I wonder if it’s time to invoke Godwin’s Law on the national conversation, especially after this press release from the DoD:
WASHINGTON, Aug. 11, 2004 — The Defense Department’s No. 2 official compared radical Islamic terrorists to Adolph Hitler’s dispensers of death — the dreaded “Schutzstaffel,” or SS — during Aug. 10 testimony on Capitol Hill.
Appearing before House Armed Services Committee to discuss the military’s role in carrying out the 9/11 Commission’s recommendations to deny terrorists places of sanctuary, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul D. Wolfowitz observed that the United States and its allies “are fighting a cult of death, not life.”
Accompanied by Marine Gen. Peter Pace, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Army Gen. Bryan Brown, head of U.S. Special Operations Command, Wolfowitz observed that preventing terrorism “means more than killing or capturing terrorists.”
Ultimate victory over global terrorism, he noted, “requires sowing the seeds of hope, particularly in the broader Middle East.”
The 9/11 Commission report, Wolfowitz told committee members, noted that radical Islamic fundamentalists possess an intolerant, non-negotiable ideology and world view that has no regard for human rights or the rule of law.
Global terrorism is another manmade evil “that needs to be eradicated and discarded,” Wolfowitz said, “just as piracy and the slave trade were de- legitimized and driven to the margins of civilized life in the past.”
Terrorists’ extremist ideology, he said, must be “replaced by a hopeful vision of freedom.”
Wolfowitz characterized terrorists who routinely employ suicide-attack tactics as “people who worship death more than they seem to worship anything else.”
Today’s radical Islamic terrorists, Wolfowitz pointed out, “remind you of the notorious Nazi groups like the SS that proudly wore the death’s head as their symbol.” Under Heinrich Himmler, the SS, which was established as Hitler’s elite military force, stamped out dissent and propagated the Nazi vision of establishing a pure, “Aryan” race in Germany and in conquered territories.
Millions who didn’t fit into the Nazis’ world view, including political prisoners, gypsies, Jews, and mentally or physically challenged persons, were summarily killed or perished in labor and concentration camps.
Like the long-gone Nazis, Wolfowitz noted today’s Islamic radicals also rely on terror and “their ability to kill innocent people” to attain and retain power.
The cures for radical Islamic terrorism “must come from within Muslim societies themselves,” he said, and the United States “must support such developments.”
Such a goal is “ambitious,” Wolfowitz acknowledged. But, he pointed out, “the threat we face is ambitious” as well as “enormous and unprecedented.”