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Right Intention: VDH & Nazi References

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

VDH & Nazi References

Victor Davis Hanson does a nice job of deconstructing one of the favorite phrases of the knee jerk, drooling simpleton antiwar crowd; and that is the Bush/America is Hitler/Nazi Germany reference. No, that does not include everyone who was against the war. There were some good arguments against the war and many reasonable people made them. This just refers to those who believe that by mindlessly repeating this idiotic phrase as often as possible they are making an important point. But, by virtue of writing an essay like this, it shows that VDH believes- correctly, in my opinion- that this mindset has infected a significant portion of the left and needs to be addressed. Here are some highlights:

Immediately after September 11, Ward Churchill compared the victims in the Twin Tower to “little Eichmanns.” Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.) more recently likened President George W. Bush’s political methodology to what transpired in Nazi Germany. Earlier during the run-up to the Iraqi war, German Justice Minister Herta Daeubler-Gmelin smeared Bush with a similar Hitlerian analogy.

In fact, what do Linda Ronstadt, Harold Pinter, Scott Ritter, Ted Rall, and George Soros all have in common? The same thing that unites Fidel Castro, the European street, the Iranians, and North Koreans: an evocation of some aspects of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany to deprecate President Bush in connection with the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan...

So what gives with this crazy popular analogy — one that on a typical Internet Google search of “Bush” + “Hitler” yields about 1,350,000 matches?

One explanation is simply the ignorance of the icons of our popular culture. A Linda Ronstadt, Garrison Keillor, or Harold Pinter knows nothing much of the encompassing evil of Hitler’s regime, its execution of the mentally ill and disabled, the systematic cleansing of the non-Aryans from Europe, or mass executions and starvation of Soviet prisoners. Like Prince Harry parading around in his ridiculous Nazi costume, quarter-educated celebrities who have some talent for song or verse know only that name-dropping “Hitler” or his associates gets them some shock value that their pedestrian rants otherwise would not warrant...

On occasion, those who are tainted, sometimes unfairly, with past charges of rightist extremism, find some psychic release in calling an American democratic president or his conduct Nazi-like. Thus, a German politician, who de facto unfortunately operates under the suspicions of the post-Nazi world, gains the moral high ground and moral fides by gratuitously deflecting attention to an American — not as the descendant of the liberators of the Europe, but as the true inheritor of the German Hitlerian mantel.

George Soros can nearly destroy the Bank of England in his hyper-capitalist financial speculations but somehow find spiritual cover among the leftists of Moveon.org, which he subsidized and which ran ads comparing the president to Hitler. Sen. Byrd, who suffers from the odium of an early membership with the racist Ku Klux Klan, perhaps finds it ameliorative to associate others with the tactics of the 20th century’s premier racist.

Entire continents can play this game. If Europe is awash in anti-Semitism, then one mechanism to either ignore or excuse it is to allege that the United States — the one country that is the most hospitable to Jews — is governed by a Hitler-like killer. Americans, who freed Europe from the Nazis, are supposed to recoil from such slander rather than cry shame on its promulgators, whose grandfathers either capitulated to the Nazis or collaborated — or were Nazis themselves.

If the sick analogy to Hitler is intended to conjure up a mass murderer, then the 20th century’s two greatest killers, Mao and Stalin, who slaughtered or starved somewhere around 80 million between them, are less regularly evoked. Perhaps that omission is because so many of the mass demonstrators, who bore placards of Bush’s portrait defaced with Hitler’s moustache, are overtly leftist and so often excuse extremist violence — whether in present-day Cuba or Zimbabwe — if it is decorated with the rhetoric of radical enforced equality...


Whenever I hear someone make a reference like this, I automatically tune them out. I don't care what your credentials are, if you say something this stupid and mean it, I know that you have nothing serious to say about politics, national security or foreign policy and don't merit my attention.

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