Neville Chamberlain is alive and well

Burt Prelutsky
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Posted: Dec 24, 2005 12:05 AM
I have a confession to make. After trying to make sense of American liberals, I finally have to throw up my hands in total exasperation. I can’t make head or tail of these people, and I’m getting tired of trying.

I pride myself on usually being able to see the other person’s point of view. But in order to do so, one must be able to recognize the logic behind their ideas. There has to be some common ground upon which both parties can stand. But forget common ground. Where left-wingers are concerned, I don’t think they and I even share a common planet.

For instance, I grew up believing that most sane people agreed that Winston Churchill was right when he delivered his eloquent speeches, defying the Nazis, and paying tribute to England’s fighting men -- the few to whom so much, as he pointed out, was owed by so many.

But there’s been a sea change in America over the past four decades. It is now the umbrella-toting Neville Chamberlain, that earlier English version of Jimmy Carter, as opposed to the cigar-chomping, brandy-guzzling, Churchill, who seems to have become our role model. Anything from simple appeasement to outright surrender strikes millions of my fellow Americans as preferable to armed conflict.

It all began, it’s safe to say, during Viet Nam. It was back in the 60s when the anti-war crowd -- composed in good part of hippies who had no desire to make their own beds, let alone march and follow orders, who were able to mask their lack of patriotism, discipline and intestinal fortitude, as moral superiority. It was a topsy-turvy time that reminded some of us of life as Lewis Carroll might have dreamed it. Only the White Rabbit and the Queen of Hearts were missing, but we managed to make do with Eugene McCarthy and Jerry Rubin.

As North Vietnamese intelligence papers now disclose, after the Tet offensive, they felt the war was lost. It was only after Walter Cronkite and his major media cronies began waving the white flag, turning victory into defeat, that the enemy took heart. Between the news anchors, Jane Fonda and the college kids who were terrified of the draft, the Viet Cong knew it was only a matter of time until the U.S. pulled out of Southeast Asia, leaving millions of innocent people to be butchered by Communist henchmen.

Today, the sons and daughters of those earlier appeasers have taken up where their parents and grandparents left off. Even though the brave men and women who make up our volunteer army ensure that these coddled kids can stay home and concentrate on their beer bashes and video games, they still carry on as if they might actually, god forbid, be called upon to serve their country.

Like a mantra that’s been drummed into their little heads, they repeat the same hogwash about America’s being involved in a quagmire, even though the only quagmire exists between their ears. The facts are that Saddam Hussein is history and Iraqi’s citizens are making history by forging a democracy where, just a short time ago, that seemed an impossible dream.

Up until a couple of years ago, I thought one of the great symbolic acts in human history was when Denmark’s King Christian X rode his horse through the streets of Copenhagen during World War II, while wearing a Star of David in order to display Danish defiance of a Nazi edict that every Danish Jew wear the Star on his sleeve. I have since discovered that, although the king was apparently a decent and courageous man, the story is apocryphal.

Therefore, in my catalogue of inspiring events, that has now been replaced by the sight of countless Iraqis, at the risk of being murdered by Islamic terrorists, lifting their purple thumbs to the sky. There are precious few moments in life when people do something that is so extraordinarily moving that they remind us, at least for a little while, that we are something more than well-dressed apes.

While the pundits at CNN, MSNBC, the three major networks and the New York Times, insist that things couldn’t possibly be worse for 25 million Iraqis, a Time magazine poll recently disclosed that 70% of them say that, obviously thanks to our intervention, their lives are now good. Frankly, I doubt if that high a percentage of Americans, who don’t even bother voting if it’s drizzling outside, would say as much.