"The Banality of Evil": Hussein and Eichmann on Trial

News Abroad

Ms. Barnouw is Professor of German and Comparative Literature, University of Southern California, and author of Visible Spaces: Hannah Arendt and the German Jewish Experience, John Hopkins (1990). She lives in Del Mar, California. Her latest book is The War in the Empty Air: Victims, Perpetrators, And Postwar Germans.

As Saddam Hussein 's execution may be getting closer, the bloody chaos in Iraq is still getting worse and the flaws of his first trial have been getting more attention.1 It is not surprising that critics have been pointing to a "demonization" of the defendant since, from its beginning, the second Bush administration has been obsessed with the "Evil" of Saddam Hussein as a potent continuation of "Nazi Evil." Trying to sell the American public his decision to take the "war on terror" into oil-rich Iraq, the president talked a great deal about this "unspeakable Evil," with or without evidence of WMDs. During the first Gulf war, his father had complained that Hussein was worse than Hitler and, fearing a hellish mess and minding his relatively sober advisors, refrained from invading Baghdad. The comparison irritated Jewish leaders for whom Hitler could not but be absolute "Evil," but the pragmatic older Bush had referred to Hussein's evil acts of aggression in a particular historical situation. To go after something as abstract but potentially incendiary as "Evil" did not suit his, in hindsight, not so bad Realpolitik.

Fudging the distinction between evil acts and "Evil" is one of the reasons for the flaws of the Hussein trial. It was the same for the Eichmann trial almost half a century ago and the term "banality of evil," the provocative subtitle of Hannah Arendt' s report on that trial for the New Yorker, points precisely to this problem. A German-Jewish political thinker and a refugee from the Hitler regime, she would have celebrated her hundredth birthday just about the time of the verdict in the first Hussein trial: death by hanging. She would probably have agreed with the punishment but would have had reservations about the trial's success in documenting and defining his guilt -- as she had in the case of the Eichmann trial. The connection between the trials does not end here since "Nazi Evil" has been an important polarizing motor in both of them. One of Arendt's first observations in her new country was that here one could be an American and a Jew, namely that different cultural and religious traditions did not have to mean different social values and political divisiveness. And yet, Eichmann in Jerusalem, the book Americans today associate most with her name, caused a storm of furious objections in the early Sixties. Almost half a century later, Arendt is still persona non-grata for a majority of American Jews and Israelis.

The term "banality of evil" has lived on and over the decades lost its provocative sting. It is commonly used in connection with particularly bad, evil crimes that may be hard to understand and even harder to judge fairly but are still in the everyday realm of history and politics, not in the realm of absolute "Evil." No matter how horrible, these acts have been committed by mere mortals like the mass murderers Saddam Hussein and Eichmann. Stripped of their power, they are easily disposable and put to death, if that suits the new people in power. In Hussein's case, though, the situation is more complicated and divisive because the reasons for the U.S. invasion of Iraq have been so muddled and the legitimacy of the court that sentenced him questionable -- as was that of the court that sentenced Eichmann in Jerusalem. Among other things, the secular court that tried Hussein was under political pressure to honor the American president's declared conviction that Hussein's execution will stabilize the new Iraq since it will demonstrate the absolute victory of Good, in the guise of Iraqi democracy, over Evil, represented by Hussein's totalitarian rule.2

In cases of dramatic regime change, new regimes have historically demonstrated their legitimacy by the public humiliation and execution of their old opponents, a particularly graphic example being the French Revolution with its avalanche of rolling heads. But in many observers' view, Hussein's trial has taken the new U.S. supported Iraqi regime's desire for legitimacy to a higher level by not only humiliating but also "demonizing" the defendant. This was also for Arendt the core problem of the Eichmann trial: its contemptible, less-than-human defendant had become an allegory for super-human, incomprehensible “Nazi Evil.” Meant to affirm the legitimacy of Jewish statehood, the globally radio- and telecast political show-trial was focused exclusively on unique Jewish suffering and the absolute "Evil" of anti-Semitism. As it was summed up in a 1966 B' nai B'rith-sponsored study "by recalling the barbaric mass murders engineered by Eichmann and his associates, the trial would recall to the world the demonic nature of Nazism in particular and anti-Semitism in general." Invoking the power of "demonic" Nazi Evil in the stories of its victims enacted on the stage of the world, the trial showed Jewish suffering; the Nazi regime's crime was the persecution of the Jewish people. There was no need for the Eichmann's trial to develop a more inclusive and differentiating historical perspective on the Nazi regime and Eichmann’s role in it. "Nazi Evil" covered all of it; as would Hussein's "Evil" in his trial.

Arendt's perspective on "Nazi Evil" was universalist: Jews were not the only group to have suffered persecution; among other groups, huge numbers of non-Jewish political opponents, communists and socialists, died in the camps. It was also secularist: the religious concept of Evil had no room, was actually harmful in modern political contexts. Yet, as she learned from her readers' violent objections to her arguments, many of them believed in a profound mystery of "Nazi Evil" where it concerned the mass murder of Jews. In Arendt's view, Eichmann, the "common man and uncommon murderer," had to hang because of his "crimes against humanity," not only against Jews. Though they died in disproportionately large numbers, Jews were one persecuted group among others and shared their history with others. But the great success of the Eichmann trial was based precisely on its single-minded focus on the Jewish catastrophe and in that it contributed considerably to the ever-growing religious-political power of the Holocaust that would detract attention from the horrors of the secular catastrophe of W.W.II. Indeed, invocations of W.W.II as the "good, clean, just war we won" against "Nazi Evil" have increasingly been used to justify unjustifiable U.S. and Israeli wars and war-like interventions in the postwar era, most recently in Iraq.

The events of September 11, 2001 convinced the American president that his divinely approved mission was to stamp out the unspeakable "Evil" of Saddam Hussein and, retroactively Hitler, and spread the Evangelium of American democracy. He believed that Hussein's WMDs existed because they represented "Evil" and Bush was an expert on "Evil." Consequently, and against their constituencies' better instincts, the Democrats let him bomb Iraq.3 On the first day of his first trip abroad, after the premature “fall” of Baghdad in May 2003, Bush visited Auschwitz where he found Nazi gas chambers a “sobering reminder of Evil and the need for people to resist Evil.” On the last day of this trip, he praised the jubilant soldiers in Qatar for their successful invasion of Iraq: "Because of you a great Evil has been ended." References to the hallowed invasion/liberation mission of their grandfathers fighting their way into Germany to stamp out “Nazi Evil,” have become a staple of official pronouncements on the war in Iraq. But the young men and women, high on victory and low on history, would end up paying with their limbs and lives for the explosive ideological division between the pure Good of the American mission and the pure Evil of Saddam Hussein.

