My first exposure to the Lyndon LaRouche PAC came this past winter, when I attended a lecture by Professor Juan Cole on the Iraq war. During the question and answer period at the end, someone from the PAC asked a question. Professor Cole, in his response, referred to members of the group as “cultish.” The questioner quickly became agitated and screamed “This man is a fascist!” loud enough so that everyone in the large room could hear it.

Jesse Singal

“Professor Cole’s a fascist?” I thought to myself. “He sure hides it well.”

So I can’t honestly say I didn’t know what I was in for when I accepted a flyer from a “LaRouchie” on the subway a couple of weeks ago. “Save our U.S. Consitution Now!” screamed the headline, and it was authored by the man himself, Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr.

Now the subject of the flyer is the judicial filibuster controversy, which has since been resolved in a manner that didn’t fully please anyone. But despite the dated nature of the subject, much can be learned from the tone and brand of rhetoric utilized:

“Leading Democrats and other recognize that there is an ominous parallel between the incendiary activities of White House radical right-wing propaganda minister Karl Rove and Vice President Dick ‘Hermann’ Cheney’s plot, and the incendiary actions used by Hermann Goering which led to Reichschancellor Adolf Hitler’s seizure of dictatorial powers on February 28, 1933 … Tens of millions of people died as a result of what happened in Berlin on February 27-28, 1933. With the present Bush Administration pushing for ‘preventative use’ of existing nuclear weapons now, many more than tens of millions will die world-wide, if we let the U.S. walk down that same road now. That increasingly hysterically desperate administration now intends to use those weapons just about as quickly as you can say, ‘Remember what happened with Iraq.’”

I’m going to respond to the final part of this excerpt first. The Washington Post reported on May 15 (“Not Just A Last Resort?”) that the United States’ Strategic Command, or Stratcom, does indeed have a contingency plan, CONPLAN 8022, that includes a nuclear option. Specifically, it would utilize “a specially configured earth-penetrating bomb to destroy deeply buried facilities.” Is this scary? Yes. The Post article itself refers to the nuclear side of the plan as “disconcerting.” But does this mean that Bush is itching to use a nuclear weapon? Of course not. For LaRouche to argue that this is the goal or intention of the Bush Administration — nuclear war — smacks of the ideological blind spots that arise when you hate too much and think too little.

As for the Hitler comparisons — why should I even bother? Really, what’s the point? Comparing Bush to one of the 20th century’s most notorious figures is so utterly sophomoric — and, unfortunately, clichéd — that it’s hardly worth responding to. Suffice it to say, Bush is not Hitler. Bush is nowhere near Hitler. When did it become impossible to say simply, “I dislike the guy, and here’s why…”?

I’m not going to compare Bush to Hitler. I’m not going to claim that he wants to start a nuclear war. I’m not even going to take the very Bush-esque route of branding him as “evil.” What I’m going to do is say that it is utterly remarkable that, after the innumerable claims made by him and his administration about Iraq turned out to be utterly false, no one was ever held accountable. See what I just did, LaRouchies? Wasn’t that easy? You don’t need to immediately seek out the most sensationalistic, hyperbolic ways to convey your dislike of the man. You don’t need to call anyone you disagree with a “fascist.” When the facts are on your side, all you have to do is use them. It’s so much easier to respond to “Bush and his administration are similar to Hitler and his administration” than it is to respond to “The vast majority of the things Bush and his administration said about Iraq in the buildup to the war have turned out to be false. Why?”

Come on, LaRouchies: Let’s leave the name-calling to those who don’t have the facts on their side.

 

Singal can be reached at jsingal@umich.edu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stampfl can be reached at

kstampfl@umich.edu

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