Monday, October 17, 2005

That’s no Nazi, That’s my President!

The Atlantic Monthly recently ran a review of a new book called “The Third Reich in Power.” The reviewer, one Benjamin Schwarz, says the book helps answer a question that will nag us into the next millennium: “What accounts for the German people’s support – at times passive, at times fervent – for the vicious and often ridiculous thugs who ruled them for nearly twelve years?” [1]

I used to wonder that myself. But I no longer do. A bigger mystery to me is how so many Benjamin Schwarzes aren’t at least worried that it might be happening right here in the good old U. S. of A.

I know it’s patriotically incorrect to suggest that recent events in the U.S. are anything like what happened in 1930s Germany. I heard Christopher Hitchens himself, on “Book TV,” proclaim such comparisons “obscene.”

I also heard Jon Stewart, on “The Daily Show,” say that just because a few prisoners were allowed to “poop in their pants” at Gitmo, any talk of Nazis was going a bit far. That was right after Senator Richard Durban visited the Rumsfeldian summer camp in Cuba and dropped the N-word by way of reaction. Durbin was, of course, made to apologize for even hinting that the U.S. – a Democracy! – could be compared in any way to everyone’s all-time demon dictatorship.

Like most Americans, I felt pride and relief when Durbin assured us that our country was still clearly superior to Nazi Germany. As the guy said in Caddy Shack, we had that going for us.

Still, that Nazi thing lingers in the back of my brain. I mean, who would have thought the U.S. population – descendents of Thomas Paine and other Enlightenment guys whose warnings could not have been clearer – would be too busy watching “Entertainment Tonight” to even lodge a polite complaint about the Patriot Act. Or the Gonzalez torture memos. Or the recruitment of teenagers into the military, the rounding up of hundreds of citizens in construction-grade plastic webbing during political conventions, or the invasion of two sovereign countries under a pretense no more believable than Hitler’s rationale for invading Poland?

There’s also that little unpleasantness on the east coast in September of 2001. Some irresponsible bloggers have noted similarities between what we now call “9/11” and a mysterious fire that erupted at the German Reichstag in February of 1933. In the Reichstag fire, for example, it was clear almost immediately that some enemies of German freedom – communists – had been the perpetrators. And even though Hitler had nothing to do with the fire (he said so himself), it proved exceptionally convenient in his consolidation of power.

In the U.S., seventy-some years later, we also knew right away who hijacked our planes and flew them into buildings. Or at least we were told who did it by the administration that, like Hitler, turned it into one of the great power-grabbing opportunities in history. It was Islamic extremists, operating out of caves in Afghanistan. They used religious martyrs who partied at strip clubs.

The martyrs had been quickly taught to fly small piper cubs at American flight schools, including the mysterious Huffman Aviation School at Venice, Florida , which disappeared right after 9/11 [2]. Then they flew jumbo jets into buildings. In one case the party animal/hijacker/neophyte jet pilot performed a tight loop and dive that would have challenged the skill of any veteran commercial pilot [3].

The extremists were lucky, too. On that very day, training drills were taking place on our east coast involving scenarios much like what actually occurred. So planes were out of position to prevent the actual disaster. Air traffic controllers were confused. The entire NORAD safety system broke down. [4] What are the odds?

And who would have predicted that steel-structured buildings hit by planes would collapse right into their own footprints from the heat of the burning jet fuel? Especially since the black smoke everyone saw would seem to indicate more of a smoldering, choking fire than a white-hot one [5]. And especially since no fire had ever brought down a steel-framed building before, nor has one since. [6]

And then, remarkably, a third steel-framed building --WTC-7 -- did the same thing, even though no plane hit it. [7]

These were some unlikely events. But the explanations of those who gained enormously from them were consistent. So what kind of country-hating reptile would argue otherwise?

Thankfully, there’s at least one Nazi comparison that absolutely does not work. That’s the one between our new emperor, George W. Bush, and Adolph Hitler. After all, as one smart aleck pointed out, Hitler fought in combat for his country. And Hitler was a great speaker, even if his message was a tad lacking in universal humanitarian values.

Also, Hitler seems to have actually been the guy in charge, as opposed to, say, Goebbels or Himmler. With Bush, we only know who’s NOT the one calling the shots. It might be Rove, or Cheney, or Rumsfeld, or even Momma Bush. But it’s not George W.

And finally, as our book reviewer notes, the Germans put up with Hitler for twelve years, whereas Bush will be our official leader for only two thirds that long. That is, of course, unless some new unpleasantness occurs that forces him to declare martial law. Then we’d have him for probably around twelve years, same as Hitler. I doubt his liver would hang on much longer than that.

If martial law fails to kick in, we’ll have another election in 2008. And THIS time it won’t be rigged. The ballots in Florida will be easy to understand. The poor black precincts in Ohio will get as many voting machines as everyone else. And without doubt the Diebold machines will have paper trails by then.

So in 2008, we’ll probably have a new President. Most likely, it’ll be Hillary Clinton, John McCain, or some younger guy with a really great haircut. Trouble is, Clinton, McCain,
and – I’ve no doubt -- Haircut all support the war. They’re for the Patriot Act. They’re for doing what it takes to ensure that, hey, sure we’re a fascist country, but we’re by God the BEST darn fascist country there ever was.

In other words, I fear the Nazification will continue. I’m trying not to think that way because I know it’s a thought crime. It’s negative thinking. Poor team playing. But I can’t seem to help it.

A couple of years ago, I read a book called “Explaining Hitler,” then loaned it to a friend. He read it, too, and returned it to me with a handwritten note. In the note, he said he supposed Hitler and his loyal companions were “really just a bunch of criminals who got control of the government.”

I’d say he was about right. Those Germans just sat back and let it happen. What were THEY thinking?

[1] Benjamin Schwarz. “War Without End,” THE ATLANTIC, November 2005, 149-150.

[2] Walter E. Davis, PhD, “September 11th and The Bush Administration: Compelling Evidence for Complicity.”

[3] “Hani Hanjour: 9/11 Pilot Extraordinaire.”

[4] Walter E. Davis, PhD, September 11th and The Bush Administration: Compelling Evidence for Complicity.”

[5] “WTC 1: There Was No Inferno,”; “So What Happens When World Trade Center Type Trusses are Heated?”
[6] “WTC 1: There Was No Inferno,”

[7] “So What Happens When World Trade Center Type Trusses are Heated?”; “The Madrid Skyscraper Fire,”;

Jim Glover lives in Southern Illinois. He is trying to stop reading THE ATLANTIC, but he has an old subscription and they keep sending it to him. He can be reached at or