This is a combination of 2 pieces from very different sources. I liked the way they worked together. The opening paragraph and every other is by (American) Don Monkerud, from his o2/07 piece "The new Americanism: The Eichmann Syndrome". The second paragraph and every other is by Matthias Dapfner, Chief Executive of the huge German publisher Axel Springer AG, in his piece "
EUROPE - THY NAME IS COWARDICE "-no date available. Read on:
As the world mourns the anniversary of the Holocaust, we continue to wonder how one of the most advanced countries in the world could commit such an atrocity. We forget that the slaughter didn't occur overnight but took years to set up. Little by little individuals assuaged their consciences and found it advantageous to go along with authority, committing a number of small acts, ultimately culminating in genocide.
Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.
While we are not Nazis yet, Americans appear blind to the irrational justifications that are leading us to engage in a holy crusade that bodes well for no one. Will we continue to allow a minority, driven by irrational and anti-rational Christian beliefs, to transform our society? Or will our acquiescence lead us one day to find ourselves marching beside Adolf Eichmann?
Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements. Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.
Our bombs have killed up to 100,000 people in Iraq and we justify our continued occupation as "bringing democracy to the world." President Bush won the election based on "strong leadership," and surrounds himself with Federalist Society lawyers who believe in the supreme power of the president. Congress promises to dismantled our social programs and allow us to compete against corporations and the wealthy, who already own 85 percent of the nation's assets. Giant corporations such as SBC and AT&T are allowed to merge, lay off 25,000 workers, and control our public utilities. Republicans muscle laws through Congress to benefit the rich, while increasing funds for domestic spying, the military and a narrowly defined "moral agenda."
Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush.. Even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt UN Oil-for-Food program.
Patriotism transforms into national chauvinism-against "old Europe" and the rest of the world-and even those opposed to the Iraq military adventure support "our troops." Environmental laws are dismantled. Religious faith replaces common sense and science. Our Secretary of Defense justifies using atomic weapons on the battlefield. Republicans who railed against Clinton "lying," ignore Bush's lies about WMD and change congressional rules that would allow an indicted Tom DeLay to retain his leadership position. The American people remain quiescent, good citizens, fulfilling their primary role as consumers. Are we in danger of becoming like Adolf Eichmann?
One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolf Hitler, and declaring European "Peace in our time". What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction. It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.
Anyone with a smattering of awareness today questions the path down which our leaders are taking us. Consider the direction. As America pursues an aggressive military policy-Bush's preemptive strike-invading Iraq and Afghanistan, threatening to bomb Iran and North Korea, and imposing our economic form of corporate democracy around the world, Americans are becoming more nationalistic and more willing to support acts we considered totally unacceptable in the past.
Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti-appeasement: Reagan and Bush. His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.
It's almost comical to see how much more a bigwig German executive "gets it" than one of our own "home grown" pinhead liberal writers. Still, I can't vouch for either of these as the true sources of this writing. I got one in the email, and the other is from "the progressive mind" website, which is linked in my "Blogs I differ with" post on my Leavworld blog. Either way, the ideas at war are fairly well defined in this little hodgepodge, so take a side and comment, damnit!