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How The Hell Does Someone This Ignorant Do So Well?

I've said many times that I'm a bit of a World War II buff. I'm no scholar or expert, but I do think that I know a bit more than the average person about the topic. And though I have focused more on the Pacific part of the war, I do have a good familiarity with the general nature of the war -- its causes, origins, general developments, resolutions, and consequences.

For example, Nazi Germany was defeated by a broad coalition of allied nations, but three nations were "more equal than others" in the effort: the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, and the United States. (In the order in which they entered the war against Germany.)

The United Kingdom declared war on Germany after the Nazis invaded Poland, honoring a mutual defense treaty.

The Soviet Union declared war on Germany after the Germans turned on their erstwhile allies and invaded the Soviet Union.

And the United States declared war on Germany after Germany declared war on the US in the immediate aftermath of the Pearl Harbor attack.

In essence, the motives of the Allies boil down to "we're going to stop you from conquering Europe," "you're not going to conquer us," and "you want a piece of us? Bring it on!"

That, I thought, was fairly common knowledge. It's no great secret, not some confusing, obscure aspect of history. One doesn't have to be much of a genius to know and remember that.

Why do I bring this up? Because apparently it IS a great mystery, a lost bit of historical lore from some of those who have some very, very impressive academic credentials.

There are those who think that one of the primary causes of World War II -- at least, in the efforts to defeat Nazi Germany -- was the Holocaust.

One guy, who holds a Bachelor's in Political Science and International Relations from Columbia University, a degree from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude), and a former professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago Law School, seems to think that "stopping the Holocaust" was one of the major motivating factors in World War II.

I refer, of course, to Senator Barack Obama.

Speaking at Israel's Holocaust Museum, Obama said:

"I am always taken back to sort of the core question of humanity that the Holocaust raises. That is, on the one hand, man's great capacity for evil, and on the other hand, our ability to come together to stop evil."

The vast majority of people simply didn't know about the Holocaust. Some high-placed leaders in allied governments did know about it, in considerable detail, but kept those details to themselves and didn't make "stopping the Holocaust" a priority war goal.

So, why would Senator Obama attempt to say that stopping the Holocaust was a unifying element in fighting World War II?

Here's a radical notion: he was in Israel, and he wanted to suck up to American Jews.

And if he has to rewrite history, to ascribe specific moral principles to actions taken by leaders and nations over 60 years ago that simply didn't exist, well, that's all just part of The New Politics, the kind of "change (of history) we can believe in."

As Meryl Yourish (who was the first person I saw to catch this) said so eloquently, "bullshit."


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Comments (29)

every time i see stuff like... (Below threshold)
1903A3:

every time i see stuff like this,i am reminded of a beer hall in munich.not to good!

That should be Barry's bump... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

That should be Barry's bumper stick. "Obama in 08-Bullshit". ww

He will say or do anythi... (Below threshold)
Clay:

He will say or do anything. His philosophy seems to be that in order to write the future, one must be prepared to revise the past.

This is the change for which we have hoped? May God help us if it is.

Excuse me, but I have a que... (Below threshold)
wolfwalker:

Excuse me, but I have a question. Can someone provide a fuller context for the quoted bit? I can see at least three possible meanings for what the Snob said, and only one of them carries the implication you've noted.

1) he meant what you think he meant, that the Holocaust was one of the motives for WW2

2) he was talking about the failure of nations of that time to stop the Holocaust -- making it a negative comment on our [in]ability to unite to stop such things. Half the tragedy of the Holocaust is that the German people did nothing to stop it.

3) he was talking about the necessity for mankind to unite to ensure that nothing like the Holocaust ever happens again.

He gets heckled at the wall... (Below threshold)

He gets heckled at the wall:
http://www.breitbart.tv/?p=137543

I don't think this is a goo... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:

I don't think this is a good example of Obama's ignorance. Many regular Wizbang commenters, myself included, have taken liberals to task over their reading comprehension when they try to get away with making negative claims about Bush by misinterpreting something he said or wrote. It doesn't do conservatives any good to imitate the poor reading comprehension common among liberals. Besides, Obama is making more than enough gaffs and his no drill, no nuke position on energy will kill him come election day.

By the way, high gas prices will help McCain now that he's seen the light and supports both domestic drilling and Nuclear power. I'm doing my part, I'm going back to my wasteful driving habits at least until election day.

So here's how I parse Obama's statement. Look at the first sentence "I am always taken back to sort of the core question of humanity that the Holocaust raises." In this sentence Obama changes the subject for what will follow from the "Holocaust" itself to the "core question of humanity". Thus, the second sentence is not about the Holocaust or even about WW2, but rather it's about the generic "core question of humanity". Sorry, but there's no gaff in there.

