CIA torture program: John Bellinger III and Michael Hayden.
June 26th is the U.N.’s International Day in Support of Victims of Torture. To mark that day in 2003, President Bush issued a statement declaring, “Torture anywhere is an affront to human dignity everywhere. The United States is committed to the world-wide elimination of torture, and we are leading this fight by example.”
The Washington Post story on the president’s speech also carried a quote from Deputy White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan to the effect that all prisoners being held by the U.S. government were being treated “humanely.” John Rizzo, who was then the CIA’s deputy general counsel, called John Bellinger, Condoleezza Rice’s legal counsel at the National Security Council, to express his concern about what both the president and McClellan had said.
The problem was that — as Rizzo and his boss, CIA director George Tenet, well knew — many detainees then held by the CIA were not being treated humanely. They were being tortured or mistreated in various ways. The CIA wanted to be sure that they still had White House backing and approval for their “enhanced interrogation” program, because they didn’t want to be left holding the bag if the truth came out. They also wanted the White House to stop talking about the humane treatment of prisoners.
According to an internal CIA memo, George Tenet convened a July 29, 2003, meeting in Condoleezza Rice’s office to get the necessary reassurance that the CIA would be covered if the truth about torture came out. There, Bellinger reportedly apologized on behalf of the administration, explaining that the White House press secretary had “gone off script,” mistakenly reverting to “old talking points.” He also “undertook to [e]nsure that the White House press office ceases to make statements on the subject other than [to say] that the U.S. is complying with its obligations under U.S. law.”
At that same meeting, Tenet’s chief counsel, Scott Muller, passed out packets of printed PowerPoint slides detailing those enhanced interrogation techniques, including waterboarding, so that Bellinger and the others present, including Rice, would understand exactly what he was covering up.
So much for the “moral authority” of John Bellinger III.
As for Michael Hayden (who has held several offices in the national security apparatus), one of his signature acts as CIA Director was to approve in 2005 the destruction of videotapes of the agency’s waterboarding sessions. In a letter to CIA employees, he wrote that the tapes were destroyed “only after it was determined they were no longer of intelligence value and not relevant to any internal, legislative, or judicial inquiries.”
Of course destroying those tapes also meant that they’d never be available for any future legislative or judicial inquiry. The letter continued,
“Beyond their lack of intelligence value… the tapes posed a serious security risk. Were they ever to leak, they would permit identification of your CIA colleagues who had served in the program, exposing them and their families to retaliation from al-Qaeda and its sympathizers.”
One has to wonder whether Hayden was more concerned with his CIA colleagues’ “security” from al-Qaeda or from prosecution. In any case, he deprived the public — and any hypothetical future prosecutor — of crucial evidence of wrongdoing.
Hayden also perpetuated the lie that the Agency’s first waterboarding victim, Abu Zubaydah — waterboarded a staggering 83 times — was a crucial al-Qaeda operative and had provided a quarter of all the information that the CIA gathered from human subjects about al-Qaeda. He was, in fact, never a member of al-Qaeda at all. In the 1980s, he ran a training camp in Afghanistan for the mujahedin, the force the U.S. supported against the Soviet occupation of that country; he was, that is, one of Ronald Reagan’s “freedom fighters.”
Bellinger later chimed in, keeping the Abu Zubaydah lie alive by arguing in 2007 on behalf of his boss Condoleezza Rice that Guantánamo should remain open. That prison, he said, “serves a very important purpose, to hold and detain individuals who are extremely dangerous [like] Abu Zubaydah, people who have been planners of 9/11.”
“He Appears to Lack Basic Knowledge About and Belief in the U.S. Constitution, U.S. Laws, and U.S. Institutions…”
That’s the next line of the open letter, and it’s certainly a fair assessment of Donald Trump. But it’s more than a little ironic that it was signed by Michael Hayden who, in addition to supporting CIA’s torture project, oversaw the National Security Agency’s post-9/11 secret surveillance program. Under that program, the government recorded the phone, text, and Internet communications of an unknown number of people inside and outside of the United States — all without warrants.
Perhaps Hayden believes in the Constitution, but at best it’s a selective belief. There’s that pesky 4th Amendment, for example, which guarantees that
“[t]he right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Nor does Hayden appear to believe in U.S. laws and institutions, at least when it comes to the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, which established the secret courts that are supposed to issue exactly the sort of warrant Hayden’s program never requested.
John Negroponte is another of the signers who has a history of skirting U.S. laws and the congress that passes them. While ambassador to Honduras, he helped develop a murderous “contra” army, which the United States armed and trained to overthrow the government of neighboring Nicaragua. During those years, however, aid to the contras was actually illegal under U.S. law. It was explicitly prohibited under the so-called Boland Amendments to various appropriations bills, but no matter. “National security” was at stake.
Speaking of the Constitution, it’s instructive to take a look at Article 6, which states in part that “all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land.” Such treaties include, for example, the 1928 Kellogg-Briand non-aggression pact (whose violation was the first charge brought against the Nazi officials tried at Nuremberg) and Article 51 of the U.N. charter, which permits military action only “if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations.”
In 1998, Robert Zoellick, another of those 50 Republicans openly denouncing Trump, signed a different letter, which advocated abrogating those treaties. As an associate of the Project for a New American Century, he was among those who urged then-President Bill Clinton to direct “a full complement of diplomatic, political, and military efforts” to “remove Saddam Hussein from power.” This was to be just the first step in a larger campaign to create a Pax Americana in the Middle East. The letter specifically urged Clinton not to worry about getting a Security Council resolution, arguing that “American policy cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council.”
