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Tilting at Windmills

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May 15, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

STAB IN THE BACK....Back in February, Michael Ramirez published a cartoon in Investor's Business Daily that showed an American soldier with a knife in his back labeled "Congress." Ramirez, obviously, felt that plans to introduce a timeline for withdrawal from Iraq constituted a stab in the back from Democratic members of Congress.

Now, if you capitalize this you get Stab In The Back, which is famous as a popular German rationalization for their loss in World War I: i.e., the real reason they lost was because the German army was "stabbed in the back" by various actors, including politicians and the public. Hitler later adopted this as a populist rallying cry during his rise to power.

Ramirez may or may not know this history. He probably does. Nonetheless, this from Mark Kleiman seems overboard to me:

I know that supporters of the currently ruling coalition of crooks, warmongers, torturers, incompetents, and theocrats are deeply, deeply hurt when they and their pet politicians are compared to Nazis. But could someone suggest to them — politely, of course — that it would help if they stopped borrowing Nazi iconography and phraseology?

But look: the phrase "stab in the back" is a common idiom. Everyone reading this has probably used it dozens of times in their lives without once thinking about its German roots. It's simply not a phrase like "Final Solution," which clearly became exclusive Nazi property after the Holocaust.

God knows I have plenty of reason to dislike Ramirez since I had to put with his swill for years when he was the editorial cartoonist for the LA Times. What's more, the "stab in the back" myth that Republican war supporters have been ginning up for the past couple of years is both odious and unsupportable. As an idea, it's worth fighting tooth and nail. But that still doesn't make it "Nazi iconography." It's a common phrase, commonly used, and I've never heard a suggestion that it's no longer suitable for ordinary conversation. Unless we're ready to make that argument, we should probably call off the language police on this one.

Kevin Drum 11:58 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (93)

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Can I have the phone number for these language police?

Posted by: Snoopy on May 15, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know. To me it makes sense for someone to point out the history of the phrase and the iconography. It shouldn't be the dominant meme in the conversation, but given the level of authoritarian appetite out there I don't have a problem with pointing out how these same arguments played out as another hobbled democracy slid towards fascism. And as much as it strikes me as fair, if inflammatory, to point out, it seems fair to make the point you do, Kevin. Actually, thanks for highlighting a valid point by making a valid critique of it.

Posted by: Trypticon on May 15, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

To me, it's less that the phrase has exact Nazi roots, and more that its Nazi past is a reason to question an argument using the phrase as a metaphor.

I always thought the "stabbed in the back" argument was something Germans started using once they knew the war was already lost. It wasn't an argument for staying in the war longer--it was a way to assign blame in anticipation for a political movement after the war.

Is there a similar theme here?

Posted by: Alex Parker on May 15, 2007 at 12:08 PM | PERMALINK

Did you even look at Kleiman's post? He is complaining about using nazi iconography, not the phrase. Look at his two pictures, the first, a piece of nazi propaganda, the second the Ramirez cartoon. He might be overreacting to the family resemblance, but it is the picture that he is comparing to nazi propaganda, not the phrase.

Posted by: SR on May 15, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

That's a rather lame argument, Kevin. Yes, the phrase is common idiom, but to use the phrase in the context of a lost war is unquestionably loaded and objectionable.

It's as if you were claiming you would have no problem with the sentence, "What Israel needs is a 'final solution'," based on the fact that mathematics exams request a 'final solution', or that people sometimes say 'final solution' in sentences like "What was the final solution to you cockroach problem?" Or that 'nigger' is harmless, since it is merely a variant spelling of the Latin word for 'black'.

Context is everything.

Posted by: lampwick on May 15, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

Cartoons anger us! We shall commence bomb-throwing operations immediately. Meet me at the Danish embassy.

But seriously...

I loves me some McLaughlin Group It's great. But at least once a show, John asks A Question That Bothers Only Him. It's usually a reasonable question, even an interesting one. But it also usually has little-to-nothing to do with what's going on in the larger world. Much like this one.
Which makes us wonder:
Kevin Drum/John McLaughlin = same person?
You never see them together.
I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: Cazarto Bin Laden on May 15, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

It's a common phrase, commonly used

Come on, Kevin. Yes, it's commonly used in many contexts, but I would submit that it's *not* often used to defend ongoing, lost wars led by right-wing governments against the criticisms of peace-desiring domestic political opposition groups. Doing so, I would argue, evokes a *very* specific historical moment in a way that very much warrants objection.

Context is everything. I'm sure people use the phrase 'final solution' innocently all the time,and that's fine, but if you hear the phrase 'final solution to the [insert group name] problem' you're dealing with a different kettle of fish.

Posted by: Ryan on May 15, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

As much as I agree with your assessment that the phrase has become part of the everyday vernacular in America, where it came from, especially in this context, is still important. Kevin Baker has an excellent article in the latest Harpers following the meme from its inception to its current use and all the twisting and turning in between. It should be read by anyone wanting to understand the right wing's use of it throughout the last century.

http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/06/0081080

Posted by: OCD on May 15, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

Context counts, Kevin. The phrase "stabbed in the back" in domestic or business dealings does not call up Nazi antecedents. But this is an exact parallell to the right-wing, then Nazi, usage. In this latter context, the loss of a war is not blamed on those who are responsible --those who initiated, directed, and lost it. Rather than placing the blame where it belongs, on militarists, the blame is shunted off on failings of the folks at home. In the German case, in the Nazi phase, it became specifically Jews and Communists who are blamed. Here, the parallel is exact to this late form -- the Democrats, not Bush or Cheney or Rumsfeld, are made to take the blame for a misconceived and mismanaged war.

In this context, the Nazi reference is unmistakable.

Posted by: David in NY on May 15, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

the germans used it specifically to mean "our troops were stabbed in the back by disloyal elements", and that's the same specific meaning that will be thrown around left and right by scapegoat-seeking republicans.

there are similarities, and i think it's both prudent and useful to point out those similarities, and head off this dangerious and misleading meme before it takes root.

