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Chris Kelly Headshot

One Hitler Per Customer

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It's Hitler season in Washington, and that's a bad sign. Because stopping Hitler is what we say lately whenever we're getting ready to invade somewhere, torture people, and put them in camps. It's a good thing our boogeyman isn't Dracula, or we'd fight him by drinking blood.

Monday, on his "Focus on the Family" radio show, James Dobson talked about a long meeting he'd had with President Bush, and how we have to attack Iran because Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is like Hitler and "if we didn't stand up to Hitler, we'd be speaking German today."

(Which must have pushed all the right buttons for his listeners, because who wants to learn anything, let alone a language? Iran comes over here, starts teaching Farsi in our schools, pretty soon it'll be evolution and sex ed.)

Wednesday, in Britain's Daily Telegraph, John Bolton said we had to bomb Iran, and soon, because, "I think you're at a Hitler marching into the Rhineland point." And if you replace "Hitler" with "Ahmadinejad" and "marching" with "enriching" and "the Rhineland" with "uranium" you can see he makes a pretty impressive argument.

Of course, if you replace "Hitler" with "Akon" and "marching" with "smacking that" and "the Rhineland" with "my house" You have a crisis that only effects me and my wife.

Either way, Bolton makes a powerful case. If not for war, then at least to have his restraints loosened.

Norman Podhoretz says Ahmadinejad is Hitler in the current issue of Commentary - "The Case for Bombing Iran" - but that's because he's Norman Podhoretz and it's Commentary.

This raises a whole list of interesting questions. Like: "Wasn't Saddam Hussein Hitler?" And: "Once you've called someone Hitler, and had a war with them, what do you call the next guy?" Giant Hitler? Space Hitler? Hitler EXTREME? Hillary Hitler?

The problem here is dictator inflation.

Or maybe the problem was that the Nazis left wounds that will never heal, and calling anyone else Hitler is a really ignorant, ugly and vile way to yank people's chains.

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If Bush wanted to go to war with the actual Hitler, who would he say Hitler was like?

Who did people compare their enemies to before Hitler? The Kaiser? But then who did they compare the Kaiser to?

Does it have to be a German? Or can we pitch on it?

Isn't there some fable about a boy crying something about a wolf? It's pretty hoary, but so is trying to win an argument by saying Neville Chamberlain.

When someone tries to argue you into a war by saying Neville Chamberlain, like they know a thing or two, and you're just a boob, is it fair to ask them to tell you a single other fact about Neville Chamberlain?

World War One started because everyone followed through on their threats. Is that a model for anything? Who was England's prime minister in World War One?

When some bore tells you you have to kill someone because Neville Chamberlain didn't, praise him for his encyclopedic knowledge of British politics. At last you've met someone who can answer all your nagging questions about Herbert Asquith. Like who he was. See how quickly the subject changes.

Are there any lessons to learn from history except the one time we didn't have a war as fast as we should have?

Did history itself exist before the Beer Hall Putsch?

They let people dress as buccaneers at Renaissance fairs now, does that make any sense?

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More Fun With Semantics and Analogies

Here's how John Bolton describes the situation in Iraq:

"The regime itself was the threat and we dealt with the threat. Now, what we did after that didn't work out so well. That doesn't say to me, therefore you don't take out regimes that are problematic."

Think of a less callous way to describe tens of thousands of dead women and children than "that didn't work out so well." Keep thinking.

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John Bolton is deep-frying something. Let's say fish. The phone rings and when he answers it, he knocks over the pot. The grease explodes and burning oil goes everywhere. His arms. His eyes. His hair catches fire. His clothes melt into his skin. He'll live, though. The phone call? His daughter is dead.

How does he describe his afternoon?