Thursday, February 08, 2024

The Genocide Charge Against Israel: What Is the Difference Between War and Genocide in the First Place?

In recent decades, as many as three million people perished in a famine in North Korea that was mainly government-induced 

writes in a New York Times column entitled The Genocide Charge Against Israel Is a Moral Obscenity:

Hundreds of thousands of Syrians were gassed, bombed, starved or tortured to death by the Assad regime, and an estimated 14 million were forced to flee their homes. China has put more than a million Uyghurs through gulag-like re-education camps in a thinly veiled attempt to suppress and erase their religious and cultural identity.

But North Korea, Syria and China have never been charged with genocide at the International Court of Justice. Israel has. How curious. And how obscene.

It’s obscene because it politicizes our understanding of genocide, fatally eroding the moral power of the term. The war between Israel and Hamas is terrible — as is every war. But if this is genocide, what word do we have for the killing fields in Cambodia, Stalin’s Holodomor in Ukraine, the Holocaust itself?

Words that come to mean much more than originally intended eventually come to mean almost nothing at all — a victory for future génocidaires who’d like the world to think there’s no moral or legal difference between one kind of killing and another.

It’s obscene because it perverts the definition of genocide, which is precise: “acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such.” 

 … If Israel were trying to commit genocide, it wouldn’t be putting its soldiers at risk or allowing humanitarian relief to arrive from Egypt or withdrawing many of its forces from Gaza. It would simply be killing Palestinians everywhere, in vastly greater numbers, as Germans killed Jews or Hutus killed Tutsis.

It’s obscene because it puts the wrong party in the dock. Hamas is a genocidal organization by conviction and design. Its founding charter calls for Israel to be “obliterated” and for Muslims to kill Jews as they “hide behind stones and trees.” On Oct. 7, Hamas murdered, mutilated, tortured, incinerated, raped or kidnapped everyone it could. Had it not been stopped it would not have stopped. One of its leaders has since vowed to do it “a second, a third, a fourth” time.

It’s Hamas, not Israel, that started the war, keeps it going, and would resume it the moment it has the arsenal and the opportunity.

It’s obscene because it validates Hamas’s illegal and barbaric strategy of hiding between, behind and beneath Palestinian civilians. From the beginning of the war, Hamas has had a double aim: to kill as many Jews as possible, and to incur Palestinian fatalities to gain international sympathy and diplomatic leverage.

 … It’s obscene because it’s historically hypocritical. The United States, Britain and other allied nations killed a staggering number of German and Japanese civilians on the path to defeating the regimes that had started World War II — often known as the Good War. Events such as the bombings of Dresden or Tokyo, to say nothing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, were tragic and far more indiscriminate than anything Israel stands accused of doing. But no serious person holds Franklin Roosevelt to be on a moral par with Adolf Hitler. What the Allies did were acts of war in the service of a lasting peace, not genocide in the service of a fanatical aim.

The difference? In war, the killing ends when one side stops fighting. In a genocide, that’s when the killing begins.

Related — To Peacenik Protesters Everywhere (Pro-Palestinian or Other): The People that Hamas Slaughtered Mercilessly at Israel's Rave — They Are YOU! has also penned Abolish the U.N.’s Palestinian Refugee Agency
and, on a more personal note, Why I Can’t Stop Writing About Oct. 7.

Monday, February 05, 2024

Democrats Get Their Political Playbook From Lenin, Communism's First Dictator and Mass Murderer

As Ron Hart points out (spasibo to Tovarich Glenn Reynolds), Democrats Got Their Political Playbook From Lenin:

When you have bad policies and cannot sustain your authority based on quantifiable results, you do what Democrats have done these last few years: you weaponize the government against your enemies.

It is not a novel construct. In 1918 the oppressive Soviet leader Vladimir Lenin (the 100th anniversary of whose death was on Jan. 21) laid out his plan to keep the communists in power with his infamous “Hanging Order.” This was an order he sent to his Bolshevik leaders in his government (his Deep State) …

Number 1. “Hang in full view of the people,” resembles the multiple, frivolous impeachment attempts against Trump by Democrats. You would have to surrender your reason to Woke-DNC dogma not to conclude that the Deep Blue “Deep Staters” are not targeting Trump. A 76-year-old man, never arrested, rings up 90 felonies these past 12 months as he runs against a sitting president. Really? Maybe he’s just a late bloomer?

 … Number 2. “Publish their names.” Clearly the “doxing and swatting” of GOP leaders, from Lois Lerner to the IRS agent who turned over the tax returns of Donald Trump and Elon Musk to The New York Times, fit this category. 

Number 3. “Seize their grain.” It is what NY Attorney General Letitia James is doing to Trump by using some novel legal theory which has neither victim nor crime to take Trump’s properties away from him. 

