By Ron Christie - 08/01/07 08:26 PM EDT
In the aftermath of the Treaty of Versailles that ended World War I, Britain sought to bring about a lasting, meaningful peace on the European continent. As civil unrest in Germany grew in the 1930s, a young Adolf Hitler adroitly seized power by channeling the resentment and anger from his supporters to resurrect Germany’s battered military machine.
For his part, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, worried by Hitler’s rise to power but anxious to avoid another war, embarked on a policy of appeasement in which he would negotiate with Hitler, take him at his word and achieve “Peace in Our Time.” Of course, Hitler immediately ignored the September 1938 “deal” he had signed with Chamberlain and by the spring of 1939, Hitler had taken Czechoslovakia without a shot. Appeasement had failed and Hitler had created another World War in which millions of lives would be lost to fight and ultimately to prevail against tyranny and oppression.
Following the Sept. 11 attacks upon America, the United States was confronted with an enemy whose sole purpose and mission was to kill our citizens and threaten our freedoms and way of life. Rather than negotiate with a group of terrorists and appease them to avoid a war, President Bush assembled a coalition of countries from around the world to confront the evil that threatened the safety of America and our allies around the globe. To be sure, the initial battles against al Qaeda were waged in Afghanistan and Iraq, but the president vowed to take the fight to the enemy wherever he may lurk around the world.
And yet, just five years into this global war on terrorism, many candidates running for office on the Democratic side of the aisle have derided the War on Terrorism as a lost cause, a quagmire, a war we must end to secure the peace. Much as Chamberlain refused to confront the evil in front of him, many Democratic leaders seek to curry favor with anti-war groups to gain elective office at the expense of the safety and security of the United States. Consider the following from Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.): “This [Iraq] war is lost…There’s simply no evidence the escalation is working [and that it requires] blind hope, blind trust” to believe there is any meaningful progress.
I’m stunned that Democratic leaders seem more intent on denying our troops the financial and moral support they need to prevail in order to score political points against Bush. Yes, mistakes have been made in this war in the Middle East and every loss of American life is tragic. However, the president is not our enemy, but our commander in chief during this time of war who has tirelessly sought to protect the American people against further attacks on our soil. I only wish the anti-war element of the Democratic Party would focus their energy upon defeating al Qaeda rather than defeating the president.
Despite the thoughts expressed by the Senate majority leader, al Qaeda is keenly focused upon our destruction and defeat in this ideological battle. Ayman al-Zawahiri, a top leader of al Qaeda, recently said that the war in Iraq “is now the place for the greatest battle of Islam in this era.” Al-Zawahiri followed up this initial call to arms with a message urging Muslims to “hurry to Iraq.”
I only wish opponents of the war would recognize that our brave men and women in uniform are confronting this evil threatening the peace overseas rather than battling our enemy upon our shores. Make no mistake: seeking to appease the enemy or negotiate peace with terrorists who seek to destroy us will lead to our defeat in Iraq while emboldening our enemy’s resolve to destroy us. History has taught us that appeasing evil to avoid war is a strategy fraught with peril that leads to failure. Rather than following Chamberlain’s example, we must continue to take the fight to the enemy to bring about real peace in our time. Failure is not an option.
Christie is vice president of Navigators LLC in Washington, D.C. He previously served as special assistant to President Bush and deputy assistant to the vice president for domestic policy from 2001 to ’04. He can be read on The Hill’s Pundits Blog.