Sunday, May 18, 2008

That's Not Appeasement

U.S. President George W. Bush recently used the Israeli Knesset (Parliament) as a platform to give a speech denouncing his political opponents' intentions to have a dialogue with Iran in order to attempt to peacefully resolve various issues.

Bush referred to this as "appeasement" and made the embarrassingly inappropriate comment that this appeasement was just like the appeasement of Hitler in 1938.

This talking point has been repeated ad nauseam by right wing commentators - ignorant right wing commentators.

Chris Matthews finally called one of them on it.

He repeatedly asked Kevin James - who could only repeat the word "appease" and its variations in response - exactly what Chamberlain had done in 1938 that constituted appeasement. James could not answer. Presumably James did not know.

The appeasement of Hitler was not the part where Chamberlain talked to him. The appeasement was the part where he let Hitler have parts of Czechoslovakia without a fight.

There is nothing "appeasing" about talking to your enemies and trying to find a resolution.

I'm surprised by two things
1) It was Chris Matthews who burned Kevin James on this
2) In the youtube clip above, Matthews actually admits partial responsibility for the War in Iraq, saying that that the media failed to ask the tough questions and caved to pressure to "be patriotic".


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Vinny said...

There is a very revealing moment towards the end of the clip when James tries to pin responsibility for the 9/11 attacks on the Clinton administration. Air America’s Mark Green advises James that he should read Richard Clarke’s book and James retorts that Green should watch an ABC docu-drama. Is it any wonder that James is a “blank slate” when it comes to actual facts?

Greg said...

I guess James is just used to being on his own talk show where he can cut people off. Therefore he doesn't have to do any research, he just shouts down any callers he doesn't like.

I don't live in the U.S. so it's very hard for me to tell how the people generally feel about these issues. Would most Americans know what Chamberlain did? Or the nuance of it perhaps being a delaying tactic while the Allies built up their own armies?

And the bit about 9/11. It's usually a sign that you've beaten a guy when he changes topics so quickly. I'm surprised he didn't switch right over to blowjobgate.

Vinny said...

I am a fifty-one year old American and I have not read much WWII history since I was in my twenties. The idea that Chamberlain was trying to buy time is something I recall now that you mention it but I am sure I would not have come up with it if I had been put on the spot.

Supposedly, James is a former trial attorney and I think that informed his tactics as well. He was trying to bluff his way out in the hopes that the jury would not notice that he had been caught by surprise. Unfortunately he was in the position of a witness rather than an attorney and he had a judge that was demanding an answer to the the question.

Greg said...

That's why I asked. In Canada we study this because we were a loyal British colony. So we learn about Chamberlain, Churchill and how WWI set the stage for WWII. I wasn't sure how deeply the average American curriculum would plumb those depths given that the U.S. was not involved until later on.

But if Kevin James is a dittohead who goes by fictitious historical reconstructions then it's no wonder he didn't know about Czechoslovakia.

It's good to see that TV personalities are now mocking these people. In the lead up to the Iraq war, they were taking them seriously instead. Watching from here, I found it unbelievable.