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Appeasement Today

Who isn’t guilty? Plus: New traffic bulletins. Moyers’ magic. Clinton still frightens. And more.

1.13.05

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REALITY CHECKERS
Re: P. David Hornik's The Wages of Appeasement:

After reading "Wages of Appeasement" I want to know the Yiddish phrase for "telling it like it is." This is an outstanding and courageous piece in the present media climate, a reality check.
-- Don Moore

I have just read David Hornik's peace on appeasement. It is a brilliant and convincing analysis of world political developments over the past sixty years. I only regret that he does not include in it one major act of appeasement which to my mind is seriously damaging the U.S. led war on Terror. This act of appeasement is paradoxically committed by the very President now responsible for conducting the war on Terror. It is the coddling and courting of Wahabi Saudi Arabia , a courting and coddling which includes the ignoring of the vicious anti- American propaganda prevalent in the educational system of the Kingdom, and the ignoring of Saudi funding for various terror operations throughout the world.

So long as there is appeasement of Evil the Free world will not be able to clearly and decisively defeat its totalitarian terrorist enemies.
-- Shalom Freedman
Jerusalem, Israel

P. David Hornik's exegesis on appeasement is confusing.

It seems difficult for Europeans to argue views which seem to depart from the general consensus on this topic, as expressed by Mr. Hornik, without being accused of anti-Semitism -- suffice it to say that I once argued in print that the White House was wrong to criticize an Israeli rocket attack on the late Abdel Aziz Al-Rantissi of Hamas when it had done precisely the same thing to Saddam on the opening night of the Iraq campaign. Having got the qualification out the way, Mr. Hornik is completely wrong.

The murder of his relatives was tragic; however, there is no real equivalence between Central Europe in the 1930s and the Middle East now. He describes one of the world's most sophisticated, best equipped and most committed militaries is if it were little more than an ad hoc militia. He refers to "Israeli towns in Gaza." To my perhaps defective understanding of the region's geography, I understood that at no time has Gaza comprised part of the state of Israel, although settlements have been built there.

He then puts an Israeli politician, Peres, in the same bracket as Chamberlain and Carter. Peres has been involved in negotiations that relate to the domestic security of his own electorate -- are they to have no voice? Chamberlain and Carter were, after all, leaders of nations which had no perceived direct domestic stake in the negotiations in which they were involved. Those who spit the name of Neville Chamberlain as a synonym for appeaser 65 years after his death would do well to apply their 20/20 hindsight to the almost invisible role played by the United States in international affairs at that time, and the United Kingdom's honoring of its treaty alliances with Poland and all its citizens, which efforts received substantial but limited assistance until the domestic security of the United States was breached. Until December 7, 1941, few Americans had any interest in European wars.

Mr. Hornik even seems unsure of the constitutional structure of those countries whose leaders he criticizes. The UK is still a monarchy, albeit in the constitutional manner into which it has adapted since the 17th Century. Mr. Hornik would appear to be advocating a form of civic authoritarianism, dictatorship almost, which is most surprising in someone born in the USA.

He is absolutely correct to say that the threat suffered by Israel is jihadi in nature -- probably unlike him, I live within 30 minutes walking distance of three madrassahs, and they are only the ones I know about. However, for as long as language such as his is used, there will be no peace. The surest way of developing peace and isolating the jihadis of all nations of the Middle East is to improve the lot of those from whom they draw their support, to give them a stake in their own futures, something they currently lack. One possibility may be the creation of a Middle East Free Trade Area, comprising the Arab nations, Israel and Turkey, which could make concerted efforts to develop industry and raise living standards across the region. Those nations which refused to participate on the grounds of anti-Semitism could then be isolated or subject to tariff.

Commentators like Mr. Hornik conveniently forget that the Bush White House has perpetrated one of the great acts of appeasement of recent years, forgiving the sins of a man who has more American blood on his hands than Saddam ever had and who has shown no penitence or desire to reform. His name is Muammar Gaddafi.
-- Martin Kelly
Glasgow, Scotland

The article "The Wages of Appeasement" states the obvious and, sad to say, needs still to be stated. My own thoughts are that democracies really do have a deep aversion to war, and would almost rather to anything than fight a war. The trouble with us, too, is that our politicians begin their careers with dreams of saving the world and end with dreams of saving their seats. They are beholden to everybody and they want too much to be liked, and even more to be voted for. And they listen to too many voices both inside and outside their own offices.

