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May 17, 2008

"Appeasement" Ammo for our side
Posted by Lorelei Kelly

That would be the side of those who care about America and our reputation in the world...not to mention our ability to lead.  So the President makes the entire Knesset's jaw drop to the floor with his unbecoming statements about Democrats and terrorism.  Meanwhile, we here in the USA are no longer surprised at how the Neo-cons and this administration substitute politics for policy.  I've actually convinced myself that they don't know the difference. That way I won't be so disappointed when there is absolutely no remorse or reflection when these same people are lecturing us via pundit jobs in the legacy media next year.

Time to read up on the history of this ill-used accusation.  Appeasement Reconsidered: Investigating the Mythology of the 1930's by Jeffrey Record was published by the Army War College in 2005...

Record examines the nature of appeasement, the factors underlying Anglo-French policies toward Hitler from 1933 to 1939, and the reasons for the failure of those policies. He finds that Anglo-French security choices were neither simple nor obvious, that hindsight has distorted judgments on those choices, that Hitler remains without equal as a state threat, and that invocations of the Munich analogy should always be closely examined.

The Strategic Studies Institute at the War College notes their hope that this monograph will contribute to the national security debate over the use of force to advance the objectives of U.S. foreign policy.

You can read the whole thing here.  Neo-cons be warned: Facts will be present.


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Every September, I recall that is more than half a century (62 years) since I landed at Nagasaki with the 2nd Marine Division in the original occupation of Japan following World War II. This time every year, I have watched and listened to the light-hearted "peaceniks" and their light-headed symbolism-without-substance of ringing bells, flying pigeons, floating candles, and sonorous chanting and I recall again that "Peace is not a cause - it is an effect."

In July, 1945, my fellow 8th RCT Marines [I was a BARman] and I returned to Saipan following the successful conclusion of the Battle of Okinawa. We were issued new equipment and replacements joined each outfit in preparation for our coming amphibious assault on the home islands of Japan.

B-29 bombing had leveled the major cities of Japan, including Kobe, Osaka, Nagoya, Yokohama, Yokosuka, and Tokyo.

We were informed we would land three Marine divisions and six Army divisions, perhaps abreast, with large reserves following us in. It was estimated that it would cost half a million casualties to subdue the Japanese homeland.

In August, the A-bomb was dropped on Hiroshima but the Japanese government refused to surrender. Three days later a second A-bomb was dropped on the city of Nagasaki. The Imperial Japanese government finally surrendered.

Following the 1941 sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese admiral said, "I fear all we have done is to awaken a sleeping giant..." Indeed, they had. Not surprisingly, the atomic bomb was produced by a free people functioning in a free environment. Not surprisingly because the creative process is a natural human choice-making process and inventiveness occurs most readily where choice-making opportunities abound. America!

Tamper with a giant, indeed! Tyrants, beware: Free men are nature's pit bulls of Liberty! The Japanese learned the hard way what tyrants of any generation should know: Never start a war with a free people - you never know what they may invent!

As a newly assigned member of a U.S. Marine intelligence section, I had a unique opportunity to visit many major cities of Japan, including Tokyo and Hiroshima, within weeks of their destruction. For a full year I observed the beaches, weapons, and troops we would have assaulted had the A-bombs not been dropped. Yes, it would have been very destructive for all, but especially for the people of Japan.

When we landed in Japan, for what came to be the finest and most humane occupation of a defeated enemy in recorded history, it was with great appreciation, thanksgiving, and praise for the atomic bomb team, including the aircrew of the Enola Gay. A half million American homes had been spared the Gold Star flag, including, I'm sure, my own.

Whenever I hear the apologists expressing guilt and shame for A-bombing and ending the war Japan had started (they ignore the cause-effect relation between Pearl Harbor and Nagasaki), I have noted that neither the effete critics nor the puff-adder politicians are among us in the assault landing-craft or the stinking rice paddies of their suggested alternative, "conventional" warfare. Stammering reluctance is obvious and continuous, but they do love to pontificate about the Rights that others, and the Bomb, have bought and preserved for them.

The vanities of ignorance and camouflaged cowardice abound as license for the assertion of virtuous "rights" purchased by the blood of others - those others who have borne the burden and physical expense of Rights whining apologists so casually and self-righteously claim.

At best, these fakers manifest a profound and cryptic ignorance of causal relations, myopic perception, and dull I.Q. At worst, there is a word and description in The Constitution defining those who love the enemy more than they love their own countrymen and their own posterity. Every Yankee Doodle Dandy knows what that word is.

