Monday, February 20, 2006

Dachau, 1945

There's a fascinating site called Scrapbookpages which has pictures of the US 45th Infantry Division on its arrival at Dachau. One of the snaps shows soldiers finding large quantities of dead and dying prisoners at the camp, such as the one below.


"There's a big gate, and this German guy comes out of there. He must have been about six-four or six-five, and he's got beautiful blond hair. He's a handsome-looking bastard and he's got more Goddam Red Cross shields on and white flags....My first reaction is, "You son of a bitch, where in the hell were you five minutes ago before we got here, taking care of all these people? ....Well, everybody was very upset. Every guy in that company, including myself, was very upset over this thing, and then seeing this big, handsome, son of a bitch coming out with all this Red Cross shit on him.

Soon the advance scouts (of the 45th Division) were joined by other Allied soldiers and one of the German guards came forward to surrender with what he believed would be the usual military protocol. He emerged in full regalia, wearing all his decorations. He had only recently been billeted to Dachau from the Russian front. He saluted and barked "Heil Hitler". An American officer looked down and around at mounds of rotting corpses, at thousands of prisoners shrouded in their own filth. He hesitated only a moment, then spat in the Nazi's face, snapping "Schweinehund," before ordering him taken away. Moments later a shot rang out and the American officer was informed that there was no further need for protocol."

And then units of the 45th began to execute the SS Guards. Here's a picture taken as the SS Guards were being shot down. And the massacre continued until it was stopped by American officers.

Interested readers may want to visit Scrapbookpages to read the whole story which includes a detailed tour of the Gas Chambers and the entire camp. The entire point of the foregoing is to establish the fact that Jews were executed in Dachau and in such horrible numbers as to spark this spontaneous "war crime", if you want to call it that, occasioned by the sight.

Having established that Dachau at least existed, I still cannot sympathize with the Holocaust Denial Laws under which historian David Irving was convicted. The Times of London reports on his conviction and sentencing in Austria.

The sincerity of David Irving’s claim that he now believes millions of Jews were killed by the Nazis and that gas chambers did exist was challenged by his twin brother yesterday.

John Irving is so unidentical to the right-wing historian and Holocaust denier that he serves as chairman of Wiltshire Racial Equality Council.

Asked about his brother’s recantation before a Vienna court, John Irving told The Times: “If I said ‘E pur si muove!’ would it mean anything to you?” The quotation is often attributed to Galileo who was forced by the Inquisition in 1633 to retract his heretical belief that the Earth moves around the Sun.

The astronomer and philosopher was facing the death penalty but escaped with life imprisonment after disowning his findings. Under his breath, he is reputed to have murmured the now famous Italian phrase meaning: “Yet still it moves.”

These Holocaust Denial laws are the poorest defense of truth possible. They allow individuals like Irving, who have written bad history, to clothe themselves with the appearance of martyrdom. Galileo is supported by empirical evidence. Irving cannot even explain the photographs above. But laws establishing "official truth" create categories of the Unmentionable into which subjects like the Jihad, feminism, abortion and Global Warming -- all the assertions, half-truths and humbug of the world -- will presently seek refuge. The best defense of the truth of the holocaust is an uncompromising commitment to free speech. Unless free speech is protected then some of the very evils Hitler sought to foist upon the world will be reintroduced in the name of fighting his memory.


Blogger desert rat said...


2/20/2006 03:45:00 PM  
Blogger Richard Disney said...

I visited Dachau in the late 1990's while I was in the U.S. Army stationed in Baumholder. I cannot understand people who deny that the Holocaust happened.

2/20/2006 03:55:00 PM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

Should government control speech, in the interests of guaranteeing freedom, or because its citizens clamor for it?

The answer is a subset of the following: "Any government that is strong enough to give the people everything they want is a government that's strong enough to take it away..."

And sure enough, that's what we find them doing, if we let them.

2/20/2006 04:10:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Think I heard an ad for Christians Against Global Warming or some such on Hewitt.

2/20/2006 04:38:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree with you on the "official truth" laws. Let the world reveal his fakery; don't make him a martyr.

Also liked your WWII historical material. Most people are brought up on movie ideals of WWII and hold our military to impossible standards. It was a terrible war, like all wars, and as much as I admire our WWII veterans, they were as human, with the good and bad that entails, as our military today.

2/20/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Marcus Aurelius said...

A Blogger Beer to Wretchard!

One of the things kooks like Ahmednejedad complain about is it is a crime in many European states to deny the Holocaust but then it isn't a crime to publish cartoons of the Prophet.

Laws like the one Irving is jailed under undercut our defense of Western ideals. As a wise man once said (or something very much like it) "Remove the log from your own eye before you set to work on the speck in your neighbor's eye"

2/20/2006 04:40:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

...I agree with you on the "official truth" laws. Let the world reveal his fakery; don't make him a martyr.

