Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Appeasement?

appeasement noun 2. The policy of granting concessions to one's enemies to maintain peace.

diplomacy noun 1. The art or practice of conducting international relations, as in negotiating alliances, treaties and agreements. 2. Tact and skill in dealing with people.

armistice noun A temporary cessasion of fighting by mutual consent; a truce.

ceasefire noun 2. Suspension of hostile activities; a truce.
So, the big guy thinks that people who criticize the Administration are trying to appease the terrorists? Sorry, Beavis, we're criticizing you and your boss because y'all can't seem to git 'er done.

We'd be appeasers if we didn't question the handling of our foreign policy by these knuckleheads. I am so sick of being called unpatriotic, 'hate-America-first,' a terrorist sympathizer, a traitor, and an appeaser by the 'people in charge' who can't seem to be able to win this war with the greatest military machine, the best technology, the most dynamic economy, and the most dedicated law enforcement personnel in world history. But go ahead, guys, keep that kind of rhetoric up. Calling middle America names sure seemed to work out real well for the old liberal elite.

Oh, I forgot: these neocon eggheads who are so much smarter than the rest of us are just talking the talk. If the menace is what you say it is, Rumsfeld, where is our declaration of war? Where is the reinstatement of the draft? Where is the call for 30 million young Americans to report directly and fold into basic? Where is the gasoline rationing? Where is the order for Detroit and Marietta and Long Beach to start turning out the thousands of tanks, planes and ships we're gonna need to fight this 'new fascism' you and your smarty pants buddies have only discovered in the last 5 years? Where is it?

They aren't anywhere, and that what makes me think you're blowing smoke. That's what makes me think you're full of crap. That's what makes me think that you don't even believe the junk you're selling. You guys are being the flip floppers now: "we're at war for our basic survival & our freedoms, and everything we hold dear!! But we're going to go to war with the Army we have, please keep shopping."

That's why your Administration's anemic foreign policy is under criticism. Sorry you tough guys have such thin skin you can't take the heat.

It is put up or shut up time.

I don't think you can win wars on the cheap. I don't think you can win wars without suffering and civilian casualties. I don't think you can win wars without real strategy. With war, you and your allies are either all in, or you and your allies attempt to negotiate with your adversaries through diplomacy.

That's not appeasement, that's effective, that's realpolitik, that's called a real foreign policy.

6 comments:

dadvocate said...

Here's an interesting analysis of Rumsfield's speech and AP's story covering it.

I don't know if you heard or read his speech or just the news stories covering it. I don't care to change your point of view but I wonder if what you think Rumsfield said is what he really said.

Dante said...

I knew this article would be a hack job from the moment I read the headline:

"Rumsfeld: War critics have ‘moral ... confusion’"

WTF? Why are their dots in the middle of the Rumsfield quote in the title? So I decided to go find the transcript before reading the article and I'm glad I did.

The first thing that struck me as odd is the deliberate attempt to hid that the "War" mentioned in the headline is not the war on terror. It is World War II.

That makes the line "Rumsfeld portrayed the administration’s critics as suffering from “moral or intellectual confusion”" seem a bit out of context since the administration mentioned is Roosevelt's administration.

Pat, you're a blogger. You're supposed to be uncovering all these half truths that are being thrown out there by politicians, the MSM, etc. It greatly saddens me that you've written such a response without reading the speech yourself because it tells me that you bought this nonsense hook, line, and sinker.

But since the response is there, I have a few comments on it:

"Calling middle America names sure seemed to work out real well for the old liberal elite. "

Even counting things that aren't mentioned in this article, who's calling middle America names? Some people are calling you names but you've pretty thoroughly identified yourself as left America. The people who are calling you names don't have to worry about you not voting for their candidates because you wouldn't be voting for them in the first place.

"Oh, I forgot: these neocon eggheads who are so much smarter than the rest of us are just talking the talk."

And then in the very next breath you turn around and start calling people names. Doesn't help your argument any to do the same thing you are arguing against but in a much more childish manner. At least they're backing up their arguments with reasoning (flawed it may be) instead of calling their political enemies stupid poo poo heads just because they're mad at them.

