Monday, June 18, 2007

Hitler & Bush

More in common than you might think.

Over 70 years ago, the citizens of another democratic world power elected a leader who promised to protect them from all dangers. In return for this protection, and under the auspice of fighting terrorism, he was given absolute power.

This leader went to great lengths to make his rise to power appear both legal and necessary, masterfully manipulating much of the citizenry and their government leaders. Unnerved by threats of domestic terrorism and foreign invaders, the people had little idea that the domestic turmoil of the times – such as street rioting and the fear of Communism taking over the country – was staged by the leader in an effort to create fear and later capitalize on it. In the ensuing months, this charismatic leader ushered in a series of legislative measures that suspended civil liberties and habeas corpus rights and empowered him as a dictator.

On March 23, 1933, the nation's legislative body passed the Enabling Act, formally referred to as the "Law to Remedy the Distress of the People and the Nation," which appeared benign and allowed the leader to pass laws by decree in times of emergency. What it succeeded in doing, however, was ensuring that the leader became a law unto himself. The leader's name was Adolf Hitler. And the rest, as they say, is history.

President Bush has assured us that he will do whatever it takes to keep America safe, and Americans have blindly trusted him. How did he reward that trust? First, he claimed the authority to permanently imprison American citizens alleged to be so-called "enemy combatants." Then he asserted his right to order government intelligence agencies to not only spy on America's enemies but also on Americans. Now he has quietly and unobtrusively granted himself the power to take control of the government in the event of a vaguely defined national emergency.


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