WASHINGTON -- Poor Neville Chamberlain. The long-deceased British prime minister -- remembered through the decades for his policy of appeasement and for the war with Hitler that it hastened -- now suffers yet another disgrace. The mere mention of "appeasement" apparently sets off paranoid tantrums amongst members of the political class. Once deemed a very enlightened tool of statecraft, "appeasement" has become a slur, a hate term. Speaking before the Israeli Knesset, President George W. Bush associated appeasement with those who "believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along." Kapow! The Democrats went on the offensive, though they had not been mentioned.
Pronounced House Squeaker Nancy Pelosi: "(Bush's words were) beneath the dignity of the office of the president and unworthy of our representation at that observance in Israel." The observance of which she spoke was Israel's 60th birthday, and no member of the Israeli parliament shared her anger. In fact, many applauded the president. Pronounced Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid: "(Bush's remarks were) reckless and irresponsible." Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton took leave of her campaign, where she probably has wrapped up the white supremacist vote, and denounced the president's choice of words as "offensive and outrageous."
Even the serene and august Sen. Barack Obama stepped down from his cloud of serenity to asseverate: "It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel's independence to launch a false political attack." Betraying a hint of what may very well be megalomania, the likely Democratic presidential candidate continued, "George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with terrorists." Yet the president had not mentioned the senator or any other living American politician, not even Jimmy Carter, who most certainly did engage with terrorists as recently as April, when he conferred with representatives from Hamas to mull over, of all things, "human rights."
For that matter, it was not more than a year ago that Squeaker Pelosi visited with the Syrian leadership in Damascus, concluding, "We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace." If the Syrians do not qualify as terrorists, they certainly give sanctuary and arms to terrorists, some of whom are using those arms in Iraq. I guess we can understand why she is sensitive when the president mentions appeasement.