Georgia Representative George Broun is apparently worried that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist or fascist dictatorship.
“It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he’s the one who proposed this national security force,” Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. “I’m just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism.”
Broun cited a July speech by Obama that has circulated on the Internet in which the then-Democratic presidential candidate called for a civilian force to take some of the national security burden off the military.
“That’s exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany and it’s exactly what the Soviet Union did,” Broun said. “When he’s proposing to have a national security force that’s answering to him, that is as strong as the U.S. military, he’s showing me signs of being Marxist.”
I guess it’s a sign of progress that Rep. Broun understands that he may sound “a bit crazy and off base.” What is the basis for his paranoia (outside of his own mind, of course)? Obama gave a speech to a group of veterans in Colorado on July 4, 2008, in which he called for Americans to serve their country, and in which he outlined ways in which such service could be to the long-term security benefit of the US.
Just as we must value and encourage military service across our society, we must honor and expand other opportunities to serve. Because the future of our nation depends on the soldier at Fort Carson, but it also depends on the teacher in East LA, the nurse in Appalachia, the after-school worker in New Orleans, the Peace Corps volunteer in Africa, and the Foreign Service officer in Indonesia.
And later in the same speech:
“Renewing that spirit starts with service. Make no mistake: our destiny as Americans is tied up with one another. If we are less respected in the world, then you will be less safe.”
So in context it’s clear that what he’s saying is simply that it’s good PR to send Americans overseas (amongst other things) to help the world in non-military ways, and that better PR for the US will result in better security.
In fact, he said the following:
“We cannot continue to rely on our military in order to achieve the national security objectives we’ve set. We’ve got to have a civilian national security force that’s just as powerful, just as strong, just as well-funded.”
And that’s the bit the right wing is going nutty over.
In a typical comment, one republican said:
“If we’re going to create some kind of national police force as big, powerful and well-funded as our combined U.S. military forces, isn’t this rather a big deal? I thought Democrats generally believed the U.S. spent too much on the military. How is it possible their candidate is seeking to create some kind of massive but secret national police force that will be even bigger than the Army, Navy, Marines and Air Force put together?”
The levels of confusion here are quite astonishing. First, Obama spelled out the nature of the “civilian security force” — which would consist of people working for the Peace Corps, teaching, consulates, etc. It’s all there in the speech. How this turns into a “secret national police force” is anyone’s guess.
Second, the words “civilian security force,” referring as they do to entities such as the Peace Corps, are clearly metaphorical.
Another conservative commented:
“In 2007, the U.S. Defense budget was $439 billion. Is Obama serious about creating some kind of domestic security force bigger and more expensive than that?”
This seems to be a either an inability to understand the meaning of the words “just as well-funded,” or a willful misunderstanding of them. It hardly seems likely that Obama would be planning to spent over $400 billion and not tell anyone, so “just as well funded” would presumably mean that education, the Peace Corps, etc, would have their needs covered in an adequate way, just as the military has its needs covered in an adequate way. As they say, when was the last time you heard of the military having a bake sale to raise money for a new jet? And yet our school system is perpetually in that state. To fund, say, the Peace Corps, as well as the military doesn’t mean spending the same amount as the military gets, it means making sure that it’s, well, “well-funded.”
“We can’t be lulled into complacency,” Broun said. “You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I’m not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I’m saying is there is the potential.”
No, he’s not comparing Obama to Hitler, he’s just saying that Obama might be like Hitler. Just as many, many other conservatives, commenting on an extract of Obama’s speech on YouTube, have done:
This could be the equivalent of Hitler’s SS. The Messiah has spoken….disarm and give your weapons to him, leave yourself with no protection, be patriotic and help spread the (your) wealth, help him put into a militant civilian military (Blaque Panthers) in order to suppress the military from overthrowing him. Submit all white weak people. This makes no sense at all. We have the worlds mightiest army. Why do we need a civilian force? Where have I heard this before? I know, in Cuba. I can see a pattern here. These guys all follow the same pattern. He wants a civilian force made up of his supporters so he can perpetuate himself in power. Castro, Hitler, Chavez, they have all done it. obama is a real nazi!!! This is exactly was Hitler was saying before his civilian army helped him make his fascist police state..Anyone ever heard of the SS? All you who think Obama is some cool black dude who is gonna make America peachy better open your eyes. This is the making of new Hitler. War on the people
etc, etc, etc.
Once again, I wonder where all this poison is going to go now that Obama has been elected? At a time when a president-elect has to be shielded by several inches of bullet-proof glass and there have been more than 500 threats to and at least two attempts on his life, we’d expect our elected representatives to be a bit less inclined to supply pitchforks and flaming torches to the village mob.