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We Are the Nazi Hordes

by David Dvorkin

And it's time we admitted it and accepted the consequences.


Recently, Dick Durbin, Democratic senator from Illinois, pointed out the obvious - that our treatment of "War on Terror" prisoners in our various military prisons is reminiscent of the way prisoners were treated by various horrible regimes of the past, including everyone's favorite horrible regime of the past, Nazi Germany.

Entirely predictably, the professionally outraged were outraged. Pundits and politicians piled onto the poor phellow. Most of those were Republicans, a gang whose hypocrisy (they've been comparing Democrats to Nazis for years) knows no bounds. Some of those were Democratic officeholders, too many of whom are pusillanimous piles of shit who spend their careers with one wet finger in the wind. Among other critics who should have stood by Durbin were the Anti Defamation League, a once worthy and proud organizaton which has latterly devolved into a collection of Holocaust professionals who act as though the word "Nazi" were their personal property.

While the Democrats were pusillanimous, the Republicans were, as usual, cynical and opportunistic. They fulminated with pretend outrage. They attacked Durbin not for what he had said but for what they loudly claimed he had said. The truth has never mattered to those scum-sucking, toad-fellating bastards. Their misrepresentations were dutifully repeated by the yammering mouthpieces of the American media - a gang to whom truth has also ceased to matter, who give to their reporting of current events whatever spin their corporate headquarters order them to.

Durbin, briefly the darling of the left, that is to say, of the only remaining real Americans, caved. He showed the consistency of spine so common to Democrats. He shed tears on the Senate floor. He crawled. He licked boots.

Leave him. He has made himself insignificant and despicable. Let's move on and consider the issue he raised so briefly.

As American as Apfel Strudel

Since not long after ghastly Little George Bush stole the White House in 2000, the left-wing side of the World Wide Web has been playing with the Nazi comparison. More accurately, it's the Fascist comparison, and it became the subject of really serious and passionate discussion after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when the owners of the monkey who walks like a man and pretends to be president played on the fears of the American public and the incompetence of their elected representatives to push through legislation intended to eliminate the Bill of Rights. ("Bill of what? What the hell is that?" "Something to do with history." "I hated that class in high school." "Hey, the game's on!")

In fact, many on the left have expressed outrage, or at least great discomfort, at the Nazi comparison. They seem to prefer to think that what's happening in America, and consequently what America is doing in the world, is all due to policy and philosophical disagreements between two sincere parties. After all, they seem to be saying, honest men can disagree.

Of course they can. So can Nazis.

Honest men, sincere men, men devoted to fundamental American principles would not be torturing and killing people - many of them innocent people, at that - in a system of military prisons hidden around the world. Durbin's anguished observation that the stories leaking out of those prisons are what one would expect from Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union is utterly justified, and those who attacked him for it revealed themselves to be amoral opportunists lacking in any human decency. They would have been at home in government ministries in pre-1945 Berlin.

Add the evil conditions in our domestic prisons, our shameful eagerness to imprison members of racial minority groups and throw away the keys, the concentration camps for certain undesirable aliens, the glorification of the military, the simpleminded reverence for the flag, corporate power merging with governmental power - how many more elements of the Fascist mind set do you need to read about? Go surf leftwing Web sites and you'll find much longer lists.

It's worth savoring an irony here. One could say that most of the Fascist characteristics on those lists (and other unsavory attitudes that characterize America, such as the sense of a divinely ordained destiny to rule the world and our conviction that everything American is superior to the equivalent elsewhere - if there even is an equivalent elsewhere - simply because it's American) are also the characteristics of past empires that had no unifying philosophy in the sense that Mussolini's Italy or Hitler's Germany did. True enough. The irony is that hardly anyone on the right objects if one says that America is no better than Britain or Rome at their height. Indeed, the neocons love that comparison and talk about it readily and openly.

Must there be a philosophical underpinning for the system to qualify as Fascism? Remember that in the early days of the movement in Italy, Mussolini told his followers that they should concentrate on achieving power first and worry about philosophy and definitions later. For now, he told them, the catchy, empty slogans and macho posturing will win over the proles, and the violence will intimidate them. This is the real essence of our Contract with . . . um, Italy!

Not there's any novelty to crazy ideas, in any country. America has for generations been home to raving loons on the right preaching no end of nonsense. That nonsense was cynically adopted by the very rich long ago for their own self-serving purposes, and, especially after the Goldwater Counter-Reformation, by the Republican Party for reasons just as cynical and self-serving.

In the end, though, it's all the same. The name given to the philosophy doesn't matter. The language being spoken doesn't matter. A people that was once proud of its liberties now shuffles about under the watchful eye of the Heimatlandsicherheitspolizei*.


