July 04, 2003


Silvio Berlusconi has so confounded his opponents that communists are now feeling sorry for Nazis. The Guardian provides this translation from the Italian commie paper Il Manifesto:

This was not a gaffe, an incident, a slip. And even less an ironic joke. The prime minister let rip a vulgar, heavy below the belt attack, not giving a damn about the sensitivities of a nation, or its tragic history.

Poor “sensitive” Germany. How “tragic” about the Nazi reign. Well, it certainly was tragic for the six million Jews who died, but Il Manifesto is practically begging sympathy for the people who killed them. Commenter T. Hartin had a nice line earlier:

What most have missed is that Silvio was actually making a very sophisticated dig. By calling the lefty a "capo" he was saying that he was as complicit in oppressing his own people as the Jews who served as guards and trustys for the Nazis. He wasn't just reminding the little thug of his National SOCIALIST ancestry, he was doing something more intelligent than any of the "Bush=Hitler" crowd is capable of.

Which admittedly isn’t difficult. Still, Silvio does it better than most.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 4, 2003 05:21 AM

Excuse me, but hasn't Berlusconi been called a neo-Fascist (or at least hinted at of such leanings) in every article that's ever been written about him? The man's simply been desensitized to it.

Posted by: Mike G at July 4, 2003 at 07:36 AM

Pssh, Silvio Berlusconi's so capitalist it hurts. He would necessarily be antithetical to fascism. I've heard him accused of being mafioso, as well.

Posted by: Matt from Vegas at July 4, 2003 at 08:58 AM

Well he isn't a fascist or a mafioso, but he IS a crook. A crook with all the right enemies, granted, but still a crook.

Posted by: Sean at July 4, 2003 at 09:16 AM

Interesting that very few large media (including SMH) are reporting the 'capo' or 'kapo' bit but instead are saying Berlusconi labelled the Kraut a 'Nazi Commander' ??

Posted by: Thersites at July 4, 2003 at 12:07 PM

A ponderous German started this whole thing for no reason but to grandstand & pontificate. The Führer there sets the style of his government's people & Schröder is one ponderous self-important bowl of flakes. Pompous without any sense of humor about himself. Not only does he get a court order to stop German newspapers from talking about problems in his marriage -- one might argue that a different culture could set different boundaries of marital privacy & still be a culture of freedom -- he also gets a court order to stop German newspapers from speculating on whether he dyes his hair! -- then, to top it off, he gets a German court order to stop British newspapers from doing those things.

Posted by: ForNow at July 4, 2003 at 12:58 PM

Given that the SPD were attacked by the Nazis, I fail to see how Berlusconi's comments reminded Schulz of his Nazi ancestry...

Posted by: Robert at July 4, 2003 at 01:14 PM

I apologise in advance for the length of this post, but I am reminded by this issue of a wonderful Noel Coward song "Don't Let's Be Beastly to the Germans". The most complete copy of the lyrics I could find follow, although it seems to be missing a verse as I'm sure I also remember the following line; "Though they gave us science, culture, art, and music to access, they also gave us two World Wars and Dr. Rudolf Hess." Anyway, the rest of the song follows;
Verse 1

We must be kind
And with an open mind
We must endeavour to find
A way-
To let the Germans know that when the war is over
They are not the ones who'll have to pay.
We must be sweet-
And tactful and discreet
And when they've suffered defeat
We mustn't let
Them feel upset
Or ever get
The feeling that we're cross with them or hate them,
Our future policy must be to reinstate them.

Refrain 1

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
When our victory is ultimately won,
It was just those nasty Nazis who persuaded them to fight
And their Beethoven and Bach are really far worse than their bite
Let's be meek to them-
And turn the other cheek to them
And try to bring out their latent sense of fun.
Let's give them full air parity-
And treat the rats with charity,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Verse 2

We must be just-
And win their love and trust
And in additon we must
Be wise
And ask the conquered lands to join our hands to aid them.
That would be a wonderful surprise.
For many years-
They've been in floods of tears
Because the poor little dears
Have been so wronged and only longed
To cheat the world,
Deplete the world
And beat
The world to blazes.
This is the moment when we ought to sing their praises.