Number 4. “Designate Hostages — in a fashion people see and tremble.” If this is not the essence of the vast prosecutorial overreaction to Jan. 6, then just arrest me. A few hundred men who looked like the cast of Duck Dynasty on a confusing day walked through our Capitol (“The People’s House”) and monkeyed with Nancy Pelosi’s podium. Now many of them sit in solitary confinement, perhaps for up to 20 years. For trespassing.

goes on to pen Remembering Lenin—the First Great Communist Mass Murderer (spasibo to Comrade Ed Driscoll) in the form of a quiz:

Let's take a little history quiz. Which of the following features of the Soviet state were first introduced under Lenin, and which by Stalin:

1. The Gulag system of slave labor camps

2. The Cheka (secret police agency eventually known as the KGB)

3. Collectivization of agriculture leading to mass famines

4. Mass executions with little or no due process

5. A one-party state, with bans on all opposition parties (including socialist ones)

6. Suppression of freedom of speech and religion

7. Confiscation of private businesses, including even small businesses

8. Invading other nations in order to spread communism there

9. State control of the media for purposes of promoting regime propaganda, and preventing distribution of opposition speech

If you answered Lenin, you were correct in every case! And virtually every one of these measures was also supported by Trotsky, Bukharin, and other Bolshevik leaders whom some Western leftists like to trumpet as potentially superior alternatives to Stalin. Had Trotsky rather than Stalin come to power after Lenin's death, he would have happily continued all of the above, and in some cases doubled down on it.

Tovarich Ed Driscoll goes on to link to his post on Tom Wolfe's Intelligent Co-Ed’s Guide to America from 1976:

The publication of The Gulag Archipelago in 1973, however, was a wholly unexpected blow. No one was ready for the obscene horror and grotesque scale of what Solzhenitsyn called “Our Sewage Disposal System”—in which tens of millions were shipped in boxcars to con­centration camps all over the country, in which tens of millions died, in which entire races and national groups were liquidated, insofar as they had existed in the Soviet Union. Moreover, said Solzhenitsyn, the system had not begun with Stalin but with Lenin, who had im­mediately exterminated non-Bolshevik opponents of the old regime and especially the student factions. It was impossible any longer to distinguish the Communist liquidation apparatus from the Nazi.

Yet Solzhenitsyn went still further. He said that not only Stalinism, not only Leninism, not only Communism — but socialism itself led to the concentration camps; and not only socialism, but Marxism; and not only Marxism but any ideology that sought to reorganize morality on an a priori basis. Sadder still, it was impossible to say that Soviet socialism was not “real socialism.” On the contrary — it was socialism done by experts!

 … Solzhenitsyn’s tour of the United States in 1975 was like an enormous funeral procession that no one wanted to see. … And the literary world in general ignored him completely.

From there, Comrade Instapunditski links to the Daily Mail's Tony Rennell asking “Why does the gullible Left still lionize Lenin as a benign intellectual and the acceptable face of Communism when he ruthlessly murdered his opponents in their thousands, starved two million Russians to death and wrote the playbook for Stalin?” 

There are those who will point to [Lenin’s] successor, Stalin, as the real devil in Russia’s 20th Century history, and there is no doubt that the repression, the violence, show trials, gulags and butchery of that monster’s 30 years as the dictator of the Soviet Union far exceeded Lenin’s – nastier, more brutal, insanely contemptuous of human life, totally beyond rational understanding. In his paranoia, he murdered friend and foe alike. And yet the truth – however much it may offend those who regard Lenin’s as the acceptable face of Communism – is that Stalin was Lenin’s protege and took his lead from him.

Finally, Tovarich Ed Driscoll takes it a step further by linking to James Bartholomew's Why Isn’t Lenin As Condemned As Hitler?

It is a curious phenomenon that Lenin is acceptable and even approved of whereas Hitler is beyond the pale. It is not exactly a secret that Lenin started off seventy years of communist rule in Russia which included two major famines, the Red Terror, the Great Terror and continuing poverty. The death toll of Soviet communism was in the order of twenty million. So how do people manage to think favorably of him?

 … the Bolsheviks lost [the 1917 elections to the constituent assembly]. But Lenin did not care. Rather like Hitler, whose party incidentally got a higher percentage of the vote in Germany than the Bolsheviks did in Russia, he closed the constituent assembly and deployed armed soldiers to prevent anyone reopening it. The lie Lenin fans choose to believe is that if only Lenin had lived, communist rule would have succeeded. Lenin’s replacement by Stalin ruined it all.

But Lenin did all the things that Stalin did. Lenin began government control of agriculture, setting a fixed price that the government would pay for corn and other grains. The price was absurdly low because of the high rate of inflation. A shortage of food ensued. Lenin then requisitioned grain from peasants at gunpoint. These disastrous policies contributed heavily to death by starvation of at least three million people in 1920-21. Lenin implicitly recognized the part his policies had played by reversing them in 1921.

