It seems every major post in the American government is now occupied by a blithering idiot:
Polish officials were up in arms Saturday after FBI Director James Comey suggested that their country shared responsibility for the Holocaust. Comey, in a Friday column in the Washington Post, compared Poles and Hungarians to the Nazis during World War II.
“In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil,” Comey wrote. “They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do. That’s what people do. And that should truly frighten us.”
Whoops! Might want to check your history books on that one, Jimbo. Poland was one of the first victims of World War II, attacked, partitioned and occupied by the two socialist bosom buddies, Nazi Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in 1939. The Poles had a government-in-exile in London, the Polish underground fought heroically, and even infiltrated Auschwitz to try to warn the world what was happening.
Anne Applebaum quickly straightened Comey out, also in the pages of the Post:
The Polish ambassador to Washington has protested, the Polish president has protested, the speaker of the Polish parliament (to whom I am married) has protested — and the U.S. ambassador to Warsaw has apologized profusely. Why? Because James Comey, the director of the FBI, in a speech that was reprinted in The Post arguing for more Holocaust education, demonstrated just how badly he needs it himself. In two poorly worded sentences, he sounded to Polish readers as if he were repeating the World War II myth that most drives them crazy: Namely, that somehow, those who lived in occupied Eastern Europe shared full responsibility for a German policy.
So no, it is not true, as Comey made it sound, that “murderers and accomplices” in Germany, Poland and Hungary and lots of other places were somehow responsible for the Holocaust. And no, it isn’t true that the Holocaust is a story of so many otherwise “good” people who “convinced themselves it was the right thing to do.”
On the contrary, it’s a story about the power of fear, the danger of lawlessness and the horror that was made possible by a specific form of German state terror in the years between 1939 and 1945 – a terror that convinced many people to do things that they knew were terribly, terribly wrong. If the FBI director wants to take some lessons from Washington’s excellent Holocaust museum, that’s very admirable. But first he should make sure he’s understood what he’s seen.