The U.S. supported new Iraqi regime put Hussein on trial in Baghdad as a both contemptible and incomprehensibly evil mass murderer, like Eichmann in Jerusalem. There has been little American interest in Iraq's political and social history in the Middle East. But large Islamic populations in this troubled area believe that the "Evil" associated with Hussein is actually America's and Israel's, that it stands for many decades of uninformed and arrogant oppression and that it is not banal. There also has been very little American criticism of the growing political uses of the religious concept of Evil going back to the defeated Nazi regime. These uses have little to do with fighting a misnamed Islamo-Fascist terrorism and a great deal with our super-power habit to see the "Evil" of Anti-Americanism and Anti-Semitism wherever and whenever we are not unconditionally obeyed. Can we afford the uninformed arrogance of "Good vs Evil" while preaching globalization of democracy and scrambling for oil?


The reality of accelerating technological and technocratic globalization has made the world much more complicated and confusing than it was at the time of the Eichmann trial and, not surprisingly, increased the desire to believe in the simplicities of "Good and Evil." In the West, it has not only been the rise of fundamentalist Christianity in reaction to the rise of fundamentalist Islam but also the rise of a culture of individualist "spirituality" that supports such desire. Arendt's A Report on the Banality of Evil--the full subtitle of Eichmann in Jerusalem--is still relevant today because she did not win her secularist battle with the political uses of the concept of Evil; more, her arguments demonstrate that it was not winnable. It was not her failure to define and explain the "nature of Evil" since her book was meant to be a "report," not an "account" of "why things happened as they happened." Her definition of Eichmann's ordinariness, she insisted, was nothing but "a faithful description of a phenomenon" from which all kinds of conclusions could be drawn and of which the "most general" was the "banality of evil." Giving her reasons for not responding to individual attacks on her critique of the Eichmann trial, she asserted that "this whole business, with very few exceptions, has absolutely nothing to do with criticisms or polemics in the normal sense of the word. It is a political campaign, led and guided in all particulars by interest groups and government agencies. . . . The criticism is directed at an "image" and this image has been substituted for the book I wrote."4

Her critics' unanimous demands that she show loving solidarity with her people and embrace the truth and mystery of fated Jewish suffering meant an a priori rejection of any rational, relatively objective analysis of the trial. Responding to the fact of an overwhelming number of uncommonly hostile reviews, Mary McCarthy's review of Eichmann in Jerusalem, "The Hue and Cry," emphasized the importance of Arendt's ability to analyze clearly the flaws of that successful sensationalist political show-trial, an intellectual achievement she found "morally exhilarating:""The reader 'rose above' the terrible material of the trial or was borne aloft to survey it with his intelligence." 5 But the goal and the strategies of the trial had been the opposite, namely to engulf readers or viewers in these” terrible materials" so that they would completely identify with the witnesses who had become their stories of unspeakable horror. The defendant's death sentence would be clear from the beginning because an overwhelmingly powerful "Nazi Evil" was there for all to see and hear in the witnesses' unquestionably true stories: it would leave no room for half-way normal legal protocols of investigation and interrogation.

Arendt, of course, shared McCarthy's belief in the power of intelligence, the readers' and the writer's, and she confessed to her "something I have never admitted, namely that I wrote this book in a curious state of euphoria. And that ever since I did it, I feel--after twenty years [since the war]--light-hearted about the whole matter. Don't tell anybody; is it not proof positive that I have no 'soul'?"6 She was excited about solving the puzzle of Eichmann in her critique of his trial that had failed from the beginning because it "was built on what the Jews had suffered, not what Eichmann had done." The most important of the many irregularities and abnormalities of the trial was the charge itself: the crimes committed against the Jewish people. 7 Jews saw the historical catastrophe of W.W.II not as a recent "unprecedented crime of genocide," but as "the oldest crime they knew and remembered," that is, "exclusively in terms of their own history.”

One of Arendt's central concerns was that the participants in the trial never arrived at "a clear understanding of the actual horror of Auschwitz, which is of a different nature from all the atrocities of the past, because it appeared, to the prosecution and judges alike, as not much more than the most horrible pogrom in Jewish history." 8 The real issue of the Eichmann trial had been for her the question "what kind of a man was the accused and to what extent can our legal system take care of these new criminals who are not ordinary criminals?" 9 An international court, Arendt thought, would not have indicted this "new criminal" for organizing the murder of millions of Jews but for "crimes against mankind committed on the body of the Jewish people."10 But Israel's desire to indict Eichmann exclusively for crimes against the Jewish people, the motivation for their abduction of Eichmann and unconditional rejection of an international court, had made this argument a moot question.

In preparation for the Nuremberg trials, Telford Taylor had introduced the terms "atrocities" and “crimes against humanity” for the "unprecedented crime of genocide." The distinction between “war crimes" and “crimes against humanity” was not clearly drawn at the Nuremberg trials because of the nature of that particular war, the way it was fought on the Eastern front, and of the regime that had fought it. In addition, the extraordinary nature of the “war crimes” and of the "crimes against humanity" had been politically preestablished rather than legally established during the trials. This is also true for Hussein's political show-trial: he will hang for "crimes against humanity" established in the first trial; and for the "genocide" of Kurds in the second trial--if he has not already been executed by then, or died of natural causes. It won't help him that the number of civilians killed by his regime is small in relation to that of civilians killed during the United States's illegal (by international law) invasion and occupation of Iraq; and that the legitimacy of the victor's law might seem somewhat dubious.

Despite having served, for six decades, as the international gold standard for the trial of "war crimes" and "crimes against humanity," the Nuremberg trials have had their fair share of criticism regarding political independence, impartiality and legal procedures. In general, use of the rather unclear but powerfully evocative terms "crimes against humanity" and "genocide" has contributed to a reintroduction, at least metaphorically, of the religious concept of Evil into modern secular legal procedures where they concern truly bad, evil deeds like Eichmann's or Hussein's. Looming larger than life, “crimes against humanity” suggest some unspeakably, mysteriously different badness that tends to obscure the historical context in which a specific crime was committed by a specific person.

