Shocking Op-Ed: Pro-Iraq War Americans Worse Than Germans Who Backed Nazis
Here’s something you wouldn’t expect to hear from a former Marine: Americans who support the Iraq War -- including those in the military and their families -- are worse than Germans who supported the Nazis in World War II.
In it, Ritter made some absolutely extraordinary statements about not only the Administration, but also the military and all those who continue to support our efforts in Iraq.
For a little background, Ritter took issue with an article written by Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz critical of Holocaust deniers (emphasis added throughout, h/t Dan Gainor):
I would be curious to know how Dershowitz would judge how the families of German soldiers deployed in combat operations should have viewed the Second World War. What if a mother of a young panzer grenadier fighting on the Russian front was to say, “The troops are the mission, and we cannot separate our support for either”? Should blind support for the fighting men likewise have blinded the families of German soldiers to the illegitimacy of their cause? Certainly Dershowitz would favor the “good German,” one who would have sought to deny facilitation of the Holocaust by refusing to support the war which empowered it. Would he so favor the “good American,” one driven by a sense of moral responsibility to speak out against acts perpetrated in Iraq and elsewhere by American fighting forces ostensibly in support of freedom, but in reality an extension of illegitimate policies reeking of global hegemony and American empire? Or would he choose to explain away Guantanamo Bay, Abu Ghraib, Bagram, the CIA’s secret gulag of torture as “legitimate acts of bellicose reprisals” for the events of Sept. 11, 2001? In Dershowitz’s tortured legal brain the events at Haditha and elsewhere, including the Marine massacre of civilians in Afghanistan, likewise assume legitimacy in this newfound legal defense of “legitimate bellicose reprisal.”
Shocking, wouldn’t you agree? Maybe as shocking is that Ritter chose to link to Dershowitz’s article at DePaul University professor Norman Finkelstein’s website. For those unfamiliar, Finkelstein, currently in the limelight because he is up for tenure, is accused by his critics of being both a Holocaust denier and anti-Israel.
Regardless, Ritter continued:
The innumerable home movies shot in Iraq and Afghanistan, some immortalized on YouTube, some in documentary film, some simply shared with friends and family, all show the same disturbing trend. Whether it is a Marine singing the lyrics to the self-written “Hadji Girl,” or soldiers speaking disparagingly about “ragheads” or “sand niggers,” or any other dehumanizing remark imaginable, the reality is our troops aren’t in Iraq to liberate the Iraqi people. We’re there to kill them and we do an extraordinarily good job.
Shocking, yes? But Ritter’s vitriol towards America’s soldiers was just beginning:
Every mother and father of every soldier, sailor, airman and Marine deployed in Iraq should reflect on this as well. “Little Johnny” may write home about what he says is a “just war” that “needs to be fought,” but before one embraces the words of someone in harm’s way in desperate need of self-justification for the things he has seen and done, re-examine the area of operations your loved one is serving in or, worse, has perished in. Are they “living among the Iraqi people,” as some would have you believe? Or are they sequestered away in base camps or fire bases, forced to conduct patrols out among a population that for the most part hates them and wants them gone from Iraq? Does “Johnny” himself call the Iraqis ragheads? Does he give a frustrated kick at the Iraqi male he just apprehended, not because of any crime or offense committed, but simply because he was there? Does he point his rifle and scream expletives at the mother or wife or daughter who cries out for a loved one? Does he break a lamp or table to emphasize his point? Or does he do worse, allowing his emotions and frustration to break free as he beats, shoots or rapes those he now hates more than anything else in the world? Freedom? Get real.
Extraordinary. Alas, Ritter was crescendoing to a truly disgraceful conclusion:
The American Legion magazine, in its May 2007 issue, belittles those who speak out against the war. “While our forefathers gave us the right and privilege to challenge our leaders,” one father of a fallen Marine writes, “the manner and method that some people have chosen to use at this time only emboldens the enemy.” Reading between the lines, freedom of speech is treasonous if you question the motives and actions of those who got us involved in the Iraq war. Alan Dershowitz can only wish that there had been more “good Germans” speaking out about the policies of Adolf Hitler before the Holocaust became reality.
I yearn for a time when “good Americans” will be able to stop and reverse equally evil policies of global hegemony achieved through pre-emptive war of aggression. I know all too well that in this case the “enemy” will only be emboldened by our silence, since at the end of the day the “enemy” is ourselves. I can see the Harvard professor shaking an accusatory finger at me for the above statement, chiding me for creating any moral equivalency between the war in Iraq and the Holocaust. You’re right, Mr. Dershowitz. There is no moral equivalency. In America today, we should have known better, since we ostensibly stand for so much more. That we have collectively failed to halt and repudiate the war in Iraq makes us even worse than the Germans.
For some reason, Ritter has forgotten that he resigned as an UNSCOM weapons inspector on August 26, 1998, due to his belief that the United Nations and the Clinton administration weren’t doing enough to disarm Saddam Hussein and Iraq. As he stated in his resignation letter (emphasis added):
Iraq has lied to the Special Commission and the world since day one concerning the true scope and nature of its proscribed programs and weapons systems. This lie has been perpetuated over the years through systematic acts of concealment. It was for the purpose of uncovering Iraq's mechanism of concealment, and in doing so gaining access to the hidden weapons, components and weapons programs, that you created a dedicated capability to investigate Iraq's concealment activities, which I have had the privilege to head. During the period of time that this effort has been underway, the Commission has uncovered indisputable proof of a systematic concealment mechanism, run by the Presidency of Iraq and protected by the Presidential security forces. This investigation has led the Commission to the door step of Iraq's hidden retained capability, and yet the Commission has been frustrated by Iraq's continued refusal to abide by its obligations under Security Council resolutions and the Memorandum of Understanding of 23 February 1998 to allow inspections, the Security Council's refusal to effectively respond to Iraq's actions, and now the current decision by the Security Council and the Secretary General, backed at least implicitly by the United States, to seek a "diplomatic" alternative to inspection-driven confrontation with Iraq, a decision which constitutes a surrender to the Iraqi leadership that has succeeded in thwarting the stated will of the United Nations.
As the Washington Post’s Jim Hoagland wrote at the time:
Clinton and Albright need to reexamine the tactics they have chosen. The present approach ignores the fundamental point Ritter makes: Saddam was allowed to avoid complete destruction in 1991 by promising the world to give up all his prohibited weapons and to prove he had done so.
Failure to enforce such a commitment on Saddam, the world's most flagrant user and hoarder of the new weapons of terror, will destroy any hope of effective international nonproliferation. It will seriously undermine U.N. credibility with the American public. Failure on Iraq will push the United States onto a solitary, unpredictable and expensive path outside the United Nations to confront these dangers. No one should want that.
How quickly Ritter has forgotten.