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Original post made by saul, Charleston Gardens, on May 15, 2008

In a speech to Israel's Knesset, Bush said:
"Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along.

"We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared:

'Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided.' We have an obligation to call this what it is—the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history."

Comments (16)

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Posted by Samuel
a resident of Stanford
on May 15, 2008 at 3:06 pm

The cynics among us will say that words don't mean much, that talk is cheap, and that the lofty rhetoric US President George W. Bush employed on our behalf in the Knesset Thursday will be forgotten tomorrow.

But the cynics will be wrong.

Were that Israel's own leaders would speak in similar terms; were that Israel would believe as much in itself.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2008 at 3:57 pm

The response from the Israeli parliamentarians, as Joe Lieberman pointed out a few hours ago , wasn’t shock, but hearty applause.
Perhaps that’s because they agree with what President Bush said--which, after all, is something that every American President, Democrat and Republican, since World War II has similarly recognized: it’s a very, very bad idea for democracies to negotiate with terrorists, or to appease fanatical dictatorial regimes.

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Posted by ol' lady
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2008 at 4:02 pm

I see nothing, absolutely nothing, wrong with what he said. In fact, I wholeheartedly agree.

We used to call this a "tempest in a teapot", "making a mountain out of molehill", "making hay while the sun shines" ....

and, though Bush was referring to an IDEA, not a person, Obama has taken this as a personal affront. Methinks he doth protest too much.

this is where his poitical inexperience shows. Should have said nothing, or even agreed with it.

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Posted by Jane
a resident of Professorville
on May 15, 2008 at 4:08 pm

I find it very strange that obama personalizes this issue, I think it reveals a disturbing narcissism,-- everything refers to him.

If you take him as a narcissist then a lot of obamas behaviour makes sense and is coherent

Why did he not just say nothing or agree with the statements

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Posted by a
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 15, 2008 at 4:25 pm

It's obvious all you folks posted above worship Bush. Funny how his approval ratings are so low you can't see them anymore. Hate to break it to you, but you're in the minority.

Funny how Bush, who's grandfather did business with the Nazi's, now uses Nazism to scare Americans. Complete fraud and typical Republican tactic. Funny also how the Republican national convention coordinator also did business with the Myanmar military junta. All of these guys are just military dictators. I don't believe a word coming out of Bush.

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Posted by Sharon
a resident of Midtown
on May 15, 2008 at 4:29 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by a
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 15, 2008 at 4:31 pm

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2008 at 4:32 pm

Every now and then in politics, we get the pure truth. It is like a waterfall in the desert.

Way to go, GWB! I don't always agree with you, and you are a lousy public speaker, but your content, on this one, is near perfect.

Bush nailed it on this one. He will be fondly remembered for it.

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Posted by a
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on May 15, 2008 at 4:41 pm

Well, I always said Israel would lead the U.S. into World War III. The republican party is the party of war, death and destruction. There are better ways to protect Israel - namely peace.

Fascist America in 10 Easy Steps
1. Invoke a terrifying internal and external enemy

After we were hit on September 11 2001, we were in a state of national shock. Less than six weeks later, on October 26 2001, the USA Patriot Act was passed by a Congress that had little chance to debate it; many said that they scarcely had time to read it
2. Create a gulag

Once you have got everyone scared, the next step is to create a prison system outside the rule of law (as Bush put it, he wanted the American detention centre at Guantánamo Bay to be situated in legal "outer space") - where torture takes place.

3. Develop a thug caste

When leaders who seek what I call a "fascist shift" want to close down an open society, they send paramilitary groups of scary young men out to terrorise citizens. The Blackshirts roamed the Italian countryside beating up communists; the Brownshirts staged violent rallies throughout Germany. This paramilitary force is especially important in a democracy: you need citizens to fear thug violence and so you need thugs who are free from prosecution.

The years following 9/11 have proved a bonanza for America's security contractors, with the Bush administration outsourcing areas of work that traditionally fell to the US military.
4. Set up an internal surveillance system

In Mussolini's Italy, in Nazi Germany, in communist East Germany, in communist China - in every closed society - secret police spy on ordinary people and encourage neighbours to spy on neighbours. The Stasi needed to keep only a minority of East Germans under surveillance to convince a majority that they themselves were being watched.

In 2005 and 2006, when James Risen and Eric Lichtblau wrote in the New York Times about a secret state programme to wiretap citizens' phones, read their emails and follow international financial transactions, it became clear to ordinary Americans that they, too, could be under state scrutiny
5. Harass citizens' groups

The fifth thing you do is related to step four - you infiltrate and harass citizens' groups. It can be trivial: a church in Pasadena, whose minister preached that Jesus was in favour of peace, found itself being investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, while churches that got Republicans out to vote, which is equally illegal under US tax law, have been left alone.

Other harassment is more serious: the American Civil Liberties Union reports that thousands of ordinary American anti-war, environmental and other groups have been infiltrated by agents:
6. Engage in arbitrary detention and release

This scares people. It is a kind of cat-and-mouse game. Nicholas D Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, the investigative reporters who wrote China Wakes: the Struggle for the Soul of a Rising Power, describe pro-democracy activists in China, such as Wei Jingsheng, being arrested and released many times. In a closing or closed society there is a "list" of dissidents and opposition leaders: you are targeted in this way once you are on the list, and it is hard to get off the list.

In 2004, America's Transportation Security Administration confirmed that it had a list of passengers who were targeted for security searches or worse if they tried to fly.
7. Target key individuals

Threaten civil servants, artists and academics with job loss if they don't toe the line. Mussolini went after the rectors of state universities who did not conform to the fascist line; so did Joseph Goebbels, who purged academics who were not pro-Nazi; so did Chile's Augusto Pinochet; so does the Chinese communist Politburo in punishing pro-democracy students and professors.