Posted by: sayke on May 15, 2007 at 12:18 PM | PERMALINK

*sigh* Kevin's in 'sensible' mode again. Wake me when he's finished.

Posted by: thefax on May 15, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, and I agree with Ryan, who said it first.

Posted by: David in NY on May 15, 2007 at 12:19 PM | PERMALINK

so... The Nazi's popularize a phrase this popularization means the phrase is no longer associated with the nazi's who popularized it in the first place. Kevin's endless Bend-over-backwardism is in full effect I see.

Posted by: Soullite on May 15, 2007 at 12:20 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin you apparently don't understand that Rpeubs have been using the stab in the back meme for decades. When Karl Rove said in 2003 that if the Dems nominated John Kerry in 2004 he'd have the American public believing Kerry fought for the Viet Cong he meant it. That's what the whole Swiftboat campaign was about. It's why they accuse us of spitting on the troops. The media has bought into it and it is THE reason the media portrays them as tough on defense and Dems as the mommy party. Nobody likes to loose a war. Both Germany in the 20s and the US in the 70s and 80s were more than happy to accept the revisionist history. Repubs know it's all they have left now. Watch CSPAN when Repub senators talk about Iraq. I'm surprised you don't get it.

Posted by: markg8 on May 15, 2007 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

> What's more, the "stab in the back" myth that
> Republican war supporters have been ginning up
> for the past couple of years is both odious
> and unsupportable. As an idea, it's worth
> fighting tooth and nail. But that still
> doesn't make it "Nazi iconography."

Grover Norquist has stated repeatedly that the Radical Right's goal is to explicitly kill or castrate all Democrats. Whenever he is called on it he says 'ha ha' and "takes it back", but the evidence is fairly clear to me that he and the Republicans who he directs do in fact want to destroy those who disagree with them.

So no, I don't think you can say this isn't an example of Nazi-style propaganda, because it is being used in exactly the same service.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 15, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Good thing he didn't quote Nathan Bedford Forrest or they'd be no defending him!

Posted by: Chesire11 on May 15, 2007 at 12:25 PM | PERMALINK

Nobody is claiming that the phrase "stabbed in the back" came into English from German. The expression in German was Dolchstoss, meaning "dagger stab." The point is that the metaphor - an army brought down by backstabbing traitors at home - is indelibly associated with the Dolchstosslegend (the "dagger stab myth") used by the Nazis.

When you invoke this image - that Congress has stabbed the army in the back - you are calling up the image of the Nazi era. What happened to those that the Nazis accused of having stabbed the German army in the back? They were murdered.

When Ramirez draws this image, he is calling for the imprisonment or execution of Reid and Pelosi. He's doing it in a way that allows him to deny it - it's a joke, right? - but that is what he is doing nonetheless.

And this is nothing new. Three weeks ago Tom DeLay said that Reid and Pelosi were 'very very close to treason," which is a capital offense. You can find dozens of similar statements by all sorts of right-wing pundits and talk show hosts.

I really don't understand why liberals like Kevin don't believe what they see. Ramirez and those like him really do want Reid and Pelosi behind bars. They want people like Kevin himself in an internment camp. They are clear about what they want. They say it all the time. Just because they don't yet have the power to do it doesn't mean they aren't serious. Why is this so difficult to understand?

Posted by: Bloix on May 15, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

The Ramirez cartoon isn't even an original. It's a rip-off of a cartoon that made the rounds in 2004 (http://www.deanesmay.com/posts/1098690671.shtml).

It was compared to Nazi dolchstoss propaganda then as well.

Posted by: orogeny on May 15, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Talk about a tendentious argument!

It's old news anyway: http://www.harpers.org/archive/2006/06/0081080

Posted by: monocle on May 15, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

> I really don't understand why liberals like Kevin
> don't believe what they see. Ramirez and those
> like him really do want Reid and Pelosi behind
> bars. They want people like Kevin himself in an
> internment camp. They are clear about what they
> want. They say it all the time. Just because they
> don't yet have the power to do it doesn't mean
> they aren't serious. Why is this so difficult to
> understand?

I think it is particularly hard for Sensible Moderates(tm) such as Kevin because they are structurally incapable of understanding radicals. They themselves would never do anything radical, or entertain any radical thoughts - so they assume that those who say radical things are just positioning or negotiating. The concept that the radicals (which today means the Radical Right) might be shooting to achieve _100%_ of their stated goals doesn't fit with the moderates' "pendulum swing" view of the world, so they screen it out.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 15, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

The back-stabbing imagry isn't distinctively Nazi, e. g.:

The hand that held the dagger has struck it into the back of its neighbor.--F. D. Roosevelt, on Mussolini's attack on France

What is distinctively Nazi, or at least totalitarian, however, is the notion that it is trechery and treason to oppose the government on issues related to a war.

Comparisons of the present adminstration to the Nazis, of course, are the hallmark of the dfh's, and therefore not licit, no matter how many prisoners get tortured, wars of agression get started on flimsy pretexts, citizens get imprisoned indefinitely without trial or charges, or hundreds of thousands of civilians get killed. Our government now runs on the "decider-principle," I guess . . .

Posted by: rea on May 15, 2007 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

I thoroughly agree with the point lampwick, Ryan and others make about the context.

"Stab in the back" is indeed a common phrase. But when we use it, we generally decontextualize it, e.g. "Bob from accounting really stabbed me in the back during our meeting with the boss."

What makes this cartoon fascist is that it has exactly the same context as the fascist original. It makes the argument that instead of being defeated by an external enemy in a foolishly conceived conflict, that only the traitorous peaceniks on the homefront prevented our glorious troops from prevailing. That's precisely the same thesis as the Dolchstoss argument.

Furthermore, the implicit recommendation of both the Dolchstoss propaganda and the Ramirez cartoon is that we should do something about these traitorous elements. Bearing in mind what happened in Germany in the 20s and 30s, this recommendation is fundamentally repellent.

Your focus on the phrase itself is, I think, short sighted, Kevin. What matters here is the entire image and what it conveys. And on that, Kleiman is entirely correct: the iconography and message are derived from those of the Weimar fascists.

