Here is a thought, if something you do requires hours upon hours of explanation, maybe don’t do it? 

Mr. Iott does not appear to be a bad person, I do not believe he is a Nazi wannabe.  However, his complete lack of sensitivity is astounding.  There is clearly a well established negative connotation of the SS and their complicity in the murder of babies, children, moms, dads,  and all the other innocents of the final solution.  As an American, I find it hard to understand WHY anyone would choose to openly admire ANY SS Nazi unless they had been a defector. 

Geez, even Eric Cantor and I agree on this one.   There is something about glorifying the “fight for freedom” from communism by the Nazi’s as a somewhat twisted reason to honor them.  Is it me?  Is communism actually that much worse than fascism?  Stalin was a mass murderer, but then again, so was Hitler.  Is what Hitlers Germany fought for a righteous fight?  Wasn’t Germany the aggressor and it’s ultimate goal total European domination? 

Here is a link to the wiking website.   Maybe I am being hyper sensitive, but there must be ways to re-enact the different sides of WWII without actually compliemnting them, aren’t there?

“European Volunteers,
Join to Fight Bolshevism!”
Germany headed a stong movement in Europe to actively campaign (politically and through warfare) against the ideals of Bolshevist Communism. This culminated in 1941, when the German armed forces were pitted against the very home of Bolshevism, Soviet Russia. Nazi Germany had no problem in recruiting the multitudes of volunteers willing to lay down their lives to ensure a “New and Free Europe”, free of the threat of Communism. National Socialism was seen by many in Holland, Denmark, Norway, Finland, and other eastern European and Balkan countries as the protector of personal freedom and their very way of life, despite the true underlying totalitarian (and quite twisted, in most cases) nature of the movement. Regardless, thousands upon thousands of valiant men died defending their respective countries in the name of a better tomorrow. No matter how unsavory the Nazi government was, the front-line soldiers of the Waffen-SS (in particular the foreign volunteers) gave their lives for their loved ones and a basic desire to be free.

Here is a link to just one book that demonstrates the Waffen SS on the Eastern front were absolutely linked to atrocities and not just simply soldiers.

50 Thoughts to “Can Waffen SS Be Called Valiant?”

  1. Very interesting question…..

    Can groups be considered valiant? Do atrocities committed by some diminish the honors of others not involved or ignorant of the acts?

    Valiant: 1: possessing or acting with bravery or boldness : courageous
    2: marked by, exhibiting, or carried out with courage or determination : heroic

    I say, yes. As a group, in fighting the Russians, they did act valiantly. As do most soldiers.

    As individuals, most especially. The Eastern Front was terrible. Many did join to fight the evils of communism. Finland was on the side of the nazis purely because Russian invaded them. Both political entities were the epitome of evil. The Wiking division was made up of foreigners commanded by German officers.

    Now, a quick reading of Wiki on the Wiking Division of the Waffen SS did reveal that there were some war crimes committed by members of that division. However, Wiki does not present it as a normal occurrence. Most war crimes seem to be attributed to the support troops, not the front line combat troops. My reading of other history tends to support this.

    The motives of the enlisted could have been pure. But the culture of following orders, above all else, meant that evil would occur.

  2. Apparently I hit submit by accident.

    To continue:

    Perhaps you meant “honorably.”

    Could the Waffen SS be considered to have served honorably?

    Again, yes, but with a caveat. While the SS was connected to the Nazi Party, most soldiers did not commit crimes. However, the commanders WERE cognizant of the crimes and they were not valiant nor honorable.

    The ONLY THING that Germany got correct was that communism was evil. However, they only did that to hide their own.

    I have never thought of the Soviet Union as an “Allied nation” during WWII. They were allies of convenience only because THEIR ally betrayed them. I’ve always thought that one AXIS power got what it wanted. WWII was a partial victory, beating 2 of the 3 enemies we had.

  3. Please take all of the above with the knowledge that I’m married to a Jewish woman who has no use for Germany, to say the least. And her ancestors were persecuted by the Russians.