Arendt might have had this in mind when she set against the exclusively Jewish focus of the Eichmann trial her notion of a "crime against mankind committed on the body of the Jewish people." Much quoted, this "brilliant" formulation was both too general and too specific to support her arguments against the "demonic nature" of Nazi persecution of Jews and of Antisemitism. Whether she realized that problem or not, she did know that she needed to "understand" Eichmann, the "common man and uncommon murderer," who became for her (and for many of her open-minded readers) something like the original model, the type of the "new criminal." Though "understanding" was one of the key concepts of Arendt's political thought, it did not reach out to that contemptible man's psychological-political identity in its historical context. She would never be interested in the complex, messy, coincidental interdependencies of nature and nurture because she separated so sharply the political from the social sphere. Eichmann was very much a product of the political polarization and chaos of the Weimar Republic and of the political order, as he saw it, created by the Nazi regime, but this is not how she saw him. She pared him down to "the new criminal's" existential inauthenticity, unable to think for himself because of the Nazis' totalitarian political coordination, Gleichschaltung, that had left no support system or frame for independent thinking.

Eichmann, in Arendt's perspective, was uncommonly common, grayness itself, the essence of banality. If his deeds were evil, the man who had committed them was an evil nothing; so was Hussein once he was on the run and in his “spider hole.” In this, Arendt's "understanding" of Eichmann was not so different from that of the people who abducted Eichmann and trapped Hussein and put them on trial to hang them. But Eichmann's deeds were done in a context--the end stage of a total war--that was not banal, even if the banal man was not capable of understanding, not to speak of judging that context. That end stage meant more than being incapable of thinking independently because it had radically changed human beings. In his association with Auschwitz, which for her was "of a different nature from all the atrocities of the past," Eichmann as a hyper-modern version of ideological mass murderer fit neither the religious concept of Evil nor the secular concept of banality. His bad (evil) deeds may indeed have seemed to reflect elements of both in that his ideological (utopianist) motivations could be said to have been semi-religious--which could not be said of Hussein's murderous brutality in the service of clan power.

Arendt touched on this problem when she summed up Eichmann’s dilemma in a lecture: “Eichmann said he recognized that he had participated in what was perhaps one of the greatest crimes in history, but, he insisted, if he had not done so, his conscience would have bothered him at the time. His conscience and morality were working exactly in reverse. This reverse is precisely the moral collapse that took place in Europe.”11 Yet this “reverse” is also the most common inversion of morality in wartime when killing the perceived enemy becomes the greatest cultural value. At the same time, as Arendt seemed to point out herself in her reference to Auschwitz, this end stage of a hyper-modern technological war of heretofore unheard-of dimensions was anew phenomenon. But when she tried to understand the new phenomenon of Eichmann, the uncommon mass murderer of civilians, she did not do so in the context of the new extreme situation in which he had acted. Instead she invoked Nazi totalitarianism in her attempts at a "clear understanding" of the general nature of Eichmann's deeds, an invocation that undermined rather than supported her paradoxical combination of common and extraordinary, the banality of Evil.

Arendt’s achievement in Eichmann in Jerusalem was her insistence on a clearly secular, therefore particular and incomplete understanding of even the worst human deeds instead of generalizing and demonizing them. Presenting Eichmann’s crime as the "banality of evil,” she did emphasize this secularity and readers open to her arguments accepted it and adopted the phrase to fit their individual judgments. Her own judgment of the criminal Eichmann's uncommon commonness, his archetypical "banality,” was ostensibly meant to shed more light on his specific guilt. And yet, it might also have detracted from the terror of that new crossing of the borders of human "morality” that had served to separate civilization from the state of nature.

Arendt’s distinction and then connection between the “common man” and ”uncommon murderer,” his banality and his evil deeds, might actually have encouraged some of her readers to demonize rather than historicize the deeds of Eichmann because it obscured one of the most important insights of her own analysis of Eichmann’s guilt, his new criminality. He had acted in the extraordinary situation of a moral no-man's land where such mass-murder of civilians was common; as was the Allies’ mass-murder of civilians by fire-bombing. Moreover, in this shared no-man’s land at the end stage of that total war, Eichmann became an uncommonly guilty murderer only after Germany’s unconditional surrender; as the Allies becameuncommonly innocent heroes only after their unconditional victory. It was a victory that erased, beyond the shadow of a doubt, all suggestions of Allied war crimes. Despite her secularist, universalist perspective on the trial, Arendt did not, and probably could not, deal with that issue because the horror of Nazi persecutions had been so overwhelming, the Allied victory so absolute, and the narrowly Jewish focus on Eichmann's guilt so persuasive to large audiences. She had enough problems with her readers as it was. The rise of the Jewish Holocaust's cultural und political power in the postwar era, to which Eichmann's trial had contributed considerably, required emotional empathy to the exclusion of sober historical information and rational analysis. And this exclusion has contributed considerably to the many serious political problems caused by this power. The trial of Saddam Hussein as a part of the American invasion of Iraq is one of them.

Related Links

  • Corey Robin: Dragon-Slayers (concerns the use people have made of Arendt's theories)

    1 . There has been much critical commentary on the trial's serious procedural flaws, among others the Human Rights Watch publication on November 20, 2006 of a 97-page analysis of the trial based on many months of courtroom observations and interviews with judges, prosecutors and defense lawyers pointing out crucial problems like failure to disclose important evidence to the defense and violating the defendants' rights to confront witnesses. It also noted that from the beginning of the largely U.S. funded trial, the independence and impartiality of the Iraqi High Tribunal had been seriously compromised by political pressure from the Iraqi government to find against the defendants. The Washington Post (November 20, 2006) quoted Richard Dicker, the director of the International Justice Program at Human Rights Watch: "For justice to be done, the trial has to be fair. There were large, large shortfalls in the fairness." The trial, he said, "certainly fails as a reference point historically for what happened and who was responsible in the way the Nuremberg trials did."

    2 . There is another benefit to the death sentence. The Washington Post reported on November 6, 2006 that "U.S. officials close to the trial said Sunday's outcome vindicated the policy of having courts in individual nations try cases involving war crimes and crimes against humanity. The Bush administration has been a leading opponent of international tribunals, fearing that U.S. soldiers could be tried before them for political reasons." Courts in more easily controlled "individual nations" can be more easily empowered to apply the victor's law that defines who is and who is not a war criminal--certainly not high-ranking U.S. or Israeli officers, regardless of their conduct.

    3 Ironically, the Democrats' massive failure to act responsibly in the spring of 2003 has been richly rewarded: had it not been for their contribution to the terrible human tragedy of the war in Iraq, the senseless death and mutilation of American soldiers and Iraqi civilians, there would not have been such a decisive Democratic victory in the fall of 2006. And the highly negative reactions of Democratic leaders to Jimmy Carter's Palestine: Peace not Apartheid in November 2006, invoking their great friendship with Israel, show that they have not learned anything about the destructive power of money in politics that moved them to let Bush have his gamble in Iraq.

