|Just a Hitler with a bigger
It is absolutely eerie how closely the current Iraq situation parallels the rise of the Third Reich 70 years ago. I consider Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein to be Hitler lite because he has the same virulent anti-Semitism, the same callous disregard for human life and the identical lust for power that Adolf possessed. The only difference between the two villains is the size of the moustache.
Back in the 1930s, millions of people the world over did not want to think about the evil Hitler was brewing up. France and Russia were the chief appeasers, as they are today. Josef Stalin ultimately signed a treaty with Hitler making it possible for him to use most of his forces to crush Europe, and France simply allowed Hitler to violate the Treaty of Versailles, even more than the 17 times Saddam has violated UN mandates. Britain went along with France in the '30s, but now it seems the United Kingdom has learned from its historical mistakes.
Then there's the Pope, who recently said any war against Iraq would be "immoral." Back in the '30s, Pius XII actually supported Hitler politically - at least in the beginning of his rise, when Pius was stationed in Germany. The Third Reich was considered a bulwark against communism, which the church greatly feared. Subsequently, Pius kept quiet about the atrocities of Hitler's regime because he knew that the Vatican itself could easily be vanquished by the Huns.
Today, Pope John Paul deplores the violence that comes with any war but is at a loss to explain how terrorism and the states that enable it should be dealt with. Remember, the Pope did not approve of the military action against the Taliban.
Peace, of course, should be the goal of all civilized people. Millions of Americans are against a war in Iraq, and millions were vehemently opposed to confronting Hitler. Back then, the anti-war movement was led by Charles Lindbergh and Ambassador Joseph Kennedy, who largely dismissed accusations of Nazi brutality and weapons production as propaganda. In 1939, SS Chief Heinrich Himmler was even on the cover of Time magazine. I have the issue. The article criticized Himmler and hinted at barbaric behavior, but there was no smoking gun.
The failure to confront the obvious evil of the Nazis early, of course, led to the deaths of more than 55 million in Europe. Millions of Jews were stunned when they were led by German guards to the gas chambers. How could human beings do this? Even after evidence of mass executions surfaced, many the world over refused to believe it. Liberating American soldiers were horrified at what they found. Most had no idea what they were really fighting.
Does anyone today believe Al Qaeda or Saddam would not slaughter Jews and, indeed, Americans if they had the power to do so? So what is the difference between a dictator like Saddam and Hitler?
It astounds me that 37% of Americans, according to the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll, do not support the removal of Saddam unless other countries sign on. Why allow a dictator who has weapons that would make Hitler salivate remain a threat to the world?
If France, Germany, China and Russia would support the U.S. against Saddam, he'd already be out of power. If France, Russia and Britain had marched into Germany in 1933, there would have been no World War II or Holocaust.
Nobody can predict the outcome and aftermath of any war. But we can learn from history. Evil has a way of killing people. The only way evil will be stopped is for just and courageous people to confront it.