Thursday, July 16, 2009

C. S. Lewis

Quoted in the latest email compilation of recommended essays from the Catholic Education Resource Center this from the pen of C. S. Lewis:
"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their consciences."

65 comments:

Kevin said...

Gil,
Funny how one reads and can read into that statement. What comes to mind for me is a tribunal of well meaning blue-haired church women ruling on my wife's hemline...

Then I can equally see a tribunal of well meaning progressives ruling on whether grounding my 15 year old is illegal detention.

Perhaps we all need to truly allow people to live their lives and draw clear, bright lines which when crossed are criminal.

Lewis' writings are amazing. Thanks for the quote.

Ad Astra Per Aspera,
Kevin

Dean said...

Our conscience will almost always approve something if it can be shown to be in the interest of national security and our imaginary safety.

Somehow I don't think this quote ever hung on the wall in Dick Cheney's office. But if you are going to torment someone endlessly, it's good to have executive immunity and farm out the torment to other countries so you can avoid criminal prosecution.

Mike O'Malley said...

Upon first reading it seemed that both of you gents trivialized a fair observation by Lewis. Upon reflection Kevin’s observation:

Perhaps we all need to truly allow people to live their lives and draw clear, bright lines which when crossed are criminal,

Began to take on a life of its own … with thoughts such as … well yes, and well no, except for, except for the except for… Now thoughts of Moses and the Torah and the moral complexity of life and moral relativism are running back and forth in my head and I find I’ve got nothing that is both concise and meaningful to add.

OK OK Kevin you’ve trivialized Lewis but you’ve tricked me into thinking … well done :-)
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Dean your misuse of Vice President Cheney is sadly prevalent, stale, and misdirected. Dick Cheney had a well earned reputation for being an honest straight shooting dedicated public servant, yet he wasn’t even sworn into office when the relentless cynical demonization campaign when into overdrive. It is sad that so many Americans partake of this ritualized “Two Minutes Hate” directed at Vice President Cheney and fail to recognize that they are being manipulated.

Here is a pointer for you Dean:
1)- The CIA rendition program, to which you obviously refer, was set up and I believe that it became operational during the Clinton Administration.

Dean said...

Mike,
I'm pretty sure that Harry Whittington would be happy to fill you in on how straight a shooter Dick Cheney is. In fact, most folks would be hard pressed to find anyone who's elevated deceit, distortion and outright lying to a higher virtue than the former vice president. This is the man who said, "We know with absolute certainty that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction" (he didn't) "We know he has an active nuclear program" (he didn't) "We know he has contacts with Al Qaeda" (he didn't) "We don't torture" (You do) "We use enhanced interregation techniques" (According to George Orwell, the English language has to disappear first for tyranny to thrive. It's called torture) "Torture works" (It doesn't.) The CIA inspector general's report found no evidence that torture had given any information that would not have been found using legal and moral means. We have already learned from interrogators that the Abu Ghraib torture episode stimulated al-Qaeda recruitment and resulted in more deaths to American and Iraqis.

Bush was essentially the titular ruler of the country, acting under the direction and will of the vice president. No other vice president in our history has taken on so many presidential prerogatives, with so few checks. The attempt to escape single responsibility was perfectly exemplified when his counsel argued that Mr. Cheney was not subject to executive rules because he was also part of the legislature. The lack of oversight gave him apparent immunity, which had always been his aim. The balance between the executive and legislative branch under Bush/Cheney was dismissed by signing statements and the theory of the unitary executive. The executive has declared its right to suspend habeas corpus indefinitely, to tap anyone's phones without court warrants and to detain and torture anyone it decides is an "enemy combatant." In that sense, we have already left the realm of constitutional government in favor of a protectorate outside the law promising to keep us safe (but never from itself).

9/11 was a test of our resolve to not abuse and corrupt what we stand for as a nation.  We have thus far failed that test.  If we don't hold the people accountable who violate our laws and simultaneously give themselves immunity from a prosecution they obviously anticipated and wanted to avoid (and were therefore mindful and guilty of),  it removes any deterrent from future administrations using it whenever the next Jack Bauer clone gets a righteous itch that can't reasonably be scratched by the tools of a functioning and civilized democracy.

Looked at from a distance, the Bush administration wanted to do two things at once: to declare to the world that freedom is on the march, and human rights are coming to the world with American help, while simultaneously declaring to captives that the US has no interest in the law, human rights, accountability, transparency or humanity. They wanted to give hope to all the oppressed of the planet, while surgically banishing all hope from the prisoners they captured and tortured. And the only way they could pull this off is by the total secrecy they constructed and defended. So we had a public government respectful of the rule of law, and a secret government whose main goal was persuading terror suspects that there was no rule of law at all. It is hard to convey just how dangerous this was and is.

As for Clinton initiating extraordinary rendition, this should be a red flag for insuring that ad hoc methods not become permanent. We either believe in the dignity of the individual, the rule of law, and the prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment, or we don't. There is no middle ground. We cannot and we must not use torture under any circumstances.

Mike O'Malley said...

Dean, one would hope your Anthropic Global Warming views are more founded than your attack upon Vice President Cheney. Your sneering invocation of Dick Cheney’s friend and hunting partner serves you poorly. You seem unaware that Harry Whittington, a long time personal friend of the Cheneys, vouched for VP Cheney’s good character.

Dean argued that VP Cheney: said, "We know with absolute certainty that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction" (he didn't)
No, Saddam did.
We captured prohibited advanced rocket engines (WMD delivery),
We captured prohibited biological feedstock for WMD,
We captured over prohibited 500 chemical and biological artillery warheads.
One could go on, but what we did not capture, and what the CIA explicitly stated it could not account for, was massive shipments transported out of Saddam’s Iraq with the aid of Russian Spetsnaz (Special Forces) in the weeks before the March 2003 US invasion. Those shipments purportedly included WMD materials removed from Saddam’s numerous known WMD storage sites. Nonetheless what was found was more than adequate to demonstrate the need for Saddam’s removal.

Dean argued that Vice President Cheney: said, "We know he has an active nuclear program" (he didn't)"
Saddam did.
The program appears to have been moderately inactive by the 2000-2002, however, Saddam carefully retained much of his nuclear weapons program capability: research, personnel, supplies, WMD raw material and equipment. What was transferred out of Iraq through Syria the CIA can’t account for. However, Saddam was indeed purchasing “dual use” nuclear weapons hardware in addition to yellow cake during the Sanctions period. Saddam had ongoing involvement in Dr. Abdul Q. Khan’s nuclear blackmarket. That’s activity Dean.

Dean argued that Vice President Cheney: said, We know he has contacts with Al Qaeda" (he didn't)
Saddam did.
I know because I read translations captured IIS (Iraq Intelligence Service) files which demonstrated contact and support. These files help us understand that Saddam aided Al Queda’s February 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and that Saddam supported Al Queda in Somalia leading up to the Black Hawk Down incident in October 1993. It goes on, however I’ll just add that Saddam supported and financed the Taliban in Afghanistan before 9/11. The Taliban you may recall hosted Al Queda …

Dean argued that Vice President Cheney: said, "We don't torture" (You do) "We use enhanced interregation techniques"

Do us both a favor Dean and dismount from your moral self-righteousness indignation. I don’t torture and neither did the Bush Administration. The enhanced interrogation techniques aren’t torture by the normal and legal meaning of the term torture as it was used prior to the time that Leftist opponents of the Bush Administration fabricated a political weapon from over hyped charges of torture. BTW the US military uses every one of the enhanced interrogation techniques during training of US military personnel, including an analog of waterbroading to train US combat pilots.

Dean smears Pres. Bush, while simultaneously declaring to captives that the US has no interest in the law, human rights, accountability, transparency or humanity
President Bush personally ordered Geneva Convention protections for genocidal illegal combatants imprisoned at Gitmo; men who during WWII would be subject to summary execution upon capture on the battlefield.. US military personnel who abused Iraqis were duly prosecuted, convicted and imprisoned by the Bush Administration.

For historical perspective, here is a link to an article from 2006 published by George Mason University History News Network and authored by a law professor. The US and allies did use actual torture to win WWII.
http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/32869.html

It was cynical political opponents of the Bush Administration who relentlessly undermined American human rights and democracy efforts by slandering the Bush Administration.

Mike O'Malley said...

Part II:


One could go on, but sadly too many people have a tough time choking down even a modest dosage of this sort of therapeutic corrective. Dr. Sanity and others have written extensively on pathologies in play in Bush Derangement Syndrome (BDS).


BTW: next time you quote either Vice President Cheney or President Bush for me please provided links to original documents so that I can check the quotes and their context. Opponents of the Bush Administration and the Main Stream Media have an uncanny ability to distort what both of these men actually said.

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Sadly I read this sort of paranoid nonsense far too many times since Saddam’s defeat. Dean seems to insist: Bush was essentially the titular ruler of the country, acting under the direction and will of the vice president..


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Dean opines: 9/11 was a test of our resolve to not abuse and corrupt what we stand for as a nation. We have thus far failed that test.
That is quite true but not for the reasons you think Dean. … and Pres. Bush's and VP Cheney’s service to this country during the GWoT is one of which we can be proud.

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Now Dean, I had many a discussion with persons afflicted with Bush Derangement Syndrome over too much of this decade. For instance, not much more than a week or two ago I watch one more sad leftist furiously blow smoke out of his ears on this very topic; as he insisted upon his authority as a weather scientist that he could authoritatively instruct me that those rocket engines and artillery WMD warheads (cited above) were categorically not WMDs! I’ve no desire to waste further time trying to educate unteachable moonbats.

If you wish to have a productive discussion you can begin by explaining a true American failure of an earlier test. That test took place in the Winter and Spring of 1994. Can you identify that failure? Because if you can’t or if you won’t you have no business criticizing the Bush Administration’s use of waterboarding on three dangerous genocidal illegal combatants, or the use of less harsh interrogation techniques on a dozen or two other dangerous genocidal illegal combatants. Do you Dean have enough integrity to acknowledge that earlier most craven and disgusting failure? Can you accurately explain who did what and what was wrong?

I’m all ears, so to speak.

Lloyd Davis said...

Mr. O'Malley, you seem unilaterally uncritical of the Bush/Cheney administration. Did you support all of their programs and policies? Did you have any major areas of disagreement with them?

Regarding torture: I know you profess to be a Christian and that you believe in the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. What do you think Jesus meant when he said, “Blessed are the merciful?” What part of that would not have been clear to you? Do you imagine that waterboarding is merciful? Can you imagine Jesus waterboarding anyone? Can you imagine Rene Girard waterboarding anyone? In general, I find the gap between your faith and your political ideologies to be a mile wide and a mile wide.

Your opener to Dean was bizarre in light of all the discussions you've had with Cheryl and others about climate change. (You wrote, "Dean, one would hope your Anthropic Global Warming views are more founded than your attack upon Vice President Cheney.") It seems to me that Cheryl et alii argued you to the ground but that you just didn't say uncle. Like Zeppo Marx, you seem to be asking, "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" It would be hard for any rational person to argue further with the evidence that Cheryl provided, and yet you're apparently still holding to the line that there is no consensus on global warming. Do you ever change your mind about anything? And if so, do you admit it?

But here’s a hint for a tactic that may not have occurred to you in that discussion. If you want to win the argument, just change the definition of “consensus.” That could be difficult, however. Changing definitions requires a popular consensus or, at the very least, an act of legislature. The Bush/Cheney propaganda machine could not change the definition of “torture,” and I don’t think you’re going to change the definition of “consensus.”

Mike O'Malley said...

Thank you for your reply Mr. Davis


I will have to get back to you later in detail as my time is quite limited. But perhaps in the mean time you can explain why you think that my “opener to Dean was bizarre in light” in light of Dean’s rhetorical strategy in his opener. Also say whether you found Dean’s argument by way of ridicule and other such logical fallacies appealing. Tell us why.

Moreover, is it your custom Mr. Davis to introduce yourself by way of ad hominem attack and ridicule?

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Let’s take a quick look at one of your arguments Mr. Davis. You wrote: "Like Zeppo Marx, you seem to be asking, "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" It would be hard for any rational person to argue further with the evidence that Cheryl provided, and yet you're apparently still holding to the line that there is no consensus on global warming."

OK, let’s check what I wrote to Cheryl. I wrote, "So how about it Cheryl? Walk the walk, not just talk the talk about science, Cheryl. How about reading the Wegman Report, summary and body - cover to cover?"
And
"How about it Cheryl? How about reading the peer reviewed Wegman Report, summary and body - cover to cover - Cheryl?"

Now, Mr. Davis, reconcile what I actually wrote to Cheryl with your (mis)characterization of it 'you seem to be asking, "Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?"' et cetera.

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RE "Regarding torture: I know you profess to be a Christian and that you believe in the teachings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. What do you think Jesus meant when he said, “Blessed are the merciful?” What part of that would not have been clear to you? Do you imagine that waterboarding is merciful? Can you imagine Jesus waterboarding anyone? Can you imagine Rene Girard waterboarding anyone? In general, I find the gap between your faith and your political ideologies to be a mile wide and a mile wide."

Do us both a favor Mr. Davis and dismount from your moral self-righteous indignation while you are at it too.

Dean said...

Hello Mike,

I apologize in advance for the length of this. I tried to make it shorter, but I also wanted to at least make an attempt to answer as many of your points as I could without giving the impression I was dismissing your arguments.

Weapons of Mass Destruction:
WMD was certainly the justification and principle motivation for going to war in Iraq in 2003. Hussein had used biological agents against the Kurds in his own country, and so the concern was whether he possessed the means and the will to do so to someone else. The New York Times published a number of stories claiming proof of WMD; Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and Donald Rumsfeld, point to those stories as part of the basis for military action. Ahmed Chalabi, who sourced the stories is an Iraqi exile who promoted and favored a U.S. invasion of Iraq for his own reasons. But aluminum tubes, forged Nigerian documents about yellow cake transfers, and opportunistic fabrications do not Weapons of Mass Destruction make.

Saddam's "Advanced rocket engines" (SCUD's and assorted other second hand Russian imports) Were destroyed by UNSCOM prior to the start of the 2003 war. Through the Commission's inspection efforts, a number of undisclosed proscribed weapons, equipment and items retained by Iraq were also uncovered. Since March 1992, the Commission has been able to verify a number of these weapons and items as destroyed. Chief Inspector Scott Ritter: "When you ask the question, 'Does Iraq possess militarily viable biological or chemical weapons?' the answer is no! It is a resounding NO. Can Iraq produce today chemical weapons on a meaningful scale? No! Can Iraq produce biological weapons on a meaningful scale? No! Ballistic missiles? No! It is 'no' across the board. So from a qualitative standpoint, Iraq has been disarmed. Iraq today possesses no meaningful weapons of mass destruction capability".

On May 27, 2003, a secret Defense Intelligence Agency fact-finding mission in Iraq reported unanimously to intelligence officials in Washington that two trailers captured in Iraq by Kurdish troops "had nothing to do with biological weapons." The trailers had been a key part of the argument for the 2003 invasion; Secretary of State Colin Powell had told the United Nations Security Council. After this meeting, Powell told journalist Robert Scheer his department's top experts never believed that Iraq posed an imminent nuclear threat, but that the President followed the misleading advice of Vice President Dick Cheney and the CIA in making the claim.

On October 6, 2004, the head of the Iraq Survey Group (ISG), Charles Duelfer, announced to the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee that the group found no evidence that Iraq under Saddam Hussein had produced and stockpiled any weapons of mass destruction since 1991, when UN sanctions were imposed. He certainly didn't possess significant military stockpiles of anything that could be delivered against an adversary 6,000 miles away. It would be more accurate to say he had WED (Weapons of Exaggerated Destruction).

