Saturday, March 31, 2007

Iraq Occupation compared to WWII

Republican apologists, when defending this administration and its policies in Iraq often invoke the memory of World War II. So, it is always interesting when I am reading for class and come over little tidbits. Here is a quotation from an essay, specifically on German Women in post-war West Germany, but dealing with attitudes towards occupation:

Nevertheless, although Inge symbolizes the moral decline of her society, she is not to blame for this decline. Rather, foreign occupation is. In the final meeting of most of the book's central characters, an American officer who is one of the moral anchors of the tale admits that the military occupation was hypocritical and corrupting. "The occupation was a dictatorship, even if in democratic garb.... We arrived here with the Bible in one hand and the knout in the other.... We believed ourselves to be missionaries, but we did not love those under our charge.... Our efforts were marked by the motto: '...and unless you are willing I shall have to use force.'" When a German in the circle remarks that Hitler had employed a similar motto, the American responds that Hitler hadn't claimed democracy-- and he hadn't been a foreigner. Neither the officer nor the author of the book are apologists for Nazism; this comparison of Hitler and the occupation government--to Hitler's apparent advantage-- is thus astonishing. The message is clear: West Germany must attain national sovereignty and the Yanks must go home.
(Elizabeth Heineman, The Hour of the Woman; from The Miracle Years, Hanna Schissler, ed.)
This does provoke some thought on our current situation in Iraq. Actually, just replace Hitler, German(y), and Nazism with Saddam Hussein, Iraq(i), and Baathism and the attitude is the same. We have one replaced one dictatorship for another, just this one has the trappings of democracy and is led by a foreign power.

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