Taking Sides

Wanted to revisit this post by John yesterday, because although I basically agree with him on re-enactors, it’s getting a lot of attention locally.

OAK HARBOR, Ohio – After the Apple Festival parade broke up Saturday, Republican Rich Iott stood on a Main Street front lawn and downplayed photographs of him dressed in a Nazi uniform with the insignia of a deadly Waffen SS unit.

I worked at the Democratic headquarters where I live yesterday and it was mentioned several times by people who were out wandering the town square on a beautiful evening, and stopped in. Iott isn’t even on the ballot here.

Honestly, reading the Toledo Blade’s coverage today and yesterday, Iott’s hobby is looking stranger and stranger. I may have to revise my initial reaction.
I think I’m with this guy:

William Leons, 75, a retired University of Toledo professor who taught cultural anthropology, said it is an unhealthy hobby.
“I think the whole thing, the Nazi re-enactment thing, wearing the uniforms, is a little bit sick. But I’m a big fan of free speech and free expression,” he said. “They have the right to do it, but I would wonder a bit what their motives are.”

Or maybe this guy:

Al Burrow, 79, of Toledo served in the Marines during the Korean War. Seated at the legion bar, he said Mr. Iott has the right to express himself, but added that his Nazi role-playing makes him unfit for public office. “I don’t care what it is, even if it’s garbage collector,” Mr. Burrow said.

Iott is running against Marcy Kaptur. I don’t live in Kaptur’s district, although I did at one time, and I have attended many town hall-type events where she’s been a featured speaker.

We discussed Kaptur here at length during the health care debate, because she’s an anti-choice Democrat who made abortion a huge issue during that debate, which was infuriating, but is part of the package deal that is Marcy Kaptur.

She’s a Catholic in the liberal tradition, where “pro life” means much more than opposition to abortion. I defended her here during the health care debate, and I’d happily do it again.

She was a populist way before it was fashionable, is a huge union supporter, opposed all the 1990’s trade agreements, is anti-war, and generally great on every issue except abortion.

Iott’s unfortunate hobby may turn out to be very good for Marcy Kaptur, judging by the attention it’s getting, and that’s good news.






141 replies
  1. 1
    General Stuck says:

    Wonder what would happen if a democratic candidate got photographed in an old Soviet uniform from WW2, they would be run out of town on the soshulist rail? And the Soviets were our allies in that war. It’s just bad form, or unfortunate, for a wingnut to go all Hitler, with a shoutout to the fucking Waffen SS, of all units.

  2. 2
    Kay says:

    @General Stuck:

    It’s just odd, adopting a name like he did, and all. I don’t really understand all the grinning that’s going on in those photos, either. What’s everyone so happy about?

  3. 3
    NobodySpecial says:

    I think the biggest part of it is roleplaying an SS division soldier, rather than just a generic Wehrmacht dude. Everyone knows what the SS was, and they don’t like it.

    As far as the reenactments, I’m not terribly exorcised about it, I play Day of Defeat, and I’ve been one of the bad guys lots of times. If you’re gonna have reenactments, someone’s gotta be the bad guys. The thing that pushes this one over the line with me is just how far he goes with it from the reports I’ve seen.

  4. 4
    Martin says:

    @General Stuck: Old Soviet uniform? Fuck. Look what happened to John Kerry – guy earns a Silver Star and salutes one time and it’s purple heart band-aids for everyone.

    It’s fucking insane what the media enables in this country.

  5. 5
    Kay says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    I agreed with you, initially. Further, he belongs to a pretend-quasi-military unit that was formed in Ohio during the Cold War, and has never been activated, so he has a lot of pretend-soldier leanings. I had never heard of it until he started bragging about being in it.
    However. The whole package comes off as really strange. A big part of this guy’s life is dressing up like a soldier. He says he couldn’t enlist because he has a heart murmur, okay, but he then pursued sort of a fake-military persona?

  6. 6
    General Stuck says:

    @Martin: yup, no better example of our toolish media than the Swiftboat liars.

  7. 7
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Kay: Not terribly uncommon, the phenomena, only now the kids aren’t dressing up as soldiers, they’re dressing up as video game characters. As creepy as some of them can be, I endorse the change as one for the better.

  8. 8
    EconWatcher says:

    You guys seemed to have missed some of the quotes from the website of the group of reenactors. While there was some boilerpate condemnation of Nazi atrocities, the website said their purpose in the reenactments was to celebrate the individual men in the SS unit for their valor in fighting for freedom and against Bolshevist Communism.

    In other words, it’s not just that if you’re playing cops and robbers, somebody has to be the robber. These guys explicitly say that there’s something to celebrate about the Waffen SS.

    Case closed. The guy is a sicko.

  9. 9
    Kay says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    Here’s his other hobby.
    I didn’t even know there was an Ohio military, other than the National Guard.

  10. 10
    Mnemosyne says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    It’s one thing to do a battle re-enactment since, as you said, you have to have two sides to a battle. It would be silly to do a re-creation of the Battle of Waterloo and only have British troops there.

    It’s another thing to run around in the woods dressed up as someone from a group that was specifically assigned to round up Jews and shoot them in the head. It makes you wonder exactly what their re-enactments consisted of, y’know?

  11. 11
    Kay says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    I would just suggest that special attention should be paid to members of the Tea Party (he was endorsed by the Tea party and won a primary) who have a penchant for state military units.
    A little caution is called for there, given the rhetoric. It’s a concern.

  12. 12
    Fax Paladin says:

    What disturbs me about this… I understand that if you’re re-enacting a battle someone has to play the bad guys (this is one of the reasons I’m very annoyed with AAFES over its ban on selling “Medal of Honor” — you would think the military would get the concept of the OPFOR), but I haven’t heard of these folks pairing off with anyone playing good guys. I haven’t been paying all that much attention, so I could have missed it…

  13. 13
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Kay: I find it funny that he’s currently under the direction of Ted Strickland.

  14. 14
    comrade scott's agenda of rage says:

    I know plenty of Civil War and American Rev reenactors. This is nothing like that.