In a July 2, 2004 article published by The Associated Press it was reported Sarin Gas warheads dating back to the last Iran–Iraq War were being purchased by terrorists for $5000 a warhead. Polish troops secured the munitions on June 23, 2004. After being tested, it turned out that the warheads did not in fact contain sarin gas. The Coalition Press Information Center in Baghdad announced that the munitions "were all empty and tested negative for any type of chemicals." The United States abandoned its search for WMDs in Iraq on January 12, 2005 after years of intense effort.
To be continued....

Dean said...

Part II:

The Spetsnaz:
The idea that Russian Spetsnaz forces are needed to truck weaponry across the Iraq-Syria border, or that they are needed to separate “special weapons” from ordinary weapons is laughable. The Iraqi’s under Saddam were perfectly capable of arranging convoys themselves, and discerning the difference between weapon types.

The Washington Times article by John A. Shaw where the claim originated, seems to argue against Russian involvement. UN weapons inspectors visited one of the main Iraqi weapons dumps (Al-Qaqaa) in January 2003, and placed seals on the site. Those seals were still in place, with no evidence of tampering, when they returned in March 2003, just prior to the invasion. The movement of 380 tons of sensitive weaponry would also be pretty hard to disguise – It's evident the US had Iraq’s key weapons sites under pretty heavy surveillance from the air in early 2003. If the US had observed large scale movement of weaponry, or Russian personnel, why didn't they didn’t mention it a several years ago, when relations with Russia really were even more tense?

The Khan Nuclear connection, Saddam & al-Qaeda:
In May 1998, Newsweek magazine published an article alleging that Abdul Qadeer Khan had offered to sell nuclear know-how to Iraq, an allegation that he denied. United Nations arms inspectors apparently discovered documents discussing Dr. Khan's purported offer in Iraq; Iraqi officials said the documents were authentic but that they had not agreed to work with Khan, fearing it was a sting operation.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990, Osama bin Laden offered to defend Saudi Arabia by sending jihadist warriors from Afghanistan to repel Saddam's forces. After the Gulf War, bin Laden continued to criticize Saddam's Ba'ath regime, emphasizing that Saddam could not be trusted. Bin Laden told his biographer that "the land of the Arab world, the land is like a mother, and Saddam Hussein is F------ his mother." Saddam Hussein was a Ba'athist, and Ba'athism is a movement which combines pan-Arab nationalism with secularism and Arab Socialism. It is therefore very much at odds with political Islamism.

The consensus of intelligence experts has been that these contacts never led to an operational relationship, and that consensus is backed up by reports from the independent 9/11 Commission and by declassified Defense Department reports as well as by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, whose 2006 report of Phase II of its investigation into prewar intelligence reports concluded that there was no evidence of ties between Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda. When George Tenet insisted in his personal meetings with President Bush that there was no connection between Al Qaeda and Iraq, Dick Cheney and then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld initiated a secret program to re-examine the evidence and marginalize the CIA and Tenet. Cheney's way of operating was to "Stovepipe" the information without vetting his sources by leaking it to various papers, and then make his rounds of the various media programs to give credence to what he himself had leaked.
to be continued...

Dean said...

Part III:

Torture:
Bush claimed the invasion of Iraq would advance the principles of freedom and democracy, with little or no understanding of the tribal, sectarian and regional emnities, hatreds and conflicts of the Arab world that have raged on unchanged for millenia.  Those principles of democracy (which rarely if ever look the way we want them to when they are forcefully instituted) were immediately abandoned in our detention policies at Abu Ghraib, Gantanamo and throughout the CIA's covert extraordinary rendition prisons tucked conveniently away in countries removed from American law to secure executive immunity from prosecution for war crimes.  Torture is a war crime. We need to prosecute those responsible. We have now had a president who for the first time decrees that torture and abuse is legal in the U.S. military if "military necessity" allows it; we have White House memos saying that anything short of death and major organ failure cannot be categorized as "torture".  Remember the C.S. Lewis quote that started this conversation? Those who torment us with the approval of their conscience will do so endlessly... Many of these people are still languishing in prison, 6 years after they were captured. It's more than a little interesting that both Cheney and Bush disdained calling John McCain's five years of brutal treatment as a POW in Hanoi torture, because it's uncomfortably close to what they've both authorized beneath a discreet campaign of purposeful misinformation.  This is the same Dick Cheney who did everything possible short of fleeing to Canada to avoid military conscription. He applied for and got five deferments from the Vietnam War because he "had better things to do" at the time.

I don't give a damn about the legal definition of torture from those who want to give themselves cover to engage in it. Water board anyone for five minutes and see if they want to parse language with euphemistic nonsense. The people who are most adamant about calling "Advanced Interrogation Techniques" torture are the very ones who have been through it. Experience trumps legal definitions. As for military training their own men by torturing them, it's probably advantageous that Navy S.E.A.L.'s have that training at SERE school. And now, thanks to Bush/Cheney and company, they will need it, because they are far more likely to be abused in the future if they are ever captured in combat. Just ask the former Governor of Minnesota what he thinks.

We have in the public domain obvious evidence of waterboarding, stress positions, hypothermia, hot rooms, long term sleep deprivation, the use of electrical shock, sexual humiliation and physical assault all being used, including photographic evidence leaked by guards on the inside.  These are all classified as war crimes and are soundly condemned by the United Nations Convention Against Torture, the Hague, the Nuremburg trial and in the protocols of the Geneva convention.  Our government is using them without our consent and largely (until recently) without our knowledge.  When pressed on the issue, Bush hides behind the mouth pieces of Dick Cheney, David Addington, Karl Rove, Michael Mukasey, John Yuo and a dozen others, who have declared their contempt for the rule of law, laughed at and resisted the subpoenas that demand their accountability, ignored the Geneva convention against torture, and ridiculed the clear meaning of the constitution of the United States. 

Cheryl Maslow said...

Mike: I never claimed climate scientists were unanimous about anthropogenic global warming. There are, of course, dissenting views, none of which has so far held up to close scrutiny. The Wegman Report was never taken seriously by climate scientists for reasons that have been laid out in great detail in scientific literature. (RealClimate.org is a good place to start.) There were problems with its peer-review protocol and allegations of undue influence from the oil and gas industry. The Web site that touts the Wegman Report is owned and operated by a former gas-industry executive and consultant.

But the Wegman Report is a red herring, and we should recognize that once and for all. My point was about consensus, which Merriam-Webster defines as “the judgment arrived at by most of those concerned.” There is in fact an overwhelming consensus about global warming on the part of scientists who have studied the matter. No scientific body of national or international standing currently maintains a dissenting opinion. Organizations supporting the consensus include the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the national academies of the G8 countries, and the approximately 45 major scientific organizations that I listed.

If your entire case rests on the Wegman Report, then it is a weak case indeed. By contrast, it is hard to imagine a more impressive array of evidence than the list of organizations supporting the IPCC’s position. To make your case that there is no consensus, I think you would need to supply a fairly long list of major scientific organizations that disagree with the IPCC. Perhaps 25 or more. You have not done this, and the reason is that there are no such organizations. None whatsoever. In this connection, I appreciated Mr. Davis’s Zeppo Marx quip (“Who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?”).

The sun rose this morning where I live, and it is shining through my window. I swear it is. I’m sorry, but you cannot convince me that I am delusional. However, if you tried, I might have some basis for concluding that you are delusional.

Regarding torture, I would sincerely hope that we could all get much more indignant about it than we’ve been. I don’t think we need to worry about being “self-righteous” unless we are practicing torture ourselves. Torture is morally wrong, and we can condemn it without reservation or apology. I am still puzzled about how any self-professed Christian can condone it. You’re either a Christian or you’re not, and the quality of mercy is at the core of Christian teaching. Jesus said, “So, whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law of the prophets.” (Matt. 7:12) He was probably referring to the phrase “Love thy neighbour as thyself,” which appears in Leviticus 19:18.

A host of scientists, philosophers, and even theologians have questioned the popular assumption that religious belief correlates with moral principles. I am particularly impressed by Victor J. Stenger’s work on this subject (e.g., “God: The Failed Hypothesis”). Christians who condone torture unwittingly provide support for the proposition that human morality is not founded in religion at all. The “new atheist” writers commonly point to instances like these—and to higher divorce rates in red states, higher percentages of Christians in prisons, etc.—as evidence that nothing whatsoever is to be lost by not believing in God. Thus, scenarios of civilizational collapse under the weight of secularism are probably greatly exaggerated.

Doughlas Remy said...

Excellent response, Dean. Thanks so much for reminding us of the Bush administration’s abysmal record on human rights. I suspect we will be having these discussions for many years to come, partly because so many Americans still condone torture, and partly because there is so little demand for accountability. And then there’s denial. Myth formation is a powerful force, driven by the large-scale tribalism that we sometimes call “patriotism.” We will need reminding over and over again that torture is a war crime that is defined by the United Nations Convention Against Torture and the other bodies you cited, and that its definition is not up for grabs by those who want to engage in it.

The interview with Jesse Ventura is good. He says, “You give me a water board, Dick Cheney, and one hour, and I’ll have him confess to the Sharon Tate murders.” This is authoritative coming from a former Navy Seal who was waterboarded as part of his training.

Cheryl was alert to the dissonance inherent in professing Christian moral values and, at the same time, condoning torture. I would think that any Christian who is concerned about our modern-day mass defections from faith to secularism would be cautious about advocating for torture or apologizing for those who engage in it. For many of us secularists, torture is the epitome of evil. Mr. O’Malley’s views are not unusual among conservative Christians. On the contrary, I think we might find some very troubling correlations. I can remember that, many years ago, my respect for a close family member’s faith plummeted when she announced that she supported torture as a means of extracting confessions.

Does being a Christian mean anything more than being against abortion, birth control, and homosexuality? Apparently, these issues have eclipsed all others, to the point that many Christians have lost their moral compass on issues that were of most concern to Jesus.

I continue to be shocked when I hear anyone defending torturers, and I hope that I always will be.

Lloyd Davis said...

By way of connecting some of the threads—i.e., war crimes, civilizational crisis, Christianity and secularism—it seems to me that the years of the Bush-Cheney administration were, in fact, an era of civilizational crisis, presided over by one of the most conservative and activist Christian presidents in our nation’s history. The rule of law was abandoned along with principles of freedom and democracy that go back at least to the Magna Carta. Did this happen because our leaders did not truly believe in the Constitution or the rule of secular law? I believe that what we witnessed during those years was the beginning of a crypto-theocracy based on the authority of the Bible as interpreted by religious leaders. It took years for many of us to wake up to what was happening and to even believe that it could happen in this country. Gil Bailie sees civilizational collapse in the decline of certain traditional family values. I am more inclined to view theocratic totalitarianism as one of the major threats to our civilization.

Dean said...

Doughlas, Lloyd, and Cheryl:

I'm really grateful to you for adding your voices to this discussion and am very appreciative of your concern for this issue. Barrack Obama's attorney general. Eric Holder Jr. has said unequivocally that water boarding is torture, and is giving strong consideration to appointing a special prosecutor to investigate Bush-Era torture policy. I think this is absolutely essential if we're going to actually move on from the last 8 years and its dangerous precedents.

Andrew Sullivan at the Atlantic has been dogged in demanding action on this issue for many months.

Excerpts from The Daily Dish:

" In a republic based on the rule of law, the intentions of the torturers - whether good or bad - are utterly irrelevant. In the West, we assume that the intentions of our rulers are likely to be evil. That's what distinguishes the Anglo-American tradition from those who trust individuals to govern them, rather than those who trust the law to allow us to govern ourselves.

This is not righteous victimhood. It is righteous self-defense. There are some things worse than avoiding all casualties in warfare. One of those things is abandoning the core meaning of what a country and a civilization stand for. If America does not stand against the torture of individuals seized without due process by an unchecked executive power, then American stands for nothing.

There is no way the American experiment can continue while legal and historical precedent gives the president the inherent authority to torture. It is the undoing of the core idea of the founding - protection against arbitrary, lawless, cruel and despotic rule. And the impact on the entire world of America allowing this to stand would be profound. The world looks here for moral leadership. Those who endure real political oppression, imprisonment, torture and abuse at the hands of despots look to America for leadership, for guidance, for hope. If America - America - discovers that its own president has illegally tortured and decides that it simply won't do anything about it, that it doesn't matter, that it's too polarizing to restore the rule of law ... then what hope do those people have? To whom will they look when they fight far more pervasive tyranny, buttressed by the same absolute power to coerce the truth and break the human soul?"

Mike O'Malley said...

Cheryl if you want to discuss Anthropic Global Warning with me perhaps it would be best to return that discussion to it original tread. Please consider, my original purpose in my first post in this tread was limited to resisting the demonization of Vice President Cheney. Dean has broadened this discussion greatly and it is already in danger of becoming unwieldy.

Mike O'Malley said...

My my! We’ve been busy! … and a cheerleading squad has come along! And I thought my marathon training was getting grueling! ;-)

Thank you for your investment of time in your responses Dean. My time continues to be limited so I’ll have to print out your response later for careful reading and response, if appropriate and as time allows. You should know, my original purpose in my first post in this tread was limited to resisting the demonization of Vice President Cheney. Now one might wonder if I now find myself around the fire in the court yard to the High Priest without the “common sense” to keep my mouth shut up. We shall see…

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Dean, did you however answer my earlier question? It seems not. It would appear that you are quite capable of answering it, so I’ll put it to you again. I think the answer to this question is very import to illustrate and contextualize what is occurring. So Dean does your passionate moral rectitude extend to having the intellectual and moral integrity to answer my question? I’ll ask again, and I want your answer Dean, your personal answer, because with your answer I think I can determine how to best proceed with this discussion with you.


My earlier unanswered question:

If you wish to have a productive discussion you can begin by explaining a true American failure of an earlier test. That test took place in the Winter and Spring of 1994. Can you identify that failure? Because if you can’t or if you won’t you have no business criticizing the Bush Administration’s use of waterboarding on three dangerous genocidal illegal combatants, or the use of less harsh interrogation techniques on a dozen or two other dangerous genocidal illegal combatants. Do you Dean have enough integrity to acknowledge that earlier most craven and disgusting failure? Can you accurately explain who did what and what was wrong?

I’m all ears, so to speak.


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OK real quick again:

So tell me Dean just why Scott Ritter is a credible authority on this matter. Moreover tell me, just how did Ritter disagreed with me?

Second your link to and misuse of Abu Ghraib is a noxious red herring. I anticipated it in my earlier comment above. Can you tell me where I addressed Abu Ghraib above. Did you read what I wrote with the sufficient care to understand?

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Please please please, next don’t waste my time with a clown like Jesse Ventura again. I’ll roll up my sleeves to read and address quotes from the likes of Nation and Stormfront but it is not reasonable to ask any serious person can take Ventura … well seriously.

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With some frustration and disappointment I find the following:

Dean wrote, we have White House memos saying that anything short of death and major organ failure cannot be categorized as "torture".


Didn’t I ask the following in my comment above? “BTW: next time you quote either Vice President Cheney or President Bush for me please provided links to original documents so that I can check the quotes and their context. Opponents of the Bush Administration and the Main Stream Media have an uncanny ability to distort what both of these men actually said.”

If you can link to the likes of Ventura and Sullivan it would be nice if you could link directly to the actual Bush Administration source who said that. Or am I supposed to accept your characterization uncritically because it fits your narrative? Sigh…

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Continued below:

Mike O'Malley said...

