By Dennis Prager and originally published at dennisprager.com
This past Saturday, the New York Times published an article, "Behind
Flurry of Killing, Potency of Hate," on the roots of monstrous evil. The
article largely concerned a former paramilitary member of the Irish
Republican Army, and as such was informative.
But when it ventured into a larger discussion of evil, the moral
confusion and contempt for America that characterize leftism were on
The article contains a breathtaking paragraph that exemplifies both
qualities. After noting that atrocities against groups of people are
often the result of the dehumanization of the victimized group, the
writer gives four such examples:
"The Hutus in Rwanda called the Tutsis cockroaches, the Nazis depicted
the Jews as rats. Japanese invaders referred to their Chinese victims
during the Nanjing massacre as 'chancorro,' or 'subhuman.' American
soldiers fought barbarian 'Huns' in World War I and godless 'gooks' in
This paragraph is noteworthy for its use of false moral equivalence to justify its anti-Americanism.
Let's begin with the moral equivalence -- equating how the Hutus viewed
and treated the Tutsis, how the Nazis viewed and treated the Jews, and
how the Japanese viewed and treated the Chinese with the Americans'
views and treatment of the Germans in World War I and Vietnamese during
the Vietnam War.
In 1994, over the course of about 100 days, Hutus slaughtered between
half a million and a million Tutsis. This was not a war between armies,
but against a civilian population marked for extinction.
The Nazis murdered about six million Jews, all of whom were civilians.
Indeed more than a million were children. The Nazis had targeted the
Jews for extinction.
The Japanese likewise slaughtered Chinese civilians en masse and
regarded the Chinese as so subhuman as to be worthy of being
systematically experimented upon in ghoulish medical experiments that
paralleled those of the Nazis.
What do any of those examples have to do with Americans fighting in World War I or in Vietnam?
Nothing. Absolutely nothing about these other three examples applied to America in World War I or in Vietnam.
Nicknames -- even derogatory ones -- for enemies have probably been
used in every war by every nation's soldiers. That is not at all the
same as a serious view of another racial or national group as unworthy
of life, as subhuman.
Unlike any of the other examples, Americans did not have a term that --
by definition -- meant that Germans or Vietnamese were not members of
the human race, as are "cockroaches," "rats" and "subhumans."
Unlike any of the other examples, the killing by Americans in World War
I and Vietnam was confined to war. No war, no killing. The Nazi and
Hutu examples had nothing to do with waging war. The Tutsis and Jews
were targeted for annihilation, period. And the Japanese committing of
hundreds of thousands rapes, tortures, and medical experiments on
Chinese civilians -- such as cutting them open without anesthetic or
freezing people's limbs and then cutting them off, also without an
anesthetic -- had nothing to do with war aims.
Moreover, what does "godless" have to do with subhuman categories?
Again, nothing. Why, then, was it included in this article -- "godless
'gooks'"? Because the Times writer wanted to render the term "godless"
as offensive as the term "subhuman." Being largely godless itself, and
aiming for a godless West, the left detested the right's calling
Communism "godless" -- even though Communists were vocal and proud of
Lumping America's actions in those two wars with the other three
examples is typical of the left's defamation of America and of its
facile use of false moral equivalence.
But that is how a generation of Americans who have attended college --
including most likely the Times author herself -- have been taught to
think. And that is what is taught to your child today at the left's
seminaries, our universities:
Nazis, Hutu murderers, Japanese rapists, Americans at war: All pretty much the same.