|RANT FROM JUNE 2006
"Not Only Bad, But Also Stupid"
Lately I'm recalling something Manfred Krutein said to me more than once. "The Nazis were not only evil -- they were stupid. People who didn't know what they were doing were in charge."|
Manfred was a naval architect and a professional officer in the German Navy, beginning in the 1930's. He was in a position to observe how the Nazis did things. He condemned first-strike invasions, which made enemies of almost everybody -- he thought such behavior was not only wrong but stupid. The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union revealed a colossal lack of historical awareness. The Nazis had never heard of Napoleon? Or they thought they were more capable than he? The refusal to surrender at Stalingrad resulted in the annihilation of an entire army. This was ideology over-riding good sense -- Nazi's don't surrender; they die instead.
The Nazis fought on after defeat was obviously inevitable. They believed in, or more likely, they lied about a pending Wunderwaffen [miracle weapon], and the slaughter went on needlessly. Decades later Manfred wrote a novel about the U-boat Service, in which he reveals the way their ideology made the Nazis stupid. We published it with the title, HITLER'S LAST GASP. It is an imaginary coda to World War II.
The similarities between all that and what we can observe of the neo-conservative take-over of U.S. foreign policy are striking. The openly-announced plans for "an American century" displayed the same stupid megalomania that captivated Hitler and the Nazis. Their glib use of the word "evil" to refer to opponents is a remarkable parallel. The lack of awareness of how their own actions could appear evil to others, especially those made victims, would be comical if there weren't so many dead bodies involved.
Who has ever successfully invaded Afghanistan? No one since Ghengis Khan and Tamarlane. The British failed. The Russians failed. The Americans have not succeeded.
The Nazis seemed more aware of art and culture than Donald Rumsfeld. His mocking of the museum collection of ancient vases put at risk by the American invasion of Mesopotamia made him look stupid. At least the Nazis were aware enough of the value of art that they'd rather steal it than destroy it.
The Nazis violated treaties whenever they thought it suited them. The Americans have also been doing that for a long time -- ask the North American natives. But these neocons have a strange attitude toward treaties and world opinion. They'll sign treaties, and selectively quote passages from treaties, while blatantly violating what the treaties say. World agreement on the militarization of space, world agreement on torture, and world agreement on non-proliferation of nuclear weapons are all made a mockery by these maniacs.
Laser weapons, useful for threatening any spot on earth with mass destruction, are in the arsenal. Torture doesn't need elaboration. And non-proliferation! The treaty says that those who have nuclear weapons are in the process of getting rid of them, but the U.S. isn't. These crazies are planning an entire new generation of nuclear weapons, not huge massive unusable deterrent things, but small, "tactical" bombs which they intend to use, actually detonate, on other people's countries. Now, that's evil; but it is also stupid.
Manfred thought the Nazis were incompetent. He didn't live long enough to watch what we have now -- deliberate incompetence! "Starve the beast!" "Remind people that government can't do anything right" -- and then prove it, by not doing anything right.
The Nazis took prizes in lying. They even announced that that was all they had to do -- lie long enough and loud enough and big enough, and everything will work out. Our gang make Goebbels and Goehring look like amateurs.
The Acting President is a first class liar. But he is also stupid. He has been labelled, accurately, at home and abroad -- a moron! But he is more arrogant than most morons.
Sooner or later the world will figure out how to counter-balance all that arrogance. Voices here at home are already saying, "There is no military solution to this problem." There never was. Some of us think that Napoleon and Hitler already demonstrated that definitively. When the war machine is shut down, it will be a significant first step in a return to reason.