Thursday, September 11, 2003

Revisionist Historians

Bush's pal:

The comment reportedly came during a discussion of Saddam Hussein's dictatorship, which brought up Italy's experience with a tyrannical leader. Mussolini ruled Italy from 1922 until his ouster in 1943.

"Mussolini never killed anyone. Mussolini used to send people on vacation in internal exile," Berlusconi was quoted as saying.


"The Fascist regime did not make extermination camps for the Jews, but certainly it contributed to creating them," he told the AGI news agency. "If killing someone only means hitting an adversary and killing him, then not even Hitler killed anyone. But in that way, we can say that there are no murderers in the world."

Widespread persecution of Italian Jews began in 1938 when Mussolini's regime issued racial laws. In 1943, German troops occupied northern and central Italy, and almost 7,000 Jews were deported, 5,910 of whom were killed.

UPDATE: Just want to add that this fondness for fascism of old is a disturbing feature of the right wing governments in Spain and in Italy. The state run Spanish television station (odd how the conservatarian bloggers never complain about that example of state-controlled media, despite its definite like of BBC-style independence) had a historical series recently which is a very sympathetic view of the Franco era.

Franco and Mussolini weren't Hitler, and Franco's Spain became decreasingly authoritarian over time, but this wave of nostalgia for them is creepy as hell.