It would be wise to drop this specific issue and go back to wasteful driving habits, at least until election day. Gas at $5 a gallon would guarantee a big loss for the party associated with the failed no drill, no nukes policies of the past.

Why politicians have photo-... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Why politicians have photo-ops pretending to practice a religion they don't ascribe to is baffling. I see it more as pandering. But that's just me.

As far as the quote goes, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt as he did say the Holocaust raised a "core question" of humanity. It sounded more like a general statement.

Mac beat me to it :) I was ... (Below threshold)
Oyster:

Mac beat me to it :) I was busy watching the video that Double posted while Mac was typing.

Ok, MacLorry - I'll grant f... (Below threshold)

Ok, MacLorry - I'll grant for you that there is not gaff there if you can successfully reconcile this statement with his position on Iraq:

"Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama said Thursday the United States cannot use its military to solve humanitarian problems and that preventing a potential genocide in Iraq isn't a good enough reason to keep U.S. forces there..." (http://www.opinionjournal.com/best/?id=110010363#obama)

The man simply talks out of both sides of his mouth. He will say anything abd believes nothing. Clinton did the same thing, he just had roughly twice the IQ of this idiot...

No fan of Obama am I, but t... (Below threshold)
jim2:

No fan of Obama am I, but the original poster appears to me to have taken a very narrow interpretation of what Obama said that you (Jay) adopted.

That is, it would be hard to assert that the Holocaust raises questions concerning "man's great capacity for evil".

It would also be hard to assert that the Allied effort in WWII did not demonstrate man's "ability to come together to stop evil".

I would expect the Obama camp and speechwriters to argue simply that the Allies were fighting the same "evil" that was behind the Holocaust. Since Hitler has gotten the rap as responsible for both the Holocaust and WWII, this seems not an unreasonable argument.

In other words, the "core question of humanity that the Holocaust raises" language was just fuzzy enough and the location/timing was just perfect enough that many in politics would shrug shoulders at this complaint. That is, I suspect that a great many politicos have made more weakly supportable supported assertions in speeches tailored to the audience and locale du jour.

Ack! Left out a "not" phra... (Below threshold)
jim2:

Ack! Left out a "not" phrasing!

Was supposed to be:

That is, it would be hard to assert that the Holocaust DOES NOT raise questions concerning "man's great capacity for evil".

Ok, MacLorry - I'l... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
Ok, MacLorry - I'll grant for you that there is not gaff there if you can successfully reconcile this statement with his position on Iraq:

There's no sense in conservatives losing credibility by claiming a meaning in Obama's Holocaust statement that simply is not in there. Let's keep our powered dry so that we can be effective on real issues, such as the one you bring up, which is the inconsistency between Obama's Holocaust statement and his position on Iraq.

A couple of points.<p... (Below threshold)

A couple of points.

The US did not declare war on Germany. Germany declared war on the United States. At that time Nazi Germany had not attacked the US.

The USSR did not declare war on its ally Germany. Germany attacked the USSR.

Churchill said in the House of Commons, on 13 May, 1940: "What is our policy?... To wage war against a monstrous tyranny, never surpassed in the dark, lamentable catalogue of human crime."

Neither the USSR nor the USA look the opportunity to come together to "fight evil" at that point.

Though Churchill knew what was happening. So I would suggest that Jat Tea is on to something.

The USA went to war with Germany as an ally of the UK. It was not motivated by any particular to fight evil.

Stalin and his regime was at least as evil as Hitler. So again, it was not motivated by any particular antipathy to evil. It was motivated by the oldest od reason: self-survival.

Well, whether or not the U.... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Well, whether or not the U.S. was fighting evil, there were a bunch of other people doing so, starting with the Spanish civil war of the 30s. There were people in the U.S., U.K., and likely every other free country who opposed fascism--many of who where communists and anarchists.

The extent and results of t... (Below threshold)
Scrapiron:

The extent and results of the Holocaust only became known to the world 'after' the successful invasion of Germany.
Dimocrats believe their own revised history and many try to downplay the Holocaust.

Jews voting for a democrat is like a chicken voting for Col Sanders.

"Change" here means revisin... (Below threshold)

"Change" here means revising history in a "new direction".

...because someone twenty t... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

...because someone twenty times more ignorant is running against him.

..and, by the way Scrapiron... (Below threshold)
Hansel2:

..and, by the way Scrapiron, who was in office when we successfully invaded Germany? A DEMOCRAT!

Your train of logic is getting worse than McCain's.

It was motivated b... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
It was motivated by the oldest od reason: self-survival.

And you don't think someone threatening the survival of others is evil?

