The NY Times' 2nd most emailed article is currently Frank Rich's new column "The 'Good Germans' Among Us." He comments on yet another set of newly unearthed "secret Department of Justice memos countenancing torture."
Rich agrees with Andrew Sullivan, who observed that America's "enhanced interrogation" is "the exact term innovated by the Gestapo to describe what became known as the 'third degree.' It left no marks. It included hypothermia, stress positions and long-time sleep deprivation."
Rich concludes at the end of his op-ed, which also shows the newspaper reader with a halo:
Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those "good Germans" who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo.
Well, the Wikipedia entry on Godwin's law points out: "There is a tradition in many newsgroups and other Internet discussion forums that once such a [Nazi] comparison is made, the thread is finished and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically "lost" whatever debate was in progress."
ENDNOTE: Why are Germans so critical of US policies in the war on terror, especially re the limits on civil liberties and these interrogation techniques? Why does the German media run so many editorials on US policies that are considered "Anti-American" by some observers?
Here's one reason: Because Germans have learned from history that they should be very critical of powerful governments rather than being "good Germans." The NYT reminds us of our historical reputation once again and provides a new motivation for Germans to criticize the Bush administration in order to proof that we have learned from our Nazi past and are now critical citizens rather than "good Germans."Hopefully, one day Americans will use the phrase "a good German" as a reference to eating Vollkornbrot (wholewheat bread), recycling a lot, insulating your house, driving a small car or using your bicycle for grocery shopping.