It’s Always 1938

Michael Rozeff at puts it best when he writes about the neocons:

Appeasement and Munich are favored neocon themes to promote and justify more war. In a dangerous trend, they are being picked up by more columnists. Strange that the more force that the U.S. applies in the Middle East, the more that the neocons wail appeasement and the more force they demand. Strange, because repeated applications of force, the opposite of appeasement and applied in the name of avoiding appeasement, have brought no tangible gains. They have brought losses, and losses should be cut. Once again, neocons can’t think straight. One should not throw good money after bad. The U.S. can’t win in the Middle East. It should take its chips off the table. It should never have sat down at the table.

Every year is 1938 for the neocons, and every threat is Nazism. Gemal Abdel Nasser was in 1956, Nikita Kruschev was in 1961 and 1962, Leonid Breazhnev was again in the late 1970s and early 1980s, I suspect Ho Chi Minh was as well in the mid 1960s, and let’s not forget Manuel Noriega (and his portrait of Hitler) in 1989, Saddam Hussein and invasion of Kuwait AND all those chemical and biological weapons he supposedly had in 2003, and of course Iran today. I think there were hoards of smaller Hitlers (Mao Zedong, who was Hitler for Brezhnev as well as many Americans, proving even a wanna-be Hitler can have his own Hitler to keep him up sleeplessw at night) I don’t remember who were never bombed. (Idi Amin? Emperor Bokassa? Pol Pot — actually, the last guy was bombed, now that I think of it.) Also, all those terrorist groups, all clearly working together to the same, diabolical anti-American end. Anything short of massive war to defeat them is, well, appeasement.

Trading on the mistaken notion that somehow WWII could have been avoided — if it could have been avoided, it would have been — as well as ignoring exactly why nothing was done about Hitler’s Germany (the carnage of the 1914-18 war comes to mind, as does France’s political isolation in the West after the pointless invasion and occupation of the Ruhr in 1923, as well as general rightist sympathy in “the democracies” for German nationalism, sentiment against the Versailles agreement, and general support for dictatorship in the early 1930s no matter where it was), the neocons espouse a “lesson” of history that all alleged emerging dictators are somehow Hitler-in-waiting. And that something must be done, right this minute, or else we are all doomed.

It’s led to a great deal of war — not the “inevitable” war that comes when Hitler and his supposed spiritual children wield power, but the war that comes when those eager to stop Hitler invade and bomb. Makes me wonder — how much war is one entitled to wage in order to stop every brand new Hitler, to smother him in the crib? And if Hitler was all about invading and occupying, why is invading and occupying — preventatively — the moral response? What, exactly is Hitler’s crime in this worldview? Waging war? Hating Jews? Or just “being Hitler?” When does one, in aching to stop the next Hitler, and thus prevent the genocide, become Hitler?

The nice thing about it alwasy being 1938 is that you cannot talk with your opponents, never need to understand them, and in the case of Iran, one can again prevent the alleged looming mass murder of Jews. (An aching similar, I think, to the militant desire some Christians in the West have to do all they can to prevent the crucifixion of Christ.) I don’t see how this gets done without the mass murder of Iranians, but since God doesn’t love them as much as God clearly loves Jews and Americans, I guess it hardly matters. We can never become Hitler no matter how many nations we invade or how many people we kill. Because, well, just because.

In fact, the nicest thing about it always being 1938 is that you never need to think, or measure your actions, and contemplate the costs and consequences. Just set the bomb sites on the city below and push the button. God has got your backside and history — that told by the survivors, at any rate — will vindicate you.