What we lack are men of conviction and principle who will state what they believe and how they will act, and refuse to be swayed from it by any amount of noise or fear of job loss. And so, we have equivocators and appeasers aplenty who are blown about by every wind of doctrine. They stand for nothing but getting elected. We have them in all shapes, sizes, colors, and affiliations. It is a paradox that to have true peace that every reasonable soul desires, we must from time to time wage war. War is a legitimate tool for obtaining and ensuring peace. Many are in denial about this, but it is true, nevertheless. And there are many who like war and want nothing but war and murder and chaos, and those of us who hate war have to stand up and do the dirty business of establishing peace. It has ever been so, and people being what they are, it will ever be so.

It is a paradox, too, that those who want peace to the point of self-delusion, who want to undermine every attempt at waging war, end up only in encouraging evil and making the whole job of establishing peace that much more difficult and dirty and costly. Even Christ, who loves all people and sacrificed himself for all, has said that when he comes again he will destroy the wicked -- not pacify them or appease them, but destroy them, once they are fully ripe in iniquity and "ready to be burned." We only hope that means "them" and not "us." Giving in to or rolling over for evil has never worked and it never will. And we keep right on behaving as if we know better.
-- Stephen Hayes
Utah

Mr. Hornik asks the question: Why are democratic leaders prone to appeasement? Let's simply turn the question around and ask why Arafatistic thugs are not prone to appeasement.

Democratic leaders come from reasonably free, productive and prosperous societies. Unlike the thugs of communist and Arafatistic cultures that continue to fight over the loot of past production. The thugs have no constituency they have to answer to. Democratic societies expect productive discourse and accomplishments. Whether it be a production quota, or shoring up last years sales numbers.

Unfortunately, democratic societies have lost the will to call a thug a thug. And thus have fallen into the relativistic habit of being "nice" to all things thug. I could appreciate the politician that will tell me that: "...they're thugs, we've tried working with them, but not at the expense of my country's freedom". Similar to George W. Bush's lack of acknowledgment of Arafat.

Funny thing is, writing off thugocracies as thugocracies works every time it's tried.
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

Hornik's "The Wages of Appeasement" asserts that only the United States, Britain, and Israel are seriously fighting the jihadi threat.

What about Australia?
-- Dave Mills
Rolla, Missouri

THE MAGICIAN
Re: R. Emmett Tyrrell, Jr.'s Rogues Retire:

Moyers, Moyers, and more Moyers! You made him look too good. I would have liked to hear more from you on this thesaurus of a man. In most everything he spoke about he managed to find different meanings than what was actually occurring. He did this so constantly that he mesmerized his audience.

One would ask one's self -- can no one see the b.s. that I see?

Love your article, just had to get this off my chest. Thank you for your thoughts, short for me but accurate nevertheless.
-- Paul Filler
Ada, Michigan

FRIGHTFUL
Re: George Neumayr's The Clinton Dossier:

I believe that Mr. Neumayr's commentary on the Smith book about Mr. Clinton is both enlightening and frightening. It brings front and center something that I have been mulling over for quite some time. It is tragic, even disgraceful, that the MSM gets away with such blatant bias as is found in the New York Times daily, however, the most egregious bias of the MSM is not in what it publishes and, in the case of the alphabet networks, what it airs. The bias most vile is the bias implicit in what the MSM deigns to cover, and in what it deigns to ignore. Mr. Neumayr's conclusion that had the MSM done its constitutionally protected job, most likely, there would have been no Clinton presidency. What Hitler said was terrible; what Hitler didn't say was disastrous.
-- Joseph Baum
Newton Falls, Ohio

EASY DRIVERS
Re: Eric Peters' When Is Speeding Appropriate? and Reader Mail's On the Road Again:

When Eric Peters pushes for "less focus on arbitrary maximums," and the education of drivers in the use of common sense, he forgets that common sense can't be taught. An idiot is an idiot, and will always be an idiot. If fear of the enforcement of a "technical foul" slows an idiot down to 65 in a 55 mph zone -- regardless of whatever Peters deems arbitrary about the designation -- that is a good thing.

Funny thing, too. I know of nobody -- outside of teenagers in red BMW Z3s, and people of their mentality -- whose respect for the police has been undermined by the ticketing "scam." And the couple of times that I've been stopped for speeding, I've been dealt with justly, politely, and gotten what I know I deserved.

