Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dear Rudi,

(You spelled my name with an "i", so I'll return the favor.)

I do not believe the court historians. History is written by the victors. If the devil-Nazis had won the war, they would have recorded a completely conflicting account of events. My mom lived in German-occupied Northern Italy during the Good War. She tells me of kindly German soldiers; she likewise tells me of dodging not-so-kindly American bombs. You could say (of course you won't) she's a Holocaust survivor. The fact remains I wouldn't have been born if she had been "damaged collaterally."

FDR had foreknowledge of the Japanese "sneak attack" on Pearl Harbor; he let it happen to suck the U.S. into his stupid war. More French died from the Allied bombing of France than did English from the Nazi bombing of Coventry. Churchill bombed Germany before Hitler bombed Coventry. All this history is studiously ignored.

You say there are no humanitarian bombings. Yet you accept the nuking of Hiroshima. What does terrorism mean if not the intentional killing of innocent and unarmed civilians? Don't the denizens of Hiroshima qualify? You want to go back to "Nanking, Guernica, Warsaw, Rotterdam, London and, yes, Coventry." Go back to your heart's content. The denizens of Dresden (which included many of Stalin's refugees, but nobody cares about that, because the mass-murdering "Uncle Joe" was on the "good guys'" side) and Hiroshima and Cologne and Hamburg and Tokyo and Nagasaki had nothing to do with the atrocities committed in "Nanking, Guernica," etc.

I will close with a quote from Nicholson Baker, the author of Human Smoke: the Beginnings of World War II, the End of Civilization (a new release--you may want to check it out):

"I've had some very good reviews and some very bad ones. The bad ones seem to follow the teeter-totter school: that if a dictator and the nation he controls is evil, then the leader of the nation who opposes the evil dictator must be good. Life isn't that way, of course. There is in fact no "moral equivalence" created by examining coterminous violent and repulsive acts. The notion of moral equivalence is a mistake, because it undermines our notions of personal responsibility and law. Each act of killing is its own act, not something to be heaped like produce on a balancing scale. One person, as Roosevelt said, must not be punished for the deed of another--though he didn't follow his own precept."

I have no use for the "teeter-totter school." I have no use for group-think. I am concerned only with the Holocaust of One. There are no uniquely monstrous people or pure-as-the-driven-snow people. There are only people.


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