Academe is a tinderbox of activism, so those seeking a fascist shift punish academics and students with professional loss if they do not "coordinate", in Goebbels' term, ideologically.
8. Control the press

Italy in the 1920s, Germany in the 30s, East Germany in the 50s, Czechoslovakia in the 60s, the Latin American dictatorships in the 70s, China in the 80s and 90s - all dictatorships and would-be dictators target newspapers and journalists. They threaten and harass them in more open societies that they are seeking to close, and they arrest them and worse in societies that have been closed already.

The Committee to Protect Journalists says arrests of US journalists are at an all-time high:
9. Dissent equals treason

Cast dissent as "treason" and criticism as "espionage'. Every closing society does this, just as it elaborates laws that increasingly criminalise certain kinds of speech and expand the definition of "spy" and "traitor". When Bill Keller, the publisher of the New York Times, ran the Lichtblau/Risen stories, Bush called the Times' leaking of classified information "disgraceful", while Republicans in Congress called for Keller to be charged with treason, and rightwing commentators and news outlets kept up the "treason" drumbeat. Some commentators, as Conason noted, reminded readers smugly that one penalty for violating the Espionage Act is execution.

10. Suspend the rule of law

The John Warner Defense Authorization Act of 2007 gave the president new powers over the national guard. This means that in a national emergency - which the president now has enhanced powers to declare - he can send Michigan's militia to enforce a state of emergency that he has declared in Oregon, over the objections of the state's governor and its citizens.

Even as Americans were focused on Britney Spears's meltdown and the question of who fathered Anna Nicole's baby, the New York Times editorialised about this shift: "A disturbing recent phenomenon in Washington is that laws that strike to the heart of American democracy have been passed in the dead of night ...

Web Link

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2008 at 5:39 pm


Did Oswald kill Kennedy, alone and by himself?

Were there ice bullets or bullets making right-hand turns in mid air, ala Oliver Stone?

Just curious.

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Posted by Fire Robert Gates
a resident of The Greenhouse
on May 15, 2008 at 6:01 pm

Many Democrats slammed Bush and pointed out the words of his own defense secretary, Robert Gates, who said on Wednesday: "We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage with respect to the Iranians and then sit down and talk with them."

The Bush administration has talked directly with Iran over the conflicts in its neighbors Iraq and Afghanistan and has offered to discuss a wide range of issues if Tehran agrees to suspend its uranium enrichment program.

"If George Bush believes engagement with Iran is appeasement, the first thing he should do when he comes home is demand the resignation of his own Cabinet," former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry, an Obama supporter, said.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi, a California Democrat, said Bush's remarks were "beneath the dignity of the office of the president and unworthy of our representation at that observance in Israel."

Web Link

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Posted by Gary
a resident of Downtown North
on May 15, 2008 at 6:17 pm

The model, I think, is peace through strength. Ronald Reagan stood firm on this principle. He won the Cold War. His domestic opponents were left in the ash heap of history.

There is nothing wrong with talking with our enemies, as long as it comes from a position of major leverage. Until the current jihad is defeated, that will not be possible.

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Posted by hmmm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 15, 2008 at 7:03 pm

dear a: Funny how congress approval ratings are even lower than Bush.

when is everyone going to realize that the more left we are, the less the American public approves?

they keep getting it wrong...approval ratings sinking don't mean we want the country to go more to the left. Please note, the more the country sounds like it is going left, the more approval sinks.

oh well..girding up for another Carter time. From the ashes will rise a real conservative for the next 20 year cycle


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Posted by hmmm
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on May 15, 2008 at 7:09 pm

dear a:

you really need to understand history better. You are treating history a little like some people twist the Bible to push absurdities.

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Posted by Jane
a resident of Professorville
on May 16, 2008 at 10:29 am

The problem is not peculiar to Barack Obama. If it were there would be nothing to worry about.
But his ideas, to use a current term, are mainstream, at least within certain circles.
For example, the Chicago City Council led by a variety of leftist aldermen, Scott Ritter, Walt Mearsheimer and Karen Dolan are embarked upon a "hands off Iran" campaign.
"Obama's Hometown Considers Resolution Against War with Iran".
Hamas and people like Hamas are heroes to a lot more people than one would think.

And that's how it was back when. It's embarassing to recall now, but in the 1930s the cool thing a young man or woman to be was either a "virile" fascist or a "committed" Communist. To wear a blackshirt or a red armband then was as cool as it is to wear a keffiyeh today. If you weren't a fan of one of these two totalitarianisms you were a jerk. A Colonel Blimp. A Salvation Army tootler. And that fact illustrates, to a large extent, why totalitarianism was so dangerous in Europe.

The love affair with totalitariansm and death was not, as is now retrospectively argued, a mental illness afflicting a handful of cartoon Nazis who somehow managed to drag the world into an inferno. If it were then we should all rest easy.
But it was not that. A lot of people were attracted to totalitarianism. It is customary to speak of Churchill "alone" in the political wilderness. It is less customary to explain why he was "alone".

The attraction of totalitarianism, of secular millenialism, of a future paradise achievable by ruthlessness and blood was profoundly popular. And it remained so after the war. But the affections were transferred to such political leaders such as Stalin or Mao Tse Tung. And that in turn found its successors.

Jonah Goldberg convincingly showed that the intellectual descendants of the same fascism that shoved the Jews into the oven survive, perhaps in less virulent form, in the kind of people who are holding the Chicago "hands off Iran" hearings. But we must not speak of it. It's not polite.

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Posted by Paul
a resident of Downtown North
on May 16, 2008 at 11:14 am

George W Bush = Dixie Chicks

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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