“He Is Unable or Unwilling to Separate Truth From Falsehood…”
So says the letter, and that, too, offers a fair characterization of Trump, who has often contended that President Obama has never proved he was born in the U.S.A., and has more than once repeated the long-disproved legend that, during the 1899-1913 Morro Rebellion in the Philippines, General John J. Pershing used bullets dipped in pig’s blood to execute Muslim insurgents. (And that’s barely to scratch the surface of Donald Trump’s remarkable unwillingness to separate truth from falsehood.) What, then, about the truthfulness of the letter signers?
Clinton never bit on the PNAC proposal, but a few years later, George W. Bush did. And the officials of his administration began their campaign of lies about Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction, yellow cake uranium from Niger, and “smoking guns” that might turn out to be “mushroom clouds” (assumedly over American cities), all of which would provide the pretext for that administration’s illegal invasion of Iraq.
The Bush administration didn’t limit itself to lying to the American people. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. John Negroponte was dispatched to the Security Council to lie, too. Security Council Resolution 1441 was the last of several requiring Iraq to comply with weapons inspections by the United Nations Monitoring, Verification, and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Some members of the Council, especially Russia and France, were hesitant to approve 1441, fearing that the U.S. might interpret it as a license to invade. So, in the discussions before the vote, Negroponte assured the Security Council that “this resolution contains no ‘hidden triggers’ and no ‘automaticity’ with respect to the use of force. If there is a further Iraqi breach, reported to the Council by UNMOVIC, the IAEA or a Member State, the matter will return to the Council for discussions.” The British ambassador used almost identical words to reassure the Council that, before attacking Iraq, the United States and Britain would seek its blessing.
That, of course, is hardly what happened. On February 24, 2003, Washington and London did bring a resolution for war to the Security Council. When it became apparent that two of its permanent members, France and Russia, would veto that resolution if it came to a vote, Bush (in consultation with British Prime Minister Tony Blair) decided to withdraw it. “We all agreed,” he wrote in his memoir, that “the diplomatic track had reached its end.”
And so the U.S. was on its foreordained path to war and disaster in Iraq, the path that after much winding, much failure, and much destruction would lead to Donald Trump.
So much for keeping promises and separating “truth from falsehood.”
====end of excerpt====
Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes (Hot Books). Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.
Follow TomDispatch on Twitter and join us on Facebook. Check out the newest Dispatch Book, Nick Turse’s Next Time They’ll Come to Count the Dead, and Tom Engelhardt’s latest book, Shadow Government: Surveillance, Secret Wars, and a Global Security State in a Single-Superpower World.
Below is a brilliant sentence. One sentence that perfectly summarizes the US today (a comment made at The American Conservative site):
Tis rather a case of a divided house living by the sum of its fears.
Fear – the great uniting force of Americans. Every horrendous policy, every mass murder, every type of exploitation, assassination, usurpation, surveillance, and torture is and will continue to be justified by mechanisms of fear at its deepest level and with material wealth as its most persuasive element. After fear, in second place comes greed.
The American system is crumbling right before the eyes of all. But most Americans, drenched in their ideological propaganda that their system is good, cannot fathom where the problem lies. Not only do they believe their system is good, but they believe it is the best and it works and therefore, by ideological diktat, it cannot malfunction. As a result, they cannot recognize that the problem lies with the very type of savage capitalism/imperialism they have. And now, additionally, this atrocious imperialist capitalism encompasses a deep layer of complete lack of morality and ethics to regulate the personal/sexuality sphere.
Add to this the two very corrupt parties that dominate the political scene – which offer no real alternative to change the system where it needs to be changed. Thus Americans having been going from populist to populist politician as their choice of president, dreaming and clamoring for hope and change, while blindly marching forward and steeping downward to greater and greater systemic malaises.
As I realized not too long ago, Hitler died, but his ideology won in the West. It brought prosperity to some – and given that the prosperity was significant in the US and Europe in the last century – it worked to camouflage a large part of the systemic rot that can never function in this type of system, along with all the people who get crushed by it along the way. Smarter Americans have realized that simply changing presidents won’t change much in the country, no matter if it’s a Democrat or a Republican administration that takes over. Yet, even these people will do very little to bring about change.
Democracy cannot function without ethics. Once you have a rotten democracy in place, such as what has happened in many Western countries, you cannot change that without enormous work from a lot of people. Americans, like most people, are stuck in their ways, their dysfunctional ideology, their attitudes, their blindness, their corruption. With each passing day, certain very valuable attitudes that they possessed, cherished, and encouraged are simply lost as part of the country’s culture. There are no more Mr. Smiths going to Washington today. Nor would they be admired if they existed. Americans traded in I Love Lucy, Jimmy Stewart, An Affair to Remember, and The Partridge Family for Grindr, Tinder, porn, and Caitlyn Jenner. It is sad – and it further underscores just how much the past is often another country.
Instead of fighting the Nazis, Americans now go murder masses of the poorest of the poor in the Middle East and Africa. Or they supply the arms and oversight for other client monsters to do the job. Or they bomb entire countries to pieces with not a thought for the suffering and destruction they inflict on defenseless populations who cannot escape.
And most of the American population supports this. They have as much concern for other people as the Germans did while gazing at the boarded trains taking those unfortunate Jews to their extermination. The threat from Stalin during “Cold War I” gave Americans the justification to commit any barbarity under the guise of fighting the particularly monstrous version of totalitarian communism that Stalin’s USSR represented. Once that fight largely disappeared, American barbarity increasingly came to the fore, naked. So new excuses needed to be created to canvass popular support. Little irrelevant groups conveniently labeled “terrorists” were presented, through a flick of a wand, to the American people as the threat that replaced the USSR communist bogeyman and who were seeking to destroy their glorious system, their way of life, their freedom – even their very lives. And here is where this circus takes on a surreal turn. While Americans will continue to scapegoat their problems on “terrorists” and “illegal immigrants” – no matter how much they murder and bomb other peoples, and no matter how much of a militarized, police state they become, with encircling walls set up along every inch of every border, they cannot stop the gradual implosion of their system, because it is there where the rot lies.