In 1945, America was the only nation in the world with the Bomb and it behaved responsibly and respectfully. It remained so until two among us betrayed it to the Kremlin. Still, this American weapon system has been the prime deterrent to earth's latest model world- tyranny: Seventy years of Soviet collectivist definition, coercion, and domination of individual human beings.

The message is this: Trust Freedom. Remember, tyrants never learn. The restriction of Freedom is the limitation of human choice, and choice is the fulcrum-point of the creative process in human affairs. As earth's choicemaker, it is our human identity on nature's beautiful blue planet and the natural premise of man's free institutions, environments, and respectful relations with one another. Made in the image of our Creator, free men choose, create, and progress - or die.

Free men should not fear the moon-god-crowd oppressor nor choose any of his ways. Recall with a confident Job and a victorious David, "Know ye not you are in league with the stones of the field?"

Semper Fidelis
Jim Baxter
WW II and Korean War
a follower of The Lion of Judah

Job 5:23 Proverbs 3:31 I Samuel 17:40

Dear Mr. Baxter,
Thanks for your comments. I agree with some of what you say, but I disagree with most of it. I think that your writing betrays a real disdain for the possibility that alternatives did exist. The fact that they did is well documented. And we can argue until the end of time the counter-factual of whether or not killing 140k Japanese was worth it in the end. I choose to focus on how we can make sure this never happens again. And because I do indeed believe in the ability of humans to choose, create and progress, I work for alternatives to the violent resolution of conflict, mostly through prevention. From your note, it seems to me that you see this fantastic human resource as an excuse, not a reason. And that's too bad. p.s. I had family killed in the Pacific war...and come from a family of veterans...AND I love and respect the military AND I work with many of the people that you malign here as enemy lovers. I have found the patriotism of each of these groups of people pretty much similar.

Jim Baxter:
You sound just like the Japanese miitarist and German Nazis that you have claimed to have against.

Here is my re-edited reply

Jim Baxter:
You sound just like the Nazis and Japanese miltiarists that you fought against during the Second World War.

'So the President makes the entire Knesset's jaw drop to the floor with his unbecoming statements about Democrats and terrorism.'

Is there any video of Knesset members dropping jaws? This one shows some of them applauding, with jaws positioned normally.


Having written on the 1930s myself, I read Jeffrey Record with interest. He gives an excellent short account of the era. I would only draw a sharper contrast between the early years from 1934-36 and the last years from 1938-39. I would note in particular two points of historical interest:

1. France could have ejected Hitler from the Rhineland in 1936 and defeated the entire German army if it had resisted. Churchill's later criticism of the French and of his own government in 1936 was justified.

2. The idea that the British were limited by imperial overstretch is a tautology: having an empire was itself a policy, not an immutable constraint. The British declined to revive their alliance with Japan in 1934 because they wanted to leave the door open to an alliance with a United States. The British also could have cut Italian supply lines to Ethiopia in 1935. We can be grateful that London did not align with Japan and we can regret that they did not intervene to stop the Ethiopian war, but Britain's imperial position did not rule out alternatives to German appeasement in the 1930s.

I wonder if the basic question for today, however, is whether it is possible for leaders to identify an insatiable and undeterrable state threat of potentially critical magnitude while it is still possible to stop. The correct lesson to draw from the years since 1945 is that policy toward any state should be premised on a careful knowledge of the country and its leadership and not on the blanket assumption that all dictatorships are insatiable and undeterrable. But what if, in fact, we confront a Hitler-like state today or in the future that might be prevented from acquiring the means to inflict catastrophic damage? I don't think your point (or Record's) can be that such a state is now impossible. But if it is not, does it not then raise a problem of identification as serious as the problem of misidentification against which we must also guard?

Apparently Mr Baxter loves the rhetoric of freedom more than the reality. Is it OK for Americans to choose a less aggressive foreign policy? Can we disagree with Bush about warrentless wiretaps, secret prisons, and the wholesale abridgment of the very freedoms our army is supposedly defending?

Bush outed a CIA agent and then commuted the sentence for one of the perps. It's unbelievable that we stil have to hear his lectures on patriotism. January can't come soon enough.

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Bush outed a CIA agent and then commuted the sentence for one of the perps. It's unbelievable that we stil have to hear his lectures on patriotism. January can't come soon enough

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