The Odd Blog

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A New Low for Lambert Strether

Posted by That Other Mike on 29/04/2011

And, yes, I realise that Lambchop has already plumbed the depths more than a few times. This, however, is pretty shitty – a post on CorrenteWire headed Obama macht frei. Yes, that’s right, kids, Lambert has just made a post comparing the President to a Nazi.

But, Mike! I hear you cry, Right-wing nutjobs call Obama a Nazi all the time! What’s so bad about this?

For a start, Imaginary Crying Out Person, we expect that kind of thing from the RWNJs; they’re politically un-astute, stupid and hysterical in equal measure. What we don’t exect is for so-called Lefties to do the same; the claim has been for a while that the Left might have its crazies, but they don’t stoop to the same lows as the RWNJs. Lambert seems to be on a one-man crusade to change that.

Furthermore, Nazi comparisons are only OK when you’re comparing like for like. For those completely dim and uninformed, the slogan above several of the death camps run by the Nazis was Arbeit macht frei, most notably Auschwitz, which can be translated as “Work will set you free”. Its intended meaning is disputed, but there is no disputing that it is to this day a chillingly ironic statement, given that the prisoners at Auschwitz slaved and suffered and then were murdered en masse.

Under Bush, the camps at Guantanamo Bay were an abhorrent slap in the face to anyone with even the slightest concern for human rights and the rule of law, and while the situation has improved under Obama, it continues to be a sore on the body politic. However, to call this Obama’s fault, to attempt to cast the situation as his creation alone as Lambert does, is rather sickening; Congress and public opinion have stood squarely in the way of reform or closure of Guantanamo Bay’s detention facilities, with Congress going so far as to explicitly deny any funding for prisoners to be transferred elsewhere. Furthermore, Obama did not open Camp X-Ray or Camp Delta for prisoners accused of terrorism; Bush did, and Obama inherited the mess. This is not to give Obama a pass on this, but to point out that looking at the history and context, Obama is being severely hampered in any attempt to close the facility; it’s a damned if you, damned if you don’t scenario, and childish posts like Lambert’s serve only to cloud the issue.

And to return to the central point, Guantanamo Bay is not comparable to Auschwitz. To act as if it is makes the person claiming it look stupid and foolish, and trivialises the actual suffering that took place under the Nazis, all simply to take a cheap shot against the President.

So, well done, Lambert. You’ve successfully made yourself look like a very petty, unpleasant man.


ETA: Apparently we can add passive-aggressive and shrill to that description:

Rather than addressing the issues at hand (that is, that he is trivialising suffering to score cheap political points and using specious comparisons), Lambert’s response is… what, exactly? How does one adequately characterise this kind of thing? I think the closest equivalent is Nyah nyah nyah! It’s certainly noting substantive, anyway.


Add to that unable to perceive irony:

Someone needs to tell Lambert that Greenwald is really not the best person to reference when talking about pearl clutching, being a world class master of fauxtrage himself; similarly, Lambchop, it’s only pearl clutching when there is no controversy or if it’s overblown for the purposes of creating controversy. Comparing the actions of President Obama to the Nazis, in serious vein, and then trying to wriggle out of it or make light of it is a dick move, more appropriate to Republicans. If you have substantial criticisms to offer, do so, but as yet, all you’ve offered is the blog equivalent to the yellow press.

Not to mention that Greenwald is not exactly pure as the driven snow on Nazi comparisons, having once compared a Jewish supporter of Obama to Leni Riefenstahl; I can see why you’d link to him. Stay classy, Lambert.

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