Similarities: The Bush Admin. and Nazi Germany

A censorship discussion begun over at the Annoyed Librarian has evolved into something entirely different. It has morphed into a discussion about how the Bush regime is systematically destroying our civil liberties (making any censorship concessions we now make all the more egregious), contributing to human rights violations, and committing other atrocities in incredibly fascist ways. So, as a courtesy to AL I have opened the discussion here for further comment. The following comment started the thread:

AL wrote: “The United States is not like the Weimar Republic or like Nazi Germany in any relevant aspects.”

OK, let’s see what civil liberties have been desecrated over the last six years:

1) Our government has been holding people for years without any charges levied against them at Guantanamo Bay.

2) Our government participates in extraordinary rendition by sending unindicted individuals beyond the confines of the US for, “interrogation.”

3) Our government is using State sponsored torture to elicit confessions from prisoners.

4) Our government is using mercenaries to operate outside of military law (i.e., Halliburton, etc…).

5) Our government is now able to secretly search property, and confiscate personal information without probable cause, and without any notification that any search was even conducted via the Patriot Act.

6) Our government is warrantlessly wiretapping its own citizens, using both the NSA and the FBI (TALON).

7) Our government is temporarily holding protesters who participate in anti-administration rallies against their will.

8 ) Our government is reclassifying previously declassified documents in order to prevent them from being accessed via FOI requests.

9) Our government is profiling people based on their race.

10) Our government is now strip searching people at airports via backscatter X-Ray.

Are you serious?

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~ by Woeful on March 6, 2007.

5 Responses to “Similarities: The Bush Admin. and Nazi Germany”

  1. No comments?

    I caused a maelstrom over at the Annoyed Librarian’s blog…

    I initially evoked the issue of Nazism as a basis for the foundation of my argument that censoring anything is a bad idea (even porn) because censorship tends to mushroom out of control once it begins. History has taught us that sooner or later censorship will affect something that actually matters to you. It’s only a matter of time, so the door is best left closed. And yes, restricting Internet access is a form of censorship.

    AL insisted that my comparison of the Bush Administration to Hitler’s Germany was a false analogy. So, I posted the reply that is the basis for this post. In retrospect, #1 on my list should have been, Our government’s unprovoked bombing, invasion, and occupation of a sovereign nation.

    I guess AL and other readers didn’t know how to respond to my top 10 list, because the post was ignored until someone going by the name privateer6 chimed in and suggested that if you’re not an American, you can be rounded up under the Geneva protocol and shot (I think he might be Dick Cheney). Privateer6 thinks this OK because any foreigner can be classified as an “unlawful combatant.” This categorization, however, is very much in dispute under international law and has yet to be proven credible.

    Privateer6 also asserted that we are, in some way, doing these illegally held captives some kind of favor by putting them up in “Club Gitmo.” Amnesty International would have a field day with this. Furthermore, he marginalizes the reports of torture, and of extraordinary rendition by which many people have been FedExed to secret CIA prisons all over the world, (not only to Gitmo as he suggests). I could go on refuting his claims, but I’ve already made my point.

    After these assertions were made, I thought it was best to move the thread here since the discussion became one about the foundation of my argument and not the original question itself. Of course this also stifled my participation in the original discussion, because the underpinnings of my argument are necessary for intelligent discussion on the matter based on my point of view.

    One would think that most people would be outraged by the assertions supporting executions and torture, however, nobody refuted Privateer6’s comments. Later, AL gave her 2-cents by pointing out that unlike the early days of the Nazi regime, we don’t have armed political parties fighting in the street. I’m glad about this, and I would prefer to keep it that way by not ceding any other rights, violating civil liberties and human rights, or subjugating populations. I’m not really sure why she then pointed out that we are not in a depression as Germany was, and that nobody is ready to take internal control of our government. This doesn’t refute any of the items on my list, and this I concede. Our situation is not a clone of Germany’s, but clearly there are relevant similarities between the policies of Nazi Germany and many policies of the Bush Administration.

    My list wasn’t intended to be a point-by-point comparison of the Bush Administration’s policies to Hitler’s Germany. Nor is it a comparison of the times in which we live, to the Great Depression. The examples that I outlined, however, are great illustrations of the gradual erosion of our civil liberties, and American ideals. The fact that they do parallel some of the tactics used by the Nazi’s only makes the situation more alarming and indicates that too much ground has already been given. We don’t need any more restrictions, what we need are better ideas!

  2. I completely agree on the fact that our civil liberties are being taken away bit by bit. And it’s all fine and good to discuss and discuss, but what do we DO about it? Do our Congresspeople listen to us? Or aren’t there enough people making noise?

  3. We vote for change, that’s what we do. The mid-term elections were a good start. January 20, 2009 can’t come quickly enough for me.

    As an aside, subsequent to my post, I discovered the following document from Amnesty International that substantiates the points I made: http://web.amnesty.org/library/index/ENGAMR511542006

    I really can’t imagine why more people aren’t making noise about this? We’re sacrificing our ideals, and forfeiting the very things that make us great in the process.

  4. First off I wish you would have posted the fact that you placed this topic on your blog, as I would have responded to this post much sooner and not wait 6.5 months. I just want to set the record straight on a few things.

    “1) Our government has been holding people for years without any charges levied against them at Guantanamo Bay.”