Posted by: anm on May 15, 2007 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin, I disagree also. Especially given how the right wing did exactly the same thing at the end of the Viet Nam war. The abandoned POW-MIA myth was particularly odious as a right-wing tool for distinguishing "true America" from the nation's government, even the military, which could now be seen has having itself been part of the conspiracy against our soldiers. These people know exactly what they are doing, just as they know what they're doing when they incite, and capitalize on, racial or homophobic or anti-immigrant prejudices.

Posted by: larry birnbaum on May 15, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK
I know that supporters of the currently ruling coalition of crooks, warmongers, torturers, incompetents, and theocrats are deeply, deeply hurt when they and their pet politicians are compared to Nazis. But could someone suggest to them — politely, of course — that it would help if they stopped acting like them?Fixed it for him.
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 15, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sorry, Kevin, but in the context of politicians and war, it *IS* a Nazi thing to write. You're wrong on this one.

Posted by: Raleigh on May 15, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

So when used in a political context, for the "real" reason for losing a war, "stabbed in the back" doesn't contain Nazi overtones?

I dunno if I can go along with you there, Kevin. In more general contexts, this is not a Nazi phrase at all. In this context, it really seems to echo Hitler's rationalization of the loss in WWI.

I doubt Ramirez was trying to channel Hitler or anything, but it evinces a pretty stunning historical ignorance to use that phrase in that way, and then get mad about Nazi comparisons.

Posted by: teece on May 15, 2007 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

Unless we're ready to make that argument, we should probably call off the language police on this one.

I am outraged that the phrase "language police", a clear descendant of George Orwell's "thought police", is being applied to the people who object to the use of Nazi phraseology.

Just kidding.

Posted by: RSA on May 15, 2007 at 12:42 PM | PERMALINK

This insistence that nobody can ever be compared to the Nazis, no matter how much of the Nazi rhetoric and tactics they embrace, just because they are not running concentration camps simply misses the point that the Nazis were much more than just radical anti-Semites.

While anti-Semitism was horrific in its effect and overwhelming in its consequences, it was not the raison d’être of the Nazis as a whole. It was merely one consequence of Nazi fascism, not the cause of it.

The fact that the consequences and methods of Bushista fascism are somewhat different doesn't mean their basic motivations, philosophical underpinnings, and justifications are not similar.

Hey, Kevin, Godwin's Law does not state that you lose an argument if you compare someone to a Nazi and the meme that it is always inappropriate to use the comparison is just that and nothing more.

Ramirez is using the "stab in the back" argument in a very specific way that mirrors the rationalizations put forth by the Nazis and is proffered for the same purposes and with the same mentality.

Kleiman is right.

Get off your high horse.

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

The great danger posed to the Republic by the politics of the Bush Administration and the Rovian Republican Party is its authoritarianism.

Stab in the Back is nothing, if not a classic authoritarian narrative trope.

And, its use in this case -- where the Bush Adminstration's own incompetence and corruption are the proximate causes of its policy failure -- is absolutely nothing but authoritarian clap trap.

Kleiman is right.

Posted by: Bruce Wilder on May 15, 2007 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

I think in the context of a losing war, the "stabbed in the back" phrase is pretty hard to dissociate from Nazi propaganda.

In the context of a losing basketball game with bad calls from the ref, it's easier.

Posted by: tom on May 15, 2007 at 12:47 PM | PERMALINK

I was unaware that the Nazis had used the phrase "Stabbed in the back." I wonder how many people on this board would have made this association without it having been pointed out. Not many, I would guess.

Posted by: ex-liberal on May 15, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

> I was unaware that the Nazis had used
> the phrase "Stabbed in the back."
> ex-liberal

Covered in both 8th grade Social Studies and 11th grade History back in my day. Perhaps your having slept through both of those classes explains why you took leave of your beliefs and your senses when you saw W in that flight suit?

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 15, 2007 at 12:51 PM | PERMALINK

Aw, c'mon, Kevin! Your own right-wing commentators -- going back to ol' tbrosz -- have been planting the seeds of the Dolchstosslegende right here, and I and several others have been pointing it out. It is "odious and unsupportable", and it's an entirely fair and accurate point to note that the Bush Cultists are using their own myth in exactly the same way that it was used at the fall of the Weimar republic. Whether they're aware of the history is irrelevant -- although Ford knows that it's been pointed out here enough times that we can be sure the likes of Marler and "ex-liberal" are using it quite self-conciously and with their usual disregard for truth and decency.

Posted by: Gregory on May 15, 2007 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

The etymology game is entertaining but unimportant.

I don't care if someone uses phrases like "final solution", "stab in the back", etc. These are natural phrases in English. What counts is the intention of the person using the phrase, which in most cases (like in Ramirez's case) is pretty clear. Otherwise we tie our tongues into knots and, as forbidden phrases accumulate, it's like trying to walk on a sidewalk pulverized by tree roots without trying to step on any of the hundreds of cracks.

"Dear, we've tried every which way to get that plant in the corner to not wilt onto the sill. The final solution might be just to put up a bracket for it."

Was he thinking of Adolf? Of course not.

Posted by: captcrisis on May 15, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

And what happened to the Nazi’s who spread the original stab in the back myth. They used it to justify a militantly aggressive foreign policy that was ultimately disastrous for their country. I hear the present Republican argument that the US cannot withdraw from any battle, no matter how unwise or disadvantageous to our strategic position, and it just plain scares me.

Posted by: fafner1 on May 15, 2007 at 12:53 PM | PERMALINK

I would call it Nazi iconography if it is applied in the same way to appeal to the same emotional and ideological state as when the Nazis used it.

Posted by: cld on May 15, 2007 at 12:54 PM | PERMALINK

ex-liberal: I was unaware that the Nazis had used the phrase "Stabbed in the back." I wonder how many people on this board would have made this association without it having been pointed out. Not many, I would guess.

But you are stupid and dishonest, so your guess is worth squat.