What those leftwing Web sites tend not to include as part of this discussion is the imperial aspect of Fascism. Their focus is domestic.

That's understandable. The domestic side of Fascism is certainly nasty enough to occupy a lot of bandwidth. But let's look at America from the outside. If we did no more than betray our own ideals and destroy our freedoms and democratic institutions, then this awful period would be no more than a minor-key coda to our history. But by exporting the evil that has taken control of America, we have ensured that even our former friends will, albeit with sadness, applaud our downfall.

And why have we exported the evil that has poisoned our national bloodstream?  Because Fascism is nothing without an empire.

Mussolini, with his embarrassing adventure in Ethiopia, knew this. Hitler, with his much more successful adventures in Europe, knew this. And the BushCheney slime monster knows this, too. An empire pumps up the national pride, silences the conscientious opposition, and enriches the national treasury. All you need is a powerful military, a weak enemy you can paint as a terrifying danger, and a gullible populace. Then you manufacture a casus belli and you're all set.

Rallying the hysterical sheep, you send the troops off to invade Ethiopia or Poland or Iraq in order to protect the Homeland. Gott mit uns, God is on our side. Vast numbers of icky foreigners will die, but that's the will of God, and no one back home will care. The Volk in the Heimat will wave the flag and cheer the monster in the White House. Pictures of pitiful dead Iraqi children will not appear on American television. Even more shamefully, if those pictures did appear, the Volk wouldn't care. And that, my fellow Americans, is the true measure of the degradation, the corruption, the destruction of the American soul. Pitiful Jewish and Gypsy children died in the ovens, pitiful Russian children died in the bombed ruins of their homes, and no one in the Homeland cared. Thus we all become Nazis.

Others on the left have pointed out that if we cave in to the lemming-like calls to support the troops, then we are no different from those good Germans who opposed Hitler and his imperial expansion but nonetheless cheered the victories of his armies. But the American left seems emotionally unable to take the logical next step: to acknowledge that those who love America are forced to hope for her defeat in Iraq.


How can he say such a thing? What kind of traitor is this guy?

No, I'm not a traitor. People who steal elections and undermine the Constitution and lie to Americans to persuade them to support immoral wars are the traitors. If you mindlessly jerk your knee and wave the flag and let a tyrant destroy America, then you're the traitor.

If you think you're supporting the troops when you agree to keep them in harm's way in an evil occupation of another country, then you are a traitor and you have submitted your will to that of the Fuehrer.

And our brave lads and lasses are the Nazi hordes invading Poland and Russia and France and Norway, just as Little Georgie, the smirking murderer, is Adolf Hitler proclaiming that he would wring England's neck like a chicken.

To which Churchill famously replied, "Some chicken, some neck!" It's the same reply the Iraqi resistance is now giving us. For in the eyes of much of the world, we have managed to cast those guerilla fighters in the role of the French resistance, of the Polish resistance, of the RAF pilots of the Battle of Britain.

(How could this have happened? Apparently, after the fall of Germany, the Nazis cleverly relocated. With the help of their buddies in the Bush family, they set about taking control of the government of the United States. Surely that's not what really happened! And yet the results seem to indicate that it did**.)

I have absolutely no doubt that many of the young German troops who invaded Poland and Russia were good kids. Hell, most of them were drafted. And scared and patriotic and trying to do their best. And despite Nazi propaganda, I'm sure that most of their mothers and fathers and sweethearts worried about them constantly, every single day, days spent in fear that the dreadful news would arrive for them. The dreadful news arrived for many families. Huge numbers of those troops died horribly. If you can read descriptions of their deaths in the terrible Russian winter and not feel pity because they were members of Hitler's invading hordes, then you're a heartless monster.

Yet they did awful things during their invasions and occupations. Their defeat was an unalloyed good -- not just for the countries they invaded, but in the end for Germany itself. We cheer their defeat and the Allied victory. We condemn those who want to place flowers on their graves. We even understand, and most Germans seem to understand, that Germany's military disaster was necessary for the salvation of Germany's soul.

But what a disaster! What they suffered! The Volk back in the Heimat underwent deprivation almost (but not quite) as grim as the deprivation they had visited upon other nations. They suffered, but they had to suffer. Had they been spared defeat and de-Nazification, the world would have been a far sorrier place - and that would have included Germany.

They could have avoided all of that, couldn't they? They could have risen up and thrown the strutting, usurping madman out of office. Did the legal machinery even exist for that, under the Weimar constitution? I have no idea. I know it exists under ours. It's called impeachment and conviction, and the fact that the Republicans who control Congress have not started that process going despite the solid evidence that Georgie Slimeball lied to all of us so that he could get approval to send his Nazi hordes into Iraq must surely, if there is any justice in the world***, result in the Republican Party's universal condemnation in every history book written in the future.