    And if you call me a nazi to my face, since I am familiar with the history, I tend get violent…..

  4. Elena

    Thanks for your thoughts Cargo. I am struggling with this one.

  5. Elena

    Is fascism worse than communism? Hilters Germany was WORSE than Russia in my mind. I never begrudged the regulare Army German soldiers, but somehow, this particular SS reenactment really troubles me.

  6. Elena

    Sounds like me and your wife have alot of history in common. My ancestors fled Russia at the turn of the century. I am also German with a little Polish.

  7. That link to the Waffen SS book finally came up. It was in perpetual “loading” for some reason.

    I think that the Waffen SS, as an organization, and its motives, was evil, attached as it was, to the Nazi party. The motive behind forming it was to have “pure” Aryans enforcing Nazi policy. The Nuremburg trials, therefore, considered it to be a criminal organization, covering all SS with that blame. The Wermacht, also involved in war crimes, was not found to be a criminal organization. I think this happened, partly, because of the immediate need for Cold war forces to be available.

    I speculate that the Wiking division was formed by the SS, so that foreign volunteers could fight the Communists, thereby providing a huge PR benefit for Germany. That’s why it was formed by the political party and not in the Wermacht.

  8. I’ve just run my wife’s “tree” as far back as I can, finding that her grandfather emigrated from Kazar, Poland, Russian Empire.

    I can understand how this reenactment can be disturbing. I can understand it intellectually but the idea of “being an SS” soldier would be to emotionally disturbing to me. I wouldn’t do it. However, I could be one of the Soviets…..weird, huh?

    I think that the evil of Hitler’s regime was more specific and publicized and therefore, more emotionally charged. Stalin’s evil, was greater, in general. He killed more people. But he did not do it to remove a “race,” though that can be argued, especially by the Ukraine.

    The evils of communism are the same as fascism. They are part and parcel of the same philosophy: the state is greater than the individual and the individual exists to support the state. Both were socialist states. Socialism, if not checked, whatever those checks are, DOES lead to mass killings. It has to. Otherwise, the individuals will revolt.

  9. Elena

    Thanks for understanding Cargo.

  10. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    I’m going to refrain from being confrontational. All I will say is that there are many sides to quite a few historical figures, movements, events. Just one that comes to mind is Vlad Tepes, prince and king of Wallachia. Here’s a guy to slaughtered countless numbers of his own people in the most gruesome ways, and yet to many, he is a national hero. He represents the struggle against the Turks. Heck he was treated as a hero by the church as well. They could overlook his atrocities as long as enough of them were against the Turks. I know toward the end of WWII, the Germans thought they could cut some sort of deal with the West because of their resistance to the Bolsheviks, but I’m not familiar with any re-enactment groups or enthusiasts of that. All I am familiar with are folks who, for whatever reason, like to wear German uniforms while shooting their WWII era weapons. The folks who want to jump up and down, point and yell “Look, I found a Nazi!!” have it wrong. ‘Nuff Said.

  11. Cato the Elder

    Elena :Is fascism worse than communism? Hilters Germany was WORSE than Russia in my mind. I never begrudged the regulare Army German soldiers, but somehow, this particular SS reenactment really troubles me.

    Stalin had 1.2 million people executed for disagreeing with him.

    Stalin and Hitler probably went to the same hell for the same reason – being murderous pieces of human garbage.

    I gotta question the judgement of a guy who puts on an SS uniform even to do a historical reenactment. I don’t think he’s a Nazi, but I’m not sure I’d want him as my congressman.

  12. PWC Taxpayer

    If the picture had been of Iott in normal dress with a Cleveland Browns ball cap standing behind that MG34, they would have gone after him as a gun nut.

    My sense is that Anderson Copper does understand the difference between honoring history’s battlefield warriors and honoring nazi atrocities. To believe otherwise is to argue that Confederate reenactors are slave owner wannabe segregationsist racists, that British Revolutionary war reenactors are traitors to American ideals or that French & Indian War reenactors are just out for a good scalping. The beauty is that you don’t have to like either side, but it is history. Cooper’s interview was an ambush.

