February 11, 2002
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There is a saying that in order to understand someone it is necessary
to 'walk in their shoes'. Barbara Ehrenreich did just that. She became a
low-wage unskilled worker and discovered that it is not only impossible to
live solely on minimum legal wages earned working several jobs, but it is
almost impossible to survive! (1)
Amira Hass, an Israeli correspondent for the newspaper Ha'aretz, and the daughter of Holocaust survivors, moved into the occupied territories and lived with the Palestinians. She learned of the exceedingly brutal conditions that the Palestinians must endure, conditions that are not disclosed by the western media. Her book "Drinking the Sea at Gaza" (2) was written during the supposedly good peaceful years of the Oslo agreement, prior to the present intifada.
Grace Halsell walked in many shoes, as a black woman, an American Indian, and a Mexican wetback. In each instance she learned how decent, honest, hard-working people are ruthlessly exploited and abused. (3)
In each of the above situations the western world does not understand what each author discovered and disclosed. Our major media, our elected officials, our experts from the establishment think tanks -- even our legislation, all proclaim how beneficent we are and how undeserving each of the people in these books are.
When papa Bush devised the post Cold War US foreign policy he designated it the New World Order. That phrase, New World Order, brought me back to my youth in the 1930's, because that was the identical name that Hitler adopted for his vision of the future.
A future of conquest. The parade of countries and territories that he threatened, occupied, or attacked: the Rhineland, Austria, the Sudetenland, Czechoslovakia, Poland, Denmark, Norway, Holland, Belgium, France, England, Yugoslavia, Greece, Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Russia, and the U.S., kept the Third Reich in a constant state of war from 1935 on. Other countries realized that if they did not join the Axis they could expect similar treatment. They instinctively knew -- "Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists." (4)
To achieve his New World Order no tactics were verboten. Violations of International Laws of War were common. I vaguely recall the worldwide condemnation of the bombings of innocent civilians in Guernica, (5) Rotterdam, Coventry, and London. To keep the subject populations obedient other atrocities were inflicted on them. In response, underground forces in the occupied territories, known as the resistance, the partisans, etc. and often supported by foreign governments (the Allies), were continually attacking their German oppressors.
With the US now embarked on an unlimited war against terrorism, its military stationed all over the world, I am regularly reminded of the Nazis in similar situations. The lists of countries predicted as future recipients of military devastation -- Somalia, Iraq, the Philippines, Iran, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Cuba, etc. -- and the parade of countries and territories that became Hitler's victims. The bombings in Afghanistan -- where the numbers of innocent civilians killed, as reported by the foreign media, exceeds the 9/11 toll -- and the Nazi bombings of innocent civilians. The terrorists remind me of the resistance and the partisans; and their supporters remind me of the Allies.
Why are the US and Nazi responses so similar and what do they mean? You must be ruthless, if you aspire to be the world's disciplinarian.
Similar though they are the US can by no stretch of the imagination be considered to be walking in Hitler's shoes. These activities are only a fraction of Hitler's evil. He was responsible for so many heinous crimes that he set the standard by which evil can be judged.
I wondered: How does the US shape up against that evil standard? What is or has been the US position on Hitler's most despicable criminal actions, specifically: genocide, slave labor, concentration camps, sterilization, the abolition of democratic rule and the trashing of civil rights? What follows are some answers I got from a little research.
Although genocide has a long and bitter history, the word itself did not exist until the Nazis' attempted extermination of the Jews and Gypsies.(6) Hitler actually was inspired by the American genocide of the native Americans! (7)
Percentage-wise the genocide of the American Indians exceeds the horror of the German atrocities perpetrated in the death camps against Jews, Gypsies, Poles, Russians, communists, etc. combined. (8) Under the definitions of genocide provided in the Convention on the Punishment and Prevention of the Crime of Genocide the practice continued well into the twentieth century and some authorities claim it is still practiced. (9)
While America did not have death camps, anticipating its later fondness for free enterprise, it put Americans in business by offering bounties for each Indian killed. A recruiting poster for Indian Fighters can be seen at http://www.iwchildren.org/calif.htm. Illustrious Americans were almost unanimous in there desire to exterminate the Indians, including such famous presidents as George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and Theodore Roosevelt. (10) The genocide was so indoctrinated into the national conscience that, even in the twentieth century, after the Indian wars had terminated and long after Indians had virtually disappeared from the East Coast, I can recall frequently hearing the statement "The best Indian is a dead Indian." (11)
Employment of Slave Labor
The Nazis created an industrial empire from the labor of the "untermenchen" (undesirables) and volunteers from the occupied countries. Krupp, Farben, and other pro-Nazi industrialists were rewarded for their loyalty by being given these slave laborers for nominal sums paid to the S.S. (12)
Thanks to the US government's -- Democratic and Republican -- sponsorship and advocacy of the World Bank, the IMF, WTO, NAFTA GATT, etc., the politically-generous American corporations get an equivalent reward. These organizations and agreements that foster globalization permit unconscionable exploitation of third world countries. Industrialists buy up foreign assets at bargain prices, and benefit from the desperation of the people by offering slave wages under harsh working conditions.