    My guess is the group is simply another set of racist asswipes looking to showcase their views in public without being called, yunno, racist asswipes, all under the guise of “reenactors”.

    So, what do they do during their encampments? Round ups of Jews in Poland? How about taking American POWs out into fields and machine gunning them down in cold blood? They’ve got 6 years of stuff to reenact.

    I love free speech. These people are too cowardly to engage in what they really want to convey and of course when called out on it, will think everybody’s trying to squash their free speech rights without realizing that free speech also means we’re free to ridicule them and call them for what they are: racist asswipes.

  15. 15
    Mnemosyne says:

    My other question is, if this was a totally normal battle re-enactment group, where are the guys who played the godless commies?

  16. 16
    Woodrowfan says:

    in the SS unit for their valor in fighting for freedom and against Bolshevist Communism.

    They think the freakin SS was fighting for freedom!?!?!?!?!?!!

    sick, sick, sick

  17. 17
    Martin says:

    My broader issue with the re-enactors is that I think it’s terribly inappropriate to do now. I take issue with people taking a weekend out to celebrate the brave, noble fight against some opposition, when we’ve got our own goddamn war going on now. You want to honor someone – use that time and energy to honor the guys who are actually fighting right now on your behalf. You want to dress up and play soldier? There’s a recruiting station not far from your house – I’m sure they’d love to have you. Put your fucking historical re-enactments away until the current chapter in history is done being played out.

    I really, really take issue with recognizing acts from the past, of people long dead, while ignoring the same acts in the present, of people who really need and deserve the support. I think it’s cowardly and insensitive, and I think it’s bad for the nation by focusing attention away from issues where public opinion and support is needed.

    I don’t even know where to begin with Nazi re-enactors.

  18. 18
    jimBOB says:

    In the thirties there was something called the German American Bund, which was a U.S. paramilitary group that would ape the Nazis, complete with uniforms, goose-stepping and stiff-arm salutes. Their leader (when he wasn’t embezzling funds) would give anti-Semitic speeches, and the group did everything possible to keep the U.S. from going in on the Allied side.

    They seem a lot like Iott’s group to me.

    If you’ve never at least skimmed Bob Altemeyer’s book The Authoritarians, you’re missing a chance to get a penetrating insight into what makes wingnuts tick. Iott seems like a textbook example of what Altemeyer was talking about.

  19. 19
    Cermet says:

    Thanks to the Russian soldiers who fought no less than 70% of the German army at all times during WWII and for long periods, almost 100% of the German Army active forces we might have lost the war or at the least, millions of Amerikan soldiers would have been killed or wound to bring those f’ers down.

    Yet this coward wears the death heads uniform to celibrate killing Russian soldiers? Re-enacts and wears the filthy uniforms of units who’s main goal was to slaughter civilians, murder Jews and kill Amerikan POW’s in cold blood. Anyone wearing that filth should be put away. And teabaggers support that asswipe?! They are the party of traitor’s and cowards.

  20. 20
    Daddy-O says:

    A photo of this asshole in an SS uniform isn’t enough to lose him the election? Even among his ‘conservative’ supporters?

    It’s getting to the point where the Teabaggers will vote for anyone their tribe nominates–even if they’re caught in bed with a live boy OR a dead girl…

    The national fever of Mass Denial has not passed yet.

  21. 21
  22. 22
    Mike in NC says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    I think the biggest part of it is roleplaying an SS division soldier, rather than just a generic Wehrmacht dude. Everyone knows what the SS was, and they don’t like it.

    Way back in June 1994, the Defense Department sponsored a 50th anniversary commemoration of the Normandy landings. This reenactment took place over several days at Fort Story, VA, and involved scores of active duty and reserve military volunteers, lots of Army and Navy landing craft, restored WW2 tanks and other vehicles, and hundreds of reenactors who came from as far away as Japan(!) to participate. Thousands of spectators attended.

    I recall walking along the beach during a rehearsal and there were at least three dozen guys hanging out in German uniforms. There was even a Cossack, complete with horse. Don’t recall specifically seeing any SS uniforms in the mix, but there was one dude there dressed up as a Fallshirmjager (paratrooper). He appeared to be well known to his fellow hobbyists and was nicknamed “Sperm Whale” because he looked to weigh about 325 pounds. Obviously they’d have needed an entire airplane just to get him up in the air all by himself.

    Anyway, a good time was had by all.

  23. 23
    duck-billed placelot says:

    Kay, I have a question for you about Katpur – where does she stand on gay/lesbian rights? Is she also ‘great except for abortion’ in that area?

  24. 24
    Ted says:

    A guy I used to work with who was really into the WWII re-enactments — on the side of the Allies — would talk a lot about how creepy the Nazi re-enactors were. They’d only speak German while they were in “uniform”, get too rough during the simulated interrogations — just way too into what they were doing. Everybody else involved with the events hated them. One disturbing little factoid he mentioned was that the Nazi re-enactors were almost invariably cops in real life.

  25. 25
    MikeJ says:

    @duck-billed placelot:

    http://www.ontheissues.org/OH/Marcy_Kaptur.htm

    Voted YES on prohibiting job discrimination based on sexual orientation. (Nov 2007)
    Voted NO on Constitutionally defining marriage as one-man-one-woman. (Jul 2006)
    Voted NO on Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage. (Sep 2004)
    Voted NO on banning gay adoptions in DC. (Jul 1999)
    Rated 75% by the HRC, indicating a pro-gay-rights stance. (Dec 2006)

    30 seconds of googling.

  26. 26
    JD Rhoades says:

    @General Stuck:

    This, this, a thousand times this.

  27. 27
    JD Rhoades says:

    @Ted:

    Nazi Germany was a great place to be a certain kind of cop.

  28. 28
    Fax Paladin says:

    @Martin: I disagree with this so strongly that I’m not even sure where to begin. Bringing history alive so that we can better learn from it has a large intrinsic value for me. I remember as a kid being handed a piece of hardtack by a re-enactor at the Fort Davis National Historic Site — dunno whether they were paid Park Service employees or volunteers, but they had, and have, an important role in education nonetheless.

