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|Hitler...Bush...listen, there are some eerie paral|
|09/21/02 at 22:59:20|
Hitler...Bush...listen, there are some eerie parallels
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On February 20, 1933, the Reichstag, the building housing the Parliament for the German Republic, was set afire. The Communists were blamed but in truth, it was Hermann Goering and Joseph Goebbles, who orchestrated the conflagration. In the aftermath of the fire, emergency legislation, proposed by Reich Chancellor Adolph Hitler and signed into law by the sickly Reich President Paul van Hindenburg, altered the protection s of the Weimar constitution.
The new decree curtailed freedom of the press, right of assembly and association, and right of privacy in personal communications (postal, telegraphic and telephonic). Warrants for house searches and confiscation of private property were allowed beyond the current prescribed legal limits. Also, in 1933, under Hitler’s leadership, Germany, without consultation with the electorate, withdrew from the League of Nations.
At the death of Hindenburg in 1934, the Nazi party announced that the office of the President and Chancellor would be combined and Hitler was installed as the Fuehrer by the Nazi party.
Hitler started to implement his plans for domination of Europe through a rapid buildup of sophisticated armaments. He used the term “lebensraum”(literally life space) in order to justify taking by force the other European countries. As the wars continued, he listened less and less to his generals, and in his own maniacal way made strategic decisions leading to Germany’s demise. Ultimately, partly because of a lack of oil, and internal resistance by the German people, Germany was defeated by Allied forces.
There are as many frightening similarities between the current reactionary right wing Republican dominated administration and that of Nazi Germany. Just as Hitler was installed (but not elected by the German people) as the Fuehrer, so George W. Bush was installed as President of the United States by a conservative Supreme Court. In both cases, governments used “national security” as an excuse to launch an assault on democratic freedoms. While “lebensraum” was a rallying cry for Hitler, Bush’s “evil axis” referring to North Korea, Iran and Iraq, was supposed to generate patriotic “no think” here in the USA.
Just as Hitler detached himself from the League of Nations, George W. has been assuming a more insular position internationally. He refused to sign on to the Kyoto treaty for environmental protection despite the fact that the US is the worst polluter of our planet. He has refused to endorse the International Criminal Court which would provide for enforcement of international humanitarian law and the advancement of human rights. One reason for this non-endorsement may well be that our own troops could be indicted for war crimes. He is also arrogantly refusing to attend the Earth Summit being held in South Africa this month.
He is talking about moving ahead unilaterally with a pre-emptive invasions of Iraq. Most other nations are opposed to this, but Bush continues to play the “lone ranger” role with our European friends and with Congress. It is not certain that he will even ask Congress for a declaration of war which is supposed to be required by our Constitution. Just as Hitler was unwilling to listen to his generals, Bush is not listening to the advice of high ranking military personnel nor is he listening to powerful members of his own Republican Party re: Iraq. Wholesale slaughter of Iraqi citizens will dramatically increase the retaliatory violence against US civilians and their children here and abroad for generations to come. Just as the burning of the Reichstag provided Nazi party with the opportunity for shredding the Weimar Constitution, so did the attachk on the World Trade Center on 9/11/01 provide the Republican adminstration (Cheny/Ashcroft/Rumsfeld) with the rationale and impetus for abolishing the freedoms granted to all citizens in the American Constitution. As an example, the Ashcroft inspired USA Patriot Act passed by Congress last October essentially undoes the fourth amendment which states: “ The right of the people to be secure in their persons, household papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, will not be violated; and no warrants will issue, but upon probably cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the person or things to be seized.” Medical records, educational records, books checked out at libraries, private telephone conversations are now all accessible to the police with no need to specify that a crime has occurred.
Operation TIPS (Terrorism Information and Prevention System) was introduced by Ashcroft’s Justice dept. in January. Its intent was to utilize postal employees and utility company emp0loyees as spies and to report unusual or suspicious activities to a central phone number. There has been justifiable outrage form the ACLU and other progressive anti-fascist groups because of the serious Constitutional problems with invasion of privacy. TIPS would create a nation of snoopers ready to “rat” on their neighbors.
Early in August, Ashcroft proposed a Camp that would allow him to order indefinite incarceration of U.S citizens, stripping them of their constitutional rights and access to attorneys, merely by declaring them to be enemy combatants, His proposal is related to two test cases. That of Jose Padilla and Yaser Hamdi, who are both U.S> citizens, and are being held incommunicado without charges. It is quite clear that this action runs counter to constitutional guarantees and is frighteningly similar to the fascistic tactics of Hitler.
Ashcroft was dismissing our First Amendment when he warned his critics that they are essentially traitors. He said before Congress, “ To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, your tactics only aid terrorists.” This is the man appointed by George W. to administer a political system which historians will eventually regard as the most corrupt in our nation's history. We should be contacting our congress people, writing letters to the editor, talking with our friends, and voting for aware candidates in order to raise objections to the Nazification of our political system.
Iver Bogen is Professor Emeritus at University of Minnesota, Duluth.
|09/21/02 at 23:03:21|
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