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 12:56 PM | PERMALINK

Ramirez just channels whatever right wing talking point is being pushed on any given day. Perhaps it would be more effective for Dems to point out that the defenders of the failed policy are in deep denial, and that it is the administration that has stabbed our troops in the back through the failure to provide enough troops and proper armor. That "traitor" charge should be getting pushed by the Dems in regard to the war, Gonzalez, trade policy and every other issue.

Posted by: Bob G on May 15, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

Alex Parker is a little bit off on the German context of the "stab in the back" myth. In March of 1918 the German public believed that they were winning, in spite of the growing hunger effects of blockade on civilians, particularly the very young and old. They had knocked the Russians out of the war, occupied Ukraine,Romania, and Greece and drowned every offensive the Western Allies had tried in oceans of blood. The country was run by a military dictatorship (the Hindenburg-Ludendorff combo) which controlled every source of information and suppressed the fact that Germany's main ally Austria-Hungary was on the ropes, and that American power was entering the scene much faster than the high command thought possible, and painted such opposition to continuing the war as came from the socialists in the terms we know so well. (No moral high ground here, the Allies did the same thing, jailing Bertrand Russell and Eugene Debs for the same "crime", e.g.)

So when the roof fell in in October that year, the shock was all the more profound. After secret intrigues, the Kaiser suddenly abdicated, a republic was declared by a bunch of obscure leftish politicians and the new "government" (which was practically unknown to much of the public) sued for and received an armistice. This was not a surrender, but simply an agreement to stop fighting pending further negotiation.

But then the German army, which had been somewhat "Bolshevized" by the realities on the ground, voted with its feet (as Lenin described the same phenomenon in the Russian army) and demobilized itself, which put an end to the war in a way that no one expected and no one was prepared for. Without a square foot of German territory in possesion of the enemy (in fact controlling more of the East than they achieved in WWII) the Germans found themselves suddenly having lost.

The new "Weimar Republic" was tarred from the start by the armistice (which morphed into defeat during the endless Versailles conference) and this opened the field to the far right and the stab-in-the-back by the Communists, the decadents, and of course the Jews. Even this was not enough to finish the job...it took the Great Depression to do that. (The Nazis were never a majority party and came to power in a backstairs political deal which might never have happened had not Hindenburg, the President, been senile.)

In light of this, I have to mildly disagree with Kevin. No parallel or analogy is exact but there is much to ponder here. The elements are lurking under the surface, as the blogosphere reveals, and if the should be a major economic meltdown, triggered say by a real and prolonged oil crunch, isn't it worth considering what could happen in the light of what did happen?

What makes a society cross the line from authoritarian to totalitarian? Economic collapse and widespread hopelessness are certainly part of the mix, and a scapegoat is indispensable. Maybe some over-sensitivity is warranted in light of the
awful possibilities.

Posted by: jrosen on May 15, 2007 at 12:58 PM | PERMALINK

I've got to pile on with the crowd, here. This is red meat hurled to the morons who seem to think Congress was some alien force that landed here to interfere with the lawful regime. A dagger dripping with blood. Dangerous, and scary.

Posted by: thersites on May 15, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: . . . a feckless attempt to have it both ways.

Liar.

Congress supports the troops and rejects the president.

There is plenty of money to protect the troops and to bring the troops home, where they will be even more protected, and the only thing keeping them in Iraq and, therefore, unsafe, is Bush's refusal to approve funds provided by Congress.

Congress funded the troops.

Bush defunded them with his veto.

Maybe you should read Henry the Fifth, by Shakespeare.

Or just quit lying, eh?

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

"ex-liberal" wrote: I was unaware that the Nazis had used the phrase "Stabbed in the back."

Bullshit. I've called you out on your own efforts to lay the foundations of the Dolchtosslegende, and linked to the Wikipedia article on several occasions. And again, I and several on this board have long since made the association -- plus Matt Yglesias way back in 2004 -- easily enough.

You lie. But then, we knew that. What's interesting is that you, an unabashed neocon propagandist, are trying to disavow your own work. What's the matter, "ex-liberal," not comfortable being found out on this one?

Tool.

Posted by: Gregory on May 15, 2007 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Sure, "stabbed in the back" is a common metaphor for betrayal. What's unnacceptable is using the metaphor to equate political dissenters with military enemies, which is what the Nazis did, and what Ramirez is doing.

The Dolchstoss argument says our brave soldiers could cope with the foreign enemy (who at least have the decency to stab them in the front) but were fatally attacked by traitors at home.

The imagery of domestic opponents stabbing soldiers in the back is rightly considered odious and rightly associated with the Nazis.

Posted by: Andrew Kanaber on May 15, 2007 at 1:01 PM | PERMALINK
What's more, the "stab in the back" myth that Republican war supporters have been ginning up for the past couple of years is both odious and unsupportable. As an idea, it's worth fighting tooth and nail. But that still doesn't make it "Nazi iconography." What's more, the "stab in the back" myth that Republican war supporters have been ginning up for the past couple of years is both odious and unsupportable. As an idea, it's worth fighting tooth and nail. But that still doesn't make it "Nazi iconography."

Well, there probably is a distinction worth making here -- whether the Republicans who employ the phrase or image are conscious or not of the history of its use by the Nazis. Kleiman talks about "borrowing" this Nazi iconography. Yet we don't know which Republicans actually went back to its Nazi origins in this context (actual "borrowing"), which just repeated it from hearing it from other Republicans, and which may happily continue to use it even though its Nazi origins are pointed out to them.

But whether they use it knowing its origins or not is of secondary importance to their willingness to employ it to precisely the same demagogic ends as the Nazis. I find Kevin's exoneration of the use of the phrase, at least with respect to its Nazi connotations, very troubling, to say the least. It would allow Republicans to use it in full knowledge of its Nazi origins, but without suffering any of the moral outrage that that background would justly entail.

Posted by: frankly0 on May 15, 2007 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Wow....except for the frothing fascist mhr and the more-transparently-dishonest-than-usual "ex-liberal", the comments are nearly unanimous in their disagreement with Kevin.

Frankly, Kevin, if mhr and "ex-liberal" are the only ones who agree with you, you really need to rethink your position, sir.

