‘Have you no sense of decency, sir?’
It is to our deep national shameâ€”and ultimately it will be to the Presidentâ€™s deep personal regretâ€”that he has followed his Secretary of Defense down the path of trying to tie those loyal Americans who disagree with his policiesâ€”or even question their effectiveness or executionâ€”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 soâ€”the President quoted a purported Osama Bin Laden letter that spoke of launching, â€œa media campaign to create a wedge between the American people and their government.â€
Make no mistake hereâ€”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 â€œmedia.â€
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 wordâ€”â€œmediaâ€â€”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 Presidentâ€™s re-writing and sanitizing of history, so it fits the expediencies of domestic politics, is just as false, and just as scurrilous.
â€œIn the 1920â€™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,â€ President Bush said today, â€œthe world ignored Hitlerâ€™s words, and paid a terrible price.â€
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 seekâ€”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 administrationâ€™s recent Nazi â€œkickâ€ 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:
â€œHave you no sense of decency, sir?