Countries that try to resist being drawn into the globalization trap are soon considered potential enemies of the US and suffer for their independence.
The Indians who survived the American genocide (supra) were moved by the US to reservations. Those reservations were the inspiration for Hitler's concentration camps! (13)
Reservations are supposedly sovereign Indian nations created under treaties with the US. But the government failed to treat them as sovereign nations. It created a bureaucracy ostensibly to deal with the Indians but it actually controls those reservations. (14) That Indians have such high rates of poverty, criminality, drunkenness, suicide, and such a low life expectancy indicates how well the government exercises its supervisory obligations.
A few months after the US became a belligerent in World War II, Japanese-Americans were forced into 'Relocation Camps', the American equivalent of the German concentration camps the Allies were condemning. (15) The liberal US Supreme Court ruled this abomination constitutional -- Hugo Black wrote the opinion for a 6-3 majority. (16)
Sterilization of Citizens
The US was sterilizing its citizens long before the Nazi party existed. (17) American eugenicists, the advocates of sterilization, had convinced over half the states to enact legislation legalizing involuntary sterilization by World War II. (18) They were supported by such prominent men as Winston Churchill and (19) Theodore Roosevelt; (20) enjoyed the sponsorship of the Rockefeller Foundation; (21) had support of over half the American public; (22) and had gained the constitutional approval of the US Supreme Court. (23) By applying their 'scientific' eugenic dogma the Americans successfully fostered legislation restricting immigration and prohibiting miscegenation. (24)
The Nazis triumphantly adopted these racist policies. (25) Hitler disclosed his racial ideology and praised the exclusionary American immigration act in Mein Kampf. (26) He was praised by numerous American eugenicists (27) who, in turn, were praised by him. (28)
Abolition of Democratic Rule
Hitler achieved his power legally from a democratically-elected government. The Reichstag, the German legislative body, effectively granted him dictatorial power. (29)
Following the shock of the 9/11 attack, our pusillanimous Congress by a unanimous vote in the Senate and a near unanimous vote in the House (one courageous woman voted 'No' in spite of her colleagues' advice) virtually performed a similar act. They granted the Supreme Court-appointed but unelected president power to wage war not on a particular country, what a declaration of war is, but on any and all countries that he so desires if he, in his sole judgment, deems them 'terrorist'. An unconstitutional grant, since the Congress alone has the power to declare war.
Trashing Basic Rights of Citizens
The fire that consumed the Reichstag was the catalyst for Hitler's wiping out the civil rights of the Germans' Weimar constitution. He advocated a decree suspending freedoms of speech, press, and assembly that with minor modifications was enacted. A state of emergency gave Goring's police extensive powers that he used to the detriment of the Nazi's political enemies. (30)
With the power that the Congress granted Bush, his administration has eliminated basic rights secured under the Constitution -- a relinquishment unprecedented during the entire history of the country.
By engaging in these most abominable activities of the Nazis, and frequently to a much greater extent, it seems the US is walking in Hitler's shoes -- or that Hitler walked in ours. Logically the US, having condemned Hitler for these very same activities, should offer the Fuhrer a belated apology. But, NO, Hitler's monstrous crimes were of such magnitude that they can most definitely and absolutely not be justified. Accordingly, there can be no apology.
It seems inconceivable that one person could be so evil. None of the modern-day tyrants, although labeled as a "Hitler," have done during their long rules a fraction of what Hitler did in the twelve years of the Third Reich. Saddam Hussein, Manuel Noriega, Osama bin Laden, Ayatollah Khomeini, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic are minor league tyrants. If there is a deserving recipient of the title "Hitler" it truly belongs to none other than UNCLE SAM!