Posted by: Gregory on May 15, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

captcrisis: Was he thinking of Adolf? Of course not.

The etymology of the term is unimportant.

It is the etiology of the motivations that is important.

Did Ramirez intend to use the phrase in the same fashion as the Nazis?

Of course.

It is irrelevant whether he was aware of the Nazi use of the phrase or not.

The goals, the motives, and the rationalizations underlying the use are identical to those forming the basis for the Nazi usage.

Does the use of the phrase show Ramirez to be a purveyor of self-serving, self-absorbed, hateful nationalism that dismisses any critic as a traitor and a human of low moral quality, an animal unworthy of citizenship?

Yes.

As such, he is like a Nazi, in thought and motivations, whether he takes direct inspiration from them or not.

Enough said.

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 1:06 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: But whether they use it knowing its origins or not is of secondary importance to their willingness to employ it to precisely the same demagogic ends as the Nazis.

Eloquently put.

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

The "stabbed in the back" phrase was first used in its Nazi context by Major General Malcom, head of the British Military Mission in Berlin just after WWI:

Ludendorff was dining with the General one evening, and with his usual turgid eloquence was expatiating on how the High Command had always suffered lack of support from the Civilian Government and how the Revolution had betrayed the Army. In an effort to crystallize the meaning of Ludendorff's verbosity into a single sentence, General Malcolm asked him: 'Do you mean, General, that you were stabbed in the back?' Ludendorff's eyes lit up and he leapt upon the phrase like a dog on a bone. 'Stabbed in the back?' he repeated. 'Yes, that's it exactly. We were stabbed in the back.'
John W. Wheeler-Bennett, Wooden Titan: Hindenburg, New York 1936

Posted by: lapsed.catholic on May 15, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

It goes beyond mere words since Kleiman uses the term iconography as well as phraseology.

So, you compare Ramirez' cartoon to this vintage Nazi cartoon:

http://perso.orange.fr/d-d.natanson/dolchstoss.jpg

and what do you get? Sometimes you have to call a spade a spade. The images are too close for it to be a coincidence. Of course I will Ramirez this much, at least he chose a villain that is able to defend themselves better than the German Jews were able to.

Posted by: majun on May 15, 2007 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

ex-thinker: 'I wonder how many people on this board would have made this association without it having been pointed out."

Everyone but you, dipshit. Now your personal ignorance is the basis for an argument against pointing out government propaganda? You sure have to grasp at a lot of straws to make a new straw man these days.

Posted by: Kenji on May 15, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, Kevin. Everyone else here has already made the point, but just to reiterate -- you're completely, embarrassingly wrong.

Yes, "stabbed in the back" is a common phrase.

But saying that "politicians have stabbed our brave soldiers in the back while they're at war and that's the reason we're losing this war" is a very specific reference.

When a radical militant right-wing group actually copies the exact image from Nazi posters of the 20's to make this exact point, I think it's correct -- and necessary -- to highlight the fact.

Posted by: zota on May 15, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

First of all Kevin, any historically literate person (that excludes you "Ex-Liberal) is well aware of the stab in the back campaign by the NAZIs. It was a huge part of their drive to power in the 20s and 30s.

Moreover, it is a classic reactionary gambit -- the shifting of blame to those who had no responsiblity for a fiasco, but were guilty of refusing to clap loudly enough. If you look at the cartoon, it is pretty much straight from the fascist school.

Nothing is beneath these assholes.

Posted by: Klein's Tiny Left Nut on May 15, 2007 at 1:17 PM | PERMALINK

Everyone else here has already made the point, but just to reiterate -- you're completely, embarrassingly wrong.

I'd say this thread calls for an update to your post, Kevin.

Posted by: Gregory on May 15, 2007 at 1:21 PM | PERMALINK

The good thing about Kevin Drum, as opposed to say Joe Klein, is that Kevin is not afraid to update his posts and admit when he has been wrong.

Cranky

Posted by: Cranky Observer on May 15, 2007 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

Perhaps Martinez is making a hip reference to the OJays:

(What they do!)

(They smile in your face)
All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers (back stabbers)

All you fellows who have someone and you really care, yeah, yeah
Then it's all of you fellows who better beware, yeah yeah
Somebody's out to get your lady
A few of your buddies they sure look shady
Blades are long, clenched tight in their fist
Aimin' straight at your back
And I don't think they'll miss

(What they do!)

(They smile in your face)
All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers (back stabbers)

I keep gettin' all these visits from my friends, yeah,
They come to my house again and again and again and again, yeah
So are they there to see my woman
I don't even be home but they just keep on comin'
What can I do to get on the right track
I wish they'd take some of these knives off my back

(They smile in your face)
All the time they want to take your place
The back stabbers (back stabbers)

Low down... dirty...

(What they do!)

(They smile in your face)
Smiling faces... smiling faces sometimes tell lies
(Back stabbers)

(They smile in your face)
I don't need... low down, dirty bastards
(Back stabbers) [fade]

Or maybe O.J. Simpson.

But in the specific context of betraying the average soldier, the phrase has a vile connection that can't be denied.

And, let's be honest, even without the Nazi connection, the cartoon and the phrase illustrated therein mean that those who oppose the occupation of Iraq actively desire the death of American military personnel. Isn't that vile enough for condemnation by itself?

Posted by: Roger Ailes on May 15, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

"I was unaware that the Nazis had used the phrase "Stabbed in the back." I wonder how many people on this board would have made this association without it having been pointed out. Not many, I would guess."

Well over 90%. I too was well aware of it.

"So, you compare Ramirez' cartoon to this vintage Nazi cartoon: ... The images are too close for it to be a coincidence."

Great minds run in the same gutter.

Posted by: nemo on May 15, 2007 at 1:28 PM | PERMALINK

"The devil" is a ubiquitously used phrase too, Kevin.

The devil wears Prada.

The devil made me do it.

The devil's dictionary.

Do you mean to say that all of the above have the same significance as radical Islamic fundamentalists calling America "the Great Satan?"

Context, Kevin, context.

Try it, you'll like it.

