In reading an excellent book, Satanic Purses: Money, Myth and Misinformation, by R.T. Naylor, I suddenly realized why Adolf Hitler was so popular during the first years of his administration.
The funny thing is that the book is not about Hitler or Germany but about the U.S. and the bogus war on terror. It is an outstanding book, carefully researched and footnoted and written in a reasonable manner, though with delicious dollops of sarcasm.
It's the carefully detailed accounts of injustices committed by the U.S. government against American Muslims that gave me the insight about Hitler.
In the early days of the Third Reich, if you weren't a criminal, a communist, or a Jew, you never saw the dark side of the Nazi government. You saw an economy being revitalized, superhighways being built, Germans being put back to work, the disgraceful Versailles Treaty being scrapped. It must have looked a lot like morning in Germany to the people who had suffered through runaway inflation, economic depression, and street riots.
Similarly, if you are not a Muslim or an Arab-American who has been a victim of the Patriot Act and other laws carelessly passed in the hysteria following the attacks in 2001, then the Bush administration probably looks perfectly normal. You probably even believe that it is really protecting you from terrorists, just as many Germans believed Hitler was protecting them from the "bad guys."
What Taylor's book demonstrates is how often this is pure nonsense and at the same time what terrible damage is being done to the rule of law and America's traditional respect for human rights.
Typically, the government will swoop down and seize an organization's records and computers, while making public accusations of the people being "involved" with terrorists. The important point is that this is done before any determination of guilt or innocence has even begun. By the time a defendant gets to court, if he ever does, he's ruined. Quite often, then the fearless feds will say, "Well, never mind about this terrorist business, just plead guilty to a minor immigration violation." Often defendants are bullied into admitting guilt they don't deserve by threats of being declared an enemy combatant, which means indefinite imprisonment, probably for life.
You can see the process going on with the four men charged with planning to blow up the fuel lines to JFK International Airport in New York. In the first place, it is common knowledge that if you blow up a fuel line, you will get an explosion and fire at one point. The claim that the whole pipeline would blow up for miles is nonsense, and the government knows that, but it threw that out to claim the plot endangered "thousands" of lives.
The real question is: Did these guys actually plan it or were they set up by the government's federal informant? The federal government has a terrible record of using informants to entrap people. The whole tragedy of Ruby Ridge, which cost the lives of Randy Weaver's wife and son, resulted from a federal informant who nagged Weaver into sawing off the barrels of a shotgun, something any kid can do with a vice and a hacksaw. The feds then arrested Weaver with the intention of forcing him to become an informant, and the tragic farce ensued.
So even though you haven't felt the arbitrary and unjust power of the government, you should read Satanic Purses and find out just how much deception is involved in this war on terror. You'll discover how often oil, diamonds, and big business play behind-the-scenes roles in this current so-called war.
As the German people discovered, once a government has unlimited power, it will eventually use that power against everyone.
Charley Reese writes for Lew Rockwell Syndicate. He has been a journalist for 50 years.