Comparing Bush to Hitler criticized as outrageous
MoveOn.org, an advocacy group, has sought to energize opposition to the president by sponsoring a contest in which Americans were urged to produce an anti-Bush advertisement to air the week of the State of the Union address. Web site visitors were invited to vote for their favorite ad from a pre-selected group that MoveOn.org deems appropriate for TV. MoveOn.org informed potential ad makers that"we're not going to post anything that would be inappropriate for television." Two of the ads posted on the group's Web site compared Adolf Hitler to George W. Bush. One ad morphed an image of Hitler into President Bush and says that,"1945's war crimes" are"2003's foreign policy."
The Holocaust was the worst crime in history. The Nazis killed six million Jews, and millions of others were murdered in a systematic genocide. Generations were exterminated. Starvation, slave labor, gassing and medical experimentation were tools for the"final solution."
The last survivors of that horror will soon pass from among us. Their eyewitness testimony will be lost, and it is for us to ensure that we never forget. It is for them that we have built museums to preserve the horror of these crimes. It is for them that we guard against the danger that the memory of the Holocaust will be trivialized. That danger is abetted when people devalue this monumental evil for political gain.
Today, MoveOn.org is doing just that, using the memory of that genocide as a political prop. Their comparison diminishes the reality of what happened, and their actions cheapen the memory of a horrific crime. It also does a terrible disservice to this country at a perilous time, when we need to examine the dangers we face with clarity and purpose.
The lessons of the Holocaust era loom larger than ever, but not as portrayed by MoveOn.org. It was from the backbenches of Britain's Parliament in the 1930s that Churchill warned of the"gathering storm," arguing that the great threat had to be confronted before it was too late. His warning went unheeded. Free nations stood idle as the Nazis harnessed their war machine. Democracies naively hoped for peace. They turned from evil, but the evil did not fade, and when World War II ended 50 million were dead.
With terrorists operating under the protection of rogue regimes, Churchill's warning is still apt today. Leadership is about confronting threats to freedom everywhere. President Bush has shown that leadership in Iraq, and our troops have liberated a people who were oppressed by another murderous dictator. MoveOn.org compares this liberation to the Holocaust. It deploys a picture of Hitler to vilify President Bush. Comparing the commander-in-chief of a democratic nation to the murderous tyrant Hitler is not only historically specious, it is morally outrageous. Comparing an American president, any American president, to Hitler is an outrage.Click here for moveon.org's response.
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