  13. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    I’m shocked that some dude wrote a book on soldiers committing atrocities. It’s so rare in world history. How hard did this guy have to look to find soldiers that committed atrocities? Search must have took the better part of his career! Soldiers NEVER commit atrocities. The Russian soldiers who entered Berlin? Atrocities? Perish the thought! They couldn’t get out of church long enough to commit atrocities!

  14. NO, arguing that Confederates and Nazis have anything in common is not only incorrect, it is insulting. The Confederates never intended to exterminate one group of people. Furthermore 10% of the population owned 90% of the slaves.

  15. Slow,

    Why are you reacting that way? The link to the book was relevant to the topic. If the question had been about Soviet war crimes, she would have linked to that. Why be sarcastic about the link, of all things?

    You have to admit that the Waffen SS, as an organization, not as individual soldiers only, WAS linked to horrific policies. Not just acts, but policies. And writing books is a valid idea to fight against such thing. Remember, the phrase “Never Forget!” is very appropos when discussing the SS.

  16. Elena and I spent a while on the phone this morning on this issue. We tried to find some facts and provide information based on said facts rather than from an emotional point of view.

    First off, we are looking at this issue through American eyes. Let’s hone in a little more. She is looking at this issue through American Jewish eyes and I am looking at it from American daughter of WWII vet eyes. Neither of us approached the question without our own biases. Or did we?

    My father spent some time during the war as a POW interpreter because he was able to speak some German. These were regular army guys— Soldiers like he was, just on the other side. He got along with most of them fine.

    Then there were the arrogant ones. The military elite–those guys were hated by the regular army guys. Waffen SS were military elite. I don’t know if any of them ended up in the USA as POWs or not. He [Dad] also told me many regular soldiers wanted to stay in the United States and most had lice. ewwwww

    But I digress. What American doesn’t have some reservations about putting on the Nazi Uniform? The SS, whether special guard, military police, or special units, have negative connotations attached to them, knowing what we know now. I can’t imagine who would want to. I listened to Iott and I don’t think he is evil. I am just not sure he has sensibilities. I agree with Cato.

    As for who is worse, Hitler or Stalin? What is being used as a metric? Number of human beings killed? Stalin wins hands down. Genocide? Ask the Ukrainians. Political enemies? Are there any left to talk? Ask the White Russians. He was a nasty horrid mofo. FDR and Churchill knew he wasn’t to be trusted. He sure wasn’t given a heads up on the atomic bomb like Churchill was. Probably his true treachery wasn’t known because Russia was a closed, unconquored society.

    Most non-Jewish Europeans will tell you that living under Hitler was better than under Stalin. So perhaps it depends on who you ask who was worse. Hitler comes out being worse in most people’s minds only because Germany lost the war and his enemies could itemize his atrocities. Probably no one will ever know the extent of the true evil done by Stalin.

  17. Slow, I don’t think anyone was looking to find a NAZI. Elena and I spent quite a while on the phone this morning talking this one out. No one was glad to have found a NAZI. The discussion also wasn’t group stroke. There was some disagreement.

    Having said that, I don’t even think membership in this organization disqualifies Iott from office. However, before he decided to run, he needed to have prepared a little better for questions about Nazi reenactment. He did a bad job of explaining his role. He had to know it was going to come up and he needed to be able to look the camera square in the eye and have a real discussion about why his participation was important.

    more on laffen SS

    It sounds like the same people who are having a fit over the questioning of Iott are the same people who were furious over the busts of certain WWII leaders in the D-Day Memorial. They lost a ton of donations over those busts.

  18. Slowpoke Rodriguez


    Maybe I came off wrong (it happens). I wasn’t criticizing the selection of the book or whether it was relevant (it is). I just think that war is sort of an atrocity in and of itself. Almost all armies commit atrocities, it’s one of the reasons we don’t like war very much. It was just the idea of writing a book on an army that commits atrocities was sort of funny to me. It’s not exactly a new idea.