Yes make him and all like him martyrs..

dead ones that is...

When the President of Iran says: death to israel and death to america, take him at his word, and his GIVE freedom to say it, since the MOMENT he advocates the murder of a nation of people, he has struck the 1st blow thus allowing all good peoples to destroy him, with all self defense rights possible...

if hamas advocates the destruction of the state of israel and the murder of jews, give them the freedom of speech, but give them a missle up their collective ass, since THEY are being VIOLENT in speech towards another.

Irving was not guilty of violating free speech, he was guilty of LYING about a mass murder of civilians in the country that MURDERED these innocents.

Personally, again, let's have free speech, but again, any imam that offers cash for a death sentence for a cartoonist or a novelist should also be targeted with cash for HIS head.

I love it, a tax on porn and booze to fund the killing of all imam's that call for the death of anyone or any state.

2/20/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Personally, again, let's have free speech, but again, any imam that offers cash for a death sentence for a cartoonist or a novelist should also be targeted with cash for HIS head."
Should be taken out Predator Style.
That way it is official government policy and has greater deterent effect, and not subject to charges of vigilante justice.
...great to live in la la land.

2/20/2006 05:37:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

You're all practicing Warming Denial!
Christian Climatology, Salvation, and etc.

The same love for God and neighbor that compels us to preach salvation through Jesus Christ, protect the unborn, preserve the family and the sanctity of marriage, and take the whole Gospel to a hurting world, also compels us to recognize that human-induced climate change is a serious Christian issue requiring action now.
To make clear our views and commitment, as evangelical leaders we have issued the statement Climate Change: An Evangelical Call to Action .
We invite you to read and reflect upon it and share your views with us.

2/20/2006 05:48:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

One might think their time could be better spent defending Christians around the world from the RoP.

2/20/2006 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

In 1978, or thereabouts, I took a radio to a shop to get repaired. After walking into the darkened building it took my eyes several minutes to adjust.

The proprietor was not at his desk and I rang the bell to announce my presence. While waiting I looked around the shop and spotted a bulletin board upon which hundreds of B & W snapshots from WWII were posted. Nearly every celebrity from the WWII era was represented. Finally the owner appeared and asked if he could be of help. I immediately commented upon the picutres on his bulletin board and said that they were just fantastic and asked where in the world did he get them.

He told me that years earlier he went to an estate auction of a former photographer from the St. Louis Post Dispatch named Shakespeare, I believe. He told me that there was a locked file cabinet that was marked for sale as is and he purchased it.

When he got the cabinet back to his shop he said he had to drill the cabinet open. And inside he found literally thousands of pictures this fellow took while stationed in Europe.

I told him that they were simply fantastic and he said to me that the pictures on display, while marvelous paled in comparison to other pictures he found in the cabinet. I asked him what else was in there and he told me, "Captured pictures taken by German guards from the death camps as well as pictures taken by the American photographer himself."

I asked him if I could see some of the pictures he was refering to and he said that they were EXTREMELY disturbing. I persisted and said that I would very much like to see them and he told me that when I returned to pick up my equipment that he would bring some of the pictures for me to see.

A week later I returned to the store and what I saw there was the most disturbing picutes I had ever seen before or since. Hundreds of captured pictures taken by the German guards themselves as well as many more taken by Shakespeare (?). One in particular sticks in my mind. A picture of a German guard aping for the camera with a huge ice lifter that looked like large calipers. He had the pointed end of the ice calipers stuck in the ears of a dead emaciated man with his friends on each side smiling for the camera while lifting the dead man by his head.

Other pictures showed piles of dead victims and still others more horrible than you can imagine. Yes, the holocaust did occur. And yes, people should be allowed to question away if they wish. Free speech should not be infringed upon even in so odious an example as holocaust denial.

These Muslims would not hesitate to do the same to all of us if they had half a chance. We are facing an EVIL enemy that will require a resolve that we may be incapable of mustering.

2/20/2006 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger Fred Kleindenst said...

Free speech can be very tough to defend at times. Thank you for the primer.

In this sense I stand with the Liberals. I call on everyone, including the Liberals, to stand with Denmark.


2/20/2006 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

I saw the Yahoo News item on Irving ten minutes ago this morning, and thought the same myself: "Waittaminnit! If Freedom of Speech means Freedom of Thought, then WHY is ANYBODY European championing THIS distinctly UNFREE-to-think legal debacle?"

Or words to that effect...

When there's an area that we PROCLAIM is ILLEGAL to THINK, we introduce the tyranny under which we're willing to 'live'.

I concur yr analysis, Wretchard.

2/20/2006 06:42:00 PM  
Blogger stackja1945 said...

One way to handle fanatics. Just shoot them.

2/20/2006 06:46:00 PM  
Blogger Rick Ballard said...