1. "Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting by in America", Barbara Ehrenreich, Publisher: New York, Metropolitan Books, 2001 (back)
2. "Drinking the Sea at Gaza: Days and Nights in a Land Under Siege", Amira Hass, Publisher: New York, Metropolitan Books/Henry Holt c1999; 379 pgs. (back)
3. "In Their Shoes", Grace Halsell, Publisher: Fort Worth, Texas Christian University Press, c1996; 252 pgs. (back)
4. George W. Bush: Address to a Joint Session of Congress and the American People September 20, 2001 - "Every nation, in every region, now has a decision to make. Either you are with us, or you are with the terrorists. [Applause] From this day forward, any nation that continues to harbor or support terrorism will be regarded by the United States as a hostile regime." (back)
5. "Guernica, Guernica", Herbert R. Southworth, Publisher: University of California Press, Berkeley 1977 (back)
6. In 1944 Raphael Lemkin published a monograph advocating the outlawing of the "practice of extermination of nations and ethnic group," a practice he name genocide. (back)
7. "Adolf Hitler", John Toland, Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York 1976. "Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild West; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America's extermination-by starvation and uneven combat-of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity." Pg 702 (back)
8. "American Holocaust" David E. Stannard, Publisher: Oxford University Press, New York, Oxford 1992. "...that population loss among native societies routinely reached and exceeded 95 percent." Pg 268 (back)
9. Article II ".(b) Causing serious mental harm to members of the group; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group." (back)
10. "Indians Are Us", Ward Churchill, Publisher: Common Courage Press, Monroe, Maine. "George Washington ordered in 1783 that those remaining within the areas of the initial thirteen states be 'hunted like beasts,' and that a 'war of extermination' be waged against those barring U.S. access to certain desired areas." Pg 312; "Thomas Jefferson stated in 1807, the U.S. should 'pursue [the Indians] into extermination." Pg 312; "Andrew Jackson who had supervised the mutilation of 800 or so Creek Indian corpses-the bodies of men, women and children that he and his men had massacred who -- after his Presidency was over-still was recommending that American troops specifically seek out and systematically kill Indian women and children who were hiding." Pg 313; "Indians Are Us" Theodore Roosevelt referring to a massacre of between 150 to 300 women and children peacefully encamped and supposedly under government protection - "as righteous and beneficial a deed as ever took place on the frontier" Pg 315 (back)
11. "Indians Are Us" "a favorite tidbit of Americana, General Phil Sheridan's 1869 observation that the 'only good Indians I ever saw were dead'." Pg 315 (back)
12. "Hitler and His Secret Partners" James Pool, Publisher: Pocket Books division of Simon and Schuster, 1997; "The Nazi industrialists agreed to pay the S.S. four marks a day per slave laborer." Pg 323; "The center of the Nazi slave empire was to be the concentration camp at Auschwitz. [...] Auschwitz was primarily the industrial center with factories of Farben, Krupp, and others." Pg 324 (back)
13. "Adolf Hitler", John Toland, Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Inc., Garden City, New York 1976. "Hitler's concept of concentration camps as well as the practicality of genocide owed much, so he claimed, to his studies of English and United States history. He admired the camps for Boer prisoners in South Africa and for the Indians in the wild West; and often praised to his inner circle the efficiency of America's extermination-by starvation and uneven combat-of the red savages who could not be tamed by captivity." Pg 702 (back)
14. "The Earth Shall Weep" James Wilson, Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press, New York, 1999. "Native American communities were - in the words of chief Justice John Marshall -- 'domestic dependent nations' with distinct rights. As well as acknowledging that Indian land belonged to the Indians." Pg 291; "Native Americans and the Reservation in American History" Anita Louise McCormick, Publisher: Enslow Publisher, Inc., Springfield, NJ, Hantx, UK 1996. "The duties of an Indian agent were to enforce reservation rules and distribute food and other provisions. But the people who made the rules, gave the final decisions, and oversaw the operation of the reservation were always white [...] most reservations were virtual concentration camps. The laws of many reservations required Native Americans to stay within reservation boundaries and live on the inadequate provisions provided by the government." Pgs 85-86 (back)
15. "By Order of the President", Greg Robinson, Publisher: Harvard University Press, Cambridge, London 2001. "Japanese Americans sent to confinement in the ten camps. The conditions in the camps were harsh.The camps were surrounded by barbed wire and armed guards, and in some cases guards shot 'escaping' internees and beat 'troublemakers'. Although two thirds of the internees were American citizens, they were incarcerated without any charge, trial, or evidence against them." Pg 4 (back)
