Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The N-Word. No, the Other One.

Diane McWhorter has a phenomenal essay up at on the valid comparisons to be made between the current administration and the lessons of Nazi Germany. It's very good and should give all sides food for thought.

Suck it, Godwin.


Mike said...

Thanks, OM. That's a great piece. Spot on in many ways.

The Banality Of "Evildoers," indeed.

Tokyo Joe said...

OM, great article, but I got to admit that I have some reservations about it. Sure there are many things that the current administration has in common with the Nazi's, but the term Nazi means so much more than the historic aspect of Germany. Since WWII, the term has grown in its evil to the point of legendary levels. There are many cultures and periods of human history where the govt has used torture and despotic techniques, why didn't Sen Durbin use the Stalinist, the Maoist, or even the current N. Koreans as comparisons? Because none of them have the same association of evil as the Nazis.

Also, some of the comparisons that were used in the article were pretty weak. "shock & awe" and vilification of an enemy are not tactics invented or sorely used by the Nazis. Use of overwhelming force for propaganda was used by Sherman in the Civil War and Genghis Kahn over 700 years ago.

So yes there are some despicable things the US is doing that the Nazis also did, but they aren't the only ones to compare to and to compare them is just a pull at heart strings more than a logical argument.

Otto Man said...

I agree, TJ, that some of the points of comparison were over the top, but I still think McWhorter makes an excellent point -- the Nazi analogy isn't useful because of comparisons to their evil or war crimes, but rather because it shows how a good and decent society of civilized people can be led, inch by inch, degree by degree, into accepting such uncivilized and crude behavior as acceptable.

Bush will never ever be Hitler, and anyone who compares the two isn't worth listening too. But we as a people do look a bit like the Germans of the late Weimar era and early Nazi era, slowly casting off our ideals out of fear and panic, having our hatred of an ill-defined enemy warp our own civilized traditions and the tried-and-true rule of law.

That's where I think the analogy is useful and sobering. War has always been brutal, and war crimes only depend on the perspective of the person pointing the finger. But the domestic issues -- the slow acculturation we're having to overly authoritarian politics, all-intrusive government spying, and centralized power -- well, those are the ones where we should be alarmed.

Bob said...

The reality of the article is more than anyone comparing the actions of the Bush administration to the actions of the Nazi's, it is a indictment on us as Americans that we may not have stood up to Bush or the Republican's had they not failed so miserable on every front of their own agenda.

The author makes a good point. Keep in mind, it was an overwhelming majority of Democratic Senators and Congressman who voted in favor of a war that they now say was a mistake based on faulty intelligence. All of the rest of us Democrats saw through Colin Powell's presentation to the U.N. and the rest of the Bush pro-war propaganda. Why didn't the Democrats who voted for the damn war? Was it any less of a distraction to the war in Afghanistan than it is now? Didn't numerous people demonstrate how many weapons were destroyed in Iraq under the containment policy? How many Democratic Senators voted in favor of the "PATRIOT" Act? You see, many of the Democrats in office were led into war, based on Bush's then high ratings and "success" in the war on terror. Why wouldn't the rest of America support him today if Bush had quickly and successfully executed the war in Iraq? It's a very scary reality.

An attempted murderer will go to jail, but in this case it's as if Bush's weakness was to fail at his attempted crime, not the crime itself. Had the "murder" been a success, he would have gotten off. I wonder what future, evil, yet more "competent" Presidents, will use these now acceptable techniques to lead us into giving away more of our freedoms, or leading us into a war?

I have to wonder, without the web, international news outlets, and a digital camera in every pocket, would Bush have attempted to get away with more drastic, Nazi-like schemes?