Saturday, September 02, 2006

Not Comme Il Faut

I've been wanting to play the Nazi card for awhile, but my editor wouldn't let me (she's very strict). She advised that it is too provocative, a low-blow, not comme il faut. Besides, it just exceeds the bounds of propriety and common decency. Cooler heads prevailed, for a time. I'll try to be restrained.

Thinking about the geopolitical nasties playing today, I thought: what's not to love about the Hitlerian Nazis as an example of the most egregious sort in the rogue's gallery of right wing-nut insanity? I want to present a concise summary of the reasons they are our favorite villains. Please do not think me an insensitive clod; their reality makes me want to wretch. My father and uncle fought the duration of WW II to defeat this manace. But there is a method to my madness, so if you will forbear me:

(1) They had a cult of personality based upon a warrior leader. He even had combat experience, albeit as a corporal. There was an overreliance on his willpower and willingness to stay the course (y'know--Moscow, Stalingrad, Kursk...things weren't looking very good.) His will dictated the death of millions of German soldiers--among untold millions of others--and those were the friendlies.

(2) His 2nd in command was fat, had a heart problem, and liked to hunt with a shotgun. Reportedly, he drank while doing so.

(3) He invaded countries based upon conjured phoney border incidents. He invaded Russia preemptively. He was forced to do so before Russia could attack Nazi interests.

(4) He recruited and trained new police and army forces in the conquered territories. This was to inculcate Western European values to the culturally deprived and backward Eastern nations.

(5) He curried favor and fully cooperated with the rich and powerful to gain and maintain power.

(6) Human rights were curtailed and ignored in Nazi Germany. People were imprisoned and held indefinitely. Torture was allowed and the Geneva Convention was ignored. (After the war, the Nuremburg trials addressed these issues and hung the top Nazi leaders.)

(7) Hitler embraced unilateral German action. Others like the Italians were on board for a while, but their presence or absence mattered little in the final scheme.

(9) The German military was ultimately strained to the breaking point, yet the military was expected to perform political miracles. Even when strained, he could always find another country to invade as distraction from his previous miserable failures.

(10) Hitler relied on emotion and gut reaction, along with his unwavering conviction of the the inherent superiority of the German system and people. He looked Chamberlain in the eye and he knew he could trust him.

(11) Remember his cocky, premature, goose-stepping victory strut when claiming mission accomplished in 1940 France?

Well, as Rod Serling, a fellow paratrooper might say, submitted for your consideration...


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