Part II

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Dean, you did just write, . There is no way the American experiment can continue while legal and historical precedent gives the president the inherent authority to torture. It is the undoing of the core idea of the founding - protection against arbitrary, lawless, cruel and despotic rule. And the impact on the entire world of America allowing this to stand would be profound. The world looks here for moral leadership. Those who endure real political oppression, imprisonment, torture and abuse at the hands of despots look to America for leadership, for guidance, for hope.

So that begs TWO questions. Did you even read what I wrote above? Did you read the Article published by George Mason University I posted above? I am stunned! Here let’s try again. For historical perspective, here is a link to an article from 2006 published by George Mason University History News Network and authored by a law professor. The US and allies did use actual torture to win WWII.
http://hnn.us/roundup/entries/32869.html

Secondly regarding angst about America’s role model for and impact on the world. How about answering my earlier question, Dean?

That is, if you wish to have a productive discussion you can begin by explaining a true American failure of an earlier test. That test took place in the Winter and Spring of 1994. Can you identify that failure? Because if you can’t or if you won’t you have no business criticizing the Bush Administration’s use of waterboarding on three dangerous genocidal illegal combatants, or the use of less harsh interrogation techniques on a dozen or two other dangerous genocidal illegal combatants. Do you Dean have enough integrity to acknowledge that earlier most craven and disgusting failure? Can you accurately explain who did what and what was wrong?

Dean said...

Hello Mike,

Mike: Did you answer my earlier question?

No, I didn't. My E.S.P. powers are weak on the best of days and I don't assimilate information by photosynthesis, divination or osmosis. Sorry to disappoint you. Being coy doesn't help your cause. Perhaps if you actually told me what your question is, instead of beating around the bush? I've already spent the better part of a day responding to your list of queries. You can argue with my sources, ridicule my beliefs, and be dismissive of whatever "moral rectitude" you condescendingly imagine I have while enshrining you own in its place. It won't change anything. Is this some kind of debate poker? I call for your cards and you spread out a royal flush while I fold, and then smirk approvingly to yourself at the results? Okay. Fine. Your universe is intact! No one will ever successfully challenge your noble belief system. What happened in the Winter of 1994, Mike? You made the decision to be a contrarian? You learned that torture is not new? You accidentally erased your collection of Matlock episodes? What?? What Mike? Shock me! Importune me!

As for Dick Cheney's demonization, I didn't suggest he had any demons. But he's certainly a fit vessel for an operating heart. Either mechanical or otherwise. Is it a vast betrayal of Girardian or Christian ethics to say I don't like someone and give the reasons why? What if it borders on outright contempt? Is that an actionable offense? Am I dangling my soul over the fierce mimetic precipice? I'll take that chance. I'm not going to be herded into anyone's ideological corral where contrary opinions are frowned upon as a matter of doctrine. Since you've already compared yourself to Peter in the courtyard of the High Priest, I'll take the exaggerated liberty of being Jesus in the temple. Should I ask the kindly gentlemen engaged in fiscal pandering to please leave the premises in a sugary voice? I'm sorry to offend your delicate sensibilities and moral gravitas by bringing up the former governor of Minnesota. I know he was a clown and a brute! Or at least a former wrestler. How dare he have an opinion on torture! What a shock to discover we're all still human, and capable of elitist snobbery, huh? How rude of me. But I'll trade you one Jesse Ventura for 5 Cheneys any day of the week. If we're going to scapegoat our mutual choices, we might as well add to our card collections while doing it.

Mike: For historical perspective, here is a link to an article from 2006 published by George Mason University History News Network and authored by a law professor. The US and allies did use actual torture to win WWII.


The author, Stephen Bainbridge, begins his article by saying, "I oppose the use of torture or other violations of the Geneva Convention in how the US treats war on terror detainees. But I also oppose historical inaccuracies..."
So do I. I never once suggested that America has avoided torturing its enemies in war. What could be worse than torturing our own citizens during the Civil War at Andersonville, Salisbury, Ft. Delaware, Rock Island, Elmira and other camps? Even when we wrongly interned Japanese American citizens during WWII, we treated them better then our own Anglo counterparts in the Civil War. No one doubts that in combat, soldiers crack under intense pressure and commit atrocities against potentially lethal foes, and sometimes in large numbers. Individual Americans, Britons, Canadians, Australians did bad things in World War II and World War I. These aren't stunning surprises, they're inevitable: It might be a bombed mosque or a gunned-down pregnant woman or a burned village or a slaughtered wedding party, but it will certainly be something.
To be continued...

Dean said...

Part II

These kinds of atrocities happen even when a country commits itself to moral standards in warfare, even when its leaders at every level insist on following the Geneva Conventions. So how much worse is war going to be when a country's own leaders openly flout the Geneva Conventions, express contempt for them, and proudly violate the law of their own countries and the U.N. Convention against torture? In Vietnam, American soldiers were court-martialed for water boarding a detainee. In Bush's administration, CIA officials are trained to do it, and medical professionals monitor the victims to ensure they are kept healthy enough for further torture. When the president treats the enemy as animals, even when they are off the battlefield and securely in our custody and can therefore harm no one, why should his troops be held to a higher standard in the thick of grinding urban warfare, where the enemy is still at large?

Abhorrence at this practice and a deeper understanding of how a free country was not compatible with a government with the power to torture was one of America's founding differences. Until Bush and Cheney came along.

Mike: Your link to and misuse of Abu Ghraib is a noxious red herring. I anticipated it in my earlier comment above. Can you tell me where I addressed Abu Ghraib above? Did you read what I wrote with the sufficient care to understand?

How did I change the subject? The subject is torture. You accuse me of having a "rhetorical strategy". I'm just trying to respond to your entries. You started by insisting that Richard Cheney was an honorable man, and a good public servant. You came to his defense as someone you could be proud of. I have listed numerous reasons why your pride and your assessment of his character are misplaced. Cheney and his allies, according to more than two dozen current and former officials, pioneered a novel distinction between forbidden "torture" and permitted use of "cruel, inhuman or degrading" methods of questioning. They did not originate every idea to rewrite or reinterpret the law, but fresh accounts from participants show that they translated muscular theories, from Yoo and others, into the operational language of government. Those "theories" were put into use at Abu Ghraib and other places. Still miss the connection? Or is my red herring swimming in a tributary you'd rather avoid? To this day, your good little public servant stands by waterboarding. And says he would do it all again. Don't make me look it up for you. Maybe you could give up one of your marathon jogging sessions and do your own homework?


Doughlas Remy said...

Red herrings, straw men, definitional retreats, shifting the burden of proof. Now the so-called “genetic fallacy”: discounting an opinion because it is expressed by someone whom one detests. I have no opinion of Jesse Ventura. In fact, I know very little about him. But if he has an expert opinion to offer and is not a certified pathological liar, then I’m all ears.

With reference to Mr. O’Malley’s dodge on the climate issue (“Cheryl, this is off-topic.” [my paraphrase]), I’d like to point out that it was Mr. O’Malley who first raised the issue on this post. I can’t find a name for this particular strategy in my handbook on logical fallacies, but a generic description of it might sound something like the following: “When you’re in over your head, pretend you’re the moderator and declare the discussion closed.” Might work if you’re talking to children.

Mike O'Malley said...

Doughlas Remy wrote: With reference to Mr. O’Malley’s dodge on the climate issue (“Cheryl, this is off-topic.” [my paraphrase]), I’d like to point out that it was Mr. O’Malley who first raised the issue on this post. I can’t find a name for this particular strategy in my handbook on logical fallacies, but a generic description of it might sound something like the following: “When you’re in over your head, pretend you’re the moderator and declare the discussion closed.” Might work if you’re talking to children.

A dodge Mr. Remy? Would one need the innocence of a child to follow my brief introductory tweaking of Dean about his views on Anthropic Global Warming through to my extended rebuttal of the demonization of Vice President Cheney?

Perhaps a man of good faith would cite and quote my actual response to Cheryl above. One can read above that I wrote:

Mike O'Malley said...
Cheryl if you want to discuss Anthropic Global Warning with me perhaps it would be best to return that discussion to its original tread. Please consider, my original purpose in my first post in this tread was limited to resisting the demonization of Vice President Cheney. Dean has broadened this discussion greatly and it is already in danger of becoming unwieldy.


Minor typo corrected and new emphasis added in bold by me, Mike.

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It would seem that there is good reason why you “can’t find a name for this particular strategy in (your) handbook on logical fallacies”, Mr. Remy.

Doughlas Remy said...

In an article published today (August 1) on www.consortiumnews.com, Ray McGovern, an ex-CIA analyst, reports the results of a recent Pew Research Center survey showing a positive correlation between regular church attendance and the belief that torture can be "justified." According to McGovern, the regular church attendance also correlates with nationalistic fervor ("My country first" jingoism).

McGovern, a Catholic who works with an ecumenical church in Washington DC, quotes Gandhi: "Everyone in the world knows that Jesus and his teachings were non-violent except Christians."

Presbyterians and United Methodists, according to McGovern, deserve high marks. Their general assemblies have called on Congress to investigate torture policies under the Bush administration. However, the U.S. Catholic bishops have not "found their voice on torture," he says. He quotes Albert Camus, who criticized Pius XII for not condemning the Nazis' treatment of the Jews more forcefully: "Christians should voice their condemnation loud and clear, in such a way that never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could rise in the heart of the simplest person. ... They should get away from abstraction [he is referring to the encyclicals] and confront the blood-stained face history has taken on today."

McGovern continues,

As for Pope Benedict XVI, he arrived here in Washington in April 2008, a week after media reports that the most senior officials of the Bush administration had met regularly at the White House to plan which torture techniques might be most appropriate for which high-value detainees. He said nothing. All the more strange, it would seem, since Jesus of Nazareth, after all, was tortured to death. If the pope had an opinion on torture, he kept it to himself.

Not a single German Catholic, including Adolf Hitler, was excommunicated for committing crimes against humanity, though many Catholic leaders outside of Germany spoke out against the Nazis. Is history repeating itself?

Here's Chris Hedges on this subject:

The utter failure of nearly all our religious institutions--whose texts are unequivocal about murder--to address the essence of war has rendered them useless. These institutions have little or nothing to say in wartime because the god they worship is a false god, one that promises victory to those who obey the law and believe in the manifest destiny of the nation.

Mike O'Malley said...

Doughlas Remy said...Not a single German Catholic, including Adolf Hitler, was excommunicated for committing crimes against humanity, though many Catholic leaders outside of Germany spoke out against the Nazis. Is history repeating itself?

One must point out the anachronistic nature of your observation, Mr. Remy. The bulk of the Nazi crimes against humanity began after Kristallnacht in the fall of 1938. The Nazi suppression of the German Catholic Church had by that time had gone on for a half a decade. Approximately a half a million German Catholics had been shipped off to Concentration Camps by 1935. I invite all of Gil Bailie’s readers [and of course Gil himself ;-) ] To visit the archive original historical records on this topic maintained online by Rutgers University Law School, in Camden, N. J. You can read there the OSS trial documents, research prepared for use at the Nuremberg Trials.

Per Rutgers Law, Journal of Law and Religion:

Installment No. 1 - Posted: Winter 2001

July 6, 1945 - "The Nazi Master Plan: The Persecution of the Christian Churches"

Part I (11,890KB)
Part II (10,431KB)
Part III (8,017KB)
Part IV (10,392KB)


A document prepared by the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Research and Analysis Branch. Courtesy of Cornell Law Library, which holds the original document.

Commentary:

Claire Hulme and Dr. Michael Salter, THE NAZI'S PERSECUTION OF RELIGION AS A WAR CRIME: THE OSS'S RESPONSE WITHIN THE NUREMBERG TRIALS PROCESS

One can find those files here:
http://www.lawandreligion.com/nurinst1.shtml

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Notwithstanding your anachronism, Mr. Remy, you are in fact mistaken. The conference of German bishops excommunicated all active Nazi party members in 1930, and in the 1932 elections forbade Catholics to vote for a Nazi. I seem to recall that Adolf Hitler was in fact an active member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party throughout 1930…

Doughlas Remy said...

While it is true that the Catholic bishops (the Fulda Episcopal Conference) banned membership in the Nazi Party in 1932, they also voted to lift the ban the following year, only two weeks after the infamous Reichskonkordat. The Vatican was interested in consolidating its influence in Germany because it needed a bulwark against the Bolschevism to the east and French anti-clericalism to the west. It also wanted to get control over the appointments of German bishops. The 1933 Concordat between Germany and the Vatican was crafted with these aims in mind, and it was negotiated by the Papal Nuncio to Germany, Eugenio Pacelli, later to become Pope Pius XII.

German Catholics were resisting Nazism before the Concordat, and Hitler saw them as an obstacle. The protestants had been much more compliant. The (Catholic) Center Party was actively opposed to Nazism, and they were very powerful. Hitler wanted the party dissolved or neutralized, and that would be accomplished under the terms of the Concordat.

The Reichskonkordat required the complete withdrawal of Catholics--as Catholics--from politics. It effectively neutralized the German Catholic Church as a political force opposed to National Socialism.

John Cornwell, in Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (Viking, 1999), writes: "When Hitler became Pacelli's partner in negotiations, the concordat thus became the supreme act of two authoritarians, while the supposed beneficiaries were correspondingly weakened, undermined, and neutralized."

The 1933 Concordat was Hitler's first bilateral treaty with a foreign power, and it gave him immense international prestige.

The Concordat was never rescinded, not even by 1945.

Hitler was a member of the Catholic Church until his death, says Albert Speer (Inside the Third Reich). He was never excommunicated. And yet, he also saw Christianity as a threat to the Reich, and documents at Cornell University provide evidence that he wanted to replace Christianity with a purely racial religion.

After the war, the Vatican facilitated the escape of Nazi war criminals to South America and other locations. The escape routes were called "ratlines." Bishop Alois Hudal, rector of a Roman seminary for Austrian and German priests, helped Franz Stangl (commanding officer of Treblinka), Gustav Wagner (commanding officer of Sobibor), Adolf Eichmann, and others to escape. False papers were issued by the Vatican Refugee Organization, and these papers were then used to obtain passports from the International Committee of the Red Cross. Finally, the ICRC passports could be used to apply for visas.

The major Roman ratline was operated by Croatian priests operating out of a seminary college in Rome. Its leader, Father Draganovic, reported to Bishop Giovanni Battista Montini, later to become Pope Paul VI. The Vatican Bank cooperated in funding these relocations.

Dean said...

Mike and Doughlas,

Both of you make good points. But it is complicated history based on the understandable horrors involved. Much of what I've read about the behavior of the Catholic Church toward Nazism is confusing and controversial at best. The list of praises and criticisms for Pope Pius XII are equally long. He did save lives, of that there is little doubt. Estimates range from a few thousand Jews, upwards to 800,000+ spared from extermination by the Nazis. The truth probably lies somewhere in between. But there are also many occasions where he was inactive or ineffective or strangely silent in the face of repeated overtures for help. As the head of the Church, European Jewry along with everyone else in Europe who was feeling the oppression of Hitler were desperate to know that the church renounced this evil in their midst and stood at the ready to help them.

Hitler essentially excommunicated himself ipso facto, by publicly rejecting the church throughout his life. In his own words, "...The only way to get rid of Christianity is to allow it to die little by little.... Christianity [is] the liar.... We'll see to it that the Churches cannot spread abroad teachings in conflict with the interests of the State." It's doubtful in lieu of his political aspirations and accumulated power that he would be inconvenienced in the slightest by excommunication from the church, said excommunication being officially instituted three years before he came to power.

