Every week I forget to drop in on her weekly kaffeeklatsch. This week I remembered! But it seems she took this week off, which I would have discovered had I checked her blog before departure.
Sometimes I am a dumbass. I assure you, it's part of my charm.
Anyway, as I vainly waited for the good senator at the coffee shop, I struck up a conversation with some others who likewise didn't get the message. The conversation took various twists, then Queen Hippie started soapboxing on politics. "I was reading President Roosevelt's inaugural address the other night, and it could apply today. It's the same situation in the world right now."
Not a particularly original observation, but I say, "Well, the Germans and Japanese are a lot more relaxed now. And that's nice."
That quip didn't have quite the effect I intended, because she took that an invitation to give us the benefit of her facile take on the historical roots of modern geopolitics, while I took the opportunity to mostly check out of her lecture and into a newspaper. Her conclusion was that Japan remains righteously angry at the US over our criminal use of nuclear weapons, and the way the US military prosecuted WWII was just as bad as Japan and Germany.
Oh, Jesus, not this shit again. I glanced over my newspaper as the assembled gravely nodded in credulous concurrence.
I once got into a fight with a boss who said similar crap once. It's inaccurate, it's dishonest, and it's insulting to people who deserve better. If I'll take on my boss, you better believe I'm not going to give a bunch of ignorant "America-sucks" hippies a free pass. (And not 10 minutes before they were bemoaning the state of the educational system. Sheesh.)
So I say, "Woah, hold on a second..." and gave a very brief compare-and-contrast, then conclude with something along the lines of, "...therefore, to end a war they started, the alternative to our using those bombs on Japan was a full-scale ground invasion. Is it somehow preferable to kill a bunch of our guys too? More German civilians died from conventional weapons than Japanese civilians died in from nuclear weapons. Is killing people with conventional weapons somehow nobler? I doubt anybody cared which kind of bomb killed them."
She replies "But the way the Americans treated prisoners — we committed atrocities that were just as bad..."
"What? No, we didn't! Rape of Nanking? Networks of Korean prisoner sex slaves? Summary executions of POWs? Death marches? 'Medical experiments'? I shouldn't have to tell you about the way Nazis treated prisoners, but the Imperial Japanese were, in many ways, worse than Nazis."
So she tries a different tack: "I'm a military brat, and I grew up in Germany, and I've studied WWII..."
Um — you...WHAT?
The devil on my left insisted that I retort: "Oh well, please accept my apologies. Clearly Germany is the appropriate venue to learn accurate, unbiased information about America's involvement in WWII. You must be right. I stand corrected."
The angel on my right told me to say, "Well, please don't pretend that other people haven't studied it as well."
Stupid angel. You're not nearly as fun.
She went on to buttress her WWII scholar credentials by telling us how she had visited various Nazi sites including Hitler's Eagle's Nest where she saw with her own eyes the lampshades made of human skin.
Well, she got that much right...if by "Hitler" she meant "Ilse Koch," and by "Eagle's Nest" she meant "Buchenwald," and by "human skin" she meant "goat hide."
At this point I realized exactly why Senator Justus didn't show.