Stodghill Says So

An opinionated posting on a variety of subjects by a former newspaper reporter and columnist whose daily column was named best in Indiana by UPI. The Blog title is that used in his high school sports predictions for the Muncie Evening Press.

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Location: Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, United States

At the age of 18 I was a 4th Infantry Division rifleman in the invasion of Normandy, then later was called back for the Korean War. Put in a couple of years as a Pinkerton detective. Much of my life was spent as a newspaper reporter, sports writer and daily columnist. Published three books on high school sports in Ohio and Indiana. I write mystery fiction for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and others. Three books, Normandy 1944 - A Young Rifleman's War, The Hoosier Hot Shots, and From Devout Catholic to Communist Agitator are now available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other booksellers. So are four collections of short mysteries: Jack Eddy Stories Volumes 1 and 2, Midland Murders, and The Rough Old Stuff From Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2007

This Is Not Americanism, It's Old-Time Propaganda

Blogging and a serious research project such as the one I'm involved in aren't compatible so I've neglected the former. A post I read on a writer's message board jarred me back to the present for a short time.
It wasn't anything new, just a rewrite job on something cranked out seven decades ago by Dr. Paul Joseph Goebbels. Change the word Muslim to Jew and it's pure Nazi propaganda designed to make the reader hate. I had seen it before; it's making the rounds on the Internet because you are supposed to pass it along to others so the hatred will infect them too. When I received it from a Hoosier friend I tossed it after a couple of paragraphs. This time I read it all.
Sure, there are some nasty Muslims in the world but the idea that we are to hate them all is as un-American as you can get. The extremists have done some serious damage and will do more of it, yet they will never begin to catch up with the Nazis in the art of killing the innocent. So should we hate all Germans, or should we have hated them during World War II? Only if we were just like the Nazis.
Americans should keep that in mind. Today's fanatics aren't even close to being as bad or as effective as the Nazis. Those who doubt it need to read more history.
The latest message of hate supposedly was written by a New Jersey housewife. It contends we should treat prisoners without regard for the Geneva Convention. True, if you believe you should sink to the lowest possible level of human behavior just because someone else does it. How does that leave you superior to your enemy? It doesn't; you're exactly the same.
The alleged New Jersey housewife cites suicide bombers as a reason to hate all Muslims. There isn't much you can say in favor of those who kill while blowing themselves up, we all know that, but should we still hate all Japanese because of the Kamikazi pilots of 65 years ago?
During that war when Hitler's legions were out to conquer the world I had the dubious pleasure of running up against some of the meanest, most skillful soldiers the world has seen, the German SS. It was some of their counterparts who ran the concentration camps. One group, members of the 2nd SS Panzer Division, Das Reich, had wiped out an entire French town on their way to the place where we met. For fanaticism it would be difficult to equal the young Hitler Youth soldiers in the 12 SS Panzer Division, Hitler Jugend. And yet for the most part even they adhered to the rules of the Geneva Convention. And so did we because failing to do so would have left us no better than vicious animals.
A decade ago survivors of the 22nd Infantry Regiment from my division chipped in to buy a monument in Germany's Hurtgen Forest. It honors a German officer who died in a minefield while trying to aid a gravely wounded American. It has become a tourist attraction. That regiment, incidentally, is preparing to return to Iraq for the third time.
So the way I see it is this: There are far more good Muslims than bad so hating them all places a person on the same level as the Nazis when they killed six million Jews, gypsies and political dissenters. Disregarding the Geneva Convention leaves a person with less honor and integrity than those SS soldiers I encountered. You don't win wars by hating. You don't win wars with boisterous talk. You win wars with men like Colonel Red Reeder, our first regimental commander in Normandy. As he lay wounded outside an aid station - he lost a leg - he told the medics who were preparing to carry him out of the hot sun and into the tent that they should take a man lying near him first. When told the other man was a German he said, "Then move him into the shade."


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