Appeasement Does Not Work; Check History

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  1. Adam's Apple
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    July 14, 2005
    By Max Boot, The Los Angeles Times
    Then and Now, Evil Always Wants More

    Whether it's Hitler or Bin Laden, history teaches the dire consequences of appeasement.

    The London bombings have occasioned many comparisons with the 1940 Blitz. This is usually cited as evidence of British fortitude — the attitude exemplified by cockneys in the heavily bombed East End who told Winston Churchill, "We can take it, but give it 'em back." That is indeed the dominant British (and American) attitude, then and now, but it is important not to ignore a streak of timidity there (and here) that may get stronger in the years ahead and that was present even when civilization faced an existential threat from Nazism.

    Appeasement did not end with the German invasion of Poland in 1939. Even afterward, many in Britain (and even more in the U.S.) opposed active resistance. Conservative worthies like Lord Halifax sought a negotiated settlement. Fascists like Sir Oswald Mosley sought to bring Nazism to Britain. And communists and their fellow travelers opposed fighting Stalin's ally until Hitler invaded Russia.

    Even in January 1942, when German armies were at the gates of Moscow, George Orwell wrote in Partisan Review that "the greater part of the very young intelligentsia are anti-war … don't believe in any 'defense of democracy,' are inclined to prefer Germany to Britain, and don't feel the horror of Fascism that we who are somewhat older feel."

    As if to illustrate Orwell's point, a pacifist poet named D.S. Savage wrote a reply in which he explained why he "would never fight and kill for such a phantasm" as "Britain's 'democracy.' " Savage saw no difference between Britain and its enemies because under the demands of war both were imposing totalitarianism: "Germans call it National Socialism. We call it democracy. The result is the same."

    Savage naively wondered, "Who is to say that a British victory will be less disastrous than a German one?" Savage thought the real problem was that Britain had lost "her meaning, her soul," but "the unloading of a billion tons of bombs on Germany won't help this forward an inch." "Personally," he added, with hilarious understatement, "I do not care for Hitler." But he thought the way to resist Hitler was by not resisting him: "Whereas the rest of the nation is content with calling down obloquy on Hitler's head, we regard this as superficial. Hitler requires, not condemnation, but understanding."

    When applied to the embodiment of pure evil, the usual liberal tropes about "understanding" not "condemnation" have an air of Monty Python about them. Yet there are uncomfortable echoes of Savage's sermonizing in the attitude of many modern-day intellectuals toward the Islamo-fascist threat.

    for full article: http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-oe-boot14july141,6966673.column?...

    Can't get url to work. If it doesn't work for you, go to www.latimes.com, then do a search for Max Boot. Should be first or second article that comes up.
     

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