When Even The Nazis Aren’t Nazis

Caitlin Johnstone
4 min readOct 4, 2023


Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix

Listen to a reading of this article (reading by Tim Foley):

In what Matt Taibbi has described as “the worst op-ed in history”, Politico Europe has published an astonishing article titled “Fighting against the USSR didn’t necessarily make you a Nazi”, which defends the scandal of the Canadian parliament applauding a literal SS Nazi veteran as a “complicated” issue that is being exploited by “propagandists”.

Last year liberals were calling their political opponents Nazis and comparing Putin to Hitler. This year they’re defending Nazis and saying you can’t hate someone just because he swore allegiance to Hitler.

I used to think Nazis were bad but then the mainstream press explained to me that many of the Nazis had reasons for wanting to be Nazis.

For generations the US empire has been manufacturing a cultural obsession with the second world war in order to frame all its subsequent wars as “Good Guys vs Hitler Guys”, then the millisecond that framework became inconvenient it’s “Actually the Nazis weren’t all that bad if you think about it.”

So let’s recap.

Jeremy Corbyn supporters: Nazis.

Palestinian rights activists: Nazis.

People who criticize Israel: Nazis.

People who didn’t vote for Hillary Clinton: Nazis.

Ukrainian soldiers with Nazi insignia and Nazi ideology: not Nazis.

Actual SS Nazis: not Nazis.

The war in Ukraine is a giant field demo for war profiteering corporations to show prospective buyers and investors how effective their products can be at ripping apart human bodies. The whole country’s been turned into a giant advertisement for the military industrial complex.

Ukraine is the Superbowl for arms industry ads, except instead of costing millions of dollars to advertise there, it costs rivers of human blood.

Super excited for a future Republican president to eventually end the US proxy war in Ukraine and get celebrated as an antiwar hero and then immediately take all those military resources and direct them at China.

Oh no China’s threatening the US-led liberal world order that destroyed Vietnam and Iraq and Libya and Syria and Yemen and Ukraine and keeps ramping up nuclear brinkmanship and working to topple any government who disobeys it and crushing the world to death with an iron fist.

In the last cold war the media talked about the risk of nuclear war all the time, even at points when the risk wasn’t very high. In the new cold war the media barely talk about the risk of nuclear war at all, even at points where the risk is skyrocketing.

We don’t talk enough or think enough about the fact that the last cold war brought us inches from nuclear annihilation multiple times due to unforeseeable and unpreventable occurrences, yet we’re plunging headlong into a new cold war with two separate nuclear powers.

The list of nuclear close calls shows that we survived the last cold war by sheer dumb luck. There’s no evidence-based reason to believe we’ll get lucky again. But here we are, spinning the cylinder of the revolver and putting it to our temple once again. The last cold war showed us in no uncertain terms that nuclear brinkmanship entails far too many small moving parts to accurately predict and control what will happen. And now we’re moving into a high-tech multi-front nuclear standoff with far more small moving parts than before.

It’s just fascinating how everything gets shifted to the right over the decades. Mother Jones is a centrist propaganda rag. Martin Luther King has been historically revised as an innocuous shitlib. George W Bush is just a harmless old painter. Nazis are just brave heroes protecting their homeland.

I doubt I’ll ever care about any US president being investigated for corruption or misconduct or collusion with a foreign nation. All US presidents are corrupt liars, and that will always be the least of their crimes. Get back to me when they’re jailed for war crimes and mass murder.

You can care about partisan point-scoring over shit like Trump falsifying business records or Biden engaging in corrupt activities with his son all you want if that’s what excites you, but don’t ask me to. It looks like both parties are going to be trying to impeach each other’s presidents back and forth for the foreseeable future; that’s just what US politics looks like now. Meanwhile the US empire marches on completely unhindered amid all the vapid partisan vitriol.

Trying to fix crime without addressing the underlying causes of crime is like treating an infection with nothing but painkillers. The factors which give rise to crime are no mystery: trauma, poverty, inequality and despair. Just throwing people in prison addresses none of these.


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