  29. 29
    Cat Lady says:

    I don’t know a single guy my age (50’s) who wants to dress up in anything they don’t have to. There’s just something completely sketchy to me about anyone over the age of 30 who’s not an actor wanting to play act at anything wearing a costume, and an SS costume? You just know he’s wearing two wetsuits and a dildo at home.

    Reenactments without the actual pain, suffering and death just seem pointless and childish. The only reenactment I want to see is Sherman’s March, in which case I’ll volunteer to man the supply line.

  30. 30
    Cermet says:

    @JD Rhoades: Yeah, but why are so many now becoming Cops in Amerika?

  31. 31
  32. 32
    jeffreyw says:

    No miracle about these fishes, though I’m told I am a multitude all by myself.

  33. 33
    Keith G says:

    Kay, I grew up on a small farm south of Toledo (Whitehouse), and and back in the day, c. 1970, Mr Lott’s activities would have made many people very unhappy. I’m sure it has mitigated a bit but not that much.

    I wonder who are the other fellows he has found to dress up in Nazi drag?

  34. 34
    Suck It Up! says:

    “I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.”

    This is a quote from Joshua Green’s post at The Atlantic. He’s a tea party favorite so maybe he’s fantasized about the tea party taking over the country. That’s the feeling I got from that quote.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/pol.....azi/64319/

  35. 35
    Onkel Bob says:

    From the all-knowing wiki:

    Serving her fourteenth term in the House of Representatives, Kaptur is currently the longest-serving woman in the House…

    Was there some sort of controversy that was going to expel her? I mean c’mon, 28 years in the Village, and she was being challenged by who, a guy who plays dress – up? There’s a reason why there wasn’t a viable candidate against her, it’s a lost cause. The guy was a throw-away who was touted up as a contender but was really never more than an also ran.

    As to the re-enactors performing some experiment in history, oh puh-leaze. This is fantasy fulfillment plain and simple. As Cat Lady wrote, no guy wants to put on clothes the clothes they don’t like (a suit) or takes off the ones he loves (a 2001 Super Bowl Champions sweat with more stains than a bib from Pete’s BBQ Shack).

  36. 36
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Suck It Up!:

    Wow, he really doesn’t know shit about WWII history, does he? I guess Italy, Spain, and Japan sat around with their thumbs up their asses through the whole thing.

  37. 37
    Tata says:

    There’s just no defending Kaptur on abortion. The conversation is OVER after “No bodily autonomy for you, young lady.”

  38. 38
    eemom says:

    don’t know if this will work, but I want to link to and endorse commenter Ruckus’ position on this from the earlier thread, cuz it really strikes me as spot-fucking-on:

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2.....nt-2102312

    ETA: whaddaya know, it woiked!

  39. 39
    JPL says:

    @MikeJ: What has she voted for? We know Iott will vote against everything. The problem I have with lists is they exclude things she supported. Maybe her votes are identical to my rep Tom Price but I doubt it. Iott’s will be the same as Price’s though.
    When’s the last time Marcy dressed up in Nazi uniform?

  40. 40
    MikeJ says:

    @JPL: What’s she voted for? Four of the five things in that lists were *votes*. Jesus fuck, read the goddamned comment.

  41. 41
    eemom says:

    Another thing I would like to know: who among these “re-enactors” has ever lived through an actual war?

    And how many survivors of an actual war would find these reenactments all in good sport? Obviously we can’t know with respect to the Civil War — but my mother, for example, lived through the Nazi invasion of Crete as a little girl. I haven’t asked her, but I doubt she would find much to debate about here.

  42. 42
    Svensker says:

    I don’t sneer at a lot of re-enactors. Some of them are very serious about what they’re doing, trying to basically do living history and make it as accurate as possible. The medieval reenactors in the US and in England have been really in the vanguard of research on medieval culinary history and one fellow I know is working on the first translation of a medieval Latin document that talks about kitchens, ordering supplies, cooking techniques, etc. I recently attended a lecture by an English woman and her husband who act as the cook team for a Roman garrison in England c100 AD– they are doing great research on cooking techniques for the period and they work, as much as possible, as the cooks of 1900 years ago would have.

    So, while I’m not the re-enactor type, the serious ones deserve some respect. Thinking that the SS were heroic for resisting the Commies, however? Sick.

  43. 43
    JPL says:

    @MikeJ: I’m sorry that I wasn’t clear. You posted a list of votes that you disagreed with, (I do too) but I assume she voted for things we would both agree with but those were not listed. What I do know is that if Boehner becomes leader the house will have lots of vote restricting the rights of women and gays. That is not acceptable to me.

  44. 44

    @JPL: I don’t think MikeJ was posting votes he disagreed with; he was just posting votes, on all 4 of which Kaptur took a pro-gay-rights stand.

  45. 45
    Cat Lady says:

    @eemom:

    My father’s friends who fought in WWII refused to talk about it. A close friend’s father was at the Battle of the Bulge, where he was so frostbitten that he still, in his late 80’s, can’t go in the ocean of his beloved beach front property in Rhode Island. Reenactments are cosplay for men who infantilize war, and don’t include the stench the fear and the despair. If the Civil War reenactments included actual Civil War battlefield surgery, I’d be all for it. Otherwise, grow the fuck up. YMMV.

  46. 46
    Bubblegum Tate says:

    @Daddy-O:

    It’s getting to the point where the Teabaggers will vote for anyone their tribe nominates

    Oh, they passed that point a while ago.

  47. 47
    Mnemosyne says:

    @JPL:

    I think you misread MikeJ’s list, unless you’re saying that you’re against gay marriage (Kaptur voted against restricting it) and in favor of employment discrimination against gays and lesbians (Kaptur voted in favor of a law that would ban employment discrimination on that basis).

  48. 48
    JPL says:

    @TooManyJens: What a knee jerk reaction on my part. Mnemosyne..Mike was right…I missed read it.
    Mike J…I am sorry.

