I find it harder and harder to write about political matters these days. As time passes, I find myself being drawn closer to God, and to eternal matters. Chief among these are things concerning right and wrong. I have said it many times, and I will say it again: when it comes to right and wrong, if you are seeing ‘gray,’ it is a sure indication that you are on the wrong side of right. This is because right and wrong are black and white – never gray. It’s just that we never want to accept the consequences that go with doing the right thing. We find it much easier to tell ourselves lies than to face the truth. I ran into a perfect example of how we lie to ourselves while watching the movie, “Monuments Men.”
The movie is about a group of Allied experts in the arts who are sent in to Europe shortly after D-Day. Their mission was to save as much of the artwork stolen by the NAZI’s as possible. What the NAZI’s had done was rightfully portrayed as theft, and as an extension of their evil. I take no issue with that part of the movie. However, there is a scene where several of the characters are discussing the difference between the NAZI’s stealing the art and the Russians, who wanted it as “payment” for the losses they had suffered during the war. In this scene, Matt Damon’s character justifies Russian theft because they had lost 20 million people. The problem with this is there are several lies in that one line.
The first lie is simple: if the NAZI’s stole it, then the Russians are not entitled to it as compensation for the damage the NAZI’s did because the art did not belong to Germany. In essence, it would have been no different than had the Russians gone to South America and looted every nation there, claiming it was owed them because they were attacked by Germany. Damon’s character simply ‘rationalized’ Russian theft because they had suffered 20 million deaths.
There is the second lie. The actual estimate of Russians casualties in WW II is closer to 27 million, of which, between 8.7 and 14 million were military related deaths. Even then, the best estimate that can be credited directly to German action is no more than 11 million. This leaves some 16 million deaths that were actually caused by one of Stalin’s purges, or his total disregard for civilians under his care. What’s more, of the 8.7-14 million military deaths, many were the direct result of criminal military doctrine on the part of Stalin. Most Westerners are aware of Japanese Banzi charges in the South Pacific, but few know that Russia employed the same tactic against the Germans – and with the same result.
They were called ‘human waves,’ and the Russians forced to participate in them often were poorly trained (if at all) — and often — not even armed. These waves were pushed in front of properly trained and equipped soldiers, often over open ground and through minefields and other fortifications. The purpose was to absorb the German defenders ammunition and to push the lines close enough so the trained and armed troops could break the German lines. No one knows how many Russians died in this manner, but it was in the thousands – because the Germans were very good at breaking up these sorts of attacks. But the point is this: every one of the Russians who died in one of these human waves was actually murdered by Stalin and his officers, not the Germans – because they were forced to certain death by Commissars who would shoot them if they refused or if they tried to turn and run away.
And there is yet another source of murder: Stalin’s political officers. They were called Commissars, and they were allowed to shoot any soldier they believe was exhibiting cowardice – and they did.
So, with one line in a movie, Matt Damon helps to not only justify theft by the Russians, but to blame the Germans for twice as many deaths as they were actually responsible for inflicting. Now, please understand: I do not mean to excuse the Germans in this matter – only to point out that Stalin was equally as guilty, only he was killing his own people. And in spite of the fact that all this is known, people like Matt Damon chose to defend and make excuses for Stalin rather than tell the whole truth simply because they believe Communism is somehow preferable to our system. And there is yet another lie: that Communism actually works, or can ever work.
See how easily we lie to ourselves?