Sunday, November 30, 2003
Ghosts of Occupation Past -- Three Occupation Reports
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Back to work on Monday and back to blogging today.
This editorial from the New York Times nicely summarizes the conventional wisdom in early January 1946.
THREE OCCUPATION REPORTS
New York Times; Jan 6, 1946; pg. E8
A failure! Confirmed by "virtually every newspaper dispatch"!
Thankfully, the Russians are doing well....
Wednesday, November 26, 2003
Ghosts of Occupation Past -- Thanksgiving.
I know I said that I will post these article in chronological order, but it's Thanksgiving, and I wanted to post a nice Thanksgiving article in honor of all our GIs.
Thank you for keeping us safe and the world free.
DAY'S TASKS OCCUPY AMERICANS ABROAD
New York Times; Nov 29, 1946; pg. 33
Thanksgivnig is my favorite holiday. This year, I give thanks for three things:
1. For my baby boy
2. For my wife
3. For my adopted home, America
Happy Turkey Day!
Sunday, November 23, 2003
The Left’s Bile
The response to my post about Germany’s lack of atomic weapons took me by surprise. A snarky comparison, meant to be lighthearted, brought out the savagery of the Left. I’ve never had such spiteful remarks in my comments section. And it’s not like I’ve shied away from controversial topics before. One piece, entitled “Occupy Iraq!” (which was a controversial idea when written in September 2002), was linked to by the lefty blog “What Really Happened.” On that occasion, I received much hateful e-mail (comments were not enabled then), but nothing like the vitriol that I received in response to the Marshall post.
Honestly, I never meant the post to be very controversial. In the process of my research on the occupation of Germany, I ran into this article. I though it was interesting – there we some parallels to the discussion regarding Saddam’s WMD. I tried to be humorous. In case you were wondering, I don’t really think that Hitler’s Germany was a “Co-operative” or that FDR was controlled by an Anglican cabal (fyi, it’s called sarcasm). No, I wasn’t implicating Marshall – anyone with any knowledge of history knows that the fog of war is always strategic and that it’s next to impossible to peer into closed societies like Hitler’s or Saddam’s.
I was shocked by the response to the article, however. I don’t mind the insults – that comes with the blogging territory. But the sheer hatred of my critics did take me by surprise. I got some intelligent comments (e.g. questioning if our attack on Hitler was pre-emptive), but the bulk of the response was pure attack. That got me thinking -- I obviously pushed some Lefty buttons, but what were they? What made them act so defensively?
Psychologically, the far Left is like a cult. They are fanatics whose goal of a “Heaven on Earth” is just as unrealistic as the those of an Aryan Reich. Like any other cult, they feel that they are the sole recipients of pure wisdom and goodness and those who disagree with them are either stupid or evil. They build mythologies that reinforce these perceptions. I believe that in the Marshall post I inadvertently questioned one of these mythologies.
To the Left, WWII was the last “good” war. Its morality was clear cut – one side was purely good and the other was purely evil. One of the ways that the Left psychologically reinforces their standing on the “good” side is by drawing parallels between themselves and WWII’s Allies. Even more powerfully, they view those that disagree with them as evil by drawing a connection to the Axis. The “Bush = Hitler” meme which fuels the Left’s righteousness depends on this relationship.
This seems to be a powerful mythology, and I think that my crime was in questioning on which side of the divide the modern Left lies. Evidence that the modern Left is more like the Western Nazi supporters would undermine their self image as avatars of goodness. Imagine if you viewed yourself as a righteous paladin battling a moral monstrosity – now imagine realizing that you are the monstrosity. More importantly, the realization would take away the “reasons” for the anger that you so greatly savor. I believe that this realization caused the highly defensive response to my post.
So what did I say? I inadvertently questioned the “legality” of America’s entry into WWII. Why would that be important? With the benefit of hindsight, we know that the purpose of the war was good – so what if a few people fibbed to get us involved? Knowing what we know today – would it matter morally if we simply attacked Hitler with no provocation? Say he never declared war on us, what would have been the moral thing to do? To attack seems to be the easy answer, but not to the modern Left. Why?
