Could you imagine the outrage if FOXNews or some conservative pundit wrote this column about how Hitler's demands and actions prior to the spring of 1939 were not outrageous?
Will the Left denounce this post by editorialist Bruce Ramsey? Will the writer be fired?
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.
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 so when Bush recalls the unnamed senator who, in September 1939, lamented that he had not been able to talk to Hitler, he hits an easy target. But the moment of September 1939 is nothing like today.
And it is clear here that the writer has not learned the lessons of that era. It was precisely because the British and French gave in to his demands and violations of the Versailles Treaty that Hitler recognized that his further acts of aggression would go unpunished (Ed Morrissey offers a great analysis). As one of my students said recently as we studied these events -- "Why were those people so stupid, mister -- didn't they know that when you let a thug get what he wants he'll just come back for more?"
Which brings us back to the situation in Israel, and the fatuous argument that the editorialist uses to argue in favor of more negotiations for peace with the terrorists of the Palestinian Authority. From Day One, Israel was prepared to accept a two-state solution. It was the Arabs who rejected that arrangement and attempted to finish the job that Hitler started -- not just in 1948, but again in 1956, 1967, 1973, and in multiple terrorist attacks before and after each of those conflicts. Israel has gone so far as to offer the Palestinians 95% or more of the land that they have sought, only to have that offer thrown back in their faces. They have unilaterally withdrawn from Gaza -- uprooting every Jew from the region -- to give the terrorists a statelet of their own. The response has been ongoing terrorist attacks from within Gaza, directed at civilians. Where has talking with these terrorists -- seeking peace at any cost -- made any difference in the level of violence against Israel or improved peace and security in the region?
And just to remind the deranged author of this demented posting of the true situation in the Middle East, let me include a map for his consideration.
The only just claims that remain belong exclusively to Israel -- which must refuse demands from the rest of the world to continue to appease those who will not be satisfied until every Jew in the region is dead or expelled from the Promised Land.
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