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Tuesday: April 17, 2007

Stupid Argument Clinic

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:12 PM UTC

Since Jules Crittenden’s site truncated my comment twice, though it was shorter than many posted previously, I’ll post it here. A commenter calling himself ‘alphie’ — no doubt the same idiot who infests Protein Wisdom — was going on about how Stalin won World War II more or less single-handedly by killing 90% of the German soldiers who were killed. Others pointed out that a lot of those German deaths were from gross mistreatment of German soldiers in Soviet prison camps. Here is what I added:

alphie uses an argument that many have used before him, just as dishonestly. He pretends that the German army was the only enemy to be defeated in World War II. No doubt it was the strongest enemy, but the Japanese Army, Air Force, and especially Navy were quite formidable, and the USSR did <1% of the killing and dying needed to defeat them. The German Navy — the U-boats, I mean — was also quite formidable, and the USSR did <1% of the killing and dying needed to defeat it. I don’t know how to apportion the defeat of the German Air Force between the western allies and the USSR, but I suspect that the US and UK did most of that, too — certainly far more than 10%. Of course, the Italian armed forces were nothing like as effective, but they still had to be defeated, and it was the US and UK that did much of the work of defeating the Italian Army and Air Force and all of the work of defeating the Italian Navy. On the other hand, the USSR did most of the work of defeating the minor Axis allies, Finland, Hungary, Romania, and Bulgaria. To sum up, anyone who pretends that the USSR did 90% of the work of defeating the Axis as a whole — army, navy, and air force of three major powers and four smaller countries — is a liar or a fool. Which is alphie? Hard to say, and the two are not mutually exclusive.

Postscript: I just realized the problem. The less-than signs were being taken as HTML, so everything after them was truncated. Substituting LT between an ampersand and a semicolon should take care of that. I guess I’ll go over to Crittenden’s blog and post this there as well.

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