October 13, 2004


"Australia has become an island of Bush-licking cowards," writes an ex-pat living in Los Angeles. You’d think someone so opposed to Bush would decline to live under his tyranny. Anyway, Ed Koch disagrees:

Many members of the New Labor Party in Britain would like to bring down Tony Blair because his philosophy and actions in support of the war in Iraq are in accord with those of President Bush. On this issue, Tony Blair's opponents are the intellectual descendants of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, who, until the very end when Hitler marched into Poland, sought to placate the Nazi dictator, foolishly believing that negotiations could achieve peace with Germany, safety for the world, and in Chamberlain's words, "peace in our time." Now Chamberlain's name is a synonym for appeasement.

In Australia, a similar battle for the hearts and minds of Aussies over the war in Iraq and the approach to international terrorism ended with the reelection by a larger majority of Prime Minister John Howard, a fervent supporter of the war in Iraq and an advocate of the Bush Doctrine which targets the terrorists as well as those who harbor them.

Howard addressed this during an appearance today on CNN:

Mr Howard said most people backed his view that Australia should stay in Iraq until the job was completed.

"I think the issue was there. It wasn't the dominant factor," he said in an interview on cable news service CNN.

"Clearly our opponents did not see it as a major negative and they didn't really pursue the issue. There was divided opinion in Australia on whether or not we should have gone into Iraq.

"But the overwhelming majority of Australians believe very strongly that having gone there, we should stay and finish the job. They rejected the notion of the premature withdrawal of our forces until their job has been completed.

"That is of course a view that I put very strongly."

Posted by Tim Blair at October 13, 2004 11:17 PM

Again, the left argue those who voted for Howard were selfish. The left feel that we should defend our own area. To cut and run and leave the Iraqii's. I would argue that to be an isolationist in the face of injustice is the height of selfishness. Oh well, as long as there is plenty of state funded lesbian puppet theatre to keep the luvvies amused.

Posted by: nic at October 13, 2004 at 11:40 PM

Chamberlain gave up appeasement when Hitler broke the Munich agreement in 1938. He deserves some credit for beginning rearmament, developing Spitfires, Hurricanes, radar, laying down new warships and bringing in conscription. It was nearly too late but not quite. It was the British and Australian Labor parties that opposed rearmament up till (and in the Australian case after) the invasion of Poland. Chamberlain made big mistakes but he has been blackened beyond his deserts by some who were even worse.

Posted by: Sue at October 13, 2004 at 11:47 PM

Lesbian puppet theater? Man, I really need to get out more. That might be amusing after a half dozen Fosters...

Thanks again to Australia for standing with the US. Hopefully, we'll still be standing in another month.

Posted by: Brian J. Dunn at October 13, 2004 at 11:55 PM

I'm sorry to say Brian that the 'lesbian puppet theatre' you had in mind (mmmmmmmmm) is different from the state funded mutli cultural, non sexist wankfests that are currently the preserve of the aussie left.

Posted by: nic at October 13, 2004 at 11:59 PM

What is that ex-pat in Los Angeles going to do on 3 November afer Bush wins? Move to France?

Posted by: The Real JeffS at October 14, 2004 at 12:27 AM


Anyways, what's wrong with being selfish in the sense of not wanting to die from another terrorist attack. Sure it's in MY interest to invade Iraq and prevent potential dangerous weapons from reaching terrorists.

Rather, the left wants to be selfless and sacrifice our lives on the altar of multilateralism.

Posted by: Travis at October 14, 2004 at 12:35 AM

Sue, that's all well and good, but surely it's fair to invoke Chamberlain as a caution against appeasement. You yourself say it was almost too late. Nobody wants to vote for someone who will appease the enemy until it is almost too late.

Neville Chamberlain - better than the French. I'll give you that.

Posted by: Brian Jones at October 14, 2004 at 12:38 AM

It is becoming clear, sadly, that we are indeed going through the Stanley Baldwin-Neville Chamberlain-Winston Churchill cycle again. And Sue is right that Chamberlain's name was blackened beyond his deserts by some who were even worse.