Refrain 2

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
When we've definately got them on the run-
Let us treat them very kindly as we would a valued friend
We might send them out some Bishops as a form of lease and lend,
Let's be sweet to them-
And day by day repeat to them
That 'sterilization' simply isn't done.
Let's help the dirty swine again-
To occupy the Rhine again,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Refrain 3

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
When the age of peace and plenty has begun.
We must send them steel and oil and coal and everything they need
For their peaceable intentions can be always guaranteed.
Let's employ with them a sort of 'strength through joy' with them,
They're better than us at honest manly fun.
Let's let them feel they're swell again and bomb us all to hell again,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Refrain 4

Don't let's be beastly to the Germans
For you can't deprive a ganster of his gun
Though they've been a little naughty to the Czechs and Poles and Dutch
But I don't suppose those countries really minded very much
Let's be free with them and share the B.B.C. with them.
We mustn't prevent them basking in the sun.
Let's soften their defeat again-and build their bloody fleet again,
But don't let's be beastly to the Hun.

Posted by: Chris at July 4, 2003 at 03:06 PM

I see that Il Signore has been forced to apologise. Scuttling off suitably chastened, with his tail between his legs.

"He's not the messiah, he's a very naughty boy!"

Posted by: Nemesis at July 4, 2003 at 03:55 PM

>>Pssh, Silvio Berlusconi's so capitalist it hurts. He would necessarily be antithetical to fascism

May I whisper? Berlusconi has an admitted fascist (well, "post-fascist") and admirer of Mussolini called Gianfranco Fini as his deputy Prime Minister. And even Fini thought that this was a gaffe.

Posted by: dsquared at July 4, 2003 at 08:31 PM

By the way, my grasp of the Second World War is hazy, but I'm not altogether sure that Italy wasn't on the other side? Or am I thinking of France?

Posted by: dsquared at July 4, 2003 at 08:33 PM

I am quite aware that the SPD (at least, those who didn't join the Nazis) were attacked by them. It is traditional in totalitarian states to attack the parties closest to you ideologically, not to mention attacking your own party members. Plenty of Nazis got purged at one point by Hitler, too.

I was merely observing that Nazism was just another variant of the socialism that is still so popular in Europe. For that matter, Nazism wasn't all that unpopular even when the Germans were still occupying the place - we have forgotten, in a haze of truly revisionist history, how enthusiastically many Europeans embraced the Nazis (initially, at least, before the privations of war began to bite) and how small and ineffectual most "resistance" movements were, despite significant support from England.

Posted by: T. Hartin at July 5, 2003 at 12:09 AM

You can't imagine what's happening in Italy about that! Leftists are going mad!


Posted by: 1972 at July 5, 2003 at 02:09 AM

The evidence of Berlusconi's criminality is more ambiguous than say, the evidence of Joshka Fischer's (German Foreign Minister) criminality, so I don't see how the German left can claim to be concerned about probity.

By the way contary to Nematodes previous post Berlusconi has just denied that he has apologised.

Posted by: Ross at July 5, 2003 at 06:23 AM

Oh for Christ sake. The media and the lefties call Silvio a fascist and a Godfather all the bloody time. Now when he serves it back at them they get all upitight about it. Grow - up!

I am currently reading Anthony Beevor's "Berlin" and right now think the fucking krauts deserve every little reminder they get after all the atrocities they committed in WWII. It wasn't just the SS, Nazis or Gestapo - the entire Nation was complicit. Tell them to go read a few history books and have a long hard look in the mirror. Fucking box-heads!!

Posted by: Razor at July 5, 2003 at 01:42 PM

i'll call your noel coward and raise you a tom lehrer:

the mlf lullaby

Sleep, baby, sleep, in peace may you slumber,
No danger lurks, your sleep to encumber,
We've got the missiles, peace to determine,
And one of the fingers on the button will be German.

Why shouldn't they have nuclear warheads?
England says no, but they are all soreheads.
I say a bygone should be a bygone,
Let's make peace the way we did in Stanleyville and Saigon.

Once all the Germans were warlike and mean,
But that couldn't happen again.
We taught them a lesson in nineteen eighteen,
And they've hardly bothered us since then.

