Thanks to AOC (and Liz Cheney's Ignorance) America Is Having a Conversation We Need to Have
Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) attacked her fellow Member of Congress, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday, after the New York Democrat said in a video that the Trump administration is operating concentration camps to house migrants.
"The U.S. is running concentration camps on our southern border and that is exactly what they are," Ocasio-Cortez declared.
Cheney, who is the third most-powerful Republican in the House, attacked AOC, telling her she should "spend just a few minutes learning some actual history." She further criticized Ocasio-Cortez, saying, "6 million Jews were exterminated in the Holocaust. You demean their memory and disgrace yourself with comments like this."
Congresswoman Cheney's tweet drew a great deal of attention – and anger.
It wasn't long before historians and authoritarianism experts weighed in – to tell Cheney was she was absolutely wrong, and AOC is correct.
Among those wanting to set the record straight were actor and activist George Takei, who at the age of five was taken from his home with his parents and sent to live in a U.S. Japanese internment camp.
I know what concentration camps are. I was inside two of them, in America. And yes, we are operating such camps again.
— George Takei (@GeorgeTakei) June 19, 2019
Some also criticized or corrected journalists for refusing to use the term "concentration camps," for fear of upsetting conservatives.
AOC: Close Concentration Camps!
GOP: Study history—they’re NOT Concentration Camps
Historians: Yes they are
GOP: No—ask Japanese
Japanese: Yes they are
GOP: No—ask Jews
Jews: Yes they are
GOP: No—we simply detain large numbers of refugees under armed guard
Dictionary: 🤔 pic.twitter.com/reh0x5NuHu
— Qasim Rashid, Esq. (@QasimRashid) June 19, 2019
Some are claiming calling the concentration camps "concentration camps" invokes Godwin's Law, which notes that the longer an internet discussion goes on, the more likely Hitler will somehow be invoked. They should know the creator of Godwin's Law, Mike Godwin, retweeted this:
I did my dissertation on #ConcentrationCamps, so I have a few thoughts about @AOC's use of the term to describe the build up of camps on the US southern border. For those in a hurry, here's the take-home message: By any reasonable definition, these are concentration camps
— Lester Andrist (@landrist) June 18, 2019
He also engaged with MSNBC's Chris Hayes, saying that yes, these are concentration camps.
Chris, I think they're concentration camps. Keep in mind that one of their functions *by design* is to punish those individuals and families who are detained. So even the "charged" term is appropriate.
— Mike Godwin (@sfmnemonic) June 18, 2019
Here are other experts making sure Americans understand that we, indeed, are operating concentration camps:
"Things can be concentration camps without being Dachau or Auschwitz. Concentration camps in general have always been designed...to separate one group of people from another group." - Waitman Wade Beorn, Holocaust and genocide studies historian at the University of Virginia https://t.co/1gaFpj0pwK
— Mehdi Hasan (@mehdirhasan) June 18, 2019
Hi, historian specializing in Eugenics and the Holocaust here. Hitler didn't snap his finger and suddenly kill Jews one day, he imposed a system of oppression towards them including but not limited to work camps before it got to that. Aka: ur wrong. 😊✌️ https://t.co/Om5FNshlZL
— allie (@janetsnakeholez) June 19, 2019
Hi @Liz_Cheney ! Speaking in my professional capacity as a real-life historian AND Jew, just letting you know there is/was a difference between concentration and extermination camps. Also "we're not as bad as the Nazis" is not a great defense of policy. https://t.co/t9MF6Aqz2s
— Suzanne Schneider (@suzy_schneider) June 18, 2019
1/x Historian here, @Liz_Cheney: The term "concentration camp" does NOT refer only to Nazi or more specifically Holocaust camps. In fact (yes, just a fact: please read up) it is also commonly used for camps in other contexts, for instance the Boer War or former Soviet camps. @AOC https://t.co/tS8PvHBsm1
— Tarik Cyril Amar (@TarikCyrilAmar) June 18, 2019
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