The Relatives Of The Aggressors
In the May 13, 2002 issue of "Newsweek" there is an article by Martha Brant and Weston Kosova on Barbara Bush. The title of the article is: "The Queen Mother."
Summarizing the information on Barbara Bush offered in the article we learn that:
- "She's the person in the family who keeps them up to standards," in the words of Historian David McCullogh.
Of course, "them" refers to her children and to her 14 grandchildren.
It is not clear what these standards are. However, halfway in the article, an attempt is made to define these standards. We read: "Mrs. Bush was a passionately attentive mother who raised her kids according to a set of rules that one relative calls 'Barbara's principles.' The Bush children were expected to look beyond themselves and to be mindful of the needs of the less fortunate."
- Barbara Bush has always been "a fierce and influential protector of the Bush family name," and she "remains an insistent presence" in the lives of her five children. Actually she "maintains a close watch over George W." And (strangely), "unlike her intrusive predecessor, Nancy Reagan, she would leave politics to her husband," former President George Bush.
- Finally, Barbara Bush "gives several speeches (!) a month to business groups-commanding $60,000 apiece," (the exclamation point was added). She gives those speeches, obviously, to help "the less fortunate."
The information on Barbara Bush offered in the Newsweek article prompts one to reflect on the attitude, or the reaction (to the acts) of the relatives of the aggressors in history.
By "relatives", in this Commentary, we refer only to the spouses, the children, and the grandchildren of the persons that serve the institutions of the "aggressor."
By "aggressor" we refer to the US, the aggressor during the present period in history.
But, is the US really an aggressor?
There is no need to document in this Commentary that the US has been an aggressor since the end of World War Two. This has been done for decades by men of indisputable integrity, honesty, and knowledge: Noam Chomsky, Edward S. Herman, William Blum, etc. In addition, for the same period of time, the US as aggressor has been described and its acts documented by the media (even the mainstream ones) in countries of both the First World and the Third World.
(E.g. : "Der Spiegel", the "Time" magazine of Germany, wrote in 1997: "Never in modern history has a country dominated the earth so totally as the United States does today. America is now the Schwarzenegger of international politics: showing off muscles, obtrusive, intimidating. The Americans, in the absence of limits put to them by anybody or anything, act as if they own kind of blank check in their McWorld." )
But, is it possible for the children and grandchildren (or even the spouses) of the participants in the acts of the aggressor to know what the role of their relatives has been in these acts? The answer is, yes. They might not know the details, but they have a general idea of what is going on in the world. (See Commentary of 12/13/01: "Do the Ordinary Americans Know?).
Furthermore, is it important to know what the attitudes or the reactions of the relatives of the aggressors are? There are only two groups of people that are close to the aggressors: their victims and their relatives. Any information that these people can offer is of significant historical and instructive value. The aggressors try to force silence on the victims and in general they succeed. Thus, any information coming from the relatives is almost precious.
What could be the reactions of the relatives of the US aggressor? Through a rare fortune there is a historical precedent of documenting the reactions of the relatives of an aggressor (and as far as I know the only one of its kind in history). This is the recording through their own words of the attitudes and the reactions of the children and the grandchildren of the Nazi war criminals.
But, can one compare the "humanitarian" Americans to the Nazis? For the moment let us put aside the labels: Nazis, "humanitarian" Americans, etc, and let us try to compare the acts, the effects of those acts, and the institutions of these two aggressors.
- When the anti-Nazi Resistance fighters killed Nazi soldiers, the Nazis retaliated by massacring the inhabitants of the closest village. In those atrocities, most of the time they used the so-called "Security Battalions" (riff-raff from the local occupied population) as proxy murderers. Take Greece: The most notorious cases of Nazi retaliation number to a half dozen ( the villages of Distomo, Chortiatis, Kalavrita, etc.) with about two to three hundred inhabitants each, all of them massacred by the Nazis.
After the Nazis left, the Americans (and the British) turned Greece into a vast field of executions with about 160,000 dead. During the same period the US did the same in Korea, Japan, etc. Then came the innumerable Mi Lais in Vietnam and the massacres (through local proxies) in Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and (through the Indonesian proxies) in East Timor, etc.
The acts of the US proxy in Israel constitute an extreme case of barbarism that should attract the attention of all humans alive on this earth. I was 14 years old when the Nazis left Greece. I remember vividly almost everything that happened in Athens during the four years of the Nazi occupation. Also, there is a vast amount of literature describing the Nazi atrocities in Greece. It is certain that a scene that was similar to the one that took place in Palestine a few weeks ago would have been imprinted in my mind for ever. But there is not such a scene in my mind or a piece of information from a printed text.