Rather than mentioning nations, Obama uses the generic term "man's" as in mankind or the more politically correct humankind. The accuracy of Obama's statement as to motive is not even relevant. It's clear that the second sentence in Obama's statement, as quoted by Jay, is generic rather than about the Holocaust or WW2. Thus, there's no gaff about any nation's motive nor the timeline of the Holocaust or WW2.

The last thing conservatives need is a weak attack on Obama that undermines our credibility rather than Obama's. Remember "Don't fire until you see the whites of their eyes" - Colonel William Prescott at the Battle of Bunker Hill - June 17, 1775

"and, by the way Scrapiron,... (Below threshold)

"and, by the way Scrapiron, who was in office when we successfully invaded Germany? A DEMOCRAT!"

No. It was a conservative called Winston Churchill. You may have heard of him.

"and likely every other fre... (Below threshold)

"and likely every other free country who opposed fascism--many of who where communists and anarchists.

14. Posted by hyperbolist"

Err, no.

Though I have no real interest in whether murdering communists "opposed" the National Socialists. They ended up allies.

As for "anarchists." Didn't one of them start WW1 which led to the slaughter of millions in Flanders?

As a historical fact, "Communism" has killed far more people than its totalitarian cousin "fascism." Though what's a few million corpses between friends.

American and Italian and Fr... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

American and Italian and French and Spanish and British communists opposed the fascists, Jack. They were misguided, sure, but they were better people than the cartoonish monacle-wearing fat-cats in the U.S. who were content to watch Europe burn for three years.

I have no time for communism--it's horribly inefficient and it's difficult for individuals to flourish in a society that places no value on individualism--but the way Stalin practised it was antithetical to anything Marx or Lenin ever wrote. Lenin was certain that Stalin was not the man to lead the nation, as a matter of fact.

As for your understanding of pre-Great War geopolitics, if you think it can be reduced to 'Anarchist murders rich prick, starts war!', then why would I bother speaking to you about the subject? Germany was itching for a fight. Kaiser Willhelm was more responsible for the conflict than any other leader, though one can argue that with so much dick shaking going on between so many great powers, something of that scale was bound to happen. While modern day anarchists are typically spoiled white teenagers or students, in the earlier part of the 20th century they were integral to many progressive political achievements. Good people.

Dimocrats believe their ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Dimocrats believe their own revised history and many try to downplay the Holocaust.

Anybody else think that Scrapiron is a DU troll or something to that effect, who posts here to try and make every other conservative look like a complete fucking idiot by association?

I hate to say it, but Mac i... (Below threshold)
max:

I hate to say it, but Mac is right. Arguments like this will never gain traction and only make you look petty and spiteful. This is Cassy material.

Funny hb, I've been thinking the same thing for the last couple weeks. He just reads like parody.

FWIW, I think the media narrative for this election is pretty much written. McCain is the lovable old grampa who everybody respects but nobody wants in a position of power, and Obama is the new hotness who is just plain irresistable. Not necessarily right or wrong, that's just the way it is. I think we can all agree that the media in this country is just plain broken.

When the news is driven by ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

When the news is driven by advertising dollars, it's bound to be pretty bad, but it's gotten to the point of absurdity. Disconnected my cable a while ago and have never looked back. (Will reconnect once the NBA is back in session.)

Mac Lorry has been right all thread, max. He often is, in spite of which side of the bed he wakes up on. :)

Have a good weekend. Off to drink beer and float around on a pontoon boat with my girlfriend at my uncle's cottage for three days. Curse this damnable socialist dystopia!

That's right hb, the only b... (Below threshold)
max:

That's right hb, the only bias the media has is for money. And yup, Mac's pretty sharp. A little obstinate sometimes, but who isn't?


Mmmm, beer.

on NBC news this evening th... (Below threshold)
Tejanodiablo:

on NBC news this evening they had a big story about McCain's gaffs but nary a word about obambi's ..

While modern day a... (Below threshold)
While modern day anarchists are typically spoiled white teenagers or students, in the earlier part of the 20th century they were integral to many progressive political achievements. Good people.

Totalitarian thugs ain't "good people" and this statement makes it obvious how warped hyperbolist's perspective is. Most who style themselves as "progressive" have a highly romanticized view of the history of communist movements in the 20th century and their fairy tale has little, if any, resemblance to reality.

The worst he has said about communism is that it is "horribly inefficient." Apparently the fact that it is responsible for the wholesale slaughter of hundreds of millions of people is something he considers so trivial so as to be not worth mentioning.

Anarchists are "totalitaria... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Anarchists are "totalitarians"? Whatever. I didn't defend communism. I explained how it's a bad idea in principle; we all know how bad it was in practice. You should be more judicious when reading what other people have to say.




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