And another nice comment below left on TAC by Cosimano, that nicely finishes my own commentary above:
American ethics have always been subjective. Other than a sort of general agreement that it was not good to steal or murder everything else has always been open for discussion.
Religion was a nice veneer but it never really mattered all that much. People made up their minds and then found the appropriate Bible verse to support them. Not the other way around.
Why do I ask? Today I came across an intriguing news article saying French authorities had finally made public archives from their shameful and evil WWII Nazi collaboration.
Why intriguing? Because the article was in English on the Daily Express’s site*, and when I searched for the news in French, thinking I’d find at least a dozen articles, there were none. Is the news old or is the French media going to stifle it? I don’t know. I found it odd.
But the search led me to this interesting interview with Robert Paxton, a historian that specializes in the Vichy era/government. Apparently some archives had been opened earlier. Also, note that the access is quite restricted to certified scholars, the general public can’t access anything. Peons are not entitled.
And then, in reading some articles written by Paxton, I came upon the one below, which is partially paid access only. So I didn’t read it all.
But it provided one more bit of data that was particularly intriguing to me, since it was news to me: Which countries in the West deported the most Jews to the camps – proportionally speaking? He slightly veers into the answer, while reviewing a book on France:
It’s called “the French paradox.” On the one hand the Germans, with the assistance of the actively anti-Semitic Vichy government and of a certain number of actively anti-Semitic French citizens, deported a shocking number of the Jews living in France between 1940 and 1944 to their deaths. On the other hand, the proportion of Jews deported from France was much smaller than that deported from the Netherlands, Belgium, or Norway. Is it not curious that among the Nazi-dominated countries of Western Europe the country reputedly most anti-Semitic had one of the highest survival rates? In that region only Denmark and Italy lost a lower proportion of their Jewish population.
About a quarter of the Jews who were living in France between 1942, when the deportations began, and 1944 were murdered. Double that proportion—roughly half—of the Jews living in Belgium and Norway during the same period were killed. The loss in the Netherlands was a catastrophic 73 percent.
I wonder why some of these countries mentioned, that no one normally thinks of as monstrously Nazi, performed such a high level of persecution of Jews. No time to go find out the answer now.
REVEALED: France’s SECRET links to the Nazi Holocaust
FILES detailing French collaboration in the murder of 76,000 Jews were made public for the first time yesterday after being locked away since the end of the Second World War.
This is a fantastic article: Nazi Germany’s War On Terrorism
Excellent recap of how Hitler manipulated people using the idea of “terrorism” and, of course, through the vivid fear it engendered.
This article was written on 05/30/03, twelve years ago! And here were are, having to re-live every single step of what Hitler did.
I’ve been reading and watching way too many things to post anything here. Ah, where to begin. I’ve been in shock in the last few days, ever since the Paris attacks because I realized the extent of my naiveté in thinking that I lived in anything that could be called a democracy. So this is what living in Germany at the time of the Reichstag fire was like. And it’s moving fast. Europe and the US are no longer democracies. (And it didn’t just happen yesterday, but my illusion was lingering, painful as it is to realize that we are to live in the same world of 75 years ago).
I’m very distressed to understand that the problem are the proxy wars. Instead of Russia, the US, France, the UK, and the Saudis bombing each other, they are bombing “the poorest of the poorest”, including masses of civilians, which includes, even worse, always a large number of children. No solidarity from the West to all the murdered and terrorized and maimed children in Africa and the Middle East, whether the killings come from these noxious “coalitions” of mass murder governments, or the so-called terrorists. When you think about it, any of the following governments: the US, Russia, France, UK, and the Saudis are just terrorists with much more means – both in arms and in resources. And what a propaganda machine! So oiled, so shameless.
I had always thought part of the reason Hitler et al had been able to come to power around 1930 was that ‘it was a different era then’, ‘people were more stupid’, they had ‘more stupidifying education’, they had less access to information, society’s culture was more dumbed down.
Alas, nothing has changed. We live in a world with masses of morons who gladly give their support to today’s Hitlers. What then must we do? That’s what I’ve been thinking.
And I’ve had the displeasure to spend this last week focusing on thoughts about war itself, and several of the concrete wars that are currently going on. One thought out of many – why are people in the West so shocked about beheadings? It’s one person killing another. Whereas a jet dropping dozens of bombs is one (or a couple of people) killing a huge pile of human beings and injuring so many others. I haven’t heard of the fighters beheading children. What are children being killed with in these wars? Modern arms. Really, who are the barbarians? While all groups use modern arms, the people who have killed the most civilians in Africa and the Middle East are the usual culprits: the US, the UK, France, Russia, and now more recently, they were joined by the Saudis, with their massacres in Yemen.
The Russians arming Assad, who used chemical weapons on people. The US and Saudis arming the Islamic State, which is now being attacked from various sides. And it’s millions of people forced to live in the hell these powers create that pay the most cruel price. It’s disgusting.
Below some good links to read – I won’t even bother to post the title first on some, because it will take too much time:
Putin hasn’t changed, but suddenly the West’s short-termist rhetoric has softened
Great idea for an article, even if it’s very superficial and brief, from The Guardian:
Canaan • 740 BC
When Assyrian rulers conquered the land of ancient Israel, 10 of the legendary 12 tribes were expelled from these lands. How many there were, and where they ended up remains a subject of highly contentious historical and religious debate.
Edict of Fontainebleau
France • 1685
When Louis XIV of France issued an edict that meant the Huguenots risked state persecution if they practised their Protestant faith freely, he created one of the first recognised displacements of a people across nation states. Their exact number isn’t known, but historians estimate that around 200,000 fled their homes over the next 20 years, around a quarter of them coming to England and the rest settling in the Netherlands, Germany, especially Prussia, Switzerland, Scandinavia, and Russia.