Quoting from Mr. O'Malley's PDF file:

"The conference of German bishops meeting as usual in Fulda, decided on March 28, 1933 to lift all restrictions imposed on members of the Church adhering to the Nazi movement. This opened the door to mass adherence to the Party of practicing Catholics who were inclined to adopt Nazi political views and had hesitated only because of the anti-Nazi attitude of the hierarchy, [and who] hastened now to join the victorious party of the "national revolution." (Office of Strategic Services, "The Nazi Masterplan" subtitled "The Persecution of the Christian Churches" Section One, p20)

This whole program of rapprochement between Church and Party played no small part in the seduction of the German people over time. It was, as Doughlas affirms, negotiated by then Papal Nuncio and future pope Pius XII. This same pope issued no public condemnation of Kristallnact (the night of broken glass) which occurred five years later in November 1938, and which recent evidence shows he was informed of by Berlin's papal nuncio. At the same time, he was quietly ordering church institutions to open their doors to Jews fleeing Nazi arrest and deportation.

The Jewish people, not surprisingly, have been particularly critical of his apparently inconsistent response and have catalogued a list of charges born out by history. Their account is not entirely negative, but in view of the personal cost to them, many are understandably reticent to heap praises on him either.

I think Pius XII was simultaneously aware of the danger of sabotaging his own mostly secretive efforts by being too confrontational, but realizing also that doing nothing in the face of evil was not an option. He was also pulled into political alliances such as the concordat that proved difficult to sever when necessity demanded a sterner response. As a result, he was simply unable (or unwilling) to realize the jeopardy he was creating for those who were waiting their turn to die in the camps. Few would envy his position or desire to be in his shoes. I'm sure that he was overcome by the same regret that haunted Oskar Schindler, who though putting his life in imminent jeopardy by helping the enemies of Hitler's state, nevertheless lamented that he had not done enough to help his Jewish workers, even though his efforts rendered him destitute after the war.

Mike O'Malley said...

Doughlas Remy said...
While it is true that the Catholic bishops (the Fulda Episcopal Conference) banned membership in the Nazi Party in 1932, they also voted to lift the ban the following year, only two weeks after the infamous Reichskonkordat. The Vatican was interested in consolidating its influence in Germany because it needed a bulwark against the Bolschevism to the east and French anti-clericalism to the west…

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Whoa! Hold it right there cowboy. Let’s back up just a moment Mr. Remy. One comment above you wrote, Not a single German Catholic, including Adolf Hitler, was excommunicated for committing crimes against humanity, though many Catholic leaders outside of Germany spoke out against the Nazis. Is history repeating itself?

Notwithstanding the inherent anachronistic problem I pointed out above, your initial post was in gross error. I can understand how an unchurched graduate of a modern American public high school, perhaps such as Cheryl, might have a minimal awareness of actual Christian doctrine and history and would have no acquaintance with the profound contributions of Christianity to human advancement, rationality, science and liberty. Gil Bailie has devoted some time discussing this sad phenomena. But somehow I would expect far more from a member of the Colloquium.

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It is notable that much of the remainder of your responding post (just above) reads as though it was cribbed from Avro Manhattan!

Regarding John Cornwell, and Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII. This citation appears no less problematic than your citation of a 9/11 Truther and Chris Hedges above. Are you unaware that John Crowell is not a historian? Are you unaware that this particular book by John Cromwell has been so thoroughly debunked by professional historians of this period that John Cromwell himself has retracted this book’s thesis? “According a 2004 article in the The Economist,” which I read shortly after publication, Cornwell agrees that his “historical work has not always been "fair-minded" and Hitler's Pope specifically "lacked balance". The article goes on to state that Cornwell, "chastened", had admitted as much himself, in a later work, The Pontiff in Winter, citing the following quote as evidence:
I would now argue, in the light of the debates and evidence following 'Hitler's Pope', that Pius XII had so little scope of action that it is impossible to judge the motives for his silence during the war, while Rome was under the heel of Mussolini and later occupied by the Germans."

If you are going to cite Cromwell, it is difficult to understand why you don’t know this, Mr. Remy.

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And Speer! My time well spent with Gitta Sereny tells that Albert Speer had no little problem with “Truth”.

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You would do well to devote serious reading time in the OSS archive I’ve linked for you above.

Doughlas Remy said...

Mr. O'Malley, your response contained a lot of argumentative noises, but I couldn't find the argument. You didn't provide evidence that my assertion regarding excommunication was incorrect. It seemed for a moment as though you were about to, and then you went off on a tangent about Christianity's contribution to humanity, an issue that neither Cheryl nor I had raised.

I'll say it again: Hitler died a Catholic, and Nazi war criminals who happened to be Catholics were never excommunicated. In fact, the Vatican helped many Nazi war criminals relocate (and flee prosecution) after the war. This is just the historical record, as uncomfortable as it may be for you. I had originally read about the Concordat in James Carroll's book, Constantine's Sword, and revisited his chapter on the subject, also drawing from Priests, Prelates, and People, by Nicholas Atkin and Frank Tallet. There is a cornucopia of information on the Web. I fully expect you will not approve of these sources, so you can save yourself the trouble of discrediting them.

Dean, my sources show Hitler to have been very inconsistent in his statements about Christianity. I'm not going to drag in a bunch of quotations, so suffice it to say they go both ways. This is not too surprising when we consider that Hitler was not only irrational but also paranoid and calculating. (He was, in fact, mad.) Political leaders can often get away with such blatant inconsistencies because their followers hear what they want to hear. German Catholics would have quoted his pro-Christian statements and believed that he was a good Catholic, I imagine. Meanwhile, he could address a more select audience of anti-Christian followers, telling them what they wanted to hear.

Dean, the idea of Hitler excommunicating himself is hard for me to get my mind around. An actual excommunication by the Vatican might have been a severe blow to him, but even if it wasn't, it would have at least shown that the Church stood against him. If Luther could be excommunicated for translating the Bible into German, why couldn't Hitler be excommunicated for murdering millions of Jews? Have we wandered unwittingly into the realm of "realpolitik" and sacrificed Jesus all over again?

But I would like to take us back to the point where this historical discussion began: What is Pope Benedict's position on torture? If he has condemned it, has he done so forcefully and repeatedly, in such a way that "never a doubt, never the slightest doubt, could arise in the heart of the simplest person?" (Camus) I don't think so. Otherwise, even I would know about it. And what of Chris Hedges' claim that our religious institutions have lost touch with the teachings of Jesus and now worship a false god, "one that promises victory to those who obey the law and believe in the manifest destiny of the nation."

Dean said...

Hi Doughlas,
Hitler was indeed a baptized Catholic, but that no more made him a Christian then standing in a garage made him a Volkswagon. When I say he excommunicated himself, I mean merely that his actions speak far louder than his words. Any action by the church in this regard would be meaningless as well as redundant, since he had no respect or love for it anyway. As for his beliefs, He advocated social Darwinism in the form of eugenics and the Übermensch philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. We all know where Nietzsche stood on God. Hitler's rejection of the faith was equally profound. "My pedagogy is strict," he once explained. "I want a powerful, masterly, cruel and fearless youth... There must be nothing weak or tender about them. The freedom and dignity of the wild beast must shine from their eyes... That is how I will root out a thousand years of human domestication." (Somehow I have a hard time imagining Jesus making this argument!)
Jesus did say, "By their fruits you shall know them". Here's a survey of Hitler's "fruits" (warning: graphic). Hitler, of course, was first and foremost a liar. That's the default position and starting point for any clear and unambiguous understanding about his motives, beliefs and intentions.
"Hitler was himself well aware of the need to counter his anti-Christian image if his Party were to break through in Catholic areas. He was keen even in the early 1920s not to antagonize unnecessarily the Catholic Church. And during the rise to power the NSDAP made particular efforts-largely in vain-in Catholic areas such as the Rhineland and Bavaria to emphasize its 'positive Christianity', to deny the slur that it was an anti-religious party, and to claim that National Socialism alone could provide the Church with a barrier against Marxism." - Historian Ian Hershaw

"Hitler wrote in Mein Kampf: "I am convinced that I am acting as the agent of our Creator. By fighting off the Jews. I am doing the Lord's work." In 1938, he quoted those same words in a Reichstag speech. (It's difficult to imagine how he reconciled his contempt for the Jews and his desire to annihilate them with his interest in doing the work of his Jewish Lord). A metaphysical line runs through [Mein Kampf], not always easy to find amid all the vulgar vilification and barren, long-winded meditations; here a man seeks for God and discovers himself. This is exactly what happened to Soloviev's Antichrist; he too, like Hitler, had written in his thirty-third year, a book in which he claimed to be the Savior." [Der Fuehrer, p. 281].- Historian Konrad Heiden

Hitler understood all too well that Christianity, in the long run, was his enemy. "Pure Christianity — the Christianity of the catacombs — is concerned with translating the Christian doctrine into fact. It leads simply to the annihilation of mankind. It is merely wholehearted Bolshevism, under a tinsel of metaphysics." Switch a few words around and you'd think you were listening to Joseph Stalin. And like Stalin, Hitler believed history was on his side: "Do you really believe the masses will ever be Christian again? Nonsense. Never again. The tale is finished... but we can hasten matters. The parsons will be made to dig their own graves."
"It is through the peasantry that we shall really be able to destroy Christianity," he said in 1933, "because there is in them a true religion rooted in nature and blood." His countrymen would have to choose: "One is either a Christian or a German. You can't be both."
(Continued)

Dean said...

Part II

A Hitler Youth marching song (Grunberger, A Social History) illustrates it:
We follow not Christ, but Horst Wessel,
Away with incense and Holy Water,
The Church can go hang for all we care,
The Swastika brings salvation on Earth.

In the words of theologian Hans Kung: "We cannot make Jesus a guerrilla fighter, a rebel, a political agitator and revolutionary or turn his message of God's kingdom into a program of politico-social action, unless we distort and reinterpret all the Gospel accounts, make a completely one-sided choice of sources, irresponsibly and arbitrarily work with isolated texts...and largely ignore Jesus' message as a whole...Even though it is as much the fashion today to speak of Jesus, the rebel, the revolutionary, as it was in Hitler's time to speak of Jesus the fighter, the leader the military commander, or in sermons of the First World War of Jesus the hero and patriot, it must be made unmistakably clear—for Jesus' own sake, regardless of the spirit of the age—that he was neither a supporter of the system nor a politico-social revolutionary." To the extent that we believe otherwise, then we must accept Chris Hedges valid criticism that religious institutions have lost touch with Jesus' teaching.

Doughlas, I agree fully that Hitler's statements about Christianity were inconsistant. But there was a clear pattern in his madness, which he was conscious of it at all times, and which we can discern clearly from his actions. Hitler's most effective strategy being both a propagandist and a sociopath was to divide and conquer. To blend toxic ideas with a non-toxic chaser so it would be more palatable to the German public. He eliminated the Atheists and the Homosexuals in order to win favor from the Church. He used Christianity to fight Bolshevism. The state to fight Christianity. The church to fight communism. If he had attacked the church at the outset, the uproar would have unseated him. He was a genius at manipulating power and distorting truth and using legal means to achieve illegal ends. He defeated the S.A. by purging it's top lieutenants including murdering his life long comrade and friend Ernst Röhm in the night of the long knives, so that he could amalgamate power around the S.S. and conciliate the German Military. He constantly set one group or person against another, using propaganda at every turn that insinuated he was doing the work of "The Lord". Only the Messiah he was in love with was himself.

As for Chris Hedges, I have a lot of regard for what he says both about Christian fundamentalism and its resemblance to German Fascism, and atheism's sometimes resemblance to both. Of war he says, "....War is the pornography of violence. It has a dark beauty, filled with the monstrous and the grotesque.” “War,” he writes, “gives us a distorted sense of self. It gives us meaning. It creates a feeling of comradeship that obliterates our alienation and makes us feel, for perhaps the first time in our lives, that we belong.”

It also does something else, in my opinion. In the hot and focused crucible of war, all the senses are sharpened to an intense awareness that is rarely approached or equaled beyond the battlefield. It is therefore not war that men miss when they are nostalgic for the heroic seeming symbols of their past, it is life itself. For when does it seem more real or agonizingly present then when it is most in danger of being removed? If the sacred does not sustain life sacramentally, it becomes the mechanism for justifying its loss and excusing both the grief and the resentment that explodes forth from that loss sacrificially. Therefore, if we are to supplant war, and the mythological entrapments that it thrives on, we must find a source of life that is at once both more real then war can make it, and more meaningful at the level of experience than the things which merely threaten to take it away.

Doughlas Remy said...

Dean, with regard to the excommunication question, you wrote that "any action by the church in this regard would be meaningless as well as redundant, since he had no respect or love for it anyway." But my point was not that Hitler should have been excommunicated in order to punish him personally. Like you, I can't imagine him losing a single night's sleep worrying about his salvation. Rather, he should have been excommunicated so that the Church could leverage its enormous influence in world opinion to turn the tide against him while he was still in the ascendancy. Because Hitler was nominally a Catholic, the Church had a golden opportunity to use one of the most potent weapons in its arsenal against him, but it chose not to do so. To understand why, we must recall that the Church saw fascism as a bulwark against Bolshevism. Their failure to excommunicate Hitler had nothing to do with "redundancy," but it had everything to do with the Concordat.

The powerful (Catholic) Center Party had opposed Hitler and might have stood in his way, but they were neutralized by the terms of the Concordat. Clearly, the Church wanted German Catholics to fall in line with Hitler just as it had wanted Italian Catholics to fall in line with Mussolini. The 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Vatican and Italy accomplished in Italy what the Reichskonkordat was intended to accomplish in Germany--the silencing of the anti-fascist Catholic political parties. In Italy, that party was the Partito Popolare.

Why wasn't Hitler excommunicated in spite of his anti-Christian rhetoric and his crimes against humanity? Far from being ineffective or redundant, an excommunication would have made front-page headlines throughout the world. If more world leaders had spoken out against him, then he might have been stopped much earlier, perhaps even before he came to power.

The reason Hitler wasn't excommunicated was that he was both anti-Communist and anti-Semitic. Obviously, many Catholics, including Pacelli, recoiled when it became apparent just how anti-Semitic he was. Things just got out of hand, shall we say? But as usual in politics, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."

I realize there's probably no point in citing James Carroll--or, for that matter, any other writer who has documented the Church's history of anti-Semitism. Nor would it help to point out that Carroll, author of Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews is a practicing Catholic.

Perhaps because I am not myself a practicing Catholic, I am not conflicted about criticizing the Church and its hierarchy. It is an actor on the world stage, and its decisions affect everyone. There is no "magic spell" around the Papacy, in my view. It is simply one of the "principalities and powers."

As always, I am interested in why it is so difficult for us to find fault with our leaders--popes or presidents--when they go completely off the rails. Even today, after all the horrible history of Stalinism, Georgia hosts a Stalin Museum where no mention is made of the Gulag and where much is made of Stalin's own sufferings while a prisoner of the Tsar. Meanwhile, in the West, Bush has moved into a gated community in Dallas, Cheney is on the speaking circuit, Pope Benedict is mum about torture, and our current president wants to "look forward, not backward."

This is why I say history is repeating itself. And it will go on this way until we can start "breaking the spell" about both our tribal loyalties and our relation to power, as James Carroll has done. I voted for Obama, but I believe his feet, like every other leader's, sometimes need holding to the fire.

Forty or fifty years from now, someone will be having this same conversation, but Eugenio Pacelli and the Reichskoncordat will be ancient history. Instead, the conversants will be asking, "Why didn't world leaders, including Pope Benedict and President Obama, demand accountability about the inhumane and illegal interrogation practices of the Bush administration?"

Doughlas Remy said...

