The greatest leaders, according to conventional appraisals, are usually those who draw the most blood. Most opinion makers distance themselves from Hitler, Mao, Stalin, and their ilk, although even here who can doubt they tower over modern history precisely because of their bloodletting? But in the West and especially the United States, historians, journalists, pundits, and especially politicians tend to admire leaders in proportion to the powers they claimed and exercised, which almost always corresponds with war making and killing.
"One of the most pernicious legacies of Hitler, Stalin, and Mao," writes Ralph Raico, "is that any political leader responsible for less than, say, three or four million deaths is let off the hook. This hardly seems right, and it was not always so" (p. 163). This is an astute observation, and it has relevance even in considering the "civilized" leaders of the United States and its allies, to say nothing of the second-tier communist butchers who continue to enjoy a cult following.