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April 30, 2008

BREAKING: Dem. Senator Compares America To Hitler's Germany!!!!!! [Siren]

Rick Perlstein has posted Arkansas Senator William Fulbright's famous 1966 speech on Vietnam, usually titled "The Arrogance of Power":

The causes of the malady are not entirely clear but its recurrence is one of the uniformities of history: power tends to confuse itself with virtue and a great nation is peculiarly susceptible to the idea that its power is a sign of God's favor, conferring upon it a special responsibility for other nations -- to make them richer and happier and wiser, to remake them, that is, in its own shining image. Power confuses itself with virtue and tends also to take itself for omnipotence. Once imbued with the idea of a mission, a great nation easily assumes that it has the means as well as the duty to do God's work. The Lord, after all, surely would not choose you as His agent and then deny you the sword with which to do His will. German soldiers in the First World War wore belt buckles imprinted with the words "Gott mit uns." It was approximately under this kind of infatuation -- an exaggerated sense of power and an imaginary sense of mission -- that the Athenians attacked Syracuse, and Napoleon and then Hitler invaded Russia. In plain words, they overextended their commitments and they came to grief.

The rest.

It's not all as good as that paragraph—in fact, Fulbright spends some time wondering how the Vietnamese people could be so "shockingly ungrateful"—but it's still amazing that a US Senator (from the South) said it all more than forty years ago.

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at April 30, 2008 03:31 PM

Perhaps this was your intent in publishing this breaking news, but I note that Bill Clinton was an intern for Sen. Fulbright.

Thus, given the precedent set by the Rev. Wright melodrama, I demand that Hilary spend the next two months reacting to these anti-American comments by someone so close to her inner circle.

Posted by: Whistler Blue at April 30, 2008 03:58 PM

I took the "shockingly ungrateful" bit as a rhetorical gambit to meet people where they were. I don't think he believed it.

Posted by: Rick Perlstein at April 30, 2008 04:33 PM

Fulbright rhymes with Wright.

Posted by: darrelplant at April 30, 2008 04:47 PM

TROUBLE IS that Frankenstein,(with his Dracula financed Foreign Policy) has only just stubbed his toe.

Posted by: Mike Meyer at April 30, 2008 07:08 PM

I took the "shockingly ungrateful" bit as a rhetorical gambit to meet people where they were. I don't think he believed it.

I don't think Carl Levin believes it when he says the same thing about Iraqis, either, but that doesn't make it any less disgusting and sleazy a maneuver.

It's a rhetoric that reinforces in a serious way attitudes that enable our consistently horrible foreign policy, i.e. U.S. intentions always good; our goals always the expansion of freedom, democracy, and well-being; people on the receiving end of our policy way below our level -- struggling, "young" democracies if fully backed by our govt, ungrateful wogs if less so.

Posted by: Nell at April 30, 2008 08:34 PM