I should add that speaking truth to power is not easy for any of us. I am constantly biting my tongue when I should be speaking out, because I, like everyone else, have tucked myself into secure systems of power and do not want to risk expulsion. Ernest Becker's writings (e.g., The Denial of Death) have been helpful to me in understanding this seemingly intractable dilemma. Humans need belonging and are sooner or later called upon to surrender their freedom for it. To me, this freedom is the freedom to think and to speak without fear. As an atheist, I feel fortunate in not being tethered to the large, slow-moving, and sometimes maddeningly irrational religious institutions that govern so many people's lives. But there are countless other opportunities for surrendering one's freedom, as the political history of the 20th century shows. My hope is to somehow continue stepping lightly through the interstices of all these ideologies, great and small, while recognizing my essential dependency on them. I have been fortunate, though not always successful, so far.

Mike O'Malley said...

Doughlas Remy said...Not a single German Catholic, including Adolf Hitler, was excommunicated for committing crimes against humanity...?

.

Doughlas Remy said...The Reichskonkordat required the complete withdrawal of Catholics--as Catholics--from politics. It effectively neutralized the German Catholic Church as a political force opposed to National Socialism.

John Cornwell, in Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII (Viking, 1999), writes: "When Hitler became Pacelli's partner in negotiations, the concordat thus became the supreme act of two authoritarians, while the supposed beneficiaries were correspondingly weakened, undermined, and neutralized."...


.

Doughlas Remy said...The powerful (Catholic) Center Party had opposed Hitler and might have stood in his way, but they were neutralized by the terms of the Concordat. Clearly, the Church wanted German Catholics to fall in line with Hitler just as it had wanted Italian Catholics to fall in line with Mussolini. The 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Vatican and Italy accomplished in Italy what the Reichskonkordat was intended to accomplish in Germany--the silencing of the anti-fascist Catholic political parties. In Italy, that party was the Partito Popolare.

.

We can see that facts don't matter to you Mr. Remy? If information doesn't fit your narrative Mr. Remy you just ignore it and keep right on going?

.

As I wrote above: "Notwithstanding your anachronism, Mr. Remy, you are in fact mistaken. The conference of German bishops excommunicated all active Nazi party members in 1930, and in the 1932 elections forbade Catholics to vote for a Nazi. I seem to recall that Adolf Hitler was in fact an active member of the National Socialist German Workers' Party throughout 1930?"

and

"Regarding John Cornwell, and Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII. This citation appears no less problematic than your citation of a 9/11 Truther and Chris Hedges above. Are you unaware that John Cornwell is not a historian? Are you unaware that this particular book by John Cornwell has been so thoroughly debunked by professional historians of this period that John Cornwell himself has retracted this book's thesis? "According a 2004 article in The Economist," which I read shortly after publication, Cornwell agrees that his "historical work has not always been "fair-minded" and Hitler's Pope specifically "lacked balance". The article goes on to state that Cornwell, "chastened", had admitted as much himself, in a later work, The Pontiff in Winter, citing the following quote as evidence:"

I would now argue, in the light of the debates and evidence following 'Hitler's Pope', that Pius XII had so little scope of action that it is impossible to judge the motives for his silence during the war, while Rome was under the heel of Mussolini and later occupied by the Germans."

.

Five years ago John Cornwell retracted his thesis. Cornwell's book Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII was hammered over and over and over again by serious historians.

What don't you get here? What is so hard to understand? Even Cornwell retracted the tripe you are hawking, Mr. Remy. Did you know about Cornwell's retraction? If not, why not? If you did know, why did you cite Cornwell without disclosing such information to us? Cornwell's retraction is significant.

And why do you continue to press Cornwell's thesis now that I've conveyed to you Cornwell's retraction and also the information that Cornwell's work has been thoroughly debunked?


As Kenneth L. Woodward (Newsweek contributing editor and Religion editor and Fellow of the National Humanities Center and Regents' Lecturer in Religion at the University of California) writing in Newsweek observed, "Hitler's Pope has "errors of fact and ignorance of context [that] appear on almost every page."" Woodward goes on, "This is bogus scholarship, filled with nonexistent secrets, aimed to shock"

http://www.newsweek.com/id/89597/output/print

Doughlas Remy said...

Mr. O'Malley, you seem a bit dyspeptic this morning.

Mike O'Malley said...

Repetition, repetition, repetition ... it is standard practice for educating slow learners. ;-)


Let's do a retest of that pop quiz.

Cornwell's book, Hitler's Pope: The Secret History of Pius XII, was hammered over and over and over again by serious historians. Five years ago John Cornwell retracted his thesis.

Did you know about Cornwell's retraction? If not, why not? If you did know, why did you cite Cornwell without disclosing such information to us? Cornwell's retraction is significant. One misleads when one withholds significant information such as this retraction.

One would expect that a gentlemen would abandon Cornwell's thesis in light of these facts.

.

In the meanwhile I've got some mileage to do. Have a nice summer day.

Dean said...

Doughlas,

It seems our esteemed colleague has smelled blood! Even though you referenced Cornwell's work only once, he has managed to slavishly bring up his name a total of 25 times in an apparently vain attempt to force you to recant your blasphemy! I'm just glad I don't believe in reincarnation. I might falsely intuit a past relationship with the infamous Comité de salut public. In any case, Doughlas, why aren't you more penitent in the face of such overwhelming......er......repetition? Why haven't you submitted yourself for correction and instruction? For shame, sir. You have been utterly discredited, and yet your head is still attached to your neck!

In any case, thank you for your response to my entry. I think your question is a profound one, and should be asked often and by every thinking person. How do we recognize evil and diffuse it before it can harm us, or overwhelm our own sense of justice and mercy? Frankly, I have no easy answer. Most answers from history have been cautionary tales from those who barely survived the events in question. The most famous may well be Martin Niemöller's famous hindsight regret:

When the Nazis came for the communists,
I remained silent;
I was not a communist.

When they locked up the social democrats,
I remained silent;
I was not a social democrat.

When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out.

For me, the most telling recent expression of grotesque historical irony hangs in the air over the empty, elevated beach chair of Jim Jones Guyana pavilion at Jonestown, filled with the rotting corpses of his followers. It was a placard inscribed with the prophetic warning of George Santayana: "Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it." Jones prized the words enough to hang them there, but did he ever dream they would be his epitath? The truth hides in plain sight. My guess is that with the armed thugs that surrounded his paradisal camp, finding the courage to remind him of what he himself had forgotten was hard to come by. So much for Aletheia.

I think much of the German populace of Hitler's day was entranced by him in part because he mirrored many of their own secret yearnings, which were couched in the anti-semitic and racial stereotypes that were broiling under the surface of German society at the time. We can certainly speculate on what the reaction would have been had the church acted promptly to marginalize him and awaken public opinion, but where is the rubicon in these events? The point of no return? I'm wondering if the zeitgeist of the era would have allowed acknowledgment of it. Germany had lost a major war; along with a generation of young men, and was handed its head on a platter by the Versailles treaty which by any standard of judgement was overly burdensome and had the effect of planting the seeds of the next conflict in the hearts of many. This set up a tremendous sense of resentment in the German populace, which Hitler fed on and channeled very successfully for his own purposes. Think of it this way: From a crushing post war defeat, terrible inflation and joblessness and a sense of national despair to a restored economy, zero unemployment and a military second to none in about 6 years. Many Germans were bristling with pride (and a yearning for pay back). Even members of the church must have been impressed, at least until it was too late to change the course of things.

(Continued)

Dean said...

Part II

America was also fiercely isolationist at the time that Hitler was coming to power, since the memory of "The War to End all Wars" was still fresh in the minds of many Americans. Roosevelt refused time and time again to become involved in the European conflict even at the expense of Britain until Pearl Harbor tipped the balance. Churchill was not unhappy when he heard the news, because it meant his entreaties would now be heard with a more serious ear. My feeling is that for every Churchill who saw through Hitler early on and recognized the danger he posed, there were a million more who either didn't or could not.

I think much of the German populace of Hitler's day was entranced by him in part because he mirrored many of their own secret yearnings, which were couched in the anti-semitic and racial stereotypes that were broiling under the surface of German society at the time. We can certainly speculate on what the reaction would have been had the church acted promptly to marginalize him and awaken public opinion, but where is the rubicon in these events? The point of no return? I'm wondering if the zeitgeist of the era would have allowed acknowledgment of it. Germany had lost a major war; along with a generation of young men, and was handed its head on a platter by the Versailles treaty which by any standard of judgement was overly burdensome and had the effect of planting the seeds of the next conflict in the hearts of many. This set up a tremendous sense of resentment in the German populace, which Hitler fed on and channeled very successfully for his own purposes. Think of it this way: From a crushing post war defeat, terrible inflation and joblessness and a sense of national despair to a restored economy, zero unemployment and a military second to none in about 6 years. Many Germans were bristling with pride (and a yearning for pay back). Even members of the church must have been impressed, at least until it was too late to change the course of things.

As for speaking truth to power, we are all in the same boat, Doughlas. It brings up one of the paradoxes at the heart of Girardian theory: To speak truth, you must attempt to avoid couching it in euphemism. If you avoid euphemistic language, however, you risk scandalizing people. If you avoid scandalizing people, you risk obscuring the truth you’re trying to reveal. It’s difficult at times to know which is worse much less which is likely to do any good. So much for Aletheia.

Dean said...

Doughlas,

Whoops. It pays to read the preview before posting. :0) I pasted part of this twice while vivisecting it to squeeze under the word count. Sorry for the repeats!

Doughlas Remy said...

Hi Dean,

Yes, my Cornwell quotation certainly touched off a firestorm. It must have struck an especially sensitive nerve. I ran across it in Carroll's book, where I found most of my information about the Concordat. I haven't read Cornwell and am not familiar with his historical analysis, although the title of his book ("Hitler's Pope") leaves little doubt about his slant.

Martin Niemöller's words have inspired me many times over the years. I first heard them about 15 years ago, when sexual minorities in the Northwest were fighting a noxious citizen's initiative and urging their families and friends to speak up on their behalf. One of the writers of that initiative was Scott Lively, who is still peddling hatred of gays and lesbians but has broadened the scope of his activities to Europe and Africa. At a recent Ugandan conference on homosexuality, he supported Uganda's criminalization of homosexuals. He has also recently written a book ("The Pink Swastika") claiming that gays masterminded the Holocaust. He is trying to get off the Southern Poverty Law Center's hate group list, as he is an ordained minister and doesn't want to be thought of as a hater.

The Jonestown debacle is a potent reminder of how easily people can be drawn into the orbits of charismatic leaders and of how strong the gravitational pull of such leaders can be, even in the face of imminent disaster. Both Jones and Hitler rose to power out of a substratum of fear and despair, both appealed to their follower's most primitive passions, and both had powers of persuasion matched only by their followers' suggestibility. Their stories are structurally identical to so many others that are unfolding in our world every day. The mimetic triangle operates at the micro-interdividual level and at the level of affiliative groups of every size and stripe. Influence and suggestibility are the motors of all this motion, and sometimes they drive us off the road and into the weeds. Girard, if I am reading him correctly, believes the answer is to orient our desires toward God. However, this is not a viable solution for those who don't believe that there is a God. Thus, for "the rest of us," I am inclined to think that only a heightened awareness of the workings of mimesis (reconnaissance) can help us manage mimetic forces. Identifying and understanding these forces through constant study and meditation may be the only way of keeping our centeredness.

Mike O'Malley said...

Dean said... Doughlas,

It seems our esteemed colleague has smelled blood! Even though you referenced Cornwell's work only once, he has managed to slavishly bring up his name a total of 25 times in an apparently vain attempt to force you to recant your blasphemy! I'm just glad I don't believe in reincarnation. I might falsely intuit a past relationship with the infamous Comité de salut public. In any case, Doughlas, why aren't you more penitent in the face of such overwhelming......er......repetition? Why haven't you submitted yourself for correction and instruction? For shame, sir. You have been utterly discredited, and yet your head is still attached to your neck!


Your use of mockery and ridicule to dismiss my point Dean speaks poorly of you. Mr. Remy's failure to address my point, acknowledge the obvious and cease promoting Cornwell's thesis speaks poorly of his intellectual integrity IMHO. Moreover it is certainly fair to insist that Mr. Remy retract his repeated but factually incorrect declaration regarding excommunications of Nazi. It does no civil good to enable Mr. Remy's disreputable practices, Dean.

As Mr. Remy cited Cornwell early in his discourse and given time limitations it surely makes sense to press Mr. Remy about Cornwell before moving on to Carroll, Hedges and McGovern. On occasion I get down to Washington, DC, where I have friends, family and acquaintances who have served in Democratic and Republican administrations, intelligence and in Catholic activities. Ray McGovern in a 9/11 Truther and as such would seem to exercise poor judgment. It seems unlikely that he is a consequential figure. I might follow up on him some time in the future when I visit DC. On occasion a few buddies and I have been able to trace similar characters operating in the Washington area to CIA front groups and to Saudi Royal family financial support. That sort of follow up can be very time consuming even if fruitful. And McGovern seems to be minor player at best. I have come across Chris Hedges before and between working for a living and my marathon training I found enough time to check Hedge's more recent thesis against the authoritative work of Chicago University's Fundamentalisms Project. Mr. Remy's reliance on Chris Hedges seems meaningful but it will take time to address in civil discourse, if I am so inclined. Perhaps not ironically Rabbi David Dalin's research finds a functional anti-Semite in James Carroll, at least by the very same criteria James Carroll applies to the Catholic Church. Again I have already checked a few of my resources and contemplated how I might address James Carroll in civil discourse here. Nonetheless, Mr. Remy's continued stubborn reliance on Cornwell is just so egregious and so cost effective to debunk. Cornwell has already done much of the `heavy lifting' for me.

.

BTW: Doughlas said: I realize there's probably no point in citing James Carroll--or, for that matter, any other writer who has documented the Church's history of anti-Semitism. Nor would it help to point out that Carroll, author of Constantine's Sword: The Church and the Jews is a practicing Catholic. [emphasis in bold mine - Mike]

One may observe Mr. Remy's use of argument by association here above. This is a logical fallacy akin to a red herring. For that matter, I've seen copies of ex-priest James Carroll's formal ex-communication papers so it seems unlikely that James Carroll is a practicing Catholic ... one would think ...

.


BTW-II: Rev. Jim Jones was a hard core Marxist, indeed a Stalinist.

Dean said...

Hi Doughlas,

What with the creationist museum in Florida being seized by the government for tax fraud, (not to mention paleontological fraud) the birther movement proving conclusively that Barrack Obama is black and that they don't like him, the 9/11 "truth" movement claiming that we knocked down? Blew up? Knocked up? our own towers, and the flat earth folks believing that....well, I think that one is self explanatory.... I've hardly had time to realize that you bi-curious folk had caused the holocaust! Shame on you! And shame on me for the dreadful lax in my mostly complete historical inattention. By the way, Doughlas, being a firm believer in the maxim that humor plays close to the big hot fire that is truth, I've stumbled on some brilliant musical truths from an artist which I think you might appreciate, and which could even benefit those with a sympathetic ear, or maybe a heart. Here's a great sample.

And this one is for everyone here. This is a good demonstration of the power of song. It reminds me of St. Francis great saying, "Preach the Good News at all times. If necessary, use words".

Mike O'Malley said...

Dean said: Doughlas, I agree fully that Hitler's statements about Christianity were inconsistent. But there was a clear pattern in his madness, which he was conscious of it at all times, and which we can discern clearly from his actions. Hitler's most effective strategy being both a propagandist and a sociopath was to divide and conquer.

Be that divide and conquer one by one, strengthening Nazi control one by one. As the OSS archive that you were good enough to visit says beginning on page 8, Dean:
Presecution of the Churches in this region had therefore to be effected in such a way as to minimize their effective influence without breaking the unity of the German people, and without destroying the capacity of the churches to fulfill their historic mission of conservative social discipline. This could only be accomplished, by a slow and cautious policy of gradual encroachment.

