Newsvandal

When In Doubt, Say “Hitler”

Posted on | September 4, 2013 | 13 Comments

Poor Pol Pot.

He just can’t get any respect.

Despite a solid resume as a crazed, brutal dictator responsible for killing approximately 1.7 million of his own people, his name never comes up when the caretakers of American empire set their sights on an enemy du jour.

The same goes for Josef Stalin, Chairman Mao, General Franco, Idi Amin, Attila the Hun, Caligula and Vlad the Impaler.

No, when it’s time to fire up the Great American Fear Factory for another “lobbying blitz” and bellicose “product launch,” America’s policymakers conjure up the darkest star of human history. They say “Hitler.”

Saddam Hussein? Say “Hitler.”

Slobodan Milosevic? Say “Hitler.”

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? Say “Hitler.”

And now, as if on cue, Secretary of State John Kerry said “Hitler.”

Faced with sparse domestic and international support for launching expensive cruise missiles into the middle of a civil war, Kerry re-booted the Hitler franchise by comparing Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to history’s first name in unchecked evil. In fact, he compared Assad to Hitler and Saddam Hussein. Looks like Saddam is now in an elite class of evildoer.

Evoking Hitler is the foreign policy equivalent of yelling “fire” in a crowded theater. Comparisons to Hitler are meant to spark an immediate, visceral reaction and designed to “clear out the building.” Once the dissent leaves the room, the debate has effectively ended. It also demarcates a rhetorical red line. If you cross it, you are siding with Hitler.

And no one wants to be on the side of Hitler.

At least, that’s what Team Obama is banking on with its next “lite” war. The Peace Prize President likes bombs and missiles and drones, and that means war without American body bags and graves and, therefore, much domestic fallout.

Team Obama is also banking on ignorance—of historical context and basic historical facts—on the part of the media, members of Congress and the American people. Adolf Hitler started World War II. He invaded Western Europe, Eastern Europe and Russia. Over twenty million Russians died. So did 2.5% of the world’s entire population. Hitler declared war on the United States without direct provocation and, when coupled with casualties fighting Hitler’s Japanese allies in the Pacific, some 400,000 Americans died. And then there is the Holocaust. Six million European Jews died in a systematic genocidal pogrom.

Bashar al-Assad, on the other hand, is fighting a complicated civil war with competing ethnic, religious and proxy factions. He has invaded no one. Declared war on no one. But he is a dictator. Some 100,000 people have died. And, according to Team Obama and their French partners, he used chemical weapons on his “own people.”

That fact does make him comparable to another Baathist bad guy—Saddam Hussein. According to “Professor” Kerry, Saddam’s use of gas on his “own people” and on Iranian people sets him apart from guys like Stalin and Mao who, history has shown, are responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

But does that make him Hitler?

Rather, was Saddam, like Bashar, more comparable to other dictators and despots of the 20th Century? How about the Shah of Iran, General Suharto, General Pinochet or Colonel Qaddafi?

They all ruled with iron-fisted brutality—as evidenced by the Shah’s infamous SAVAK, Suharto’s purges of communists and political opponents, and Pinochet’s bloody, neo-fascist repression. They all subverted democracy. They all killed their “own people.”

Perhaps the problem with those far more rational comparisons is that those dictators were all supported by the United States. Even Qaddafi had his day in the sun after 9/11 “changed everything” and he traded his WMDs and access to his oil for a free pass from Washington. In fact, the 20th Century saw both tacit and explicit US support of various repressions, dictatorships, mass killings and, in a particularly woeful period during the 1980s, Central American death squads. So far—from Egypt to Saudi Arabia and across Central Asia—the 21st Century isn’t much better.

But the problem is even deeper than that litany of compromised values.

If chemical weapons are sui generis—thus, uniquely abhorrent—then it is truly unfortunate that Kerry lumped Assad with Saddam the very same week that documents confirmed US implicit and active support for Saddam’s use of chemical weapons during the Iran-Iraq War. What’s more, the US did nothing when he used them on his “own people.” Maybe that was because Saddam was gassing the Kurds, which was quietly welcomed by America’s steadfast allies in Turkey who, like US client Saddam, were also fighting an internal war against Kurdish rebels.

