Crying Foul At the Hitler Reference
It fascinates me how thoroughly the Bush administration (and by that, I mostly mean George, Cheney and The Donald) have staked out and taken claim to the Hitler debate.
It fascinates me how thoroughly the Bush administration (and by that, I mostly mean George, Cheney and The Donald) have staked out and taken claim to the Hitler debate. There are two stages to this: Stage One, co-opt the language. If you own the language (fascism, appeasement, Munich, Chamberlain) you control who uses it. Stage Two, learn the lessons of Hitler's success by creating your own Big Lie and repeating it at every conceivable opportunity.
Rumsfeld, in his half demonic, half unintelligible speech to the American Legion Convention, likened Democratic opposition to the appeasers who allowed Adolph Hitler to light the flames of war across Europe. The embarrassing fact is that a German public, simply denying Hitler and putting the lunatic in jail would have been a far easier, cheaper and better answer than an earlier allied move against him.
But that would be a lesson that doesn’t play well among the main actors. Jail time doesn’t resonate with and surely chills to the very bones, this administration of which Rumsfeld is a key player. Hitler listened neither to his critics nor his generals. Cheney, Bush and Rumsfeld continue to spurn and ridicule theirs as well.
Tomorrow is the first of September. All the nation’s kids go back to school and the opening cannon of the Karl Rove ‘Big Lie’ rhetoric will be touched off. Here we thought ol' Karl had been sidelined, when in fact he was given a smaller office and a more vast responsibility. And vast it is, almost without limit. One might accurately say that his past work, by comparison, was half-vast.
This great and optimistic country of ours has shown itself to be grievously susceptible to drumbeat leadership. It’s a common failure of the public at large to be conjured into mass hysteria. The 9-11 attack set the stage and we have been innocently taken down that road a number of times since.
Innocently? Well, maybe not so innocently.
Perhaps there was another agenda our leaders failed to share with us that may have been too indelicate for so straight-talking a nation as ours. Thus they shielded our sensibilities. They’re good at that and many of us, perhaps too many, thanked (and still thank) them. Dick Cheney arduously protected us from the harsh glare of truth, when he established a national energy policy in the darkest corner of his already darkened offices.
Out of sight, out of mind.
Iraq, for whatever reason it was attacked, was initially presented to us as a lie. Not yet the Big Lie, but big enough. Our government’s failings in the prosecution of this lie have been sold to us like cheap laundry-powder at the expense of American lives and limbs, American values and American honor. The lie has been repackaged. It has become an added-value lie. Only the price has not been discounted.
Bush (and his co-conspirators) were handed the keys to their version of world domination by 9-11. No need to hot-wire the old man’s car, it sat there idling at the curb—resplendent, polished to the nines, seductive and geared for trouble. Jumping behind the wheel, they rode the crest of international outrage into Afghanistan, where they came to the brink of success and (inexplicably) changed the argument. Spinning the wheel and burning rubber, they roared off in a new direction.
Kids will do that. That’s why we keep the keys to the national vehicle locked up within the Congress and the Supreme Court. But not this time. We had no experience with this time. Falsely accusing Iraq, they drove us in a New York Minute from a world at our side to a splintered wreckage of world opinion.
A cautionary tale of keys left in the ignition.
Eschewing the British and their experience with the IRA, Rumsfeld ignored his generals (as had Hitler and Stalin before him), blundering off into a failed Middle East policy that was anchored in Iraq. Misunderstanding every requisite to that wrong war against a wrong enemy, he
Allowed the country to be looted
Stood by while anarchy took over the streets
Disbanded and thereby made an enemy of the Iraqi Army
Failed to lock up the guns and munitions
Destroyed a workable infrastructure
Installed a totally incompetent civilian administrator
Closed himself off from any advice, including from within the Pentagon he led
Maybe he was unsure at the wheel. Possibly intoxicated with the power of it all. No charges have yet been filed. Could be that winning was prize enough and all the more desperate as Iraq became unwinnable. Adolph Hitler himself has said, "The victor will never be asked if he told the truth."
The Bush administration has in common with Hitler's failed fascist state, the unrelenting repetition of what has now grown (of necessity) to be the Big Lie. The drumbeat lie.
The Big Lie is that Iraq and 9-11 are (or ever were) connected.
The Big Lie is that those who oppose the direction of this administration, all 60% of we Americans, give aid and comfort to terrorists by our opposition.
The Big Lie is that we are winning this Middle East disaster and need but a bit more time to tie the bow on the package.
The Big Lie is that retreat from failed policy invites and assures more and larger terrorist attacks at home.
The Big Lie is that Republican victory in November is the only assurance of ‘winning’ the war against terrorism.
We are going to hear the Big Lie every time the door is open to political debate, every time George Bush, Dick Cheney or Donald Rumsfeld mounts a podium. It will be spoken at every chance Karl Rove finds to field an audience between here and the elections. The Rove policy has three times bought and three times paid for victory.
And thus, while still victor, the Bush administration has never been required to tell the truth. Hitlerian justice by those who control the dialog. Whether the press and the opposition party allows that Big Lie to be spoken without question is a matter of enormous import to the nation.
We will have to see.
Other commentary on mid-term rhetoric;