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Appeasing Our Enemies Won't Bring Peace

By Ed Koch

A few days ago, The New York Times published a truly frightening article on insurgent battlefield tactics in Iraq. The article reported that "Insurgents are likely to continue combining car bombs with chlorine gas and other chemicals to launch attacks similar to three in recent weeks that spewed chlorine and sickened scores of Iraqi, the military warned Thursday."

Chlorine gas was first used as a weapon by Germany in World War One. France and Britain responded with poison gas of their own. Their lungs destroyed, tens of thousands of soldiers on both sides choked to death. Thousands more were wounded. Gas attacks were so horrible that neither side used poison gas in World War Two.

But between 1980 and 1988, Saddam Hussein used poison gas against Iraqi Kurds and against the Iranian army. Iraqi insurgents and al-Qaeda terrorists have not hesitated to employ the worst tactics of terror, using car bombs in marketplaces killing and injuring thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians, as well as torturing and beheading civilians, American and Iraqi, in their efforts to drive the U.S. out of Iraq. Now they are using chlorine gas. Are they practicing tactics to use against us here at home?

When the U.S. leaves Iraq, as the Democrats promise they will force President Bush to do, will we face the prospect of emboldened Jihadists, with the cry of "God is Great" on their lips, blowing Americans up here in the States? If terrorists explode radioactive bombs and tank trucks of chlorine gas in American cities, or worse still, full-fledged nuclear weapons, what will our reaction be? Will we be like the English and Spanish who, when their commuter trains were blown up in London and Madrid, rolled over and surrendered to terrorist demands?

In response to terror attacks on its soil, Spain withdrew its troops from Iraq and changed its government. Britain's Labor Party repudiated its leader, Prime Minister Tony Blair, ordering him to resign by next September, as well as beginning the reduction of its military forces in Iraq. Those forces, once totaling 40,000, are now less than 8,000 and scheduled to largely be withdrawn between now and 2008. Both President Bush and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice referred to these announced British withdrawals as planned, acceptable to the U.S. and a victory over the insurgents and terrorists. That statement, had it been uttered by Pinocchio, would have lengthened his nose.

Will the next President, Democrat or Republican, respond by withdrawing our troops in abject fear and sue for peace? What will peace cost? Perhaps conversion to Islam. Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the leaders of al-Qaeda, bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, have publicly stated all our sins will be forgiven if we convert and urged President Bush to lead the way with his personal conversion.

Of course, many of those in and out of Congress who have led the struggle to bring our troops home will laugh at the thought that conversion of the governmental leaders of the U.S. or the payment of tribute by the U.S. will ever come to pass. There were many who believed they could tame Hitler who laid his plans out in detail in Mein Kampf before the beginning of the projected 1,000 year reign of the Third Reich -- a Third Reich brought to an end, through the combined efforts of the U.S., Great Britain and the U.S.S.R. But the cost was horrendous. More than 400,000 American service men and women died, along with 382,000 British soldiers and ten million Russian soldiers. Millions of civilians were killed around the world.

And yet, despite all the horror and carnage of the past, we don't appear to be learning from history. We don't seem to remember that appeasement never works. It didn't work at Munich in 1938 with Chamberlain's infamous statement that we had achieved "peace in our time" with Hitler. It won't work now. Promises that it will leave Iraq have not bought peace for Britain. British authorities now say the danger of terror attacks inside Britain is greater than ever, with thousands of home-grown Jihadists ready to attack.

Why won't we take those who threaten us at their word? Why do we continue to make excuses for their threatening behavior until finally we will be forced to act because they have exploded the dirty bomb or the real nuclear bomb in our homeland?

There will come a time when it may be too late to simply respond to an attack. As a result of such an attack on our homeland, we may be so physically injured and suffered so many casualties as to cause us to consider surrender. We may by then have lost our national will as to make it too difficult for us to muster the moral and physical strength needed to defend ourselves. Remember the refrain, primarily in Europe during the Cold War, "better Red than dead?"

Am I painting a too grim a picture? I don't think so. Wake up, America! This war is not only taking place in Iraq. The struggle is for the future of the world. Our enemies intend to conquer us, and they say so openly. The time to resist is now.

Ed Koch is the former Mayor of New York City.

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