Avoid a historical mistake

Published: Sunday, January 26, 2003 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, January 25, 2003 at 11:30 p.m.

A frequent historical analogy cited to argue against the United States' military buildup in the Middle East has been that of Vietnam and the familiar cliche, "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it."

I agree that history has taught us an important lesson, but in this I see all the more important reason to support President Bush.

It has been argued that Saddam Hussein proves no immediate threat to America; did Hitler's Germany pose any threat in the late 1930s? Certainly, Japan's presence in the Pacific was a greater threat to the United States than Western Europe. The United States stood by, in complete neutrality, as the Third Reich re-militarized the Rhineland, a direct violation of its treaty to end World War I. The United States did nothing as Neville Chamberlain appeased Hitler's need for more land. We even stayed out of the picture as the Blitzkrieg raged through Poland, Scandinavia and finally, France.

It was not until the tragedy of Dec. 7, 1941 when, following the Japanese attack, Hitler declared war upon America, did we find ourselves confronting the evils of Nazi Germany. By all historical accounts, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who should serve as a model to Americans of all generations, was strongly in favor of bringing America into the European conflict but lacked the mandate to do so.

Imagine how many lives would've been spared, had the United States stood up to Hitler and his regime back in 1936, rather than waiting nearly five years?

The situation in Iraq seems strikingly similar. I do not desire to see war. However, allowing Hitler to build his military strength and flex his muscles into the European theatre was a mistake that cost millions of lives. The United States should seek, by every means possible, to keep this from happening again in the Middle East.

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