  49. 49
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Svensker:

    Thinking that the SS were heroic for resisting the Commies, however?

    Particularly since the “heroic” action they took in “resisting” Communism was invading Russia and killing millions of Russian peasants.

    I know that teabaggers are stupid but, Jesus fuck, how does invading someone else’s country count as “resisting” anything at all?

  50. 50
    Dee Loralei says:

    @JPL: I think MikeJ was saying she was for all the things good Dems are for and against all things good Dems are against and he showed 4 or 5 of her votes and her 75% rating from the HRC. So other than abortion she’s not an awful Dem. This is not a Leiberman is with us on everything except the war, when his own voting record shows he’s against us quite a lot more than just the war.

  51. 51
    Martin says:

    @Fax Paladin: I have no objection to re-enactments in general, but history is coming alive right now in Afghanistan. How about we put that front and center while its taking place? I think the Civil War will still be there once our active wars are over.

  52. 52

    Iott is now toast. Kaptur was ahead anyway but now she ought to walk away with the seat.

    This is an example of the principle that you can’t call an election 2 months or more in advance. Stuff happens.

    One thing that happens is that candidates get pressured and start talking and say silly things [my opponents prowess is legendary]. Or the candidates start defending themselves and get silly [I am not a witch].

    And if both parties are out among the voters and trying to make their case, a really dumb act or comment can push the local election.

    And all politics is local. Times a whole bunch.

  53. 53
    Ross Hershberger says:

    He’s cooked. The electorate will ignore almost anything, but once Nazi is attached to your name you come to the attention of people who ordinarily notice only food smells and the moving pictures on the 50 inch.

  54. 54
    morzer says:

    @EconWatcher:

    Their defense is also straight out of the late WWII Nazi playbook. This was precisely the argument that the Nazis tried to sell the US and UK – namely, that Communism was the real threat, and so the “west” should come to terms. (With, of course, the understanding that the Nazis would remain in power).

    Incidentally, the SS Wiking division included in its ranks one Josef Mengele, although his old comrades prefer not to talk about that interesting fact.

  55. 55
    rikyrah says:

    Kaptur was also one of the first ones at the beginning of this housing crisis to tell folks to stay in their home. She was on Bill Moyers over a year ago, telling the truth about Dimon.

  56. 56
  57. 57
    Woodrowfan says:

    I have a Rev War reenactor come talk to my classes. He’s a veteran, although I do not know if he saw combat. It’s an interesting form of preserving history, although I have the most respect for those who know it is a REENACTMENT and they’re NOT going through what the real soldiers did.

    Some Civil War reenactors though, kind of creep me out, especially the hard core Confederates. Read “Confederates in the Attic” for an interesting account of them.

  58. 58
    morzer says:

    @Woodrowfan:

    A Revolutionary War veteran? You know America’s oldest man?

  59. 59
    Dennis SGMM says:

    I was in a war (Vietnam) and speaking strictly for myself I wouldn’t take ten thousand dollars to re-enact that son-of-a-bitch even for one day.

    The reenactors, whatever their motivation, get the flash and the boom. They don’t get the screaming, the blood or the surprised look on a guy’s face as his fucking intestines uncoil themselves onto the ground. It isn’t historical to me, it’s a bullshit fantasy that continues to make war a noble and worthy thing rather than the sordid business that it actually is.

  60. 60

    Funny episode of “Peep Show” (Mitchell & Webb ftw!) involving a Nazi reenactor: Jeremy Makes It.

  61. 61
    Jennifer says:

    Remember that Stephen King story about the kid who got obsessed with the Nazis, and discovered there was a Nazi living nearby under an assumed identity? He starts blackmailing the guy, making him dress up in his old uniforms & etc. The deeper the kid gets into it, the more psychologically disturbed he becomes. The story ends with the kid sniping at people from a hillside & getting shot by the cops.

    Can’t remember the name of it, but I can’t be the only one who read it & remembers it.

  62. 62
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jennifer:

    They made it into a fairly crappy movie called Apt Pupil, but I’m not sure if that was the title of the story.

  63. 63
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Mike in NC:

    The German Army was just as bad as the SS, and in no way should be idolized. I think it has to do with a lot of German wanking by amateur WW2 buffs-like wanking to death Operation Sealion, etc.

    See also the post war attempt by German generals to exonerate themselves by blaming Hitler.

  64. 64
    General Stuck says:

    Speaking of evil Nazis, Marathon Man just showed up on NF instant. Nobody played a sneering devil like Sir Larry Olivier.

  65. 65
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    When I heard about this, all I could think of was The Battle of Shaker Heights.

  66. 66
    eemom says:

    @Jennifer:

    I remember it well, though I can’t remember the title either. That was Steven King back at his best creative ultra-creepiness, as opposed to after he became a money-churning hack.

    Also, if I’m not mistaken, it was made into a movie produced by an ex-movie producer turned “progressive” blogger who we all know and, um, love.

  67. 67
    morzer says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I believe the novella had the same name. It was in King’s collection called “Different Seasons”.

  68. 68
    eemom says:

    @General Stuck:

    OMG that is a great movie.

    Is……it…….safe….??

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    Is anyone else getting a bizarre “Is Obama Telling the Truth” ad at the top of the page where it looks like they Photoshopped out one of his front teeth?

  70. 70
    General Stuck says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I believe an ordinary German conscript had two choices, show up for the war, or have a date with the portable guillotine. I never blame the ordinary soldiers for their countries misguided wars, so long as they obey the laws of war and ROE. The SS was something else altogether different. It was created precisely to violate the rules of war, in the most egregious ways imaginable.

  71. 71
  72. 72
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @General Stuck:

    The thing is, the German Army routinely violated the laws of war, especially on the Eastern Front. Just following orders my ass; what is the fascination with the WW2 German military among people?

