Are Bush and Obama Different from Hitler and Stalin?

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French scholar Jacques Ellul is said to have asked a similar question circa 1978: “Is anyone really unable to see the difference between the United States and Hitler or Stalin?” No modern president in 1978 had engaged in mass murder, but several could be charged with getting into unnecessary wars. There was a great difference in political systems, but unfortunately there was also a notable similarity in the claims of sovereignty, territoriality and law-making. There was also a notable tendency for the United States to be adopting fascist and socialist ideas and creating a convergence of the political and economic systems toward those of Hitler and Stalin.

Fast forward 35 years. Today, the question is not so easily brushed off. One can make a very substantial case that the difference between Bush/Obama and Hitler/Stalin has narrowed alarmingly. I am thinking of aggressive wars, torture, show trials, renditions, abasement of rights like due process, attacks on free speech, claims of executive privileges and powers, executive orders, propaganda machinery, claims of the power to assassinate, undeclared wars, excessive executive powers, holding prisoners without trial, favoritism to particular interests, multiplication of arbitrary agencies and bureaucracies, a rising climate of fear, encouraging people to spy on one another, massive surveillance, internal martial policing and searches, and multiplication of laws. This list is no doubt incomplete.

Nazism with its 1,000 year Reich is messianic and so is Communism. U.S. leaders increasingly have adopted messianic goals, another major point of convergence.

3:35 pm on August 22, 2013