"If the menace is what you say it is, Rumsfeld, where is our declaration of war? Where is the reinstatement of the draft? Where is the call for 30 million young Americans to report directly and fold into basic? Where is the gasoline rationing? Where is the order for Detroit and Marietta and Long Beach to start turning out the thousands of tanks, planes and ships we're gonna need to fight this 'new fascism' you and your smarty pants buddies have only discovered in the last 5 years? Where is it?"

Riiiiight. We do have a declaration of war. Take a look at the authorization to use force in Iraq and compare it to any of our other declarations of war. They're pretty darn similar. If our nation's wars all had similar resolutions formal declarations of war wouldn't have been neccessary there either.

Furthermore, would we have needed a draft and/or massive military buildup if we had taken on Nazi Germany when its military were the size of the rebellions in Iraq and Syria? I seriously doubt it. We would've needed to build up more but only because we'd be starting with less.

I know it would help your side if the right shot themselves in the foot politically and did all of these unneccessary things in response to the war in Iraq but it's not going to happen. They're more than happy to let your side do all the foot shooting.

Oh, and I've only scanned Dadvocate's article he posted but I'm not too fond of what I've read since it's claiming that there is no accusation going on at all instead of pointing out where that accusation is pointed (squarely at our past).

Patrick Armstrong said...

Bloviation Reponse:

I read this in the MSM on Tuesday, and I was quite incensed. But, I knew the MSM can screw things up, so I waited & read other things about the speech before making this post. I even saw some of the video on cable before I did so.

I was never able to find the full text of the speech, so I did have to trust links like DADvocate's to make sure I wasn't just upset with out of context quotes.

But I did read up, which is why I am specifically speaking to Rumsfeld's contention of 'appeasement' and not his suggestion of 'moral...confusion.'

Even after all that consideration my opinion has not changed. I've been reading this 'appeasement' line for years, I've been reading the 'similarities between WWII and now' for years. I've been reading the 'islamic fascist' lines for years. I've been reading the 'student of history' lines for years. I've even been willing to admit, during the height of the Israel v Lebanon fight, that we could be dangerously close to the start of WWIII.

Rumsfeld's speech (the parts of it I have read or seen) do not diverge from this narrative.

His narrative, the story he is telling/selling is that the only way to combat this enemy is confrontation, that this can't be handled as a law enforcement or economic or cultural or diplomatic issue - it must be handled only militarily, and anyone who disagrees with this is trying to play the Chamberlain to his Churchill, when the current world system is fundamentally different than Munich in 1938.

He is comparing the Western democracies of the 30's who 'allowed' Hitler to come to power with the Western critics of this administration for 'allowing' 'islamic fascism' for 'coming to power.'

Not only does that premise suggest a fundamental misunderstanding of history, it suggests (to me) that policy decisions are being made based more on ideology than competence and utility. I do not think that is good for America's chances in the GWOT.

As far as me being a part of middle America: I consider that a class distinction, not an ideological one. My limo still has not shown up from Super Secret Liberal Takeover Headquarters. I will leave my current job at an entry-level salary as a Southern caucasian Christian male and start whatever new one I get at an entry-level salary as a southern caucasian Christian male.

As far as calling names is concerned: calling someone an 'egghead' is an order of magnitude away from calling someone a 'traitor.' One is middle school cafeteria, one is something you call someone before you line them up and shoot them.

As far as declarations of war are concerned...I just don't know how to respond to your beliefs. There is a deeply symbolic to meaning to society by having an actual Declaration of War, which is why we have them. We are democracies of conscience where a religion that says 'thou shalt not kill' is a foundational structure. War is a divergent path from peaceful everyday life, and 'authorizations of force' have nowhere near the psychological impact of 'Declaration of War' in steeling society's resolve.

Which is why Declarations of War are much more difficult, politically speaking, to obtain.

There is a deeply political reason why this Republican Congress will bray to the stars in the sky about the lethality of our enemy, and then say that it is the other side who isn't willing to go far enough, all the while defending the 'authorizaiton of force' that was passed by almost everyone. War is War is War, there are no cheaply bought victories, and the Powell Doctrine of 'overwhelming force' proved its worth in 1863-65, 1939-45, 1950-54, & 1991.

Dante said...

