Thursday, June 09, 2005

Hysteria of Charles Rangel 

The rhetorical horse once again bolts and runs away from the Dems:
Top House Democrat Charles Rangel complained on Monday that the Bush administration's decision to concoct a "fraudulent" war in Iraq was as bad as "the Holocaust."

"It's the biggest fraud ever committed on the people of this country," Rangel told WWRL Radio's Steve Malzberg and Karen Hunter. "This is just as bad as six million Jews being killed. The whole world knew it and they were quiet about it, because it wasn't their ox that was being gored."
It's not actually quite as bad as it seems:
Asked to clarify his Holocaust comparison, Rangel told Malzberg: "I am saying that people's silence when they know terrible things are happening is the same thing as the Holocaust, where everyone would have me believe that no one knew those Jews were killed over there."
Initially I though, this is not as bad as it seems; Rangel is not making a grossly offensive comparison of the liberation of 26 million people from tyranny with the killing of 6 million Jews. What a relief. He's merely making a stupid, inaccurate, and hysterical comparison of the public reactions to both events. Stupid, inaccurate, and hysterical, because after all, Iraq, in all its aspects and from all the perspectives, is the most talked about issue in the world today.

But then I reread Rangel's comments. This is what he's saying:

The officials in the Roosevelt Administration knew that the Holocaust was going on, but kept quiet and did nothing about it (not wanting at this point to get involved in a debate whether the Holocaust could have been "stopped", for example by bombing the death camps or the train lines leading thereto; but remembering that at all times the United States was actually engaged in a total war against the perpetrators of the same Holocaust).

The officials in the Bush Administration knew that the war in Iraq was "fraudulent" and "terrible things [were] happening", but kept quiet and did nothing about it.

So, you see, it's actually worse than it looks, because Rangel is comparing the moral callousness of an Administration about atrocities being committed by somebody else, with the moral callousness of another Administration about atrocities being committed by that Administration. In the Rangel moral universe, therefore, bringing freedom and democracy to millions of Iraqis is as bad as killing six million Jews - both horrible enterprises should have been stopped by the US government but weren't.

In a week that saw Guantanamo Bay described a gulag, I can't say I'm too surprised any more by Rangel's remarks.

Update: Lorie at Polipundit has another perspective, and Decision 08 is proposing the Bipartisan Anti-Inflammation Pledge of 2005. We should be so lucky.


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