Here is the scene in Palestine in 2002: "They were 14 and 15 year old boys stupidly driven to trespass into the Netzarim (Israeli) settlement, illegally situated on their land. They were shot in the head and chest, ridden over by an armored vehicle that disemboweled and utterly disfigured them, and left to the mercy of dogs until the next afternoon." (Jennifer Lowenstein, "Welcome To The Erez Crossing," Palestine Chronicle, July 29, 2002, ZNet).
Is there an honest person alive who thinks that President George W. Bush cannot control Ariel Sharon. Further, if a person in Athens (as I) is aware of that scene, is it not logical to expect that Barbara Bush, the President's mother, living in the technologically most advanced society in the world is also aware of this or similar scenes. If so, then...? Does she simply "leave politics" to her son?
Finally, the Taliban were "created" by the US as a murderous proxy army and were "superior" to the Nazi "Security Battalions."
- The torture centers of the Nazis were located in the big cities of occupied countries and their number was finite. Under the US regime every police station in Greece, in Turkey, in Indonesia, in Chile, in Brazil, in Argentina, in El Salvador, etc is a torture center, an almost infinite number of hideous places.
- The Nazis as occupiers used the curfew tactic. In Athens we were not allowed to be in the streets between 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. A curfew that was rather lightly applied, especially during the later years of the occupation.
The Israeli US proxy uses a 24-hour curfew against the Palestinians! "In Ramalla, curfew has been in place for 48 of the last 108 days." (Adam Hanieh, "West Bank Curfews," July 27, 2002, MERIP and ZNet.)
Also, any description of the atrocious US embargoes (kind of a giant curfew) of Iraq, Cuba, Nicaragua, etc is redundant.
- The Nazis had the GESTAPO to control the domestic and the occupied populations. The GESTAPO was after the communists, the Jews (the Gypsies, the homosexuals, etc), and the Resistance fighters. The GESTAPO was active for about 12 years, of which only about 6 years in foreign lands.
The US has the FBI to control the US population and the CIA, DIA, etc to control the foreign populations. The FBI, the CIA, etc, are after ANYONE that is not with us ("us" being the US economic elite). The FBI has been active for almost 3/4 of a century (doing its COINTELPRO thing domestically) and the CIA etc has been spilling blood over all the earth for 1/2 a century. There are victims that have survived both the GESTAPO and the CIA treatment. The CIA gets the prize for effectiveness, technological efficiency, and American "humanitarianism."
- The Nazis used gas for mass killings in the concentration camps. The US government used "Agent Orange" against the population of Vietnam (and its own soldiers), depleted uranium against the populations of Iraq (and its own soldiers), of Kosovo, and of Afghanistan. Also, since the 1940s the US government covered with cancer-causing fallout, downwind from Nevada to Boston, not only its own civilian population but also scores of thousands of its own soldiers. The US did the same in the Pacific: Bikini, etc. The "Napalm" story seems to be rather minor.
- The Nazis strived to become masters of the world. They failed. The Americans are (or at least they think they are) masters of the planet (and its surrounding space).
No need to go on with the comparison. Any honest observer can discern the real picture.
So, what could the children and the grandchildren of the planners and the perpetrators of this kind of acts (from the President on down to the lowly sergeant) think about their parents and grandparents and their acts.
Let us listen to what the children and the grandchildren of the Nazi criminals have to say:
- ANNA (39 years old in 1987, the year of her testimony):
Anna's father was the leader of the guards in a Nazi concentration camp. Her mother and her grandparents, even after the war, were on the side of her father and supported him.
At age 13 Anna sees her father return home with his former Nazi cronies after he manages to escape prosecution as a Nazi and listens to them when they start celebrating "as if the local soccer team had won." Anna: "I was revolted by them." The parents of Anna's husband were "no better than" hers. Anna: "In our wedding we did not invite either his parents or my parents." She closes her testimony thus: "Today...they (her two daughters) are the FIRST human beings that I really love."
- STEFANIE (19 years old, in 1987)
Her grandfather was hanged at Nuremberg. Stefanie insists that "all was not that bad" during the Nazi period. For her, the only problem is that the Nazis "lost the war." Her grandmother believed that "the war was not entirely lost. The Jews should have been exterminated, otherwise they would have exterminated Germany." To which Stefanie adds: "She (her grandmother) was not entirely wrong."
About her grandfather Stefanie asks: "What terrible things he did that they hanged him? No one can explain that to me yet." To this, her own parents always answered that her grandfather "had millions of men on his conscience."
