“One has to try to understand these things,” he says. “Let’s face it, the duty of a historian is to understand, and to try to convey that understanding to others.” In fact, given the brutal nature of war, he feels he has actually been relatively restrained. There are many details that have never made it into his books. In his history of the Soviet attack on Berlin, for example, he stopped short of including graphic accounts of German suicide attempts, including the suicides of young children. “I left them out because you couldn’t read them without bursting into tears. There are things that you can’t put in a book because they are too horrific. And yet at the same time you wonder afterwards if you are chickening out by not putting them in.”In reading The Second World War, it never occurred to me that he had chickened out. He describes the Shoah, mass rape and murder of civilians, cannibalism, intentional starvation of whole cities, and a whole lot more with unflinching specificity. But as it turns out, he did omit the mass murder of German POWs by U.S. and British troops in the Battle of the Bulge, and he did omit the suicides of children in the fall of Berlin. So now he's telling it like it is.
Here's the deal, folks. War is not glorious, it is not ennobling, it is not patriotic. The term "war crime" is redundant because all war is a crime. War is degrading, vile, and befouls every one who participates. The Nazis started WWII and there was no choice but to confront them. But the U.S. started the Vietnam War and the War in Iraq and both of those were crimes against humanity.
George W. Bush is now apparently regarded with growing fondness. He is in fact a monstrous criminal. And sadly, for all his accomplishments, Lyndon Johnson was as well.