There’s a popular question, one that will make people think and debate, one that can still be asked in mixed company of all political persuasions, religions, and identities. No one will take offense to this question, as it is thought of as a philosophical in nature. It’s a moral question, really, on whether or not you’d destroy a destructive-but-historic political leader. The question? “Would you go back in time to kill Adolf Hitler?”
This week, Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte he compared himself to Hitler. Instead of exterminating Jewish people, Duterte’s watchword-of-destruction has been “drug dealers” or “drug addicts.” He wants them dead and he’s informed citizens that if they kill these drug dealers or addicts, they’ll be considered heroic by the state and the president.
Now, what this means is anyone’s guess. Are you a drug dealer? A drug user? Well, if I accuse you, you might be. Are you actually dealing drugs? Are you smoking weed or shooting heroin? Well, we can worry about that after you’re dead.
That’s the slippery and very rapid path to death currently at work in the Philippines.
“If Germany had Hitler, the Philippines would have…,” and then he pointed at himself, according to Vice. “Hitler massacred 3 million Jews. Now … there’s 3 million drug addicts [in the Philippines]. There are. I’d be happy to slaughter them.”
So we have the Hitler proposition in real time.
Let me illustrate a scenario: You’re shown a plane ticket, banana clips, and an AK-101 Izhmash by a U.S. intelligence agent.
“Don’t ask about the Russian shit. Training is 10 weeks, daily, for your own use,” he tells you. “Mostly, it’ll be for after the mission. It’s just in case. We’ll have you covered there. You’ll be safe.” He nods a little too vigorously.
Duterte Harry will be lined up for you, kidnapped hours before by a team of CIA operatives burrowed deep into his closest rank-and-file team of lemmings. You’re met by Henry Kissinger, a man you find out is still, secretly, in power. “Dont vorry about it, it wervked in Congo, Cambodiah, ahnd Chili,” he tells you with his signature tortured grin. You’re guaranteed to be safe and you’re guaranteed a pardon by the next president, either party. “Even Gary Johnson?” you ask. Kissinger laughs.
So do you do it? Do you take this Duterte guy out? Send him to whatever his own version of hell is, likely a panopticon filled dope fiends or embarrassingly and powerlessly dead, killed by a dirty American son-of-a-whore?
Say Duterte’s promise is true. You open up Facebook one day and read about how 50,000 Filipino people, “drug dealers,” as he refers to them, have died by a string of mass firing lines. Next week, the number is 80,000. Health workers can’t get in. They’re blocked. Any aid or aid workers are prevented from entering. But you’re not. You slip in with a trusted of Dueterte’s, a Judas.
You’re offered no pay, but given a promise that the problem will become worse, then it will spread like disease if you don’t capture or kill this maniac. “Vits your duty,” Kissinger says, glaring from the top of his eyelids directly into your soul.
When asked, many will assuredly tell you they would have done something like this with Hitler. Hunted him down. Stopped an atrocity. They say it openly. Of course they likely wouldn’t have said it in the 1930s. Not likely, especially if they were Americans. Hell, they may have openly liked the guy. Their thought may have been, “Eh, that’ll never be close to home and we’re broke.” It was sorta fun and games at first, anyhow. He was charismatic.
But would you do it now? Would you save 3 million people?*
*Note: By reading this you swear not to commit any war crimes, regardless of what Mr. Kissinger says when he calls, emails, cables, or texts you about the matter.