Apparently, Kerry and Co. don’t read Foreign Policy magazine or, for that matter, much actual history. Or, if they do, they must hope that Congress and the media don’t dust of books or search Lexis-Nexis. They might find that it was just a short time ago that a “rendition-obsessed” US government sent “suspects” to be tortured by Assad’s regime!

However, Kerry’s knack for revisionism is nothing new. Remember that classic line from the 2004 election about funding for the Iraq War? While choking on some pretzel logic, Kerry said, “I actually did vote for the $87 billion before I voted against it.”

Well, he may also have been for Bashar before he was against him. Until the Arab Spring came along, Assad was a darling of Washington’s foreign policy and media establishment. Now, also as if on cue, the Daily Mail publishes a cozy picture of then-Senator Kerry and his wife sharing dinner with the Assads in 2009 to discuss, perhaps, regional peace efforts. Although we don’t know what was said, the picture is reminiscent of Don Rumsfeld’s famous, grainy handshake picture with then-dictator Saddam Hussein in 1983.

And that’s history. No matter how much Team Obama refuses to acknowledge it, it does have a nasty habit of repeating itself—like those incessant Nazi documentaries on the History Channel. Hopefully, enough people have watched enough Nazivision™ to see that this sad, belligerent effort to protect Obama’s credibility strains the bounds of credulity.

Who knows, if he keeps on keeping on…maybe he’ll join a long line of people and presidents who’ve also been compared to Hitler.

If nothing else, he won’t be compared to Pol Pot.

Comments

13 Responses to “When In Doubt, Say “Hitler””

  1. Tom O'Neill
    September 4th, 2013 @ 9:46 am

    As I was reading this investigation into the contradictions of American foreign policy, and its citations of how falsely our political leaders have been in presenting this history to ordinary Americans, I found myself reflecting for the hundredth time on the strange way in which our politicians always campaign as exuberant supporters of American education–only to find after they are elected that this is not the opportune time to fund it. More pressing obligations (for instance, bringing democracy to the Afghan people) put the funding for affordable education here at home on hold. It’s not an accident at all. If Americans were well educated and well schooled in critical thinking, they would already know the things Sottile so lucidly sets forth. That would be extremely inconvenient.

  2. War On Syria: Phases, and More Questions | PoliCyBear
    September 4th, 2013 @ 11:27 am

    [...] also: stop with the Hitler. Share this: By Teddy | September 4, 2013 | Barack Obama, Democrats, Dianne Feinstein, GOP, John [...]

  3. Bob
    September 4th, 2013 @ 8:21 pm

    Vlad, an evil dictator?

    El oh el.

  4. Assad as Hitler
    September 5th, 2013 @ 9:40 am

    [...] JP Sotille NewsVandal [...]

  5. Photon
    September 5th, 2013 @ 10:25 am

    It was Vlad who stopped the invading Islamic armies which had crossed the Bosporus under Mehmet III. Domestically, there was extremely little theft in Vlad’s territory. Vlad had gold drinking cups placed at public fountains in Targoviste, and none were ever stolen. It has been recorded that traveling merchants staying at inns, left their gold outside on their burros overnight. A dictator, yes, but his people were protected in their private endeavors from all enemies, foreign and domestic.

    Milosevic set out to arrest all former members of the Nazi 13th and 27th SS Divisions who had remained in Yugoslavia after WW2, and who had remained under the protection of Tito for 40 years. Along with the Ustasha, they had killed about 500,00 Serbian Christians. Bill Clinton used the Media to turn that directly on its head.

    Franco ordered his Embassies and Consulates in Europe to issue Spanish passports to any Jew who walked in and asked for one.

    Khaddafi operated a Libya which had the third lowest poverty rate, that is, the percentage of people living below the poverty line, in the world. I’m still wondering exactly what it was that he did to Obama.

    I’m not a fan of the Media, either. Or its Liberal-sycophant versions of history.

  6. Tom Welsh
    September 5th, 2013 @ 2:11 pm

    Ironically, Hitler’s main association with chemical weapons was that he was gassed by the British in 1918. Blinded and apparently paralyzed, he was thought likely to die or live out his life as a basket case. I wonder why he became so eaten up by hatred?