What a kindness for the EU court to begin the muzzling, collaring and caging before the mullahs take over. Will the Euro intelligentsia applaud as enthusiastically when the sharia courts do the same? They should, after all they share the same aims.

I'm sure John McCain and Russ Feingold would approve too. Perhaps the USSC will use this case as a reference when deciding future speech matters? There is after all much to be learned from the European sophisticates.

2/20/2006 06:59:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Yes, bravo.

2/20/2006 07:03:00 PM  
Blogger Karridine said...

And the '45th Division Scouts Killing of Unarmed, Surrendering German Soldiers' came up almost two years ago, IIRC, when the apologisti were drawing moral equivalencies to American-caused collateral deaths during the Run to Baghdad...

I looked at the brief killings, the US officers stopping it, the investigation afterward, the competent legal defense of both Nazis and MPs...

Standing there, with the stench of human corpses redolent in my nose and throat, the severely-starved gaunt-eyed and mute from months of self-cannibalising-to-survive starvation... and the well-fed, crisply-suited TOOL of EVIL, EXPECTING TO AVOID JUSTICE because of America's well-known reputation for being good and fair people!

I must say, before God, I believe I, too, would have shot the Nazi where he stood... through a knee!

THEN had him stand trial!

2/20/2006 07:30:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Remarkable Story, Charles Martel:
I wonder where all those pictures are now?
Russ and John are just trying to get *some* of the money and corruption out of politics.
'Course if it is AZ Indian Money, well now, that's different.
Which reminds me 'Rat:
Several of us agreed on another forum that the MSM would beat John like a Bongo drum if he was running against Hillary, say.
...but I have my doubts if he could ever get the GOP nomination, anyway.

2/20/2006 07:31:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Karridine 7:30 PM,
Is that old site with the pictures of stacked corpses in Seoul still available?
I liked the ones of the DMZ, and other material you had there.
(warm memories of a cold place)
Maybe a select viewing for long time BC members? ;-)

2/20/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The 45th ID was raised in Oklahoma, Texas, and Colorado - and many the lower ranks were predominantly composed of members of the Five Civilized Tribes. Many others were sons of Ranchers and Cotton Farmers and had grown up during and in the Dust Bowl - a very hard upbringing.

My sister's father was pureblood Choctaw and as a rifleman in the 45th, he WALKED all the way across Europe after fighting in Sicily and Anzio. He was a man of few words and his two bronze stars and one silver star spoke for him. He talked freely about WWII, but would not discuss the last few weeks of the War.

My Grandmother lost two brothers at Anzio and a third was wounded there - all three were in the 45th and all three enlisted in Oklahoma.

2/20/2006 07:37:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

When I went to Dachau, it stuck me as weird, that right there, down the road from the train station sat the compound, actually to my mind within the "town"

and yet, nobody knew....

and I'm skinny........

(deep down inside, i think the reason i eat to much and my mother always fed me too much was the fact that fat jews lived longer, whether in Dachau, the Warshaw Ghetto, the original Ghetto of Venice, the Pograms, being starved to death by the arab in jerusalem, chubby jews lasted longer

and as SICK as it is... I sleep better with a 41 inch waist...

2/20/2006 07:39:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

The 45th saw the hardest fighting of the War - on Sicily and at Anzio - its understandable their reaction at Dachau.

Sicily in particular saw very bitter fighting. One of my Great Uncles admitted to me what he did to some German POWs in Sicily. He also said his Company did not take any POWs at Anzio.

2/20/2006 07:41:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

I read the whole account--what a hell on earth that ideology created. It's almost unbearable to contemplate.

2/20/2006 07:42:00 PM  
Blogger diabeticfriendly said...

every morning, for the last 36 years, i get up and look around and no matter how bad my life is, the 1st comment to my mind that comes is: It ain't Auschwitz

That has been my personal measuring stick on a daily basis....

2/20/2006 07:45:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Pork @ 7:39 -- and yet people will still wonder what it is with Israel and her desire for defensible borders.

2/20/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger xlbrl said...

These pictures and many others of the massacre described here appeared on a blog some years ago with detailed decriptions of the event. It is my recollection that over 200 German solders, mostly just arrived from the Eastern Front and having nothing to do with the camp, were executed that day by American soldiers who were unaware of this. Nonetheless, it is no stretch to think the camp did not paticularly bother the new German arrivals, especially inasmuch as they apparently had not any sense of what was going to happen to them upon discovery. They were just following orders.

2/20/2006 07:47:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Eurabia Scholars Gather in The Hague
Canada Free Press ^ | Monday, February 20, 2006 | Paul Belien

Bat Ye-or was in The Hague attending an international gathering of Western Jihad experts. The group included Daniel Pipes, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, David G. Littman, the Dutch and Flemish Arabists Hans Jansen (University of Utrecht) and Urbain Vermeulen (universities of Leuven and Ghent), and others.

