In for a penny, in for a pounding:
Ohio Congressional candidate Rich Iott got grilled by Anderson Cooper last night on his rather unusual hobby of dressing up as a member of the 5th SS Wiking Panzer Division, a unit in the German army during World War II.
Iott defended the members of the unit, who he said “wanted to fight what they saw as a bigger threat to them than Germany,” so they joined up with the Nazis to fight the eastern front of the war against Soviet forces. “I don’t think we can sit here and judge that today. We weren’t there the time they made those decisions,” he said.
Iott called “what happened in Germany during the second World War one of “the low points in human history,” but defended the Wiking Division when Cooper referred to them as collaborators: “I don’t know that I would put that label on them. They were doing what they thought was right for their country. And they were going out and fighting what they thought was a bigger, you know, a bigger evil.”
Cue the Greenwood….
Wait, are we talking about Nazis still or did this slip into the Tea Party?
I told you so.
Look, all he is saying is you have to crack the eggs of a few million Jews, Slavs and Gypsies to make a freedom omelet. So what if SS Wiking all sold out their country to another country that invaded and systemically plundered it. They were REAL patriots and a REAL patriot loves his country enough to betray it.
Given that Jonah Goldberg’s excellent scholarship proved that Nazis were leftists and soshullists and that today’s liberals and progressives are therefore the polite version of Nazis, does this mean that Iott is actually a soshullist librul?
A depressingly necessary tag, John.
And please, please tell me this is gonna bury this freaky asshole, please. Considering all things, I’m honestly not convinced anything can completely discount a Republican from polite political discourse these days.
RE: New tag
No shit. Amazing.
Unfortunately for Iott, that “bigger evil” that his dream division was sent out to target was Jews, not Soviets.
Of course, “communist” has always been a code word for “Jew,” so maybe Iott is just too stupid to realize what he was re-enacting. Anything’s possible.
c u n d gulag
“…Cooper referred to them as collaborators…”
COLLABORATORS? These MFers were PERPETRATORS!!!
And “Iott the Idot” can’t be allowed to make this into something about defending America. What did the think fucking “SS” stood for? ‘Social Security?’ He’s probably against that anyway. When I was a kid growing up in the ’60’s, and we were playing war, no one begged to play the SS, the Japanese, the Confederates, or even the Soviets. They got assigned that when they lost a flip, and knew their job was to lose. If anyone actually wanted to be one of ‘them,’ he’d probably been beaten-up until he went screaming back to Mommy.
No matter how much you try, there’s NO WAY to make dressing up like and SS officer in war games look good. Face it, “Iott the Idiot” is either anti-Semitic, or a really wierd dude. He’s an ASS-HEIL!!!FUCK HIM, and anyone associated WITH HIM!!!!!!!!!!
Will this sort of open admiration for Nazis continue to be a barrier to being a successful conservative politician? Pat Buchannan’s more or less there, but he’s not running for office.
I’m sure that goes thru all their heads several times a day (tag).
Obama’s playing it smart as he’s leaving for India Nov 4.
In less than 20 years the standard Republican argument will be that we were on the wrong side in what they call Mr. Rosenfelt’s war.
Obama acts like Hitler until we win the next election and get to act like Hitler.
But with enthusiasm.
joe from Lowell
I was willing to give this guy the benefit of the doubt. Why re-enact as the Germans? Because the Germans had flat-out cooler looking stuff. I have lots of black-and-red books with big swastikas on them, or pictures of German soldiers in uniform, around my house: know why? Because the publishers of historical works like “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” realize that the Nazis had the best iconography. They looked cooler. The Nazis looked like superheroes coming to conquer the world, while the Americans looked like they were coming to fix the air conditioner.
I just figured he was a history buff. I guess not. Yowza.
A sentence that starts with an implied, “All that Jew-murdering stuff aside…” it’s just not gonna get very far.
Oh here is a bit of tasty trivia
Josef Mengele was a member of the the division.
Lott “They were figting against the bigger evil”
“You mean like Josef Mengele?”
@joe from Lowell: Lee dressed better than Grant as well.
@El Cid: I wish they’d get that fucker on Maddow or somewhere and ask him some blunt questions about this. I’d like to see what he’d say.
Oh, I know, he’d just spout a bunch of nonsense and then his Mommy would go all Dirty Harry on the network and save him.
@LT: If “not very far” means not past the nomination to congress by one of the two major parties.
