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President Bush Orders More Troops to Iraq

November 17, 1990

Although I agree that America needs a clearer "why" before it goes to war, I do not believe the analogy with Hitler and Nazi Germany should be ridiculed. But it should be made clearer.

Iraq's Baath Party is secular, socialist and aggressively Pan-Arab. Nazism was Pan-German but otherwise similar. Iraq's sizable population, coupled with its relatively superior economic and technological base, makes that country's war potential the greatest in the region. Like Germany under Hitler, Iraq today is on the threshold of a nuclear breakthrough. Like Hitler, Hussein is a ruthless and megalomaniacal dictator determined to extend his tyranny over his neighbors. Although not quite the fanatic about race that Hitler was, Hussein, too, seems disposed toward genocidal policies. And like Hitler, Hussein appears willing to lead his countrymen toward national catastrophe for the sake of personal glory.

I fear that the tendency of some to trivialize these parallels is a symptom of Americans' unfortunate reluctance to take non-Western cultures seriously (particularly if they happen to be Muslim). Although any analogy will fail at some point, the strength of this one is unsettling. In fact, it and other considerations have persuaded me to visit an Army recruiting center soon. And believe me, I am not enthusiastic about the prospect.

CHARLES WILSON HEWGILL

Anaheim

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