  19. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    You know what MY problem is? I can’t find what Congressional District this guy is from.

  20. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Moon-howler :
    NO, arguing that Confederates and Nazis have anything in common is not only incorrect, it is insulting. The Confederates never intended to exterminate one group of people. Furthermore 10% of the population owned 90% of the slaves.

    And HERE is a bunch of stuff I disagree with, but I can’t explain why without pissing everyone off, so it’s back to them dragging these miners out for me! 🙂

  21. Might as well say what you disagree with. If we start extermination talk we have to include some discussion of American Indians,

  22. Fro9m Joshua Green, senior editor of the Atlantic

    A response on why it isn’t ok to be a Nazi reenactor. He has 2 interesting responses from academnicians, one who called Iott a Holocaust minimizer.

  23. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    I read “Professor” Orzoff’s article. I remember those occasional Professors that you just give them whatever they want to hear for a semester, get your grade, and move on. It’s pretty clear a few sentences in that she’s a moron. No big surprise, there are all kinds of morons in academia. Probably never actually did anything in her whole life but get degrees and “teach”. Her views are really a shame, but she’s entitled to them. Like I said, there are those professors you just get through and forget them.

    1. You are basing her academic credentials on the fact you disagree? What else would you like her to do? Getting a degree and teaching has allowed many other people to get a degree.

      Actually, let’s hear how you feel, Slow. You have told the rest of us how we are full of it. How do YOU feel?

  24. Elena

    cargosquid :Slow,
    Why are you reacting that way? The link to the book was relevant to the topic. If the question had been about Soviet war crimes, she would have linked to that. Why be sarcastic about the link, of all things?
    You have to admit that the Waffen SS, as an organization, not as individual soldiers only, WAS linked to horrific policies. Not just acts, but policies. And writing books is a valid idea to fight against such thing. Remember, the phrase “Never Forget!” is very appropos when discussing the SS.

    Thanks Cargo.

  25. Elena

    Did you the baby keep you up last night? You just seem to be purposefully argumentative, unwilling to even acknowledge why some people would feel uncomfortable with this kind of “dress up”.

    This is another professor mentioned in the article who wrote this piece on the subject of war play and Nazi’s. I thought it spoke to my feelings on the subject.

  26. Okay, I have a question. If someone running for office was a Taliban terrorist re-enactor, would you vote for him?

    How about having your kids dress up as members of the Taliban and going trick-or-treating?

    Do you see where I am going with this? We view Taliban terrorists as evil for some pretty obvious reasons. They want to exterminate. That is their agenda, just as it was for the Nazis.

    So why would anyone want to take on the role of a Nazi, especially someone who is running for office? If nothing else, Iott lacks good judgment and could appeal to unsavory types of voters (read white supremacists)–which is reason enough not to vote for him.

  27. Wolverine

    This is really dirty pool against Rich Iott, and the Atlantic is the biggest dirty pool player of them all. I just read a letter from the 82nd Airborne Division Association, Mid-Michigan All Airborne Chapter. Many of their members are or have been WWII vets in the airborne and glider corps. They are the ones who serve as “referees” at the WWII re-enactments at Fort Custer in Michigan. They say the charges about Nazi sympathizers is utter tommy rot. There are strong rules within the “Wiking” group against any pro-Nazi displays or expressions of sympathy. The Wiking are purely re-enactors and history buffs who help to keep the history of WWII alive. ( I suggest that these vets would be the first to blow the whistle if they ever encountered anything like that.)

    Secondly, Iott has now published a letter from Richard Gabai of Los Angeles. Gabai is a business partner of Iott and a close friend. He is also a practicing Jew who lives in a kosher household. Gabai states that Iott is one of the most pro-Jewish and pro-Israel guys he knows and often stays with Gabai and his family during business trips. According to Gabai, all this pro-Nazi stuff is pure drivel. Gabai also said that Iott is so pro-Israel that he even traveled to Israel to train with the Israeli airborne troops.