    4 Letter to Mary McCarthy, October 3. Arendt mentions here that she will "write an essay about 'Truth and Politics' which would be an implicit answer." The essay was published in the New Yorker, February 25, 1967.

    5 Partisan Review 31, no.1, Winter 1964.

    6 June 23, 1964; see also her letter to Karl Jaspers (July/August 1962): "Obwohl ich nicht leugnen kann, dass die Eichmanngeschichte mir Spass macht" (though I can’t deny that I am having fun with the Eichmann story).

    7 Hannah Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil (New York: Viking, 1963), 233.

    8 Ibid.

    9 Letter to Mary McCarthy, October .3, 1963.

    10 Eichmann in Jerusalem, 5

    11 Lecture notes quoted in Michael Denneny, “The Privilege of Ourselves,” in: Hannah Arendt: The Recovery of the Public World, ed. Melvyn A. Hill (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1979), 255.

    comments powered by Disqus

    More Comments:

    Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

    While I am not able to either confirm or deny all the assertions made here, the drift of them with regard to the believeablilty of the U.S. Government appears about right to me. It's the same with the "new" Hitlers as it was with the "original" one. They were not, and are not, sweethearts, but they are not and were not what the U.S. Govnerment said (and says) they were.

    Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

    Re: German "evil." (#103182)
    by Arnold Shcherban on December 19, 2006 at 9:28 PM
    Mr Smith,

    ”Allied Powers did commit war crimes during WWII, but this fact
    does not cancel another: the war crimes and crimes against humanity

    Mr. Shcherban: You do not mention WMD, which was at the center of my post. Re the German WMD fraud please see Germar Rudolf for starters http://www.tadp.org/index2.html . I do not believe you are familiar with revisionist arguments or you would not make such a claim. You are not alone. The professorial class, as a class, has chosen to consciousnly evade such texts on (very questionable) “principle.”

    “suffered the most extermination …”? .The “most?”

    ”The most evil person can SOMETIMES tell much greater truth than the most noble and honest one, since absolute characteristics exist just as an abstraction. History and courts know a miriad examples of such occasions.”

    I agree with this observation. But to ignore the “evil” of a mass murderer with whom the Americans allied themselves, suggests a culture (ours) that has not come to grips with its own duplicity.

    See Rudolf as per above, along with Mattogno, Graf, Butz. Thion, Faurisson, Sam Crowell. Meanwhile, Rufdolf himself is in prison for revisionist throught crimes, a fact that the American professorial class, as a class, thinks is rather neat, or at the least does not protest or even talk about it. My suggestion is that the professors have shamed themselves into silence for their fear of the taboo that threatens them if they do talk about it.

    Millions were deliberately killed regardless of how many died in gas chambers (#103197)
    by Peter K. Clarke on December 20, 2006 at 4:18 AM

    You got the last part right, Arnold, but -of various forms of fraud- that one is in a small minority on this website which aims "to present a wide mix of views."

    Mr. Clarke: You refer it appears to the accusation that I am an “anti-Semite.” I have been called an anti-Semite for so many years that it no longer offends me. I found out early on that I can not prove that I am not an anti-Semite. As a matter of fact, anyone who questions the German WMD fraud, or the U.S. alliance with Israel is, ipso facto, an anti-Semite. The charge makes me recall Sam Johnson, who I will paraphrase here: “The charge of anti-Semitism is oftentimes the last refuge of the philo-Semitic bigot.” But—because that charge cannot be proven to be wrong either, I won’t make it.

    Here’s the issue, for me, the issue of EVIL. There is not one wartime-generated document that proves the use of homocidal gas chambers. There are not existing structures that can be proven to have been used for homocidal gassings as part of a “genocide.” If there is such a document, point me to it. If there is such a structure, tell me which. I am willing to be convinved that I am wrong.

    The Germans are accused of using WMD to murder hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of innocent, unarmed civilians. It has not been demonstrated that they did. At the same time, it is acknowledged by all that the Americans and Brits did use WMD (mass air armadas) to murder the core civilian populations, innocent and unarmed, of all the major cities in Germany. The Americans alone murdered hundreds of thousands of innocent, unarmed Japanese civilians in the major cities in Japan using WMD – vast air armadas and nuclear bombs.

    As an American – I don’t know where you guys come from – I find it rather craven to accuse Germans of unique monstrosity for allegedly using WMD to murder innocent, unarmed civilians, while we judge those Americans who did in fact murder innocent, unarmed civilians to be the “greatest generation,” and to tell ourselves that what was monstrous for Germans to do was done by Americans was just fine becamsue it was done for a “greater good.”

    This is a very simple propsition. But it is a cultural, if you will, mind-set that has led directly to one U.S. military intervention after another for the last sixty years, until we now find that our Government has taken us into Iraq, using a second WMD fraud to morally justify the killing, wounding and maiming of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Americans—always for the greater good.

    The German WMD fraud was exploited to create the concepts of the “unique” monstrosity of the Germans, and at the same time the “unique” victimization of the Jews. This double-backed invention has led to the Middle East as it is today. Not alone, but it is at the root of the matter.

    The question of “evil” interests me. I don’t use the word myself, it has an air of religiosity to it. What does interest me is the question of calling the German administration during WWII “evil” for allegedly doing what the Allied administrations did in fact do, and for which we are determined to take no moral responsibility. It is a cultural mind-set that led directly to the invasion of Iraq for a “greater good.” Even while we mourn some 30,000 American casulties in Iraq, we have little and maybe no sympathy for the hundreds of thousands of Iraqis who have been killed and maimed (oftentimes by Iraqis, but it is we ourselves who kicked off the affair).

    We have a deep sense that Americans are more valuable as human beings than “the other.” More valuable than the Iraqis, more valuable than the Vietnamese, more valuable than the Koreans, more valuable than the Palestinians, more valuable than the Germans and the Japanese. Perhaps we will soon find ourselves to be more valuable than the Iranians. No matter what we do to the Iranians, or what the Israelis might do to them on our behalf, it will be argued that it is for a greater good. Ahmadinajad, like Saddam before him, is the new “Hitler.” We can do whatever we want to his people. Afterwards we will speak of their “unique monstrosity.” We will argue, we will understand, that it was for the “greater good.” They will have had WMD. Not 200-300 nuclear warheads like Israel has, but one maybe and that will be good enough for the American administration to do whatever comes to mind.