  73. 73
    Odie Hugh Manatee says:

    @Dennis SGMM:

    I agree with you, war is not something to be glorified. These actors get to play war, make lots of noise and smoke but at the end of the day they all get up and go home. IMO, a war is something to be written about, talked about and remembered, not relived regularly. I have no desire to see one of these re-enactments, none whatsoever.

    A woman my wife went to school with is into re-enacting the Civil War, same with her husband and son. One interesting thing is that all three of them refuse to wear “Yankee Blue”, they are all from the south (Florida) and will never act in roles for the north. Her husband and son almost sound like they would like to revive the war and fight it all over again.

    They now live in southern Cali and the hubby and son work for the Border Patrol.

  74. 74
    Hal says:

    “I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things. I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.”

    Aren’t all European countries small? What Lott calls fascination sounds amazingly like admiration.

  75. 75
  76. 76
  77. 77
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Hal: If those are the standards, why not dress like 17th century Dutch or Portuguese? Or Mongolians? Or Medes? Or Arabs? Or Macedonians? There are lots of even smaller countries that managed to pull off large empires…if that is what is interesting…from an historical military point of view.

  78. 78
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Kay:

    Almost every state has, or at least authorizes, a state military reserve or militia. It’s just easily confused with the National Guard in most people’s minds.

  79. 79
    General Stuck says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    Like I said, if some of them become war criminals, then that is what they are. We, no doubt, did also violate the rules in the depths of the bloodletting of WW2. But the SS deserves a special category, imo. As created only to conduct Hitlers most bloodthirsty and heinous crimes.

    what is the fascination with the WW2 German military among people?

    I have no idea, and concur with those who feel the need to reenact something that cannot be honestly reenacted as pathological, lending nostalgic rememberence to something the original participants would likely to a man want to forget. And none so more as what Germany inflicted on the world in that time.

  80. 80
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @General Stuck:

    I’m pretty sure that the WW2 German Army was of at least an order of magnitude worse than the US or British armies..

  81. 81
    Cacti says:

    If my WWII vet grandfather, or any of my several WWII vet great uncles (one of whom spent time in a German POW camp) ever saw someone play acting in a Nazi uniform…

    It wouldn’t have ended well.

  82. 82
    Very Reverend Crimson Fire of Compassion says:

    @Jennifer: Apt Pupil, subtitled “Summer of Corruption”, from the novella anthology “Different Seasons”.

  83. 83
    General Stuck says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    I won’t argue with that. I was watching Ken Burns The War recently, and remember an occurrence in Italy where the Germans executed some allies POW’s, and our guys admitted they never took another German prisoner after that. That is what I was talking about, and with treatment of civilians, there is no question the Germans were more brutal and lawless. It is just how things go toward an equilibrium of sorts when one side insists on taking things to the lowest common denominator for humane behavior in war. And I agree, the Germans led the way on that dubious path, but we obliged with turn about as fair play. At least in treatment of captured soldiers.

  84. 84
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: Yes, let’s get mired in back and forth over whether or not this would be as appalling it the guy wore a Wehrmacht uniform. He didn’t. He went SS with his re-enactments. I think that whatever our opinions of the Wehrmacht might be, we all can agree that the fucking SS are pretty much the bottom of the barrel as far as WWII war criminals go. Some might match them, but few, if any, can exceed them.

  85. 85
    Ross Hershberger says:

    Individual bravery and sacrifice in wartime displays one of the best human traits. War itself is due to a terrible moral failing in our race.
    When the whole Greatest Generation hype was going on I saw WWII glorified because a lot of brave people chose to sacrifice for America. It ought to be obvious, but War = bad and Valor = good. That simple distinction gets lost so easily.

  86. 86
    Cat Lady says:

    @General Stuck:

    Lawlessness + lowest common denominator + spiffy uniforms. What more could a stupid racist wingtard want?

  87. 87
    General Stuck says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Aww. just a good ol boy havin’ some fun dontcha know. Did you know Obama was a soshulist? Let’s talk about that now.

  88. 88
    General Stuck says:

    Oh, and GO REDS!!

  89. 89
    Cat Lady says:

    @General Stuck:

    I would like a bobblehead to ask this fucktard Iott whether he thinks Obama is just like Hitler. Given his admiration for the freedom loving SS, if he says yes, then does he admire Obama or renounce him? Watching him work that out would be my idea of entertainment!

  90. 90
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: If you’re talking from a strictly military standpoint, they did quite a bit. From a strategy perspective, the idea of Blitzkrieg was a major step forward from the post WWI ideas of attack and defense, as was the close allying of air and ground operations. From other perspectives, you have to see just how much territory their armies were able to capture and hold: The entirety of the Low Countries and France, North Africa from Morocco halfway to Cairo, Eastern Europe and Russia practically to the gates of Moscow. That’s pretty impressive, regardless of whatever army you’re talking about, especially when you consider that their logistics were a lot worse than the US Army.

    It doesn’t necessarily mean you agree with what they were doing it for, but merely recognizing that they were a very very competent and dangerous fighting force.

    @Odie Hugh Manatee: You should ask them how they feel about the fact that Mexico was a large supplier of Confederate supplies through Matamoros.

  91. 91
    honus says:

    @EconWatcher: And the difference between this and confederate reenactors is what?

  92. 92

    celebrate the individual men in the SS unit for their valor in fighting for freedom and against Bolshevist Communism.

    What? The? Fuck?

    “I’ve always been fascinated by the fact that here was a relatively small country* that from a strictly military point of view accomplished incredible things,” theAtlantic.com quoted him as saying. “I mean, they took over most of Europe and Russia, and it really took the combined effort of the free world to defeat them. From a purely historical military point of view, that’s incredible.”

    Words fail, try again, give up and run away in disgust.

    And really, by that metric, we can expect to see to see him dressed up like a member of Al Qaida in the near future. They don’t even HAVE a country and the free world still hasn’t stamped them flat.

    What an incredibly stupid man.

    [Edit – Fluffing Nazi Germany is a few steps beyond admiring individual soldiers.]

