Straight Dope Message Board

Straight Dope Message Board (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/index.php)
-   Great Debates (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/forumdisplay.php?f=7)
-   -   So let's all agree: Trump actually did something ethical and morally correct (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=860886)

Bryan Ekers 08-26-2018 08:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jackmannii (Post 21166377)
The overriding purpose should be to send a message that horrific crimes have no statute of limitations, and that no matter how long someone has gotten away with them they should never stop looking over their shoulder.

That sounds nice in theory but Nuremberg wasn't followed up with strong international treaties and cooperation to intervene to stop genocides and prosecute war criminals in a timely fashion, hence the pattern just got repeated in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Burundi. Cambodia, Rwanda, Burma and the former Yugoslavia and elsewhere, so I'd say the "message" is pretty empty.

SamuelA 08-27-2018 01:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by doreen (Post 21170800)
The prison guard's life is not worth more than the life of any of the prisoners- and therefore he won't be excused for saving his life by assisting in ending theirs.

Again, it's pretty easy to point fingers when we know the Nazis as a whole are proven to be synonymous with evil. But if you actually think about it, this guard had the choice of taking a principled stand and likely dying, and doing what he did, and living the last 74 years. I unfortunately have to admit I'd probably have done the same if the choice were put that way.

BeepKillBeep 08-27-2018 07:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SamuelA (Post 21171244)
Again, it's pretty easy to point fingers when we know the Nazis as a whole are proven to be synonymous with evil. But if you actually think about it, this guard had the choice of taking a principled stand and likely dying, and doing what he did, and living the last 74 years. I unfortunately have to admit I'd probably have done the same if the choice were put that way.

The main problem with your reasoning is, to the best of my knowledge, the Trawniki men were willing volunteers into the Waffen-SS. Do you have any evidence that Jakiw Palij was forced into service?

andros 08-27-2018 08:14 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SamuelA (Post 21171244)
Again, it's pretty easy to point fingers when we know the Nazis as a whole are proven to be synonymous with evil. But if you actually think about it, this guard had the choice of taking a principled stand and likely dying, and doing what he did, and living the last 74 years. I unfortunately have to admit I'd probably have done the same if the choice were put that way.

I might have as well; it's impossible to know without having been there.

But that would not have made my actions, or yours, or Palij's any less criminal. This bill came due.

Apanthro 08-27-2018 09:45 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by SamuelA (Post 21171244)
Again, it's pretty easy to point fingers when we know the Nazis as a whole are proven to be synonymous with evil. But if you actually think about it, this guard had the choice of taking a principled stand and likely dying, and doing what he did, and living the last 74 years. I unfortunately have to admit I'd probably have done the same if the choice were put that way.

Actually, there are no recorded instances of German soldiers facing the death penalty for refusing to carry out execution orders against civilians. They could be punished however with demotion and transfers, so it would be hard to refuse and then continue with the same upward mobility as before. In addition, Wehrmacht and SS responsible for massacring civilians were given a very generous ration of alcohol, meat and cheese whenever possible. This combined with not wanting to let down their peers is (in my opinion) all that was necessary for them to commit their atrocities.

https://www.jstor.org/stable/1429971...n_tab_contents
https://academic.oup.com/hgs/article/30/1/1/1749473

That being said, given how uncommon refusing orders appears to have been, and barring some ludicrous explanation such as "Germans are naturally predisposed to do wicked things!", it seems reasonable to conclude that many on this board would have done the same in the same situation.

(First post on this forum by the way, hello everyone!)

andros 08-27-2018 10:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Apanthro (Post 21171725)
(First post on this forum by the way, hello everyone!)

Welcome!

Apanthro 08-27-2018 10:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by andros (Post 21171815)
Welcome!

Thanks! Read the forum for a week and knew I had to get my pedantry on :cool:

RivkahChaya 08-27-2018 12:44 PM

Let's get something straight: this man was not deported for Nazi war crimes. He was deported for falsifying his citizenship documentation. He lied when he applied for US citizenship. That's why it was eventually taken away from him, and he was deported. The only relevance his war crimes have on the matter is the fact that he ended up in Germany, after 14 years of haggling over where he should go.

It's my understanding that he does not qualify for German citizenship under current German laws, and I do not know how he came to be serving in the German military; but the fact remains that he did serve as such, and then lied about it when he applied to be a US citizen.

ElvisL1ves 08-27-2018 12:47 PM

Strictly true, yes, but if he'd lied about something less significant then it almost certainly would never have come to this point. The lie is the legal pretext, but the reason for his deportation is his (alleged) war crimes.

RivkahChaya 08-27-2018 12:59 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ElvisL1ves (Post 21172090)
Strictly true, yes, but if he'd lied about something less significant then it almost certainly would never have come to this point. The lie is the legal pretext, but the reason for his deportation is his (alleged) war crimes.

If you commit a crime, then lie about it on your application, you can later be stripped of your citizenship. This has been done to lots of people, not just people who have committed war crimes. In fact, if you committed even a fairly petty crime in the US while you were a legal resident waiting for your opportunity to apply; something like, for example, unarmed petty theft, and you are found out, you can be stripped of citizenship if you lied and said you never committed a crime. Even misdemeanor drug use can get you into trouble if it comes to light after your paperwork goes through, and it turns out you lied about it.