Bat Ye’or convincingle argues that the transformation of Europe into Eurabia is the result of a deliberate strategy that was foolishly set in motion by French Gaullists who wanted to create a European-Arab counterweight to the United States. Today the European Union is continuing this policy, which aims to create a united Mediterranean continent based on a symbiosis between the Northern and the Southern shores of the Mediterranean Sea. In her Eurabia book she meticulously describes how this strategy has been implemented during the past 35 years and how the promotion of Muslim immigration to Europe constitutes part of this plan.
A similiar plan has been in the works for two decades in the USA

2/20/2006 07:49:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Some of Mike Savage's funniest bits are of the way his mother fed them when he was a kid.
Evidently was not good for his Dad's health.
He got a Nutritional degree of some kind at Berkeley and wrote Food Books for a while.
But the best story was of a Brawny Italian Guy with Hairy arms teaching how to mix up a good tuna salad.
With Tank T shirt, and arms exposed, he would thrust his hand in the vessel way past his elbow and then knead the mix with his fist.
...all with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth!

He said in her later years, his mom refused to talk about anything he brought up, except for food.

2/20/2006 07:51:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

In conversations with German colleagues and friends I frequently point out the differences between their idea of free speech and ours. There, it is illegal to advocate Naziism, to campaign or work for its return to government, and to otherwise promote its ideals. In the US it is not. We disapprove strongly but still allow it.

In a way I can understand the German's position. If you take a walk around Berlin you'll notice that there are still 24 hour a day guards at the City's major and largely unused synagoge. I was told that if the guards weren't there the place would get defaced, probably torched, inside of 24 hours.

In East Berlin it is not uncommon to see skinhead Neo-nazis walking up and down the street. (As far as I know, shaving your head and wearing combat boots and a hooded sweat shirt is not illegal there.)

And further in the formerly socialist East, where unemployment is still very high, it is even less uncommon to see them. Recall that in 1992 in Rostock a hostel housing Vietnamese and other foreign workers hostel was burned to the ground by Neo-Nazis. The Vietnamese were also socialists but, it seems, not sufficiently "national" for the local Hitler youth.

So while I agree that these laws are a definite infringement on the free speech of neo-Nazis and, to some degree, everyone else in Germany, I can understand why this is still such a sensitive issue for them and why they want to curb that particular form of speech.

I, for one, don't think they have as much to fear by allowing Nazi ideas to be promoted, but for the time being I'm content to defer to their judgment on this matter. Perhaps they are a special case?

2/20/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

With less knowledge of the subject, I have had similar thoughts.

2/20/2006 07:53:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Starling, I left a question for you on the Rumsfeld Thread if you have the time.

2/20/2006 07:56:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

Bush: U.S. on Verge of Energy Breakthrough

By DEB RIECHMANN, Associated Press Writer 9 minutes ago

MILWAUKEE - Saying the nation is on the verge of technological breakthroughs that would "startle" most Americans,
President Bush on Monday outlined his energy proposals to help wean the country off foreign oil.

for the rest of the article go to

2/20/2006 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger Charles said...

oh I forgot to mention.

The same forces at work in research for energy also hold true for desalination.

2/20/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Over 500 Germans were executed at Dachau - and many of their spouses and children comitted suicide.

2/20/2006 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

yeh, Ipicked up those items, too--how I Company had come in along a rail line where boxcars were "filled with dead bodies from American planes strafing" and that the inmates wouldn't've looked so bad had not "an American bomb destroyed the camp's water main three weeks earlier". And some other things too, alerted that the writer has a point of view. of course it's true that due-process ihas to be the law. But you're talking about Hell here, where the rules have been put aside already by the hellions. Why were there people in boxcars to be strafed? Why were there people behind barbed wire with no water? Nah, all I can feel for the men on the triggers is sympathy.

2/20/2006 08:07:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...


This is interesting:

2/20/2006 08:20:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

"THE JEWS ARE LYING In Germany, members of the Jewish race are supposedly being brutally tortured to death.

THE JEWS ARE LYING Their eyes being gouged out, their hands hacked off, their ears and noses cut off, and even their corpses dismembered.

THE JEWS ARE LYING Allegedly, not even Jewish women are spared from such gruesome deaths and young Jewish girls are raped in front of their parents.

These lies are being propagated in the same way and to the same ends as they were during the war - in order to incite world opinion against Germany.

In addition to this a


is being demanded. By this they are seeking to increase poverty and unemployment in Germany, and to ruin the German export trade, German men and women! The culprits in this absurd crime, in this vile smear and boycott campaign are the


2/20/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

The old penalty for slander was tearing out of the tongue. So Mr. Irving should consider himself lucky.

2/20/2006 08:23:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

How does the 8th commandment read on the Covenant, Mika?