    To sum up then: while the Germans have plenty on their conscience for their role in WWII and the destruction of Jewish culture in Eastern Europe via huge population transfers, it cannot be demonstrated that they used WMD to murder innocent, urarmed civilians. At the same time, it can be deomonstrated that the Americans did use WMD to murder innocent, unarmed civilians. No one even tries to deny it. It is unutterably shallow for Americans to carry nothing in our conscience for the unspeakably cruel actions we have taken against others who were and are innocent of all wrong doing, to in fact celebrate it (the “greatest generation”), and to denounce revisionists and revisionist arguments that attempt to bring the history of these events into accord with the facts.

    I woke up at 5:30 this morning thinking about this stuff or I wouldn’t have had the time to go on for so long about it.

    Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

    Ms. Bond:

    You write: "... I am not sure what all the ire is about." Neither am I.
    On 12 December I gave a talk at the "Holocaust" conference in Tehran. The title of the talk was:

    "The Irrational Vocabularly of the Professorial Class With Regard to the Holocaust Question."

    I didn't have the vocabularly of Mr. Kovachev specifically in mind, but his language does illustrate what I was getting at. See below:

    Mr. Kovachev in his (#103421)
    on December 22, 2006 at 3:35 PM

    Mr. Smith, I began reading your lengthy "essay" and stopped right at the part where you confirmed yourself as an active Holocaust denier. Whatever your other qualities may be...perhaps you are kind to pets and children... your "revisionism" and your re-warmed antisemitic conspiracy tales tell me that you are merely a human form of trash whose opinions are unworthy of serious consideration by anyone.

    Perhaps the love-in with your fellow Jew-haters and murderers in Tehran, with its pretend-legitimacy as a meeting of humans has emboldened you to imagine that you are in any way normal. In this case, allow me to helpfully remind you that even if a heap of canine excrement were to be decorated with icing and sprinkles, it's still excrement, it still stinks and it's best to be avoided.

    Ms. Bond:

    You write: "I think the comparison [between evils] is apt and the point you seem to be trying to make is that the real mystery of Nazi Evil or any Evil is that it is done by human beings against other human beings, in the guise of Good."

    Yes. Always for a "greater" Good. The deliberate choice of the American administration to initiate a military campaign where hundreds of thousands of innocent, unarmed Iraqi civilians are killed and maimed and driven from their homes is one good example of what we have been told is a "greater good." And this is only the more recent example.

    It really is time that we begin to judge our own actions by the same high moral standards we use to judge the actions of others. I'm not a Christian, but the idea that we remove the mote from our own eye before we shoot, bomb, and blast out the eyes of the other/s is an idea that we should begin to look at in the light of day.

    Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

    Dear Peter: I thought you had fogotten me. Nine months to gestate this latest response. Three months or so to respond it it.

    Let's cut to the chase:

    During WWII did the Germans, or did they not, use gas chambers to attempt to “exterminate” the Jews of Europe. If they did, and I believe you believe they did, I have a very simple question for you. The question is this:

    Can you provide the name of one (one) individual out of the millions --- or as we like to say nowadays, hundreds of thousands --- who was killed in a German “gas chamber” as part of a program of genocide to exterminate the Jews of Europe? Can you provide proof for that one (one only) individual-with-a-name gas-chamber murder?

    Take a run at it. Ask the ‘serious historians’ you refer to help you. I’m waiting. Your answer could change my life.

    Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

    Mr. Clarke:

    The simple fact of the matter is that the Hitlerian administration became the symbol for "evil" in the 20th Century and remains so today. At the heart of this "evil" is the Holocaust story, and at the heart of that story is the gas-chamber (WMD) fraud. I am not talking about "here" at HNN, but throughout Western culture.

    For Americans and American culture, what is "unhealthy" is that we have exploited the German WMD fraud to evade moral responsibility for the intentional slaughter of hundreds of thousands of innocent, unarmed civilians for what we argue was (is) a "greater good."

    I am willing to be convinced that I am wrong about this, but the suggestion that if I am not an anti-Semite I must be "unhealthy" just won't do it.

    The Holocaust Industry, a very influential industry, is moving away from the gas-chamber story as orthodox historians find it increasingly difficult to defend. As a matter of fact, there is no significant work being published on the matter any longer by mainline historians. These folk may not be particularly principled on this matter, but they are not stupid.

    The gas-chamber story is exactly (exactly) the story that institutionalized the concept of the unique monstrosity of the Germans, and the unique victimization of the Jews. The two concepts together were usd to morally justify the creation of Israel, and to morally justify the U.S. alliance with Isreal against the Palestinians. What other moral justification could there have been? We can all see where it has gotten us.

    The Israeli press is much more honest about these matters than our own, and much more honest about it than the American professorial class. To try to minimize the importance of the gas-chamber (WMD) fraud after half a century of exploitation, is a dishonest distancing of what has been historical gospel since Nuremberg.

    The way Jews, particularly Zionist Jews, exploited and exploit today the German WMD fraud is a moral problem for Jews to work out for themselves. The way Americans have exploited the story to evade moral responsibility for how we conducted ourselves during and after that war -- including the invasion of Iraq -- is a problem for Amrericans to sort out. We have hardly begun the work.

    I believe we should get to it.

    BTW: I see that David Irving has been released from his Austrian prison, if the first notices are correct, where he was incarcerated for over a year for having committed thought crimes. The American professorial class, as a class, accepted his imprisonment with an imense equanimity.

    This disgusting evasion of responsibility for the principle of intellectual freedom is one illustraation of why it is so difficult for otherwise well informed individuals to entertain doubts the Holocaust question generally, or the German WMD fraud specifically.

    You mention that German leaders themselves recognize the traditional Holocaust story and gas-chamber fraud as being real. Why should they not? That makes them "good" Germans rather than "evil" Germans. The "evil" Gemans are dead and gone. What a relief, eh? Now they can get on with their lives, just as we, as Americans, have gotten on with ours.

    Having gotten on, Israeli Jews are now probably the most hated people on earth dispite their genocidal extermination on the one hand, and their being innocent of all wrong-doing on the other.

    Americans appear to be becoming a close second for being hated, in spite of our being innocent of all wrong-doing. One difference between Israeli jews and Americans is that with respect to Americans, contempt is mixed with the hatred. Contempt for our hypocricy, for our double standards of justice, and for our betrayal of the ideal of intellectual freedom, of which the taboo against Holocaust revisioist arguments are a prime example.

    Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

    Mr. Clarke:

    You write: "There is an extensive literture available arguing that Germans did not [use WMD]. Why reject it out of hand?"

    Do you have a couple three names for me of these folk who argue that Germans did not use WMD (gas-chambers and gas vans) to murder civilians during WWII?

    Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

    Mr. Clarke:

    You write: "I have, furthermore, never ever heard a serious historian anywhere claim that the Germans used weapons of mass destruction in World War II, and I defy you to show otherwise."