----------------------------

First hit in Google for "stab in the back":

Dolchstosslegende - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

The good thing about Kevin Drum, as opposed to say Joe Klein, is that Kevin is not afraid to update his posts and admit when he has been wrong.

I agree, Cranky. He's at least acknowledged when comments are overwhelmingly in disagreement in the past, and recently, at that. I'm just saying this is one of those times.

Posted by: Gregory on May 15, 2007 at 1:33 PM | PERMALINK

Kev, I think Kleinman is pointing out yet another example of the use of fascist and totalitarian imagery and wording by American right whingers...I mean, doesn't a phrase like 'Department of Homeland Security' seem a bit too Orwellian for use as the name of a Federal-level agency?

Think about it; since the neoconservative movement has made a practice of studying the mass communication methods of Nazi Germany and the former Soviet Union, it makes sense that they would use much of the same techniques of phrasing and visual presentation.

Posted by: grape_crush on May 15, 2007 at 1:35 PM | PERMALINK

In October of 2000, the Los Angeles Times published a Ramirez cartoon that appeared to depict a Jewish man worshiping the word "Hate" embedded into the Western Wall.

Yeah, it's not as if Ramirez didn't have a history of anti-Semitic iconography, eh?

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 1:38 PM | PERMALINK

OT: The gates of Hell open for Jerry Falwell...

Posted by: Gregory on May 15, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin: But that still doesn't make it "Nazi iconography."

Nazis created that icon. It is a Nazi icon. It is Nazi iconography.

I assume it's use was accidental, because who would want to intentionally invoke Nazi arguments in Nazi fashion. Bizarro Goodwin?

I don't speak Greek, but I know "pathos" is Greek lexicon. When I use the word, I'm speaking English. But it remains Greek lexicon nonetheless.

Posted by: brent on May 15, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

If the word "Bush" was on the knife instead of "Congress," I have little doubt but that the Right would be calling for the cartoonist's job, if not his head. In fact, the media would probably be all over it as well.

Posted by: Macswain on May 15, 2007 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dolchstosslegende

Posted by: Lee on May 15, 2007 at 2:00 PM | PERMALINK

Ahh, Kevin in his increasingly common High Broderism mode. If I was as paranoid as Bob Somerby (and I am not quite...yet), I might think Kevin was auditioning for something. I also get the feeling that Kevin (whose backround--I think--is science and business oriented) lacks the historical knowledge to fully understand the context of this reference--and its usefulness to a authoritarian movement (I'd say fascist, but am avoiding shrillness today). Believe me, a movement that sees the Dauphin as Churchill and every event as Munich knows exactly where it is going with such images.

Posted by: Marlowe on May 15, 2007 at 2:03 PM | PERMALINK

The fact of the matter is Michael Ramirez is an odious little rightwing scumball who has used Nazi iconography before. And it is entirely fair to point out that the right wing of America is like right wings everywhere - pro-fascist. The Republicans have used the Nazi way of "the stab in the back" for 57 years now: "who lost China?" "who lost Vietnam?" etc., etc.

Calling a spade a spade isn't impolite. Being afraid to do so is terrible. For once I really really have to disagree with you, Kevin.

Posted by: TCinLA on May 15, 2007 at 2:07 PM | PERMALINK
...there is a truth about the cartoon that even liberals cannot easily dismiss. .... mhr at 12:49 PM
The truth is that American soldiers has been abused by the Bush regime. The truth is that Bush is the one who vetoed the funding. Ramirez is a reprehensible little man who has also depicted anti-Asian as well as anti-Semitic propaganda. He knows full well what he is doing. It's the same old Republican propaganda that was worked so well for them in the past. I trust the left will fight back this time and every time they try this. Posted by: Mike on May 15, 2007 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

Google, Kevin, Google:

The stab-in-the-back legend is one of the most persisting historical lies of the 20th century. It divided the Weimarer Republic and played a great role in ...

Let's see, the Bushistas are dyed in the wool neo-fascists who have used rhetoric throughout their domestic and foreign policy statements that is very similar, if not identical in many cases, to the rhetoric of the Nazi fascists and who have embraced very similar, if not identical, tactics and methodologies, to a lesser degree to be sure but of the same qualitative nature, to the tactics of the Nazis (omitting only the massive purge of Jews), and are using similar, if not identical, rationalizations for their actions and rhetoric, but there is no connection merely because they have not intentionally and explicitly embraced the Nazi philosophy?

------------------

President Bush and Vice-President Cheney have already begun to project such a 'stab in the back' myth.

The groundwork is being laid for a new version of the "stab in the back" myth . . . No matter how far south things go in Iraq, ...

"Stabbed in the back! The past and future of a right-wing myth" by ...

Mr. Kleiman is right.

If you embrace wholeheartedly the rhetoric and rationalizations of a former political philosophy, even unintentionally, you deserve the comparison.

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

But whether they use it knowing its origins or not is of secondary importance to their willingness to employ it to precisely the same demagogic ends as the Nazis.

Exactly.

Posted by: ckelly on May 15, 2007 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with those who have posted here saying that the use of the phrase in this particular context -- as an explanation for a lost (or losing) war, suggesting that the reason for the nation's failure on the battlefield was weak, liberal politicians "stabbing our brave combat soldiers in the back" -- is very evocative of the primary argument for the political rise of the Nazi party. It was used quite effectively by the American right to explain this country's loss in the Vietnam War and it has largely taken hold as the accepted popular explanation for that war. (Ask the guy next to you in a bar some weeknight "why'd we lose in Vietnam, anyway?"). And, as Kevin Baker's article in Harper's magazine laid out quite well, it's a particularly potent narrative myth for right-wing political parties everywhere.

Posted by: twc on May 15, 2007 at 2:18 PM | PERMALINK

Mike: The truth is that Bush is the one who vetoed the funding.

Exactly.

Congress, using its power of the purse, provided funds for our soldiers and Bush prevented those funds from reaching our soldiers, just like he prevented body and vehicle armor from reaching them, just like he prevented medical aid from reaching them, just like he prevented additional troops from reaching them when it actually might have mattered, and just like he tried to prevent their hazard pay from reaching them.

