It is to our deep national shame—and ultimately it will be to the President’s deep personal regret—that he has followed his Secretary of Defense down the path of trying to tie those loyal Americans who disagree with his policies—or even question their effectiveness or execution—to the Nazis of the past, and the al Qaeda of the present.
Today, in the same subtle terms in which Mr. Bush and his colleagues muddied the clear line separating Iraq and 9/11 -- without ever actually saying so—the President quoted a purported Osama Bin Laden letter that spoke of launching, “a media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government.”
Make no mistake here—the intent of that is to get us to confuse the psychotic scheming of an international terrorist, with that familiar bogeyman of the right, the “media.”
The President and the Vice President and others have often attacked freedom of speech, and freedom of dissent, and freedom of the press.
Now, Mr. Bush has signaled that his unparalleled and unprincipled attack on reporting has a new and venomous side angle:
The attempt to link, by the simple expediency of one word—“media”—the honest, patriotic, and indeed vital questions and questioning from American reporters, with the evil of Al-Qaeda propaganda.
That linkage is more than just indefensible. It is un-American.
Mr. Bush and his colleagues have led us before to such waters.
We will not drink again.
And the President’s re-writing and sanitizing of history, so it fits the expediencies of domestic politics, is just as false, and just as scurrilous.
“In the 1920’s a failed Austrian painter published a book in which he explained his intention to build an Aryan super-state in Germany and take revenge on Europe and eradicate the Jews,” President Bush said today, “the world ignored Hitler’s words, and paid a terrible price.”
Whatever the true nature of al Qaeda and other international terrorist threats, to ceaselessly compare them to the Nazi State of Germany serves only to embolden them.
More over, Mr. Bush, you are accomplishing in part what Osama Bin Laden and others seek—a fearful American populace, easily manipulated, and willing to throw away any measure of restraint, any loyalty to our own ideals and freedoms, for the comforting illusion of safety.
It thus becomes necessary to remind the President that his administration’s recent Nazi “kick” is an awful and cynical thing.
And it becomes necessary to reach back into our history, for yet another quote, from yet another time and to ask it of Mr. Bush:
“Have you no sense of decency, sir?”