16. Toyosaburo Korematsu v. United States, 323 US 214 (1944) (back)
17. "The Legacy of Malthus" Allan Chase, Publisher: University of Illinois Press, 1980; "In 1907, Indiana voted itself the authority to make compulsory the sterilization of all 'confirmed criminals, idiots, rapists, and imbeciles' who were confined in state institutions 'entrusted with the card' of such people. Subsequently, between the Indiana compulsory sterilization law and today, some thirty sovereign states and the colony of Puerto Rico passed equal Draconian forced sterilization laws." pages 15-16 (back)
18. Ibid. "By World War II, laws for the compulsory sterilization of the poor, the helpless, and the misdiagnosed were on the books of thirty states and Puerto Rico." page 126 (back)
19. Ibid. "The fervent adherents of Galton's eugenic creed in England were to include future Prime Minister Winston Churchill." page 14 (back)
20. Ibid. "An early American convert to the eugenics creed, President Theodore Roosevelt sent a most revealing communicate: 'it is obvious that if in the future racial qualities are to be improved, the improving must be wrought mainly by favoring the fecundity of the worthy types. At present, there is no check to the fecundity of those who are subnormal.'" page 15 (back)
21. "The Nazi Connection", Stefan Kuhl, Publisher: New York Oxford, Oxford University Press, 1994, "The Rockefeller Foundation played the central role in establishing and sponsoring major eugenic institutes in Germany." page 20; "The Foundation continued to support German eugenicists even after the National Socialists had gained control over German science." Page 21 (back)
22. Ibid. "A 1937 survey by Fortune Magazine indicated that a majority of the American population supported the extension of sterilization. Sixty-six percent were reported as supporting compulsory sterilization of habitual criminals." page 46 (back)
23. "The Legacy of Malthus" pages 313-318; Buck v Bell 274 U.S. 200 (1927) (back)
24. Ibid. "The official name of this act was the United States Immigration Act of 1924. Within less than a decade, this immigration act was to deny sanctuary to at least six million of the Jews, Poles, Italians, Hungarians, and other human beings." page 174; "The Nazi Connection"; "Marriage and sexual intercourse between blacks and white was forbidden in thirty-two states." Page 115 (back)
25. "The Nazi Connection" Chapter 4 (back)
26. Ibid. "One other important German figure, in a famous book from 1924, was full of praise for the fact that the Immigration Restriction Act excluded 'undesirables' on the basis of hereditary illness and race. His name was Adolf Hitler; the book was Mein Kampf." page 26; "In the mid-1920s, Hitler summarized his underlying racial ideology in Main Kampf as: "individuals within a Volksgemeinschaft [ethnic community] must be differently evaluated, especially as regards the right to have children." page 71 (back)
27. Ibid. "Leon F. Whitney, secretary of the American Eugenics Society, speaking for the American Eugenics Society, claimed that Hitler's sterilization policy had demonstrated the Fuhrer's great courage and statesmanship." page 46 (back)
28. Ibid. "Whitney received a personal letter of thanks from Adolf Hitler. Hitler thanked [Madison] Grant for writing The Passing of the Great Race and said that 'the book was his Bible'." page 85 (back)
29. "Hitler and His Secret Partners" "On August 19, over forty-five million Germans went to the polls'; thirty-eight million voted 'yes' in favor of Hitler's assumption of supreme power. Only four million had the courage to vote 'no.' Almost one million deliberately spoiled their ballots." Page 88 (back)
30. Ibid. "The excitement of the fire made Hitler bold. He proposed an emergency decree. The decree called for the suspension of all civil liberties: the right of freedom of speech, free press, freedom of assembly. The Weimar constitution, which had granted the rights of a democratic society to Germans since 1919, was to be wiped out in one blow." Pg 37; "With the new emergency decree 'For the Protection of the People and State,' Goering's police became even more powerful." Page 38 (back)
Philip Greenspan's bio is concise and right to the point: 76 years old, married 50 years, 2 children, 3 grandchildren. Veteran World War II Army of the U.S. Graduate Brooklyn Law School, member of the NY bar. Private law practice, followed by employments in the motion picture industry -- distribution and exhibition, and data processing industry -- retailing and stock market; retired 6 years.
Please, DO NOT steal, scavenge or repost this work without the expressed written authorization of Swans, which will seek permission from the author. This material is copyrighted, © Philip Greenspan 2001. All rights reserved.
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