    Iott has been a member of the Ohio State Defence Force for 28 years and holds the rank of colonel. This is a state-sanctioned and unpaid defence force for the state of Ohio. Iott has also trained at the USMC Command and Staff College and the USAF War College. And get this: Iott has been awarded his jump wings by the Israeli airborne — something that isn’t very easy to get. He is also holds Senior Parachutist Wings of the Netherlands.

    Now, all of you who want to play the politics of personal destruction under the leadership of Joshua Green at the Atlantic, please think twice. As one respondent to the Atlantic asked in reference to the claim of insufficient attention to the Holocaust: What would you have had the Wiking re-enactors do in order to achieve legitimacy in your eyes? Bring along a couple of Jews to the re-enactment and pretend to gas and rape them?

  28. @Wolverine
    Thanks for posting the sentiments of the WWII vets, Wolverine. In a previous comment, I asked what WWII vets thought about all this, so your information is helpful.

    I still wouldn’t vote for the guy, but I am at least somewhat reassured he probably isn’t the second coming of Hitler.

  29. Elena

    No one here has villified Mr. Iott like Krystal Ball was villified. Asking relevant questions is not the same at all. What I found interesting was the premise from the article I posted regarding the idea that WWII Nazi’s can be sanitized by leaving out discussion of the Holocaust. I specifically said I do not believe that he is an anti semite, but I question the “thoughtfullness” of choosing to emulate an SS officer as though they were honorable fighters.

    Cato the Elder says it very well on the open thread, comment 139.

  30. Elena

    My grandmothers uncle, aunt, and almost all her cousins died in concentration camps, I just don’t have any room to understand why anyone would have an interest in impersonating Nazi officers. Go to the Holocaust Museum if you want to know about the history of Nazi Germany, they keep it “alive” there.

  31. Wolverine, you are making me real sorry I spent several hours today, with Elena to try to make some sense of this. It would have just been easier to call him a Nazi and to move on. We being accused of that anyway. And that is not what has happened on this blog.

  32. Starryflights

    There is nothing “valiant” about throwing women and children into ovens, which the SS was pretty good about.

  33. Pinko, I don’t think that group of re-enactors speaks for all vets…not even close. Most importantly, it doesn’t speak for all WWII vets. Those are the men and women who had to deal with the enemy.

    Perhaps veterans from different wars are far enough removed from the subject. But those who were actually there have told a different story.

  34. Slowpoke Rodriguez

    Moon, you hit on something when you said you talked on the phone for a long time about it. This isn’t one of those things you can explain in a few lines of text. There are things here I do agree with. There ARE a handful of oddballs in the Nazi collector / Wiking group. You bet, no disagreement. Like the author Elena linked to, I didn’t get that “reenactor” gene. I don’t get it, but I’ve run into enough people for whom collecting and re-enacting makes history more real to them. My problem is with the folks who insist that every Wehrmacht soldier was absolutely dedicated to exterminating the Jews. It’s the same as saying every confederate soldier was absolutely dedicated to preserving slavery, which would be total bunk. I also disagree strongly with the first “professor” than claims folks like Iott are minimizing the Holocaust. No, people who compare Corey Stewart to Hitler are minimizing the Holocaust. I do agree that doing re-enactments of Waffen SS soldiers is a little “on the margins”. I haven’t seen polling data for OH-9, but I have a feeling there’s no chance of this guy getting elected anyway.
    Take Starry’s comment, which is, as always, sublime. The soldiers these guys are portraying likely didn’t do the throwing of the women and children into the ovens. They probably didn’t even know about it. But that won’t stop everyone from painting everyone with the same brush, will it? I’m sorry, but trying to convince certain folks that history is sometimes more complex than Starry can understand is just too much time for not enough ROI.

  35. @Elena
    Have you visited the Holocaust Museum in Richmond?

    We have friends that works with them.

  36. Cato the Elder

    Speaking of kosher, I have a lot of friends who keep kosher and let me tell you that going out to eat with them is a royal pain in the rear end. No cheeseburgers? Are you joking? Shrimp? Nuh uh. And good luck finding a consistent source of kosher veal.

