The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

Is Comparing America to Germany Absurd?

Since I made the comparison between America and Germany today, I have been told that my argument is absurd. Here is my response.

Nuremburg chief prosecutor Ferencz said pre-emptive war against Iraq was a war crime, the same as that committed by the Germans in WWII.

If someone wants to make the case that America is better in kind, not just scale, make it.  (I guess one can say “we still haven’t tried to kill an entire racial group even if we did engage in pre-emptive war.”  Feel free to do so.)

  • Pre-emptive war: Check
  • Systematic Torture: Check
  • Genocide: Nope
  • Number of dead: Much less but still plenty, especially if you’re an Iraqi

But just trying to dismiss the comparison out of hand only tells me that some people aren’t looking hard enough in the mirror.  It is understandable, of course.  No one likes having the standards they apply to others applied to them.

However, I would find it intellectually honest if Americans were to apologize to those Germans they hung for pre-emptive war and other non-Holocaust crimes and say that those crimes, in retrospect, aren’t that big a deal, and that in any case, America after WWII should have been looking ahead, and not behind.  You can also apologize to the Japanese who were tried for waterboarding.

Go ahead and be the first.


American Experiment RIP


4.1 Trillion of Losses?


  1. Jim

    The early 20th century saw intense political battles in the transition to an industrial based economy. Fascism emerged and seized power as a revolutionary political resolution to the problems of societies in the midst of instability and crisis caused by the transition from an agriculture-based economy and the feudal social and state structures that served and protected that economy.

    Today, fascism is arising under qualitatively different conditions. As the economy shifts from industrial to electronic production, the economic base of current bourgeois-democratic state-forms is eroding. We are facing nothing less than an attempt by the ruling class to wholly reshape the state and society to adapt to new economic conditions so that they can continue their rule.

    America is a nation of different class interests, as was Germany.

  2. Suspenders

    The sad part is, the Nuremberg trials always had the smell of victors justice to its’ critics. I guess they were right after all…

  3. jo6pac

    Suspenders after the trails didn’t all countries say this won’t happen again and then sign agreement to that fact, just maybe thats why there is a world court so the truth doesn’t get lost in the country of orgin.
    Just a thougth from my tired mind.

  4. Suspenders

    Who knows, although the Allies at the end of WW2 were certainly pretty brutal also, and would certainly be guilty of crimes against humanity by modern standards. See

  5. jo6pac

    I didn’t go there but I will agree with you and would it be something that the circle finally broke on this matter.

  6. John Merryman

    Yes, but we were just following order….oh…yeh.

  7. Formerly T-Bear

    “(I guess one can say “we still haven’t tried to kill an entire racial group even if we did engage in pre-emptive war.” Feel free to do so.)”

    Do Native American count as a group? If so…..

    Genocide: Check

    Them that don’t recall their history get to take the class over, and over, and over and ….

    and smallpox blankets count towards preemptive warfare by biological means in some circles.

  8. Houngan

    I think you can make a case. You forgot the almost willful ignorance of the general population.

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