Impeachment and conviction aren't possible now and seem unlikely even after the 2006 election. Even if it somehow did happen, would it be enough? Or has the Nazism of today's Republican Party become too deeply embedded in our political system? Do we require de-Nazification? De-Nazification - de-GOPification - won't be done to us by occupiers, as was the case with Germany after World War Two. Fortunately, despite the squandering of our strength and wealth by the Bush cabal, we're still far too large and strong to have to worry about invasion and occupation by any opposing force, not even by the whole world allied against us. (Although the potential for precisely that alliance increases steadily, thanks to the arrogance and ineptitude of Bush and the rest of the Republican thugs.)

No, Americans will have to de-Nazify themselves. Unfortunately, the only thing that seems likely to bring this about now is military defeat in Iraq. That's the only thing left that will wake Americans up to what we have become. Only fools and blind idealogues still believe we can win our illegal war in Iraq. Saddam created a hell on earth for those who opposed him and even for many who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. We have gone him one better by turning Iraq into hell for all the other Iraqis, too. Now they all hate us, they all oppose us, and the resistance movement (what we insist on calling the "insurgency") grows ever more sophisticated and organized while our own troops (the actual insurgents) grow ever more demoralized and exhausted. We cannot win, and now the only way we can rescue ourselves is to lose.

If military defeat is necessary for the salvation of the American soul (stunted and shriveled after all these years of Republican rule, but still there, I'm convinced), then what does this really mean? What are we talking about?

It doesn't have to mean a disaster on the order of Stalingrad. It doesn't even have to mean another iconic photograph of a helicopter lifting off from the roof of the U.S. embassy while the people aboard push away the frantic refugees, our former puppets, who are also desperate to flee. It took a smaller loss, just humiliation in the Falkland Islands, for the Argentinian generals to be thrown out of power.

Small and quick though the Falklands War was, it meant grief for many parents in Argentina and Britain. To a parent whose son or daughter is stationed in Iraq, the prospect of a U.S. military defeat of any magnitude means the fear that their son or daughter would die. Even as it is, they fear the dreadful news every day****.

Our son, Daniel, was a medic in the old Bush's Gulf War, the grandiosely named "Desert Storm". For a three-week period, we knew only that he was there. We had no contact. We didn't know where he was, if he was in danger, or even if he was still alive. It was a horrible time for Leonore and me. Had the worst happened, had we received the dreadful news that so many parents now receive as a result of the filthier Bush's filthier war, or that such vast numbers of German parents received during the 1940s, I don't know if we could have survived it. And we suffered that stress for only three weeks! I can't imagine undergoing it for months or years. My heart breaks for the parents who have lost their children in this evil war - Iraqi parents, American parents, all parents.

Yet this is the grim and terrible place to which we have been brought by the Nazis who have grasped power in this country. True Americans, Americans who believe in paying more than lip sevice to the principles this country was founded on, are now forced to hope for an American military defeat in Iraq. Moreover, that defeat must be clear enough that no one can pretend it is anything but a defeat.


Or we can all suddenly wake up, sweep the scoundrels from office, bundle them all off to the Hague to stand trial as war criminals, bring our troops home, and turn Iraq over to the United Nations, along with a few hundred billion more of our dollars to fund peacekeeping and rebuilding. Certainly a far better outcome than the dark picture I painted above! But how likely is it?


Not that I expect to hear any public figure say any of this.

A.k.a. the Department of Homeland Security - a sinister organization spawned by BushCheneyAshcroftGonzalez. (For is that not one being, cloned from cells taken from some hideous creature that dwells in a lake of slime far underground? Probably in Texas?)
**  We can carry this conspiracy theory to the absolute bounds of wackiness and hypothesize that, to achieve their ends, the relocated Nazis conspired with embittered (and really old) survivors of the Confederacy, who also had not accepted defeat. Together, Nazi Hans and Johnny Reb would conquer America while Americans watched baseball! Oh, the irony! But this is too much. This goes too far. I'm ashamed of myself for even suggesting such a possibility.
***  Of course, there isn't.
****  If it does come, the only cold comfort the family has is the sight of vicious, heartless conmen weeping crocodile tears on television, pretending to care. The family is expected to put on a brave face, a show of patriotism, a pretense that they honor their child's sacrifice and still believe it was in a good cause. In Nazi Germany, such a family was expected to say, "I have dedicated a son to the Fuehrer."

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