2/20/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

There's nothing wrong with prosecuting people for holocaust denial. Holocaust denial is a particularly egregious form of slander and as such should be aggressively prosecuted. This has nothing to do with free speech or offensive speech. People practicing holocaust denial do so out of malign intention to slander. They should be held accountable.

2/20/2006 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Reading Starling's post, incitement to riot--yelling fire in a crowded theater--may be behind the free-speech abridgement. and too, the Monstrosity Herr Schicklegruber did it all with words.

2/20/2006 08:33:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Pure principle is a great ideal, tho, for sure.

Abridge what you must, and accompany the abridgement with a restatement of the principle, as the ideal which society must strive to attain.

2/20/2006 08:37:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Buddy Larsen: How does the 8th commandment read on the Covenant, Mika?

I wouldn't know. How does it read?

2/20/2006 08:39:00 PM  
Blogger Red River said...

Very interesting place.

2/20/2006 09:00:00 PM  
Blogger ledger said...

Wretchard's argument for free speech and allowing certain people to rewrite incendiary history - is good up to a point.

If Mr. Irving fully intended to ferment violence with his version of history which includes one of world's most gruesome examples of fascism and genocide then Germany had every right to put said writer-instigator in jail under their rule of law.

I always find it hard to judge from afar.

Wretchard recounts the coal yard incident where a few angry war weary fighters decided to skip protocol and eliminate the enemy in what now seems a bit heavy handed. At the time it may have seemed like justice.

Most of us were not there to hear the shrieks of the dying Jews nor the stench of death in the air.

We can only see a photograph and try to picture the actual scene. It was probably one of the most offensives sights at that time. The same may be true in this case.

Further, there is probably a good reason why Germany has those laws on the books. I would guess that it's to stop or reduce mob violence.

Or, those laws could be there to save the writer-instigator from mob violence against him. I just do not know all of the facts - both on the practical side and on the legal side (of German laws).

And, there may be more to this conviction than meets the eye - such as him being modern day Rachel Corrie [sp?]:

Lgf's NY Nana in post #47 links :

"He is accused of racial incitement for denying the Holocaust took place, which under German law is a criminal offence."

" Timeline: David Irving's battles


"Irving has had numerous run-ins with the law over the years... Within two weeks of his arrest, he asserted through his lawyer that he had come to acknowledge the existence of Nazi-era gas chambers... In 1992, a judge in Germany fined him the equivalent of US$6,000 for publicly insisting the Nazi gas chambers at Auschwitz were a hoax."

See: sentenced to 3 years

I do know that if we hiking with friends in a tinderbox dried forest I would certainly not want any of my friends discarding smoldering cigarette embers along the path. The fire could kill us all. There is a time and place for flicking embers around and a time and place Not To.

2/20/2006 09:04:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

Karridine said "I must say, before God, I believe I, too, would have shot the Nazi where he stood... through a knee! THEN had him stand trial."

Presumably he'd be standing (trial) on his one (remaining) good leg.

2/20/2006 09:15:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

talk about standing on one leg--

2/20/2006 09:18:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Such are too hate crimes. We can commit heinous acts so long that they be performed with the utmost piety. Head cutters may be excused their noble purpose, for they are righteous in the eyes of God and god’s hurt must be avenged. If we must question the motives of those infamous perpetrators, certainly we can question the efficacy of their toil. But where Ahmadinejad denies the Holocaust, we must not condemn him as a criminal but mock him as the fool that he is, though one cannot begrudge him his dilemma, if his sworn historical enemy has staked the high moral ground by garnering sympathy and casting shame upon those who’d deny their peril, it would look as it they were above criticism for any action taken. I am sure that is his mind. Must be music to the Muslim mind though it doesn’t play well in Peoria.

2/20/2006 09:47:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Shep Barbash,

The world has been warming and cooling for a long time. What Global Warming asserts isn't that the world is warming or cooling but that it's warming and cooling according to a particular model. Near as I can tell the Global Warming models are regression equations. Michael Crichton makes the point that complex systems are not reliably modeled in this way and that in the recent past, the same type of regressions were used to assert Global Cooling.

The Global Warming models may be completely wrong, partialy right or right in some way. But as I understand it, the assertion is that we have enough confidence in this regression model to climate-engineer the other way. That's a very large claim. The Kyoto advocates are calling for caps, which actually translate to job losses, which translate to statistical deaths from hunger, inability to afford health care, etc. to pay for this climate engineering experiment. You really couldn't convict a single person of murder on the standard of proof the Global Warming folks have, yet we seem willing to bet a whole lot of farms on it.

Yesterday I spoke to someone who said that the Andaman Islands were sinking because the seas were rising. I asked that person to go down to the Sydney Opera House and tell me if it had gone under. "Why?", the question came back. "Because the sea level in the Andaman Islands will not rise separately from the sea level in the Opera House", I answered. But as you can guess, the answer was not convincing. Deep down some people think the Andamans are going under while their beachfront property isn't just because the environmentalists say so.

