Hayden, Hitler and the Dark Art of Fearmongering

Hayden, Hitler and the Dark Art of Fearmongering
Paul Morigi/Invision for AMC/AP Images
Hayden, Hitler and the Dark Art of Fearmongering
Paul Morigi/Invision for AMC/AP Images
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America is just like Nazi Germany.

That’s the latest from Gen. Michael Hayden, the former director of the CIA and NSA, who on Thursday doubled down on his inflammatory rhetoric that President Trump’s America is no different than Adolf Hitler’s Germany.

“If the boot fits…” Hayden snarked.

The comment is an unexpected reversal of his June apology when the CNN contributor first compared Trump to Hitler. Back then, he claimed that the president’s immigration policies were akin to the horrors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, where 1.1 million Jews were slaughtered.

"I guess I wanted to grab people's attention,” he later explained. “I apologize to anyone who may have felt offended."

But with Thursday’s tweet, Hayden is clearly back at it.

This isn’t a slip of his Twitter tongue. Rather, this former intelligence officer knows exactly what he’s doing. In short, he’s waging a campaign of fear, aided and abetted by his masters at CNN, to scare voters to the polls – and towards the Democrats.

Here’s why:

We know that fear is one of the most powerful human emotions. Our basic responses are built on it – think “fight or flight.” And, if carefully balanced, fear can actually serve us well. For example, if you fear a bad grade in school, you might study longer or hire a tutor.

In other words, we can become more vigilant, more driven, and more productive.

But as politicians and intelligence officers like Hayden know, fear can also be used as a dark art. It can cause people to abandon rational thinking, to create hysteria and panic. In some, it can make them utterly debilitated by anxiety and depression.

So when Hayden makes references to Auschwitz, he’s leaning on the devilish side of fear. He’s using the imagery death camps, poisonings, and mass murder to incite political chaos.

And he won’t stop until Trump is out of power. That is clearly his mission.

What makes Hayden’s words all the more effective – and all the more loathsome – is that he knows his voice carries special weight. He’s a retired military general. A director of spies. A man of special insights and intelligence, certainly as compared to the average voter. His hope is that by using his name, experience, and terrifying words, he can convince America that we don’t just have a controversial president but a latter-day Nazi monster.

The only reprieve, then, is to vote for Democrats or anyone aligned with them.

And so Hayden pushes on, encouraged by the hosts and profiteers at CNN, hell-bent on pumping the minds of America’s progressives full of terror to achieve a political end.

To be sure, Hayden isn’t the only disgraced former intelligence officer to use this tactic. Former CIA Director – and current MSNBC contributor – John Brennan is well known to do the same. To wit, he has been on a months-long campaign to convince the Democratic elite that Trump is guilty of treacherous crimes.

Impeachment, he says, is the only remedy. 

The question thus remains: Will their fearmongering and that of their CNN and MSNBC bosses work? We can certainly hope that the American people are smart enough to see through the manipulation. But fear is a powerful elixir, and many of us fall victim to it.

With the midterm elections just days away, we’ll find out soon enough.

Bryan Dean Wright is a former CIA officer and member of the Democratic Party in Oregon. Follow him on Twitter @BryanDeanWright.

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