In drawing the psychological line to their WWII heroes, the only connection that remains is the supposed purity of America’s entry into the war. On all other counts, their rhetoric lays with the Western supporters of Hitler. Let’s face it, America fought the war to liberate Europe – pure and simple. The moral basis for this was enunciated by FDR in his famous “Four Freedoms” speech.
(Some argue that Hitler presented a greater threat to American security than Saddam. To me, the idea that Hitler with his troops occupying vast Russia, would still be able to conquer Britain and turn his troops on conquest of America, with his second rate fleet defeating ours presented a greater threat to American security than an openly hostile tyrant in the terrorist and ICBM age is at best debatable.)
The Iraq war was a war of liberation – there can be no denial that Saddam’s regime was extremely brutal. One estimate is that the country contains 300,000 dead in mass graves. Saddam used weapons of mass destruction against his enemies, foreign and domestic, and had an extensive system of torture chambers. On a purely moral basis, there was no difference between Saddam and Hitler. The moral analogy between WWII and Iraq argues in favor of the hawks. This should not be surprising – the Left does not even bother to make serious liberation arguments against the war now.
The only arguments against the war are “legalistic” – we acted unilaterally, we did not get the approval of the UN, the given reasons for the war were not true, etc. None of which have any bearing on the morality of liberation. Hence, the remaining connection between the modern Left and the good side of WWII is its “legal” purity. If WWII was shown to have been started illegally, then any similarities between the Iraq anti-war types and WWII allies would cease to exist.
And that’s exactly what my post did – it questioned the purity of WWII. While I was being lighthearted, to the Left my post was tragically serious – I was questioning their self-image. In effect, my post was stating that today’s anti-war types were morally identical to the American Nazi party that rallied in support of Hitler. Worse, it showed that there is no distinction between Bush and the Allied heroes of WWII.
Saturday, November 22, 2003
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- 2 fer...
Continuing our journey into the past...
There have been many discussions about the decision to hold elections in Iraq. I found this interesting article in the archives:
GERMAN ELECTION SET IN TOWNS OF U.S. ZONE
New York Times; Dec 19, 1945; pg. 5
Yes, I know they are just local elections, but I did not realize how quickly they were held.
The next article is in honor of Walter Duranty keeping his Pulitzer Prize. It seems like the Times had (has?) a soft spot in it heart for Stalin and his empire. A page one report from the Russian side of Germany:
Russians Spread Efficiency And Communism in Germany
By GLADWIN HILL By Cable to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
New York Times; Dec 27, 1945; pg. 1
Friday, November 21, 2003
Marshall lied... Update
Wow! Judging by the comments, I really hit a nerve among Saddam supporters with my last post! What was meant as light-hearted fare really brought out the bile in our "humanitarians".
I don't think I could change the minds of those for whom only Vietnam is an appropriate comparison, but I would like to address the most rational criticism of my post -- was our attack against Hitler unprovoked?
Yes, Hitler declared war on America. But what does that entail?
In this case, the German Foreign Minister handed a piece of paper to our Charge d'Affairs, that essentially said "We are at war." And then we were at war.
Does this technicality override all the other considerations? Would the war have been illegitimate if that piece of paper never existed? If Hitler never declared war, would we have stayed out of Europe? Should we have? And, is that piece of paper the difference between Hitler and Saddam?
Saddam attacked his neighbors, practiced genocide and oppressed his own people, but hey -- no piece of paper! He tried to assassinate a former US President, violated the terms of his peace treaty and supported terrorists overseas, but hey -- no piece of paper! He even called for a jihad against the US, but hey -- it was on paper but never officially handed to an American bureaucrat !
If you folks think that the piece of paper legitimized WWII and makes the liberation of Iraq illegitimate, then your moral compass has a needle missing.
Besides, to expect an Middle Easter potentate to act in a European fashion (by officially declaring war) is very Orientalist -- and that's bad, right?
And another thing, does anyone on the left have a sense of humor?
Thursday, November 20, 2003
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- Marshall lied...