    It was claimed for close to 50 years that Germans used homicidal gas chambers to kill millions (millions) of civilians. Any weapon that was used to kill more civilians than the nuclear bombs used by the U.S. to intentionally kill a couple hundred thousand Japanese are -- WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION! Don't be silly about this.

    The fact that the historians did not use that term for those fantasy gas-chambers is neither here nor there. The word is not the thing.

    Among others, Robert Faurisson and Serge Thion participated in the Tehran conference. Please demonstrate to our readers, here, how they are "nuts." If you find yourself in over your head, because you have not read the literature, it would be understandable.

    If one American administration was willing to exploit a WMD fraud to morally legitimate the invasion of Iraq and the horror it produced, why does it seem so far-fetched to you that a previous U.S. administration would use a WMD fraud to morally justify the horrors it precipitated?

    And why do you, apparently, hold Germans to a higher moral standard than the one to which you hold Americans? No one questions that Americans used WMD to intentionally kill innocent unarmed civilians. There is an extensive literture available arguing that Germans did not. Why reject it out of hand? Is this what we call "patriotism?"

    Bradley Smith - 3/5/2008

    The Banality of Dagmar (#102914)
    by Peter Kovachev on December 17, 2006 at 9:08 PM
    Has anyone else noticed how Barnouw's banal essays -- which are invariably about belittling the Holocaust, pillorying Israel, and trashing the U.S. --

    I think that's just the ticket -- "... belittling the Holocaust ...) Why not? The gas-chamber accusation (the heart of the Holocaust story) is the first great Weapons of Mass Destruction fraud and was used to morally justify U.S. actions during the war (as Barnouw notes) and to establish a Jewish state on Arab land against the wishes of the people living there. We can all see what has come of that one.

    I read Arendt's "Eichmann" maybe 40 years ago when I still believed the gas-chamber nonesense. It didn't occur to me then to note that the WMDs were not investigated by the Court. The weapn was, as it were, taken judicial notice of -- using ignorant, stupid, and lying "eyewitness" evidence.

    It also did not occur to me to question the good intentions of Josef Staln's factotums as they lay out their "gas-chamber" inventions (see Carlos Porter's "The Holocaust: Made in Russia" for starters). If Josef said it was so, it must have been so. Such a man would certainly not fudge the evidence against Germans. Murder a few million people? -- sure. But fudge court evidence?

    It also did not occur to me at the time that the Americans had committed the very war crimes that the Germans were accused of committing: the mass murder of innocent, unarmed civilians using WMD, and for the same reason -- for the "greater good."

    I think U.S. policies during that war should indeeed be "trashed."

    With regard to "pillorying Israel," I gave a talk at the Holocaust Conference in Tehran on the 12th. During the conference I was struck by hearing one Muslim speaker after another address the Palestinian issue with a heart-felt passion. It was widely "understood" there that the suffering of the Palestinians under Israeli attack and occupation was the result of the Holocaust story -- a false story.

    They understood that the Jews of Europe had suffered a catastrophe during the Hitlerian regime, but the vast majority (not all) saw the Holocaust-gas-chamber story as a fraud, and found the Palestinians to be the final victims of that fraud.

    The gas-chamber fraud is exploited to morally justify trashy U.S. policies in the Middle East, including the taboo against questioning the U.S. alliance with Israel. I do not know if one day the alliance will prove to be of some value to Americans, but we are not going to have a debate on the matter until we can overcome the taboo against questioning the first great WMD fraud -- the German gas-chamber delusion.

    Again -- " ... belittling the Holocaust, pillorying Israel, and trashing the U.S. ..." seems to me to be just the ticket for the professorial class, as a class, to turn its attention to.

    Why not?

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    You got the last part right, Arnold, but -of various forms of fraud- that one is in a small minority on this website which aims "to present a wide mix of views."

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    Saddam is, of course, guilty as hell, and if anyone in the history of the world ever deserved capital punishment then certainly he did. But, this execution is not good news for the world.

    The fact that he was in the custody of the US military until just before the execution and that (as I understand it) he was convicted for crimes committed long ago and basically ignored by the American government at the time and for years thereafter, speaks volumes.

    I expect a fair bit of extraneous philosophizing about this execution probably including posts to a dedicated comment page or two on HNN, but the bottom line is that, thanks to Cheney, Rumsfeld, their asinine Iraq misadventure and their incompetent supporters and spineless rubberstampers, the likelihood of future brutal and dangerous Saddam-like dictatorships around the world has increased significantly. Future Saddams will mainly learn from this hanging not to be as dumb as he was. See today's NY Times obit which assesses Saddam as ultimately true to his origins as a petty peasant.

    Whether or not this hanging today was ultimately a "just punishment," even properly and justly punishing the concocters and bungling implementers of the "worst US foreign-policy decision ever taken" would not forestall the very likely and very damaging future consequences of their folly. Within their monumental blunder, the trial and conviction of Saddam (rather like the trial & conviction of Eichmann in its time) will be a tangential footnote of mainly symbolic interest.

    In the ranking of significance to global history, G.W. Bush and Saddam Hussein both lag well behind Adolf Hitler, and W is not even on the "crimes against humanity" chart where Adolf ranks high, and Saddam somewhere in the middle section, but when it comes to the pedestal of pigheadedness, laziness and stupidity, the reign of the "we don't do nation-building" president is higher up than those of the other two.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The use of gas chambers and gas vans by the Nazis is well-documented and no serious historian argues otherwise. The likely absolute or relative number of victims killed by these methods is a question that has been largely ignored by most historians, for no good reason, which exaggerates their importance, and that exaggeration has been one of the few small slivers of truth upon which the Holocaust Denial houses of cards have been erected. What I have never heard, Mr. Smith, is any sane person

    (and I do assume you are sane despite apparently not taking the wise advice of quiting, while you are not yet as far behind as you will be, and cooling it in on the beaches of the Gulf of California)

    even a sane practioner of Holocaust denial, try to claim that a van or chamber or a van -which can kill maybe a dozen or possibly a hundred or so people at a time- is a "weapon of mass destruction."

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    The fact of Nazi genocide against European Jews which has been unambigously accepted by nearly every German leader of any substance since at least the 1960s, does not depend in the slightest on even a single one of their victims being put to death in a gas chamber or not being put to death in a gas chamber, nor on made-up straw man accusations of Germans having used WMD.

    Mr. BS's obsession with such matters may well have multiple reasons, but if Antisemitism (of which both I and Arnold Shcherban have also been accused on HNN, by the way, but with far less cause) is not among them, then something very strange and/or unhealthy must be.