In accordance with this necessity, the Nazi plan was to show that they were no foes of the Church, that they were indeed interested in "Positive Christianity" were very good friends of the Churches and did not at all want to interfere in religious matters or with the internal affairs of the different denominations. Then under the pretext that the Churches themselves were interfering in political and state matters, they would deprive the Churches, step by step of all opportunity to affect German public life. The Nazis believed that the Churches could be starved and strangled spiritually in a relatively short time when they were deprived of all means of communication with the faithful beyond the Church building(s) themselves, and terrorized is such a manner that no Churchman would dare to speak out openly against Nazi policies This general plan had been established even before the rise of the Nazis to power. It apparently came out of discussions among an inner circle comprising Hitler himself, Rosenberg, Goring, Goebbels, Hess, Baldur von Schirach, Frick, Rust, Kerrl and Schemm.

Page 11 goes on to explain that upon seizure of power the main concern of the new regime was to liquidate the political opposition. Page 19 describes the institution landscape with which the Nazi's had to work. Page 19 says in part Unlike the Catholic Church, the Evangelical churches of Germany were organizations whose supreme administrative organs were located within the borders of Germany This section proceeds from page 19 to describe how the Nazis chose to first move against the German Evangelical Church: the essential strategy of the first period of the National Socialist government was to impose highly centralized organs of administration upon the German Evangelical Church, and to place the exercise of the power thus created in the reliable Nazi hands of German Christians. In this way it was hoped to secure the elimination of Christian influence in the Evangelical Church by legal or by quasi-legal means. Typical Nazi pressures were therefore used to control the election of the first Reich Bishop Page 21.

The Nazis tactically needed to send mixed messages regarding Christianity in order to accomplish their goal of subverting and absorbing functioning Christian institutions and membership rosters and converting them into Nazi institutions and the like as can be clearly seem in the Nazi persecution of the German Evangelical Church.

.

[bold emphasis mine - Mike]

Mike O'Malley said...

Dean said...Part II

America was also fiercely isolationist at the time that Hitler was coming to power, since the memory of "The War to End all Wars" was still fresh in the minds of many Americans. Roosevelt refused time and time again to become involved in the European conflict even at the expense of Britain until Pearl Harbor tipped the balance.


That is factually untrue Dean. FDR signed the Lend Lease act in March 1941. FDR also fought an undeclare naval war in the North Atlantic against the Nazi's before the Pearl Harbor attack.

.

from Wikipedia:
Lend-Lease (Public Law 77-11) was the name of the program under which the United States of America supplied the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union, China, France and other Allied nations with vast amounts of war material between 1941 and 1945 in return for, in the case of Britain, military bases in Newfoundland, Bermuda, and the British West Indies. It began in March 1941, over 18 months after the outbreak of the war in September 1939. It was called An Act Further to Promote the Defense of the United States. This act also ended the pretense of the neutrality of the United States. Hitler recognized this and consequently had his submarines attack US ships such as the SS Robin Moor, an unarmed merchant steamship destroyed by a German U-boat on 21 May, 1941 outside of the war zone.

A total of $50.1 billion (equivalent to nearly $700 billion at 2007 prices) worth of supplies were shipped: $31.4 billion to Britain, $11.3 billion to the Soviet Union, $3.2 billion to France and $1.6 billion to China. Reverse Lend Lease comprised services (like rent on air bases) that went to the U.S. It totaled $7.8 billion, of which $6.8 billion came from the British and the Commonwealth. Apart from that, there were no payments for supplies that arrived before the termination date, the terms of the agreement providing for their return or destruction. (Supplies after that date were sold to Britain at a discount, for £1.075 billion, using long-term loans from the U.S.) Canada operated a similar program that sent $4.7 billion in supplies to Britain and Soviet Union.

This program is seen as a decisive step away from American non-interventionism since the end of World War I and towards international involvement. In sharp contrast to the American loans to the Allies in World War I, there were no provisions for postwar repayments. Some historians[who?] consider it an attempt to bolster Britain and the other allies as a buffer to forestall American involvement in the war against Nazi Germany.


.

In the fall of 1941, with U.S. Lend-Lease supplies to Britain in jeopardy, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered U.S. naval warships to begin escorting Allied convoys. On 4 September, after evading a torpedo from a German submarine, the destroyer USS Greer launched a depth charge attack against the U-boat. Roosevelt then ordered the navy not to wait until attacked but to shoot German submarines on sight. Eight weeks later, after several other confrontations, a German submarine sank the USS Reuben James. Before the attack on Pearl Harbor, U.S. naval forces were fighting in a major if undeclared naval war with Germany in the North Atlantic.

http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1O126-WrldWrSNvlprtnsnThNrthtln.html

http://www.historyarticles.com/new_page_10.htm
.

I've got to point out Dean that this lapse shows that you have singificant gaps in your historical knowledge. If you are an American you should know about Lend-Lease and the North Atlantic naval war against the Nazis. It is also meaningful that Mr. Remy did not point out your error for you.

Mike O'Malley said...

Dean said:
Quoting from Mr. O'Malley's PDF file:

"The conference of German bishops meeting as usual in Fulda, decided on March 28, 1933 to lift all restrictions imposed on members of the Church adhering to the Nazi movement. This opened the door to mass adherence to the Party of practicing Catholics who were inclined to adopt Nazi political views and had hesitated only because of the anti-Nazi attitude of the hierarchy, [and who] hastened now to join the victorious party of the "national revolution." (Office of Strategic Services, "The Nazi Masterplan" subtitled "The Persecution of the Christian Churches" Section One, p20)



Thank you for taking a look into the OSS archive. I printed out the entire archive and have re-read it.

What the archive demonstrated however is the true hostile relationships of orthodox Catholic and Protestant German Christians vs. the Nazis and Quisling pretenders as I said it would.

It is disappointing this is the ONLY passage in the archive which seemed to grab your attention, Dean.

What you fail to appreciate is that Hitler had obtained absolute power over Germany before the Fulda decision on March 28, 1933. Such "restrictions imposed on members of the Church adhering to the Nazi movement" represented political acts by the Church which divided the unity of the German volk. They were unacceptable to the Nazis and they would not endure in the face of Nazi totalitarian power. The Nazi's had maneuvered German Catholics into a position where they had little choice but to accept a form of radical separation of Church and State or worse.

1- On 30 January 1933 Adolf Hitler was appointed chancellor of Germany by Hindenburg.

2- On February 28, 1993, the day after the Reichstag Fire this decree was signed: The Reichstag Fire Decree (German: Reichstagsbrandverordnung) is the common name of the Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State (German: Verordnung des Reichspräsidenten zum Schutz von Volk und Staat) issued by German President Paul von Hindenburg in direct response to the Reichstag fire of February 27, 1933. The decree nullified many of the key civil liberties of German citizens. With Nazis in powerful positions in the German government, the decree was used as the legal basis of imprisonment of anyone considered to be opponents of the Nazis, and to suppress publications not considered "friendly" to the Nazi cause. The decree is considered by historians to be one of the key steps in the establishment of a one-party Nazi state in Germany.


3- The Enabling Act (German: Ermächtigungsgesetz) was passed by Germany's Reichstag and signed by President Paul von Hindenburg on March 23, 1933. It was the second major step, after the Reichstag Fire Decree, through which Chancellor Adolf Hitler legally obtained plenary powers and became Führer. The Act granted the Cabinet the authority to enact laws without the participation of the Reichstag for four years.

The formal name of the Enabling Act was Gesetz zur Behebung der Not von Volk und Reich (English: "Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Nation").

.


In the absence of direct military intervention into Germany's domestic political affairs this meant...

--------- GAME OVER ! ------

.
.
.
continued below

Mike O'Malley said...

PART 2:


Here is a partial translation of the text of step #2
Order of the Reich President for the Protection of People and State

On the basis of Article 48 paragraph 2 of the Constitution of the German Reich, the following is ordered in defense against Communist state-endangering acts of violence:

§ 1. Articles 114, 115, 117, 118, 123, 124 and 153 of the Constitution of the German Reich are suspended until further notice. It is therefore permissible to restrict the rights of personal freedom [habeas corpus], freedom of opinion, including the freedom of the press, the freedom to organize and assemble, the privacy of postal, telegraphic and telephonic communications, and warrants for house searches, orders for confiscations as well as restrictions on property, are also permissible beyond the legal limits otherwise prescribed.

.
.
.

Were you aware of this Dean? Read Article 1 of the text of The Reichstag Fire Decree. This was made effective one month before the Fulda decision by the German bishops of March 28, 1933. Clearly the bishops had no choice as their restrictions against the Nazi party were ALREADY IN EFFECT NULL AND VOID, unless the Church could enlist the German Army in an immediate direct military takeover of the German government. However, Hitler already had obtained the cooperation of the German Generals.

It is telling that neither you, Dean, nor Mr. Remy, nor Cornwell, nor anti-Semetic James Carroll credit the passage of total power to Hitler on February 28, 1933. Surely you Dean have insufficient knowledge of this period of German history to offer such critique of the German Catholic Church as you have done above.

Doughlas Remy said...

These are great musical treats, Dean, and they really help the pH balance in this blog space. I watched several of the Zimmerman videos, including the one about Ted Haggart, and passed the links on to friends. Zimmerman has a huge talent, and I can’t believe I was unaware of him. The Gabriel and Bush song is powerful.

A professor of geology, paleontology, and evolution at UC Berkeley recently visited the Creation Museum in Florida and opined, “It’s sort of a monument to scientific illiteracy, isn’t it?” Dinosaurs and humans walked the earth at the same time, they claim. Hmmm.

Dean said...

Hi Doughlas,

I'm so glad you liked the tunes... I think the musical injection may indeed have beneficial properties. But then, I'm an optimist about these sorts of things. It's always great fun for me when I can turn someone on to something they haven't seen or heard before (you'll notice this is becoming a great challenge in the internet age). I think Roy Zimmerman may well be heir apparent to the great Tom Lehrer as a social satirist and musician. And he has the added bonus of being named Zimmerman....makes me wonder if he's related to a rather famous Jewish folk singer with the same last name?

Dean said...

Mike,

You busy little Beaver, you!

"I've got to point out Dean that this lapse shows that you have singificant gaps in your historical knowledge."

True, that. But I also have significant gaps in my teeth, yet no one argues that I can't chew my food properly without choking on incidentals. Our disagreements are trivial at best.

America did not have a creditable military force prior to WWII. The lend-lease program was our attempt to help the British without sacrificing our own people in the conflict until Pearl Harbor altered public opinion. Up until the attack on our naval base in the Pacific, the American people were strongly opposed to entering another war, even with the U-boat attacks in the Atlantic. On top of that, many Americans had strong anti-British sentiments as well. Though the Nazis attacked our shipping, and we responded in kind, Roosevelt understood that a formal declaration of war would instigate a much broader conflict with a far greater loss of life. We sent the British aid in the hopes it would forestall active involvement on a large scale. The promise was essentially "Materials without men". Roosevelt recognized the dangers posed by Germany, but was up against strong resistance domestically. With the Lend-Lease assistance to Britain, he could begin retooling our industries, and pivot if necessary when manpower was called for and the public approved. From Washington's time on, we had always been wary of "entangling foreign alliances". The depression of the 1930's convinced many that we needed to concentrate on a strong domestic economy and stay out of the war. Hitler even calculated that he could defeat the European democracies before we got involved. He was very nearly right.

"...Hitler not only saw the United States as a threat to join the war, but he also thought that if there was no chance whatsoever of U. S. entry, then England would finally give in to the Germans. Therefore, the Germans went to great lengths to keep the U. S. neutral. In the United States the German Embassy, under the direction of Hans Thomsen, the chargé d’affaires, was spending every dollar it could lay its hands on to support the isolationists in keeping America out of the war and thus discourage Britain from continuing it” - The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William L. Shirer

Hitler did not achieve total power in Jan/Feb 1933. He became chancellor through legal (though devious) means, thanks to the likes of the pompous, self-serving Franz von Papen who persuaded the ailing and senile Paul von Hindenburg to surrender his office under the naive assumption that Hitler could be easily controlled. But it took the death of Hindenburg and the remnants of the Weimar Republic, along with several additional years of relentless propaganda, book burning, repression of the press, deportations, Gestapo arrests, Jewish ghettos and military purges before he could assume complete control and relative immunity from serious challenges to his power. By this time the church could do little, except pray that someone would assassinate him.

Incidentally, Mike, the OSS documents you linked are photostats from the original typewritten script, and are hard to read. Anyone interested can find better copies here: Masterplan You can also Google it and find HTML online copies that are crisp and easier on the eyes.

Mike O'Malley said...

How on earth did you find that anti-Semetic "Masterplan" website Dean? It reads like Ron Paul on steroids!

And I can't say that the text you offer through it is any improvement over the photocopies of the original documents, Dean. For example it reads: "believed that the Churches could be starved and. strangled

?-,?>.% - ^ ^

?vS?'
^Spiritually in a relatively sitort time when they were deprived.

,' «

of all means of ooaanunication with the fdithful beyond the
Church building themselves, and. terrorized in such a manner
hat no Churchman would, dare to speak out openly against Nazi"


Moreover the chap who runs it is, shall we say, dyscalcic. For example:
"Hitler cannot be judged by his words or writings-he must be judged by his fruits:

* 256 million dead or missing Christians,
* 12% reduction in the population of Europe.
* A 5% increase in the worldwide population of jews."


.

I prefer to read primary historical documents when available. And I'm sure you will agree that the Rutgers Law School Journal of Law and Religion is a more, shall we say, a neutral and authoritative venue. Gheesh!

I first accessed the Rutgers Law School archive years ago, days after it was published on line. Downloading even one document of those pdf files over a 14,400K modem connection took fooooorrrreeeevvveeerrrr!

.

This on-line archive was initiated by a Jewish public school teacher and Law School Teacher in New Jersey, Julie Seltzer Mandel, the granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. Ms. Mandel was stunned when she came across the original archived hard copy and appreciated the contribution they would make to our understanding of the Nazi horror.

These rare documents - in their original form, some with handwritten scrawls across them - are part of an online legal journal published by students of the Rutgers University School of Law at Camden.


Julie Seltzer Mandel, then editor of the Nuremberg Project for the Rutgers Journal of Law and Religion said: "When people think about the Holocaust, they think about the crimes against Jews, but here's a different perspective,"

"A lot of people will say, 'I didn't realize that they were trying to convert Christians to a Nazi philosophy.' . . . They wanted to eliminate the Jews altogether, but they were also looking to eliminate Christianity."


As the OSS report said: "Important leaders of the National Socialist party would have liked to meet this situation [church influence] by complete extirpation of Christianity and the substitution of a purely racial religion," said an OSS report in July 1945. "The best evidence now available as to the existence of an anti-Church plan is to be found in the systematic nature of the persecution itself.

"Different steps in that persecution, such as the campaign for the suppression of denominational and youth organizations, the campaign against denominational schools, the defamation campaign against the clergy, started on the same day in the whole area of the Reich . . . and were supported by the entire regimented press, by Nazi Party meetings, by traveling party speakers."


[Emphasis in bold mine - Mike]

.

(Mandel) and other journal editors - Daniel Bahk, Christopher Elliott, Ross Enders and Jessica Platt - examined hundreds of documents at Cornell before choosing those to be posted on the journal site. "The project could not be published in a conventional journal without losing the international accessibility that it demands," said Rayman Solomon, dean of the School of Law. "This student initiative will make a significant contribution to legal history scholarship while being of great interest and importance to the general public, especially at this time in our history."

http://www.papillonsartpalace.com/endC.htm

Mike O'Malley said...

