April 12, 2004 by AK
“Bush=Hitler” is silly, but “Hussein=Hitler” is not much smarter. Hitler’s record was exceptional for the West in the 20th century. Hussein is nothing special for the post-WWII Arab world; yet another in the same line as Nasser, Qaddafi, Assad, etc.
Germany was a leader in just about everything in 1933. Technology and science: the birthplace of the automobile and quantum theory. Literature: the Mann brothers, Rilke. Arts: Expressionism. Philosophy: the new Kantians, Husserl, Heidegger. Social Sciences: Weber, Spengler. Germany had only a brief record of democracy but rule of, and respect for law were essential to German mentality. Germany was the home land of medieval city law (e.g., Magdeburg, Luebeck codes). All in all, Germany was one of the West’s standard-bearers; thus, Nazism could be interpreted as a crime on behalf of the whole western civilization. No Western country was sufficiently different from Germany to say, “This could not have happened here” or “We belong to different worlds; their crimes cast no shadow on our domain.”
Iraq, on the contrary, is a backwater by most standards, and Hussein’s crimes should be considered run-of-the-mill in that part of the world. It does not exonerate him, of course, but demotes him to his appropriate place in a rating of tyrants.
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