Tuesday, November 22, 2005

"You were given the choice between war and dishonor. You chose dishonor and you will have war." (Sir Winston Churchill)

the proceeding quote is a remark made by Sir Winston Churchill to Neville Chamberlain after he returned from the Munich conference in 1938 and negotiated "peace in our time" with Hitler. the current wrangling over the war in Iraq reminded me of some quotes of Churchill and the whole situation is eerily similar to lessons learned via Hitler and the reality we found ourselves in via Osama bin Laden.

1938 Munich agreement
Neville Chamberlain believed that he was making the choice that would prevent war and give Britain and the rest of the world "peace in our time." He was wrong. There has been much debate over his topic and it could be viewed as Churchill using Chamberlain and making him the scapegoat over Germany. Yet, Chamberlain believed that he was making a rationale decision and that he could trust Hitler. Whoever is truly to blame--Hitler for breaking an agreement or Chamberlain for believing Hitler, there were lots of lessons learned from the appeasement episode of Munich. JFK learned from them in the Cuban Missile Crisis (his father, Joe Kennedy, was ambassador to Britain and suggested that Chamberlain negotiate with Hitler) and I believe, that George W. Bush learned them as well.

Ever since the attacks on NYC and the Pentagon and the failed attack somewhere in Washington by the brave passengers on Flight 93, the realism has once again taken hold and idealism has taken a backseat. Today we would classify Munich as an idealistic attempt at peace--a lofty goal but probably not achievable. When confronted with the war on terror and the evidence, overwhelming evidence from the world, that Saddam Hussein had WMD, George W. Bush had no choice but to take action.

The world witnessed a horrible thing on 9/11; they saw conventional aircraft used in unconventional ways--guided missiles to destroy buildings. These suicide fanatics would and could not be detered with the usual threat of death because they used their own lives to take the lives of over 3,000 innocent people. These people were not the Americans and the infidel that occupied the "home" of Osama bin Laden, these were people who were going to work and were horrific victims of this ghastly murder.

Now, you are the President and there is a threat in Iraq, a dictator who has killed 100,000s with poison gas and SCUDS in the Iran-Iraq War and in Israel during the Gulf War and has shot citizens because he simply didn't like them. This madman has even attempted and plotted the murder of a former President--which he outsourced to terrorists. The intelligence community comes to you and says that his WMD in Iraq are growing and there is all this capability. You also know that for 12 years he has laughed at the international community as they have tried to find his WMD, which we know he has. He has kicked out the inspectors and even fired upon Allied aircraft that patrolled the southern and northern no-fly zone, making it one of the most dangerous places to fly because of the potential for engagement every sortie flown.

Also as the President you know a little about history. You know that for 5 years Europe let Hitler build up his forces in violation of the Treaty of Versailles because they felt the treaty was too harsh, so they would let Hitler slide a little. Then in 1938 he presents his plan for appeasement and gets what he wants. Well--not even a year later--he completely breaks the agreement by annexing Czechoslovakia and in September starts war by invading Poland. You have already seen Iraq invade Kuwait in the summer of 1991 and it was the reason the Gulf War was fought. After just witnessing the terrible attacks on your country you decide two things: one, the regime of Hussein cannot stand to continue as it constitutes a grave clear and present danger to the United States of America. To wait for the "smoking gun" could me seeing a chemical attack, a nuclear explosion, or simply, more airplanes downed and passengers and civillians killed. Two, doing something about the threat in the neighborhood of Islam in hopes to quell the radicalism and show that America isn't weak and affraid, as the terrorists want to believe.

Under the urging of your Secretary of State you go to the UN, though knowing, that the UN isn't going to do anything since they didn't do anything for 12 years while Iraq was blatently violating Security Council agreements, which the Secuirty Council even condemned in other resolutions. The UN doesn't endorce force so you decide to go with a coalition of the willing because, learning the lessons of history, the evidence of Iraq breaking pledges would be far greater than tanks rolling across the border into Kuwait or Arabia or Iran. This time the evidence of dishonor leading to sure war could be an atomic explosion in Atlanta or Washington or NYC killing thousands of people and maiming and wounding scores more. That failure would be unacceptable to you as the President and to the world. So, even though there is no endorsement from the world, you take Churchill's advice and decide to avoide war by attacking a known aggressor and murderer and torturer and liar.

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