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While there is plenty of news this week – from North Korea’s “offer” concerning its nukes to Howard Dean’s embrace of the campaign equivalent of the NFL’s prevent defense – I want to point you to the best and worst aspects of Americans’ use of the Web.
Spirit of America is an innovative use of the Web to provide help to our military in Iraq via the donation of material and money to be used in assisting the local populations in rebuilding. From frisbees to footballs to funds for reconstruction projects, Spirit of America works closely with the military to identify and provide the stuff that troops need to help their mission succeed. Erin Montgomery has a great piece on Spirit of America at the Weekly Standard, and you may want to consider becoming part of the civilian effort to help the military accomplish the rebuilding of Iraq.
Now the awful stuff.
“Holocaust denier” is a term of harsh but justified denunciation. To be a “Holocaust denier” is to admit intellectual and moral defects.
One small step above “Holocaust denier” is “Holocaust minimizer,” and that’s where MoveOn.org finds itself today.
After providing a forum for two ads comparing Hitler to George W. Bush, one of which asserted “What were war crimes in 1945 is foreign policy in 2003,” MoveOn.org got blasted for minimizing the awful nature of the murder of 6 million innocents in the service of a racist, depraved and utterly evil ideology.
Rather than provide an admission of error and an abject apology, MoveOn.org founder Wes Boyd chose instead to criticize Republicans for “deliberately and maliciously” misleading the public about the ads, and then to argue that running the ads on the MoveOn.org website did not “constitute endorsement or sponsorship” of the ads, which Boyd branded as “in poor taste.” Mr. Boyd added that he “deeply regretted” that the ads had appeared.
“Poor taste?” Poor taste is brown shoes with a blue suit; coughing without covering your mouth; chablis with steak. Minimizing the Holocaust is not “poor taste,” but an odious descent into near anti-Semitism, for the transformation of the crimes of the Nazi regime into campaign rhetoric diminishes the scale of the atrocities and their cold-bloodedness. Put aside the slander of George W. Bush. The real crime here is that MoveOn.org is denying the awful reality and scale of the Nazi evil, and is still doing so by refusing to accept responsibility for providing a stage on which the lunacy could perform.
The weasels at MoveOn.org know they have screwed up, but don’t seem to grasp why, and it is very revealing about their intellectual and moral credibility that their apology – if it can even be called that – is so crimped and their remorse so obviously staged.
The blogosphere ought to demand a complete apology and an admission of responsibility from MoveOn.org because I doubt Howard Dean or Al Gore will be twisting their friends’ arms to secure such a statement. If no price is paid for flirting at the edges of Holocaust denial, expect future editions of similar ads to reappear.