While researching the Allied occupation of Germany, I discovered a shocking truth -- WWII was illegitimate! You see, Germany had no atomic weapons program even though the US government insisted that it did.
GERMANS DECLARED FAR BEHIND ON BOMB
The New York Times, 1945
New York Times; Dec 7, 1945; pg. 4
For emphasis, let me repeat a paragraph from the story:
"Chairman McMahon, Democrat, of Connecticut, suggested that General George C. Marshall, former Chief of Staff, had been wrong in speaking of a race between Germany and the Allies in developing the weapon. Dr. Goudsmit said apparently we knew as little about Germany's progress as they did about ours."
I know, I stretching here -- WMD was not a reason that the US attacked Germany. But by today's sensibilities -- nothing else that Hitler did would have mattered. After all, Hitler never attacked the US. Our war against him was pre-emptive. If we use today's standards, his aggression against his neighbors, his genocide or even his abuse of his own people would not have mattered. And he had no WMD to boot! Are we left with any reasons that justified fighting Hitler that are not passé today?
So when we look back at WWII we should remember how savagely the so-called "Greatest Generation" attacked, without provocation, the harmonious people of the German Co-operative ("Reich" is such a loaded term), whose utopia stretched all the way from Brittany to Bergen-Belsen.
PS I hear it was all due to an Anglican cabal in FDR's cabinet...
There are some problems with my jpgs. They are based on my att.net server and it has been weird today (that's as technical as I get).
UPDATE: It's working now...
Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- "Germans Declare Americans Hated"
I know this is becoming a recurring theme, but here one more:
GERMANS DECLARE AMERICANS HATED
By KATHLEEN McLAUGHLIN By Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
New York Times; Dec 3, 1945; pg. 6
Yes, we were making improvements, but even there we could do no right,
"Even though they voiced generaa approval of the restoration of amusements, the Germans classed as "American Trash" such Hollywood efforts as "Lady Eve" and "Here Comes Mister Jordan" the report pointed out."
OK, the next post is going to be a good one.....
Monday, November 17, 2003
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- "Loss of Victory"
Sometimes, from the fog of hindsight it seems that all history was pre-ordained and that participants decisively followed their fated paths. Not true.
The past is rife with indecision and self-examination. The actions that now seem straight forward, looked confusing and fragile to the contemporaries. Remember this the next time you hear a about the failure to have a plan....
LOSS OF VICTORY IN GERMANY THROUGH U.S. POLICY FEARED
By John H. Crider Special to THE NEW YORK TIMES
New York Times; Nov. 18, 1945; pg. 1
Interestingly enough, the article continues by listing several options that can be undertaken. Today, it is unnecessary to give an alternative -- all you need to do is criticize.
Thursday, November 13, 2003
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- random postings...
First -- clearing up one thing. The goal of the "Ghosts" series is not to establish the facts of the post-war German occupation, but to discuss the press coverage of it. The occupation of Germany went well in the long run (at least up to last year), yet the early reports suggested that the sky was falling.
The only point I would like to make is that its too early to tell what the future holds in Iraq and that pessimistic press coverage does not necessarily lead to a negative outcome.
Second, in addition to posting articles about the German occupation, I would also like to add a few others amusing clippings that I found amusing while doing my research.
The first is from the "Yeah, right" category. But since this is the NY Times, let's call it the Duranty school of journalism.
RUSSIA ALSO EAGER TO QUIT GERMANY
By RAYMOND DANIELL By Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
New York Times; Nov 7, 1945; pg. 10
Stalin is laughing in his grave...
Here is another from the "some things never change" series...
AMERICANS LEAVE DISLIKE IN FRANCE
By DANA ADAMS SCHMIDT By Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
New York Times; Nov 12, 1945; pg. 5
and they're still holding a grudge!
A blogger goes to Iraq...
Gavin is planning a trip to Iraq. He is looking for advice and support. Take a look.
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- "Germans Reveal Hate of Americans"
Keeping the momentum rolling...
Another dispatch from the Times' man in Germany.
