Letters to the editor
The cartoon you ran in your Sept. 30 edition, comparing President Bush and Secretary Rumsfeld to Adolph Hitler and one of his generals, cannot be excused. In comparing Bush to Hitler, you are assigning him the role of despot rather than Saddam Hussein and inferring that the United States resorts to the same methods as did Nazi Germany. Let me provide you with some of the facts you neglected to investigate when you chose to make this comparison.
n The United Nations Security Council has passed 16 separate resolutions since 1990 condemning Iraq’s buildup of weapons of mass destruction and its human rights practices. The U.N. president has issued no less than 30 formal statements of the same tone. To date, Hussein has defied them all. What other dictator in our century defied expressions of international condemnation?
n Amnesty International, in its 2002 Annual Report, criticized Iraq for the “sheer number” of executions of its citizens and for such offenses as homosexuality, prostitution, smuggling car parts and criticizing the president or his party. Can you remember another dictator who executed homosexuals or others for petty offenses?
n Human Rights Watch, in its World Report 2002, reports that over 800,000 Kurds are refugees due to Hussein’s ethnic cleansing or “Arabization” program. Can you recall another 20th century despot who displaced many on the basis of their ethnicity? Speaking of Kurds, Hussein killed over 8,000 Kurds in 1988 with chemical weapons, and has used these same weapons on them over 10 times since. Why, because they happen to be Shi’a, not Sunni, Muslims. Can you think of another dictator who executed thousands of his own citizens due to religious difference?
n There is one trade union in Iraq, two television stations, and all print and broadcast media is owned by the government. In 1986, the Iraqi government decreed the death penalty for any journalist who “insults the president or any other high government official.”
Since freedom of the press, which you yourself enjoy, would seem to one of your chief values, perhaps you might find the freedoms offered by the Iraqi government more to your liking. Please, when you do move there, feel free to compare Hussein to whomever you like.
Based upon these facts, which represent just a stitch of those readily available (especially to a journalist), which leader most closely resembles Hitler? You should apologize. Your decision to run this cartoon is irresponsible and witless.
Rick S. Chastain