Ottoman Empire • 1783
In the space of 150 years, 5 to 7 million Muslims arrived from other countries in what is today Turkey. From the 750,000 Bulgarians who left during the Russo-Turkish war (about a quarter of whom died on the way) to the 15,000 Turkish-Cypriots who left the island after it was leased to Great Britain – Turkey experienced a radical transformation as Muslims from Caucasus, Crimea, Crete, Greece, Romania and Yugoslavia arrived. Their descendants remain there, accounting for one in three people in Turkey today.
Russia • 1881
The assassination of Tsar Alexander II in 1881 unleashed a wave of brutal anti-Jewish sentiment in Russia. A weak economy and an irresponsible press that encouraged the notion of the Jew as the enemy resulted in rioting and widespread attacks on Jewish homes that were to last three years. Almost two decades later, latent prejudice was revealed again when Jews once again found themselves the subject of attack, this time a much bloodier one that left thousands dead. Their treatment prompted a mass exodus of some 2 million Jews towards the UK, US and elsewhere in Europe.
World War I
Europe • 1914
World War I marked a rupture in Europe’s recent experience of refugees. During the German invasion of Belgium, massacres of thousands of civilians and the destruction of buildings led to an exodus of more than a million people. Almost a quarter of them came to England, where the British government had offered “victims of war the hospitality of the British nation”. Most Belgian refugees returned to Belgium at the end of World War I despite having having been able to assimilate smoothly in the UK.
Belgium was not the only refugee crisis to emerge from World War I. After Austria-Hungary declared war on, and subsequently invaded Serbia, tens of thousands of Serbians were forced to leave their homes.
Some of the largest atrocities committed during and after World War I were directed at the Armenians. The population of 2 million was decimated by what was later recognised as the first genocide of the 20th century. Systematic persecution under the Ottoman empire meant that half of that population were dead by 1918 and hundreds of thousands were homeless and stateless refugees. Today, the Armenian diaspora is around 5 million in number, while there are just 3.3 million in what is today the republic of Armenia.
World War II
Europe • 1945
The historic movements of people during the first world war would pale in comparison some 27 years later when World War II broke out. By the time it ended, there would be more than 40 million refugees in Europe alone. The scale of the disaster was such that international law and international organisations tasked to deal with refugees were urgently created and quickly evolved to become the foundation that is still relied upon today.
Even before the war’s end, thousands of Germans began to flee Eastern Europe. Most of those that remained were forcibly removed. In Czechoslovakia, more than 2 million were dumped over the country’s border. In Poland, Germans were rounded up before being removed by authorities. In Romania, around 400,000 Germans left their homes while Yugoslavia was virtually emptied of its 500,000-strong German community.
Palestine • 1948
Nowhere are numbers on refugees more contentious than the 1948 Palestinian exodus. An attack by a Zionist military group on an Arab village realised the Palestinians’ worst fears and combined with Zionist expulsion orders, military advances, virtually non-existent Palestinian leadership and unwillingness to live under Jewish control on their homeland. The result was a mass exodus of around 80% of Arabs on the land that was to become Israel. Later absentees property law in Israel would prevent the return of those Arabs. Nakba, meaning “catastrophe” is commemorated on 15 May each year. The UN set up a special agency, UNRWA, to deal with the enormous numbers of refugees requiring assistance that now number around 5 million.
Idi Amin’s Order
Uganda • 1972
President Amin’s announcement was covered in the British press, though its consequences were underestimated Photograph: Guardian archive 7 Aug 1972
In August 1972, General Idi Amin, then military ruler of Uganda, accused Asians resident in the country of being “bloodsuckers” and gave them 90 days to leave the country. Since Amin seized power in a military coup in 1971, he had increasingly spread propaganda about the country’s minorities, focusing on the Indian and Pakistani communities. Many of them had lived in the country for more than 100 years.
Of the approximately 90,000 Asians who were expelled, around 50,000 came to the UK. A small proportion went to India and some of the Indian Muslim community left for Canada. This wealthy group, which had a large stake in Uganda’s economy, had all of their assets confiscated, bank accounts closed, jewellery stolen. The 5,000-6,000 companies belonging to Uganda’s Asians were reallocated among government bodies and individuals.
There remain around 12,000 Indians in Uganda today.
Afghanistan • 1979
Afghanistan could be said to have had a refugee “crisis” as far back as 1979 when the Soviet Union occupied the country, sending as many as 5 million fleeing. The largest group ended up in Pakistan (they and their descendants number more than 1.5 million today). Repatriation rates have increased over the past decade.
Since 1990 the number of refugees each year has not fallen below 2 million as the chart below showing refugees originating from Afghanistan demonstrates – a sizeable fraction of the country’s 34 million people.
Those who return do so to face a changed country. From knowing where mines are to understanding what their legal rights are, many former refugees may feel alien in what was once their homes.
Balkans • 1992
The Guardian describes a “10-mile convoy of 200 buses and some 1,000 other vehicles” attempting to escape Sarajevo. Image: Guardian, 19 May 1992
The Bosnian war of 1992-1995 left 200,000 dead and forced 2.7 million more to flee – making it the largest displacement of people in Europe since the second world war. Half of Bosnia’s entire population were displaced. Tens of thousands were taken in by western nations, chief among them the US and Germany. Hundreds of thousands of Serbs were also displaced by the Yugoslav wars – an estimated 700,000 sought refuge in Serbia.
Throughout the Balkans more than 2.5 million people have returned home. But more than two decades on, the UN is still attempting to provide 620,000 refugees and internally displaced people in the region with the assistance they need.