    According to the four Geneva Protocols, an “unlawful combatant” is someone who is A) doesn’t wear a military uniform or if, a partisan, not wearing an identification device , i.e. armband, hat pin, patch, etc, of some sort; ignore the rules of ground warfare,i.e. deliberately targeting civilians, places of worship,etc. Unlawful combatants are not entitled to any of the rights of the Geneva Conventions. Essentially they can be executed upon capture, so the US is doing them a favor by by allowing them to live at club Gitmo.

    “2) Our government participates in extraordinary rendition by sending unindicted individuals beyond the confines of the US for, ‘interrogation.”
    Since the “unindicted individuals” were not captured on US territory, how can they be sent beyond the confines of the US if they never touched US soil. Actually this is standard practice since WWII when Eisenhower, under the direction of Presidents Roosevelt and Truman, essentially did the same thing when the Germans began surrendering in droves ate the end of WWII.

    “3) Our government is using State sponsored torture to elicit confessions from prisoners.” I would love the details on this one. I know that Al Queada’s interrogation techniques are easily accessible online, with graphic drawings, both on pro- US and anti-US websites. Some pro-US will even show pictures of people captured and tortured by AQ. And let’s not forget the all the beheadings and.

    Finally AQ’s manual on what to do when captured is available online. It’s AQ’s standard operating procedure, to claim torture. While you may not believe a translated source provided by the US, do a google search and use Babelfish to translate the page. While some of the meaning may be lost in translation, you will get the idea.

    4) Our government is using mercenaries to operate outside of military law (i.e., Halliburton, etc…).

    Actually Haliburton is a suppler for the US government, both now and during the Clinton administration, so they do not operate outside military law. In fact at the time of this post, the are being audited by the Department of Defense.

    While the DoD does use contractors, they do not meet the definition of mercenaries under the Geneva protocols. Now those bodyguards hired to protect journalists reporting from Iraq do qualify as mercs under Geneva.

    5) Our government is now able to secretly search property, and confiscate personal information without probable cause, and without any notification that any search was even conducted via the Patriot Act.

    Now I admit that the Patriot Act does indeed have problems. There are checks and balances in the legislation, but they can be manipulated. BUT remember it was approved by OUR representatives in a Republican controlled Congress AND renewed with modifications under DEMOCRATIC controlled Congress.

    6) Our government is warrantlessly wiretapping its own citizens, using both the NSA and the FBI (TALON).

    Ever heard of the VERNONA PROJECT. Warrentless wiretapping program that got started under FDR during WWII. It continued under Truman, Ike, JFK, LBJ, etc. So this isn’t new.

    In some ways TALON is more controlled as only calls coming into the country are monitored, not outgoing calls. All call with an internal origin must have a warrant.

    7) Our government is temporarily holding protesters who participate in anti-administration rallies against their will.

    While the First Amendment protects free speech, there are rules that must be followed, i.e. cannot endanger someone, cannot damage property, etc. Common sense says that you break these rules, you will get arrested. Doesn’t matter if you are for or against a war, if you need a permit to demonstrate because, then you need a permit.

    8 ) Our government is reclassifying previously declassified documents in order to prevent them from being accessed via FOI requests.

    This is actually a scary one because the President, as chief executive, has the power to classify and declassify documents. When administrations change, things that should be classified may get declassified, whether by accident or intentionally. Brief summary on this one. Clinton declassified a bunch of documents not understanding how that decision can affect national security. This was against the advice of experts in the field. While some documents declassified didn’t have any relevance today, a bunch did. Bush, following the reccomendations of the experts, reclassified them. Hopefully they can be declassified again someday, if Sandy Berger has not stuffed them down his pants and destroyed them at his home.

    9) Our government is profiling people based on their race.

    What race is that? Obviously you haven’t traveled by air lately.

    10) Our government is now strip searching people at airports via backscatter X-Ray.

    Backscatter is not in use because of the objections you mentioned. personally I could care less, but I work in the medical field, so I am use to seeing body parts.

    Just remember this, if you don’t like how the US is treating you, visit a foreign country. You will see why so many want to come here. Privateer6

  5. Before I moved this thread from AL’s blog, I made it clear that I would continue this discussion here. Doing our best to be like the reprehensible people we fight is not an enlightened approach. Furthermore, it’s an un-American approach contrary to what we are “supposed” to represent. Sure, there is precedent for our behavior on some of these points. This doesn’t make any of it “right.” It wasn’t right during WWII to intern Japanese Americans in camps but we did that too. Clearly, we don’t learn from our mistakes.

    The fact of the matter is, we haven’t a clue what is happening in our own country anymore because corporations with little oversight, control a substantial portion of our military (Halliburton, and Blackwater), habeas corpus is history, wiretapping is ubiquitous, our own citizens are being searched and gaged by the hundreds (thousands?), and extraordinary rendition is no doubt being employed. In the current climate, ANYONE can be labeled an “unlawful combatant,” taken into custody, shipped off to anywhere, then tortured and killed without anyone ever even knowing about it.

    We Americans have become a very sad people. We are “told” that we are freest people on the planet, yet the Dutch, the Canadians, and the New Zealanders all have way more freedom than we ever will. We act as if we’re frightened children and allow our government to take away the very rights that once made us great. We are hardly worthy of the birthright that the Founding Father’s bestowed upon us, giving away the freedoms they fought so hard to secure.

    So far, I’m ashamed to be a 21st Century “American.” The terrorists have already won. We’ve forsaken who we are, and become what we despise. I sincerely hope that we can turn this around, but it’s going to take decades, and a very different way of thinking.

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