There are good and decent people who cannot fathom the darkness in these men and try to explain away their words. It's natural, but it is deadly wrong. As witnesses to evil in the past, we carry a solemn responsibility to take these words seriously. Jews and Americans have seen the consequences of disregarding the words of leaders who espouse hatred. And that is a mistake the world must not repeat in the 21st century.
Some seem to believe that we should negotiate with the terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along. We have heard this foolish delusion before. As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: "Lord, if I could only have talked to Hitler, all this might have been avoided." We have an obligation to call this what it is -- the false comfort of appeasement, which has been repeatedly discredited by history.
Bush's remarks echo a Charles Krauthammer column:
But even assuming some short-term victories, where will the Democrats be when the war is over and President Bush is gone?
Lamont said in his victory speech that the time had come to "fix George Bush's failed foreign policy." Yet, as Martin Peretz pointed out in the Wall Street Journal, on Iran, the looming long-term Islamist threat, Lamont's views are risible. Lamont's alternative to the Bush Iran policy is to "bring in allies" and "use carrots as well as sticks."
Where has this man been? Negotiators with Iran have had carrots coming out of their ears in three years of fruitless negotiations. Allies? We let the British, French and Germans negotiate with Iran for those three years, only to have Iran brazenly begin accelerated uranium enrichment that continues to this day.
Lamont seems to think that we should just sit down with the Iranians and show them why going nuclear is not a good idea. This recalls Sen. William Borah's immortal reaction in September 1939 upon hearing that Hitler had invaded Poland to start World War II: "Lord, if I could only have talked with Hitler, all this might have been avoided."
This naivete in the service of endless accommodationism recalls also the flaccid foreign policy of the post-Vietnam Democratic left. It lost the day -- it lost the country -- to Ronald Reagan and a muscular foreign policy that in the end won the Cold War.
Vietnam cost the Democrats 40 years in the foreign policy wilderness. Anti-Iraq sentiment gave the antiwar Democrats a good night on Tuesday, and may yet give them a good year or two. But beyond that, it will be desolation.
The quote cited by President Bush and Krauthammer is attributed to a Republican, Idaho Senator William Borah (1865-1940). They also fail to identify Borah as a person who, according to Wikipedia, held these positions and views:
In 1919 Borah and other Senate Republicans, notably Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts and Hiram W. Johnson of California, clashed with President Woodrow Wilson over Senate ratification of the Treaty of Versailles ending World War I and establishing the League of Nations. Borah emerged as leader of the "Irreconcilables," a group of senators noted for their uncompromising opposition to the treaty and the League. During 1919 Borah and Johnson toured the country speaking against the treaty in response to Wilson's own speaking tour supporting it. Borah's impassioned November 19, 1919, speech on the Senate floor in opposition to the treaty and League of Nations was considered to be helpful in the Senate's ultimate rejection of it.
From 1925 to 1933, Borah served as the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. As Chairman, he became known for his pro-Soviet views, favoring recognition of the Communist regime, and sometimes interceded with that government in an unofficial capacity during the period when Moscow had no official relations with the United States. Purportedly, Kremlin officials held Borah in such high esteem that American citizens could gain permission to travel throughout the Soviet Union with nothing more than a letter from the Senator.
They fail to note a startling coincidence Borah shares with Senator John McCain:
In an attempt to revitalize the progressive wing of the Republican Party, in 1936 a 71-year-old Borah ran for President of the United States, becoming the first Idahoan to do so. Borah's candidacy was opposed by the conservative Republican leadership and dismissed by Roosevelt.
Borah conducted a long-time affair with Alice Longworth, the daughter of Theodore Roosevelt and the wife of fellow politician Nicholas Longworth. He was long rumored to be the biological father of Alice Longworth's only child, Paulina Longworth, who was born nearly 20 years into her parents' marriage. The opening of Alice Roosevelt's diaries to modern historian, Stacy Cordery, who wrote "Alice: Alice Roosevelt Longworth, From White House Princess to Washington Power Broker" and found in them Alice's own admission of Borah's paternity.
It is not known if the irony of quoting an isolationist Republican Senator, who ran for President at the age of 71 and failed, and who also likely fathered an out-of-wedlock child with the daughter of Teddy Roosevelt, has occurred to the President.