"Bush compares Bin Laden to Hitler"
"Saddam the new Hitler, Bush tells Europeans"
--Sydney Morning Herald, 11/22/02
Apparently Bush and his strategists think all they need to do to sway public opinion in their favor is drop the A-bomb (that's Adolph) a few times to work the American people into a froth of fear. It happened the other day when Donald Rumsfeld compared critics of the mismanaged war to those who appeased the Nazis. It happened when a photo of Howard Dean popped up on the GOP website photoshopped with a Hitleresque shadow moustache. In a 2004 campaign commercial, the Republicans likened Dean, John Kerry, Al Gore, and other Democrats to the man who oversaw the extermination of six million Jews. And, of course, it happened again today, when the president compared the al-Qaeda leader to the Führer.
This time, at least, he's far closer to being right: bin Laden did admit to directing the hijacking and crashing of planes into the World Trade Center and Pentagon. But the Hitler reference, leveraged again and again by Bush and the Republicans and their TV talking heads, is fast being stripped of its rhetorical oomph, sadly for the victims and families of that very real genocide.
But even if Bush's Hitler reference carried the weight it once did, its use is strategically odd: it reminds us that, despite Bush's proclaimed understanding of the gravity of bin Laden's crime, he picked a fight with the dimestore Hitler, Saddam Hussein, instead of going after the one he let slip away.