    I am not aware of anyone here accusing Germans of "unique" monstrosities. Certainly I would not try to claim that Germans were any more "unique" than any other peoples, all of whom are "unique" to some degree.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    In your posts and misplaced posts above, Mr. Smith, your basic error, (if your cavorting with Holocaust Denial Industry nuts in Teheran is based on mistakes, and not on your being anti-Semitic), is your fixation on how the

    "Hitlerian administration became the symbol for 'evil' in the 20th Century and remains so today. At the heart of this 'evil' is the Holocaust story, and at the heart of that story is the gas-chamber (WMD) fraud."

    The gas chambers are indeed a powerful and overused symbol but they are no more critical to the reality of the Nazi genocide than the much-used symbolic raising of the flag over Iwo Jima is essential to American victory over Japan. I have, furthermore, never ever heard a serious historian anywhere claim that the Germans used weapons of mass destruction in World War II, and I defy you to show otherwise. Repeating that asinine big lie is not going to work for you the way Hitler's big lies worked for him.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    "There is an extensive literture available arguing that Germans did not [use WMD]. Why reject it out of hand?"

    I don't reject the views that the earth is not flat, that 2+2 does not = 5, or that Germans did not use WMD to kill civilians in World War II.

    Nor has any historian of any merit ever rejected such obvious facts. Your incessant autopilot lie to the contrary (with respect to the Germans using WMD) is becoming tiresome.

    The Nazis were not the first nor the last to practice genocide (mass slaughter aimed at extermination of an entire people, or sizable fraction thereof). None of these genocides, from the Turkish mass killings of Armenians, to the Hutus massacring the Tutsis) involved the use of WMD (nuclear weapons, poison gas, or biological weapons). WMD that HAVE actually been significantly used, in WWI and in Japan at the end of WWII, were used in the conduct of traditional military operations for traditional military and political goals, not as a means of killing millions of people simply because of their ethnicity or religion.

    You need to come up with a less stupid lie, Mr. Smith, than this idiotic notion of there being a significant "fraudulent" claim of Germans having used WMD in WW II.

    This tweaked Moderate Big Lie version of your hoax:

    "It was claimed for close to 50 years that Germans used homicidal gas chambers to kill millions (millions) of civilians"

    won't stand up either. No recognized historian has ever made such a two-bit conspiracy-theory-like claim.

    You have invested your time and energy and funds in the Holocaust Denial Boondoggle, Smith, but haven't bothered to do the basic historical research. I therefore repeat my suggestion of a few months back: Retire to Baja or whatever suits your fancy, and leave the tricky historical distortions to actual historians such as Irving.

    If you could somehow manage to take with you a half dozen or so of the Likudnik insult-based propaganda robots whose posts flood HNN in much greater numbers than those of Holocaust Denial fruitcakes, that would be a great Christmas miracle for the rest of us. The tacos and cerveza really are tasty.

    Peter K. Clarke - 10/9/2007

    In sharp contrast to the thrust of her several prior articles on HNN, which amount to a kind of crusade against the uncritical overuse of the Holocaust, the author here concocts a far-fetched analogy between Saddam and Eichmann and their respective post-capture trials. Even G.W. Bush's tongue-twisted warpings of history aren't that ridiculous.

    Laurie Jean Bond - 12/31/2006

    Skimmed through just a few of the comments here. I am new to this board, but I am not sure what all the ire is about.

    I think the comparison is apt and the point you seem to be trying to make is that the real mystery of Nazi Evil or any Evil is that it is done by human beings against other human beings, in the guise of Good.

    We should avoid the politicization of Evil, since it is a universal phenomenon and any one of us is capable of committing evil acts. It isn't about Jews or Americans or Muslims or Germans. Erase those distinctions and instead examine your own tendencies to rationalize when you feel your interests would benefit from the commission of some act.

    We are missing the point of the Holocaust message, to "never forget" that this happened, when we focus on the victimization of a specific interest group, like the Jews. It could have been any group, for any reason. And it was.

    No one group has the edge on Good -- the inside scoop on what it is, and is not. In the current political situation, we have lost some of our perspective. That is all I want to say about that. But in general, I get your point, and I agree.

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/29/2006

    So, Saddam Hussein will be hanged, probably as soon, as tommorow, being
    convicted in the court proceedings with massive procedural violations.
    All of a sudden noone seems to be bothered by the fact what he was convicted to death for.
    According to all noise and fury of the
    US mass media he was guilty in murdering hundreds of thousands of Iraqis, his most heinous crime being
    gas-poisoning two thousands of Kurds.
    However, never during the trial the charge of ordering (directly or indirectly) to kill those hundreds
    of thousands materialized. Moreover,
    he hasn't been convicted to death for ordering to kill the two thousands of Kurds, just - for ordering the repressions against 145 Iraqis who were more or less involved in assasination attempt against him and
    his close associates - the grave criminal act by itself.
    Thus, thousands and thousands of allegedly murdered by Saddam Hussein
    Iraqis could not be proven, despite
    of many so-called mass graves full with bodies of his victims allegedly discovered by the US troops and "experts", which were so persistently advertised by the US governmental institutions and media.
    One more of my predictions (made about two years ago) that in the result of the continiung occupation
    of Iraq by US and UK many more times Iraqis would be killed than had been killed by Saddam Hussein and that the crimes of Saddam Hussein had been greatly exaggerated found its factual confirmation.
    And the US government and mass propaganda, along with their staunch
    supporters on HNN boards, who furiously argued with me and other observers with similar views blaming us for all deadly ideological sins, proved to be lying and wrong.

    Peter Kovachev - 12/22/2006

    Peter C,

    No doubt you had me in mind when you wrote "but if Antisemitism (of which both I and Arnold Shcherban have also been accused on HNN, by the way, but with far less cause)..."

    If I accuse you of antisemitism now and again, I do so with what I consider to be fairness; namely I try to explain why and what I consider to be the criteria. If you feel I haven't done so, please feel free to ask me for a clarification.

    There are degrees of antisemitism, ranging from the mild varieties such as the unintended and genteel kind to the deadly and foaming-at-the-mouth kind. I count you as among the former. Rest assured that whenever we cross swords on Israel and I feel that you have crossed the proverbial line, I will remind you of where I think you stand. Given the fact that you've called me everything up to a genocidal Nazi, neither of which you've been able to substantiate, I'm surprised that you would be offended at my comparatively mild assessments.

