Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pat Buchanan reveals himself as a Hitler Apologist.

Seventy years ago today, World War Two started.

There are many things to reflect upon when such anniversaries occur. I always find myself thinking of how lucky I am, that I grew up in a world of relative peace, that I grew up in a world of relative plenty.

My parents lived in a world where food was rationed because of the war, and that was reflected in the way they insisted that nothing was ever wasted.

However, Pat Buchanan has chosen to take this anniversary as a time to assign blame for the war, not on the head of Hitler, but on the heads of the allies. Pat's argument, basically, is that Hitler only wanted the city of Danzig, and that it was our intransigence in refusing to give it to him, which led to WWII.

But if Hitler was out to conquer the world — Britain, Africa, the Middle East, the United States, Canada, South America, India, Asia, Australia — why did he spend three years building that hugely expensive Siegfried Line to protect Germany from France? Why did he start the war with no surface fleet, no troop transports and only 29 oceangoing submarines? How do you conquer the world with a navy that can't get out of the Baltic Sea?

If Hitler wanted the world, why did he not build strategic bombers, instead of two-engine Dorniers and Heinkels that could not even reach Britain from Germany?

Why did he let the British army go at Dunkirk?

Why did he offer the British peace, twice, after Poland fell, and again after France fell?

Why, when Paris fell, did Hitler not demand the French fleet, as the Allies demanded and got the Kaiser's fleet? Why did he not demand bases in French-controlled Syria to attack Suez? Why did he beg Benito Mussolini not to attack Greece?

Because Hitler wanted to end the war in 1940, almost two years before the trains began to roll to the camps.

The unmistakable inference of Buchanan's argument is that, as we continued the war after 1940 - against Hitler's wishes - the death toll of the Holocaust is, therefore, on our heads.

It's an astonishing thing to claim. Quite why Buchanan feels the need to turn himself into a Hitler apologist on the 70th anniversary of the worst conflict mankind has ever known is utterly lost on me. But it's not the first time Buchanan has found himself fighting the F├╝hrer's corner. Here is what he said about him in his 1977 review of John Toland's biography of Hitler:

Though Hitler was indeed racist and anti-Semitic to the core, a man who without compunction could commit murder and genocide, he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier in the Great War, a political organizer of the first rank, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him.

But Hitler's success was not based on his extraordinary gifts alone. His genius was an intuitive sense of the mushiness, the character flaws, the weakness masquerading as morality that was in the hearts of the statesmen who stood in his path."

That's an extraordinarily generous way to view one of the twentieth century's worst tyrants. Indeed, one can actually detect a hint of admiration for some of Hitler's qualities in those words.

That he can be so generous in his summation of Hitler is bad enough; but, to attempt to lay the blame for the Holocaust on the British, Americans and the Russians, is appalling.

The notion, that by 1940, Hitler could be taken at his word is simply fanciful.

As someone comments over at Daily Kos:

Give me Austria. I don't want war.
Give me Sudetan Land, I don't want war.
Poland, I don't want war, Give me Gdansk.
No, Gdansk is ours.
Give it to me damn it. I don't want war...

Oh, that means you want war. I will come and take it.

And yet that is the ridiculous argument which Pat Buchanan is putting forward. And, my bet is that he will pay no price for this. He will continue to be allowed on to national TV as a respected conservative voice, despite the fact that he blames us for the Holocaust and casts Hitler as the victim of our intransigence.

Breathtaking.

UPDATE:



Cenk goes for Buchanan and asks the same thing which occurred to me. Why is Buchanan still on MSNBC?

UPDATE II:

I spoke in July about Lyndsey Graham implying - during hearings into the confirmation of Sotomayer - that no white man would ever get away with making the kind of comment which she had made. He stated:
"If I had said anything like that [...] they would have had my head."
As I said at the time, I thought this was Graham playing the poor white underdog.

Media Matters argue here that we can clearly see what happens to a white person making a similar remark simply by looking at the consistently racist remarks of Pat Buchanan:
In a memo Buchanan wrote while working in the Nixon White House, he dismissed a massacre in which 67 blacks were shot to death by South African police as nothing more than "a few South African whites mistreating a couple of blacks." Concern over the shooting, Buchanan wrote, was "racist and ideological." That's right: Buchanan denounced concern over white South African police officers massacring 67 blacks, rather than the shootings themselves, as "racist".
Nothing happens. Nothing at all. It's simply regarded as Pat being Pat.

