Conservative Liberal

FDR would have been a Republican today.

Good Muslims, good Germans, good Russians etc.

My friend Rurik of Old War Dogs, an author and historian, wrote an excellent piece:

…The Moderate Muslim, by definition one without strong personal commitments, will bend with the breeze. If you behave charitably and mercifully toward him, he will know that the risk in opposing you is moderate – while the danger in opposing the Jihadis is certain and horrible. If you want the Moderate Muslim to reveal himself, you must demonstrate that you are more implacable than your enemies. If you make it clear that you seek to hurt your foes as little as possible, and hope soon to depart, while the foe reminds that he is vengeful, with a memory of centuries, and will be remaining forever, then who will the small, uninterested farmer support? It is very sad for such small men, trapped, born, in the middle. But they will do what they must.

How different was the situation in Germany? Only about a third of Germans voted to Hitler in the 1932 elections. But as he flexed his power, they accepted him, and after his great successes in the Rhineland, Austria, and elsewhere many more came to support him as a great leader. We found the “good Germans” only because we ignored their existence till we had blasted away all the bad Germans. Along the way, a few committed and courageous good Germans did side with the allies, and were not dissuaded by our bombing of Germany.

It is a sad fact, but you will find moderation amongst the enemy only if you yourself are first immoderate to him.

Do read the whole thing. Although there is very little left to add, I’d like to try to add my personal observations.
Many Germans who fought for the Nazis during World War 2 were not Nazis. Great Luftwaffe pilots, apart from Rudel and Nowotny, were not Nazis. Some, like Werner Molders, outright despised the Nazi regime. Yet, they fought for it. Why? The short answer is that that was the best chance to survive and go back to their families. Simply refusing to fight meant certain death. Joining the other side meant a great risk to their families. So, they just went with the flow and did the best they could to survive. Only at the very end, when it became very clear that the Nazi regime in Germany would not survive, it became possible for the Germans to stop fighting. And even then they did not necessarily stop because of loyalty to their comrades. Thus, it was impossible and counter-productive to look for good Germans in the middle of the war. Everybody on the German side was the enemy. They stopped being the enemy only after the war ended.
Finally, let me tell you about my personal situation. Those who know me or read my blog, know that I grew up in the former Soviet Union. By the time I graduated from high school I hated the Communist ideology and the Soviet system of government. Yet, what do you think I would do if I would end up as a Soviet soldier in Afghanistan? In the war that was fought for all the wrong reasons? I would fight, along with other draftees like myself, because this would be the best chance to survive and go home.
We will not win until we learn to treat everybody on the other side as an enemy. Only after the enemy is defeated, we will be able to look for friends among former enemies.

December 23, 2006 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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