The fact that motor vehicle safety data reveal steadily lowering fatalities, injuries, and crashes, relative to vehicle miles driven, shows me that we're doing a number of things right. It is mystifying to me that it tells Eric Peters something entirely different.
-- Jeffrey S. Erickson
Davidson, North Carolina

I can recall after the imposed 55 MPH speed limit on America's highways that many still refused to comply. I remember seeing the photograph and the news article in the Detroit Free Press about three motorists who protested this excessive speeding by gridlocking rush hour morning traffic on I-94 from Ann Arbor to downtown Detroit by driving 55 MPH abreast each other in all three available eastbound lanes. The three "law-abiding" motorists were ticketed by the Michigan State Police for "reckless driving." Go Figure!
-- P. Aaron Jones
Huntington Woods, Michigan

I lived in London for three years and have lived in Germany for 12. While in London, I not only received a ticket for driving too slowly in the left lane (ignorance of the law is no excuse), I saw any number of drivers pulled for doing the same thing. In Germany, with its very high or nonexistent autobahn speed limits, driving is like a choreographed dance: it is perfectly okay to drive well under the speed limit in the right lane, and perfectly okay to drive 140K in the left lane, but you will NEVER see George and Martha putting along at 80K in the left lane if cars behind are going faster. Germans use the passing lane(s) to pass. Period. They immediately get out of the left lane(s) if there is a faster car approaching (and there always is).

The only exception to using anything other than the right lane when not passing is when the right lane is so roughened by heavy truck traffic that drivers will use the center lane to avoid the jarring. The faster drivers then pass in the far left lane. Why do drivers here appear to obey these rules automatically? Because they must pay a large sum of money and take months of on-the-road driving lessons through the Fahrshule (driving school) before receiving a license, because the minimum driving age in Germany is 18, and because the fines for disobedience of driving laws can be astronomical; it can even result in loss of license. In the UK and Germany, at least, the laws are written to prevent accidents caused by excessive differences in driving speeds on the same roads. Oh, that we could employ such common sense. (Unfortunately, you cannot legislate responsibility, so there are the inevitable nutcases out there on the
roads.)

I'd like to add that, although there are heavy fines for tail-gating in Germany, it seems to be the national pastime. Go figure.
-- Lee H.

Eric Peters has it right, but there is perhaps another consequence of absurd speed limits. The "Double Nickel" 55mph speed limit, set ostensibly to save gasoline after the Arab Oil Embargo days, was, in my opinion, at least partially responsible for today's drastic decline in respect for law-enforcement. I was a lawyer in California when that odious law was passed, a state where freeways and interstates, like Hitler's Autobahn, were designed and built for safe driving at speeds up to 85mph or more. I myself can recall driving I-5 at 100 mph in an Alfa Romeo Spyder in total comfort and safety, if not legality.

Consider this scenario:

Dad is taking the family on a trip, and he says to the kids in the back seat, "Now keep an eye out for the Highway Patrol (fuzz, pigs, etc.)." Sure enough, a Black-And-White pulls him over while he rants and raves at the kids for not noticing in time. Then the window gets rolled down, and he says something like, "Gee, Officer. Was I really going that fast? I didn't notice it. I was distracted by the kids fighting in the back seat." Or something like that.

Then, citation in hand, he drives off fuming, "Why can't those g.d. cops do something useful, like catching real criminals instead of hassling honest citizens like us?" And then, when "the coast is clear," it's back up to 75 or 80 while describing to his children in great detail the awful consequences that will befall them if they again fail to alert daddy in time.

Soon those pre-teen children are post-teens and daddy can't understand why they have such contempt for law, order, and enforcement. And that attitude gets passed on down through generations as our society reels under the impact of massive disregard for rules and laws. The teachers in schools, the cop on the beat, every person in a position of authority is unable to control his or her charges.

The last time this sort of situation arose was during Prohibition, another unpopular and totally nonsensical law. Some of the stock market crash and the resulting Depression can be laid to rest on the doorstep of such contempt for laws. (My bootlegger is better than your bootlegger.) Now even the lawyers -- especially the trial kind -- are cut from the same cloth.

It is to be deplored. I don't know what else can be done about it. Maybe we need another World War, like our War on Terrorism, to turn the country around.
-- Bob Johnson
Bedford, Texas

STRONG LANGUAGE
Re: Christopher Orlet's Grammar for Smarties and Reader Mail's Watch Your Tongue:

For those who would like to learn more about English grammar (and logic and rhetoric) in the spirit of Mr. Orlet's article, I suggest Sister Miriam Joseph's The Trivium, edited by Marguerite McGlinn. Warning: It is not for the faint of heart.
-- Paul Melody
Gainesville, Virginia

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