  93. 93
    scav says:

    @NobodySpecial: well, you’d think that recognizing the erudite technical skills and talents of military strategy might involve, like, lectures and books and things investigating said feats instead of prancing about in shiny boots and shit, but hey, what do I know? I was entirely unaware that Memorial and Veterans day had adopted the practices of Halloween. Suddenly why the tea-party tricorn and price-is-right dress-up brigade self-identify as the most patriotic among us becomes very very clear.

  94. 94
    WereBear says:

    What this brings up, yet again, is the Tea Baggers’ fascination with nasty forms of oppressive power.

    Wingnut isn’t a political stance; it’s a dysfunctional state of mind.

  95. 95
    Damned at Random says:

    The Germans showed what a highly trained military force is capable of even when a nutjob is calling the shots.

    WWII is certainly worth studying, but not romanticizing. Not now, not ever

  96. 96
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Damned at Random:

    WWII War is certainly worth studying, but not romanticizing. Not now, not ever

    Fixed for general application.

  97. 97
    honus says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay: You would be wrong. And it was the Russians, by far, that did far more of the fighting of the Germans in Europe than either the British or Americans.

  98. 98
    John Bird says:

    No.

    A liberal Catholic, in America, is pro-choice.

  99. 99
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    And while we’re discussing Republicans and their fondness for the 3rd Reich, did anybody mention Tony Zirkle?

  100. 100
    erlking says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor: Also, the combined effort of the “free world?”–the Soviets suffered 5 times as many casualties as the Allies had total number under arms.

    Not sure what point I’m making except that the “fight against Bolshevism” didn’t go that well.

    erlking+ 1 awesome bottle of Haut-Medoc

  101. 101
    honus says:

    @NobodySpecial: The Nazis were a lot more impressive in capturing territory when they were fighting only the British and the Russians and Italians were on their side. After that, not so much. they were gone from North Africa by the spring of 1943, Italy a year later, and were pretty much done in France six months after Normandy.
    Reminds me of what A J Liebling said about the Army of Northern Virginia: “Good club, couldn’t win on the road”

  102. 102
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @Cat Lady:

    Lawlessness + lowest common denominator + spiffy uniforms.

    It’s my understanding that the spiffy uniforms were not an accident, that the rationale for them was the men wearing them would feel superior to the people they were grinding into bloody pulp and therefore feel less inhibited about their grinding…

  103. 103
    erlking says:

    @The Republic of Stupidity: Not an accident at all–the SS dress uniforms were designed and produced by Hugo Boss:

    http://www.nytimes.com/1997/08.....egime.html

  104. 104
    Mike G says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor:

    celebrate the individual men in the SS unit for their valor in fighting for freedom and against Bolshevist Communism.

    Teatard rules – as long as corporations are doing well, that’s “freedom”. It’s Stockholm Syndrome for corporate drones. Property rights are everything, individual rights are a librul nuisance with their inconvenient distribution to everybody.

    Imagining being at the top of a heirarchical society with lots of people to oppress and look down upon is probably a bonus.

  105. 105
    The Republic of Stupidity says:

    @erlking:

    Now THAT’S creepy…

    Kinda on part w/ Mitsubishi making Zeros…

  106. 106
    tammanycall says:

    In a few years, Marcy Kaptur will be f*cking women over, and we’ll be calling her the new Bart Stupak. But that won’t be so bad, because she agrees with us on other issues, right?
    Right?….

  107. 107
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @tammanycall: Would you prefer the Nazi?

  108. 108
    Yutsano says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: The answer to that question could indeed be yes. So I’d just as soon let that sleeping dog lie.

  109. 109
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Yutsano: Well, it is a binary choice in this situation, isn’t it? I do, however, take your point.

  110. 110
    Jack says:

    Bomb Dresden? Hero.

    Dress up like a Nazi? Sicko.

  111. 111
    Nick says:

    @tammanycall:

    In a few years, Marcy Kaptur will be f*cking women over, and we’ll be calling her the new Bart Stupak. But that won’t be so bad, because she agrees with us on other issues, right?
    Right?….

    She is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, staunchly anti-war, supports single payer, opposed the Bush tax cuts, opposed NAFTA and was once voted “Most Valuable Member of Congress” by The Nation.

    so…yeah.

  112. 112

    @honus:

    The Nazis were a lot more impressive in capturing territory when they were fighting only the British and the Russians and Italians were on their side. After that, not so much. they were gone from North Africa by the spring of 1943, Italy a year later, and were pretty much done in France six months after Normandy.

    And if Churchill hadn’t fucked up and pulled Wavell’s forces out of North Africa in 1941 to go traipsing off to Greece the Germans wouldn’t even have gotten into North Africa. The Nazis were also really good at capturing territory because their opponents were outgunned and stabbed in the back by the Soviets (Poland) or completely and totally incompetent (France and the Soviet Union).

    Reminds me of what A J Liebling said about the Army of Northern Virginia: “Good club, couldn’t win on the road”

    That’s hilarious.

  113. 113
    Ross Hershberger says:

    Eric Cantor just put paid to this guy’s campaign, and probably his political career. That had to happen, but at least now it’s official.

  114. 114

    @Ross Hershberger:

    We should all go over to Red State and set up accounts and then start posting about how Eric Cantor is just another goddamned RINO who’s throwing a real conservative under the bus.

  115. 115
    Ross Hershberger says:

    @Wile E. Quixote:
    You first. I have a low gag threshold & don’t think I could tolerate the atmosphere over there.

    I was wondering whether Lefties troll Rightie sites. On many comment threads in the big media the breakdown is 50% lefties arguing amongst themselves and 50% Righties showing up just to threadcrap and disrupt. Do Rightie discussion threads include a contingent of Lefties spewing bile to derail the proceedings? I’m curious.

  116. 116
    Konrad says:

    @Jack:
    Did you know that we also killed a lot of Native Americans? That makes us, like, the only group of people to kill another group of people that’s not as technologically advanced.

  117. 117
    Jay in Oregon says:

    @JD Rhoades:

    Nazi Germany was a great place to be a certain kind of cop.

