Appeasers– Responses to Rumsfeld’s Speech

Emmett Tyrell has an interesting piece analyzing the critics of Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld’s recent speech. (link to full speech 8/28/06)


…The entire speech is cast on a very high level. It is dispassionate, erudite and difficult to refute. The only individuals Rumsfeld criticizes are a handful of journalists and whoever in Amnesty International called Gitmo “the gulag of our times.” Otherwise he sticks to a theme that is unassailable. Our opponents in Iraq and among the terrorists are nihilists, every bit as dangerous as the Nazis. In the years prior to World War II, Rumsfeld argues, “a sentiment took root that contended that if only the growing threats that had begun to emerge in Europe and Asia could be appeased (world war) might be avoided.” Rumsfeld asserts that the appeasers suffered from “a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion,” concluding with a paraphrase of Churchill’s great line that the appeaser seems to believe that if he feeds the alligator enough, “the alligator will eat him last.”

I would argue that there is a difference between the appeasers of the 1930s and today’s. Both have been smug, but today’s are smug and opportunistic. In the 1930s the appeasers were in power, and as Rumsfeld notes, they could ridicule and ignore Churchill and his allies. Today the appeasers are out of power so they ridicule and misrepresent those who are directing our war against what Rumsfeld calls “a new type of fascism.” Today’s appeasers misrepresent the Bush foreign policy for their own political advancement.

In the months after our victory in Iraq, they recognized that as long as they stuck by our wartime president they would be in the minority. Thus one by one they deserted the war they had approved and sided with the war’s early opponents, starry-eyed radicals such as professor Noam Chomsky. Perhaps if the anti-war Democrats take the White House in 2008, Chomsky will be their secretary of defense, and they can choose as secretary of state one of the Dixie Chicks. I suggest the one who chews bubble gum.

My colleague at The American Spectator, Jed Babbin, considers my assessment of today’s appeasers in the Democratic Party too mild. Where I accuse them of being smug and opportunistic, he accuses them of being smug and guilty of adhering to moral equivalence. Sozzled in multiculturalism, they see America, says Babbin, “as no better than any other country regardless of its nature. We’re morally and socially no better than Iran.”

Is the thing possible? Do the likes of Reid and Pelosi think we are no better than the Iranian Islamofascists who whoop it up for suicide bombers and are governed by a zany who looks like an eternal graduate student from one of our cow colleges? Well, the Democrats who responded so hysterically to Rumsfeld’s speech are not very civilized. Rumsfeld is. In his speech he acknowledged that in this war there have been “mistakes and setbacks and casualties.” But he put them in perspective, quoting Clemenceau’s observation that war is a “series of catastrophes that results in victory.” Citing history and quoting lines like that can only bring the Democrats to a boil. Theirs is the party of bumper stickers…


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