January 7, 2004

Don't Compare Bush to Hitler!

(Someone may believe you)

Even when you control all three branches of government and the major corporate media, you don't control everything. It will be interesting to see if it turns out to be smart move for the Republican National Committee to get itself all up in a huff over comparisons of Bush to Hitler in some of the anti-Bush ads that were presented in a contest held by MoveOn.org.

The ads were not the ones selected by the participants in the election, but that has little to do with whether or not comparisons between Bush and Hitler are valid, instructive or "the worst and most vile form of political hate speech", as Ed Gillespie, chairman of the Republican National Committee, said.

Of course just like with everything else, the Republicans only consider this kind of behavior offensive when it isn't them doing it. As a Buzzflash editorial pointed out, you don't have to go very far back in history to see when Republicans were officially doing much worse (and this ad was just an entry, not an official policy of MoveOn). Buzzflash: "We are wondering where Mr. Gillespie was when Republican supporters were running ads in South Dakota linking pussycat Tom Daschle to Saddam Hussein. We are wondering where Mr. Gillespie was when the Bush Cartel circulated rumors in the 2000 South Carolina primary that John McCain had a black child and was a traitor during his captivity in Vietnam. We are wondering where Mr. Gillespie was when the Bush Cartel openly lied America into war. We are wondering where Mr. Gillespie was when the White House outed a CIA operative specializing in Weapons of Mass Destruction. We are wondering where Mr. Gillespie was when Bush's religious comrades-in-arms said America had 9/11 coming to it. We are wondering where Mr. Gillespie was when de facto lead policy strategist for the Bush White House, Grover Norquist, compared the estate tax to the Holocaust?" Unfortunately, this list could go on all day.

I probably would not have voted for them because there were other ads that would work more effectively in the mainstream media environment. But the comparison itself is quite valid from a cold, rational point of view. Comparisons between Bush's policies and methods and those of Hitler's yield many striking similarities. Bush is more like Hitler than any American president, and more than most other leaders in history.

He attacked another country that posed no threat to the U.S. based on false pretenses. That's an enormous outrage, and precisely what Hitler did many times over. Bush has no respect for the truth, for the law. He has tried to establish his own will as the law of the land. Many thousands have died violent deaths as a result of his lies and his aggression. He has moved the country in the direction of a dictatorship of major corporations, suppressing liberal democracy at every turn. There isn't time to begin to list all the ways Bush is like Hitler, it's an ongoing, daily job.

True, Bush may not have risen to the level of Hitler in his destructiveness, in the damage he has caused. But Bush is still active, still in power. His story is not over. Hitler was snuffed out half a century ago and no longer poses a threat. Bush, on the other hand, could still exceed Hitler. He could. I hate to think that he will. But he could. There is little in his character or his behavior up to now that indicates he will suddenly restrain himself. And if he doesn't, he could certainly rival Hitler. He has a great deal more destructive power under his belt than Hitler ever did. He is squandering it, however, like Hitler did through his insatiable lust for power.

Perhaps a more apt comparison will in the end be Stalin. Stalin, vicious as he was, was cunning enough to moderate himself and therefore stayed in power much longer and was able to wreak much more violence, murder and oppression in the long run than Hitler could in his short, fiery reign.

Obviously the show of indignation of Gillespie, is all bluster, is only for effect and has nothing to do with any real comparison between two power-hungry tyrants at different times in history. Like everything the Bush machine does, it's designed for political effect. But will it have the desired result?

If the comparison was so outrageous, it would have no effect, would require no comment. The Republican leader "would not dignify it with a comment." The fact that they are so sensitive to it, says a great deal.

It may turn out to cause them more trouble that they called attention to it than if they had ignored it. But that may just be a sign of how bad things are, that they can't ignore it. Their instincts are to suppress every form of opposition, even comparisons of their candidate to Hitler, which would be a laughing matter in the case of most American presidents, but not so in the case of this one. Why is that, Mr. Gillespie?

January 8, 2004

Bush, Hitler, etc.