Mission Accomplished!

Only if Bush's mission is to destroy American troops and diminish our ability to protect our nation and project American influence.

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 2:26 PM | PERMALINK

Ramirez is basically wrong. The Congress has legal authority over the U.S. military, and it is legitimate for Congress to defund the war effort and order the President to bring the troops home. It's all open and aboveboard, and not a stab in the back.

It's also not like the Nazi myth of the stab in the back. At the end of WWI, the German military high command asked the civil government to sue for peace, and this fact was kept secret from Germans. The military and civilian leaders did not want Germans to know how thoroughly the German army was being beaten because they thought it would harm military "honor" (or something like that), and they thought that Germans might revolt if they believed the army to be weak.

Everything gets compared to the Nazis, which makes every such comparison worthless.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on May 15, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

What have you been putting in your oatmeal this week, Kevin? First dissing on Bill Richardson's clever YouTube ads and now Kleinman is out of line for calling Ramirez out on his blatant evocation of Nazi rhetoric? The Dolchstosslegende held that a cabal of Bolshevist sympathizers and Jews at the highest levels of the German government had conspired to undermine the war effort and negotiate a humiliating surrender to the allies -- just when the armed forces were "turning a corner" on the Western Front. Ramirez's cartoon intended to evoke precisely this charge against Congressional Democrats and Kleinman was spot on in nailing him for it.

Posted by: jonas on May 15, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

"Stab in the back" as expression of a general sentiment that one has been betrayed = everyday language.

"Stab in the back" as expression that the home front prevents the military from winning the war = Nazi language.

Posted by: ogmb on May 15, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

If Ramirez did know what he was doing, he's abetting the corrupt propaganda of the desperate Bush dead enders. If he didn't know what he was doing, he's an ignorant slut.
It is pretty hard to believe he didn't know what he was doing. The figure being stabbed in the back is a soldier in uniform, after all. (Just as in the Dolchstosslegende). The dagger (or bayonet in this case, or spear wielded by Hagen in the case of Siegfried in Wagner's Gotterammerung) is labeled with the enemy du jour (now that Congress is majority Democratic) which used to be liberals, communists, Jews, or whatever group the right, having started an unjustifiable war, having mismanaged it to the point of fiasco, and now having lost it with no gain to the national and little to themselves, except to their purses and a few more years of electoral power, is clearly using the stab-the-troops-in-the-back trope as part of their bail out strategy.
Kevin, you are too kind. Seriously, you really don't think borrowing a little from the Nazis is beneath this shamelessly amoral bunch of yellow-bellied bully boys?

Posted by: xpara on May 15, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

The reasons the United States is loosing in Iraq are:

1) It was a damn fool thing to begin with.
2) The vaunted US military sucks.
3) The "support the troops" crowd is long on words and short on action.
4) The "troops" are not the good guys in Iraq. They abuse civilians and torture prisoners, etc.
5) Would-be empires have to have some capacity actually to govern - but see, e.g., Katrina.
6) Would-be elites have to shoulder the burden of government - see e.g., the Whig aristocracy of England which - far from shirking taxes - undertook to pay for the show.

I hope this helps.

Posted by: Thinker on May 15, 2007 at 3:15 PM | PERMALINK

FWIW, Dan Froomkin just posted headline

"McNulty Gets Knife in the Back"

Posted by: Tilli (Mojave Desert) on May 15, 2007 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

MRM: Everything gets compared to the Nazis . . .

Right.

Just last week somebody was comparing Britney Spears, American rap music, and international soccer to the Nazis.

Oh, wait, that actually didn't happen.

Your humorous buffoonery aside, if "everything" means the "Bush administration," then the comparison is justified and not meaningless at all.

I'm sure it would be stunning to you if a brutal current Marxist government would be routinely compared to the Stalin regime in the former USSR.

Then again, you seem easily stunned.

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

it's worth noting that the "stab in the back" argument is stupid today for many of the reasons it was stupid then. Specifically:
1) The war was not lost because they were stabbed in the back, it had already been lost;
2) The stupid, decisive decisions were made by pro-war politicians, and they just used this to undermine their opponents;
3) It is more "Green Lantern" thinking.

Posted by: MDtoMN on May 15, 2007 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Michael Ramirez, Richard Ramirez, hmmm.

So difficult to tell them apart.

One stalks by day, the other used to by night.

Posted by: thethirdPaul on May 15, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

If the Ramirez stab in the back cartoon is so "odious and unsupportable" why don't you simply ignore it and go about your business- why the anger?

The "truth" shown by the cartoon is this:

"Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. This is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and for exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every country."

People get angry because they know that no matter how dishonest, shameless, and just plain wrong the "stabbed in the back" argument is, there an appallingly large number of mindless following right-wing scum ready to be "Good Germans" and buy into this bull every single time. And that's why people can't just dismiss these cartoons, but must try to counter them as much as possible.

-L-

Posted by: a1 on May 15, 2007 at 4:21 PM | PERMALINK

My local paper carries Ramirez. So I sent the link to the two cartoons to the editorial page editor and told her what I thought about our newspaper being a propaganda tool; in concise clear sentences that were not inflammatory.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on May 15, 2007 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

I thought we were talking about George Lopez, who is claiming his unwatched show was cancelled because someone was stabbing him in the back. More to the point, the feeble humor and plain hysterics of the Kleiman post demonstrate some fear deep down inside that maybe he himself is guilty of stabbing our military in the back and his squawking and "humor" masks true accountability being ignored.