2/20/2006 09:48:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Shep Brabash,

One example of how dangerous it could be to misunderstand the model is illustrated by a report at this NASA website:

It's axiomatic that trees "soak up" carbon and this idea is at the heart of the Kyoto and climate control schemes. But the NASA website says recent studies show that the Amazon rainforest may be a net source of carbon.

"And then there is the global carbon cycle problem. When the scientists who model the carbon cycle on a global scale work backward from the known concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, they find that to make the Amazon carbon budget fit into the global carbon balance—with all the known sources and sinks of carbon—the Amazon is either in near equilibrium with respect to carbon exchange—giving off about as much as it takes in—or is possibly even a source of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Could the Amazon be a source of carbon? Imagining all those trees soaking up carbon dioxide day after day makes that idea seem counter-intuitive, if not downright far-fetched."

So what do we do? Commission loggers to wipe out the Amazon Rainforest? Or maybe the GW model itself is wrong and we can leave the trees standing. An unsolved scientific question right? Yet the Global Warming hypothesis, which should be just a hypothesis, is now being treated as the Gospel Truth, when it is not. Pretty soon it may be true no matter what empirical evidence is uncovered.

2/20/2006 10:00:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said... a religion, faith-based.

2/20/2006 10:17:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

In Belgium one must believe the right things to run for office, incorrect ideas are outlawed, and so, the parties that promulgate incorrect ideas. It culminates in a moral fascism that stifles the mind and leads to all manner of thought crime, a crime only when expressed as naught repressed. The Dadaists may have been sane all along. ‘Exterminate all rational thought.’

2/20/2006 10:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I agree with everything Wretchard wrote just above, but for the sake of argument, say I didn't, and further, that I could prove man's contribution to atmospheric carbon since the Industrial Revolution IS definitely the cause of Global Warming.

Then it is a simple matter to point out, USING THEIR OWN FIGURES, none of the great ideas put through by the great minds of the Kyoto Global Warmies would have ANY SIGNIFICANT EFFECT on Global Temperatures for the next 300 years, or for any non-geological time period one wants to choose.

It is also then easy to prove that there is no conceivable way given the laws of physics and the quantities involved, for man to formulate, much less implement a realistic plan to address the matter, barring God suddenly granting man unlimited pollution-free, cost free energy with which to solve the world's problems.

Even then it would be no small engineering feat, and complex systems being what they are, there is no way to predict the EFFECTS of implementing the "solution,"
short of saying that we can predict with confidence it is highly likely to produce significant unintended and unknown consequences.

2/20/2006 10:33:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2/20/2006 10:45:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Doug, if all was rosy, wooden tit be lovely?

2/20/2006 10:55:00 PM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Sally elbows ya, Polynesia.

2/20/2006 10:58:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Polly kneeds me, but I be busy.
Here are a couple of examples of the abject poverty and harsh conditions at the school where one of Starlings students proposed the Danes submit tribute to the tune of paying for 3 or 4 mosques, government issuing an official apology, and presumably 40 acres and a mule per capita! (for those damned cartoons) Biz School

Administration Building

And here the question is, is that real gold on those lamps?
(expand the pictures to see details)

2/20/2006 11:10:00 PM  
Blogger Starling said...

Doug asked: is it real gold?
Definitely not! I asked ;-)

2/20/2006 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

Shep Brabash,

One of the things that has always bothered me about Kyoto Protocol is that they never examined the downstream effects of poverty far enough. Putting caps on US and EU industrial output may cut back on the production of "Greenhouse gases" but it also reduces the export markets of the developed world, which results in job losses in poor countries.

That pushes people into subsistence livelihoods. They leave the factory and eke out a living swidden farming in the country. They burn down brushland, plant a few crops of spuds, ruin the soil, move on further into the forest. And it does this to people in their millions and tens of millions. Taken far enough it is an extremely destructive environmental practice. That's an effect in a complex system, a system whose characteristics are not well or wholly modeled in the Global Warming carbon climate models which has reduced the variable of interest to a single one which they are going to adjust with UN treaties.

Look at this photo of the tragic Leyte landslide. This is the countryside where people go if they can't get jobs. If you look at the hi-res version and examine it, you'll see the slopes are bereft of primary forest. This Navy photo from another angle shows it even more clearly. It's friggin brushland.

I'm not arguing against the GW climate model but it's just a model. They can't say "shut up already and accept it as Gospel" and close down debate in that way.

2/21/2006 12:51:00 AM  
Blogger John F. Opie said...

Hi -

As an American living in Germany and married to an Austrian, I can perhaps add a bit oif clarification to the apparent contradiction of laws against holocaust denial and free speech.

