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Cover girl: Caitlyn Jenner in Vanity Fair (photo: MikeMozart/JeepersMedia/YouTube)

The death of Tariq Aziz has affected people in different ways. George Galloway — an old friend of the former Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq — naturally mourned him. Channel 4 newscaster Jon Snow felt that Aziz had been a “nice guy in a nasty situation”. Nobody much seemed to recall that Aziz had been at the heart of a regime which killed more Muslims than any other in modern times. But apart from that, his death brought only one other thing to mind — an object lesson in misreading your opponents.

After his capture Aziz was questioned by both coalition and Iraqi representatives.  Segments of these sessions were released years ago and included a nugget of Aziz’s surprise at the UK joining the war against Saddam Hussein’s regime in 2003. One reason for his surprise was that he knew the Archbishop of Canterbury had opposed the war. You can see how he got there. Leading cleric of the established church: how could any government ignore such a force? Everyone now knows how much the US and UK misread the Iraqi regime in 2003. But the misreading was regrettably mutual.

I recently signed up to Netflix in the hope of finding things to watch when wishing to relax. Inevitably I go straight to “documentaries” and watch a newish film called The Last Nazis. The filmmakers — youngish men and women — are ostensibly in search of the few remaining Nazi criminals and on their “journey” find one old man who tells them that he can remember nothing while plying them with drink and another who gives them a meal while playing a sweet old man act. They fail to discover anything about their subjects and — ill-briefed and apparently unwilling to ask any probing questions — they plainly cannot do their job. The film is a dud, a wash-out: they didn’t get the story.

Except that then you realise that in their view they did. For this is not about the Nazis, it is all about them. A young woman does a piece to camera saying how freaky it is sitting in a room with someone who may have done all of these terrible things. One of the filmmakers says they almost felt sorry for one of the men but know they shouldn’t have. This is utterly typical of the zeitgeist. “How sitting in a room with an ex-Nazi affected me” is the sort of thing which now makes copy. Worming your way down to the truth by comparison seems not just a lot more work but so dated.


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kieran joshua beeston
August 9th, 2015
4:08 AM
why would you want to joke about people who are transgender..if its a funny thing that happened while transitioning..that would be fine, but at people who are, thats not funny. her life as a 'he' pronoun has ended. so what if her previous life she was a he. she never asked to be born a he. you use her name and then call her he. do you think people like us, are ashamed of being born another gender??! where is our standpoint if you think you have one, then so do we!! And to put it under a nazi title..forbidden to joke about them, how old are you..transgender people get beaten up, killed, raped, and you want to make fun of them...are we the but i know who is and its not transgender people. Her life is public but she is still entitled to her private life, and reason for transitioning. there should never be an assumption transsexuals have to answer questions, nobody has to answer questions they dont want to answer. nobody has the right to take that away from anyone, a choice.

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