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|May 22-28, 2008
Are the Democrats
by Paul Danish
President Bush gave a speech before the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, last week in which he came out four-square against appeasing tyrants. The exact passage read as follows:
“Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the 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 I could only have talked to Hitler, all 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.”
You would think these sentiments would be non-controversial, but Democrats reacted as if they had been stuck with a hot poker.
“Beneath the dignity of the office of the president…,” said House Speaker Nancy Polosi.
“This is bullshit, this is malarkey,” said Delaware Sen. Joe Biden. “This is outrageous… to sit in the Knesset… and make this kind of ridiculous statement.”
“[R]eckless and reprehensible…,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “For the president to make this statement before the government of our closest ally as it celebrates a remarkable milestone demeans this historic moment with partisan politics.”
“President Bush’s comparison of any Democrat to Nazi appeasers is both offensive and outrageous on the face of it…” said Hillary Clinton. “This is the kind of statement that has no place in any presidential address and certainly to use an important moment like the 60th anniversary celebration of Israel to make a political point seems terribly misplaced.”
“It’s 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,” said Barack Obama.
Actually, I can’t think of a more appropriate place on the planet to raise the subject of pre-World War II appeasement of fascist tyrannies, the malignant evil that flowed from it, and the dangers of embracing similar politics today than in the Knesset on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of Israel’s founding.
After reading the full text of Bush’s speech, I have doubts as to whether he was intentionally taking a partisan shot either at Obama or Democrats generally — the speech didn’t mention either by name — but since the Democrats are taking it that way, let’s assume he did.
In which case, the relevant question is whether the Democrats really have been advocating appeasement.
The answer is, of course, they have.
The whole Democratic foreign policy narrative is shot through with appeasement, defeatism and apologetics for America’s adversaries.
Look, I’ve been a Democrat all my life, and it breaks my heart to see this. But it is what it is. Denying it and feigning indignation fools no one and just makes the party look dishonest.
Appeasement? What do you think wanting to run from Iraq is?
Appeasement, as Jerusalem Post columnist Caroline Glick succinctly says, is rewarding someone for their bad behavior.
Most Democrats — led by likely nominee Obama — want to set a firm time-table for withdrawing American troops from Iraq and follow it regardless of the consequences for Iraq, the broader Middle East and, oh yes, Israel. Whatever else this does, it will reward the bad behavior of, among others, Iran, Syria, al Qaeda, al Sadr’s Mahdi Army, Iraqi Baathist insurgents, the Saudi Wahabi clergy and Islamic jihadists everywhere — and encourage them to behave even worse in the future.
Obama said Bush’s remarks were directed at his willingness to conduct direct, unconditional negotiations with Ahmadinejad, and he has spent the last several days defending that position.
Compared to wanting to run in Iraq, Obama’s desire to meet with Ahmadinejad may seem like pretty small ’taters, but it isn’t — precisely because he wants to run in Iraq.
The thing Ahmadinejad and his fellow religious thugs want most from America — other than its death — is for it to exit Iraq. Obama is proposing to leave before he even starts talking.
The other thing Ahmadinejad wants from America is for it to refrain from attacking Iran’s nuclear infrastructure and the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ bases from which Iran is sustaining a proxy war against American troops in Iraq. Obama has effectively taken that option off the table, as well; last year he voted against a Senate resolution to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps a terrorist organization — on grounds that the resolution would give the administration a pretext to go to war with Iran. Ahmadinejad will have no trouble in drawing the obvious conclusion from that vote — that Obama does not have the will to use force either to prevent Iran from getting nukes or to prevent it and its surrogates from committing acts of war against Americans in Iraq.
If that isn’t appeasement, it will do until the real thing comes along.
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