My father never bought products made in Germany. It was because of German industry’s involvement with the death camps. IG Farben paid the SS $1 a day for slave laborers from Auschwitz, they were marched from the death camp to the nearby factory until they couldn’t be profitably used anymore, then they went into a gas chamber. Mercedes-Benz, according to my father, a student of history who read the NY Times every day, built some kind of killing machine (I forget exactly what he told me), possibly the gas chambers or ovens for The Final Solution. I may have them confused with BMW, who also used slave laborers from the death camps. The drivers of both brands, to this day, tend to be unyielding at crosswalks, I’ve noticed.
“Is it right to hate the children and grandchildren of people who made money working for Hitler?” I asked, a bit rhetorically, when I was in high school.
“It’s justified,” said my dad, “and I hate them.”
“Would Viet Namese people be justified, 50 years from now, in hating us and boycotting American made products because of what the government of the USA did to their parents, grandparents, their countryside?” I asked him.
“Yep,” said my dad. I think he was right, too. Particularly if you live in a democracy– the government speaks for the electorate. In spite of literally millions turning out to protest Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz and Bush’s march toward war against Iraq, our government visited hell on that nation. Do Iraqis have a right to hate America? You bet your ass they do.
One of my problems is that I never get over certain things. I find myself thinking of the calculated and bogus case that was made for raining death and destruction on the population of Iraq. I think of how President Obama generously turned the page on recently committed American war crimes, while justifying his own highly classified murderous practices.
The final “evidence” of the connection between Saddam and 9/11 that was trumpeted by the Bush Administration was from an al-Queda prisoner we’d secretly shipped to Egypt to be tortured. In order to get the torture to stop al-Libi said Saddam was training al-Queda in the use of poison gas and other chemical WMD. When he was released by the Egyptians he immediately recanted, admitted he told them that to make the torture, the super-super enhanced interrogation, stop. Yet his information, extracted under torture, was the lynchpin of the entire falsified case for invading Iraq.
Then you have the war, the debates, the traitors, the people who hate our freedom, freedom on the march, torture redefined as necessary to use against people who hate our freedom, we call it “enhanced interrogation” now and we only did it a few times, destroyed videotapes of the worst of it, pretended (as Cheney continues to) it had extracted “actionable intelligence”, though it’s highly unlikely it ever did, classified memos relating to its use, blah blah, economic disaster in 2008 orchestrated by powerful elites who profited handsomely from systematic fraud and were never punished for any of it …. so really, who today can be expected to get excited about this paragraph?
There is a sad postscript to the story. Al-Libi is the only “high-value” detainee who was not sent to Gitmo for eventual trial before a military tribunal. Instead, he was quietly turned over to Moammar Gadhafi’s henchmen in Libya, and just days after being visited by Human Rights Watch, was found hanging from his neck inside a Libyan prison. His family believes he was murdered to cover up the true story of what happened to him. We’ll never know the answer to that, but we do know with certainty that an American president used bogus intelligence from a tortured detainee to make a false claim to the American public and to the world.
Ho hum. Maybe some day I’ll grow up, I can only hope.