Great Lakes Refugee Crisis
Rwanda • 1994
Genocide is defined as “the act of committing certain crimes, including the killing of members of the group or causing serious physical or mental harm to “members of the group with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, racial or religious group, as such”
In the aftermath of the genocidal mass slaughter in 1994 of more than 500,000 Tutsis by Hutus in Rwanda, there was a mass exodus of more than 2 million people from the country to neighbouring countries. Many settled in massive camps containing tens of thousands of people where mortality rates were exceptionally high. The camps became increasingly militarised and contributed to the escalation of further conflict in the region.
War in Darfur
Sudan • 2003
When war broke out in the Darfur region of Sudan, it brought with it the deaths of 200,000 and the mass displacement of more than 2.5 million people from their homes. Innovations in helped to show why they left – more than 3,300 villages had been destroyed by 2009.
Today, more than 2.6 million IDPs remain in Darfur while more than 250,000 are living in refugee camps in Chad alone.
Iraq • 2003
Refugees have been a humanitarian issue for Iraq since its war with Iran in the 1980s, but the 2003 invasion resulted in a huge increase in their number. The UN estimates that today 4.7 million Iraqis have left their homes (around 1 in 6 Iraqis), more than 2 million of whom left the country altogether. Most settled in neighbouring Jordan, Lebanon and Syria, living without the protection of refugee laws in those countries and, in the case of Syria, facing renewed violence. As a result, some have started to return to Iraq and have been joined by Syrians attempting to escape the same conflict.
One of the least reported major refugee crises in the world, Colombia has witnessed millions leaving their homes – but they do not count as refugees because they have not crossed an international boundary. Colombia’s low-level conflict started in the 60s and over the decades, the UN estimates that almost 4 million have left their homes, almost 10% of the population. Only 400,000 of these have been able to leave the country, and the migration crisis has not attracted the attention of the international community that many argue it warrants.
Bogotá authorities estimate that some 52 displaced families arrive in the capital city (population 7 million) every day from different regions of the country, part of the approximately 3 million displaced people around Colombia caused by almost half century of conflict.
Syrian civil war
Syria • 2011
What started as protests not unlike those that had been seen in other Arab countries has degenerated into a civil war stalemate. To find out more about how many Syrians have become refugees and read Syrians’ own stories of their displacement, follow the link to our special reports.
Though it’s the latest chapter in history’s biggest refugee movements, it is unlikely to be the last.
William Dalton says (in a comment at TAC):
September 22, 2015 at 3:04 am
“Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote, “The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market.” But is this true? A decade after his beer hall putsch failed in Munich, Adolf Hitler’s Nazi party won the largest number of Germans ever to vote in a democratic election. He had succeeded in the marketplace of ideas. Did that democratic ratification make Hitler’s ideas true?”
Pat Buchanan knows history well enough to know that Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Party had not won a plurality of seats in the Reichstag, nor had President Hindenburg been convinced to appoint him Chancellor of Germany, because Hitler had “succeeded in the marketplace of ideas”. A majority of Germans considered Hitler’s ideas to be ridiculous, even when they gave his party a victory. They did so because, in a country in which, under the Weimar Constitution, it had proven impossible to elect a moderate government which could maintain the peace and suppress radical militia roaming the streets, and faced with a choice of government led by either Nazis or Communists, a plurality chose, and a majority approved, the party they saw to be the lesser evil.
It is not far distant from the choice Americans currently have, between a party representing warmongers eager to institute a police state for the protection of “national security” and a party dedicated to instituting a welfare state guaranteeing each citizen, and non-citizen, all the necessities of life, governed by coalition of sexual libertines and worshipers of Baal and Ashtoreth. When either one or the other gets elected, it won’t be because they have been successful in selling their wares in America’s “marketplace of ideas”. It will be because they have succeeded in scaring the bejeezus out of Americans at the prospect of again empowering the alternative.
I would add that the choice today is different. First because, for practical purposes, the US has not one, but two major neocon parties – the only difference is that one is slightly a bit more neocon than the other.
Obama and Clinton did not dismantle the military/industrial complex – nor had any intent or demand from their constituents to do so. Clinton played golf at times during the Rwandan genocide was happening – a testament to just what monsters liberals are. US arm sales that spread death and destruction to millions of civilians worldwide continues unabated – and receives robust support from liberals and Democrat voters. And there is probably no difference between Hillary and Bush regarding war and imperialism, while there may have been a very small one between Bush and Bill.
Seven years into the Obama administration and the Patriot Act police state is just as much implanted as when Bush went to clamor for its existence. In a little Twitter feud this week, a liberal shot back that the maintenance by Obama and all the Dems of the Patriot Act and the current US police state is Bush’s fault, since Bush started it.
These people actually vote and in their crazy minds, only Republicans are neocons, no matter how much both are exactly for the same kind of things. It’s no consolation, but at least Republicans don’t engage in this level of 1984-ish twisting of reality about themselves. I always find people who lie on such barbaric levels disturbing – specially since it’s collective and involving millions of people.
In the minds of Democrats, the fact that they can point their fingers at Republicans for doing the same thing they do entitles them to absolve themselves of all responsibility regarding the evil they are and do. They are the American version of “Eichmann in Jerusalem”, the responsibility for every neocon act of a liberal lies with Bush/Republicans and they never acknowledge anything they do is actually their own doing.
Lastly, Dalton above fails to mention that the welfare liberal state is a state full of sexual violence and is currently implementing the destruction of fundamental civil rights, like freedom of speech and the right to an ethical society in the sphere of personal relationships, so it certainly does not provide “the basic necessities” citizens need.
What Americans can choose from are two very corrupt political parties, one which is particularly insane for not admitting its neocon attitudes and doings (the Democrats) and the other one which is a little bit more straightforward, while being just as destructive for most practical purposes.
This is “democracy” in the 21st century. Much like Rome a couple of millennia ago.
