Guest Columnist: Bush administration showing many similarities to Hitler's

On Feb. 28, 1933, the Reichstag, Parliament building for the German Republic, was set afire. The Communists were wrongly blamed. In the aftermath, emergency legislation proposed by Reich Chancellor Adolph Hitler and signed into law by the sickly ...

On Feb. 28, 1933, the Reichstag, Parliament building for the German Republic, was set afire. The Communists were wrongly blamed. In the aftermath, emergency legislation proposed by Reich Chancellor Adolph Hitler and signed into law by the sickly Reich President Paul von Hindenburg altered 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. In 1933, Hitler unilaterally withdrew Germany from the League of Nations.

At the death of Hindenburg in 1934, the Nazi party announced that the offices of the president and chancellor would be combined and Hitler was installed as Feuhrer 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 he fought his wars, he listened less and less to his generals, and in his own maniacal way made strategic decisions leading to Germany's demise.


There are a 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 Feuhrer by the Nazi party, so George W. Bush was installed as president of the United States by a conservative Supreme Court. Both 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 isolated Germany from Europe, George W. has been assuming a more insular position internationally. He refused to sign on to the Kyoto treaty for environmental protection.

He has refused to endorse the International Criminal Court which would provide for enforcement of international humanitarian law and the advancement of human rights. 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 invasion 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 required by our Constitution.

Just as Hitler was unwilling to listen to his generals, Bush is not listening to the advice of the military, nor is he listening to members of his own party regarding Iraq. Our Annishinaabe neighbors rightly remind us that "what goes around, comes around." Wholesale slaughter of innocent Iraqi citizens will dramatically increase the retaliatory violence against innocent U.S. civilians and their children here and abroad for generations to come.

Just as the burning of the Reichstag provided the Nazi party with the opportunity for shredding the Weimar Constitution, so did the attack on the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001, provide the Republican administration (Cheney/Ashcroft/Rumsfeld) with the rationale for abolishing many 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 probable 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 Department in January. Its intent was to utilize postal employees and utility company employees as spies and to report unusual or suspicious activities to a central phone number. There has been justifiable outrage from the ACLU and other progressive anti-fascist groups because of the serious Constitutional problems with invasions of privacy. TIPS would create a nation of snoopers ready to "rat" on their neighbors. The program has been put on hold.

Bush is treading heavily on the First Amendent's provision for the separation of church and state as he pushes for the use of tax dollars to support right-wing, faith-based schools.

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.

Ashcroft attacked the 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."

We should be contacting our Congresspeople, writing letters to the editor, talking with our friends, voting for aware candidates in order to raise objections to this Nazification of our political system.

Iver Bogen is professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota Duluth.

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