Monday, April 21, 2003

Here's an article by one Josep María Ruíz Simón on page 34 of today's Vangua. Its title is "Analogies".

It seems that the invasion of Iraq has come to its end. Maybe it's time to remember the arguments that were used to attempt to justify it. Or maybe not, since nobody ever, not even those who used them, believed that those arguments were the reasons behind the war. Maybe it is more pertinent to remember, as the Brazilian politologist Luis Alberto Moniz Bandera reminded us a few days ago, what Adolf Hitler said in 1939 to the high command of the Wermacht (sic): "I'll give a propagandistic reason to start the war, it doesn't matter whether it's plausible or not. The winner is never asked whether he told the truth." Only a little later, the Führer ordered Operation Himmler: members of the SS and the Gestapo, dressed in Polish uniforms, attacked a radio station in Gleiwitz. The propagandistic motivation was provided. And the world preferred to swallow it. (Gee, I thought Britain and France declared war about two days later. It was the Soviets who allied themselves with Hitler to divide up Poland, remember?)

It's never a bad idea to remember. And I think that, though it may seem like an exaggeration to many, remembering the Third Reich when the "Project for the New American Century" is being implemented is not out of place. Despite the fact that the hundred years projected for American dominion don't reach as far as the millenium that had been prophesied by the German National Socialists.

We suppose that something must have rubbed the American administration on a raw spot when it pressured the German government for the resignation of the minister of Justice for comparing Bush with Hitler and when it also pressured the UN so that a reproduction of the painting by Picasso, so that the bombardment of Guernica by the Nazis would not be forgotten, would be covered by a blue cloth the day that Colin Powell presented his inconsistent arguments in favor of war.
(False. The UN covered the painting not because of American pressure but because they always do so when a speech is televised.) And I don't think that it was only the memory, also brought up these days, of the close financial connections that existed between George W. Bush's great-grandfather and the Hitler regime. (False. See Cecil Adams's column on this.)

Analogies give us something to think about. And those (leaving aside the question of the negligence of the American secret and security services) who have spent months thinking about the analogies between the political use of 9-11 and that of the fire in the Reichstag (the German parliament) in 1933 (sic) are many. Without getting into conspiracy theories, it is clear that in the same way that that fire was the pretext for Adolf Hitler to seize extraordinary powers and establish a police state without the necessity of revoking the Constitution of the Weimar Republic, George W. Bush, after the attack on the Twin Towers, has also obtained extraordinary powers and has installed a repressive system (through, among other laws, the Patriot Act) that violates the civil rights of the United States, permitting, for example, that American Moslems be arrested and imprisoned without a trial, or the creation of secret military tribunals to try, imprison, and execute foreign citizens without the possibility of appeal.

Guantánamo is no joke. Neither is the fact that FBI agents are now authorized to observe what citizens read and the sites they visit on the Internet. The "war on terrorism" has its domestic front. And it's worth it to reflect, without leaving aside the copycat effect that American politics generates, about whether on this front, like overseas, arguments are also being fabricated to justify decisions that have already been made.

You heard it here first! We're Nazis! Bush is Hitler! We're all stupid sheeplike followers! 9-11 was a setup! The war on Saddam was just like the Nazi attack on Poland! America is a repressive police state! The FBI is watching all of us! And the jails are full of innocent civilians! And Spain is going to copy America and Aznar is Mussolini!

If this had been printed in an American paper, could Bush sue for libel?

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