Churchill, Hitler, and Newt
By Patrick J. Buchanan
-- -- You can always tell when the War
Party wants a new war. They will invariably trot out the
Argumentum ad Hitlerum.
Before the 1991 Gulf War, Saddam had become "the Hitler of
Arabia," though he had only conquered a sandbox half the size of
Denmark. Milosevic then became the "Hitler of the Balkans,"
though he had lost Slovenia, Croatia and Macedonia, was
struggling to hold Bosnia and Kosovo, and had defeated no one.
Comes now the new Hitler.
"This is 1935, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is as close to Adolf
Hitler as we've seen," said Newt Gingrich to a startled editor
at Human Events.
"We now know who they are – the question is who are we. Are we
Baldwin or Churchill?"
"In 1935 ... Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini intimidated the
democracies," Newt plunged ahead. "The question is who is going
to intimidate who." Yes, a little learning can be a dangerous
A few facts. First, when Hitler violated the Versailles Treaty
by announcing rearmament in March 1935, Baldwin was not in
power. Second, Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald quickly met with
Il Duce to form the Stresa Front – against Hitler. Third, when
Mussolini invaded Abyssinia in October 1935, Baldwin imposed
But Churchill did not wholly approve.
Abyssinia, said Churchill, is a "wild land of tyranny, slavery
and tribal war. ... No one can keep up the pretense that
Abyssinia is a fit, worthy and equal member of a league of
As late as 1938, Churchill was still proclaiming the greatness
of Il Duce: "It would be a dangerous folly for the British
people to underrate the enduring position in world history which
Mussolini will hold; or the amazing qualities of courage,
comprehension, self-control and perseverance which he
But back to the new Hitler.
The Iranians, said Newt, "have been proactively at war with us
since 1979." We must now prepare to invade and occupy Iran, and
identify a "network of Iranians prepared to run their ...
country" after we take the place over.
"I wake up every morning thinking we could lose two major cities
today and have the equivalent of the second Holocaust by nuclear
weapons – this morning."
What about diplomacy?
"We should say to the Europeans that there is no diplomatic
solution that is imaginable that is going to solve this
problem." Newt's reasoning: War is inevitable – the longer we
wait, the graver the risk. Let's get it over with. Bismarck
called this committing suicide out of fear of death.
My own sense of this astonishing interview is that Newt is
trying to get to the right of John McCain on Iran and cast
himself – drum roll, please – as the Churchill of our
But are the comparisons of Ahmadinejad with Hitler and Iran with
the Third Reich, let alone Newt with Churchill, instructive? Or
are they ludicrous? Again, a few facts.
In 1942, Hitler's armies dominated Europe from the Pyrenees to
the Urals. Ahmadinejad is the president of a nation whose air
and naval forces would be toasted in hours by the United States.
Iran has missiles that can hit Israel, but no nuclear warheads.
Israel could put scores of atom bombs on Iran. The United
States, without losing a plane, could make the country
uninhabitable with one B-2 flyover and a few MX and Trident
Why would Ayatollah Khameinei, who has far more power than
Ahmadinejad, permit him to ignite a war that could mean the end
of their revolution and country? And if we were not intimidated
by a USSR with thousands of nuclear warheads targeted on us, why
should Ahmadinejad cause Newt to break out in cold sweats at
Currently, the "nuclear program" of Iran consists of trying to
run uranium hexafluoride gas through a few centrifuges. There is
no hard evidence Iran is within three years of producing enough
highly enriched uranium for one bomb.
And if Iran has been at war with us since 1979, why has it done
so much less damage than Khadafi, who blew up that discotheque
in Berlin with our soldiers inside and massacred those American
kids on Pan Am 103? Diplomacy worked with Khadafi. Why not try
it with Iran?
Yet, Newt and the War Party appear to be pushing against an open
door. A Fox News poll finds Iran has replaced North Korea as the
nation Americans believe is our greatest immediate danger. And a
Washington Post polls finds 56 percent of Americans backing
military action to ensure Iran does not acquire a nuclear
Instead of whining about how they were misled into Iraq, why
don't Democrats try to stop this new war before it starts? They
can begin by introducing a resolution in Congress denying Bush
authority to launch any preventive war on Iran, unless Congress
first declares war on Iran.
Isn't that what the Constitution says?
Before we go to war, let's have a debate of whether we need to
go to war.
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