We understand something new through something familiar. To comprehend Bush, many compare him to Hitler. Here and abroad, he's been deemed America's Hitler. It follows then, that neocons would be considered neonazis-and they sometimes are.
But neither comparison is apt. Hitler is without peer. About 35,000,000 deaths can be attributed to Hitler and his swarm. Another 20,000,000 died due to his allies. Cities were leveled. That man(iac) attacked in every possible direction. If he could have declared war on the Earth's core and clouds, he would have. And the centerpiece of Hitler's horror was the institutionalization of genocide in the concentration camps.
Bush lacks full equivalencies. His wars aren't world war. He only attacks to the east: the Middle East. And Gitmo isn't Auschwitz.
Behind a podium, Bush also can't compare to Hitler. Hitler mesmerized. At best, Bush amuses. At worst, he leaves liberals and moderates wondering why anyone voted for a man that believes the people of Greece are "Grecians."
There are also formative differences. Hitler endured peril. He fought in WWI. Then Hitler rioted and was imprisoned. Bush was swaddled. He didn't attend the finest schools by merit. He was excused from the Guard by privilege.
Hitler was a scrapper. Bush ain't. He's a silver-spooned softie.
He's America's Hirohito. Until 1946, Hirohito was believed to be a God...and treated accordingly. As a God, he was exempt from suffering. Tokyo would burn and Nagasaki would smolder, but Hirohito spent the war in silk. His exemption from suffering was not a ubiquitous aspect of power in the 1940s. Even Tojo, the Japanese Prime Minister during WWII, was a veteran. And FDR's sons all served.
But Bush, like Hirohito, was exempted from war. And like Hirohito, he has an anachronistic notion of leadership. Hirohito believed that his authority was divine. As an alleged descendent of the Sun Goddess, Hirohito was born to lead. As a descendent of George, Sr., GW also believes that he was born to lead, but like Hirohito, he carries no credentials other than lineage. Both rose by dint of monarchy rather than meritocracy. Bush wouldn't stand before the spotlights if he weren't a Bush (His social equivalent is the equally vacuous Paris Hilton, but that's another analogy.).
Like Hirohito, Bush has an anachronistic notion of leadership. Both bark at subordinates and delegate authority, which makes them clueless in a crunch. Consider the current port brouhaha: Bush was out of the loop. Hirohito was often out of the loop too. When he contracted the cancer that killed him, he wasn't informed. Divinity doesn't bother with mortality, 'cause that's the way, uh-huh, uh-huh, they like it.
So, neither is a William Wallace, as depicted by Mel Gibson. Neither was the first to charge. And neither manages to be a MacArthur. For all his faults, when Douglas "I shall return" MacArthur waded ashore in '44, that was real peril. There were bullets in the air. MacArthur was not pretending to be a warrior, ala Bush. Doug waded into harm's way.
And as an old soldier, MacArthur did not merely fade away, as he promised. From the wisdom that one can garner by witnessing war, MacArthur urged JFK to avoid a build-up of troops in Vietnam and to attend to pressing domestic affairs instead.
But Hirohito and GW lack such war weary wisdom: they never endured war. And with Powell ejected, Bush even lacks such a war weary confidant.
Hirohito and Bush also eluded deprivation-and failure with consequences. Eventually, GW claimed the blame for New Orleans, but that meant nothing. He still reigns. He's still rich. And he's still supported by 40% of Americans.
40%. That 40% would have blended into Japan's 1946 populace. Many Japanese wept when Hirohito conceded that he wasn't divine. The belief that he knew best was precious to them. And the belief that Bush knows best is precious to 40% of the country...and precious to Bush. That Bush knows best has been disproved, but Bush has a faith-based relationship with his supporters. It isn't theological faith. It's secular faith...and it's adolescent. To be all grown-up, citizens must shed the notion that those with authority, those with trim suits and red ties, those that stand behind podiums, have a clue what to do. And they must put down such childish devices as the Jews du jour, whether they're Muslims or queer folks or liberals. And grown-up citizens must not expect our emperor to purr that the Union "is confident and strong" when we're borrowing billions and billions of dollars and sucking money from schools to occupy Iraq.
Teddy Roosevelt said, "The President is merely the most important among a large number of public servants...Therefore it is absolutely necessary that there should be full liberty to tell the truth...Any other attitude in an American citizen is both base and servile."
Emperor Bush doesn't understand this. Like Emperor Hirohito, he is distracted from his designated service by his dreams of empire. And his base still believes that Bush knows best-by his birth.
So, he ain't Hitler. Hitler wanted lebensraum: living space. Bush, like Hirohito, wants resources and he wants to maintain the status quo: an America powered by oil. In his quest for more oil and more money and more power, Bush has forgotten that he promised to serve us and to protect the Constitution.
Unfortunately, MacArthur is dead. He can no longer stride into the Oval Office and spend 3 hours, as he did with JFK, urging Bush to be a president and not an emperor, to attend to his country, rather than build an empire.
Katie McKy is the author of It All Began With a Bean, which answers a child's true query: "What would happen if everyone in the world passed gas at once?" Her work can be found regularly on Raw Story. You can visit her online at KatieMcKy.com.