  7. Tom Welsh
    September 5th, 2013 @ 2:15 pm

    As for education, things are very similar in Britain. Politicians talk loudly about the need for better education – but behind the scenes they quietly make sure it is never forthcoming. Instead, they work tirelessly to establish standards of mediocrity and pull down what outposts of educational excellence survive.

    Why? It’s pretty obvious. Anyone tolerably educated can immediately see that there is no material difference between the political parties, and that hence all pretence of democracy is a sham.

  8. james chiarottino
    September 5th, 2013 @ 2:44 pm

    The brand/team Obama are employing an age-old, JESSE jAMES tactic of diverting attention to the REAL issues. Start a fire at one end of town and while everyone is fighting it—the bandits rob the bank for every penny. Is it the vain hope that the economy will kick-start if we militarize the country with a world war? Can anyone on this planet believe anything this Chicago lawyer and corporate shill says? Lies and liars. There is no credibility in anything Obama and the fools in Washington, along with their lobbyists and hit men are saying. It has most likely been orchestrated by a country or countries (no names please) who are intent on destroying Iran. Lets face it, this so-called Syrian chemical weapons crisis was as phony and set up as the financial meltdown that is bringing us to our knees, as Sottile aptly points out.

  9. Harb1nger
    September 5th, 2013 @ 2:45 pm

    @photon:

    see what you just did: you took their word for it. If history belongs to the victor, you just gave the victor his win. Yes, they were all winners once, but history allows us to decide for ourselves what these evil blighters mean.

    I think we can decide better without you lying to make your point(s).

  10. Johnny Boy
    September 5th, 2013 @ 5:12 pm

    I think the real lesson here is not that we shouldn’t be funding another war, or that we shouldn’t be killing people, I think the real lesson here is that we can’t tell the difference between our enemies and our friends, and even if we could they switch so quickly that aiding any side is basically tantamount to funding a war against ourselves.

  11. Brandon
    September 5th, 2013 @ 7:36 pm

    Regardless of what side of the fence you choose to “Cut your grass” so to speak, here’s my view on this whole thing.

    To lead off with, I hold no official political affiliation but I am definitely more of a conservative than liberal minded individual and I am a Christian.

    When I heard Obama tough talking Syria’s President, I heard toes of George W coming out and thought, how strange this is that the leader of the same political regime that tore into GWB for his decision to go at Iraq now seems poised to, in some way, mirror those same choices made over 10 years ago. The one problem ere though is that I think Obama is only urging for some kind of action against Syria because he thinks the free world expects US intervention. I don’t actually think he wishes to do it though, hence the choice to put the decision to the senate and the house for debate. I know he said he’d take action regardless of the outcome of the senate and house input but I think somehow he’ll find an out.

    As for the comparison of today’s dictators to those of the past, does it really matter how many people each tyrant has killed? Should the international community act less aggressive toward Assad because his “Goals against average” isn’t as good as Hitlers was? I mean we’re not talking about Wayne Gretzky vs. Sidney Crosby and who on average could be considered the greatest hockey player in the world, we’re talking about brutal dictators that killed people. God doesn’t have a scale of bad, to God sin is sin and all sin is equal. If action needs to be taken against a brutal dictator than action should be taken. The US will need to realize that doing so now against Syria’s current will likely not make much of a difference though because there is no “Good guy” in Syria that will take the reigns, both sides hate the Western world. Remember, Obama is only going to be the president for three more years but the regime that wins the Syrian civil war may not go away for many decades. This Arab uprising isn’t about a peaceful move toward Democracy, it’s a violent move toward Islamic oppressive rule. Again, there is no “good guy” side, it’s basically the devil you know vs.the devil you don’t.

  12. Tom Welsh
    September 6th, 2013 @ 3:07 am

    I think you’re being a little naive, Brandon. After all, if Assad is a “brutal dictator” then so is Obama – and both Bushes, and Clinton, and Reagan… If Assad has killed a lot of people, don’t forget Bush killed at the very least 1 million in Iraq, and previous presidents at least the same again through sanctions. As for the moral duty to intervene in civil wars where a lot of people are being killed, Prince Albert managed to stop Britain from giving military help to the Confederacy when it exercised its God-given right to secede from the USA. Do you think the European powers should have intervened to stop that mad dictator Lincoln killing his own people?

  13. Bruce
    November 13th, 2013 @ 2:31 pm

    Beware Billary as Hitlery.

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