Skip to comments.Spain’s ‘Munich’ Remembered
Posted on 03/23/2004 6:17:48 AM PST by Nasty McPhilthy
Spains Munich Remembered James Humes Tuesday, Mar. 23, 2004 Evil had flaunted its ugly face. Words of hate and threats of destruction had spewed from it. So people in fear of the monster sought to mollify it. Europe and England were afraid that if they met it head on, they would be the next targets of terror and victims of violence. The time was 1938, and the monster was Adolph Hitler, who was threatening war, unless he was given a piece of Czechoslovakia.
The peoples of Europe and their leaders had already witnessed the Nazi wickedness: the marching of storm troopers into the Rhineland, the arrest and persecution of Jews, the assassination of Dollfuss, the Austrian chancellor. They heard in Hitlers words his harangues of hate and saw in his actions the enormity of evil.
British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain went to Munich to talk to Hitler to conciliate and negotiate with that evil. Hitler got his chunk of Czechoslovakia and Chamberlain returned to cheering crowds of London saying We have achieved peace in our time.
In the House of Commons he was greeted by a standing ovation and he was hailed as the prince of peace by all three political parties. Only Winston Churchill and a few of his followers would challenge the prevailing mood of rejoicing. He warned of the bitter cup in which Britain had taken its first sip.
What is the word for appeasement in Spanish? The Spanish Socialists are celebrating their victory in the last election just as the National Socialists of Germany did after Munich in 1938.
The incoming Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriquez Zapetero had promised to pull out the troops from Iraq in the wake of the Madrid bombings an atrocity that Al Qaeda has taken credit for.
In fact Zapatero, in his campaign in the closing days, directed more ire at America than at those who slaughtered the innocent Spaniards.
The message of this latter-day Chamberlain to terrorists was: If you strike at us, we will run away. The defense of killing the innocent by Islam zealots is that the end justifies the means. Murdering of civilians was the means the end was this accomplishment: the defeat of those who were fighting the war against terror.
Yes, it purchased him an election over the favored Popular Party and its Prime Minister Aznar, who had backed President Bush and Tony Blair in the war against terrorism. But at what price? The appeasement of Osama Bin Laden and his terrorist thugs only whets their appetite.
Winston Churchill, who was singular in his opposition to the disgraceful dismemberment of Czechoslovakia, said to Chamberlain, You had the choice between war and shame. You chose shame and you will get war anyway. And he was right.
If Zapatero believes that disengagement in a war against evil will bring Spain immunity from further terrorist acts against the innocent he should read Churchills definition of an appeaser: one who feeds the crocodile hoping that it will eat him last.
Osama bin Laden had targeted Spain long before the Spanish government sided with Bush and Blair in Iraq. Under Muslim law no country once conquered by Islam may rightfully return to non-Islamic rule. For fanatics like bin Laden, Spain should still be occupied by the Moors and Islam must reclaim Spain by intimidation and terror.
Zapatero, who cowered in the wake of the Madrid massacre by Al Qaeda, was saluted by his followers for his courage for standing up against America. For years Spains foreign policy was dictated by the French.
His predecessor, Prime Minister Aznar, resolved to give Spain its own voice. Spain will now be demoted to Frances little tag along the Sancho Panza to the French president Chirac who like Don Quixote believes sweetness and appeasement will conquer the windmills of terror.
In Spain the socialists have handed the terrorists a victory. Would-be suicide bombers and tomorrows murderers in the Middle East, Asia, Europe, and in Spain too are celebrating their triumph.
Think of it, how many times have murderers changed the course of a democratic election? If they succeeded this time in Spain, why not try it against the Poles, the Italians, the Brits, and here in America as well.
We are in a war against wickedness. No less than Hitler and the Nazis, al Qaida sees democratic society as a plague, and our free institutions of speech and religion as pollution.
This network of terrorist fanatics is more dangerous than Hitler and more difficult to stop. Borders against invading armies can be defended. But any terrorist can concoct in his kitchen a potion of toxin that if dispensed could poison the lungs of an entire metropolis. Such a fanatic would sacrifice his life to succeed in such a mission.
Churchill said We cannot overcome evil by avoiding it. We cannot beat wickedness by sticking our heads into the sand. We must pluck, nay root out, these toxic weeds from the earth.
The defeat in Spain should not daunt our resolve in the war against terrorism. Far from being a deterrent it should make us ever more determined. Democracy is on its way to winning in Iraq. And we will continue to wage and win the war against terrorism.
James C. Humes is the Ryals Professor of Language and Leadership at Colorado State University at Pueblo. He has authored five books on Churchill and served as Director of the Office of Policy and Plans in the U.S. Department of State.