Thursday, November 22, 2007
Why I So Rarely Listen to Government Funded National Public Radio
Here is an interesting, and completely nuts, part of an interview this past Monday of former Al Gore feminine side, earth tone advisor, Naomi Wolf, in which she compared our center right Republican President to National Socialist totalitarian dictator Adolf Hitler. Her Tweedledee logic is not as rigorous as one might hope for.
COHEN: There’s never a line in this book that says George W. Bush is just like Hitler or Mussolini or Stalin, but there’s enough that after a while, there definitely seems to be the air of some comparisons happening there. Isn’t that a bit extreme to compare our president to these historical figures?
WOLF: Well, again, I stick very rigorously to the evidence. You had the Nazis unloaded coffins at night. We saw coffins being unloaded at night. They talked about enhanced interrogation, meaning torture. Karl Rove talked about enhanced interrogation, meaning torture. They said, you know, we’ve got to invade Czechoslovakia, because it’s a staging ground for terrorists. We said we had to invade Iraq, a country we’re not at war with, because they’re torturing their ethnic minorities, it’s a staging ground for terrorists, and they hate our freedoms. I don’t need to draw an analogy. The analogies are there.
COHEN: But in a sense, aren’t you to a certain degree fighting fear with fear? You’re making analogies here to Stalin and Hitler. Isn’t that a bit fear-inspiring as well?
WOLF: We should be afraid. Look at Pakistan. It was pushing toward major democratic reform, and overnight, they rounded up the lawyers, they subverted the constitution, they fired the justices, and now, it’s done! So there are any number of ways that very quickly, under the circumstances we have now, the president could close down our open society. And I would say that he already has substantially closed down our open society. But quite apart from that, history shows that when millions of people rise up in a democracy movement to restore the rule of law, there’s very little than can stand in their way, so we need a democracy movement in America.
To be fair, NPR followed this up with a German, Josef Joffe, editor and publisher of Die Zeit in Berlin, who said that comparing the Patriot Act to the rule of Hitler is "almost obscene," and that with Guantanamo, "anyone comparing it to the Gulag or the concentration camps doesn’t know what he or she is talking about."
But let's just look again at the statements in bold above.
The Nazis were known for unloading coffins at night? News to me. I can't tell if she's talking about secret murders of Jews and Gypsies, etc. (for which very few coffins were used) or what. But keeping our military coffins from being exploited, photographed as they come off the plane, for the dignity and privacy of the fallen soldiers' families, would be a very foreign concept for the Nazis who glorified the war dead in very public ways. Whatever Naomi is talking about, this is about as weak an 'analogy' as day old white tea.
Czechoslovakia a staging ground for terrorists? Perhaps Naomi is confusing the faux causas belli the Nazis gave for the invasion of Poland with their occupying, with Europe's stamp of approval, part of the western edge of the current Czech Republic in order to 'protect' the German nationals living there? Whatever part of history she is vaguely remembering, it doesn't seem to have a lot to do with our recent history with Iraq.
Gulf War I, with a UN coalition, largely us, against Iraq did not end with a treaty but merely with a cease fire, with numerous conditions none of which the late Hitler like dictator Saddam Hussein fulfilled. We were in fact still at war with Iraq in 2002 before we returned to finish the job the next year. That may not be logic, but it is indeed history, Naomi.
Yeah, Naomi, President Bush has so "closed down" our open society that you appear on the government funded radio and openly compare him to the epitome of 20th Century evil. You had not the slightest fear in saying your inane things, I bet.
The tiny German non-violent resistance in 1943 known as the White Rose (die Weiße Rose) passed out seven mimeographed fliers critical of the conduct of the war. They were caught passing out the last one and 5 days later the Nazi government was cutting their heads off for treason. Yeah, Naomi, we Republicans are just like them.
A corollary to Godwin's Law is: In a contemporary political discussion, whoever mentions the Nazis first has lost the argument.
Naomi has lost the argument.