Dec 1, 2007

John McCain: Opposition to Iraq War = appeasement = Hitler's rise

If you oppose the war [in Iraq], says [John] McCain, you're – pro-Hitler. It was inevitable – the return of Hitler, that is. The third-rate painter and homicidal maniac always turns up when the War Party gets desperate. After five years of war, and nothing but a reinvigorated al Qaeda and thousands of dead and grievously wounded to show for it, there's just one way to stanch the loss of support for our Iraqi adventure, and that is the return of Hitler to the international scene. In John McCain's world, it doesn't matter that we were lied into war: it doesn't matter that there were no Iraqi links to al Qaeda; we only have to know that Saddam was a Middle Eastern Hitler, who has now been replaced by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and everything falls neatly into place.

It's all nonsense, to be sure. To compare the ramshackle fourth-rate Iraqi military – and bin Laden's ragged insurgents – with the military might of the German Army at the height of the Third Reich's power is worse than absurd: it involves a major misperception of what we are up against, and the very real threat posed by the worldwide Islamist insurgency whose spearhead is al Qaeda. Hitler had overrun most of Europe and a good chunk of the Russian, French, and British empires before hubris and the weight of his own evil brought him down: the rag-tag legions of Iraq's Sunni rebels and Shi'ite militias are not exactly the Wehrmacht. And yet the Iraq war has now gone on longer than World War II, and still dead-enders like McCain are telling us "victory" is right around the next corner.

The misuses of historical analogies in politics are legion, and this one in particular is extremely problematic for the War Party. To begin with, McCain has his facts wrong: Hitler came to power not due to any "appeasement" by the Western powers, but because of World War I. He was elected by the German people – isn't democracy wonderful? Isn't it really the solution to all the world's problems? – due to resentment of the Treaty of Versailles, and the heavy burden of reparations which unleashed inflation such as the world had never seen on the German economy. This created the conditions under which German national socialism flourished – and when Hitler was installed in the German Chancellory, it was long past the time when anyone in Europe's capitals or in Washington could do anything about it.

The rise of Hitler and the Nazi Party was "blowback" from the Great War – just as the wars of the future will be visited upon us and our children as a direct consequence of the Iraq war and the growing conflict in the Middle East.

~ Justin Raimondo, "McCain's Mangled Metaphor: Has the Third Reich reappeared in the Middle East?,", November 30, 2007

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