In this review by Cesarani, I found a bit more explanation of the complicated problem Fritz Bauer and others were up against in attempting to try the participants in the Nazi Holocaust machine. https://muse.jhu.edu/journals/utq/summary/v076/76.1cesarani.html
As Cesarani explains:
The trial of twenty men accused of aiding and abetting murder while serving as guards or kapos in Auschwitz that took place in Frankfurt between December 1963 and August 1965 was a pivotal moment in the process by which West Germans became aware of the crimes committed by the Third Reich. It was given saturation coverage by the media and made it impossible for West Germans to deny knowledge of the atrocities perpetrated by the Nazis.
[This is what is so amazing for someone who was not living at that time to understand. As I mentioned in my earlier post about the movie “Labyrinth of Lies”, it’s just mind-blowing to think that the public largely ignored what happened before that regarding the Nazi extermination system, the camps, the tortures, etc! I can understand better now why the fictional character in the movie is completely surprised when he first hears that Auschwitz was an extermination camp – and why the director+other writer decided to create the character and the story this way.]
However, as Rebecca Wittmann shows, this knowledge was partial and peculiar. It would take decades before Germans came to terms with the extent of popular complicity in racism, atrocity, and genocide during the Third Reich. This was not due to malice in the judiciary or any desire to avoid the truth. Rather, it was the strange result of punctiliously observing legal niceties.
The Auschwitz trial was conducted under the 1871 criminal code. The prosecution did not want to charge the defendants with perpetrating genocide or crimes against humanity because that would have meant invoking retrospective legislation, something that was anathema following Nazi manipulation of the law.
[What a terrible dilemma. It seems to me, had the prosecution tried the genocide trial route, that would have meant failure from the start. At the same time, having to use a legal framework from 1871 (!) completely hampered their efforts and goals.]
But this fastidiousness created numerous dilemmas. Owing to the statute of limitation the defendants had to be charged with murder.
[As an aside note, the notion of statute of limitations for serious crimes is often counter to justice.]
To convict on a count of committing or abetting murder, the prosecution had to attain a high threshold of evidence and, crucially, had to prove ‘base motives.’ If the defendants could convince the court that they were just obeying orders, which meant that they had no motive other than doing what they were told to do, they could be acquitted. So, ironically, the more they were obedient Nazis the less they were at risk of conviction.
Use of the old criminal code created an even worse distortion that warped public understanding of Nazi perpetrators. In order to show that the defendants acted from ‘base motives’ the prosecution had to demonstrate that they showed initiative and exceeded orders. To do this the prosecution invoked the regulations that pertained in the concentration camps and brought forward witnesses, such as the SS judge Konrad Morgan, who investigated alleged ‘excesses.’ This technique inadvertently established the standard brutality of the camps as an acceptable norm. Furthermore, to clinch a conviction the prosecution sought to show that the defendants acted sadistically. In several cases there was plenty of such evidence, but it had unintended consequences.
The West German public became convinced that Nazi perpetrators were not ordinary folk like them, but murderous sociopaths.
[What a convenient way to think! Especially when you are living in a country infested with Nazis, most of whom have been awarded total impunity for every kind of monstrous crime, including genocide.]
Other SS men, even if they were part of the machinery of mass murder, seemed like decent chaps doing their duty. Any sign of compassion or inconsistency could moderate the view taken of a defendant and few men were consistently violent or murderous. Because the prosecution focused on individual instances of vicious behaviour, the daily business of genocide receded into the background. The torture apparatus developed by one of the defendants made more of an impression on the public than the gas chambers.
Fritz Bauer, the attorney-general of the state of Hesse, who had pressed for the trial, hoped that it would expose the systemic racism, quotidian brutality, and genocide practised by Nazi Germany. He was thwarted because, ironically, the law itself militated against the effects he wanted to obtain. Wittmann remarks that ‘in the courtroom, the Holocaust faded almost entirely into the background, as excessive, unauthorized brutality was emphasized by the judges and prosecution.’ Even the worst offenders received relatively mild sentences that bore no relation to their role in a death factory that murdered over one million people. Indeed, the more Nazified they were the more lenient the court had to be because this, rather than personal, venal motives, explained their errant behaviour.
Wittmann’s study is a fine blend of political, cultural, and legal history, drawing on a deep knowledge of the Nazi era and the genocide against the Jews. Although in places her narrative is a trifle repetitive, she writes clearly and elegantly. Her account of the trial’s impact may seem perfunctory compared to the space devoted to exegesis of the proceedings, but this is a minor quibble over what will surely be regarded as a landmark study of a landmark trial.
I just saw the movie “Labyrinth of Lies” / Im Labyrinth des Schweigens / Le Labyrinthe du silence. Universal Pictures.
“Labyrinth of Lies” – post-war Germany’s dilemma over Nazi past – http://www.euronews.com/2015/05/15/labyrinth-of-lies-post-war-germany-s-dilemma-over-nazi-past/
This is a must-see movie. It’s a mixture of fact and fiction, revolving around the circumstances and one man’s determination that led to the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials. … A story that exposes the conspiracy of prominent German institutions and government branches to cover up the crimes of Nazis during World War II.”
I found the movie excellent, but was extremely puzzled about some of the director’s choices. As some others have inquired, why not make a movie about Bauer, where Bauer is the main character, given that he is the protagonist making the Trials happen in reality? Bauer’s life would make a very interesting movie. (16 July 1903 – 1 July 1968 – Bauer was a German judge and prosecutor, who played an essential role in starting the Frankfurt Auschwitz Trials.)
Yet in “Labyrinth of Lies”, he is a relatively minor character and the hero position is given to the young, handsome fictional prosecutor of the movie, “Johann Radmann”, played by Alexander Fehling. I read one interview of the director, Giulio Ricciarelli, kind of touching upon the reason why he chose this, and while, as I said, I found the movie very good, I feel it is a sort of injustice to Bauer.
