AT LEAST THE NAZIS WERE HONEST BUTCHERS

For me, the most disturbing sequence in Steven Spielberg’s Schindler’s List takes place when the Germans overrun the Jewish ghetto. The enthusiasm with which they exterminate hundreds of innocent people is starkly recreated. (After reading Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners, I gained a factual understanding of just how real the German soldiers’ zeal for killing Jews must have been.) I am also reminded of Hannah Arendt’s observation of Adolf Eichmann, from which the phrase “the banality of evil” was coined.

My point is that Germany under the Nazis made their exterminationist goals quite clear before they blitzed across Europe, even if their eventual methods might not have been immediately and explicitly clear to all. They achieved a startling level of success, not by magical mind-control, but by motivating ordinary people to do extraordinarily evil things. The evils that were done in the name of Nazism– carried out largely by otherwise ordinary people– are laid out with even greater clarity for posterity, and there is no excuse for any society failing to heed the lessons of that history.

I fear that we in the U.S., with our usual insistence on self-delusion, self-glorification, and diversion, are in the process of denying an evil that differs from the ugly scene in the Jewish ghetto only by degrees. While our complicit corporate mass media may currently refuse to shine a light on this evil, the truth refuses to remain hidden. History will undoubtedly judge us harshly for both the deeds done and the willful ignorance that has as yet allowed them to go unpunished.

Journalists Tell of U.S. Fallujah Killings
by Adam Porter

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