Wednesday, August 16, 2006

1939 ?or 2006?

BY 1939, ADOLF HITLER had put together the most fearsome fighting machine on the planet. The second most fearsome fighting machine belonged to Imperial Japan. The fear felt by the sentient few in the free world was exacerbated by the pathetic condition of the free world’s armed forces. England and the United States were virtually defenseless. The English had been particularly negligent in providing itself with the necessary airpower to protect themselves.
France possessed what in theory would be an effective army, but unfortunately when wielded it would be wielded by the French. The Central European countries had some muscle and a willingness to fight, but didn’t have any hope unless they received support from the larger powers.
Today, the situation is different. Even giving Iran, Syria and their terrorist proxies their proper due, combined they are not the world’s most dangerous fighting force. It goes without saying that in a no holds barred war between the United States and all of its potential malefactors in the Middle East, the United States would prevail.
Another difference between the situation today and the late '30's is the public attitudes of the different eras. In 1938, Winston Churchill was a marginal player in British politics, an eloquent backbencher. In America, the situation was even more dispiriting. The Iron Eagle himself, Charles Lindbergh, toured Germany and happily received the Nazi cross. In downplaying the dangers represented by Hitler and his cronies, one could say he earned it.
In 1938, those who accurately perceived Hitler were a tiny minority. Those who understood the aims of Imperial Japan were an even smaller minority. The countries that would win World War II had no idea what was coming.
AT LEAST TODAY, we have a debate. Every time someone mentions 1938 or 1939, it warms the cockles of my heart because it means someone else gets it. And happily, those of us who get it aren’t a fringe minority – we may even constitute a thin minority.
It’s strange for those of us who are news junkies to spend a day without access to the news. Me, I’ve been out of pocket all day and here’s what I came home too tonight. First, I see that CNN has suddenly rediscovered terrorism. For almost 45 straight minutes, Christianne Amanpour and Paula Zahn talk about nothing but London cells, Michigan cell phones and the root causes of Muslim anger. The latter makes me gnash my teeth as I pull my tattered copy of Andrew Bostom’s “The Legacy of Jihad” and begin futilely waving it at the TV.
I get angrier when the loathsome Ibrahim Hooper of CAIR comes along spluttering about the horrors of profiling. Juxtaposed against images of a suddenly very vulnerable looking 5 mile bridge in Michigan, he makes a weak case.
Then I flip over to Fox and see an obviously emboldened Iran and Syria are issuing bold proclamations that Israel is doomed as they cluck about Hezbollah’s great triumph. One thing about Syria and Iran that we can be thankful for – unlike Hitler, they never deem it in their interest to be coy about their designs.
You have to be seriously obtuse to not conclude that governments like Syria’s and Iran’s intend us harm as do a bunch of wannabe terrorists, regardless of the cause of their “anger.” You’d also have to be pretty dense to think that even the most obsequious Carter-esque brand of diplomacy will convince them to beat their beheading swords into plowshares.
But much of the American left is capable of such denseness. So too are the global players whose first and only instinct is to blame America, blame Israel or blame Bush for everything.
But at least we’re talking about the right things this week. At least we’re having a debate about the depths of the dangers we face.
The bad news is that the right side may not win it. In America, Europe or Israel.

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