Column No. 104 By Steven Jonas, M.D., M.P.H. - May 3, 2006
Last week I noted that as the Georgite machine rumbles towards the installation of frank theocratic fascism in the United States (e.g., see “The Rise of Fascism in America,” Gary Alan Scott, CommonDreams.org, 4/12/06), a controversy rages with increasing intensity: are comparisons claiming that George Bush and Adolf Hitler have much in common valid? As you know, I have previously published several columns in this space taking the position that they are (e.g., “Fascism and the Georgites,” May 27, 2004; “Comparing Bush and Hitler,” Jan. 27, 2005,” and the recent re-run of my 9/11-Reichstag Fire comparo series). However, as I noted, recently I have done a good bit of thinking on this subject and I have now come to the conclusion, which may surprise some of you, that such comparisons are unfair. Indeed Bush is not Hitler.
Last week I published seven examples of differences between the two to prove that case. In column I present eleven more.
8. Hitler, upon taking power, established a Ministry of Propaganda (MoP) right in the government. True to their ideology, the Georgite MoP is privatized, through the thousands of right-wing religious radio and TV stations, the hundreds of right-wing radio and TV talk show hosts, the Fox”News”Channel, and their “semi-official” (as they say of Al-Ahram in Egypt and the New China News Agency) newspaper, the Washington Times. There are a couple of exceptions. The Georgites do use government funds to “buy news” at home and abroad, but that’s a small-scale (if growing) operation. And as of this writing they were about to bring into the government one of their principal privatized MoP mouthpieces, Tony Snow, to be the official White House mouthpiece, an example of cross-over. But the Georgites (as of yet, anyway) have nothing to rival Goebbels’ official MoP.
9. Hitler’s first foreign military adventure, the re-militarization of the Rhineland in 1936, was a success; as were his second, his intervention in the Spanish Civil War beginning in 1937; his third, the annexation of Austria (the “Anschluss”) in March 1938; his fourth, the annexation of the Czech Sudetenland in Sept. 1938; his fifth, the conquest of the balance of Czechoslovakia with the establishment of a separate fascist Slovakia in March, 1939; his sixth, the conquest of Poland in Sept., 1939; and his seventh, the conquest of France, the Low Countries, Denmark and Norway, in the late Spring of 1940. His unbeaten success streak ended with these “Lucky Seven” His eighth and ninth foreign military adventures, the Battle of Britain, late 1940, and the invasion of the Soviet Union, June 1941, eventually lead to his defeat.
Bush’s first foreign military adventure, the invasion of Afghanistan, did not achieve its principal originally advertised objective, the capture of Osama bin Laden, nor its second, the total destruction of the Taliban, which now, under the still-alive Mullah Omar, appears to be making a significant comeback. His second, the War on Iraq, is a disaster-in-the-making on a variety of dimensions, and may become a major factor in the downfall of Georgitism, if that eventually happens.
10. Hitler had a muddled approach to religion. He was born a Catholic. Early on in his reign he made an arrangement with the Catholic Church to leave them alone if they left him alone. His own religious beliefs, however, are quite uncertain. He did use the slogan “Gott Mit Uns” (God is with us) for his military. He had strong support among the old Protestant clergy in Germany. He appealed to Christians across the board for his attacks, rhetorical and real, on “Godless Communism.” But there was also the Nazi “Religion of the Blood,” which harked back to the paganism of the German/Nordic founding myths.
Bush is totally politically loyal to and personally believes in U.S. Right-Wing Christian Fundamentalism. He believes “God”, as defined by this movement, is personally guiding him. He may be a Millenialist of some sort also, but that is unclear.
11. Hitler created a concentration camp system to imprison German citizen opponents almost immediately upon taking power. Bush may be only just now starting one for the potential imprisonment of US citizen opponents.
12. Hitler faced the worst Depression the world had ever known. Principally by massive re-arming, he got German industry to spend their capital and achieved a decent economic turnaround.
Bush took a flourishing economy with a Federal budget surplus and a declining national debt and put them all into reverse.
13. Hitler left the League of Nations. Bush can say only that the man he sent to the United Nations to represent the United States has only advocated the withdrawal of the US from that body.
14. Hitler’s foreign policy was complex: driven by anti-Semitism, anti-Slavism, the drive for more farmland, the destruction of Soviet Communism. To encourage him in achieving the latter goal, until 9/1/39 he had the covert support of the UK and to a lesser extent France. He also focused on the acquisition of adequate oil supplies, primarily to support the German military.
Bush’s foreign policy is in part driven by oil. But unlike Hitler, the motivation is to produce ever-increasing oil company profits. Georgite foreign policy is also driven by the ever-intensifying practice of the major U.S. corporations to export capital, the needs of the Israeli Right, and some vague campaign to establish U.S. “hegemony” around the world. The UK is an ally; France is not.
15. Hitler used both psychological and physical terror to cement his dictatorial powers. Bush so far has used only psychological terror at home (although it appears as if he is training a cadre of physical terror practitioners abroad for possible future use at home).
16. Hitler dealt with his principal rivals/enemies within his own Party by killing them (most notably on the “Night of the Long Knives,” June 30, 1934). So far Bush has dealt with his enemies within his own party only by doing things like threatening to cut off their campaign funds.
17. Hitler acquired support from major German industrialists after his Party had announced their platform/ideology and had begun to implement it. Hitler came first; his industrialist support came second. Bush is the creation of major U.S. industrial interests.
18. Finally, there is the matter of the Holocaust, and the estimated additional 44,000,000 deaths that resulted from World War II. Critics of the Bush-is-like-Hitler comparo are quite correct. Bush has done nothing along these lines. He hasn’t even come close. However, to be fair to Bush, one must give him time. Hitler did not start what became World War II until he had been in power for 6 ½ years, the Holocaust itself in fits and starts another year or so after that. (The Holocaust was not formally organized until the Wansee Conference of January, 1942.) Bush has been in power only a little over five years. And after all, with his threatened use of nuclear weapons and actual planning for their use against Iran, Bush has the potential to destroy civilization around the world as we know it. However, that’s all in the future.
In conclusion, we have to recognize that there are obviously significant differences between Bush and Hitler. Indeed, based on the examples in this list, Bush is not only not Hitler, but something of a piker by comparison. However, in deference to those who hold that yes, the two do have much in common, we must give Bush time, just give him time and he may well get there, a few details aside.