Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Genocide? What Genocide?

Here's a fascinating site on how the Nazis bamboozled the gulls at the ICRC.

Just a reminder that the same International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that is so aghast over America's "war crimes" knew about the Nazi atrocities during World War II and essentially did nothing, allowing itself to be fooled by transparent ruses and official denials.

It knew about the concentration camps as early as 1942. In February 1945, the President of the Red Cross wrote to a U.S. official: "Concerning the Jewish problem in Germany we are in close and continual contact with the German authorities." How chilling that the ICRC pretended to care about the Holocaust while in the same sentences adopting Nazi phraseology ("the Jewish problem") to euphemize it.

The Red Cross also knew about crimes against POWs. The ICRC visited Stalag VII-A on Jan. 27, 1945, for example, and reported that 110 American Jewish POWs had been "segregated" but not otherwise mistreated. The Nazis told them they were just following Article 9 of the Geneva Convention, which provided that belligerents shall not house prisoners of different races or nationalities together. That was good enough for the ICRC.

A ICRC report on Stalag IX-B noted the same segregation, but the report said "no other discrimination was made against them." No, indeed, unless you count the Jewish-Americans -- along with about 330 non-Jews -- being sent to a slave labor camp associated with Buchenwald, where American POWs died at a higher rate than they would anywhere else during the war.

But Gitmo, now that's a war crime!

Roger Du Pasquier, head of the ICRC Information Department, explained away the body's titanic failure during World War II:

No relief action of any sort by the Red Cross in Germany or the occupied territories could have been undertaken without the approval of the authorities .... Conforming to the letter, if not to the spirit of the Geneva Conventions, ... the Nazi government permitted the ICRC and its delegates to act on behalf of the several millions of prisoners held in the Stalags and Oflags. It refused, however, to allow any intervention on the part of the Red Cross in the concentration camps .... In the face of such an obstinate refusal which covered up the horrifying reality, about which one was then ill-informed, the ICRC certainly could have made itself heard; it could have protested publicly and called on the conscience of the world. By doing so it would, however, have deprived itself of any possibility of acting in Hitler's Empire; it would have deliberately given up what chances there still remained to it to help, even in a restricted manner, the victims of the concentration camp regime. But, above all, it would have made it impossible for it to continue its activity on behalf of millions of military captives. For the Nazi leaders viewed this activity with suspicion which they would have ruthlessly suppressed on the slightest pretext.

Don't stand up and oppose the murdering dictator, because then, you see, he won't co-operate with you, and you won't be able to persuade him to behave.

Gah, it sounds depressingly like modern attitudes still prevalent in many European capitals. "Don't scare the mullahs of Iran, or else we won't be able to sweet-talk them into giving up their nukes."

But how interesting that the ICRC has no such fear in dealing with the United States. One more example of how an open and democratic system with a belief in its own decency and a free media can be easily bullied by such organizations, which wouldn't dare raise their voices in the presence of the Führer's sadists. Gandhi's tactics work against the essentially decent British government in India. A Gandhi in Warsaw in 1943 never would have been heard from again.

Until the body of "international law" (as represented by the ICRC) counteracts this human tendency, rather than exacerbating it, it's not worth our attention.