Dean wrote: Incidentally, Mike, the OSS documents you linked are photostats from the original typewritten script, and are hard to read. Anyone interested can find better copies here: Masterplan You can also Google it and find HTML online copies that are crisp and easier on the eyes.

Upon further consideration, one must question just why Dean directed Gil Bailie's readers to a racist anti-Semitic website. The hyperlink beneath the word "Masterplan" above is: http://christianparty.net/nazimasterplan.htm


.


There are only two pages in the Rutgers Law School online archive that a difficult to read, a one page organization chart and Major William Coogan's one page cover letter. The remaining pages in the archive are of infinitely better quality than the many unreadable OCR'ed copy presented on the Christian Party's website. So it seems doubtful that Dean provided the above link to help Gil Bailie's readers locate a more readable copy.

But then, why would someone introduce Gil Bailie's readers to a website that says the following:

Traitors: to Jesus, to Christianity, to the White Race, to this nation

The following email does not represent the official position of either the Fathers' Manifesto nor The Christian Party, but it does represent an opinion that must be shared because it's a TRUTHFUL representation of how most if not all non-jewish Americans now feel about Edomites claiming to be "jews":

Some k### must have "Accidentally" sent this B.S. to me!!! If they only knew! Anyway, the point is go down to the bottom of the webpage & see those ANTI-CHRIST CLERGY WHO ENDORSE SATANS KIDS THE JEWS!!! WHEN THE FINAL SHOE DROPS, BESIDES ALL JEWS, HUNT THESE "TWICE THE CHILD OF HELL AS THE JEWS" DOWN & KILL THEM WITH NO MERCY!!! MBJ...
[email from a pro-Israel group follows this screed]


[Degrading insulting anti-Semitic term for "jews" effaced above with ### by me - Mike}

see full text here:
http://christianparty.net/traitors.htm


Or this:
Bushwacked by jewerage Bush

73,000 DEAD, 1.6 million WONDED, American soldiers

Is it any wonder that in a poll of almost 400,000 as of February 2007, MORE THAN 87% WANT BUSH TO BE impeached!


[again dyscalcic!]
see webpage here:
http://christianparty.net/bush.htm

.


One would hope that everyone posting on Gil Bailie's website would act in such good faith as not try to character assassinate someone by insinuation or association with a anti-Semitic white supremacist group. Although based on what I find at the "Christian Party's" website I don't understand why Dean provided this particular link.

Dean said...

Mike,

Curses! My wily attempt to seduce you over to the dark side has failed miserably. We shall meet again, sir! We shall meet again! (skulks away, stroking Van Dyke beard and mumbling softly to self while Toccata and Fugue in D Minor fills the air).

You really need to cut back on the caffeine, Mike. The page you linked to is not the one I referenced, though it's the same site. Believe me, if I had examined the entire site more carefully, you wouldn't now be wasting half your day refuting what I don't believe or insinuating what's not true. For that and that alone I am sorry.

My attempt was only to find a cleaner more legible copy of the original documents. Upon further inspection, the OCR copies are a mess. Granted, a crisper, cleaner mess, but a mess nonetheless. Which I suppose means bleeding eyeballs for anyone who feels duty bound enough to wade through the whole thing.

OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology is far from flawless. The quality of the result is based on the quality of the original material. It interpolates the information it sees printed into a best guess scenario. It's important to understand the computers don't suffer from anti semitism, dyslexia or dyscalculia, only bad programming instructions.

Even the copiest admits as much in his opening blurb:

"The following document has been OCR’d from a poorly typed and then scanned Adobe document. No attempt has been made to correct the numerous errors on most of the pages. The purpose of this scanned document is to encourage you to download the original text from http://camlaw.rutgers.edu/publications/law-religion/nuremberg.pdf..."

The writer then goes on to reveal his own anti-semitic bias, which I do not share. I would suggest that having both the Rutgers and OCR documents side by side would counterbalance both the errors and the visual difficulties in both.
I'm confident that someone will tackle this project and produce more legible copies at some point in the future.

As for exposing Gil's readers to the evils of the internet, I'm pretty sure most folks can find their way to them on their own without my assistance. But thanks for the thumb's up.

Dan Florio said...

Good Lord, people!

Go outside. Take a walk. Smell a flower. Read a (non-polemical) book. Have a beer.

Dan :)

Mike O'Malley said...

I made a similar mistake some years ago Dean. After searching through several hundreds of instances of repetitive crap turned up by Google I found a website that include the text that I have searched for. I reread the text. It looked perfect. The website had an academic appearance and seemed to be maintained by a NGO. So I posted a supporting link to the text. It didn't take long before someone notice that that particular "NGO" was a front for a neo-Nazi group ... and I heard about it ... They were right too boot. So I deleted my offensive post, apologized, explained my mistake, explained what was objectionable with the neo-Nazi group and reposted my material with appropriate supporting links.

One must wonder how you missed the character of that "Christian Party" website nonetheless Dean. It seems you are served poorly if you allow you views about the Christian "Religious Right" to be shaped by the likes of Chris Hedges.

...in as much as ...

Dean said: As for Chris Hedges, I have a lot of regard for what he says both about Christian fundamentalism and its resemblance to German Fascism

Not unsound historical argument has been made that one can find trace the roots of the Holocaust to Martin Luther. I for one am not persuaded, barely. However, if one seeks to understand the rise of the Nazi's one must begin no later than: Bismarck, the German Kulture Kampf (culture war of the late 19th century), "Two Source Theory" and the Liberal German Protestant Theologians of the school of Higher Biblical Criticism who made straight the way for the Aryan Messiah/Furhur in the wilderness of a de-Christainizing Germany. Perhaps I can find time to tell the story of this history later.

Mike O'Malley said...

Dean said, As for Chris Hedges, I have a lot of regard for what he says both about Christian fundamentalism and its resemblance to German Fascism

.


Let's spend some time with Chris Hedges. Chris Hedges is an avowed Socialist and currently a senior fellow at The Nation Institute. Without doubt he positions himself on the America's far left. Over the years I've found that any number of Leftists, such as Eugene Genovese and Elizabeth Fox Genovese have make a valuable contributions in the American public square. Others have spent their lives as faciliators of great evil, such a Walter Durante of the New York Times. So one might fairly ask what sort of contribution has Chris Hedges on the topics cited by Dean and Mr. Remy above?


Chris Hedges is the author of the recent book on the Religious Right; American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America which has been criticized by the American Left by
Rick Perlstein of the New York Times explains that this book by Chris Hedges "is not a worthy attempt ... [Hedges] writes on this subject as a neophyte, and pads out his dispatches with ungrounded theorizing, unconvincing speculation and examples that fall far short of bearing out his thesis ... Hedges is worst when he makes the supposed imminence of mass violence the reason the rest of us should be fighting for the open society."

From the center by Joe Bailey of the Oregon Daily Emerald wrote that Hedges "confuses political activism with totalitarian violence. ... Like all Americans, conservative Christians have the right to pursue their political objectives through peaceful and democratic means. Which is precisely what they have done. Despite the peaceful and democratic nature of their activism, Hedges attacks conservative Christians with the nastiest of slurs, revealing a frightening ignorance. ... The old guard of the Christian Right is stuck in the culture war mentality that originated in the 1960s. When liberals like Hedges adopt a similar culture war mentality, they only fortify the divide and lend ammunition to their adversaries."

Chris Hedges target, the Dominists-Christian Reconstructionists draw heavily from the thinking of the anti-fascist Austrain School of economic thought. As the researchers of the Fundamentalism Project of Chicago University write: "Reconstructionist policy recommendations are in many cases identical to those of the Austrain School of economic thought. And there is no doubt that ( Gary) North, at least, has been directly influenced by Austrian wriotings." [page 348, Fundamentalism and the State: Remaking Polities, Economics, and Militance, edited by Dr. Martin E. Marty and Dr. R. Scott Appleby, The Fundamentalism Project]

Now I've never met a Dominionist and they may on ocassion say scary things, but it would seem that Chris Hedges target, the Dominists-Christian Reconstructionists, are to no small degree relying on liberal anti-fascist economic theory.

It seems odd that Chris Hedges doesn't pick up the connection to the anti-fascist Austrian School, which is given such prominence in the analysis of the Dominists-Christian Reconstructionists by Chicago University's Fundamentalisms Project.

.

continued below...

Mike O'Malley said...

PART II - RE: Chris Hedges

.

Reputable sociologist, Dr. Stanley Kurtz observes, But the Left has decided that it's in their interest to buy into the Dominionists' own bogus and pathetic claims of influence - and to exaggerate even those bogus claims beyond recognition.

The champion of this approach appears to be Kathryn Yurica, whose piece, "The Despoiling of America," was the source for much of the account at the beginning of this piece. (Unlike religoustolerance.org, Yurica does not use the word "genocide" and does not talk about re-instituting slavery. She speaks only of extending the death penalty to things like adultery, rebelliousness, homosexuality, witchcraft, effeminateness, and heresy.) Yurica's article is so wild-eyed and strange that it would barely be worth mentioning, were Yurica not a featured speaker at a recent conference called, "Examining the Real Agenda of the Religious Far Right." That conference, held this past weekend, was supported by the National Council of Churches, People for the American Way, The Nation, The Village Voice, and United Americans for Separation of Church and State. (You can read a Washington Times report on the conference here.)

I noted last week that Dominionist conspiracy theory broke into the mainstream with the latest cover story of Harper's Magazine. (Yurica herself now supplements her own account of the Dominionist conspiracy with a link to one of those Harper's articles.)

The notion that conservative Christians want to reinstitute slavery and rule by genocide is not just crazy, it's downright dangerous. The most disturbing part of the Harper's cover story (the one by Chris Hedges) was the attempt to link Christian conservatives with Hitler and fascism. Once we acknowledge the similarity between conservative Christians and fascists, Hedges appears to suggest, we can confront Christian evil by setting aside "the old polite rules of democracy." So wild conspiracy theories and visions of genocide are really excuses for the Left to disregard the rules of democracy and defeat conservative Christians - by any means necessary.

In the wake of their big New York City conference, we'll see what, if anything, The Nation, The Village Voice, and People for the American Way actually do with this newly fashionable Dominionist conspiracy theory. I hope a little sunlight suffices to put a stop to these ill-advised attack on conservative Christians. I guess we'll soon enough learn what the real agenda of the irreligious far Left actually is.


http://www.nationalreview.com/kurtz/kurtz200505020944.asp

>

Fair or not, Chris Hedges reminds me of a meeting that occurred not long after the Anglo-Irish War when the IRA sought assistance from the Soviets in Moscow. That discussion, as recently reported in History Ireland, went somewhat like this:

IRA:
Will you help our revolutionary cause?

Soviets:
How many bishops have you hung?

IRA:
... errrr ... none ...

Soviets:
Well then, you are not serious.

.

It seems that one would be advised to approach Chris Hedges writings on American Christian fundamentalism with caution.

Mike O'Malley said...

If time is avialable I'll try to read the full May 2004 CIA Inspector General's report on Enhanced Interogation Techiniques.

In the mean while, litigation attorney John Hinderaker and Claremont Institute fellow has read the CIA Inspector General's report from May 2004. Harvard Law grad John Hinderaker is listed in The Best Lawyers In America and was recognized as Minnesota's Super Lawyer of the Year for 2005.

.

Here is part of his analysis of the declassified report. Quoted section of the CIA's Inspector General's report are italized. [My observations are indicated by"[ - ] below] [emphasis in bold are mine as usual - Mike] Redactions by the CIA are indicated [redacted]:

.

"Having read the CIA report in its entirety, I am struck once again by how humane our treatment of captured terrorists was intended to be, and generally was. The handful of incidents highlighted by press accounts of the report came to light precisely because they were reported as deviations from the treatment of detainees that had been authorized by DOJ lawyers.

As a threshold matter, it is important to note that the allegations that have been reported in the press are just that--allegations, sometimes based on hearsay. The CIA's Inspector General singled out two incidents for special investigation, both of which involved the same debriefer--not a trained interrogator. As for the other allegations, the Inspector General's report says:"

For all of the instances, the allegations were disputed or too ambiguous to reach any authoritative determination regarding the facts. Thus, although these allegations are illustrative of the nature of the concerns held by individuals associated with the CTC Program and the need for clear guidance, they did not warrant separate investigations or administrative action.

"The two incidents deemed most serious were the threatening of Abd Al-Nashiri with a loaded handgun and with a power drill. As noted above, these threats were made (but not carried out) by a debriefer who was not trained or authorized to use enhanced interrogation techniques (the CIA distinguishes between debriefers and interrogators.)..."



The detention of terrorists has prevented them from engaging in further terrorist activity, and their interrogation has provided intelligence that has enabled the identification and apprehension of other terrorists, warned of terrorist plots planned for the United States and around the world, and supported articles frequently used in the finished intelligence publications for senior policymakers and war fighters. In this regard, there is no doubt that the Program has been effective. ...

Detainee information has assisted in the identification of terrorists. For example, information from Abu Zubaydah helped lead to the identification of Jose Padilla and Binyam Muhammed--operatives who had plans to detonate a uranium-topped dirty bomb in either Washington, D.C. or New York City. Riduan "Hambali" Isomuddin provided information that led to the arrest of previously unknown members of an Al Qa'ida cell in Karachi. They were designated as pilots for an aircraft attack against the United States . Many other detainees, including lower-level detainees such as Zubayr and Majid Khan, have provided leads to other terrorists, but probably the most prolific has been Khalid Shaykh Muhammad. He provided information that helped lead to the arrest of terrorists including Sayfullah Paracha and his son Uzair Paracha , businessmen whom Khalid Shaykh Muhammad planned to use to smuggle explosives into the United States; Saleh Almari, a sleeper operative in New York ; and Majid Khan, an operative who could enter the United States easily and was tasked to research attacks [redacted]. Khalid Shaykh Muhammad's information also led to the investigation and prosecution of Iyman Faris , the truck driver arrested in early 2003 in Ohio. [redacted]


CONTINUED BELOW:

Mike O'Malley said...

PART 2
"Detainees, both planners and operatives, have also made the Agency aware of several plots planned for the United States and around the world. The plots identify plans to [redacted] attack the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan; hijack aircraft to fly into Heathrow Airport [redacted] loosen track spikes in an attempt to derail a train in the United States; [redacted]; blow up several U.S. gas stations to create panic and havoc; hijack and fly an airplane into the tallest building in California in a west coast version of the World Trade Center attack ; cut the lines of suspension bridges in New York in an effort to make them collapse; [redacted].

This Review did not uncover any evidence that these plots were imminent. Agency senior managers believe that lives have been saved as a result of the capture and interrogation of terrorists who were planning attacks, in particular Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, Abu Zubaydah, Hambali, and Al-Nashiri.




[The CIA IG confirms VP Cheney's witness that waterboarding was also effective. As John Hinderaker writes:] "but there doesn't seem to be much doubt based on the facts that the Inspector General lays out:"

The waterboard has been used on three detainees....

Prior to the use of EITs, Abu Zubaydah provided information for [redacted] intelligence reports. Interrogators applied the waterboard to Abu Zubaydah at least 83 times during August 2002. [The report explains that each application of water is counted separately, and most of the 83 applications lasted less than ten seconds.] During the period between the end of the use of the waterboard and 30 April 2003, he provided information for approximately [redacted] intelligence reports. It is not possible to say definitively that the waterboard is the reason for Abu Zubaydah's increased production, or if another factor, such as the length of detention, was the catalyst. Since the use of the waterboard, however, Abu Zubaydah has appeared to be cooperative.

