Most perverse among the war essays (and it was a strong field) is David Gelertner’s “The Holocaust Shrug.” The catalogue of Saddam’s crimes and the fact that we could stop him from committing them is argument enough for intervention. To not exult in our victory is morally equivalent to shrugging at the Holocaust. What is one to say about Gelertner, who talks about the morality of the war in Iraq ignoring entirely the predicted chaos that followed? But Gelertner presses on into theology. The Holocaust has put man “under a cloud of sin and shame” and America’s war in Iraq may be “the largest step” ever taken toward the “act of selfless national goodness that might fix the broken moral balance of the cosmos.” I would love Gelertner to explain this blasphemous formulation to an American soldier. Not for your nation’s defense do you fight and die in the sun-scorched desert, but rather to redeem history from Hitler. Thanks. ~Michael Brendan Dougherty, AFF’s Brainwash
Michael Dougherty has written a thoughtful and fair review of The Weekly Standard Reader that manages to give the writers at the Standard their due as writers when they deserve it without ignoring the moral blindness and confusion that overwhelms so much of neoconservative thinking, especially about foreign policy. Michael’s take on Gelertner’s ugly little article is brief and to the point in dismissing the insane claim that would seem, to a Christian reader, to invest the Holocaust with the same significance as the Fall and invading Iraq with the same cosmic significance as the Incarnation of God. In his comments here, Michael is, if anything, almost too polite, but that must be a virtue in an age where crude shouting matches so readily take the place of sober discourse and inquiry. I recommend the review, and for a wider variety of Michael’s writing I refer you to his fine blog, Surfeited with Dainties.