Posted by: daveinboca on May 15, 2007 at 4:52 PM | PERMALINK

Er, Kevin...John Hawkins at "Right Wing News" has just announced that what upset Kleiman and Yglesias about the cartoon is that Ramirez had revealed the fact that they and all the other Liberal Democrats really ARE traitors engaged in a conspiracy to "throw the war in Iraq to al-Qaida...for political purposes, and they don't want to be called on it": http://www.rightwingnews.com/mt331/2007/05/symptoms_of_the_latter_stages.php . In short: yep, Ramirez and his allies really are going to try to wheel out the classic Nazi Dolchstoss argument. I doubt they'll succeed, but denying that this really is what they're trying to do is rather dangerous.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 15, 2007 at 7:33 PM | PERMALINK

As for Dave in Boca, let me simply quote Kleiman:

"Right. It's a conspiracy. What Hawkins doesn't know is that Yglesias, Murtha, Reid, and Obama all take orders from me. (I get mine directly from the Elders of Zion.) And we're so devilishly clever that only Obama, of those named, opposed the war in the first place. And I'm so extra-specially devious that I even supported the 'surge' (as originally proposed, not the permanent escalation now in progress) as a long-shot bet to salvage something other than defeat from the appallingly bad position into which Bush and his cronies have maneuvered the country." (Confirmatory links included.)

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 15, 2007 at 7:37 PM | PERMALINK

Whenever you hear this phrase, you should remind everyone that it was Hindenburg who stabbed the German army with the last great offensive that totally broke the German military.

In December of 1917 everyone thought the war would go on for two or three more years, with the Germans retreating behind their border, behind prepared fortifications, and making the Allies pay a terrible price. The German army at that time was still large and strong.

It was the German offensives of 1918 that destroyed the German army, and left the German borders open to Allied advances.

Hindenburg stabbed his own army in the back, just as Bush has been destroying our military and revealing to the world that in some situations we are, indeed, a 'paper tiger'.

Posted by: serial catowner on May 15, 2007 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

...Meanwhile, Yglesias reminds us that he did a detailed piece back in May 2004 on the extent to which the Bushite Right (as opposed to the Non-Bushite Right, which was already growing fast) was already cranking up not only to advocate the Stab In The Back legend, but to urge establishment of an explicit national ditctatorship based on it: http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2004/05/b83795.html . Leading the pack on the latter argument was, predictably, Glenn Reynolds.

Posted by: Bruce Moomaw on May 15, 2007 at 7:45 PM | PERMALINK

There is nothing overboard about this part:

I know that supporters of the currently ruling coalition of crooks, warmongers, torturers, incompetents, and theocrats sre......


Why do supports of Bush like crooks, war torturers and incompetence?

Isn't this why Hagel wants to leave the Party, because the Republican Party has changed so much under Bush that it's hardly recognizable anymore?

Why has the so-called moral majority openly supported such immorality?

Indeed it is those Jerry Falwell people who showed true cowardice, being the first to want to throw away American rights, and want to ignore the truth in favor of lies.

Just goes to show that religion becomes whatever those that follow their religions intolerance wants their religion to become? Religion morphs into accepting any immoral behavior under the flag by the label of the GOP, be it torture, killing for oil profits, unbid contracts, and even out right lying, all while making up hypocritical judgments of other people not affiliated with labels and brands.

Falwell and the Loyal Bushie believed only in the religion of oppression - and so it's too bad there isn't a Hagel out there that wants to save the Repug Party, but perhaps, Hagel knows that GOP is no longer worth saving.

Posted by: Me_again on May 15, 2007 at 8:00 PM | PERMALINK

Same shit, different asshole. They're still facists.

Posted by: jussumbody on May 15, 2007 at 8:41 PM | PERMALINK

In the early 70's, during the Vietnam War a Murdoch rag here in Australia ran a "soldier stabbed in the back by the Left" cartoon. I was in the 8th grade & I'll never forget our Modern History teacher thundering into the room with a copy & furiously explaining the history of the Dolchstosslegende. He pointed out the clear parallel - in intent & imagery - between the contemporary cartoon & its' pre-Nazi antecedent.

On that day, in Mr Myer's (yes, he was Jewish) classroom, history came suddenly to life for me as something vital & vividly applicable to the world in which I lived. The phrase "those who don't know their history will be doomed to repeat it" became something much more than a mere phrase for me & I'd guess, for many of my classmates.

I'll never forget Mr. Myers & his remarkable gifts as an educator in general & a history teacher in particular. I feel sorry that people like "ex-liberal" weren't similarly blessed & can't help but believe that their worldview might be very different & greatly enhanced if they had.

Posted by: DanJoaquinOz on May 15, 2007 at 9:23 PM | PERMALINK

dave'sajoka: I thought we were talking about George Lopez, who is claiming his unwatched show was cancelled because someone was stabbing him in the back. More to the point, the feeble humor and plain hysterics of the Kleiman post demonstrate some fear deep down inside that maybe he himself is guilty of stabbing our military in the back and his squawking and "humor" masks true accountability being ignored.

Funny coming from someone who supports an hysterical president who saw WMDs where there weren't any, and al Qaida where there weren't any, and and support for the Iraq War where there isn't any.

Maybe deep down inside you fear that you yourself are guilty of sending our soldiers to their deaths for no other purpose than to help conservatives save face from their abysmal failures in foreign policy and from having supported a president who has proven to be an immoral and incompetent buffoon.

Then again, arrogant idiots like you and Bush don't really ever recognize their own idiocy and arrogance.

Posted by: anonymous on May 15, 2007 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

Is Ramirez the cartoonist "Kelly" parodies in The Onion?

http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/la-oew-cavanaugh29mar29,0,1927201.story

Posted by: David T on May 16, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

This is the stuff of which nightmares are made.

The army is forced to lower its recruitment standards in order to meet its manpower needs in Iraq and Afghanistan. The overextended troops are becoming desensitized to the rough treatment of civilians--even to the point of torture.

Extremist rightwing politicos and their sycophants have been demonizing their domestic opponents and equating political and moral opposition to treason.

An increasingly futile and unpopular war will end without any "parades" or the thanks of a grateful nation (just like Viet Nam).

The rightwingers will nurture the disaffection and resentment of the "stabbed in the back" veterans.

This sets up a scenario that goes beyond Oklahoma City and Timmy McVeigh. We potentially stand on the edge of the shadow wars of Argentina and Chile.

"Der Dolchstoss" (Stab in the back) ultimately leads to "Nacht Und Nebel" (Night and Fog).

Posted by: KJJG on May 17, 2007 at 4:23 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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