Were Nazi death camp guards any more "evil" than Gitmo guards? Both followed orders

Just curious how that moral calculus pays out. People will do amazingly cruel things under the rationale of “just following orders”. Do Gitmo guards terrorizing prisoners to get information get a pass vs Nazi guards terrorizing Jews to get information?

Wow, you’ve tripped Godwin’s Law right out of the gate!

Military prison guards/interrogators and clean hands don’t go together well, but when one prisoner at Gitmo dies of abuse, neglect or even suicide, inquiries are made and American soldiers are held to account. Not to your satisfaction, I’m sure, but I’m not aware of the Third Reich prosecuting anyone for doing what Lynndie England did. The issue with the Holocaust wasn’t that the Nazis frightened the prisoners and demeaned their personhood; the issue was that they killed six million of them.

I’m also not aware of American sodiers lining prisoners up ten at a time, gunning them down, shoveling them into mass graves, and then repeating for weeks at a time. Am I living in denial? Is the American press too shy to report such things? Or are you reaching by making the comparison? I’d say you’re reaching.

As bad as the allegations of torture and what-not in Guantanamo are, they are far, far behind the level of complete and utter depravity and inhumanity that was common sight on Nazi extermination camps.
It´s not morally equivalent to follow orders to beat up a prisioner to gassing a roomfull of people. Both are wrong, but there´s a clear difference in cuantity and quality between them.

Actually, if you look at genuine sources, there were standards of behavior at even the worst camps. It was not a game of “let’s all be sadists and have a good time.”

The following is from Himmler’s Posen speech, which was recorded:

It’s too easy to simplify the psychology at work in the Nazis, making them out to be cartoon baddies. We also cheat ourselves of understanding how evil really works when we do so.

To answer the OP, keep in mind that the Nazis purposely separated the extermination parts of the camp from the concentration part. The people doing the extermination were monstrous, utterly evil and corrupt bastards for whom no excuse can be made. The guards not working in the extermination parts of the camp weren’t as bad but still knew (in varying degrees) what was going on and were culpable.

Guards in other camps (most camps were not extermination camps) might not have known at all about what was going on, or heard but disbelieved.

Himmler’s speech is interesting and chilling beyond belief. You don’t get “Haw haw haw we’re evil” type language. You see a man trying to justify and smooth over what he was doing. Scary shit.

The Gitmo guards are not exterminating people and feel most likely that they are dealing with bad people (and they are). That people are being held without trial, etc., is a shame on our country and evil, but it’s not in the same class as Nazi evil. IMO.

We have killed them, and crippled others IIRC. I’m not sure where you would put raping children in front of their parents on your spectrum of evil.

First, we have no evidence they are “dealing with bad people”, as we haven’t bothered to give our victims trials.

Second, the fact that they haven’t killed people by the truckloads doesn’t necessarily mean they are less evil than the Nazis; just that they haven’t been ordered to do so. The only way to know for sure would be to order them to do what the Nazis did and see if they comply. Not an experiment I recommend.

Personally, I think they would do so; the difference between what we do to our prisoners and what the Nazis did is more a matter of scale, not the quality of evil. We suffocate a man to death; they gassed many at once.

Got any proof the abuses at GITMO were under orders from higher authority or are you just winging it for an offensive OP?

Proof ? In the legal sense ? Of course not; the likely guilty parties are in charge, and hardly going to investigate themselves. They could be holding torture parties in the White House and we’d never get proof. Under these circumstances, a demand for proof is the same as a demand to end all discussion of the matter.

Still, they openly justify torture; I find it illogical that they would bother unless they intended to torture. Besides, it’s not like the Bushites have ever showed the slightest bit of compassion or ethics or restraint; why wouldn’t they torture people ?

Got any proof of that, Der Trihs?

Which group has the best chance of living? which one has the least chance of absue?, Which type of prisoner* would you rather be?

  • While the ‘prisoners’ in Gitmo are captured enemy combatants - who are afforded Genovia Convention protections, though there is no reason to do so, the Jews were not captured in the sense of the enemy, but more like declared illegal and subject to civil law.

Well, considering that the Nazi camps were unique in that they were specifically extermination camps in many cases and slave labor camps with death of prisoners as a daily expected occurrence in the best - and GITMO, at worst, is a camp for the political enemies of the United States where the death of a prisoner is an extraordinary thing worthy of shock and investigation - I have to say the answer is unequivocally NO.

