In response to Hans Magnus Enzensberger’s column “Like Hitler, His Enemy Is the World” (Commentary, Feb. 14):
I found myself asking the question “and how about us Americans?” If Saddam Hussein’s basic guideline is self-preservation, how about us Americans? Is not preserving the American way of life a significant reason for what we are doing in the Gulf War? If his enemy is the world, and his desire is to die last, how about us Americans? Is not our plan to destroy his army as much as possible through technological weaponry, without real knowledge of the loss of civilian life involved, our main priority being the saving of American lives?
If the fanatical hatred evident in Germans of Hitler’s time is showing itself among Hussein’s people and other Arab peoples, how about us Americans? Isn’t it possible that the current euphoria of American patriotism can blind us to our own anti-Arab attitudes at this time? If Hussein is capitalizing on his people’s sense of humiliation, how about us Americans? Haven’t we been determined to resolve this military crisis through military force because we cannot accept the humiliation of patiently waiting for a solution through nonviolent means?
I raise these questions to keep us from losing all objectivity about ourselves and falling any further into the same obsessions and craziness that Enzensberger sees in his comparison of Hitler and Hussein.
FATHER JOHN WOOLWAY
St. John’s Seminary College