    I’ve heard this sentiment also expressed as “The best place to be a policeman is in a police state.”

  118. 118
    Vince CA says:

    This is beyond silly. I’ve had friends be the bugler in the Confederate re-enactment group because it was fun and they like playing the bugle. Re-enactors are their own people and don’t necessarily take on the persona in real life of the character they’re portraying any more so than Will Ferrell is an elf or Mel Gibson is a Scottish freedom fighter. It’s acting! Why we pretend that people are unfit for the public office of dog catcher because on the weekend they get into a costume, play a character, and get out of that costume and go home and eat dinner with their family in the real world is beyond me. We tolerate Hollywood, and this is exactly what they do, except that some of them get paid to do it.

    Occasionally I dress up as a Roman legionnaire. I don’t actually crucify any xtians or murder any Gauls any more so than Iott is sending Jews to the gas chamber.

    Perhaps because the holocaust is closer in our collective memory we have a harder time with this, but really, I’m sure he’s a really crappy person, but it’s not because he likes to play the bad guy on his day off.

    I’m done ranting now. Carry on. Sorry to bother you.

  119. 119
    MeDrewNotYou says:

    @Vince CA: You’re missing the point. The problem isn’t that he’s a reenactor; that’s somewhat odd, but generally harmless. No one is attacking him over that. The problem is who he’s playing. The SS was easily the most evil branch of the Nazis. They were the guys sent in to round up the Jews and gays, they were the ones who shot POWs automatically, and as someone pointed out before, they (this specific unit, in fact) had Josef Mengele’s outfit. When you hear all the bad shit that the Nazis did, most of the time it was the SS that was in charge of running the show and carrying it out.

    Also, look at his fawning statements about the Wiking division. He praises them for being freedom fighters and killing (our allies) the Soviets. The problem is that this guy is basically a closet Nazi.

    ETA- If he’s really into WW2 re-enactment, why not go as a regular old Wehrmacht soldier? They might not be squeeky clean, but they aren’t the absolute evil of the SS.

  120. 120
    Ruckus says:

    @Vince CA:
    There is a difference.
    Reenacting is in theory done to bring history to life. But in real life warfare is just nothing like the movies nor reenacting. There is no blood, there are no intentional injuries, there are no dead bodies, no mangled/missing limbs, no PTSD, no home lives torn apart, no children left without a parent or now parents, no on has to send friends to die. Without these things reenacting is just trying to glorify war. And war can not be glorified. People try. They have been trying for eons. But they always fail.
    There just is no glory in war.
    There can be honor in defending one’s country, and people do serve honorably all the time in many ways.
    But there is no glory. Ever. Anyone tells you different, they are flat out lying or absolutely delusional.
    And this guy and his friends are trying to glorify one of the worst governments and one of the worst divisions of that government’s army. In Germany these people would very likely be in jail for this crap.
    There is a difference.

  121. 121
    someguy says:

    You people are a bunch of bastards.

    Let he among you who has not dressed up as the henchman of a genocidal madman and pranced around goosestepping be the one to throw the first stone.

  122. 122
    someguy says:

    @Ruckus:

    In Germany these people would very likely be in jail for this crap.
    There is a difference.

    And in Germany they’d be in jail for being Tom Cruise and being a wacky ass Scientologist.

    Analogy Fail.

  123. 123
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Vince CA:

    If all he was doing was re-enacting, where are the guys who played the Russian army to vouch for him?

    Of course, they chose to “re-enact” a unit that was specifically assigned to kill as many Jews as they could get their hands on, not a battle unit. Envisioning yourself as a genocidal killer is a little different than envisioning yourself as a Roman centurion.

  124. 124
    The Moar You Know says:

    I hope this guy takes a field trip to Arkansas, where my grandfather lives. He was infantry at Omaha Beach, second wave. He’s very old and starting to get senile, but he’s a championship shooter and could blow the pupil out of Nazi Boy’s eye from a hundred yards out, no problem. And he sure as shit would do just that if some asshole wearing an SS uniform showed up on his lawn.

  125. 125
    Ruckus says:

    @someguy:
    Having a family member stupid deep in Scientology, I don’t see how this is a fail. Of any kind.

  126. 126
    bjacques says:

    In a similar vein, there’s a nice bit at the beginning of The Last Castle (2001), wherein cashiered (and jailed) general Robert Redford tells warden James Gandolfini what he thinks of the latter’s collection of Civil War guns and bullets.

  127. 127
    kay says:

    @tammanycall:

    But that won’t be so bad, because she agrees with us on other issues, right?
    Right?….

    I watched Marcy Kaptur persuade a rural Ohio audience that the size of the US “footprint” in the mideast is insane, and unsustainable. In the course of a discussion on water issues, no less. She was absolutely passionate.

    Fully half of the women in our local Democratic group want limits on abortion, and they vote for Democrats anyway. If I were to adopt your zero tolerance approach, we’d lose all of them. I’m not kicking people out. That’ s not what we’re about.

  128. 128
    Jay in Oregon says:

    Has Glenn Beck had a chance to weigh in on this tool yet?

    I’m mildly interested in what Mr. “I don’t want to call President Obama a Nazi, but NAZI NAZI FASCIST HILTER YOUTH CORPS BROWNSHIRTS” might have to say about someone who dresses in a fucking SS uniform and “admires” Germany for slaughtering Russian civilians in the name of “freedom”.

  129. 129
    aimai says:

    @Jack:

    Well, arguably, bombing dresden took place during an actual war and was only “voluntary” within strict limits. Dressing up like a nazi and playing round up the jews in the Ohio woods is only sick because its completely voluntary and expreses deep seated longings and interests of the person involved. Out of all human history *this* is what he chooses to re-enact? Yeah, I think it qualifies as sick.

    aimai

  130. 130
    aimai says:

    @someguy:

    What’s wrong for wanting to put Tom Cruise in Jail for being a scientologist? Or a hideously bad actor? I’m down with both.

    aimai

  131. 131
    kay says:

    @John Bird:

    No.
    A liberal Catholic, in America, is pro-choice.

