I’m a believer in the truth of O’Sullivan’s First Law, formulated some years ago by the former editor of National Review, John O’Sullivan:
All organizations that are not actually right-wing will over time become left-wing. I cite as supporting evidence the ACLU, the Ford Foundation, and the Episcopal Church. The reason is, of course, that people who staff such bodies tend to be the sort who don’t like private profit, business, making money, the current organization of society, and, by extension, the Western world.
The law holds true for human-rights organizations as well, many of which over time have become staffed and led by people far more impassioned about condemning democratic societies than repressive or despotic ones. Human Rights Watch has earned the attention it has been receiving lately because it is the leader in this trend. And nowhere in the organization is O’Sullivan’s Law more apparent than in HRW’s Middle East staffers. They are fetishists, people who have an obsession with a certain country (Israel) and with a certain cause (condemning Western militaries). How many reports has HRW issued about Operation Cast Lead, Israel’s successful three-week offensive to neutralize Hamas’s rocket war against Israeli civilians? I’ve lost count, although I have heard that HRW’s forthcoming report—perhaps the fourth or fifth on Cast Lead—will document a few instances in which Palestinian homes were vandalized by IDF soldiers. Graffiti spray-painted on a wall during a war is a pressing human-rights issue in the Middle East? Is vandalism even a human-rights issue? Only if you’re an Israel-obsessive.
So we get to Marc Garlasco, HRW’s “senior military analyst” and a frequent critic of Israel. Garlasco, as disclosed by Omri at Mere Rhetoric, has an interesting avocation: he writes about and collects Nazi paraphernalia. He has contributed almost 8,000 posts to a Nazi web forum called Wehrmacht Awards under the handle “Flak88,” with his collection of swastikas and Nazi medals all lovingly photographed and posted online. Garlasco’s Nazi hobby is actually quite ambitious: he wrote a 400-page book on Nazi military awards, and his car’s license plate is personalized—it reads “Flak88.”
A Nazi-memorabilia hobby sure is a strange one for a professional human-rights activist to have. Are there any senior staffers at PETA who moonlight as collectors of fur coats and leg-hold traps? Garlasco must know how odd this looks because he maintains aphotography website that contains pictures of many diverse things—but no tip-off that one of his favorite photography subjects is . . . Nazi medals.
The more we learn about Human Rights Watch, the more the mask slips. There is Sarah Leah Whitson, the intifada-era activist for Palestine and apologist for terrorism; Joe Stork, the radical leftist and anti-Zionist; and now Garlasco, the Nazi-memorabilia collector.