Culture, Identity, Politics

Fighting All The Hitlers

Glenn Greenwald has an excellent post over at Crooks & Liars about the Bush sycophants’ abuse of history as an intimidation tactic:

As Bush followers gear up for another election year campaign to start a war, they are using exactly the same rhetorical tactics and are revealing precisely the same mindset to which we were subjected during the 2002 campaign for the Iraq War. What is starkly apparent from this repetition is that their awareness of history and knowledge of the world is sadly confined to one singular event, which is all they know and which, rather bizarrely, they have a need to live over and over and over again.
To pro-Bush war supporters, the world is forever stuck in the 1930s. Every leader we don’t like is Adolph Hitler, a crazed and irrational lunatic who wants to dominate the world and who can’t be reasoned with. Every country opposed to our interests is Nazi Germany. From this it follows that every warmonger is the glorious reincarnation of the brave and resolute Winston Churchill.
And one who opposes or even questions any proposed war becomes the lowly and cowardly appeaser, Neville Chamberlain. For any and every conflict that arises, the U.S. is in the identical position of France and England in 1937-faced with an aggressive and militaristic Nazi Germany, will we shrink in appeasement and fear from the grand calling of history duties, or will we stand tall and firm and wage glorious war?

And on that note, I stumbled onto this awesome collection of articles about propaganda design at AIGA recently, one of which seems aptly apropos of the topic at hand: “The Ministry of Fear.”

Purveyors of fear imagery routinely latch onto the lowest denominator and overgeneralize a particular people or nation on the basis of a single characteristic or trait—as in all Jews are rapacious, all Palestinians are terrorists, or all blacks are drug addicts. In U.S. propaganda of the 50s, Joseph Stalin, a real scoundrel, represented not merely the regime over which he lorded but all Soviets. Not surprisingly, in Soviet propaganda Americans were portrayed as corrupt, corpulent money-grubbers often given the composite features of avaricious capitalists. In the litany of hate everyone, irrespective of individual persona, is tarred with the same brush. When seen only as a mass of faceless types the enemy becomes even more terrifying.

Pot, kettle. Kettle, pot.
See also: “The Cold War on Terror”
Crossposted to Mazal Tov Cocktail

4 thoughts on “Fighting All The Hitlers

  1. Well, of course all conflicts aren’t like WWII. No, they’re all like Vietnam.
    In all the ranting and blather of the Greenwald article, there was barely one sentence concerning how to deal with the Iran problem:
    “This equivalence is even more fictitious with regard to Iran, which — although saddled with a highly unpopular president who is clearly malignant and who uses nationalistic rhetoric to boost the morale of his base- is a country that is, in fact, ruled by a council of mullahs which has exhibited nothing but rationality and appears to be guided by nothing other than self-interest.”
    Anyone buy this?
    Any two-year old can complain about the choices of others. It’s the adults who must offer a better idea. So, for those of you against a war in Iran, what’s your better idea?

  2. Of course, in reality, Iran IS led by a crazed and irrational lunatic who wants to dominate the world and who can’t be reasoned with. Or if he doesn’t want to dominate the world at least he wants that 12th imam really bad.
    Just because Bush is a jackass doesn’t make him wrong about everything. On Iran this administration is most certainly correct.

  3. I had no problem with the conflict in Afghanistan. They were harboring Al Qaeda. Iraq was another story. No involvement with Al Qaeda and no WMD. There is already evidence of the same sort of exaggeration and manufacturing of evidence that created the Iraq war taking place with regard to Iran and the same folks are in charge of both conflicts, because apparently lying about things like this has no concequence.

  4. better than war with iran = not war with iran
    some people will really just believe anything the government tells them. over and over. it’s really amazing to me.

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