Sunday, August 20, 2006

Peace? Oh, grow up.

"“We should seek by all means in our power to avoid war, by analyzing possible causes, by trying to remove them, by discussion in a spirit of collaboration and good will. I cannot believe that such a program would be rejected by the people of this country, even if it does mean the establishment of personal contact with the dictators."
-Neville Chamberlain
Historians and those familiar with history agree that when it comes down to a face off of any sort, Neville Chamberlain won't get favorable odds against Winston Churchill. We already know he didn't fare well against Hitler. Some insist on painting rosy portraits of failed statesmen by focusing on their idealism and steadfast commitment to it, and these people certainly find Chamberlain a worthy cause.

Following the pointless carnage that was World War I, and considering there was no real resolution to the war save to end the fighting and loot Germany, one could understand how chaps like Chamberlain could go to just about any length to avoid another war of any sort. While not to the same level of loss as France, Britain did come close to losing an entire generation of young gentlemen, as witnessed by diplomats like Chamberlain. So, while a fella like myself can say "It's all right, Neville, you gave it your best shot, no ironic pun intended," I can simultaneously say "Thank God for Winston." Thank God the western democracies stood up, said "What's up now, Aldoph?" and chopped down the Axis powers. While World War I showed that Europe reached a point where it could house a war for the most petty reasons, World War II showed that causes worth fighting for were alive and well. World War I could and should have been avoided through diplomatic channels. World War II could not. Period.

Far too many in succeeding generations didn't get the memo, and in fact went farther off track than Chamberlain . The ardent believers in peace that arose in the 1960s during Vietnam and the overlying Cold War not only thought war could be abolished through proper communication (and guitars, bonfires, a lil' LSD, I digress), but went so far as to ally with the enemy to do it. The United States has big guns and nukes and calls the Commies names. That McCarthy was one angry dude. We must be... the enemy.

Enter George McGovern, Jimmy Carter, John Kerry, etc., etc.

What term does history save for these politicians? Idealist? Perhaps on their absolute best day.
The word is naive. And these men are still around, now boasting about their past (nexistentant) support for real fighters like Ronald Reagan all the while still spouting their mindless cowardice.

Enter Ned Lamont:

"Our nation is stronger when we work with our friends and negotiate with our enemies."
-Ned Lamont (August 1, 2006)
Naive is beyond too kind. The word is idiocy.

Of any lessoned learned in the 20th Century, none were so hard as the cost of freedom. Peace, as tragically chic of a cause as it has been and continues to be, is hardly a noble goal, as hundreds of millions of ghosts from the former USSR and the People's Republic of China can attest. Voices would cry out from jail cells in peaceful Havana if they could, decrying the myth surrounding peace. Skeletons in graves yet undiscovered in Iraq, buried there in peacetime past, would rise up and stage a protest against peace that would make any peace march look even more ludicrous than they already do.

P.J. O'Rourke's most recent book, Peace Kills, has a most loaded title. I often think now, looking at the United States, that indeed, the peace we have so long enjoyed (9/11 the lone exception) could very well undo us. With due respect to an often abused quotation of Ben Franklin, if peace does become more important than freedom, than we deserve neither.