I have personally met with a couple of these old timers during my trips to Scandinavia and the Baltics. They describe the time as a nightmare. One told me he did join the German forces (regular forces, as a lowiest grunt) because he thought it was the best way to weaken the Soviets, who he thought would eventually win the war and a German press gang came through threatening to punish the village unless they got a certain number of recruits. Another one told me he fought with the Soviets after seeing the German forces commit war crimes.
Both were grunts in the regular forces. Both really wanted to fight for their own countries (Finland and Estonia). One decided he did not like this war business, escaped and went underground in areas controlled by either Germany or the Soviets for the remainder of the war. One got horribly shot up in battle, captured by the Soviets, and then transferred to a US medical camp because the Soviet doctors did not have the equipment needed for his treatment.
The Estonian had to emigrate to Australia becuase he was no longer safe in his homeland. But since independence he visits every summer.
I met a Latvian who had been ‘recruited’ to join the German forces, but was identified as a member of the Latvian socialist party before the war. He escaped and lived underground, traveling around the Baltics, Poland and Germany for most of the war. He remembers it as a nightmare.
What kind of deluded person celebrates these peoples’ stories by swaggering around as an SS officer?
Of course, some Estonians, Latvians, Finns, Swedes, etc. did want to join the SS, but I have not met one of them, or at least not anyone who would admit to it.
@BGinCHI: I figure they’ll all now ‘respond’ like that dickhead Art Robinson yelling at Maddow for daring to quote from his own newsletter.
Hey, if you’re going to take out some commies, you gotta go where they live.
And a lot of them seem to hang out at the Synagogue, if you know what I mean….
@joe from Lowell: If John had a category for understatement of the year, you would win.
I just figured he was a history buff. I guess not. Yowza.
Plenty of men and women opposed the communists (and gave their lives in the process) without being a willing part of a society of systemic evil, oppression, racism, and misery that fought against and killed American soldiers.
I can’t believe it needs to be said, but it’s not f***ing cool to dress up like a Nazi. Stop it.
@joe from Lowell: You have a solid point. I was willing to give the guy a pass, too, at first. I feel as though the re-enactors are a part of the geek family which, let’s face it, includes everyone who posts at a political website, and while it’s not my cup of tea it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a weirdo.
But, hey, this guy’s a weirdo.
When Iott said this:
I wish Anderson Cooper had come back with, “And isn’t that the same thing Al Queda and the Taliban would say?”
One of the coolest, nicest people I ever knew had slogged through his war years as a grunt in the Red Army on the Eastern Front. After liberation, he was one of the lucky Soviets who didn’t get repatriated – instead, he was recruited into the US Army, and trained ski troopers. Later, he was an amazing badass during the Korean War and had distinguished service (that earned him his citizenship). He never spoke English for squat, and I didn’t learn about his full history until after he died.
They should ask these idiots: “Do you think 60 years from now, we’ll feel the same way about Al-Qaeda?”
Suck It Up!
I hope he comes back.
Fucker has also dressed up as a Confederate soldier; they were doing what they thought was right, too.
I’d be far from surprised if this asshole also dresses in multiple wetsuits with a butt plug, too.
Oops. The Wikung Division, originally the ‘Nordische’ or Nordic Division was organized in 1940, a time when Germany and the Ssoviet Union were at peace and per Molotov-Ribbentrop on paper allies with a deal to carve up Eastern Europe. And 1939- 1940 were the same years Germany overran Norway, Denmark and the Low Countries which at this point were not under threat from Russia at all.
No one can convince me that out of the whole German Order of Battle that these ass-clowns just stumbled on a Division named and organized to validate German/Nordic Master Race theory. There is a word for these guys: ‘quisling’ . Which is not Norwegian for ‘valiant’
Just Some Fuckhead
@Zifnab: Nazi, Nestea.. whatever.
That is the typical excuse I hear.
Actually, history was deficient:
1. Not enough lions in the middle period of the Roman Empire.
2. No thermonuclear weapons in Sherman’s hands.
3. Black activists were way too docile for the past 150 years.
Title to tag, that post really made me laugh.
The guess that he’ll get 30% of the vote is enough to make me hide the sharp objects, though. We’re ungovernable.
Just Some Fuckhead
Just playing dress-up would quash this idiot’s chances in a sane world.