The left has got used to being able to espouse self-indulgent positions and then use their positioning in the media to rewrite history each time they turn out to have been wrong. Similar things happened in France after WWII, when the resistance, vanishingly small during the war, turned out the day after it ended to have had hundreds of thousands of trendy left-wing members.

The interesting part this time around is that history won't be so easy to rewrite, because so many foolish statements are now archived forever on the web. Leftists should think on - you can run but this time you won't be able to hide!

Actually they can try. Look for more and more of the left's windy pronouncements to be issued in the name of pressure groups with uplifting names, but no individual names associated with them. 'Deniability' returns...

Posted by: ZF at October 14, 2004 at 12:39 AM

Actually, read a book like John Keegan's Five Days in London and you'll see that people wanted to appease Hitler well AFTER he marched into Poland. Churchill had to use all his power and cunning to prevent someone like Halifax promoting the idea of negotiated peace with Hitler.

Though Chamberlain was by that point not one of the appeasers; he understood, at last, what the stakes were and as a member of Churchill's war cabinet backed him strongly, in an example of graciousness and putting country above partisan and selfish interest that has few parallels in the present situation, alas.

Posted by: Mike G at October 14, 2004 at 12:44 AM

I remember when I was living in new york city there was an off broadway show called "puppetry of the penis". staring 2 Australian guys.

Posted by: D at October 14, 2004 at 12:45 AM

I have to disagree with Ed Koch. While Neville Chamberlain did sign the Munich Agreement and cede Sudetenland to the Third Reich, he also initiated a peace-time draft and prepared his nation for war. Personally, I believe he was buying time, "Look, eat the Czechslovakians first, Mr. Nice Crocodile, while I grab my rifle over there...."

Posted by: Rajan R at October 14, 2004 at 01:07 AM

In the end, Churchill and Chamberlain saw more or less eye-to-eye. When Chamberlain died, Churchill delivered a very decent eulogy in Parliament:

"Herr Hitler protests with frantic words and gestures that he has only desired peace. What do these ravings and outpourings count before the silence of Neville Chamberlain's tomb?"


(Now, Churchill's opinion of Stanley Baldwin, on the other hand...)

Posted by: F451 at October 14, 2004 at 01:18 AM

Taxation is the most selfish thing imaginable, you basically threaten people with jail to make them fund things they may not want to or that are harmful to their interests (e.g. welfarism i.e. failure rewards). There is also a substantial admin charge for this that sucks up even more money! Coerced transfers are negative sum games, the free market is a postive sum game.

Don't give the selfish left a chance to steal any more of your cash. Your countries wealth depends on it.

Posted by: Rob Read at October 14, 2004 at 01:44 AM

I don't think that an objective individual can really say that Churchill and Chamberlain saw eye to eye. That is a stretch, but in the end I'm sure neither wanted the Germans take over England.

But I will say one kind word about Neville. Ann Coulter said that at least Neville Chamberlain didn't have himself as an example of what not to do. Today's left has no similar excuse.

Posted by: mcorelone at October 14, 2004 at 01:47 AM

I don't think that an objective individual can really say that Churchill and Chamberlain saw eye to eye. That is a stretch, but in the end I'm sure neither wanted the Germans take over England.

But I will say one kind word about Neville. Ann Coulter said that at least Neville Chamberlain didn't have himself as an example of what not to do. Today's left has no similar excuse.

Posted by: mcorelone at October 14, 2004 at 01:47 AM

Read William Manchester's books on Churchill - you will find that the only reason Britain was anywhere near ready for WW2 is because Churchill did an end run around Chamberlain. Went behind his back to secretly strengthen the military. By the time Chamberlain figured out he'd been had by Hitler - it would have been far far too late to get things ready for war and Britain would have fallen. As it is they only barely made it with the help of American factories cranking out needed weaponry. Bad idea not to be ready.

Posted by: Teresa at October 14, 2004 at 01:52 AM

The Real JeffS:
"What is that ex-pat in Los Angeles going to do on 3 November afer Bush wins? Move to France?"

No, he'll just keep whinging.

