Sunday, May 09, 2004

Rush, Joe And Beating The TINOs

I've finally worked out what it is about TINOs that makes them so annoying. Check out a recent couple of posts by King TINO. His targets are Rush Limbaugh and Joe McCarthy - scarcely, daring targets for a TINO, but look at the substance of the complaints. Rush is slimed for not taking the Abu Ghraib situation seriously enough. Is that necessarily more offensive than those who try to place it on a par with Aushwitz (and isn't that just another form of holocaust denial ?) ? But, OK, we'll give TINO that, Rush's comments were stupid. But what do we find two posts below ?

TINO chooses as his quote of the day, a comment claiming that Tailgunner Joe helped a Nazi war criminal escape justice (given TINO sensitivities, it's worth asking if he considers that it damages McCarthy's reputation to be associated with Nazi murderers or vice versa). The first thing to be said is that this version of events contradicts the TINO's own narrative. These people assure us that McCarthy chose to give his famous 1950 speech about Communist infiltration of the US government merely on a whim, then - pleased by the reaction - he opportunistically used anti-Communism to further his career. Yet, here's Joe in 1949, already turning a blind eye to murders committed by anti-Communists. Which McCarthy are we talking about here ? Ruthless opportunist or over-committed fanatic ?

More to the point though, is what exactly the quote means when it talks about McCarthy 'using his influence'. Here's the background: following the war a number of veterans of the Waffen SS were tried at Dachau for crimes committed during the Ardennes offensive. Even at the time there were serious questions over the procedure by which they were convicted (all of them, guilty of all charges) and the controversy refused to die down (for example, a number of German Bishops - not hitherto known for Nazi sympathies - raised questions about it in 1948). As a result, the Senate announced an inquiry into the trials. McCarthy, seeing the chance to score points with Wisconsin's large German-American community, threw the full force of his personality into the investigation.

The Inquiry may have been intended to be a whitewash, but with McCarthy around that was never likely to happen. On the contrary, what was revealed was a process that mocked the very idea of justice. Prisoners were beaten regularly, threats were made to their families, mock trials were held followed by mock executions, where the victim would be hung until unconsciousness, then revived and even - a tactic unavailable in Baghdad - mock priests who would offer to take the prisoners 'last confession'. Even the trial itself was a farce: the self-same US officer who headed the investigation served as the legal officer at the trials, thereby preventing the defence raising the question of the above tactics in court, while allowing the prosecution, following the suicide of a prisoner, to put one of its own investigators on the stand to testify as to what the deceased would have said if he had testified. Faced with a PR disaster, the US commuted the death sentences to life. Which meant, of course, that Peiper would survive, along with all the other accused, including some who'd been low-ranking teenagers in their first battle at the time the alleged offences were committed.

That's it. That's what 'used his influence' means: Senator McCarthy took part in a Senate investigation and revealed gross misconduct by the US Army. The beast!

You see where I'm going here ? Rush is a pig for not being sufficiently outraged about abuse of prisoners by the US Army and Joe McCarthy is a pig for being too outraged about abuse of prisoners by the US Army. You get the feeling the prisoner abuse thing is kind of a surrogate here. Then again, check out the end of the McCarthy quote: "[Peiper]then moved to France, where some Frenchmen with memories blew him up.". If TINOs are going to be so sanguine about Communist terrorists gunning down (not bombing) elderly men, could then at least stop moralising about a certain Norfolk farmer ? Come to think of it, what's with the beginning of the quote, the one about MacArthur ? Should Doug has roused his troops with an Order of the Day headed 'We're All Going To Die' ? And when exactly in history did a battle ever go according to plan ? The quote is the very essence of TINOism, a snide, smug comment that's ultimately meaningless.

That's what annoys me about TINOs. For all the ostentatious intellectualising, allegedly deep thought and the like, it all boils down to snobbery. Limbaugh, McCarthy, MacArthur and Martin all, in their various ways, stood against our mostly self-appointed elites and for the man in the street. That's why the TINOs hate them, but they can't come out and say that, so instead they thrash about trying to find any pot and pan to throw. They're opposed to beating captured soldiers of a fascist regime, no, they're for it, actually they're… Hence, their near-pathological worship of nuance - it's the rhetorical trick by which they try and square the circle and convince us that their snobbish prejudices constitute an actual philosophy.

They don't.

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