Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pat Buchanan makes a hash of history, too

Pat Buchanan criticizes Bush for making a "hash of history," but likewise does the same.

Read the whole thing here:

But Buchanan (who manages to be just about the only person who thinks it was Britain's fault there was a World War II, not the peace-loving Hitler) criticizes Bush's misuse of the term "appeasement" to apply to talking to enemies instead of giving in to the enemy.

He justifies the British decision to avoid war with Germany over the Sudeten Germans by handing over a good chunk of Czechoslovakia to the Nazis because, after all, the Sudeten Germans hated the Czechs. The fact the Czechs were not consulted over the dismemberment of their country is not mentioned.

Buchanan then blames the start of the war on the British guarantee to Poland. Secure in the knowledge the British were on their side the Poles refused to negotiate the status of Danzig. Buchanan apparently views the German demands as reasonable ones, without apparently realizing that going to war over the grievance (justified or not) was a not reasonable or civilized response.

Conveniently left out of his discussion, however, is the fate of the Czechs. After promising Chamberlain that the Sudetenland was the extent of his ambitions and that he'd respect the independence of the Czechs, Hitler turned around and seized the rest of that hapless country in March, 1939, just a few months later. It was that betrayal that led to the Polish guarantee as Britain and France realized that they needed to draw a line in the sand against Nazi aggression.

Appeasement, like torture, is not only dishonorable, but ineffective as well. This is the source for it's well-earned contempt.

Leaving this part out of his story demonstrates that Buchanan is not intellectually honest. To his credit, he's been a stern critic of Bush and his imperialistic policies. But to his discredit, his opposition is tinged with more than a little bit of unsavory Know-nothingism and America First-ism of the sort that was popular in certain circles in the 1930s. Circles that found rather too much admirable with the German experiment.

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