Crimes committed in your home country generally have to be more serious, because some countries have pretty effed up justice systems, but you are better off telling immigration and naturalization abut the time you stole food because your children were starving, then lie about it, because if you lie, and it comes to light later, the lying itself can get you in more serious trouble than the initial crime.

The theory is that we don't want people who will sign their names to things they know to be false, even if the falsehood is petty, because we want citizens who are too honorable to do that.

Blalron 08-27-2018 01:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RivkahChaya (Post 21172112)
The theory is that we don't want people who will sign their names to things they know to be false, even if the falsehood is petty, because we want citizens who are too honorable to do that.

We value honesty in this country. Which is why we elected Donald Trump to be President. Because he's such an honorable truth teller.

Algher 08-27-2018 01:52 PM

Here is NPR's reporting on the involvement of the Trump administration:

Quote:

Last year, some members of Congress from New York wrote to then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to ask for his "personal intervention" to push for Palij's deportation.

The U.S. ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, says he had recently been raising the question of Palij's deportation in every meeting he had in Germany, based in part on President Trump's particular interest in the case. After a new government was installed in Berlin, there was "new energy" for the negotiations, he says.
https://www.npr.org/2018/08/21/64047...ted-to-germany

BeepKillBeep 08-27-2018 02:34 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Algher (Post 21172218)
Here is NPR's reporting on the involvement of the Trump administration:



https://www.npr.org/2018/08/21/64047...ted-to-germany

Good to have it confirmed that the real factor was the new German foreign minister.

PastTense 01-10-2019 06:07 PM

Updating this thread, less than 5 months later he is dead:
Quote:

A former Nazi labour camp guard who was stripped of his US citizenship and deported in August, has died in Germany aged 95, the US ambassador in Berlin announced Thursday...

Palij had been living in a retirement home in the north-western German town of Ahlen, the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper reported on its website.
https://www.theguardian.com/world/20...j-dies-germany

clairobscur 01-16-2019 02:48 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Jackmannii (Post 21166377)
The overriding purpose should be to send a message that horrific crimes have no statute of limitations, and that no matter how long someone has gotten away with them they should never stop looking over their shoulder.

The ability to prosecute (or even deport) Nazi-era war criminals is pretty much over, but there are lots of others culpable for more recent mass murders/ethnic cleansing who need to be relentlessly tracked down and punished, and potential killers who might think twice if they knew they'd never be off the hook for their crimes.


Except that these people aren't relentlessly tracked down. I guess we will have to wait for some decades until someone find a 90 yo guy who might or might not have been involved in a massacre in Yugoslavia when he was 17 (I know that people have been sentenced for these, but it's not like every single person involved has been relentlessly tracked). If you want to make an example, then prosecute and punish them when most of the main culprits are still around, the memories are fresh, and the evidences available. It wasn't done properly with the nazis, it's too late now.

And besides I'm opposed to not have a statute of limitations because after so many years, it is impossible to mount a proper defense, and even the reliability of the prosecution becomes very disputable. And especially so for horrific crimes. The more severe the potential sentence, the more we should guarantee the rights of the accused.

clairobscur 01-16-2019 02:52 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Pantastic (Post 21169633)
He was supposed to... not be a concentration camp guard. This isn't really a rough moral decision, he chose to participate in the holocaust and now he's paying the price. If you think it's unfair for him to get deported, just think about all the people he killed and how unfair it was that he chose to kill them.

He is *suspected* of these things. Germany say they don't have enough evidences to even prosecute him. It's isn't proven that he killed those people, and in my opinion, at this point in time, it is impossible to prove.

griffin1977 01-16-2019 03:15 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by RivkahChaya (Post 21172112)
If you commit a crime, then lie about it on your application, you can later be stripped of your citizenship. This has been done to lots of people, not just people who have committed war crimes. In fact, if you committed even a fairly petty crime in the US while you were a legal resident waiting for your opportunity to apply; something like, for example, unarmed petty theft, and you are found out, you can be stripped of citizenship if you lied and said you never committed a crime. Even misdemeanor drug use can get you into trouble if it comes to light after your paperwork goes through, and it turns out you lied about it.

Crimes committed in your home country generally have to be more serious, because some countries have pretty effed up justice systems, but you are better off telling immigration and naturalization abut the time you stole food because your children were starving, then lie about it, because if you lie, and it comes to light later, the lying itself can get you in more serious trouble than the initial crime.

The theory is that we don't want people who will sign their names to things they know to be false, even if the falsehood is petty, because we want citizens who are too honorable to do that.

The entry forms when I first came to the states (early 2000s) still had the "did you commit any Nazi war crimes in the period 1933-45" on them, for that reason.

Not that they expected to catch any war criminals that way, but so if it was later shown you were a Nazi war criminal, they could deport you for lying on the form.

Mijin 01-16-2019 03:36 AM

I resent the implication of threads like this.

The reason I dislike Trump is because of the things he says and does. Not because of the trump name or because he's republican.
So if he does something right, then sure, he did something right. I can say that without pause.

Or if the point is that from now on we should say something like "OK, Trump has screwed up a lot of things, but hey he deported that ageing Nazi", I disagree. Something like this does not rise to the level of beginning to balance out any of the other shit.


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:53 PM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@straightdope.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.