by Robert Morrison
December 14, 2010
Press Secretary Robert Gibbs last week commented on MSNBC host Keith Olbermann’s comparison of President Obama’s tax cut compromise to Nazi appeasement:
Robert Gibbs: Tommy…
Tommy Christopher: Thank you, Robert. Thank you, Les. I have three quick questions. First one, last week during his Special Comment, Keith Olbermann compared the Presidents tax compromise to Nazi appeasement. I wanted to see if you guys had a reaction to that. Did the President hear that? Or, what do you think about that?
Robert Gibbs: I doubt the President heard that. I, obviously, have given a number of answers that would denote that we think its a good agreement.And…I would say this to Democrats or Republicans, whenever you compare anything to what the Nazis did, if you ever get to that point in your speech, stop. Because nothing does, and hopefully, God willing, nothing ever will.
Katyn might just compare with Nazi atrocities, Robert. 22,000 Polish army officers, lined up, each one shot in the back of the skull by an NKVD operative of the Soviet Union in 1940. Buried in a mass grave in the Katyn Forest. Just might. Just might.
How come Robert Gibbs, liberals in general, and Hollywood in particular have been making war on the Nazis for 70 years but have somehow managed to miss the Gulag? The islands in the Gulag Archipelago stretched throughout twelve time zones. They were created in 1917 and lasted until 1991. Some of the islands were as small as a single phone booth and one “lager,” or camp, was as large as France.
The Black Book of Communism —- that amazing product of French leftists—documents the century-long toll of Communism. One hundred million deaths attributable to Marxist tyranny and terror. [Question: Knowing this, how can any of those brave and truthful French leftists remain leftists?]
One of the reasons American liberalism is failing so spectacularly is because since the 1970s it has ignored that half-world phenomenon. Since the 1970s, liberalism has provided no answer for this classic example of violence of the left. Progressives in the thirties called Communists “liberals in a hurry.” They excused Stalin’s massive purges—with millions of deaths—with the flip answer: “You can’t make omelets without breaking a few eggs.” Ironic, isn’t it, that the USSR was famous for not supplying omelets. And what was being broken was not a few eggs but millions of heads.
Demographer Nick Eberstadt famously used UN statistics to determine that if anyone died of famine in the Twentieth Century—since 1917—the chances were overwhelming they lived in what he tactfully called “a command economy.” In other words, socialist, or even National Socialist.
In the late 1940s, American liberals like Harry Truman, Hubert Humphrey, John F. Kennedy, and—we must admit this—Ronald Reagan—mounted a strong counter-attack on Communism and its contempt for liberal democracy’s “bourgeois values.” That counter-attack resulted in the Truman Doctrine, the Berlin Airlift, and NATO. It also resulted in, we should acknowledge, the Korean and Vietnam Wars.
Despite the failure to achieve a world victory over Communism in those wars, the U.S. rallied in the 1980s under the leadership of Ronald Reagan. It was Reagan who reminded the world of Communist tyranny. It was Reagan who never forgot the murder of a 17-year old German boy. Peter Fechter was only trying to scale the Berlin Wall, trying to escape from the hell that progressiveslike the editors of the New York Times—insisted on calling the German Democratic Republic (DDR). Reagan could personify tyranny better than anyone on the left or the right.
Reagan knew there was nothing democratic or republican, nor even German, about the DDR. It was a Soviet puppet state. By the 1980s, of course, liberalism had been hijacked by the New Left. And to the New Left, there were no enemies on the left. Anti-Communism was merely a right wing “fascist” response to the yearnings of Third World peoples, they said.
So, the New Left ignored the killing fields of Cambodia. Activist lawyer William Kunstler stiff-armed pleas from left-pacifists like folk singer Joan Baez. When Baez learned that hundreds of thousands of Cambodians were being murdered by the
Khmer Rouge gangs —- for such “crimes” as wearing eyeglasses —- she cried out in protest. Kunstler spoke for the New Left when he said: We do not criticize “progressive” regimes.
Ah well, Robert Gibbs, it was nobody we know. They all had unpronounceable Slavic, Asian, or African names. And they won’t be missed at any fashionable Georgetown cocktail party.
You’re right, Robert, of course, that nothing quite compares with Nazi atrocities. Making lampshades of human skin plumbs the depths of human depravity. But once we’ve descended to that level, you might concede that Communists making pyramids of skulls in Phnom Penh comes very close.
Heritage Foundation last year featured an exhibit of paintings of the Gulag. Nikolai Getman’s 50+ paintings—including a haunting depiction of his own brother’s execution by the NKVD.
Getman, a former “Zek” in the Soviet slave labor system, did not live to see his work on display at the National Gallery of Art, or at any of our Smithsonian Institutions. His images include prisoners consigned certain death slaving away in uranium mines and a crucified prisoner covered—not with ants—but with real mosquitoes in the brief Siberian summer. Shabby “Zeks” (as the Gulag’s locked-up millions were called) huddle in the snow on a black night in one of these paintings. An NKVD officer faces them with gun drawn. The title of this last painting was “Waiting to be Shot.”
It’s all you need to know about that Evil Empire. It’s too bad that the Gulag Collection by Nikolai Getman is not even a part of the furnishing of the minds of this president, his press secretary, or any of the Mao-spouting officials in this administration. They would understand their world, and the world of politics a lot better if it was.