First of all, the laws against holocaust denial aren't designed to stop any sort of discussion about the holocaust, but rather are the expression of the extreme repugnance that both German and Austrian society holds for what happened. What they are saying is that they know full well that there are those "ewige gestrigen", the eternal livers-in-the-past, those who for whatever sick reasons think that Hitler and the Nazis were the cat's meow.

The real problem when these laws were enacted was that the war wasn't that long ago, and especially in Austria there was no effective denazification.

So these laws are the German and Austrian equivalents of the Israeli "Never Again": just as Israel will never again allow Jews to be slaughtered as they were in the camps, so will Germany and Austria never again allow anti-semitism to re-emerge as a political movement.

You can't eliminate anti-semitism from the anti-semite: it usually is something that they grew up in, it's a key part of character (or the lack of it). The key argument against anti-semitism is the Holocaust: it is the trump of all trumps, it was the undeniable implementation of anti-semitic argumentation and propaganda.

In thise case the German and Austrian lawmakers were prescient: they knew that whilst anti-semitism might be dead for the moment (immediate post-WWII time period) that it would return: it is the vampire, so to speak, of modern politics, one you think dead and yet allow the stake in its heart to crumble into dust over time and the vampire is reborn.

And that is why this one particular law is there: to forever prevent anyone from starting over. There are many deep anti-semitic prejudices in Europe, safely hidden away and made harmless (I was infuriated with my mother-in-law when she was with us when I haggled over paying something and she said "Du bist ärger wie ein Jud", "You're as aggravating as a jew": she came from a socialist family that suffered under the Nazis and almost landed in jail jerself for giving food to war prisoners, but still there was this meme in her consciousness).

This law is designed to make it clear that there are some topics that are so heinous and so damaging to the body politic in Germany and Austria that They Will Not Be Discussed, Because That Way Hell Lies. The Austrians and Germans both know how terrible their crimes really were: never again.

And Irving was warned and chose to ignore the warnings. You know what? It's their country and it's their laws. You go to a foreign land, you live under their laws, and ignorance is no excuse.


2/21/2006 01:08:00 AM  
Blogger wretchardthecat said...

The CBC, which is about as liberal a news outlet as you can find, summarizes the charges against Irving as follows:

Irving was detained on a warrant issued in 1989 under Austrian laws that make Holocaust denial a crime, Gollia said. The charges stemmed from speeches Irving delivered that year in Vienna and in the southern town of Leoben.

In a statement posted on his website, Irving's supporters said he was arrested while on a one-day visit to Vienna, where they said he had been invited "by courageous students to address an ancient university association."

Despite precautions taken by Irving, he was arrested by police who allegedly learned of his visit "by wiretaps or intercepting e-mails," the statement alleged. It said that en route to Austria, Irving had privately visited German playwright Rolf Hochhuth, a friend he had not seen in 20 years because of travel restrictions imposed on both men.

The warrant for Irving's arrest was issued in 1989. And apparently Irving was not exactly daring the Austrians to come after him.

Irving is a second-rate historian who is being raised to the status of some modern day Viktor Lazslo. He is playing up the atmosphere to the hilt. Secret meetings with Professors in the underground. Meetings with "courageous" students. Intercepted emails. He's making the Austrians look like Nazis when in fact, the original idea was not to remind anyone of them. While the Austrians have the right to make their own laws, I hope it is not impertinent to observe that so did the Iranians when they issued the fatwa on Salman Rusdie. Austria's right to make laws is undoubted. But surely one may ask whether it is a good and sensible law.

2/21/2006 01:29:00 AM  
Blogger summignumi said...

The men of the 45th ID were not committing war crimes, those that think they were have no clue to what had and was happening in the world at that time in history.
To judge the past of a generation or more from the future is the road to destruction, it is the very road the US set its self upon since the last half of the 20th Century as it re-examined it self and judged its history with the new found self righteousness.
The German soldiers that were at the camp were as guilty as the soldier’s they had just replaced, There is guilt by association, you are just as guilty as the perpetrator if you willing go along, you willing support and you “emerged in full regalia, wearing all his decorations”.

2/21/2006 01:43:00 AM  
Blogger PeterBoston said...

It's a bad law. I can appreciate the importance of denazification in Germany and Austria but confiscating personal property and jailing people for expressing an opinion, regardless how stupid, is plain wrong. If the state could make the connection between Irving's holocaust denial writings and the furtherance of some criminal activity againt person or property I would have a different opinion.

The Holocaust is a documented historical event still within living memory of millions. Only a fool would deny it. If the social order is so fragile that a fool's writings are a danger to it then deeper problems lie elsewhere.

I don't see much difference between Holocaust denial prosecutions and the blasphemy prosecutions in Islamic countries. Every attempt to control the Conversation has a bad result because it places a taboo on issues and ideas that must work their way through society before they can be peacefully resolved.

