“(…) Das erste (Foto) zeigt ein Opfer auf einem Podest mit einer Kapuze über dem Kopf, das mit seinen abgewinkelten Armen wie der gekreuzigte Christus das Leid dieser Welt symbolisiert (…). Das zweite Foto zeigt einen nackten Menschenhaufen, der uns an KZ-Bilder erinnert…”
“(…) The first (photo) shows a hooded victim on a pedestal who, with his arms outstretched like the crucified Christ, symbolizes the world’s sufferings. … The second photo shows a pile of naked men that reminds us of pictures from the concentration camps. …”
The comparison of this picture from Abu Ghraib with those of concentration camps is very stupid, but she isn’t comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz. Here’s an altavista translation
But look what David then comes up with:
“The issue here is nothing less than the revision of German history. Auschwitz, Bergen-Belsen, Theresienstadt and Dachau are all in the same league with Abu Ghraib. (While under American control – the German media treated Abu Ghraib under Saddam’s rule as a non-event, as a sub-set of the category Arabian folklore.)
We get it! That’s the way it was in those Nazi concentration camps back then. A bunch of louts, those concentration camp guards – they didn’t always maintain discipline. There were times when the inmates were slapped in the face. And more – occasionally they had to stand on a box for hours. Once the prisoners even had to undress! And then get dressed again! Sure weren’t resorts, those concentration camps. If only the Führer had known!
So the pictures taken in German concentration camps remind us of American crimes in our day? Well, we don’t want to compare numbers. Every nation has a few bad boys who get carried away once in a while, doesn’t it?…”
He certainly got a lot of mileage out of this one sentence. Get it? A feminist who has no more influence in Germany than Susan Sontag has in America writes an op-ed that contains a stupid sentence, and all of a sudden it’s all of the German media and *Germans in general* who are comparing Abu Ghraib to Auschwitz in order to excuse the holocaust.
The reason for this overreaction is easy to understand: David was angered by the German coverage about Abu Ghraib, so he was primed and ready for even the appeareance of such a comparison. Right at the start of the post he writes:
We expected it. We knew it would come. Only the when and where were in doubt. The German media are drawing parallels among the American soldiers’ abuses in Abu Ghraib, Jesus Christ’s crucifixion and the Nazi’s concentration camps. And the icing on the cake? This moronic idiocy, which first appeared in a low-circulation, leftist, feminist rag, is being reprinted in Germany’s most important conservative newspaper, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.
This passage is misleading in itself (for it Schwarzer and not the German media in general who is making comparisons, and not even the one David is claiming), but it reveals that this is the first instance of any mention of the holocaust David has come across in the context of Abu Ghraib (“We expected it. We knew it would come…” [And oh boy, was he ever ready for it]).
Then Jeff Jarvis links to David’s post and without bothering to read the original article David linked to he too claims that German media in general make this comparison:
The death of perspective
:German media are comparing Abu Ghraib to — yes, I’m actually going to say this – Auschwitz…
(the rest is an excerpt from David’s post)
And Glenn Reynolds in turn links to Jarvis:
“GERMAN MEDIA: Hey, the holocaust wasn’t all that bad! Look what the Americans did in Abu Ghraib!
This self-serving historical revisionism pretty much explains the German position on the war. Note to Germans: You’re not fooling anyone but yourselves. And Michael Moore. And Al Gore. And maybe Guido Calabresi.
In other words, the people who want to be fooled. . . .”
I don’t think that it’s an exaggeration to call this grotesque. I mailed David, Glenn and Jeff. David got two emails. In the first I mailed him the link to Reynolds’ post and told him that I’m pretty sick of this kind of thing by now, for this isn’t the first time one of David’s posts led to collective condemnation of Germans as Nazis (the picture of Dresden is an especially nice touch).
In the second email I told David among other things that a)that his self-appointed task is to uncover distorted reporting media, but that he has now himself caused an extreme distortion in reporting, b) that foreign bloggers are trusting him blindly and link to him without checking his sources, so that he has the responsibility to get it right.
So far only David has answered. He said that he has little time to respond right now, but told me that he doesn’t agree with the points I made. He also doesn’t seem to see anything wrong with Jarvis’ or Reynolds’ posts (to which I linked in my email). Reynolds and Jarvis for their part don’t seem to see anything wrong with issuing collective judgments on a very skimpy basis and can’t even be bothered to respond when called on it.
Bloggers pride themselves on being more accurate and truthful than the press, but in this case they get it completely wrong. A bit of fact-checking instead of just taking David’s word as gospel truth would have helped to avoid this fuck up. I suppose that Reynolds and Jarvis “want to be fooled”, to quote a certain prominent blogger.