>> Friday, May 03, 2013
Via Think Progress:
JEFFREY Roobin [sic]: “This country fought Adolf Hitler. And I don’t really believe that Osama bin Laden and his group are worse or more dangerous than Adolf Hitler...We managed to defeat Adolf Hitler by following the rule of law.”
ARI FLEISCHER: They [the Germans] followed the law of war. They wore uniforms and they fought us on battlefields. These people are fundamentally, totally by design different. And they need to be treated in a different extrajudicial system.
So... Ari Fleischer thinks the Nazis, who rearmed in direct contravention of their post-WWI treaties and staged an international incident in order to illegally invade Poland followed the laws of war because they wore uniforms (including, I guess, Polish ones), and Jeffrey Toobin thinks we managed to defeat Hitler because we followed the rule of law and not by resorting to any means necessary to thwart global evil, including terrorizing civilian populations and, subsequent to Hitler's demise, conducting a show trial in which defendants were explicitly denied a basic right central to American law, the right not to be tried for an offense ex post facto.
I'm not trying to draw a false equivalency here: I think Nazism justified pretty much anything necessary to permanently erase it from the face of the Earth, however unpretty and awful it might be. I just don't think we need to sugarcoat it, either: the Allied bombing campaign was a coordinated campaign of vicious violence against (mostly) noncombatants (however necessary and justifiable I personally think it was), and the ironic main difference between the war crimes trials that would have been held for the planners and conductors of the Allied air war and the war crimes trials held at Nuremberg is that nobody officially recognized genocide as a crime at the time the Nazis were butchering innocents, but the bombing of civilian centers was a self-evident violation of the Hague Convention Of 1907.
The real point of all of this is that the main thing I learn from the above exchange is that I'm not missing a goddamn thing by not having cable. These people simply have no idea what they're talking about. And it demonstrates yet again that WWII--or really the World War altogether, if you consider (as some historians do) WWI and WWII to be one long military conflagration interrupted by a two-decade armistice--is an exceptional case that doesn't scale or compare well to anything else that's ever happened before or since. The villains were unlike anything that's quite been seen in the history of mankind, and the heroes had to do a lot of things that nobody should be proud of (and more than a few things they really didn't have to do that nobody should be proud of). We certainly didn't defeat fascism by following any rules but the ones we had to make up as we went along, anyway, but then Al-Qaeda and its ilk have absolutely nothing in common with marauding state fascism (if that isn't a redundant expression) or any other kind of fascism (if there is any other kind of fascism), no matter how often Ari Fleischer and his ilk use the moronic neologism "Islamofascism" to characterize criminal gangs of religious extremists.
I know what Fleischer and Toobin are up to with their fatuous analogies--hell, I even approve of what Toobin's up to, thinking that torture is illegal, immoral and fatally counterproductive and that the inmates at Gitmo ought to be tried or released because, you know, habeas corpus and rule of law and all that other happy horseshit we purportedly believe in that's supposed to raise us above assholes on the evolutionary scale. Nevertheless, they should both shut up. Not because they aren't entitled to express themselves... no, wait: they aren't entitled to express themselves; I mean, they are as a matter of general principles because free speech and all that other happy horseshit we purportedly believe in that further raises us above assholes on the evolutionary scale; but. But there's no benefit to anyone in high-profile idiots with a public platform totally blowing out the signal-to-noise ratio because they don't know what the fuck they're talking about but get paid to keep talking so CNN has something to broadcast 24-7. Facile, inaccurate and intellectually dishonest blather is evidence we're reverting to assholes on the evolutionary scale, or, worse yet, talking heads babbling is a selective pressure driving us back to the primordial latrines we emerged from.