2/21/2006 03:50:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

W: Irving is a second-rate historian who is being raised to the status of some modern day Viktor Lazslo.

Your argument isn't convincing. The CBC is a vile group of anti jew propagandists. Their hero would be elevated to such status regardless.

2/21/2006 03:57:00 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

PB: I don't see much difference between Holocaust denial prosecutions and the blasphemy prosecutions in Islamic countries.

It's only slander of it's proven to be false. Mahmud is a pedophile and a pirate by their own admission.

Also, I've yet to see a convincing proof that god exists. Especially the one described by "holy scripture".

2/21/2006 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger Charles Martel said...

Imagine you are a young German conscript who has been sent in the waning days of WWII to Dachau, or a battle hardened vereran who has been sent there. You arrive to witness unspeakable horrors none of which you were complicit in. You are disgusted and outraged, but are powerless to do anything.

Days later, American liberators arrive and you are relieved that the war is finally over for you. And then you are marched into the brick yard and summarily executed. Justice? I think not. Did some of these animals deserve execution? I would imagine so, but those soldiers killed unarmed soldiers who had surrendered without any authorization and against all military rules of engagement.

Those German soldiers should have been tried and the guilty executed, but the killing of unarmed soldiers by Americans was repugnant. Understandable, yes. But deplorable and unacceptable.

2/21/2006 04:53:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

I think that the Austrians have things exactly Bass Ackwards. Writing a book and making statements merits a jail sentence.

Supporting positions, voting for politcians, emabracing pacifism - all actions that would lead to futher concentration camps - why that is "the norm" and is to be praised.

2/21/2006 05:42:00 AM  
Blogger geoffgo said...

Shep Brabash,

The human contribution to GW must start with the introduction of the internal combustion engine at the end of the 19th century.

If one totals the contribution of greenhouse gases made by the five largest volcanic eruptions since that same time, I believe you will discover that that total exceeds all the contributions from mankind, since the beginning of human history.

It seems no limitation on human consumption could keep up with the natural course of things, no matter the precision of the modeling.

2/21/2006 06:48:00 AM  
Blogger buddy larsen said...

Kyoto seems--intuitively--to be about ideology rather than science.

Charles Martel, of course you are right--but, it's one of those 'rightnesses' that call for a 'look the other way', on the basis of some larger scale inside human consciousness.

2/21/2006 07:16:00 AM  
Blogger neo-neocon said...

I agree with your conclusion about the primacy of free speech in this fight. But when I did the research for this post, I found the arguments for the other side to be stronger than I'd originally thought.

2/21/2006 10:53:00 AM  
Blogger Red River said...


The soils of the American Great Plains were plowed up mostly from the 1880s to the 1940s - and most went from 5-6% organic matter to 2-3%.

The carbon was respirated by bacteria.

This carbon dump was very, very large - much, much larger than total worldwide manmade C02 production for the last 200 hundred years. In addition, the worldwide increase in CO2 strongly follows the respiration due to the plow-up.

Its very easy to look at simple systems - petro-respiration - but very hard to look at complex systems like soils and agriculture - to find answers.

A lot of people think the Little Ice Age was caused by solar minimums - but something else occurred in the 1500s - the total collapse of the Amerindian agriculture ( which was the largest in the world ) due to disease among the Indians. A vast amount of life ( mostly plants) was snuffed out in just a few years.

Water vapor and methane are much more potent greenhouse gasses - and are greatly enhanced by agriculture. Agriculture alters albedo and alters heat transfer to air as well.

2/21/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

The best defense of the truth of the holocaust is an uncompromising commitment to free speech.

Ah, but "free speech" can be drowned out by a cacaphony of compromised cacklers. Why else is the world talking about "Danish" cartoons rather than death at Darfur?

2/21/2006 11:47:00 AM  
Blogger Solomon2 said...

neo-neo, your column is an important symptom of the times. I just hope I can find the time to respond to it.

2/21/2006 11:49:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Red River,
I'm shocked to read you comment on Amerindian agriculture.
Hard for me to imagine it was that extensive.
What would be a wild ballpark figure for their total population, and if you have any helpful links handy, I would appreciate.

(Coastal Calif Indians largely goofed around eating Clams, Oysters, Mussels, Fish, Venison, Acorns, etc! - Rough Life!)

2/21/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

(He's Differently Sighted)

2/21/2006 02:56:00 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Doug, I'd like to see that proof stand up in court. I'll even wear my special anti-glare visor for the occasion.

2/21/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Commie Boy 90 said...

It seems most of these posters oppose these laws because of anti-semetic sentiments of thier own. (Most muslims are a semetic ethnic group.) Additionally, I would argue that america could learn from the EU in this respect and similair laws regarding slavery and the Native American genocide would not be innapropriate. (casualties of both estimated to be in excess of 30 million.)

7/17/2007 09:41:00 AM  

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