GERMANS REVEAL HATE OF AMERICANS
By DREW MIDDLETON By Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
The New York Times; Oct 31, 1945; pg. 12
The last paragraph sounds pretty familiar...
And so does this: "The local organizations that have sprung up during October are similar in their objectives which are to annoy and, and when possible, attack the Americans and sabotage the efforts of German officials working with them." Too bad the term "quagmire" was not in vogue in 1945.
Stay tuned -- more to come....
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- the trouble brews...
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- "We can lose the peace"
Wednesday, November 12, 2003
1. I have a ton more of these and I'll be posting them in chronological order.
2. For all of those making comments about American deaths in occupied Germany, have you stopped to consider the fact that 407,316 Americans died in WWII at a rate of 220 a day? Do you also realize how few German men of fighting age were around at the time -- given both the Eastern and Western fronts? Think, people!
UPDATE: Thanks to Andrew as well. I've been away from a computer all day and only now catching up with my usual reading.
Monday, November 10, 2003
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- the trouble brews...
Last week I published an article from the NY Times entitled "We can lose the peace." No, it was not about Iraq, but about Germany. Today, I continue with a series of articles from the Times covering the German occupation. I will post them in chronological order, and these are early in the occupation -- you can see the negativity start to set in....
AMERICANS' CLASHES WITH GERMANS CROW
By Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
New York Times; Oct 10, 1945; pg. 7
It goes on to note that there are rumors that "a gang of Germans attacked and mutilated three American soldiers."
The next article shows how early fascination with the perceptions of the occupied can be misleading.
REICH GIRLS WANT RETURN OF NAZISM
By DREW MIDDLETON By Wireless to THE NEW YORK TIMES.
New York Times; Oct 22, 1945; pg. 3
In case you were wondering, the focus on German girls is due to their, er, close contact with American GIs. The article goes on to say that the views of the girls were beginning to influence the GIs themselves.
"Three times in the last week American soldiers remarked casually that perhaps Hitler had not been so bad for Germans after all..."
Some of the girls refused to believe that Hitler was dead: "One of them told a friend of mine, a young sergeant, that 'he will return again, you Americans will see.'"
Please also remember the name of the reporter, Drew Middleton -- his reports will become increasingly alarmist and shrill.
Tuesday, November 04, 2003
Ghosts of Occupations Past -- "We can lose the peace"
Inspired by the Life magazine from Jessica's Well and the Saturday Evening Post posted by Instapundit, I went off to the library. The New York Public Library has a database of New York Times articles dating form 1857.
In the span of an hour, I found many articles dating from late 1945 and 1946 about the occupation of Germany. They were uniformly pessimistic. I would like to post them here. Due to copyrights, I will only post excerpts.
WE CAN LOSE THE PEACE
New York Times; Sep 25, 1945; pg. 21
Can you imagine the Times giving this advice today?
Monday, November 03, 2003
Underreported story of the day....
From today's Wash Post: "Seized Intelligence Files Spur U.S. Investigations"
BAGHDAD, Nov. 2 -- The CIA has seized an extensive cache of files from the former Iraqi Intelligence Service that is spurring U.S. investigations of weapons procurement networks and agents of influence who took money from the government of Saddam Hussein, according to U.S. officials familiar with the records.
The Iraqi files are "almost as much as the Stasi files," said a senior U.S. official, referring to the vast archives of the former East German intelligence service seized after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
The records would stretch 91/2 miles if laid end to end, the officials said. They contain not only the names of nearly every Iraqi intelligence officer, but also the names of their paid foreign agents, written agent reports, evaluations of agent credentials, and documentary evidence of payments made to buy influence in the Arab world and elsewhere, the officials said.
The officials declined to name individuals who they believe received funds or to name the home countries of the alleged recipients. One official said the recipients held high-ranking positions and worked both in Arab countries and in other regions. A second official said the payments were the subjects of "active investigations" by U.S. government agencies.
The recipients of the Iraqi funds were described by U.S. officials not as formal intelligence agents, but as prominent personalities and political figures who accepted money from Iraq as they defended Hussein publicly or pressed his causes.
Can't wait to see the results.