The Nazi Euthanasia Program: Forerunner of Obama’s Death Council
by Anton Chaitkin
At his trial in front of the American National Military Tribunal in 1947, Karl Brandt, Hitler’s escort physician and later a leading euthanasia operative, testified that, sometime in 1935, Hitler had informed Reich Health Leader Gerhard Wagner of his intention to implement euthanasia of the mentally disabled once war had begun. According to Brandt, Hitler believed the opposition to euthanasia from church circles would be less pronounced during war than in peacetime.
—Michael S. Bryant, Confronting the Good Death: Nazi Euthanasia on Trial, 1945-1953 (Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2005)
The world economy is teetering … With trillions of dollars evaporating in this crisis, millions of middle-class Americans face the prospect of losing their homes and jobs, and witnessing a dramatic contraction of their retirement savings. In response, the public will desperately want financial security…. [B]ailing out bankers and other gamblers [and the] huge increase in the federal debt that these bailouts will entail intensifies the pressure to rein in health-care costs….The dean of health-care economists, Victor Fuchs of Stanford, has long maintained that we will get health-care reform only when there is a war, a depression or some other major civil unrest. It’s beginning to look like we might just have all three….
—Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, “The Financial Crisis and Health Care,” the Chicago Tribune, Oct. 12, 2008
When Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel wrote those words, he was chair of the Department of Bioethics (euthanasia education) at the United States Institutes of Health. Today he is President Obama’s leading representative on a Federal “death council” drawing up a list of medical procedures to be used to deny care to elderly, chronically ill, and poor people, whose lives are considered of less value. Ezekiel’s brother, Obama’s Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel, is ramming this Nazi-revival policy through Congress.
The President beat the drums on May 11, after meeting with private insurance companies, saying that because of the financial crisis, $2 trillion must be cut from American health-care spending. The companies promised to help him shut down more “costly” treatments, which typically prolong life.