Friday, January 28, 2005

ON THIS DAY 60 YEARS AGO, Auschwitz was liberated by Soviet troops. Between one million and 1.5 million people died in Auschwitz, including 800,000 Jews.

World leaders from around the globe attended today's ceremony in Poland to mark this event. Many of them, like Vladimir Putin, who is little more than a thug himself, mused out loud about how incomprehensible it is that human beings could be capable of such atrocities. Dick Cheney said that places like Auschwitz remind us "that evil is real and must be called by its name and confronted."

Is that what Operation Paperclip was about? If evil must be "called by its name and confronted," then what do we call a country that helps former Nazis escape to safe havens? What do we call a country that hires former Nazi leaders to work for its intelligence service, and picks the brains of former Nazi scientists and technology experts to gain a competitive edge in weapons research and development?

These questions are more relevant today than ever, given the fact that one of the purposes for creating a secret espionage unit centered in the Pentagon is to give Donald Rumsfeld (and whoever else holds Rumsfeld's position in the future) the freedom to recruit and hire spies and other covert agents without their background being subject to public scrutiny. This freedom is important to Defense because such recruitment efforts "may include 'notorious figures' whose links to the U.S. government would be embarrassing if disclosed."

So even today, 60 years after the kind of evil that Mr. Cheney says must be "called by its name and confronted," the government Cheney works for is still making secret, backdoor deals with the devil.

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