Posted by: a guy in pajamas at October 14, 2004 at 02:14 AM

According to Manchester, Chamberlain was STILL trying to negotiate with Hitler (by giving him idiotic ultimatims) as the Wehrmacht was racing across Poland. The guy was delusional. He is a good reminder that people of this mindset will go to any lengths to justify their beliefs, so you can't count on them suddenly seeing the light. Guess it's called denial isn't it.

Posted by: carol at October 14, 2004 at 02:34 AM


Appease just one Hitler, and they call you an appeaser. They even put your picture in the dictionary next to the word. The injustice!

Are they too blind to see that he voted against appeasement after he voted for appeasement?

Posted by: Just a Flesh Wound at October 14, 2004 at 03:14 AM

I have to disagree with Ed Koch (next to Rudy, my favorite mayor of NYC). Chamberlain, whatever his faults, didn't root for the enemy. I'm no longer sure we can assume the same of the loony left. I wonder which of the following two hypotheticals they would prefer:

A) We win in Iraq and Bush is re-elected.

B) We lose in Iraq and Bush is defeated.

Posted by: Anthony at October 14, 2004 at 04:05 AM

Please send me this page daily.

Posted by: Marc at October 14, 2004 at 04:08 AM

Seems to me that contempt for bush-lickers would indicate a hatred of women, and quite possibly homophobia. Yep, that's LA!

Posted by: Jim Treacher at October 14, 2004 at 04:12 AM

Rajan--I completely disagree. Britain may not have been ready for war, but neither was Germany at the time. Sacrificing the Czechs to Hitler sure helped him ramp up for one, though. His Panzer corps was only too happy to have all those Czech-made PzKw-35(t)'s and 38(t)'s ("t" = tschech/Czech) complement his insufficient numbers of German-made PzKw I's and II's, and they proved very handy not just in the Polish campaign but in the Low Countries and France as well.

Chamberlain--and the rest of Europe--made a huge mistake appeasing Hitler. Even if they weren't powerful enough to destroy the crocodile at the time, they were powerful enough to contain it if they'd had the resolve to present a united diplomatic front. Yet they relinquished and fed it until it was too big to contain.

History would be a lot kinder to Chamberlain if he'd walked out of the Munich conference in protest. His options weren't only limited to endorsing Hitler or declaring war.

I think Ronald Reagan proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that sometimes no agreement is the better option when he refused to accomodate Gorbachev at Reykjavik. Chamberlain could have--and should have--done the same thing to Hitler.

Posted by: Dar at October 14, 2004 at 04:55 AM

Interesting discussion of Chamberlain. Liddel Hart in his book on WW2 suggests that Chamberlain shocked Hitler by changing his mind so quickly: Hitler expected war with England in the late 43-44 time frame...

Posted by: Oscar at October 14, 2004 at 04:57 AM

Perhaps Stanley Baldwin should receive more criticism than Chamberlain. Balswin was Prime Minister when Hitler re-occupied the Rheinland in 1936 in volation of the Treaty of Versailles. If Britain and France had reacted strongly at that point perhaps WWII, at least the European part of it, could have been avoided and millions of lives spared. That failure to act has a direct relationship to our moving against Saddam.

Posted by: Jack Okie at October 14, 2004 at 06:26 AM

Just as an historical aside - Hitler did not take over the Czechs. Sudetenland was the German speaking part of Bohemia that contained 3 million ethnic Germans. It was part of Austria-Hungary and after WWI it was ceded to create part of Czechoslovakia. Everyone remembers Chamberlain and appeasement, but no one remembers or cares what happened to the Sudeten Germans. These people had settled this land (peacefully) in the middle ages and had their own dialect and culture. They were forcebly deported after WWII and lost their homes, property, and businesses as well as their history and cultural identity. Many thousands were killed in reprisals.

Posted by: JohnPV at October 14, 2004 at 06:41 AM

Hitler did not take over the Czechs.

Yeah he did. After he annexed Sudetenland, he later annexed the rest of Czeschoslovakia.

