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No, AOC, those are not ‘concentration camps’. Enough with Hitler already!

No, AOC, those are not ‘concentration camps’. Enough with Hitler already!
Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez keeps insisting that detention centers for illegal immigrants are somehow ‘concentration camps.’ Arguably, the only thing worse than wanting open borders is comparing everything to Hitler.

The freshman Democrat from the Bronx has always had a penchant for hyperbole – remember the world “ending in 12 years”? – but she chose to take it to the next level this week, arguing that the US has established “concentration camps” for immigrants where they are “being brutalized with dehumanizing conditions and dying.”

“This is not hyperbole. It is the conclusion of expert analysis,” she said.

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What followed was a sordid war of words, in which conservatives called AOC out on diminishing the Holocaust, while her allies in the media defended the congresswoman with takes by hair-splitting whether “concentration” and “death” camps were the same thing, and trying to argue she didn’t really refer to the Holocaust when she said “never again.”

It wasn’t long before Yad Vashem and the Auschwitz museum got involved, lecturing both AOC and her media allies that they should not take the name of the Holocaust in vain. Nevertheless, she persisted.

There are two very important issues at stake here. One is whether the US has the right to control immigration, with AOC and her cohorts clearly on the side of “open borders or you’re a racist” argument. The other is whether the US can recover from decades of propaganda labeling the targets of its military interventions as Hitler seeping into its domestic politics now.

During the 1990s, propaganda designed to get the US involved in civil wars in the former Yugoslavia successfully exploited WWII imagery, invoked “genocide” and urged the West to intervene to stop a “new Hitler.” In 2002, former journalist turned human rights professor Samantha Power published a book calling for American interventionism across the world in the “age of genocide.” She would later become a policy adviser to Barack Obama.

Invoking Hitler was a bipartisan affair, however, used by the Bush administration in 2003 against Iraq as well as by the Obama administration in 2011 against Libya and Syria. Meanwhile, the tactic was seeping into US politics as well: Bush was often compared to Hitler, as were Republican presidential candidates John McCain and Mitt Romney.

But the reductio at Hitlerum “arguments” really went stratospheric with President Donald Trump, with armed and masked activists calling themselves antifascists literally assaulting people on the street and the media making excuses about how “punching Nazis” has to be okay.

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Worse yet, many American politicians – AOC herself included –  tend to use the language of WWII to justify their policy proposals today. “This is our World War II,” she said in January, pushing her Green New Deal to address climate change.

This would be bad enough without the additional dimension of historical ignorance. All too many Americans believe the myth that their country fought in WWII in order to stop the Holocaust, and that the US did the lion’s share of the fighting. Neither is true: facts about Hitler’s genocidal project emerged only after his defeat, and it was the Soviet Union that did the bulk of the fighting and dying to make that happen.

Invoking Hitler and the Nazis to describe an opponent moves the disagreement beyond politics and into war territory, where any and all means are allowed. American society is already fractured to the breaking point; the last thing it needs is an overdose of misguided messianic zealotry.

Nebojsa Malic, RT

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