By Bernd Debusmann, Special Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters)- When radio host Jerry Klein suggested that all Muslims in the United States should be identified with a crescent-shape tattoo or a distinctive
arm band, the phone lines jammed instantly.
The first caller to the station in Washington said that Klein must be "off his rocker." The second congratulated him and added: "Not only do you tattoo them in the middle of their forehead but you ship them out of this country ... they are here to kill us."
Another said that tattoos, armbands and other identifying markers such as crescent marks on driver's licenses, passports and birth certificates did not go far enough. "What good is identifying them?" he asked. "You have to set up encampments like during World War Two with the Japanese and Germans."
At the end of the one-hour show, rich with arguments on why visual identification of "the threat in our midst" would alleviate the public's fears, Klein revealed that he had staged a hoax. It drew out reactions that are not uncommon in post-9/11 America.
"I can't believe any of you are sick enough to have agreed for one second with anything I said," he told his audience on the AM station 630 WMAL (http://www.wmal.com/), which covers Washington, Northern Virginia and Maryland
"For me to suggest to tattoo marks on people's bodies, have them wear armbands, put a crescent moon on their driver's license on their passport or birth certificate is disgusting. It's beyond disgusting.
"Because basically what you just did was show me how the German people allowed what happened to the Jews to happen ... We need to separate them, we need to tattoo their arms, we need to make them wear the yellow Star of David, we need to put them in concentration camps, we basically just need to kill them all because they are dangerous."
"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."
- George Santayana.
William L. Shirer made these words the epigraph for his epic book, Rise
and Fall of the Third Reich (1959). Now, it seems a frightening number of our
fellow citizens are proving Santayana and Shirer correct. This radio show hoax
shows just how ripe such people are for the scrapping of the constitutional rights
of fellow citizens they consider "dangerous."
Such people, no doubt the same ones who support warrantless surveillance
by the NSA, "enemy combatant status" designations and extraordinary rendition,
are perfectly willing to throw away 800 years of development in liberty, such as
the due process provisions in our Bill of Rights, all in the name of "safety."
And people wonder how "it" could have happened in such a refined and
modern country as Germany. We are now getting our lesson in just how.
Apparently some Americans think the Nazis had the right idea all along, except
that these supporters of an American version of the Nazi system may think the
Nazis just did not have the right people. Other than that, there is no difference
between what the Nazis did to the Jews and what these freaks want to do to
American Muslims. It is structurally an identical system of rights-stripping
and unrestrained powers of arrest, designation as "the enemy" without trial,
internment, and God knows what else. For such people, torture and summary
execution are also not beyond the pale, I am sure. They fail to see that once
you tear down the shield of the Bill of Rights for anyone, even those
"dangerous" Muslims, you tear it down for us all.
That is another lesson of history these idiots will be condemned to repeat.