FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
“HITLER TAMED BY PRISON.; Released on Parole, He Is Expected to Return to Austria.” [updated]
Yes, it's a real title
As far back as December 21, 1924, the wise and knowing New York Times was getting claims and analyses wrong with regard to evil and violent actors around the world.
Look upward, and take in once again the title of this post. It is a real headline from a 12/21/24 Times article, in which a Times reporter explains that Hitler, released on parole from the Landsberg fortress where he had been sent for trying to overthrow the German government (in what has come to be known as the “Beer Hall Putsch“), had been “moderated” by prison to such a degree that German authorities were convinced that he presented no further danger to the existing society.
In fact, according to the article, it was expected that he would abandon public life and return to his native land of Austria to live quietly and, likely, never be heard from again in any meaningful way.
Barry Rubin, director of Israel’s Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center, sees a parallel between that catastrophic 80-year-old misunderstanding of how “tame-able” the world’s evil persons are, and the current line being taken by the Times on the importance of Israel being willing to negotiate — and to compromise — with hostile entities, such as Hamas, Hezbollah, and the PLO.
“Few countries can afford the luxury of limiting their diplomacy to friendly countries and peace-loving parties,” wrote the NYT’s editors in a June 30 column. “National security often requires negotiating with dangerous enemies.”
Right. And believing their protestations of moderation, making concessions to them, ending sanctions, blaming ourselves for problems, and never using force is the actual content of such negotiations.
Then the leaders of Hamas, Hizballah, Syria, Iran, the Muslim Brotherhoods, al-Qaida, North Korea, Zimbabwe, Sudan, etc., will no doubt be tamed, abandon public life, and go back to their homes.
Henry Kissinger once told the joke–or at least is credited for doing so–that it is very easy to have the lion lay down with the lamb, as long as you put in a new lamb every day. Kissinger no doubt little expected at the time that this would become the democratic world’s favored strategy. No surprise that the main villain for the politically correct West is Israel, the lamb that refuses the honor.
That is some very well-prepared food for thought.
Updated below the fold.
Update – 7/17@1553CDT: RedState commenter Aaron Gardner makes the excellent point that this lesson should be extended to include the release of supposedly “tamed” prisoners from Gitmo, such as Guantanamo Bay veteran turned Mosul suicide bomber Abdullah Salih al Ajmi.
In the Israeli context, this lesson is currently applicable to the subjects of Wednesday’s prisoner exchange with Hezbollah, which saw five terrorists — including Samir Kuntar, a murdered who had been sentenced to 542 years in prison for the 1979 shooting of a father and smashing-in of a daughter’s head (another child was inadvertently suffocated while the mother hid with her under a bed) — returned to Lebanon to what CNN described as “a hero’s welcome.”
Lebanese President Michel Suleiman said Lebanon “feels very proud as we welcome back the heroic resistance fighters who were released from the Israeli occupation,” and Kuntar swore to the crowd assembled to greet him that he would “continue to fight” now the he was free.
Referring to the same NYT editorial quoted above, Rubin writes,
“Even if the prisoner exchange is understandable it is at best a terrible dilemma. Yet the New York Times sees it as a role model for diplomacy. Its June 30 editorial explains:
“Few countries can afford the luxury of limiting their diplomacy to friendly countries and peace-loving parties. National security often requires negotiating with dangerous enemies. Fortunately, Israel’s prime minister, Ehud Olmert, is now displaying a clearer grasp of such realities than President Bush has mustered.”
In other words, if terrorists attack you it’s a good thing to release murderers in a deal, not just to soothe the pain of families but as a centerpiece of national strategy. It is such a superb notion it proves the United States and other countries should negotiate with Iran, Syria, Hizballah, and Hamas over their political demands. Presumably, this entails big concessions and letting radical forces escape sanctions and isolation.
This is bizarre logic. It does spring from Israel violating its own guidelines, not for the first time, on negotiating with terrorists, but is an extraordinary, dangerous extrapolation from what is somewhere between a necessary tragedy and a mistake.
What is unforgivable in the deal itself was to include Palestinian prisoners. This was certainly unnecessary–would Hizballah reject getting its own men back?–and signals Palestinians that Hizballah (and hence Iran and Syria) are their true guardians.
The messages being sent by these actions, which the Times so heartily condones, are many-fold, but, as Rubin so articulately shows, uniformly bad.