furnitureforthepeople.com - Last September, German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin pointed out that George Bush is using Iraq to distract the American public from his failed domestic policies. She capped her statement by reminding her audience: "That's a popular method. Even Hitler did that." What was lost in the reactions to Ms. Daeubler-Gmelin's comments was that she wasn't comparing Bush to the Hitler of the late 1930s and early 1940s; but to the Hitler of the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Most Americans have forgotten that Hitler came to power legally. He and the Nazi Party were elected democratically in a time of great national turmoil and crisis. They themselves had done much to cause the turmoil, of course, but that's what makes the Bush comparison so compelling.
Similar to the Bush administration, the Nazis were funded and ultimately ushered into power by wealthy industrialists looking for government favors in the form of tax breaks, big subsidies, and laws to weaken the rights of workers. When the Reichstag (Germany's Parliament building) was set ablaze in 1933 (probably by Nazis), the Nazis framed their political rivals for it. In the general panic that followed, the German Parliament was purged of all left-wing representatives who might be soft on communists and foreigners, and the few who remained then VOTED to grant Chancellor Hitler dictatorial powers. A long, hideous nightmare had begun.
History teaches us that it is shockingly easy to separate reasonable and intelligent people from their rights. A legally elected leader and party can easily manipulate national events to whip up fear, crucify scapegoats, gag dissenters, and convince the masses that their liberties must be suspended (temporarily, of course) in the name of restoring order. Consider the following two statements, and see if you can identify the authors.
Statement Number One: "The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
Statement Number Two: "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: Your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve."
The first statement is a quote from Hitler's right hand man, Hermann Goering, explaining at his war crimes trial how easily he and his fellow Nazis hijacked Germany's democratic government. The second statement is a quote from Bush's right hand man, John Ashcroft, defending the Patriot Act and explaining why dissent will no longer be tolerated in the age of terrorism. If that doesn't send chills down your spine, nothing will.
When the shooting started at Lexington Green in 1775, those calling themselves patriots were the men and women who refused to yield their rights to an increasingly oppressive government. Today, according to John Ashcroft and his Patriot Act of 2001, a patriot is someone who kneels down in fear, and hands over his or her rights to the government in the name of fighting terrorism. Isn't the hypocrisy of this all too obvious? The Bush administration wants us to fight in Afghanistan, to fight in Iraq, and to fight wherever terrorists may be hiding. And what, pray tell, are we fighting for? Well, according to the White House, we're fighting for freedom. Yet freedom is exactly what the White House is demanding that we now SURRENDER in the name of fighting terrorism.
So what's really going on? Well, it's all a lie, of course. The Bush administration isn't any more interested in protecting our freedom from terrorists than Hitler was in protecting Germans from communists, Jews, and all the other groups he scapegoated. The Bush administration is fighting only to protect itself and its corporate sponsors. It hides behind a veil of national security and behind non-stop war headlines of its own creation. And behind that smokescreen, Bush, Inc. is pursuing Hitler’s old agenda from the 1920s and 1930s: serving the interests of the corporate industrialists who brought it to power.
There is a name for governments that serve the interests of Big Business at the expense of their own citizens: fascist. Here's a short list of the rights we've already surrendered since the September 11 attacks. Most of these abuses are from a single piece of legislation called the Patriot Act of 2001, which was rushed through Congress with no debate in the aftermath of the attacks. Many of the Congressmen who voted for it later admitted that they hadn't even read it at the time.