Posted by: Quentin George at October 14, 2004 at 07:11 AM

Dar, the 35's and 38's were sound designs and certainly much better than Pzkw Is and Pzkw IIs but still numbered only in the hundreds. IIRC, only two Panzer divisions could be equipped with them, and not even completely. Nos. 6 and 7 (the latter ebing Rommels division). My point is, ok, the Nazis were certainly glad they did have them, but they were no prerequisite for victory. Most of the Blitzkrieg was sustained with the PIs, PIIs and early PIIIs and PIVs. It was the revolutionary tactics and the integration of artillery, armour, infantry and close air support that did the trick.

Also, I believe it was Lord Halifax who can claim credit for the quiet rearmament of the British in the late thirties. Think so anyway. Maybe a decent Brit could prove me right (or at least correct me).

Posted by: Michael Cosyns at October 14, 2004 at 07:47 AM

Then, there are some people who would like their nation to grow a spine and a set of balls.

I received an email from a Canadian friend under the title 'Australia Rules' this morning.

"Hi ***! there is a great article in the National Post newspaper here, it's
all about how Australia is becoming a major player on the international
stage, while Canada is getting more and more irrelevant. It seems that all
the intelligence in the Commonwealth has emigrated to Australia, while we
are stuck with the left-wing pinheads here in Canuckistan, plus the
incredibly annoying French-Canadians (they hate being called that, they
consider themselves citizens of Quebec, not Canada)..... Why didn't my ancestors move to Oz instead of here? Stupid Scottish

Posted by: Bad Templar at October 14, 2004 at 08:56 AM

Churchill said to Chamberlain: “You had the choice between war and shame. You chose shame and you will get war anyway.” And he was right.

Posted by: TT at October 14, 2004 at 08:58 AM

We all know that neither Bush nor Kerry compare to Churchill in stature. However, we do enjoy a leader who understands the threat to us as Churchill understood the threat to the world in 1939. Let's reelect him by a wide margin. The other guy's already an ankle biting nuisance.

Posted by: EddieP at October 14, 2004 at 09:24 AM

Sue et al, it's interesting to ask why the British and Australian Labour Parties opposed rearmament. They opposed it because Stalin told them to. And Stalin was Hitler's ally at the time. Once Hitler started his invasion of Russia, the lefties flipped around 180 degrees and immediately complained that the war wasn't being fought hard enough, they demanded a Second Front Now.

It's from my reading of this history, that I knew I could never become a lefty. The lack of principle isn't in my nature. Kerry is completely in the lefty spirit of soulless opportunism.

Posted by: Jabba the Tutt at October 14, 2004 at 12:49 PM

I don't seek to make more than a modest defence of Chamberlain. What sticks with me is that many of the people keen to blacken him, such as Michael Foot, in his Goebbels-scale lying book "Guilty Men," were far worse. Chamberlain and the Tories achieved what rearmanent they did - which isn't to say they shouldn't have done more - in the teeth of opposition from the pacifist/fascifist left every step of the way.

If you read the literature being produced on the Left in the late 1930s you will find Chamberlian being attacked not as an appeaser but as a war-monger for beginning rearmament.

The situation was the same in Australia. John Curtin had to lead Labor out of a position of absolute opposition to the war-effort - even conscription for bome defence and compling a national registry of defence assets - even after the war had begin. Nearly 6 million working days in Australia were lost directly (many more indirectly) between 1939 and 1945 by strikes on the wharves, coal-fields, etc.

Those like Churchill who pushed for vigorous rearmament have the right to damn Chamberlain as an appeaser. The left doesn't.

Posted by: Sue at October 14, 2004 at 06:19 PM

"They were forcebly deported after WWII and lost their homes, property, and businesses as well as their history and cultural identity. Many thousands were killed in reprisals."

The Sudeten Germans were highly active in facilitating the Nazi takeover, even though they were Czech citizens. They were punished not for being German, but for treason.

This should give you insight into the 'palestinian' problem. Why should the 'palestinians' get anything from Israel when all they've ever done is try to destroy Israel and all its people?

Posted by: Sheriff at October 14, 2004 at 07:20 PM