So what we need now is a movie about Bauer. I found this documentary exclusively on Bauer, but it’s in German, and it’s a documentary: Fritz Bauer – Tod auf Raten / Death By Instalments, by Ilona Ziok. http://www.fritz-bauer-film.de/en/index.htm
Given that I don’t know much about European history, as I started watching the film, I was completely puzzled and confused, to the point of not understanding the story. How could it be that in the beginning of the 60s, you have a whole slew of German public prosecutors, their secretaries, and other “normal” professionals that had never heard of Auschwitz and its primordial extermination function? How was this even remotely possible? Hadn’t the whole world heard of Auschwitz, the Nazis, the Holocaust, 20 years after it happened? I couldn’t understand. And yet, it appears this is true. But I still haven’t had time to read more about it to understand exactly what happened to the flow of information. I had always thought that after the Nuremberg Trials “everyone” knew. And not to give away much of the film, the scene where Radmann goes to the American military archive center in Germany, and the American chief there just shows him into the archive with the thousands of files on the Nazis, that the Americans are just sitting on, without doing anything whatsoever, it’s just mind-blowing!
from wiki: Fritz Bauer was born in Stuttgart, Kingdom of Württemberg, German Empire to Jewish parents. After receiving his Doctorate of Laws degree (youngest Jur.Dr. ever in Germany), Bauer became an assessor judge in the Stuttgart local district court. By 1920, he had already joined the Social Democratic Party. In the early 1930s, Bauer was, together with Kurt Schumacher, one of the leaders of the local Reichsbanner chapter in Stuttgart. In May 1933, a plan to organize a General Strike in the Stuttgart region against the Nazis failed, and Schumacher and Bauer were arrested with others, and taken to Heuberg concentration camp. Whereas the much more prominent and older Schumacher (a crippled veteran of World War One), who had been a fierce and prominent opponent of the Nazis as SPD deputy in the Reichstag, stayed in concentration camps until May 1945 (which completely destroyed his health, the charismatic SPD leader died in 1952), the young and largely unknown Bauer was released, which probably spared him from becoming a victim of the Shoah. A short time later Bauer was dismissed from his civil service position.
In 1935, Bauer emigrated to Denmark and then to Sweden (1943) after the former was occupied by German troops during the Second World War. In Sweden, Bauer founded, along with Willy Brandt, the periodical Sozialistische Tribüne (Socialist Tribune). Bauer returned to Germany in 1949, as the postwar Federal Republic was being established, and once more entered civil service in the justice system. At first he became director of the district courts, and later the equivalent of District Attorney in Braunschweig. In 1956, he was appointed to office as the District Attorney in Hessen, based in Frankfurt a. M. Bauer held this position until his death in 1968.
Bauer was active in the ongoing postwar efforts to obtain justice and compensation for victims of the Nazi regime. In 1958, he succeeded in getting a class action lawsuit certified, consolidating numerous individual claims in the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials, the proceedings of which opened in 1963. He was also instrumental in the intelligence that he relayed to the Mossad in 1957 that allowed Adolf Eichmann to be captured. From 1957-1960 Fritz Bauer was instrumental in tracking Eichmann down in Argentina and bringing him to trial in Israel.
Fritz Bauer’s work contributed to the building of a democratic justice system in Germany, as well as to the consistent, lawful prosecution of Nazi injustices and the reform of the criminal law and penal systems. Without Bauer’s persistent involvement, the Auschwitz trials in Frankfurt might never have come to fruition.
Then there is the question of Bauer’s death, which happened in suspicious circumstances – he died in his bathtub. According to the findings of the investigating authorities, he had allegedly committed suicide using sedatives. http://de.metapedia.org/wiki/Bauer,_Fritz
Suicide – now isn’t that a very odd thing to do if you have committed your entire life to bringing Nazis to justice and are in the midst of preparing a new, major trial? I remember reading his death was actually never investigated, but I can’t find the reference.
Another reference: “Bauer was found dead in his apartment on June 30, 1968. He was busy preparing a new trial against euthanasia crimes of the National Socialist era. ” http://geopolis.francetvinfo.fr/fritz-bauer-le-heros-meconnu-du-film-allemand-le-labyrinthe-du-silence-60475
What I think the movie made me realize like never before is summarized in this Canadian CBC article: “Auschwitz convictions have been few and far between” – About 6,500 SS personnel are estimated to have worked at the Nazis’ most infamous concentration camp, but few have ever faced trial for their roles at Auschwitz. …
The scant number of people brought to justice for being part of Nazi death machinery has been called “an ongoing scandal of postwar history. Only 49 SS guards from Auschwitz have been convicted in German courts. …
1st Auschwitz trial – Forty senior SS officials who worked at Auschwitz were put on trial in late 1947 at Krakow, Poland, with all but one convicted and more than half put to death. …
Frankfurt Auschwitz trials – Twenty-two lower-level SS were charged and 18 found guilty. Sentences ranged from life to five years in prison.”
Indeed, what stands out is just how few Nazis were ever tried. Talk about impunity and an entire system of absolute injustice.
[Added later:] Wiki gives a larger overall number – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frankfurt_Auschwitz_trials:
The Frankfurt Auschwitz trials, known in German as der Auschwitz-Prozess, or der zweite Auschwitz-Prozess, (the “second Auschwitz trial”) was a series of trials running from 20 December 1963 to 19 August 1965, charging 22 defendants under German criminal law for their roles in the Holocaust as mid- to lower-level officials in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death and concentration camp complex.
Overall, only 789 individuals of the approximately 6,500 surviving SS personnel who served at Auschwitz and its sub-camps were ever tried, of which 750 received sentences. Unlike the first trial in Poland held almost two decades earlier, the trials in Frankfurt were not based on the legal definition of crimes against humanity as recognized by international law, but according to the state laws of the Federal Republic.
