West is at a precarious crossroad today with regard to Iran. It is
reminiscent of the situation that existed between the western democracies and
Hitler’s Nazi Germany.
of another war after the carnage of World War I, the British and the French
chose to appease Hitler rather than fight him, even when time was on their
cost of war in the modern age is enormous both in terms of human lives,
economic devastation, and environmental damage. The individual and
collective tragedies that accompany war are heart wrenching to say the
least. There are times however, when fighting a war against a
totalitarian regime with a culture of death is inevitable, and it is preferably
fought earlier rather then later. The cost in human lives alone would
attest to that.
Take for example the case of
1938 Czechoslovakia. Had the western democracies confronted Hitler
militarily rather than appease him with Czech territory, tens of millions of lives
would have been saved and the Holocaust could have been
prevented. In 1938, the Czech army was strong and
professional, and the German Wehrmacht’s use of a Blitzkrieg in the hilly and
wooded area separating the two countries would have been disastrous.
Moreover, the Czechs fortifications along their border with Germany were solid
and would have given the Czech defenders a definite advantage.
France had signed an
agreement with the Czechs offering support if Czechoslovakia was
attacked. The Soviet Union also gave the Czechs a promise to help
if attacked. Hitler knew however that the allied democracies would not go
to war over Czechoslovakia. Internal chaos in the case of the USSR and
appeasement, in the case of France, left the Czechs to face the Nazis alone.
Still, the Czech’s were strong enough to deter a Nazi attack.
Nazi Germany therefore
decided to use “salami tactics” - cutting Czechoslovakia in slices. First
came the German speaking Sudetenland. British Prime Minister Neville
Chamberlain flew to Munich, Germany to negotiate with Hitler. Hitler, who
had outlined his intentions, vis-à-vis the Jews and Europe in Mein Kampf, was
steadfast – though he slyly made promises to the contrary to Chamberlain.
Wishful thinking rather than a true assessment of reality prevailed, however,
leading Chamberlain to return from Munich believing that he had gotten through
to Hitler and that Hitler’s signature on the piece of paper he
clasped in his hand was, as he declared infamously, evidence that “I brought
you peace in our time.” In the process of negotiating “peace in our time,”
Chamberlain sold out the Czech democracy leaving Hitler to take over its strong
army and arms industries and use them against the western allies.
Had Neville Chamberlain and
E’douard Daladier, the French President, exercised the military
option instead of appeasement on behalf of the Czechs, and sent even a symbolic
force to the Czech border, Hitler’s takeover of Czechoslovakia would have been
foiled, and a likely coup d’état by the Wehrmacht generals would have cut short
Hitler’s megalomania and the Holocaust.
there were few such historic precedents in 1938, we have them available to us
today. We know that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, much like Hitler, has a vision
of a triumphalist Islamic Iran. He has declared his intention “to wipe
Israel off the map,” in much the same way as Hitler declared his intention to
wipe out the Jews of Europe. And, we know that Iran’s Ahmadinejad, like
Hitler before him, has been paying close attention to the anti-war voices in
the mainstream U.S. media, in the democratic party, and the likes of Pat
Bucanan, and believes that the U.S. and other western democracies have lost
their “will to fight” and that the U.S. is a “paper tiger.”
is a feeling of de’ja'vu in the air. Iran is arrogantly defying the
international community by continuing its quest for nuclear weapons just as
Hitler did in defiance of the Versailles Treaty, which limited Germany to an
army of only 100,000 men, no tanks and no air-force, only six capital ships,
and no submarines. The western powers including the U.S. are engaged in
futile negotiations with Iran, knowing full well that the mullah regime in
Tehran will not be deterred by ineffective sanctions or induced by economic
incentives. Totalitarian regimes like Hitler’s Germany and Ahmadinejad’s
Iran do not think in terms of economic improvements for their people, or a
higher standard of living that might result from increased trade and
investments in Iran.
should acquire nuclear weapons it would initially use them against Jewish
Israel, then against Europe and ultimately against the “Great Satan” (the
U.S.), in much the same way Hitler’s Germany strategized its attacks.
Iran has been gradually increasing the range of its missiles and now its Shihab
is capable of hitting all points in Israel and possibly some in Europe.
Like Hitler’s Germany (in the case of Austria and the Sudetenland), it is using
the Shiite populations in the Arab Gulf States and in Lebanon to undermine the
pro-western regime in Lebanon and the governments of the Gulf States. It
is meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in the process, killing American
soldiers directly and indirectly with virtual impunity. Finally, its
support for Islamist anti-American terrorism poses a major threat to the U.S.
obvious why the radical Islamic regime in Tehran considers the U.S. a “paper
tiger.” The Khomeini dictatorship invaded the U.S. embassy in Tehran and
held 52 U.S. diplomats hostage for more than a year. Jimmy Carter’s
retaliatory raid against Iran (like his term in office) was a disaster.
The bodies of charred American commandos were paraded in the streets of
Tehran. Iranian agents attacked American servicemen in Europe, and in recent
years in Iraq; 241 U.S. Marines in Beirut and 19 U.S. servicemen in Saudi
Arabia (Khobar Towers) were murdered by Iran ’s terrorist arm-Hezbollah.
America has a lingering score to settle with the Islamic theocracy of Iran but
has yet to take action.
Spanish-born philosopher George Santayana
observed that, “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.” The
history of the 20th century teaches us that there can be no
compromising with evil. Iran ’s Ahmadinejad believes in hastening the
arrival of the Mahdi - the eschatological Shiite Messiah - through holy war
against the infidels. Senator John McCain articulated America’s dilemma
most succinctly, he said, "The only thing worse than a war with Iran is an
Iran with nuclear weapons." To save
lives and the international economy, it would be better to attack Iran before
it is in possession of nuclear weapons.