Hamilton, Madison, and Jay

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Saturday, May 17, 2008

Democrats Whining Does Nothing For Their Cause

I would like to address something that occurred this week that made the Democrats look bad; incredibly bad. K-Lo @ NRO addressed this earlier this week:

President George W. Bush spoke to the Israeli Knesset on Thursday morning, to mark the nation’s 60th anniversary. The president said:

Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along . . . We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: 'Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.

Immediately, the Democratic party
responded in outrage, insisting it was an unprecedented political attack on their presumptive nominee from foreign soil. Barack Obama himself said: “It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence to launch a false political attack.”

The sheer asininity of their outrage is quite telling. Let us, for a moment, start with the most obvious question that springs to mind. Given that President Bush cannot run for another term, and given that he literally has no stake in this election, why would he fly all the way to Israel to berate Barack Obama? The simple answer is he did not attack Senator Obama with his statement. If his statement is to be taken in context, then even a monkey with two brain cells can see he was referring to the sort of appeasement that was prevalent in the late 1930s when Adolf Hitler was, indeed, rattling a very large saber.

In direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles and the Locarno treaties, Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland in 1936. In an attempt to appease the dictator, Chamberlain negotiated the Munich Accords on September 30, 1938. In obtaining Hitler's signature, Chamberlain believed the chancellor would be contained, and content with the scraps offered to him. That was not to be the case when an angry and astounded Chamberlain received word that Hitler invaded Czechoslovakia on March 15, 1939. Just six short months later Hitler would launch a lightning-fast assault when he invaded Poland, officially beginning the Second World War.

Appeasement did not work with him because of his desires to conquer the entire continent. This was the point of President Bush's address to the Knesset -- that appeasement will not work with those that have higher goals than what they state, and as a matter of principle appeasement works much like blackmail does. The demands for payment, or concessions, will only grow as the relations continue, and at some point a line will have to be drawn. But with appeasement it matters not because when the line is drawn too much has already been given up.

We see this now in Europe with the appeasement being perpetuated by our "nuanced" cousins from across the pond in how they deal with the violent Islamicists in their midst. France has given in to the point where if any Islamicists carry out an act of violence, the police will roll over at the behest of the government to avoid any sort of confrontations. (This was true under the feckless leadership of Jacques Chirac. To date, Nicolas Sarkozy has not had to deal with the Muslim youths that plagued the latter days of Chirac's regime, so we are not sure how he would address such acts such as the riots in France in 2005 and 2007.)

In Britain, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, provoked stern rebukes and heated criticism when he proposed that a form of shari'a could be instituted and codified under British law. In fact, he claimed that certain aspects had already been adopted into the law, and that they could, presumably make "peace" with the Muslims in Britain that had been calling for such a thing to occur.

We face an enemy today in radical Islam that cannot be appeased. This was the point the president was trying to make. His statement was not reflective of any one person or party, but rather the idea of appeasement itself.

Democrats exploded in indignation at the presumed insinuation that they were who he was referring to, and that Senator Obama was the primary target for his words. Nothing could be further from the truth, but does it not seem odd that their irritation spoke loudly about what they believe? That they would even think that they are equated with appeasers? It speaks loudly to us. Some people seem to have a guilty conscience if they are to get upset over such a non-specific statement. President Bush did not say "Democrats" or "Senator Obama." It would not be prudent, nor would it be proper before the Knesset.

If Democrats have a problem with being painted as appeasers, maybe they might consider changing that outlook. And it should start with who they claim they would speak with in this world. Not every head of state is a friend of ours. Many would like to see America a smoking hulk of a nation. Democrats, and Senator Obama, might take that into consideration when they support a dialogue with nations like Iran, Syria, North Korea, Venezuela, and Cuba. Furthermore, we would suggest to them to take statements that might embarrass them into context before speaking up, and ending up with egg all over their faces.


ADDENDUM: Thomas reminded me of this post at Little Green Footballs from Friday. In it, Charles Johnson highlights a piece in the Seattle Times where editor Bruce Ramsey penned the following:

Democrats are rebuking President Bush for saying in his speech to the Knesset, here, that to “negotiate with terrorists and radicals” is “appeasement.” The Democrats took it as a slap at Barack Obama. What bothers me is the continual reference to Hitler and his National Socialists, particularly the British and French accommodation at the Munich Conference of 1938.

What Hitler was demanding was not unreasonable. He wanted the German-speaking areas of Europe under German authority. He had just annexed Austria, which was German-speaking, without bloodshed. There were two more small pieces of Germanic territory: the free city of Danzig and the Sudetenland, a border area of what is now the Czech Republic.

We live in an era when you do not change national borders for these sorts of reasons. But in 1938 it was different. Germany’s eastern and western borders had been redrawn 19 years before—and not to its benefit. In the democracies there was some sense of guilt with how Germany had been treated after World War I. Certainly there was a memory of the “Great War.” In 2008, we have entirely forgotten World War I, and how utterly unlike any conception of “The Good War” it was. When the British let Hitler have a slice of Czechoslovakia, they were following their historical wisdom: avoid war. War produces results far more horrible than you expected. War is a bad investment. It is not glorious. Don’t give anyone an excuse to start one.

The emphasis for the first sentence in the second paragraph is not mine, but rather it is Mr. Johnson's. It is the one line that should stick out in everyones mind because, in essence, Mr. Ramsey just defended Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany, and the annexation of Austria.

Why do I bring this up? Well, for starters, it is disgusting that a newspaper editor in this day and age would make such a statement, and use it to defend Senator Obama who, by his own statement during the CNN/YouTube debate, would negotiate with our enemies. But, I bring it up for this snort--worthy attempt to "revise" history; namely the one created by Mr. Ramsey himself. Ladies and gentlemen, Mr. Ramsey has edited his blog entry to omit the phrase that obviously caused a level of furor. This is how it reads now:

Democrats are rebuking President Bush for saying in his speech to the Knesset, here, that to “negotiate with terrorists and radicals” is “appeasement.” The Democrats took it as a slap at Barack Obama. What bothers me is the continual reference to Hitler and his National Socialists, particularly the British and French accommodation at the Munich Conference of 1938.

The narrative we’re given about Munich is entirely in hindsight. We know what kind of man Hitler was, and that he started World War II in Europe. But in 1938 people knew a lot less. What Hitler was demanding at Munich was not unreasonable as a national claim (though he was making it in a last-minute, unreasonable way.) Germany’s claim was that the areas of Europe that spoke German and thought of themselves as German be under German authority. In September 1938 the principal remaining area was the Sudetenland.

So the British and French let him have it. Their thought was: “Now you have your Greater Germany.” They didn’t want a war. They were not superpowers like the United States is now. They remembered the 1914-1918 war and how they almost lost it.

In a few months, in early 1939, Hitler ordered the invasion of what is now the Czech Republic—that is, territory that was not German. Then it was obvious that a deal with him was worthless—and the British and French did not appease Hitler any more. Thus the lesson of Munich: don’t appease Hitlers.

The phrase is still there, but now it is buried under a caveat that starts the paragraph off, and there is no mention at all regarding why it was changed. It is obvious that Mr. Ramsey's opinion still stands -- that the demands of Hitler were not unreasonable -- but he has a "preemptive caveat" followed by a post-spin caveat. Additionally, his extra emphasis regarding the course of history, while not incorrect, was unneeded. His previous explanation in the above piece was sufficient to suit his needs.

It is sad that his supporters, minions, and willing enablers in the MSM take the public for fools in a day and age when information and news move at nanosecond increments. A note to Mr. Ramsey: People are not fooled, sir, and your attempt to obfuscate makes you look all the more foolish.



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