More about the problem of Germany’s impunity mentality here: Buscher on Fritz Bauer Institut and Wojak and Meinl, ‘Im Labyrinth der Schuld: Täter – Opfer – Ankläger’ – https://networks.h-net.org/node/35008/reviews/43980/buscher-fritz-bauer-institut-and-wojak-and-meinl-im-labyrinth-der
From the link above:
Although the topics of the essays vary considerably, several themes emerge. Perhaps the most important is the notion that determined individuals can change the course of history. Fritz Bauer was one such individual. Irmtrud Wojak portrays him as an official who was too progressive for his time. However, although he confronted a public mood focused on drawing the final line under the Nazi past as well as the continued integration of Nazi perpetrators and fellow-travellers in West German society, Bauer was by no means discouraged. Dedicated to the construction of a free and democratic Germany, he decided to challenge this “heavy mortgage” (p. 19). Wojak and several other contributors, including Michael Greve, Langbein, and Duex, leave no doubt that there would not have been a Frankfurt Auschwitz trial without Bauer’s initiative.
The Generalstaatsanwalt was not interested in a normal proceeding, though. To be sure, he wanted to see justice done, but he saw the trial’s main function as educating the public about the utterly criminal purpose and nature of Auschwitz (p. 324). But Bauer was disappointed with the results. In 1965 the court convicted only seven defendants of murder and sentenced six to life. Three were found not guilty, and the remainder was convicted of the less serious charge of aiding and abetting murder. Similarly, the trial’s educational potential remained largely unfulfilled during the few remaining years of Bauer’s life. Certainly, as Greve rightly asserts, neither Bauer’s colleagues in the judiciary nor West German legislators felt a great urge to conduct “a thorough prosecution of [Nazi] crimes” throughout the 1960s and thereafter (p. 59).”
In addition, this system of injustice was largely fomented by the US as well, with its priority then being the Cold War. Trying Nazis got in the way of the agenda for fighting the Cold War.
More here: The Auschwitz Files: Why the Last SS Guards Will Go Unpunished – http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/the-german-judiciary-failed-approach-to-auschwitz-and-holocaust-a-988082.html
If you will be in Germany in May/June 2015, lots of great events to attend at the Fritz Bauer Institute: http://www.fritz-bauer-institut.de/
Lastly, there is this explosive claim from Haaretz http://www.haaretz.com/weekend/magazine/.premium-1.553006: “Secret life of the German judge who brought the Mossad to Eichmann
Much mystery surrounds the life of Fritz Bauer, the German-Jewish judge who told Israel where Adolf Eichmann was hiding. A new biography sheds light on Bauer – who hid the fact that he was Jewish and possibly homosexual.”
Since now every single (as in non-married) person in history is thought to have had a deformed homosexual mind, “without any doubt!” say liberals while stomping their feet, who knows. I didn’t read the Haaretz article because it’s paid. One thing is for sure, no liberal today wants to know how many millions of Germans and other Europeans were closeted homosexuals or bisexuals and staunchly supported the Nazis or participated in Nazi crimes. You never hear about those, do you? And if you search and search, you will only find very rare mentions.
Just like bringing Nazi criminals to justice could not get in the way of Cold War tactics, reality must not get in the way of the Narrative.
[Added Sept 18] I saw a mention somewhere, didn’t note source though, that apparently many years earlier Bauer had been identified as trying to pick up a male homosexual prostitute. So maybe he was a Perv.
If you haven’t seen the three movies below on the Battle of Stalingrad, the battle that turned WWII around, you really are missing something. I would start with this very good documentary with several interviews with survivors from both sides – free on youtube: Stalingrad – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o0NSXHwPl68 (By the way, there are several other documentaries on the Stalingrad battle on youtube – this is another good one: Line Of Fire Stalingrad)
Then, you can watch “Enemy at the Gates” 2001 – a good, but very Hollywood, glossy version of the snipers in the conflict. It’s very well written, the characters are great, plenty of drama and suspense, but it’s too embellished. The main character (Jude Law as handsome as can be) is somewhat based on a real Russian sniper, and the central idea of the movie, the duel between the best German and Russian snipers, as well. But most other characters and events are fictional, even though they represent many of the feelings and experiences of real people. Of course, not included in the fictional content are major war events and people, like Stalin, which are real. In any case, despite these issues, it’s a good film for what it sets out to be – but this doesn’t mean it is what a movie about Stalingrad should be.
Before you get to the best movie of all times about Stalingrad (at least that I know of!), you can watch, if you have nothing better to do one day, a reasonably lousy one, just as a way to think about how a war and Stalingrad movie should not be done. Ridiculous story, characters, events, and reactions abound in Stalingrad (2013), directed by Fedor Bondarchuk. A sappy, ridiculous pastiche introductory sequence sets the movie on its way of mostly bad story writing. Many of the lackluster characters have such stupid incoherent minds and personalities. There is so much that doesn’t make sense in this movie that I kept wondering if I had misunderstood many things that were said, given how much they lacked sense! In fact, I think this group of four movies would be great material in a film production class. Show the films where they did things well and compare with this nonsense.
Lastly, we come to the best. Interestingly enough, it’s a German production way back from 1991, also called Stalingrad, directed by Joseph Vilsmaier. It is one of the greatest fictional movies about WWII. I think every adult should see this movie to understand the horror of war.
Today, when most people in the West are sitting comfortably in their living rooms while wars rage in far away places, many in Africa, often deployed to fulfill the greedy and corrupt interests of the West, sustained by its official Western merchants of death, the various military industries that are left to ravage the world unbridled, this movie should be shown every year, like they do with those Xmas and New Year’s Eve classics – I’d add the documentary above for education about the context. This German “Stalingrad” is brilliantly written, has greatly built characters, directing, and acting. It is not an “action” movie – these grotesque movies that present violence to be considered entertaining. This movie is about the truth.