It's worth reading their entire article as the number of examples they have of Buchanan being utterly offensive and outrageous could fill a phone book. For example, this was Pat's reaction to the release of Nelson Mandela:

[I]t is difficult to share the wild enthusiasm about the news that Nelson Mandela will be released, that South Africa, too, may soon enjoy the blessings of "majority rule."

[...]

Exactly, why are we celebrating the unbanning of an African National Congress whose leaders are addicted to the very Marxist ideas that ruined every African country where they have been tried?

Comes the answer: Because we stand for democracy! Because white rule of a black majority is inherently wrong!

But, where did we get that idea? The Founding Fathers did not believe this. They did not give the Indians, who were still living a tribal existence, the right to vote us out of North America. When they created the Republic, they restricted the franchise to property-owning males, believing that not every man was qualified to rule, nor every people prepared for self-government. If the past 30 years [of African history] taught us nothing else, it has surely taught us that.

And now he can even defend Hitler and get away with it. So, Lyndsey Graham finally has his answer.

Click title for full article.

4 comments:

Steel Phoenix said...

Pat's been a little over the line lately (and not for the first time as you pointed out). I'm hoping he will pull himself together and get back on track.

Hitler is just one of those untouchable subjects now. Pat often tries to bring people back from the edge of changing Hitler from a complex historical subject to some deified evil incarnate.

I believe the point he has tried to make in the past is that had our foreign policy towards Germany been different in the years leading to Hitler's rise, he may never have been able to rise to power, which seems both a reasonable thought and something to reflect upon in our dealings with Cuba, North Korea, Iran, etc.

I find it ironic that his point (oppressive opposition breeds radicalism) may have been in play in the writing of the article you refer to. He has been under a lot of heat lately and I think it has goaded him to speak more strongly than he likely intended. I'll be interested to see how the chips fall on this one. I don't see anything in this latest article that I would consider worth firing him over, but he may have to do some backtracking.

It reminds me a bit of this video.

I imagine Pat will be on the McGlaughlin Group tomorrow. I hope they challenge him on it.

Kel said...

Pat often tries to bring people back from the edge of changing Hitler from a complex historical subject to some deified evil incarnate.

Pat is not coaxing people back from the edge. Pat has gone way, way over the edge himself.

I believe the point he has tried to make in the past is that had our foreign policy towards Germany been different in the years leading to Hitler's rise, he may never have been able to rise to power, which seems both a reasonable thought and something to reflect upon in our dealings with Cuba, North Korea, Iran, etc.

I think you are being incredibly generous towards him.

The point that I thought he was trying to make was that the allies bear some responsibility for the Holocaust.

I don't see anything in this latest article that I would consider worth firing him over, but he may have to do some backtracking.

So Pat can defend Hitler, and blame the allies for the Holocaust, but pay no price; but Sotomayer made one comment about Latinas and was unfit for the Supreme Court? As I said, Lyndsey Graham really has got his answer now.

Steel Phoenix said...

Pat isn't holding a powerful government office, he isn't a judge, he is a political commentator for the Paleoconservative perspective. It is both his job and his right to have outspoken opinions. I wouldn't support him for the Supreme Court either, and for essentially the same reasons; he wouldn't be able to project the appearance of being racially neutral.

Kel said...

The point that Lyndsey Graham made to Sotomayer was that words have consequences and that "If I had said anything like that [...] they would have had my head."

I am well aware, as I am sure you know, that Buchanan does not hold political office and that he is not a judge. But he is a political commentator and he is given access to the nation's airwaves. There is a responsibility that goes with that position. Just ask Bill Mayer.

Graham's notion was that white men are judged more harshly than Latinas. He was, as I said at the time, portraying the Caucasian male as the underdog.

I think that's nonsense. I think people on the far right of the political spectrum (male or female) - Ann Coulter, and yes, the recent comments from Pat Buchanan - can say absolutely anything - even defend Hitler - and suffer no consequences at all.

Bill Mayer and Sotomayer, they will nail to the wall. Ann Coulter and Buchanan are regarded as simply "colourful" and "opinionated".