Wednesday, June 22, 2005

The Hitler zombie wants more brains to eat

I've been wanting to write about Senator Dick Durbin's ill-considered use of argumentum ad Nazium last week in the light of my previous posts (here and here) on the the use of questionable Nazi analogies for political purposes. However, mercury/vaccine blogging took over and got in the way. It's time for a vaccine blogging break, at least as far as longer posts go (barring new developments, of course). I'm a bit burned out on it.

In any case, there's not much for me to add about the Durbin quote at this late date, given that fellow RINO John Cole at Balloon Juice handled the issue quite pretty well. Yes, Senator Durbin's remarks were over the top, although he did try to make a valid point on how the interrogation tactics at Gitmo resemble those of repressive regimes more than I'd like to admit; it's just that he botched his point. He also seemed unable make a coherent case afterward when the right wing pundits started attacking him as having called our soldiers Nazis. Even so, Durbin certainly made a more valid point than, say Rick Santorum or Charlie Rangel did when they dropped the H-bomb). However, the reaction of the right to Durbin's turn at exhuming Hitler's corpse (not to mention Stalin's and Pol Pot's corpses) in the service of his political agenda is way out of proportion to the actual offense. They're really out for blood this time.

Of note, Orcinus has a stronger condemnation of the right on the whole affair. Unfortunately, he lets Durbin off the hook way too easily. Durbin may have had a point worth making, but he overplayed his hand and deserves a decent fraction of the criticism he's getting.

Yes, it would appear that the Hitler zombie has claimed at least part of another victim's brain, which is probably not surprising. Given the paucity of nourishment devouring the brains of Rick Santorum and Charlie Rangel provided in the recent past, the Hitler zombie was almost certainly still famished. We can only hope that Dick Durbin's brain provided a more substantive snack for the undead Führer, at the very least so that the Hitler zombie won't be looking to feed again soon. We could all use a break from the hyperbole and ill-considered Hitler/Nazi analogies used for political purposes.

Make no mistake, though. It will be back. The Hitler zombie always comes back. Which makes me wonder: Whose brain will it eat next? Howard Dean's? Bill Frist's?

ADDENDUM: It looks like Durbin apologized.

12 example(s) of insolence returned:


At 6/22/2005 8:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It would seem Dean's brain has already been eaten by something?

 

At 6/22/2005 11:27 AM, Anonymous Mark Paris said...

I read the PDF of Durbin's statement and I do not see the problem. He read an FBI agent's statement of how a prisoner was mistreated (and there is no doubt that what was described is fairly charactized as torture, although one may debate how severe), and then he said, "If I read this to you and did not tell you it was ... describing what Americans had done ... you would most certainly beleive this must have been done by Nazis, Soviets in their gulags, or some mad regime -- Pol Pot or others-- that had no concern for human beings." Is it not true? To what regime should this behavior be compared? Would one assume that this behavior was done by Americans? Does Durbin's statement not carry the clear implication that this type of behavior is not what we have come to expect from American soldiers? If one can read the FBI agent's statement and not be surprised that it describes American behavior, it is truly a shame for America.

 

At 6/22/2005 11:34 AM, Anonymous monosomy7 said...

As a former soldier I agree with Durbin. Americans are supposed to be the good guys. He wants us to be better than the ass hats of the world.

 

At 6/22/2005 12:15 PM, Blogger Ian said...

Mark Paris and monosomy are exactly on target. I'd love to hear exactly what it is about Durbin's _full comments_ (not the butchered version Rush, Malkin, etc are promulgating) that you think is incorrect, Orac. Support your troops, yes, but not the ones who are torturers.

I really would like to think that if the scenario Durbin read from the DBI agent's report was described to most Americans without identifying marks they would identify it not as American conduct but as the conduct of an evil regime, which (yes) includes the Nazis.

And the fact that plenty of conversative bloggers are saying this is worse than Lott's pro-segregation comments is just sickening.

 

At 6/22/2005 12:48 PM, Blogger Rockstar Ryan said...

I enjoy the debunking of anti-vaxers, but it's good to see you giving hell to some other morons.

Keep it up, I read you everyday!

 

At 6/22/2005 1:05 PM, Anonymous Equinox said...

I rarely find myself much in disagreement with your posts, Orac, but this time I'm with the previous three commenters. Durbin's statement was quite reasonable, and carefully phrased. The spin machine worked hard to twist his words and turn the conversation from the issues Durbin raised-torture and our crumbling national values-into the 'criticising the war, the president, or the behavior of individual soldiers or commanders means you don't support the troops' flogger that the right wing is so fond of. I understand that you have a particular interest in seeing that we don't abuse the Holocaust or Nazi metaphors, for fear of watering down our collective memory about those horrors-but I believe that in this case, Durbin's was a proper and appropriate use of them. Please reread his words carefully-my senator is a principled and articulate man: http://durbin.senate.gov/gitmo.cfm

 

At 6/22/2005 1:07 PM, Anonymous Equinox said...

By previous three commenters, I meant mark paris, monosomy7, and ian, not rockstar, who snuck in while I was writing my comment:)

 

At 6/22/2005 2:34 PM, Anonymous Susang said...

I believe the main problem here to be with the way Durbin's comments have been reported, not the comments themselves. When you actually hear them or read them (when quoted accurately) they are not that outrageous.

Unfortunately, when incorrectly repeated by Limbaugh to his legions of dittoheads, they take on a whole new meaning. Mayor Daley didn't help with his apoplectic attempt to divert attention from his own scandals onto Durbin. Pathetic.

That said, I do think that perhaps he might have forseen that the use of the H-word might have triggered this problem, no matter how carefully crafted his sentence. Since I have met Durbin on several occasions (fundraisers, protests & such)and know many people who work closely with him in local politics, I know him to be one of a truly rare breed - an honorable politician.

 

At 6/22/2005 4:12 PM, Anonymous Mark Paris said...

One point: Durbin didn't compare anyone to Hitler. He compared the interrogation techniques to something one might have expected from the Nazis or Stalin's Soviets.

 

At 6/22/2005 4:50 PM, Blogger Gary said...

The right has now made Torture as official policy: A source of national pride; no apology necessary.

Condemning torture: A "heinous slander" against America; you must apologize or resign.

A United States Senator spoke the truth. He condemned evil and called it un-American. And then he was forced to apologize.

http://slacktivist.typepad.com/slacktivist/2005/06/image_is_everyt.html

How long will we put up with the right media zombies that are eating citizen's brains?

 

At 6/22/2005 10:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It just seems odd that the "conservative" speakers can get away with anything whereas a "liberal" one faces the heat for a well-thought comment. Yes, the hitler/stalin analogy was stretching it too far. But that IS the real question. Is the "leader" of the free world going to justify its actions because the victims were "evil" and they therefore "deserved" it, or is it going to stand by the principles laid by its founding fathers?

If the 9/11 attacks are used to justify those exact things that the country stands against, haven't the terrorists actually been more successful than we think? I thought the terrorists could bring down two towers, but they can't bring down the American soul. I am not sure if I still think that way, in spite of me being a supporter of the war against terror.

- From a non-American living in America... a place where he felt as free as his own country.

 

At 6/22/2005 11:23 PM, Blogger Orac said...

Thanks for your comments, everyone. I was going to post something else tomorrow, but it's nothing that can't wait a day or two. Instead, I've written up a "group reply," which, after sleeping on it tonight, I will probably post early tomorrow morning.

 

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