  37. Elena

    I have not visited the Holocaust Museum in Richmond. I have been to the D.C. one several times and also the one in Israel when I was 16 (just a few years ago……….;) )

  38. Elena

    Let me tell you Cato, when you are a Jew from the New England states, Lobster suddenly isn’t such a sin against the commandment of keeping Kosher!

    My grandfather is horrified when my kids talk about how much they love bacon, I just keep my mouth shut and don’t mention that whole lobster issue, he just LOVES his lobster rolls. He’s 93 though so I can cut him some slack 🙂

  39. Elena

    Thanks for the link Cargo. What a wonderful idea to “Ask a Survivor” program at the Museum. I think about how in just a decade or so, the number of survivors who can share their horrific stories in person will be coming to and end. There is nothing more powerful than hearing in person, the inhumanity of the Holocaust.

  40. I have a friend that was the filmographer (?)for a Mr. Weinstein when he went back to Germany and visited his home, etc. I haven’t seen it, but it was on TV. It was a documentary of his visit and his holocaust story.

  41. Elena

    I wonder how I could see it Cargo?

    I know my dad wants to do a documentary of the one cousin, my grandmothers cousin, who survived Auschwitz and them emmigrated here to the states. He married the girl he met in the camp, and to this day, they are still married.

  42. Slow, thanks for explaining how you feel. I think what you said is what Elena and I were trying to establish….we came to the conclusion that if it takes you that long to explain why you did something maybe you shouldn’t [expletive} do it.

    I don’t understand the re-enactor gene either. It is fun to watch but it takes dedication and money. Equipment and clothing is expensive. I have never known any WWII re-enactors. When I was growing up the WWII re-enactors were called the reserves.

  43. Wolverine

    Just a point of clarification, Moon. The Mid-Michigan All Airborne Chapter of the 82nd Airborne Division Association ARE veterans. They are veterans of our airborne military services, and it still includes some WWII vets, a fast-disappearing breed. They are not necessarily the re-enactors. Some of them serve as volunteer referees at re-enactments, undoubtedly because they know first hand what actual combat is like. They may not be “all vets” but they sure are close enough to those re-enactments to have their opinions considered up front on this issue. And they did not claim to be “all vets”, just some guys from the airborne association with good access.

  44. I never said that the 82nd aren’t veterans. What else would they be? I specifically meant WWII veterans. If I left that qualifier out, sorry.

    I just think the topic of whether one owes voters an explanation as to why they would join an SS reenactment unit has become diluted by partisanship.

    I really have gotten felt like we have become dirty dogs for even questioning it. I think we would be wrong not to question it. Iott really didn’t handle it well. Perhaps he isn’t used to public speaking. Perhaps the subject is far more complicated than Anderson Cooper gave him time to elaborate on. He needs to encapsulate his reasons to convey to voters.

    Finally, I seriously don’t think that people would have been as aghast had Iott been in a regular German army unit. I think because the SS was affixed to the unit….that is what made everyone do the Exorcist move with the head….before vomitting.

    To many of us, he might has well have joined the Japanese unit that was responsible for the Baatan Death March. SS has a baaaad connotation.

  45. Starryflights

    There is nothing valiant about throwing women and children into ovens. Anyone who finds that valiant is one sick and disgusting person.

  46. Look, a squirrel!

    Moon, there’s nothing wrong in questioning it. Its a strange hobby. And when one runs for office, one has to defend strange hobbies. Your article did not jump to conclusions. It questioned. Good job.

  47. Thank you Cargo. Elena and I spent a lot of time trying to be questioning rather than accusatory. Thanks for your support.

  48. Wolverine

    Moon, I had no intention whatsoever to beat up on you, Elena, or Pinko on this issue. I understood that Pinko opened this by simply making a legitimate intellectual query. And I’ve laid out full steam on another thread my personal feelings about the Holocaust and my support of Israel. I fully understand the true sensibilities of the Holocaust for many. Incidentally, even as we speak, they are opening in Berlin the first ever German historical museum depicting the Nazi era and including busts and photos of Hitler. The contortions they are going through to avoid any attitude of respect for the Hitler era or an opening for neo-Nazis to use the museum for their own purposes are absolutely incredible. Among other things, they refuse to exhibit anything that Hitler was ever known to have touched personally. For instance, they turned down a donor who wanted to give them Hitler’s own briefcase. The intent of the museum is to ask the key questions: How and why did we Germans fall for this evil man?