So sleep well, my darling, the sandman can linger,
We know our buddies won't give us the finger.
Heil--hail--the Wehrmacht, I mean the Bundeswehr,
Hail to our loyal ally!
Will scare Brezhnev,
I hope he is half as scared as I.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at July 5, 2003 at 03:40 PM


Wernher von Braun

And what is it that put America in the forefront of the nuclear nations? And what is it that will make it possible to spend 20 billion dollars of your money to put some clown on the moon? Well, it was good old American know-how, that's what. As provided by good old Americans like Dr. Wernher von Braun.

Gather round while I sing you of Wernher von Braun,
A man whose allegiance
Is ruled by expedience.
Call him a Nazi, he won't even frown.
"Ha, Nazi Schmazi," says Wernher von Braun.

Don't say that he's hypocritical,
Say rather that he's apolitical.

"Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down?
That's not my department," says Wernher von Braun.

Some have harsh words for this man of renown,
But some think our attitude
Should be one of gratitude,
Like the widows and cripples in old London town
Who owe their large pensions to Wernher von Braun.

You too may be a big hero,
Once you've learned to count backwards to zero.
"In German oder English I know how to count down,
Und I'm learning Chinese," says Wernher von Braun.

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at July 5, 2003 at 03:42 PM

P.J. O’Rourke:
“Name Calling is a favourite tactic of the left, I have often been called a Nazi. Although it is unfair I don’t let it bother me. I don’t let it bother me for one simple reason, Nobody has ever fantasised about being tied to a bed and being sexually ravished by someone dressed as a Liberal”

Posted by: Ross at July 5, 2003 at 05:51 PM

It's acceptable from the German socialist viewpoint for Schröder's Justice Minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin to say "Bush wants to distract attention from his domestic problems. This is a popular method. Hitler also used it." Then for Schröder to take his time doing anything about this obvious, gratuitous, evil-minded Bush-Hitler likening. Then send a phony & unapologetic apology: "I want to let you know how much I regret the fact that alleged comments by the German justice minister have given an impression that has offended you." And keep Däubler-Gmelin in the government till after the election.

But the Führer & his Social Democrats (including many a hate-driven Red from East Germany, one is sure) go ballistic at being delivered their own medicine by Italian PM Berlusconi.

Yet, & yet -- Schröder took his time only to make a non-apology apology to Bush & waited till after the election to fire the venomous Däubler-Gmelin. Schröder in this not only covered his leftist base, but, I think, was provoking Bush (who responded smartly). This time, Schröder’s government provoked Berlusconi. It's a pattern. I recall German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer's being quite provoking, thumping the table & gesturing at Rumsfeld seated nearby (Rumsfeld smartly & grimly kept his cool there). Anyway, Berlusconi shot back from the hip & it was a good shot, but still he played, I think, into their hands. Now he looks bad. I guess they wanted that.

At the Times (UK) there's an article "Berlusconi must have an apology from the red rabble" which gives another picture, if only it weren't "behind [paid] subscription" so I could read it directly instead of just hearing about it - how Schröder's people had been thumping & shouting "Godfather!" at Berlusconi http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,3284-734359,00.html

It's so typical of Leftists, provoke an incident & play victim.

Bottom line: If this is a pattern of Schröder's government, then it's amazing to see a major European country practicing that as a diplomatic tactic against leaders of its formal allies.

Schröder & his government should apologize not only to Berlusconi but to the entire world diplomatic community for debasement of diplomatic standards with such a practice. I know, that sounds like a joke, "debasement of diplomatic standards." All the same, Schröder & gang should foreswear all further such conduct.

Posted by: ForNow at July 6, 2003 at 09:32 AM

Yep, it looks like the German socialists used a cheap protesters' trick -- provoking a response & playing victim -- to trigger a mini-crisis. It's led to a change in the EU's leadership structure -- no more rotating presidency. Dollars to doughnuts this will end up empowering the Franco-German alliance within the EU.

And they're attacking Berlusconi not really because of corruption from 20 years ago -- what with CHIRAC in evidently good odor even with the Left -- but for being an unabashed capitalist, & for allying with the US on Iraq, for meeting with Sharon instead of Arafat, etc.

Posted by: ForNow at July 6, 2003 at 02:28 PM

Is it strange that Silvio should find it hard to tell commies and Nazis apart? How many of the lefties out there view the Molotov-Von Ribbentrop Pact as one of Socialism's finer moments?

Posted by: Evil Right Wing Bastard at July 7, 2003 at 10:59 PM