"Why, of course, the people don't want war," Goering shrugged. "Why would some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best that he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece. Naturally, the common people don't want war; neither in Russia nor in England nor in America, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy or a fascist dictatorship or a Parliament or a Communist dictatorship."
"There is one difference," I [Gustave Gilbert, a German-speaking intelligence officer and psychologist] pointed out. "In a democracy the people have some say in the matter through their elected representatives, and in the United States only Congress can declare wars."
"Oh, that is all well and good, but, voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."
Gilbert's information is somewhat out of date. Currently in the United States not Congress but only unelected children of ex-presidents can declare wars.
Goering's tactical advice on getting the people to do the bidding of their leaders meshes well with the actions of Rove, Ridge and the rest of the gang. They will be able to provide many similar quotes when they're on trial.
Americans in 2003 have a few more tools to be responsible citizens than Germans did while Nazi power swelled during the 1930s. We have the internet and blog journalism and other innovations like the Virtual March. We can sidestep domestic propaganda by reading the foreign press in our homes and offices instantly as it is published. We can phone and fax and email and otherwise flood the offices of our representatives with our desires for a better economy with better security through peaceful means.
We must undermine the American-bred Goerings. When leaders misbehave, the people who do not want war must make overwhelming repeated use of these tools until our message is unmistakably loud and clear.