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October 31, 2007

”Can I Rephrase That?” (OT)

“Europe was not as outraged by Auschwitz as by Guantanamo Bay.” -Tom Lantos, Holocaust survivor and congressman from California, defending the actions of the Bush Administration by — whoops — comparing it to Nazi Germany.


  1. I’m not sure where the “whoops” is. This is a ridiculous argument, but it’s a common one these days, not a misstatement. In discussions of waterboarding and rendition, I’ve often heard conservatives say “Why are we discussing these minor things, when the terrorists are doing much worse things, like beheading people?”, or “Why do these liberals complain about waterboarding, and not about the torture carried about the Islamic governments under sharia law?” To which my reaction is always “Gosh, I just always took it for granted that our moral standards were going to be much higher than those of loathsome terrorists. But if you want to set the bar so low, that’s great.” Er, where by “great,” I mean “repulsive.”

    Comment by Autumnal Harvest — November 1, 2007 @ 10:09 am

  2. Defending something by comparing it to something similar but infinately worse is never a well thoughtout defense. Iviting people to compare somebody to the Nazis is Godwinning your own argument.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — November 1, 2007 @ 1:37 pm

  3. I know this is an old post, but I thought it worth quoting Alan Dershowitz’s defense of torture in today’s Wall Street Journal:

    There are some who claim that torture is a nonissue because it never works–it only produces false information. This is simply not true, as evidenced by the many decent members of the French Resistance who, under Nazi torture, disclosed the locations of their closest friends and relatives.


    Comment by Autumnal Harvest — November 12, 2007 @ 2:51 pm

  4. Dershowitz has never been shy about his support for the occasional act of torture. He is a very compex civil libertarian.

    Comment by Cidu Bill — November 12, 2007 @ 3:41 pm

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