November 28, 2003
Hitler in Paris,
Bush in Baghdad: Comparisons
contrast between George Bush's two-hour secret trip
to occupied Baghdad in November 2003 and Adolf
Hitler's visit to occupied Paris in June 1940
invites some interesting comparisons.
President Bush was in Baghdad for only two and a
half hours (or two, depending on the report one
reads). His presence there wasn't announced until
after he had left. He never took so much as a step
outside the US-occupied airport which is also the
main US airfield in occupied Iraq.
I don't imagine that Hitler's visit to France
was widely publicised in advance among the French
people either, but he does seem to have enjoyed
something of a tour of the French capital.
I am not in any way raising this issue in order
to contrast the personal courage of Hitler and
Bush, which is a complex and minor issue, but to
contrast the two occupations.
During and since World War II we who live in the
Allied countries have been given to understand that
the French populace loathed the Germans and of
course Hitler worst of all of them.
Yet somehow that supposedly unspeakable and
unique and incomparable "barbarity" and "brutality"
of the Germans elicited among the French nothing of
the sort of massive popular armed resistance and
mass visceral outrage that the US forces and their
president have aroused among Iraqis.
Hitler could visit occupied Paris and see the
sights. Bush had to sneak in and out of US-occupied
Baghdad and dared not stay more than two or three
hours, or venture outside the armed airport -- not
even guarded and accompanied by the most powerfully
equipped army on earth.
the German occupation of France has been portrayed
as almost an archetype of oppression and evil, how
must we regard, and how will future generations
regard, the US occupation of Iraq?
Hitler image for further
comparison; but note that this
photo is NOT during his Paris trip