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European Appeasement Versus American Determination

17 February 2003

By Yisrael Ne’eman

Over the weekend there were millions demonstrating against US plans for an invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein.  Such left wing ‘humanist’ and in many cases pacifist demonstrators will always tell you what they do not want:  War.  But what do they want?  Supposedly the answer is ‘peace’.  The problem is one of defining ‘peace’.  Is it just the lack of conflict? 

Let us take that self proclaimed bastion of morality, Europe, and speak of peaceful and wartime situations.  When Germany remilitarized itself in the 1930’s under Adolf Hitler both France and especially Britain (yes, this is not a mistake, read Winston Churchill’s memoirs) wanted to keep the peace, so nothing was done.  The British even agreed to allow German naval development to reach 35% of their own fleet and 45% of its submarines.  When German troops entered Austria during the Anschluss forced annexation of Austria (March 1938) there were greetings of joy to the point of hysteria in the streets of Vienna.  No one wanted to disrupt the peace. Sudentenland in western Czechoslovakia was ceded by Britain and France to Hitler to avoid war that same September at ‘Munich’.  In March 1939 the rest of Czechoslovakia was taken.  Neither London nor Paris wanted conflict and Germany was appeased by British PM Neville Chamberlain. 

It all began with illegal secret German rearming in 1933.  Shortly afterwards Hitler remilitarized the Rhineland and the Saar Region.  From here he crossed borders ignoring the Versailles Treaty forced on a defeated Germany less than two decades previous.  But there was peace right up to Sept. 1, 1939.  It was the most expensive peace ever.  While decrying Britain’s weak military position, Churchill was ostracized and especially condemned on the university campuses for war mongering in the 1930’s.  The students told him they would never be ready to die for ‘king and country’.  Having seen the carnage of WWI the average person had no desire to confront a megalomaniac like Hitler as long as they were not directly affected.  They just never imagined WWII would be worse.

No one wants a war, but sometimes it is better to have it earlier rather than later.  Saddam Hussein sees himself as Nebuchadnezzar, the great Bablyonian conqueror or better yet as Salah a Din, the Moslem leader who defeated the Crusaders.  He runs a mafia style regime, executes his opponents, invaded Iran 22 years ago, over ran Kuwait twelve years ago, exiled millions (especially Kurds and marshland Shi’ites) fired scuds on Israel and Saudi Arabia and used chemical warheads on the Iranians and his own Kurdish population.

Today not only the Arab regimes fear him and want his removal (although they cannot say so outright) but the average Arab realizes the Iraqi population suffers terribly under his yoke.  They fear however, that an American - British invasion will kill Iraqi innocents.  And it probably will.

Saddam is certainly hiding non-conventional weapons and is attempting to attain a nuclear device.  But the peaceniks want a ‘smoking gun’ but how many other innocents will have to die from this ‘gun’?  Although not pleasant to make the comparison, a lot more than the unintentional victims of an Anglo-American operation.

While the number of demonstrators may be impressive, their argument is not.  Are they pacifists who will never take up arms against anyone?  That can only be seen as collaboration with any dictator who takes over since they will not fight back.  Do they think they can avoid war through ‘appeasement’?  That is a proven failure.

Or is this a post WWII, post  Soviet Union, America bashing contest?  Well yes, but the case may be overstated by the conservatives as not everyone against the war hates America.  The European Union and the US are vying for the same markets and international leadership. 

France, Germany and others will be awfully embarrassed when their non-conventional weapons production lines will be discovered in Iraq.  Much of Europe also has a large Moslem population.  As for the US, Bush would like to force the price of oil down and restart the American economy. 

But these are all secondary issues.  The main point is Saddam has proven he will kill whomever and as many people as necessary to remain in power.  One cannot take chances and if the UN does not find the illegal weapons will not prove whether they exist.  Saddam oppresses his own people terribly and is a threat to peace and especially to the Arab world.

Europe should back America and Britain to depose him and reestablish the rule of law and human rights in Iraq while removing one more despot threatening mass destruction.  Or is it possible the Europeans are really so anti-American they would rather wait for Saddam’s next round of imperialism and only afterwards scream to Washington for help.

One can hope that despite the posturing the Europeans know Saddam must go.