John Leo

As if that weren't bad enough, the Allies had to confront the ticklish question of whether to suspend the bombing of Germany during Oktoberfest. The Nazis, in fact, had already killed several million people during previous October beer-drinking festivals, but they were known to be very much opposed to being shot at themselves during this culturally important period. "What's next? Bombing during Lent?" asked a New York Times editorial. It appeared under the headline "Let's Bomb, but Sensitively."

Several papers ran daily photographs of dead German children, helpfully provided by Berlin. As a result, some columnists pronounced themselves shocked into second thoughts. Nobody had told them that children sometimes die in war. They had been led to believe that Allied bombs, though dropped from 30,000 feet, would fall only upon the heads of German troops and Nazi-armband wearers.

Another problem was that German saboteurs were known to be crawling all over America, but the FBI was reluctant to arrest any lest it be accused of "racial profiling" or outright ethnic insensitivity. Besides, if you start arresting German-Americans, German speakers all around the world and all students who have ever studied German or visited Germany will hate Americans forever.

National Public Radio weighed in with a 19-part series reporting widespread bias against German-Americans. The series said Americans of German descent had been targets of 100,000 hate crimes -- two had been shot at, three had suffered punches in the nose, one had been slapped with a bratwurst, and 99,994 had received hurtful sidelong glances or insincere hellos from neighbors.

NPR also announced it had decided to cover the war by attending every meeting of the Berkeley, Calif., city council. NPR reported that the council, by a 7-to-2 vote, decided not to declare war on either Germany or Japan. Instead, the nine members and all 10,000 students at Berkeley lighted candles and declared themselves individual hate-free zones.

Somehow, however, America and Britain won the war and established the peace, probably because they ignored all the amazing nonsense around them and just fought the good fight. But then some people always prefer standing around with scented candles instead of attacking the darkness.


John Leo

John Leo is editor of MindingTheCampus.com and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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