Looking for a quote for Absolved this early morning, I found this in How War Came: The Immediate Origins of the Second World War by British historian Donald Cameron Watt (Pantheon, 1989). In his final paragraphs, Watt speaks of the English people's fears about the Germans lingering on after the war. And, he adds:
So do the fears of a war which stems from the will or miscalculation of a ruler or ruling group intent on global hegemony to the point of unreason or mental instability. Hitler willed, wanted, craved war and the destruction wrought by war. He did not want the war he got. Its origins lay through his own miscalculations and misperceptions, as much as through those of his eventual opponents, not least in their belief that he was bluffing, that he would recoil, that in Paul Claudel's words, "Croque-mitaine se degonflera" (the boogeyman will go away). Be firm and it will not happen. . . Neither firmness nor appeasement, the piling up of more armaments nor the demonstration of more determination would stop him . . . The only people who could have stopped him permanently were those least conditioned to do so, his Generals, and their soldiers, if they had been ready to obey, by coup d'etat, or an assassin capable of penetrating into the Reichs Chancellery from which, in the last days of peace, Hitler never emerged. History knows this did not happen.
The German generals' original sin, of course, was to accept the Fuehrer "blood oath" in place of the oath to the German Constitution. History never repeats exactly, yet certain patterns always remain. A leader may direct his people to war not because he loves war, but because he loves power and is willing to use violence, internal or external, to get his way.
Since we live in interesting times, let me be explicit. Obama is no Hitler and I am not indirectly soliciting his assassination or an American coup d'etat. Surely not even the West Point Protective Association could be maneuvered into slavish obedience as the Prussian leaders of the Wehrmacht allowed Hitler to do to them.
But if Obama is no Hitler, he may be a Mussolini. He has, after all, the arrogant jutting jaw and narcissism of that Italian tyrant. Only time will tell.
If he is allowed to accrue that much deadly power, however, it will be because the rule of law has collapsed and the Oath our Founders provided has failed.
The rule of law is collapsing around us. Pray that the Oath never fails. For the tyrannical boogeyman, in all its manifestations, will never go away.