Frank Rich Gets It

Sunday, October 14, 2007

What is "it?" The fact that there are real parallels between what is happening in this country and what happened in Nazi Germany and that too many Americans are being Good Germans. Only enablers of fascism could keep turning a blind eye to the atrocities being committed by our government. Citing the Andrew Sullivan column discussed here, Rich lays out a laundry list of crimes from torture to the shoddy treatment of our troops to lawless mercenary contractors, and questions American apathy.

I have always maintained that the American public was the least culpable of the players during the run-up to Iraq. The war was sold by a brilliant and fear-fueled White House propaganda campaign designed to stampede a nation still shellshocked by 9/11. Both Congress and the press — the powerful institutions that should have provided the checks, balances and due diligence of the administration’s case — failed to do their job. Had they done so, more Americans might have raised more objections. This perfect storm of democratic failure began at the top.

As the war has dragged on, it is hard to give Americans en masse a pass. We are too slow to notice, let alone protest, the calamities that have followed the original sin.

. . .

Our humanity has been compromised by those who use Gestapo tactics in our war. The longer we stand idly by while they do so, the more we resemble those “good Germans” who professed ignorance of their own Gestapo. It’s up to us to wake up our somnambulant Congress to challenge administration policy every day. Let the war’s last supporters filibuster all night if they want to. There is nothing left to lose except whatever remains of our country’s good name.