History repeats itself
Some twenty years ago, as I wanted to improve my knowledge of spoken German, I asked a friend, who was a professor of German, to lend me some tapes. I made copies of them and I came across that series a few days ago while putting some order in my office. There were nice things, like a translation of the Little Prince of St-Exupéry, one of Snow White and some speeches of Adolf Hitler during the years just before World War II.
Listening to those tapes again, I was struck by the similarity of Hitler's tone with the rhetoric of George W. Bush, and to some extent of Tony Blair, during the last year or so. Even the same slightly hysterical constant repetitions of blocks of words, the same appeal to superficial feelings of fear, and the same conscience of a messianic vocation to transform the world. The same uneducated arrogance towards the rest of the world that would be extremely ridiculous if it were not so tragic.
Isn't the reaction of the vast majority of USA citizens identical to the reaction of the vast majority of German people, who blindly followed Hitler right into catastrophe? And isn't the largely passive attitude of the international community very similar to the weak verbal pro forma protest of the Western nations when Nazi Germany annexed Austria in 1938?
More frightening still : the way the aggression against Iraq is planned (similar to that of Kosovo and of Afghanistan) -- using massive bombings involving a huge amount of "collateral damage" in order to avoid any casualty on the side of the aggressor -- reveals a philosophy very similar to that of Nazism : human life does not count if it is not American life.
The occupation of Rhineland in 1936 was really the beginning of the end of the Third Reich. The occupation of Iraq may very well be the beginning of the end of Bush's Empire. But how many countries will be invaded and many thousands of deaths before the end is reached?
Furthermore, the doctrine of "preventive war" is a dangerous two-edge sword. If Bush's USA finds that it is justified to attack a country because it thinks that one day it might attack the USA, will not many countries consider that they are in danger of being attacked by the USA and consider themselves entitled to their own preventive attack (of a kind or another) against the USA? And if one country claims the right to decide in which other country of the world a regime change is necessary are not many countries going to feel entitled to seek, in their own way, a regime change in the USA?
The civilized (but is it?) world is embarking onto a terribly dangerous path.