Well, I guess we’ve found one guy who has no trouble with the old “Who was worse, Hitler or Stalin?” question…
So too was Al Quaeda on 9/11, so when do we start building the simulated WTC tower for the re-enactment.
So too were the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Does anybody know about a million or so Cambodians who’d like to help simulate the killing fields for a reenactment?
What a great game! I could play this shit all day!
My family has some Nazi memorabilia we acquired as “souvenirs” when Grandpa (who was Jewish, by the way) captured Goering in 1945. It sits in a safe-deposit box because what are you gonna do, put it on your desk as a conversation piece? No one even wants to touch that stuff. I can’t imagine putting on the uniform.
@Bruce Webb: OK, well, that is the smoking gun. No ordinary people with difficult decisions to make were threatened or forcibly recruited, into joining these units. As I said in a comment above, which may or may not be in moderation, I have met a couple of these ordinary people who did end up fighting for either the Nazis or the Soviets.
As I said, I do not see how these ordinary people who had to make the best of a horrible situation, sometimes being forced to choose between fighting for Hitler or for Stalin, would feel celebrated by seeing a guy dress up in an SS uniform today.
But, some non Germans did want to join the SS, because they wanted to be on the fun (now I should go find the ‘Producers’ clip)
@Just Some Fuckhead:
hhhhhmmmmmm. . . . . works pretty well, especially as it captures that whole astroturfing underpinning and instant-outrage characteristics of the teawingers in a tidy little mouthful . . . .
LOL. Seriously, I’ve been laughing out loud for 2 minutes. I’m calling Blog Win for you.
@MikeJ: Well, uh, yeah – but he’s gonna get beat badly, no?
I have a buddy who was a computer guru for ABC News in 2001. About a week after 9/11, they grabbed him because Brian Ross was doing some re-enactment thing and they wanted my friend to use Microsoft Flight Simulator to fly into the WTC. Seriously, a week afterwards. He was like, you have to be kidding me.
In the Reagan days, a Republican Party group (Republican Heritage Groups Council) actually included real, live WWII-era fascists, such as leaders of the Nazi collaborators in Eastern and Central Europe. Not the imitators. The real deals.
As long as you were a stark raving mad “anti-Communist” (you know, people who wanted South Africa to remain a white semi-fascist regime), you were okay in the GOP until you caused a bit of a public ruckus with your ‘Nazi’ past and all.
Like a version of Bill Maher’s words on the GOP and racism, just because you’re a Republican it doesn’t mean you’re pro-Nazi, but if you are pro-Nazi, you’re probably a Republican.
@LT: Palin got badly beaten and is still on TV almost every damned day.
You may doubt me, but Nazi luv will be mainstream Republicanism sooner than you would think. As I pointed out above, it already *was* mainstream republican thought before Pearl Harbor. I can’t see them letting it go forever.
Just Some Fuckhead
@scav: .. and it’s crisp, cool and refreshing as a winter day on the Russian front.
From the voice of Dr. Venture, James Urbaniak: the inevitable Downfall clip of Hitler’s reaction to Rich Iott…
Just Some Fuckhead
I always go with Hitler’s hairstylist.
Speaking of racist re-enactments…
I guess I know which asshole we will be talking about at our next Rev War reeanctment muster in two weeks.
You do comedy at Open Mikes, yeah?
BTW…there is a nice big ad at the top of the page featuring Rev War reenactors at Yorktown.
@Steve: I totally believe that. The only thing that would make that story creepier would be if the reporter was Chris Hanson from Dateline or the other guy from Dateline (the one with the creepy voice).
You know, we could get a pre-2001 version of MS Flight Sim, put it on some big screens just outside a mocked up cockpit so you can view them out the windows…
So let me get this argument straight: they were killing communists, so their killing of other undesirables can be overlooked?
Um, the SS were the main instrument of the Holocaust; these weren’t just ordinary German soldiers, these were part of the official Nazi party militia. This guy isn’t getting near enough shit for this idiotic and downright demented stance.
The new tag is not complete without this classic SNL clip.
Amazing how you can overlook a few little atrocities for the greater good of getting the commies, isn’t it?
Pat Buchanan has made a career of it.
Omer Bartov’s Hitler’s Army is, of course, the instant remedy for anyone who wishes to delude themselves into thinking that German actions on the Eastern Front in any way excused or ameliorated anything.
I mean, even the SS realized that they were the baddies.