    My own target was Joshua Green of the Atlantic and his so-called academic “experts” on attitudes toward the Holocaust. I think that there is a certain danger in using the Holocaust as some sort of arbitrary standard of political correctness when we analyze the speech and actions of others. In some cases it may be correct, but it also creates an opening to misjudge people you may not even know. We all know what it means when one is called a “Holocaust denier.” But I was flabbergasted to see Green and his “experts” introduce the term “Holocaust minimizer” and to label Rich Iott with that term. I was even more flabbergasted to discover that Iott was so supportive of Israel that he would even go through jump training with people so absolutely tough as the Israeli airborne. It made me believe that Joshua Green and his “experts” had done very little homework with regard to Iott before casting aspersions upon him.

    One certainly can suggest, as many here have done, that dressing up for a re-enactment as an SS soldier was a mistake for someone engaged in contemporary politics. Perfectly legitimate criticism from a politically technical standpoint. (Quite frankly, Iott does not seem to me to have really been a “politician” before this and is essentially running in one of the Ohio districts that is considered strongly Democratic and not at all likely to fall in November.) But Green and his associates took this whole thing a step past where it was justified by impugning the very integrity of the man toward Jews and Israel. And when Iott’s practicing Jewish business partner says the man is being grossly misjudged with regard to his feelings toward Jews and Iott is shown to have earned his Israeli airborne jump wings, I suspect that this would make no difference to Green whatsoever. Therein lies my absolute dislike for our contemporary “gotcha” politics.

    Let me take this an hypothetical step further without at all making a comparison between Nazis and the Confederacy. There is in PWC a certain battlefield which commemorates not just one but two Confederate victories in the Civil War. That battlefield is an important tourist draw and source of revenue for PWC and, for that matter, much of the region as well. People often visit that place with a sense of historical awe and even reverence, and there have been some large contemporary battles to keep modern commerce from invading the aura of what some consider to be “hallowed ground.”

    There are a number of key points to be seen in visiting that battlefield, including the Henry House, the old stone building cum battlefield hospital on Rte 29, the clusters of cannon here and there, the museum. But what stands out the most on that battlefield? A magnificent equestrian statue of Stonewall Jackson — a statue probably found in the photo album of every tourist who visits. Moreover, one of the few re-enactments I have ever attended took place in Bull Run Regional Park — Blue vs Gray at First Manassas, complete with old cannons firing and mounted cavalry charges.

    Unless I have gone blind and missed something, I have never seen on that battlefield (I cannot quite remember about the museum displays) a statue of Black slaves in chains or a statue of Frederick Douglass or Sojourner Truth or any other hero of the abolition of slavery. Could I not then use the qualifiers employed by Joshua Green in the Iott case to suggest that we ourselves and especially those “Confederate” re-enactors I saw, might be considered as “slavery minimizers” — sort of like our current governor was when he issued his Civil War commemoration proclamation with what was deemed to have an insufficient mention of the evils of slavery? How does a Black man feel when he stands before that magnificent statue intended to honor Stonewall Jackson as an icon of the Confederacy?

    As I said, this is an hypothetical, and cut off my tongue if I ever really felt that way about the Manassas battlefield which I, as a born-and-bred but transplanted Yankee, see as a place of national sorrow rather than Confederate victory. But I do believe that a parallel could be made theoretically in this regard by some of our fellow Virginians of the Black race. All I am saying is that this “gotcha” thing can cut both ways in a real hurry, and I believe that people like Green ought to refrain from slapping our fellow citizens with a politically incorrect label of “minimizer”, especially when they may not know what is really in the minds, hearts, and souls of the accused.

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