 … Lenin created the Cheka, the Soviet secret police. His on-the-record instructions to kill include this written order following a revolt in Penza province: “Hang (absolutely hang, in full view of the people) no fewer than 100 known kulaks [peasants owning a little land], filthy rich men, bloodsuckers.” Lenin did not engage in class war. He engaged in class murder.

Lenin set up the concentration camps which eventually became the Gulag. He issued a decree in 1918 stating that it was “imperative to safeguard the Soviet Republic from class enemies by isolating them in concentration camps.” Every provincial city was ordered to create one and by the end of 1920 there were 107 of them. Lenin authorized the use of poison gas in 1921 to kill peasants in the Tambov uprising. Vyacheslav Molotov, a senior Soviet politician under both Lenin and Stalin, remarked that both leaders were “hard men… harsh and stern. But without a doubt Lenin was harsher.”

Lenin did not engage in class war. He engaged in class murder

Again and again the records show Lenin urging his colleagues to be more ruthless and to kill. Against all this, the defense is sometimes: “Well it was a time of civil war, so extreme measures were necessary.” But why was there a civil war? Only because Lenin had mounted a coup that was contrary to the expressed views of the Russian people. Supporters of Lenin argue that he did some wonderful things. He issued a decree that women should have equal rights in 1917. But it was the provisional government that had already given women the vote, and it is not as if the Soviet Union was unique in conferring increasing rights to women during the 20th century. It was happening throughout Europe.

Related: Some Mind-Boggling Revelations About Stalin, World War II, and a Century of Russian History
• For the first two years of World War II, Nazi Germany and Soviet Russia were allies; Hitler and Stalin secretly planned and jointly began the war that inflicted such horror and destruction.

If more is needed about Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, look at this blog's excerpts from Paul Johnson's Modern Times (A History of the World from the 1920s to the 1990s) dealing with the dictator of Germany: 

•  "Hitler remained to the end a socialist"; the Führer "was totally irreligious and" wanted to hang the Pope in St Peter's Square

The post, which has been updated, also has a number of revelations about the dictator of Russia, mainly from chapters 1 and 2 of the Paul Johnson book… Here are three of those excerpts:

 … [When] Lenin had his first stroke … his work was already complete.  He had systematically constructed, in all its essentials, the most carefully engineered apparatus of state tyranny the world had ever seen.  In the old world, personal autocracies, except perhaps for brief periods, had been limited, or at least qualified, by other forces in society:  a church, an aristocracy, an urban bourgeoisie, ancient charters and courts and assemblies.  And there was, too, the notion of an external, restraining force, in the idea of a Deity, or Natural Law, or some absolute system of morality.  Lenin's new despotic utopia had no such counterweights or inhibitions.  Church, aristocracy, bourgeoisie had all been swept away.  Everything that was left was owned or controlled by the state.  All rights whatsoever were vested in the state.  And, within that state, enormous and ever-growing as it was, every single filament of power could be traced back to the hands of a minute group of men — ultimately to one man 

… Lenin hated the essence of democracy, and he regarded its forms merely as a means to legitimize violence and oppression … an unrestricted license for terror

 … Lenin's legacy was a solidly built police state surrounded by economic ruins

Victor Davis Hanson … says that nihilism is the root of modern leftism, writes J. Robert Smith (spasibo to Comrade Ed Driscoll).

Nihilism is a school of thought – often expressed in political and social terms – holding that traditional values are worthless and empty due to the meaninglessness of existence. The sole stance of nihilism is defiance; the sole goal is the destruction of all that stands.

 … Marxism, throughout its history, has been a refuge for the resentful, for those who nurse grudges, for those who project their hurts, failures, and unfairness done them -- real or imagined -- on the societies in which they live and on others: rich men and the bourgeoisie earlier and now Whites, who are accused of inherent racism. And to a slightly lesser degree, Asians resented for their successes, academically and professionally. Jews are back in vogue as hate targets, too. Leftists need villains to justify ruin.

[Like Hitler,] Lenin loathed Christianity. He loathed traditional Russian society. His animus ventured well beyond a reaction to perceived systemic unfairness toward Russia’s peasantry. Unlike Scrooge, but like a good Marxist, Lenin chose not to exploit existing society but to destroy it -- or he began the process; Stalin eagerly continued the project. Destruction was a prerequisite to a new, bright communist society, went the rationale.

In practice, Russian society became a countrywide gulag. Tens of millions died. The human spirit was trampled. Bleakness was unremitting. Lenin, an unwitting existentialist, and his spawn imposed a horrid meaning on their meaningless world: totalitarianism and the cruel iron boot that came with it. In fact, they chose evil.