@Ryan: Yep. Of course many might have felt that killing those undesireables was the higher cause. This seems like the “Hitler had some good ideas, but he went too far” crap thats been floating around forever, where “too far” covers up the atrocities that don’t seem to be actually necessary to build VW Beetles or find more space to solve your “overpopulation problem.”
@AhabTRuler: Hmmm. Two Mitchell & Webb videos in one thread.
I have no problem with re-enactors anymore than I had a problem playing the Confederates in the early days when war-gaming cardboard units on a map board. When playing the Avalon Hill games ‘Chancellorsville’, ‘DDay’ and ‘Midway’ someone had to play the bad guys. But I don’t remember games called ‘Andersonville Prison’, ‘Malmedy Massacre’, ‘Wake Island Mass Execution’ or ‘Bataan Death March’
You want to dress up in cool uniforms complete with German Crosses well fine- play Rommel’s Afrika Korps at El Alamein. Dressing up as the Nordische/Wikung Division known at least in part for rounding up Hungarian Jews? Well that is not fine at all. Not even as a way of doing father-son bonding.
You know who else was doing what he thought was right for his country?
(is it possible to Godwin this thread? Didn’t think so)
Can I assume he is fucked? The RNSC and the RNC will run from him like a cat you just threw a pot of scalding water on? That is the way this is gonna go down right?
I rather liked this bit:
Oh yeah? Wanna watch me?
There are things I think I can’t judge because I’m not sure what the person in question takes him- or herself to be doing. If I am wandering in the highlands of Papua New Guinea, for instance, and discover some hitherto unknown tribe who eat their dead relatives, I would want to know why (e.g., is this part of a ritual whereby you incorporate parts of your ancestors as a gesture of respect?) before passing any kind of judgment.
There are people I feel I can’t judge, though I do judge their acts, because I think they were in a situation so extreme that I don’t know what their actions say about them. People who did bad things while imprisoned in concentration camps, for instance.
There are times when I mitigate judgment because someone’s circumstances make what they did different than it would be in the circumstances I think of as normal. Thus, being in favor of slavery in 1840s Alabama, while wrong, does not (imho) reflect as badly on a person as being in favor of slavery now would be.
Do any of these apply to any members of the Waffen SS, let alone members who had to up and join from another country? No.
Even that is false. Wikipedia tells us that the Wiking division was composed of foreign volunteers “from Scandinavia, Finland, Estonia, The Netherlands, and Belgium.” They were doing what they thought was right for somebody else’s country.
So, let’s recap what we know. Iott likes to dress up like a Belgian who loved the Nazis so much that he defected. Monsieur Iott imagines himself joining an SS division. Note that Germany was not at war with the USSR at the time this division was created. Perhaps he imagines himself enlisting to aid in the conquest of Britain. It’s either that or he wishes he had the chance to work alongside Josef Mengele, a fellow member of his favorite division.
Hilzoy? The Hilzoy?
If so, I would just like to say thank you, and wow and all.
Just a nit: the abolition movement was in full swing by the 1840s and the British had already (mostly) abolished it throughout the empire. Say 1740 and I’m with you.
(What can I say, it’s on my mind because I’ve been listening to David Blight’s Open Yale course on the Civil War. It came highly recommended by TNC and for good reason.)
I think this is the ghost of the 1930s-era Old Right rising from the crypt yet again.
Contemporary rightwing historians are fond of casting the Old Right as principled isolationists who fought FDR over the run up to WW II because they simply wanted to keep America out of the war in Europe. In fact, they opposed FDR because they believed that he was backing the wrong side. After Pearl Harbor and Hitler’s decision to honor his treaty obligations with Japan by declaring war on the USA, the American right found it necessary to lie low, but right after the war they re-emerged under the banner of Joe McCarthy, who argued that the Soviet commies were the greater threat all along (sound familiar?)
And what evil was that exactly? Jews??? The sole purpose of the SS on the eastern front was to kill Jews, Soviet political commissars, and other undesirables. Christ on a crutch someone get this guy a history book. He is burying himself in an avalanche of stupid.
Yeah, and I like to dress up in my white hood so I can fight the commies too.
John O: * blinks * you’re welcome. ;)
Mnemosyne: Yeah, I thought of editing that to say ‘very wrong’, or something. I still think it would be very different than someone advocating the institution of slavery now, but 1740 would have been a lot clearer.
omg: that is the best headline in a long while.
Keep it up.
