Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Right Has Hysterics Over George Soros Saying U.S. Needs To Go Through a "De-Nazification" Process

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The fantasy bloggers are having their usual reading comprehension problems over George Soros's "de-nazification" remarks, made last week in Davos.

Here is the New York Post's account of what Soros said:

SEN. Barack Obama might want to tell George Soros to shut up, now that the Hungarian-born billionaire has equated the George W. Bush administration with the Third Reich. Soros, who spent $26 million trying to beat Bush two years ago, is a key supporter of the media-darling Illinois Democrat's presidential campaign. But last week at Davos, Soros made folks like Gwyneth Paltrow and Sean Penn look downright patriotic. After asserting that the United States is recognizing the error it made in Iraq, Soros said, "To what extent it recognizes the mistake will determine its future." He went on to say that Turkey and Japan are still hurt by a reluctance to admit to dark parts of their history, and contrasted that reluctance to Germany's rejection of its Nazi-era past. "America needs to follow the policies it has introduced in Germany," Soros said. "We have to go through a certain de-Nazification process." Soros spokesman Michael Vachon told Page Six: "There is nothing unpatriotic about demanding accountability from the president. Those responsible for taking America into this needless war should do us all a favor and retire from public office."

That first sentence is top-grade horse manure. George Soros did not "equate the George W. Bush administration with the Third Reich." He did not do anything even remotely close to that, and anyone who says he did either does not understand English or is deliberately misreading Soros's words. Soros said that countries harm themselves when they refuse to own up to serious mistakes. He named two specific countries -- Turkey and Japan -- which have chosen not to acknowledge, admit, or take complete responsibility for, dark chapters in their history. He named another country -- Germany -- which has, quite obviously, a very dark chapter in its history; and observed that Germany has taken responsibility for its past, by acknowledging it, and also by divesting itself of all remnants of its Nazi past.

He then turned to the United States, which, he said, is recognizing its mistakes with regard to Iraq. He then added, "To what extent it recognizes the mistake will determine its future." (Emphasis mine.) Meaning, obviously, the United States has begun, but not yet completed, a process of recognizing, acknowledging, and taking responsibility for, the malignancy it has unleashed in the world and at home by preemptively invading a country that did not threaten us, by violating the legal and human rights of detainees in the "war on terror," by attacking and infringing on Americans' personal freedoms in the name of making Americans "safer," and by sacrificing and ignoring every domestic need and problem that was not directly related to military confrontations abroad. The United States needs to do that, as it did in Germany after World War II through the policy called "de-nazification."

It could not be more clear that Soros is using the term "de-nazification" as a way to describe a particular process of atoning for past evils -- not "equating" the Bush administration with Nazi Germany.

I tend to get testy when a Hungarian Jew who survived the Holocaust has his understanding of the term "de-nazification" challenged by people whose closest personal or family experience of the Nazi murder of six million Jews is a pastrami sandwich at the corner deli.

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