Further I am not sure that the OP is confabulating GITMO with 8 confirmed prosecuted abuses and the abuse coming in interrogation rooms – that the U.S. government uncovered and investigated and (elements of) reported on through leaks:

The FBI memos described “torture techniques” such as “shackling detainees into painful positions, forced nakedness, deafening music, temperature extremes, and sexual humiliation by female interrogators.”

and mixing GITMO up with Nagram and Abu Ghraib where more serious and egregious rights violations have been documented (usually but not always by the U.S. Military itself).

Anyway, No the GITMO-Nazi Guard situations are not analogous

What information do you think that Nazis got from the Jews? The Nazis tortured people for reasons wholly unrelated to anything that had to do with intelligence. It was also a systemic campaign.

I’ll tell you what: you can make this comparison when you also show me the crematoria, the mass burials, and the large-scale execution chambers. I also expect evidence of grotesque “medical experiments”, piles of gold teeth and valuables, and people so malnourished due to neglect that they can’t eat for weeks even though they’re starving to death because their digestive systems are so wrecked.

Until you can, which you’ll never be able to do, this OP is the worst sort of moral equivalence and is nothing but an attempt to bait people, which I fell for.

Sure DT does. The US has chosen and engineered the situation there for the specific reason of preventing the outward passage of information on the treatment of the kidnapped persons.

That’s proof enough to infer the worst.

I’m concentrating on the hypothetical and probably should have made it "a US interrogator using dogs, shackling and humiliation techniques " vs “A Gitmo prison guard”.

Forget the Gitmo guard scenario- Let’s assume for the hypothetical that you have US interrogator somewhere, acting under orders to use maximum force to obtain information, and trying to break someone with the usual suspects of sleep deprivation, dogs, shackling, forced positions, humilation etc, and a Nazi guard acting under similar orders trying to break someone (Jew. Pole, Gypsy, Russian) using similar techniques, including direct physical torture.

Each interrogator is an obedient solider, and and can honestly claim they are acting under orders. Where is the bright line that says the Nazi interrogator should consider his actions evil in the context of personal morality, while the the US interrogator should consider himself just a good solider, and more or less morally blameless.

Well, if you define them as being equivalent, then I guess they are equivalent. What’s your point? The only real difference in your two hypotheticals is that Jews weren’t trying to kill civilians as part of a terror campaign and the guy in US custody arguably is.

And the German soldier would claim the Jew was part of the Zionist conspiracy against Germany, with just as much evidence.

We have no evidence that Bush, Rummy, and anyone down the chain of command except those caught red-handed are culpable, as they haven’t been tried.

Your logic, back at ya.

No, there wouldn’t be “just as much evidence”. Are you going to claim that there aren’t any Jihadist who plan terror attacks on civilians?

Have I somehow missed the complete rounding up of men, women and children (I always thought there were a LOT of those men, women and children in Iraq/ME…turns out, it seems, that there were only a few hundred after all…)? The systematic abuse starting with putting them in box cars for days (with no food or water), stripping them of every possession (including property), then herding them like cattle to either the gas chambers (or to be shot over a trench) or to forced labor (with little or no food or water)? My god! I’m going to need a cite for this…I didn’t realize we had that kind of room at Gitmo to include so many people…nor that we were doing those kinds of things! I though there were only a few hundred prisoners at most, all or most of them men of various ages, and that, well, the abuses weren’t exactly a secret…being as how we have talked about them ad nausium here. I didn’t realize we were systematically torturing and then shooting prisoners. How are we doing all this???


:rolleyes: Yeah, the US is just as evil as the Nazi’s…just ask Der Trihs. He’s in the thread and HE knows…


Do you have any evidence that they are Jihadists ? You can use your “logic” to justify the Holocaust easy enough; I’m sure some of the people the Nazis killed were criminals, after all.

As they are above the law, they won’t ever be tried ( except, just barely possibly in a show trial to “prove” their innocence ); therefore your argument amounts to a command to ignore anything they have, may or will do.

It was a hypothetical-- there is no “they”. But let’s make the hypothetical guy Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. He has no 1930s era German-Jewish counterpart.