But beyond my bubble of emotional resonance, it is tiny aspects of the Times’ piece itself which get bandied about:
The Tone: Chris Floyd says it’s a love letter to death with a “very few dollops of mild criticism”.
Numbers: AriannaOnLine® sees the article as being quite critical of the administration, framing the framing of an old argument over the method to the civilian casualty count as a main point of contention.
And while Floyd certainly maintains a critical view of the war policy itself, the AOL bit reminds me of reportage of a “was it really 6 million Jews” argument.
In my opinion, the ultimate implication of Godwin’s Law of Nazi Analogies is that, if one is to be taken seriously, one should avoid comparing his own government to that of Nazi Germany. Godwin said that valid comparisons lose their impact in a world where such comparisons are constantly made. [Godwin is an American. I did not interview him for this entry.]
In case it’s not obvious, I ponder a general question, but especially as it relates to the United States: I wonder just how much like the Third Reich a nation must be before one is reasonably allowed to say something along the lines of, “I imagine that’s how the citizens of Germany felt at the time.”
Must the number of tanks be the same? Headed in the same geographical direction? Should the invading and invaded countries be continentally contiguous? Must the Fuhrer be a vein-bulging screamer and his rhetoric identical? Do we have to have video footage of families being ushered into chambers of death?
Well, technology rules the first question relatively moot. The geological configuration of the US would preclude affirmation of the next two. The Fuhrer, as it were, is just a sweetheart and far too politically savvy and with the times to let his emotions get in the way of his country’s policy on national insecurity. As to the last one, there is that unreleased Jerry Lewis movie*.
But, seriously: It seems that simply “saying what something is” is just as much open to interpretation as absurd comparisons are. Just read the comments at NYT’s article. Considered against more recent times, they are no different from the ones leading up to Bagdad 2003, the perspectives of which, by the way, were not limited to the question of whether or not that particular Fuhrer had possessed weapons of mass-destruction. Indeed, it had just as much to do with the acceptability of unprovoked attacks and preemptive war.
Framed more simply: Should “suspects” face the death penalty? History shows us clearly that one of the answers to that question will always be “sometimes” – no matter how questionable the guilt of the suspect, or how extreme the execution.
Apologia for the current American administration’s World War policy ranges from “This isn’t happening” to “This is an inopportune time to be having this discussion”. But the extent to which a discussion is taking place at all is also open to interpretation.