The image of Hitler that is widely circulated is a caricature based on what is now known about the extent of the man's destructiveness, his viciousness, his amorality. It was not what people at the time saw. Hitler did not rise to the level of international influence that he did by projecting the personality we now know was his. He was an extremely charismatic politician, a man of tremendous gifts.

An August 13 obituary of Lady Diana Moseley in The Daily Telegraph, said, "Lady Mosley, who died in Paris on Monday aged 93, was a friend of both Winston Churchill and Adolf Hitler, and decidedly more fascinated by the Führer."

When Lady Diana met Hitler (before she was "Lady"), she was "deeply impressed," according to the Telegraph, "and ever afterwards disposed to ignore what she heard of anti-semitism and concentration camps... 'His eyes were dark blue,' Diana rhapsodised about Hitler, 'his skin was fair and his brown hair exceptionally fine. In certain moods he could be very funny. He was extremely polite towards women. He was the most unselfconscious politician I have ever come across. He never sought to impress, he never bothered to act a part. If he felt morose, he was morose. If he was in high spirits he talked brilliantly.'"

January 8, 2004

  • More on Bush and Hitler: Marc Ash gets a few laughs out of the meme the Republicans may soon wish they hadn't hatched. "Here we go again. Another bone-head with a Bush-Hitler analogy... Just because his grandfather Prescott Bush financed Hitler's rise to power, do they think that means George W. Bush has Nazi tendencies? That's absurd... And who are these bloody Europeans who keep comparing Bush to Hitler? Take that German Justice Minister, Herta Daubler-Gmelin, who compared Bush's dealings on Iraq to those of Hitler. That really takes the cake, now doesn't it? What do the Germans know of Hitler anyway? Why should they feel empowered to warn the world of such impending dangers? Why couldn't they just shut-up and help us kill the Iraqis? The worst has to be Newsweek's Poland bureau. The story they published titled 'The Bush Family and Nazis' was completely out of left field. Who cares that the story states 'The Bush family reaped the benefits of slave labor in the Auschwitz concentration camp'?"

    January 9, 2004

    Bush Hitler Comparison Continues to Resonate

    Indeed it is beginning to appear that Eddie Gillespie's little tantrum over Bush being compared to Hitler is becoming a shot heard round the world. When an image resonates so strongly, it must be handled very carefully. Now that the top Republican in the party's machinery has lassoed the concept of a Hitler-Bush comparison and pulled it into the mainstream of public dialogue, it may prove very difficult to push back out of consciousness.

    The English language version of the Russian paper Pravda, posted an article called "Bush vs. Hitler" and it doesn't have any of the deferential respect that is seen almost across the board in U.S. media. In fact, it shows a picture of Bush with a Hitler moustache drawn on, and it spells "Bush" with an "S" that is a swastika.

    And the article is sound. It makes good arguments. So good, in fact, it's hard to choose a good snippet to quote. "In fact, several disturbing analogies exist between George W. Bush and history's most infamous fascist, Adolph Hitler: Both men assumed power in defiance of the will of the majority; both men used 'great lies' to pursue their warmongering agendas; both men preyed upon humanity's basest instincts to disseminate those 'great lies'... both men were willing to use national tragedies to justify the destruction of civil liberties, Hitler through the burning of the Reichstag and Bush through the September 11th terrorist attacks; both men were/are suspected of either participating in, or ignoring warnings about the imminence of, these tragedies in order to enhance their political stature and power; both men demonstrated no compunction about exploiting a culture of death for political self-aggrandizement, Hitler through his well-publicized genocide campaigns, and Bush who, while governor of Texas, routinely denied DNA tests to death row inmates, even though such tests could prevent wrongful executions..."

    It's already past the point where it's easy to sum up all the similarities. There are just too many to list. Still, in the American mainstream, the very idea that there may be a similarity is considered a shocking outrage.

  • Democrats.com ran "CHILLING DEJA VU: Hitler and Bush; Stalin and Bush's Conservative Reform Movement; The GOP of 1936 and Today's Dirty Politics" by Cheryl Seal in July, 2001.

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