Bush’s supporters demand lock-step consensus that Bush is right. They regard truthful reports that Saddam Hussein had no weapons of mass destruction and was not involved in the September 11 attack on the US – truths now firmly established by the Bush administration’s own reports – as treasonous America-bashing.I'm sure the frenzied hate filled supporters of Aldolf Hitler could have been described in a similar way in the 30's.
In language reeking with hatred, Heritage Foundation TownHall readers impolitely informed me that opposing the invasion of Iraq is identical to opposing America, that Bush is the greatest American leader in history and everyone who disagrees with him should be shot before they cause America to lose another war. TownHall’s readers were sufficiently frightening to convince the Heritage Foundation to stop posting my columns.
Bush’s conservative supporters want no debate. They want no facts, no analysis. They want to denounce and to demonize the enemies that the Hannitys, Limbaughs, and Savages of talk radio assure them are everywhere at work destroying their great and noble country.
Three years later Constitutional attorney and author John W. Whitehead reminds us that the Hitler analogy is even closer to the mark.
Are the Hitler Parallels Too Close for Comfort?
On May 9, 2007, with little attention from the snoozing media, George W. Bush issued a "presidential directive" that allows him to assume control of the federal government following a "catastrophic emergency."If you have studied recent history this should sound familiar. It happened in 1933 Germany.
Although the directive doesn't specifically identify the types of emergencies that would qualify as "catastrophic," it is vague enough to encompass "any incident, regardless of location, that results in extraordinary levels of mass casualties, damage, or disruption severely affecting the U.S. population, infrastructure, environment, economy, or government function." As Matthew Rothschild of The Progressive noted, it could include "another 9/11, or another Katrina, or a major earthquake in California." In fact, the language is so broad that it could include almost anything the public is led to believe might have a major impact on the country. Not surprisingly, the president's order comes neatly packaged within the trappings of national security and safety.
This directive followed on the heels of a bill, which I have previously written about, that was pushed through Congress and which gave the president the power to declare martial law and establish a dictatorship. Under these provisions, the president can now use the military as a domestic police force in response to a natural disaster, disease outbreak, terrorist attack or any "other condition."
In other words, the groundwork has been laid for the president of the United States to do away with our democracy, such as it is, and establish a dictatorship. The president, in effect, has become a power unto himself.
If we continue down this road, there can be no surprise about what awaits us at the end. After all, it is a tale that has been told time and again throughout history. For example, over 70 years ago, the citizens of another democratic world power elected a leader who promised to protect them from all dangers. In return for this protection, and under the auspice of fighting terrorism, he was given absolute power.The rest is history indeed but it is just as true that we are usually unable to learn from that history.
This leader went to great lengths to make his rise to power appear both legal and necessary, masterfully manipulating much of the citizenry and their government leaders. Unnerved by threats of domestic terrorism and foreign invaders, the people had little idea that the domestic turmoil of the times – such as street rioting and the fear of Communism taking over the country – was staged by the leader in an effort to create fear and later capitalize on it. In the ensuing months, this charismatic leader ushered in a series of legislative measures that suspended civil liberties and habeas corpus rights and empowered him as a dictator.
On March 23, 1933, the nation's legislative body passed the Enabling Act, formally referred to as the "Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Nation," which appeared benign and allowed the leader to pass laws by decree in times of emergency. What it succeeded in doing, however, was ensuring that the leader became a law unto himself. The leader's name was Adolf Hitler. And the rest, as they say, is history.
James Madison, the father of our Constitution, said that Americans should take alarm at the first experiment upon their liberties. But this latest "presidential directive" is not the first attack on our liberties, and I dare say it will not be the last. We'd better open our eyes soon, lest we wake up one morning and find that we live under a new regime. Only, this time, it will be one of our own making.