Hitler's cynical minions turned that fire into a horrific wave of terror. They blamed "the communists" and the Jews, the trade unionists and the homosexuals. With the support of a terrified populace, they suspended civil rights and civil liberties, fattened their war machine and rode the fascist tide into a full-blown dictatorship. The rest, as they say, is history.
The neverending White House-sponsored orgy of 9/11 rhetoric, recrimination and retaliation has become a treacherous parallel. Few Americans believe the Bush Administration itself brought down the World Trade Center last year. But the conviction is widespread throughout Europe and the Muslim world, and for good reason.
This unelected regime---Hitler also came to power with a minority of votes---has used the terrible tragedies of September 11 in much the way the Nazis jumped on the Reichstag fire. Bush has failed to capture or try 9/11's alleged perpetrators. But he's used the tragedy to push an extreme rightist agenda aimed at crushing civil liberties, silencing all opposition, fattening a war machine, and arrogating the right to unilaterally attack other countries without tangible provocation.
With this has come an assault on the natural environment, women's rights, gay rights, organized labor, a wide range of international treaties, and the need of the public to know about and prosecute corporate crime and fraudulent stock dealings, which seem to involve at least half the Bush cabinet, including its two ranking members.