With respect to A-Nashiri, [redacted] reported two waterboard sessions in November 2002, after which the psychologist/interrogators determined that Al-Nashiri was compliant... Because of the litany of techniques used by different interrogators over a relatively short period of time, it is difficult to identify exactly why Al-Nashiri became more willing to provide information. However, following the use of EITs, he provided information about his most current operational planning and [redacted] as opposed to the historical information he provided before the use of EITs.

On the other hand, Khalid Shaykh Muhammad, an accomplished resistor, provided only a few intelligence reports prior to the use of the waterboard, and analysis of that information revealed that much of it was outdated, inaccurate, or incomplete.


.
.

I'll review summarize what we can now know,
1) the EIT program was effective.
2) the US made occasional use of torture during WWII to save American lives, indeed historically (up until about a half a century ago) civilian police occasionally beat confessions out of civilian criminal suspects.
3) The EIT program treated captured terrorists humanely in decided contrast to incidents during the FDR administration,
4) The EIT program used techniques are no more harsh than those used to train US combat troops, and
5) The authorized EIT program activities were legal. I have available an analysis of the legality of the EIT program actions which supports this point. This analysis has been published in one of our most prestigious law school journals.

Mike O'Malley said...

One observes:

A few weeks ago, Eric Holder saw nothing wrong with Black Panthers using billy clubs to intimidate voters. Today, he thinks intimidating terrorists with cigars is a crime. Holder is the one who should be answering tough questions under oath.


from: The Ethics of Ferocity
posted at 3:56 pm on August 25, 2009 by Doctor Zero

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2009/08/25/the-ethics-of-ferocity/

Eric Holder has a history of supporting lenient treatment for anti-American terrorists:
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/01/09/how-eric-holder-fixed-the-faln-pardons/

Doctor Zero also observes:
The Left has demonstrated a willing eagerness to sap American endurance in times of war, again and again. The antiwar movement is a fusion of many agendas, including domestic political hatred of the sitting President, and outright sympathy with the enemy. There is little that can be said to these elements of the Left? but to those who sincerely oppose extended military action on humanitarian grounds, I would say it is deeply immoral to apply political sanctions and legal penalties to the very people who have the best chance of ending a war quickly, or preventing enemy attacks from claiming innocent lives. Nothing will prompt a determined enemy to attack faster than the belief his target is paralyzed with uncertainty. Nothing will break the will of a terrorist organization faster than capturing or killing its command structure, and that requires timely intelligence.

Doughlas Remy said...

Dan writes: I cannot believe any of you will simply label abortion another "issue" alongside a host of other issues. Abortion is not an "issue"--it's simply killing.

Dan, you seem to be playing with words. Abortion is in fact an “issue,” and your attempt to give it some kind of transcendent status over all other issues—many of which also involve either killing or neglect—exemplifies the political tendency that we have been discussing here. That tendency is to become so obsessed with one single issue that (1) we become totally blinkered to other issues of equal or greater importance, and (2) we are unable to achieve a holistic or systemic view of them. I realize that abortion is an important issue for you, as it is for all of us, but climate change, health care, the economy, war, and human rights abuses are also important to many of us. Furthermore, I think many of these issues could in principle be rationally “weighted,” as Cheryl says, but that we’ll never manage to do so—precisely because many of us feel that our issues are transcendent. If I were to attach the word “transcendent” to any issue, it would be that of climate change. (Environmentalist Bill McKibben has in fact said that this issue is of “transcendent urgency.”)

Yes, I agree with you about the “swirling vortex of anger, self-righteousness,” etc., and we occasionally need some kindly spirit like yourself to pull us up. I am serious, and seriously grateful. Someone needs to occasionally step in a say, “Alright, boys and girls, this is getting out of hand. Break it up!” You have done this before, and it is very effective, like the Zen slap, if we may mix religious traditions here a bit.

And, as you say, we engage in verbal battles “with no end in sight.” But how could there be an end? We wake up every morning to a world that needs fixing, and we’re never going to agree about how to fix it. The conversation, with all its acrimony, at least stimulates our thinking and problem-solving faculties, and it shows us where the fault lines are. The Internet medium ensures that we all stay in our cages, and the writing process ensures at least a modicum of deliberation. Best of all, no one can really “get in our face” on a blog site, because we always have the option of not engaging. Despite all the ugliness and rancor, there is still enough thoughtful and provocative writing here to keep me interested in returning, and I am thankful for many of the exchanges I’ve had here. The rest is just theatre.

normabruns said...

Mr. Gordon, with reference to your “menopause” remark and your reply to Cheryl’s comment about it, I was raised in a Christian home long before the term “politically correct” became current, and we were taught never to use sexual slurs. It is not just "liberals" who eschew such language. I would hope that the moderator (Gil or Randy) might soon establish some guidelines about this.

Mike O'Malley said...

Cheryl Maslow said (in Gil’s 8/17/09 discussion thread)...Dean’s responses to you about the torture issue (over the past couple of months) have been extremely thorough and well-researched, and I cannot offer anything better. As far as climate change is concerned, I’m still waiting for you to offer the name of one major scientific organization that disagrees with the more than 2000 climate scientists of the IPCC.

Sigh, a true believer …

I thought I explained for you the left wing propaganda tactic of assembling “fence post” endorsements as a means of creating political pressure. It’s a game that I learned as a wee lad during my days on the far left. Your argument really is a red herring. [ if you take to my meaning ;-) ]

Allow me to stay on focus here, and reply that I find little beyond hystronics and red herring in Dean’s extended response to me. Dean laughably even went so far as to put forward pro-wrestler and political clown Jessie Ventura as an authority on the topic of torture! I was so amused by this particular appeal to authority! Hasty generalization besides, Dean didn’t even realized that he bolstered my argument when he wrote, “The people who are most adamant about calling "Advanced Interrogation Techniques" torture are the very ones who have been through it. Experience trumps legal definitions. As for military training their own men by torturing them, it's probably advantageous that Navy S.E.A.L.'s have that training at SERE school”.

And Eric Holder! My my my, the very man who contrived legal (cover) justifications for the Frank Rich and Puerto Rican terrorists pardons! Is there no evidence that Eric Holder has not here once again subordinated his legal judgment to the rigors of political and career advancement? ;-) oh yes there is! The honorable Eric Holder seems to have conveniently changed his tune since the frightful post 9/11 days of 2002. Cheryl maybe you can help Dean by finding those earlier post 9/11 public positions of our AG for Dean’s consideration.

And Andrew Sullivan? There are people who still take Andrew Sullivan seriously! Even the editors of Atlantic it seems have had to stifle Sullivan’s degenerative obsessive paranoia !

And flouting the Geneva Conventions? Dean did seem to spend a lot of time two-stepping around the facts on that one.

Did I miss something Cheryl?

You too can try your hand at a question Dean left unanswered, Cheryl: “That is, if you wish to have a productive discussion you can begin by explaining a true American failure of an earlier test. That test took place in the Winter and Spring of 1994. Can you identify that failure? Because if you can’t or if you won’t you have no business criticizing the Bush Administration’s use of waterboarding on three dangerous genocidal illegal combatants, or the use of less harsh interrogation techniques on a dozen or two other dangerous genocidal illegal combatants. Do you Dean (Cheryl) have enough integrity to acknowledge that earlier most craven and disgusting failure? Can you accurately explain who did what and what was wrong?”

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BTW Cheryl have you read the peer reviewed Wegman report yet?

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[all emphasis in bold above are mine – Mike]

Cheryl Maslow said...

Mr. O’Malley, you spend so much time discrediting Dean’s sources (e.g., Jesse Ventura is a clown, so we can disregard what he has to say about waterboarding, in spite of the fact that he underwent waterboarding as part of his training as a Navy S.E.A.L.). But how can you yourself hope to have any credibility about torture when you are still denying that there is a consensus on global warming? If you blatantly ignore the incontrovertible evidence about this, then one can only wonder what other intellectual contortions you must be capable of. When someone makes a facially preposterous claim—for example, that Holocaust never happened—then I am extremely disinclined to take him seriously on any other matter. When someone claims there is no consensus on global warming even after he has been shown unshakable evidence that such a consensus exists, I am unlikely to invest my time and energy pursuing reading and research projects that he urges on me or untangling his very messy and tenuous logic about torture or any other matter. My time is too valuable, and ideological rigidity to the point of rigor mortis is not a pleasant sight to behold. Once that rigidity has become so exposed, the whole nature of the debate changes. I would recommend working on your own damaged credibility before attacking that of virtually every source (e.g., Chris Hedges, Andrew Sullivan, James Carroll) that Dean and others have cited.

Now you may quote this entire comment back to me and expend over 8000 characters deriding it.

Mike O'Malley said...

Cheryl Maslow fumbles … Mr. O’Malley, you spend so much time discrediting Dean’s sources (e.g., Jesse Ventura is a clown, so we can disregard what he has to say about waterboarding, in spite of the fact that he underwent waterboarding as part of his training as a Navy S.E.A.L.).

BINGO!

Indeed! And we use an analogue of waterboarding to train combat pilots. Although, it is not clear to me whether the waterbroading that Jesse Ventura experienced was the more brutal form used in Vietnam where a hose was forced into the mouth of the victim and the water was turned on full force until the subject’s stomach and perhaps lungs were full of water or the humane method used by the CIA. In any case Venture could not have known as the CIA’s humane method was at that time secret.

But you do now, as does Dean, thereby support my point. If we use such technique in military training were the intent is not to damage or injure the subject but to defend it is hard to understand how more humane applications with the intent to defend and with scrupulous care not to damage or injure the subject are indeed torture.

Thank you Cheryl for supporting my point.


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Cheryl Maslow said... But how can you yourself hope to have any credibility about torture when you are still denying that there is a consensus on global warming?

Is this another red herring Ms. Maslow or are you casting me out because you find me heretical?


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Cheryl Maslow said...If you blatantly ignore the incontrovertible evidence about this, then one can only wonder what other intellectual contortions you must be capable of. When someone makes a facially preposterous claim—for example, that Holocaust never happened

You are insulting me by intentionally associating with Neo-Nazi Holocaust denial, are you not?

You have not yet read the Wegman Report have you Ms. Maslow?

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Cheryl Maslow said...Once that rigidity has become so exposed, the whole nature of the debate changes.

You don’t listen to or respect those with whom you disagree do you Ms. Maslow?

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Cheryl Maslow said...I would recommend working on your own damaged credibility before attacking that of virtually every source (e.g., Chris Hedges, Andrew Sullivan, James Carroll) that Dean and others have cited.

I’m sorry that you do not find me persuasive, Ms. Maslow. However, would one not expect an advocate to discredit Chris Hedges, Andrew Sullivan, James Carroll if they are employed as expert authorities on one issue or another for which they are discreditable? Mr. Remy makes no bones about using the Southern Poverty Law Center to discredit a protestant minister above for linking homosexuals and the Holocaust. You did not object. So why is it logically inappropriate for me to use say the Catholic League to discredit an anti-Catholic poser like the ex-Rev. James Carroll (a functional anti-Semite to boot it seems) and formally ex-communicated Catholic? Or for me to use the editors of Atlantic to debunk the authoritative status of the oh so excitable Andrew Sullivan?

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I’m sorry that you do not take this issue seriously enough to be mature about what is at stake, Ms. Maslow. It seems to me that you would rather bask a sense of cheap moral purity and bash an opportune target than to struggle with difficult moral situation. Be informed hereby that few will counsel restraint after the second or third American city is reduced to an ashen graveyard … forgive me but I doubt you will so join me at that time in defense of whatever victim the mob chooses … if I do indeed survive the next strike. My luck may run out.

Ms. Maslow, you would do well to study Dr. Christopher Lasch.

Doug Hickman said...

Will someone please read that confounded Wegman Report so that Mr. O’Malley can stop holding his breath!

The conversation between Mr. O and Ms. Maslow is beginning to remind me of Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham.

I am Sam. Sam I am. Do you like green eggs and ham?

I do not like them, Sam I am.
I do not like green eggs and ham.

Would you like them here, or there?

I would not like them here, or there.
I would not like them anywhere.
I do not like green eggs and ham.
I do not like them, Sam I am.


Mr. O wants Ms. M (or someone, anyone!) to read Wegman, and Ms. M (who is probably also Irish) wants Mr. O to admit there is a consensus on global warming and to shut up about Wegman. Hell will probably freeze over before either of them budges.

However, I am not impartial in this. I believe that, in certain cases, the truth is not somewhere “in between” two positions, and sometimes the truth matters hugely. If an advocate of “intelligent design” quotes the Discovery Institute to buttress his or her case, then I think we are completely justified in trying to stop the spread of misinformation, even if some stubbornness is called for.

Mr. O., I think you are out of your league. Ms. M has brought in the big guns (the IPCC, the G8 National Academies, and every other major scientific organization), and you keep insisting she read the Wegman Report? Come on! Is this OCD, or is it just that you’re standing too close to a particular tree to see the forest? Or...do you have a vested interest about which we can only speculate?

Climate scientists the world over have reached a consensus about climate change, and if the Wegman Report contradicts it, then these scientists have obviously concluded that the report is insignificant or without merit. I am not a scientist, so I have to depend on the judgment of prestigious international scientific bodies. I am hugely impressed by Britain’s Royal Society, and I feel certain that, had the Wegman Report contained significant information about climate change, they would have taken it into account. The same goes for the national academies of the other G8 nations. But apart from scientific opinion, there is just simple observation of the realities around us. Our civilization is in a slow-motion collision with the Earth—a collision that we cannot see until we step back and look at events and patterns over time. Thousands upon thousands of climate scientists have done this, and they virtually all agree about the direction we’re headed and are urging decisive action now. It is critically important for us to stop the spread of misinformation that feeds into our denial of these realities, and so I respect Ms. M’s persistence. I suspect she may also be testing the limits of what she calls your “ideological rigidity.”

Mike O'Malley said...

So you think I'm out of my league Mr. Hickman? Perhaps you are right. But I'm the only participant in this discussion who appears to have actually read peer reviewed scientific discourse on this question. If one is going to engage in an intelligent discussion about a scientific despute it helps to do one's homework in depth. Moreover, I'm a former radical Leftist so I'm not unaware of how the Left plays the game of coalition building through organizational endorsement. But that's a story for another day as are the several cards I've got up my sleave on this topic. ;-)

I note also your ad hominem by insinuation: "Or...do you have a vested interest about which we can only speculate?"

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Doug Hickman said... Climate scientists the world over have reached a consensus about climate change,"

Of course if you had done your homework on this topic Mr. Hickman you might know that such is not the case.

Doug Hickman said... and if the Wegman Report contradicts it, then these scientists have obviously concluded that the report is insignificant or without merit.

And you know this how, Mr. Hickman? Do you want to explain the timelines regarding these fence post endorsements and the release of the peer reviewed Wegman Report? Perhaps you can tell us when and how the Wegman Report came up for consideration? BTW: I also note your confusion about scientific and political organizations. The IPCC and the G8 are insubstance P-O-L-I-T-I-C-A-L entities. Such confusion Mr. Hickman on this matter should give you pause regarding your ability to separate politics from science on this matter.


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Doug Hickman said... Come on! Is this OCD, or is it just that you're standing too close to a particular tree to see the forest?


Then you will welcome and consider the comment I left yesterday at Gil's posting of Wednesday, June 03, 2009, entitled What did I tell you? (See the currently last and 57th comment in that comment thread).

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Thank you for your interest Mr. Hickman and have a good weekend. It will be a busy weekend for me and I want to catch up on several of Gil's more recent postings. It seems that I'll be digging into a few of Rabbi Jacob Neusner's books so I can draft a comment. ;-)

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Oh yes Mr. Hickman, you could read the Wegman Report yourself ;-) and since you rely on the work of the IPCC I'll try to find you a good summary of the Bre-X Minerals Ltd. securities fraud for you to read ;-)