Stefanie has a three years older sister, Brigitte, who, in the words of Stefanie, "is the exact opposite to me," she is a do-gooder. For her sister, the do-gooder, Stefanie has only deep contempt.
- RUDOLF (36 years old, in 1987)
Rudolf was born in 1950. His parents had fled to South America after the war. Rudolf read everything he could about the Third Reich. Rudolf: "I always run into the name of my father (which had a 'von' in front of it)." And he adds: "Once, only once, my father got so drunk that he spoke about it, how dreadful it was as they were obliged to kill the children one by one, because the idiotic (German) soldiers had positioned the machine gun too high in order to aim at the standing adults."
As a teenager Rudolf became gay (possibly as a reaction to the history of his parents). Rudolf: "For the FIRST time in their life (my parents) felt shame," because of the gay son not for the executed children. His parents were killed in an auto accident, in 1968, and are both buried in Argentina. Rudolf: "Perhaps the auto accident was not an accident," implying that his parents committed suicide because of their shame for the gay son.
Rudolf: "My parents are boiling in Hell... And they left me behind. Born guilty..."
(Can the relatives of Americans like the Dulles brothers, the CIA "stars" Colby and Helms, Kissinger, etc be as honest as Rudolf?)
- RAINER and BRIGITTE (respectively 38 and 43 years old, in 1987)
Their father was a Nazi military officer. Brigitte: "He (the father) had nothing to do with the SS...nothing to do with the shooting of women and children. He was a soldier. But never a criminal." To which Rainer replies: "He was neither the one, and nor the other. Not the father OR the criminal. He was both." Reiner goes on with a remark that is surprisingly true and deep: "His (father's) enemies were not the Russians, the French or the English. His enemies were the Germans. The Germans in his own country."
Brigitte: "We come not from a Nazi family, but from an officers' family... We come from a family that lost the war." Her father was in prison for four years as a war criminal. Then to her brother she says: "I do not consider you my brother... Today there is a stranger that sits in front of me."
- SUSANNE (42 years old, in 1987)
Her father was sentenced to 10 years in prison, in 1948. In 1950 he was released. Susanne about her father's attitude: "...But guilty, he never felt that he himself was guilty... He was a victim of circumstances."
Susanne looking at her 90 year old father: "This old man sitting there... is an entire stranger to me."
- SIBYLLE (39 years old, in 1987)
Her father was with the SS form the start. Sibylle: "Father was a fascist up to the end of his life. So, it is not so important what he did during the war." She has three older brothers. Sibylle; " For (my brothers) the history of my father was never a problem." And she adds: "...(N)ot much has changed, perhaps all that (Nazi period) can happen again." Finally Sibylle closes her testimony by saying: "Today I am glad that I do not have any children and it is certain that I will not have any."
- MONIKA (40 years old, in 1987)
Her father was with the SS. Monika: "The most important and the most difficult thing for me is that basically I do not really know what he did during the war... The older I became the more his aggressiveness and his brutality became apparent... Somehow, I realized that it is not possible to change or to persuade a man like my father. Thus, the only solution was to leave home."
- EGON (26 years old, in 1987)
His father was an SS-Medical Doctor in Dachau. Egon: "Both (the soldier and the doctor) had the orders to kill. Each one in his own way. Both were convinced that they did the right thing... I stand here not as one to denounce his father. On the contrary I am proud of him."
Egon is himself a doctor. Egon: "My friends and I, most of them are doctors, will be ready. We have time... Perhaps, sometime we will be the new intelligentsia... The goal will not be anymore the war or the killing of an individual, but power without a war... It is going to be a domination without victims only through subjugation, positive subjugation... You can also kill, when that is necessary. Not for pleasure, but professionally." Egon closes his remarks about the deeds of his father with this sentence: "I shall do it in another way. Without however being different."
- STEFAN (29 years old, in 1987)
His father was with the SA (Storm Troopers). Also, his father was proud of what he had done. Stefan on his father: "His brutality and aggressiveness is today dangerous for me not the others." Stefan on his family: "All exuded hate and contempt.This was the environment I grew up with... People like my parents and grandparents cannot love. Nothing and no one."
This was a (quite summarized) representative sample of the extraordinary record of the words of the Nazi relatives as presented by Peter Sichrovsky in his book: "Schuldig geboren" ("Born Guilty"), Kiepenheuer & Witsch, 1987, Cologne. I do not know if there is an English translation. If not, I think it should be translated. Definitely, it is must reading for the children and the grandchildren of the US aggressors.
We are all (more or less) responsible for what is going on in the world, but the relatives of the aggressors, being the closest to them, might be more effective in changing something.