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Wed May 24, 2017, 08:02 AM

James Comey on the Holocaust- April 16, 2015

Very powerful, especially considering the author. The article was adapted from a speech he gave at the US Holocaust Museum's annual dinner. Two years later, his remarks are more timely than ever.
https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-scariest-lesson-of-the-holocaust/2015/04/16/ffa8e23c-e468-11e4-905f-cc896d379a32_story.html?

I believe that the Holocaust is the most significant event in human history. And I mean “significant” in two different ways. It is, of course, significant because it was the most horrific display in world history of inhumanity, one that simply defies words and challenges meaning. I was born into an Irish Catholic family in this great, wonderful and safe country, but the Holocaust has always haunted me, and it has long stood as a stumbling block to faith.
. . .
But I do know this: I know it is our duty, our obligation, to make sure some good comes from unimaginable bad. Not so we can comfort ourselves by saying, “Oh, that was worth it then.” That’s nonsense. That would be perverse. It will never be “worth it.”
. .. Our obligation is to refuse to let bad win, to refuse to let evil hold the field. As Abraham Lincoln said on a field of unimaginable pain and loss, it is essential “that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain.” Our resolution does not justify the loss, but we simply cannot be alive and give up. There are so many ways to fight evil to ensure it doesn’t hold the field. Some do this through public service that can involve actual physical battles against evil; others by different kinds of service, including the service of teaching a world what happened, teaching a world what is true.

The Holocaust was, as I said, the most horrific display in world history of inhumanity. But it was also the most horrific display in world history of our humanity, of our capacity for evil and for moral surrender.]And that second significance is the reason I require every new FBI special agent and intelligence analyst to go to the Holocaust Museum. Naturally, I want them to learn about abuse of authority on a breathtaking scale. But I want them to confront something more painful and more dangerous: I want them to see humanity and what we are capable of. . . that’s the most frightening lesson of all — that our very humanity made us capable of, even susceptible to, surrendering our individual moral authority to the group, where it can be hijacked by evil. Of being so cowed by those in power. Of convincing ourselves of nearly anything. In their minds, the murderers and accomplices of Germany, and Poland, and Hungary, and so many, many other places didn’t do something evil. They convinced themselves it was the right thing to do, the thing they had to do. That’s what people do. And that should truly frighten us.

That is why I send our agents and our analysts to the Holocaust Museum. I want them to stare at us and realize our capacity for rationalization and moral surrender. I want them to walk out of that great museum treasuring the constraint and oversight of divided government, the restriction of the rule of law, the binding of a free and vibrant press. I want them to understand that all of this is necessary as a check on us because of the way we are. We must build it, we must know it and we must nurture it now, so that it can save us later. That is the only path to the responsible exercise of power.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 08:10 AM

1. Hard to reconcile that speech with the stabbing of Hillary in the back in the 2016 election.

How can you deplore the actions of anti-semites in the 20th century and actively work to elect one in the 21st?

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Response to Girard442 (Reply #1)

Wed May 24, 2017, 08:47 AM

3. This. n/t

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Response to Girard442 (Reply #1)

Wed May 24, 2017, 11:35 AM

4. I worry that people won't be able to understand that it is possible for him to be

a partisan Republican who was willing to do anything and everything he had to in order to elect the GOP candidate, while also being decent in other ways.

If fact, he can hate Trump, and be willing to expose his crimes--after the election--while simultaneously abusing his power to make sure Trump won. The two actions do not contradict one another.

But way too many Americans will think that they do. In that sense, the GOP benefits from Russia-gate. It helps to obfuscate how they rigged the 2016 election in a manner that absolutely threatens our status as a democracy. Which means that they can get away with doing it again.

Seriously, what does Comey care if Trump is impeached and removed from office? The GOP will still hold the White House, Hillary was still humiliated and Neil Gorsuch is still on the Supreme Court.

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Response to StevieM (Reply #4)

Wed May 24, 2017, 01:24 PM

5. And the Wehrmacht wasn't fond of Hitler, but they were loyal to the Fatherland.

How this was somehow better eludes me.

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Response to MBS (Original post)

Wed May 24, 2017, 08:10 AM

2. I sure wasn't aware of that speech in 2015, and it says quite a lot about a lot of things

especially in light of what the country is going through now


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