    Nevertheless, I commend you on your reitearion of facts regarding the Holocaust. I'd like to add, though, that while you are on the right track in your disinterest in pursuing the gas chamber "argument" as irrelevant, there is no "distancing" or re-evaluation of the basic facts surrounding the events among historians. Real historians, not demented facsimilies, such as our Mr. BS. Also, regarding the uniqueness of the Holocaust, I would like to point out that uniqueness does not mean that other mass attrocities need to be disregarded. The Holocaust's uniqueness has less to do with numbers or degrees of suffering and all to do with the absolutely insane obsession with which Nazi Germany persued the Jews. Hunting down a people who posed no danger, all over a continent, in the middle of a war and with precious resources remains, and hopefully will remain, an unprecedented event. When tied-in with the long history of "unique" treatment Jews have received in Europe, the Holocaust emerges as almost a "rational" outcome of the two millenia of villification, demonization and deadly persecution. It is this millenia-long hatred of Jews and its results that make Israel a historical necessity.

    Peter Kovachev - 12/22/2006

    Mr. Smith,

    I began reading your lengthy "essay" and stopped right at the part where you confirmed yourself as an active Holocaust denier. Whatever your other qualities may be...perhaps you are kind to pets and children...your "revisionism" and your re-warmed antisemitic conspiracy tales tell me that you are merely a human form of trash whose opinions are unworthy of serious consideration by anyone.

    Perhaps the love-in with your fellow Jew-haters and murderers in Tehran, with its pretend-legitimacy as a meeting of humans has emboldened you to imagine that you are in any way normal. In this case, allow me to helpfully remind you that even if a heap of canine excrement were to be decorated with icing and sprinkles, it's still excrement, it still stinks and it's best to be avoided.

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/20/2006

    Mr. Smith,

    You begin to aggravate me with your
    obsession with WMD. Why should have I mentioned WMD, specifically?
    For me to debate on this issue any longer would be the total waste of time, like to debate someone who argues that an Earth is rested on three wales and four elephants.
    I put some facts proven beyond the reasonable doubt (to any even half-brained and honest person in the world) very briefly to you to cut
    this thread short: Nazis and their collaborators did murder many millions of European Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Ukranians, Belorussians, and Russians, as well as other civilians.

    US, Russia, and GB did commit war crimes, whether with WMD or without.

    Stalin and Hitler (you choose the order) are, perhaps, the worst mass murderers in the history of civilised mankind.

    Not a single order to exterminate the Jews written by Hitler found so far.

    Arnold Shcherban - 12/19/2006

    Mr Smith,

    Allied Powers did commit war crimes during WWII, but this fact
    does not cancel another: the war crimes and crimes against humanity
    committed by Nazis ARE PROVEN BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT. In particular,
    the latter crimes were committed against Jews, who, relatively to the total number of their people, suffered
    the most extermination.
    Now, your argument about Stalin, based on his character or ideological adherence, is certainly invalid from logical and legal point of view, and therefore cannot be viewed as argument and even less as a circumstancial evidence.
    The most evil person can SOMETIMES tell much greater truth than the most noble and honest one, since absolute characteristics exist just as an abstraction. History and courts know a miriad examples of such occasions.
    (I feel embarrased explaining this
    to a grown up.)
    If you have some real documented evidence that Nazi gas chambers is a propagandist fraud, let everyone see it and analyze.
    Otherwise, I'm sorry, but you're not
    serious observer or historian, but an
    anti-semitic fraud yourself.

    Barrie Lambert - 12/19/2006

    Think of it as a wonderful opportunity for new learning, Peter. You will find that, like any good joke, it rests on facts which are as plain, as plain as can be. Who knows, next year it could well turn up in your Christmas cracker, and a little effort now will save a lot of embarrassment then.

    Hmmm.... maybe I should charge tuition...

    Peter Kovachev - 12/18/2006

    That was lovely too, Barrie, I love the fan and the wall thing; don't mind if I borrow it. As for the rest, you're being too cryptic for me. Why not unburden yourself and tell us what you think in plain terms?

    Barrie Lambert - 12/18/2006

    I love the way you throw words around. One of them is sure to hit the fan sooner or later. But maybe the wall is a better target for you. Think Cheney and see if that inspires you. He hates grownups too. Ask Jack Chirac and he'll tell you all about it.

    Peter Kovachev - 12/18/2006

    Which grown-ups? The triumvirate of goose-stepping geriatrics, crazy Islamists and the ever-confused Left? And which civilized portions of the world? Iran? Russia? The Palestine Authority?

    Barrie Lambert - 12/18/2006

    Oh, right. That explains it all. But some of us think that the truth can bear repetition until the point when it takes on the character of the merely banal - just like the views expressed by Prof Barnouw in footnote 3 are amongst grownups in the civilized portions of the world.

    Peter Kovachev - 12/18/2006

    On the contrary, Barrie, gracing Barnouw's repetitive trash with a repetive response would be discourtesy to those readers you pretend to worry over. Someone who coyly hints at smelly old Jewish war conspiracies (see her footnote #3) deserves nothing more than to be turfed out of their university in a coat of tar and feathers.

    Barrie Lambert - 12/18/2006

    But, then, Peter, if Prof Barnouw is prepared to repeat "the same cant", it would be a courtesy to your readers if you were to do the same. My point remains: you find "...it's too much like hard work to try to refute their arguments in the usual way".

    Peter Kovachev - 12/18/2006

    Perhaps you have difficulty with thinking, Mr. Lambert, as in the old Monty Python, "Doctah, me broyn 'urts!"

    Since you seem lost and confused, I have dealt with Barnouw's "arguments" in previous posts. Since this essay of hers is a repetition of the same cant (I suppose that would be "systematic"), they still apply.

    Barrie Lambert - 12/18/2006

    I used to have difficulty following Peter's posts, but now I recognise that the sub-text is "if anyone thinks about anything systematically if only for a nanosecond, they are sure to disagree with me so I might as well attack them with a cloud of abusive rhetoric 'cos it's too much like hard work to try to refute their arguments in the usual way". It makes everything very much clearer.

    Barrie Lambert - 12/18/2006

    I used to have difficulty following Peter's posts, but now I recognise that the sub-text is "if anyone thinks about anything systematically if only for a nanosecond, they are sure to disagree with me so I might as well attack them with a cloud of abusive rhetoric 'cos it's too much like hard work to try to refute their arguments in the usual way". It makes everything very much clearer.

    Peter Kovachev - 12/17/2006

    Has anyone else noticed how Barnouw's banal essays -- which are invariably about belittling the Holocaust, pillorying Israel, and trashing the U.S. -- get longer and more convoluted? The amount of over-intellectualized pseudo-historical gabble required to mask the stench of the core arguments is becoming staggering. Handing out caffeine pills and woofing baggies to readers might not be bad idea.