I recently got cc’d on an email from Sean in response to this article wherein he explains why comparing Bush to Hitler is absurd, and I’d like to share it with you folks. (Sean, if you want to use this yourself or something, let me know and I’ll take it down.) I really enjoyed hearing such a rational argument in these days of fury and spittle, and hopefully the rest of you will enjoy it as well.
I don’t like it when people use certain kinds of arguments to support their cause, regardless of my feelings about the cause itself. Doing things “for the sake of the children,” for instance. Comparing a world leader to Hitler almost always falls into that category. I didn’t think the Saddam-Hitler comparisons were fair, and I certainly don’t think Bush-Hitler comparisons are either.
This piece is dishonest. Not because the analogies it makes and the parallels it draws are wrong, per se, but they’re dishonest all the same. The reason the name of Hitler is synonymous with “evil” or “worst person ever” isn’t because he lost the popular vote in Germany, or because he exploited a national tragedy to consolidate power, or even because he attacked other countries with only flimsy pretexts. Hitler is a symbol of evil because of his racial programs, because of concentration camps, because of the Holocaust. Unless someone is alleging that what George Bush is doing is even remotely similar to that part of the Hitler story, the comparison is unfair. To paraphrase Samuel L. Jackson, “What Bush and Hitler did ain’t in the same ballpark. Ain’t even the same fucking sport!”
Bush stole an election using his brother and a questionably ethical Supreme Court; Hitler stole an election using street gangs and assassinations, including that of the Austrian prime minister. (to be fair, Bush would probably try to have Saddam assassinated if it were feasible) Also, Hitler murdered 6 million people and Bush… didn’t.
This article is not even especially accurate. For one, the phrase “people of Middle Eastern descent” is used a lot, often without a lot of factual justification. (Yes, it’s clever how he uses the phrase to refer to Jews, not Muslims like we readers expect) I’m not a WW2 expert, but I don’t think that the firebombing of Reichstag, or issues about terrorists were used as excuses for the Anschluss. The immediate pretext for the takeover came from the banning of the country’s Nazi Party. It certainly was motivated by Austria’s resources, in the same way the invasion of Czechoslovakia was – Hitler made analogies to the “German automobile” working with the “Austrian chassis” in letters – but I don’t agree that anti-terrorism measures were the reasons presented for the action.
Neville Chamberlain’s “Peace in our time” quote refers to Hitler’s invasion of Czechoslovakia, not Austria. I’ve heard this very same quote used to justify why the US needs to stop appeasing Saddam and invade Iraq.
The Bush-Hitler comparison is unduly prejudicial. Regardless, it’s never really going to be useful to compare someone to Hitler, or Stalin, just because they’re such extreme cases. If you aren’t already anti-war/anti-Bush, this article isn’t going to change anyone’s mind. Even if you are, this kind of rhetoric can provoke a rabid anti-war type like myself to actually defend Bush.