Steven Paul Mark wrote to me concerning the demonstrations around the world which attracted millions of protestors. It is refreshing to know that so many people who read Galganov Dot Com are very well informed and articulate.
I derive enormous pleasure when I receive letters such as the following: To me, it means that I am not just a voice screaming into the wind. I am being heard. Perhaps not by millions. But by enough intelligent people who can in their own way make a difference.
And at the very least, I know that I am not alone in my thoughts and beliefs.
As usual your editorials are on the money. As a student of history, during my formal education, and ever after, I have always marveled at those who ask ‘what’s the point of studying history?’
Yet, human behavior is not unique to any period or region, and thus patterns of such behavior repeat and repeat. Documentation of such behavior, through events, are an essential aspect of history, and are therefore instructive to anyone who cares to pick up an appropriate book.
In the case of the possible war in Iraq ad the nascent “peace movement,” there really is nothing new under the sun. One need only look back to the years before WW II when Europe’s stomach for war had been twisted into a knot by the horrors of the first Great War.
So much so was the aversion, that good-intentioned politicians did everything to humor, placate and satiate a rising dictator and barbarian in the form of Adolf Hitler.
The cascading concessions of Munich, Alsace-Lorraine, Austria and Czechoslovakia were the direct route to conflict, not “peace in our time.”
Hitler saw Europe’s and America’s desire for peace and redevelopment as a weakness, and tried to exploit it until the invasion of Poland brought Europe to its senses and America to its senses when Germany’s buddy bombed Pearl Harbor.
Maybe George Bush did a lot of partying at Yale, but someone in his administration knows history and knows that dictators, tyrants and barbarian rulers who are willing to kill and torture their own people to reach their ends and hold onto power don’t go gently into the night.
They are simmering fires that are fed by the fuel of appeasement until disaster strikes and the fire begins to spread. Then it’s too late.
So now we have Saddam Hussein as our history lesson. Another tinpot tyrant who looks and acts like a cross between Hitler and Stalin. A man well-versed, up to a point, in realpolitik in dealing with the West and well-meaning, but misguided peace movements.
I don’t know about you, but I didn’t see one single sign that criticized Saddam, only Bush and the US. Just amazing. Saddam will see this as support.
Those that use history to liken the latest peace movement to the antiwar protests of the Vietnam era are sorely in need of a refresher course.
That war was attempted to fill the gap left by the defeated French (now, there’s a surprise) and intended to shore up a weak and corrupt government. While the “domino theory” was used as a means of justification, it was a theory that, of course, was proven to be wrong (Don’t you just love history?).
In addition, an important lesson of military history was sorely ignored: if you go to war, you must use overwhelming force, deny the enemy refuge and have the hearts and minds of the population you are attempting to protect. The US did none of these things.
So now we have a peace movement that is ominously reminiscent of those Brits and French who ignored Churchill’s warnings as he and a few others stood alone.
It is not surprising that history’s loser (the French), an authoritarian country that still harbors resentment for their defeat in W.W.II (Germany), another country whose socioeconomic and political doctrine turned out to be a failed experiment in human exploitation (Russia), and a fourth country which is the leading totalitarian nation (China), are aligned as the Axis of Appeasement.
Lessons of history, unfortunately, are often forgotten. But one immutable truth seems to exist since the beginning of the 20th Century:
America has stepped up to the plate time and again: it saved the French in two wars, rebuilt Germany, gave major aid to the new Russia and a sweetheart trade deal to China.
Going it alone, or with Great Britain, is nothing new under the sun for America. And history will prove that America was there once again.
Steven Paul Mark
New York, NY