    Well, you better tell the progressive caucus, because Kaptur is a member. They’re apparently not aware of the rules.

  132. 132
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    For what it’s worth, the men of the SS Wiking division weren’t subject to the draft because they weren’t Germans; they were from Scandinavia, Estonia, and the Low Countries and they volunteered for the “crusade” against communism.

    @Woodrowfan:

    Some Civil War reenactors though, kind of creep me out, especially the hard core Confederates. Read “Confederates in the Attic” for an interesting account of them.

    Yeah, those guys definitely haven’t gotten over losing the Civil War.

    Robert E. Lee Hodge, the hardcore Confederate re-enactor Tony Horwitz befriended while researching Confederates in the Attic, did marches and encampments, but he said he wouldn’t do battles anymore unless they started using live ammunition.

  133. 133
    Jack says:

    @Konrad:

    As one of those “Native Americans” I fail to see your point. But, you failed to see mine, so I guess we’re even.

    Getting in a Superiority Tizzy about a guy who does Nazi dress up is a bit of a childish snit, when the real wars kill whole bunches of real people, all the real damned time. When so-called liberal Americans cannot drum up enough outrage to stop actual bloody organized murder, but throw a fit every time a silly candidate does some non-violent and perhaps even objectively stupid thing with which violates the professional liberal canon, the problem rests with…

    …the liberals. Not with assclowns playing dress up.

  134. 134
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s one thing to do a battle re-enactment since, as you said, you have to have two sides to a battle. It would be silly to do a re-creation of the Battle of Waterloo and only have British troops there.
    It’s another thing to run around in the woods dressed up as someone from a group that was specifically assigned to round up Jews and shoot them in the head. It makes you wonder exactly what their re-enactments consisted of, y’know?

    Exactly.

  135. 135
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Ruckus:

    Reenacting is in theory done to bring history to life. But in real life warfare is just nothing like the movies nor reenacting. There is no blood, there are no intentional injuries, there are no dead bodies, no mangled/missing limbs, no PTSD, no home lives torn apart, no children left without a parent or now parents, no on has to send friends to die. Without these things reenacting is just trying to glorify war.

    Uh…no.

    On one level, reenacting is a form of escapism (my reenacting time period is Revolutionary War) but it is also a way to act out a deep seated love of history, which is something that almost all reenactors share. I spend far more time telling people about aspects of camp life and doing musket loading and firing demos than I ever do in actual battles (I portray a male militia recruit, btw…which is not uncommon for many gals.) Many women in reenacting demonstrate period crafts and cooking, especially at sites where colonial era log cabins have been preserved (we have a lot of them in North Carolina).

    Kids are fascinated by watching a spinning wheel or seeing soap being made, as well as the firearms demonstrations.

    What I love about this is that I can pass my passion for history on to kids in a way that could never be done in a class room.

  136. 136
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Martin:

    My broader issue with the re-enactors is that I think it’s terribly inappropriate to do now. I take issue with people taking a weekend out to celebrate the brave, noble fight against some opposition, when we’ve got our own goddamn war going on now. You want to honor someone – use that time and energy to honor the guys who are actually fighting right now on your behalf. You want to dress up and play soldier? There’s a recruiting station not far from your house – I’m sure they’d love to have you. Put your fucking historical re-enactments away until the current chapter in history is done being played out.

    I really, really take issue with recognizing acts from the past, of people long dead, while ignoring the same acts in the present, of people who really need and deserve the support. I think it’s cowardly and insensitive, and I think it’s bad for the nation by focusing attention away from issues where public opinion and support is needed.

    You seriously need to get laid…or something.

    Christ.

  137. 137
    Persia says:

    @kommrade reproductive vigor: Also, I think he’s never seen an actual map of Russia. “Most of” my ass.

  138. 138
    socraticsilence says:

    You know how after every racial incident some dick in the media asks the President about it- well, I think someone should question a GOP congressional leader- namely Eric Cantor about this behavior I just want to see his reaction.

  139. 139
    socraticsilence says:

    @General Stuck: no see doing it in a Soviet Uniform would be evil because the Soviets were evil but doing it in a German uniform is… yeah, no sorry can’t even begin to rationalize this one- at least Confederate re-enactors as odious as they are could have bought into the relatively popular romanticization or be “celebrating their ancestors” these guys choose to dress up and re-enact the martial triumphs of what is basically the most reviled regime in human history- there is no mainstream romanticization of the Nazi’s there’s no “Gone with the Wind” talking about how happy Jews helped Fraulein Hilda rebuild in the shadows of the Dresden opera house.

  140. 140
    Ruckus says:

    @celticdragonchick:
    You do know they used spinning wheels, camped, hunted and farmed when there was no war don’t you?
    As I said I have not only nothing against studying or acting out history, but acting out battles and camp life of war time with out the blood and guts is not a realistic reenactment. It is glorifying war, because you left out all the crappy parts.
    I believe from prior posts you were in the military and went overseas. Good on you. I don’t begrudge your service in the least. I applaud it. But if what you learned from war was that it is to be studied without the gooey parts then you didn’t learn much at all.

  141. 141
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Ruckus:

    It is glorifying war, because you left out all the crappy parts.

    Since we don’t use live ammunition, I suppose we do leave out the crappy parts. That is okay with me. Our role as reenactors attached to the Guilford Courthouse National Military Park is primarily education. We muster around once a month to set up camp and demonstrate militia camp life to the public. We stay in the tents through the weekend, cook period dishes on the open fire in dutch ovens and so on. As an American History minor in school and possible future history techer, I can say I have far greater impact talking to children in this environment than I ever would in a classroom.

    One of my best memories from this last 4th of July at Guilford Courthouse Battlefield was being able to explain to a nice young Hispanic family just what the 4th of July was all about in the first place. They had no idea what the revolution was about to begin with…and I was there in period clothing at an artillery and small arms demo to be able to talk to them about it in a way that got their attention and prompted questions from them.

    That is what I do, and I am proud to share my love of history with the public.

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