Thank you for posting the Mitchell and Webb clip. Linking that clip should be mandatory in all Iott threads.
Oh, and you are as usual spot-on. We are a product of our circumstances to a large degree.
@Warren Terra: Eh, I’d rather that people read the Bartov, but whatever gets people there. . .
Now all we need is Marcy Kaptur to challange Iott to one last debate, and when he refuses to answer questions about his Waffen-SS fetish, bring in the Bear Jew.
“This man needs some morale sense beaten into his head, OBLIGE HIM!!!!!”
(Hey, us liberals can engage in sick fantasies too.)
I have often thought Buchannan was talking fascism but then he backed off a bit. I finally decided that he was dancing on the edge of fascism. Rather deftly, at times.
You couldn’t understand that scene fully if you haven’t read Ball Four.
Sometimes the pedant in me just comes springing out unbidden. :-)
Doubtless pointed out already, but the SS were never part of the German Army.
When do we get the Totenkopfverbände and Einsatzgruppen re-enactors giving their spin on how good it was to kill the enemies of Fascism?
If he were smart he would have convinced the group to emulate a V1/V2 unit (or whatever it would be called).
At least then they could play the NASA card, and claim the original German members had been recruited by the US, so how bad could they be?
“To do evil a human being must first of all believe that what he’s doing is good … Ideology—that is what gives evildoing its long-sought justification and gives the evildoer the necessary steadfastness and determination.”
Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
I think Iott said more than he can understand.
@Linda Featheringill: Pat’s more into Franco’s Falangist Catholic fascism. Mainly because of that Catholic part.
One almost gets the impression they have a severe case of Abraham Lincoln Brigade envy.
Why, it’s just a bunch of volunteers! Fighting Communists! Never mind the other things they did. Or that the ‘volunteers’ came from countries that had been savagely invaded by Nazis: either the ‘volunteers’ were coerced into service, or they were fascist sympathizers.
Is this an open thread?
I’m only asking because if my ex-sister in law who won’t let me off the phone (and I’m not shy about saying I’m done–crisis and all–“I LOVE your mother!…”) is, by any rational observation, making me think I’m very, very sane.
@Linda Featheringill: I don’t know, I think Uncle Pat fell right off that edge when he hosted a full-fledged Holocaust denial forum on his website.
OK, I’m a roleplayer, I’ve played some REALLY nasty characters, and because of that I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt about that.
Until I read the quotes from the Wiking website, and his defense is as bad, or worse than that.
I wasn’t going to vote for him, anyway. But I wasn’t going to slag him for that until I got more info…unfortunately, its about as bad as I could have thought. About the only way it could be worse is if he was a full-on nazi.
At least Lott seems to understand that when he dresses up as an SS soldier, he doesn’t actually travel back in time and become an SS soldier.
Seeing as how members of the teatard brigade seem to believe that they become John Adams incarnate every time they put on one of those ridiculous goddamn triangular hats, I’d say it’s an improvement.
joe from Lowell
Well, no, not the Waffen SS. They were front-line combat units. This division certainly weren’t camp guards.
You’re thinking of the Einsatzgruppen.
But, Lord knows, they were still bad guys. They had their share of lining people up and shooting them.
@joe from Lowell:
By most accounts, the specific unit that Iott was “re-enacting” was doing stuff that was a heck of a lot closer to the einsatzengruppen than combat troops.
When a scholar like Christopher Browning is saying (paraphrased), “Wait, they were re-enacting which group? WTF?” that’s a bad sign.
@joe from Lowell: Yes, thank you for the correction. I’m getting my Nazi’s confused :-)
OK. But didn’t he pick a German name for his character — “Reinhardt Pferdmann,” or some such?
Yes. Yes, he did.
I used to love to play Panzer Blitz and Panzer Leader from Avalon Hill.
I’ve been following a discussion about Iott on a gaming board, with one person who does do German WWII reenactment. His comments include a withering critique of the one picture of Iott and three of his buddies that’s been circulating and a conclusion that these guys aren’t re-enactors, they’re Nazi wanna-bes.
@tratclif: What did he base his conclusion on? What are the differences between what he does and what Iott does?
@Steve: Oh, thank you. I was scouring the interwebs trying to remember where that was from!
I wonder how many other Teabaggers out there are in Sgt. Richard’s German-American Bund?
Paul in KY
@Anton Sirius: Thank you for that.