Ok, then we'll play by your appeasement definition. Here's the speech (lost my link, thanks DADvocate for the one you provided). Where does this come from? "So, the big guy thinks that people who criticize the Administration are trying to appease the terrorists?"

All I gather are is that Rumsfield does not feel this is a police matter and that appeasement is a bad idea. I never see him equate criticism of the Administration to appeasement but I would be interested to see your line of reasoning here. My logic may be lacking.

"I consider that a class distinction, not an ideological one. My limo still has not shown up from Super Secret Liberal Takeover Headquarters. I will leave my current job at an entry-level salary as a Southern caucasian Christian male and start whatever new one I get at an entry-level salary as a southern caucasian Christian male."

But there's not accusations being made on a class level, only an idealogical one. When you say middle America in the context of a politcal action, I take it to mean middle America in the political, not economic, sense.

"There is a deeply symbolic to meaning to society by having an actual Declaration of War, which is why we have them."

Then why don't we ever use them any more. There may be some symbolic signifigance to having a real Declaration of War but that signifigance is far outweighed by the whole shooting at other people and in turn being shot at thing. You can call it a war, a conflict, a use of force, or whatever you want but if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's probably a duck. If you don't want to admit to yourself that we're at war then that's fine but there's some folks getting shot at on the battlefront out in the Middle East that think otherwise.

Patrick Armstrong said...

Thanks for the link. Luckily, the parts I took the most exception too were correctly quoted:

"Over the next decades [after the creation of the League of Nations], a sentiment took root that contended that if only the growing threats that had begun to emerge in Europe and Asia could be accommodated, then the carnage and the destruction of then-recent memory of World War I could be avoided.

It was a time when a certain amount of cynicism and moral confusion set in among Western democracies. When those who warned about a coming crisis, the rise of fascism and nazism, they were ridiculed or ignored. Indeed, in the decades before World War II, a great many argued that the fascist threat was exaggerated or that it was someone else's problem. Some nations tried to negotiate a separate peace, even as the enemy made its deadly ambitions crystal clear. It was, as Winston Churchill observed, a bit like feeding a crocodile, hoping it would eat you last.

There was a strange innocence about the world. Someone recently recalled one U.S. senator's reaction in September of 1939 upon hearing that Hitler had invaded Poland to start World War II. He exclaimed:

“Lord, if only I had talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided!”

I recount that history because once again we face similar challenges in efforts to confront the rising threat of a new type of fascism. Today -- another enemy, a different kind of enemy -- has made clear its intentions with attacks in places like New York and Washington, D.C., Bali, London, Madrid, Moscow and so many other places. But some seem not to have learned history's lessons."

I have added emphasis where Rusfeld's speech speaks to his belief that critics of this Administration are attempting to appease 'islamic fascists' as 'western democracies' attempted to appease Hitler.

Especially the 'when those who warned of the coming crisis...were ridiculed and ignored.'

That sounds pretty cut and dry to me.

And here's the difference between people shooting at each other and a Declaration of War. People shoot at each other in Los Angeles, Texas and Columbia, where small groups of professionals are dispatched to stop the shooting. Undeclared wars are generally fought by only one side looking to go all in.

A Declaration of War mobilizes an entire society in order to defeat a declared enemy. The last Declarations of War we had came once the Empire of Japan attacked us and the Third Reich declared war on us.

Delcarations of War are statements of intent: "our entire socitey is ready to kick your ass, and we ain't gonna care about leveling your cities from the sky." Right now, outside of our military communities, our society remains largely un-mobilized to kick ass.

Remember this very important statistic as well: the United States has NEVER lost a war it has officially declared on another state. Our record on 'authorizations of force' are rather more ... defeatist.

Dante said...

But this is where I strongly disagree. Rumsfield is not lumping in all of Bush's critics as appeasers. He is pointing out specific examples of appeasement with Nazi Germany and his belief that champions of similar plans to deal with Iraq, Iran, Assyria, etc are repeating history. And he is pointing out things that have always been classified as appeasement in the context of Nazi Germany.

However, there are plenty of examples where you could be a critic of Bush's strategy yet still not be an appeaser in Rumsfield's stated estimation. In fact, he never even condemns trying to negotiate for peace. He only condemns nations trying to negotiate for peace separately from one another using Churchill's crocodile feeding rationale.