Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Double Standards in Action

Last week, Father Andrew Greeley published an op-ed piece in the Chicago Sun-Times in which he compared the Bush Administration and its policies to those of Nazi Germany:

He (Bush) is not another Hitler. Yet there is a certain parallelism. They have in common a demagogic appeal to the worst side of a country's heritage in a crisis. Bush is doubtless sincere in his vision of what is best for America. So too was Hitler. The crew around the president -- Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Karl Rove, the ''neo-cons'' like Paul Wolfowitz -- are not as crazy perhaps as Himmler and Goering and Goebbels. Yet like them, they are practitioners of the Big Lie -- weapons of mass destruction, Iraq democracy, only a few ''bad apples.''

Hitler's war was quantitatively different from the Iraq war, but qualitatively both were foolish, self-destructive and criminally unjust. This is a time of great peril in American history because a phony patriotism and an America-worshipping religion threaten the authentic American genius of tolerance and respect for other people.

However, as RealClear Politics has noted, in early 1999, after President Clinton had launched four days of air strikes against Saddam's "mythical" WMD, Fr. Greeley had a rather different view of things:

Even such a moderate newspaper as the Irish Times uses the model of the American Goliath beating up on the Iraqi David. The United States is a bully. Iraq is a brave country resisting the American bully.

That this David is preparing not slingshots but chemical, nuclear, and biological weapons seems to escape the European intelligentsia. Their resentment of the enormous power of the United States blinds them to the danger that Saddam Hussein represents to his neighbors and to the world. The reports of the U.N. inspection team about Saddam's weapons of mass destruction are airily dismissed as American propaganda.

He has stood up to the United States and that makes him a kind of folk hero to the Europeans. They can also dismiss his atrocities against his own people as American propaganda.

In fact, Saddam differs from Adolf Hitler only in the degree of his evil. If he once develops deliverable weapons of mass destruction, Tel Aviv would disappear overnight. So, too, might Kuwait, Istanbul and Tehran. Not quite the size of the Holocaust perhaps, but the same general idea: Kill Jews and anyone else that gets in your way, but especially Jews.

He wouldn't do that, the Europeans say. That's what they said about Hitler, too.

Sounds just like another member of the neoconservative cabal to me. In short, according to Fr. Greeley, American military action in Iraq was completely justified in 1998, yet "criminally unjust" in 2003. As RealClear Politics points out, the only real consistency in his position involves "the party affiliation of the person currently occupying the White House."


Post a Comment

<< Home