I understand that the old "Bush is Hitler" line is nothing new, but now it’s found its way to the History News Network, not from some unknown commentator, but from a Swarthmore historian.
Actually, his argument is a bit more subtle than that--Bush is more like von Papen than Hitler, having prepared the groundwork for a fascist takeover. The evidence? An increasing amount of talk of using massive force--even nuclear weapons--in the War on Terror, and efforts to minimize (if not defend) the crimes at Abu Ghraib.
Don’t get me wrong--I have no time for those who are advocating turning the Middle East to glass, or who defend what happened at Abu Ghraib. But aren’t such attitudes an understandable (though not justifiable) response to the predictions of "quagmire" we’ve been hearing? Once we’ve established that the country is heading toward imminent defeat, we then ask ourselves what we should do about it. The answer of many on the Left is that we should cut and run. Should we be surprised that there are others who are equally convinced by the "quagmire" thesis, but who think that defeat must be avoided, no matter what the cost?
Perhaps such views--the "run away" school and the "nuke ’em all" school--have become standard tropes in modern warfare. However, it particularly bothers me to hear it coming from historians, who are supposed to be characterized by their appreciation for a long-term perspective.