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"And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." - John 8:32
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Author:  Larry Simoneaux
Bio: Larry Simoneaux
Date:  August 13, 2006
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When will we ever learn?

"We learn from history that we learn nothing from history." George Bernard Shaw

Think about it. It wasn’t all that long ago. In fact, it’s still a vivid memory for the elderly amongst us who had to suit up and set things right.

It started when the world chose to ignore a nutcase in Germany with a flair for speaking and a bubbling hatred of a certain race.

His goal was to dominate the world (these types always seem to set their sights at that elevation) and destroy that race.

He didn’t hide his intentions. Since this was before television and he was in jail with lot of time on his hands, he wrote a book called "Mein Kampf" to help others understand his thinking (such as it was).

Few listened. "Kumbaya" or whatever similar song was popular back then was being hummed by way too many people.

Which is precisely what he counted on.

It took less than 20 years but, in that time, he rose to power, took control of a nation, silenced his opposition, thumbed his nose at the world, locked and cocked his weapons, and then went out to work his merry mayhem.

We, in the United States, basically sat back and watched. We wanted no part of an armed conflict – especially one that might happen an ocean away. The memories of a recent European war were still too fresh.

Diplomats who thought mushy phrases and long-winded treaties were enough to ensure peace (bless their foolish little hearts) pretty much had the run of the world. They looked down their noses at those who warned them that weakness would only encourage this individual.

Nope, they "knew" how things worked and weren’t about to do anything so backward as stand their ground, ball their fists, and tell this madman to knock it off. In their blind pursuit of peace, they even stabbed an entire nation – Czechoslovakia – in the back.

None of it worked. What it did, however, was buy the nutcase time. And, when he was ready, he started a war that took seven years, the might of the civilized world, and more than 50 million deaths to end.

Fast forward to now.

This time there are several crackpots out and about with a flair for speaking and a bubbling hatred of an entire race. Their goals are to dominate the world in the name of some demented version of a religion and, by the way, destroy that race of people.

Sound familiar?

They haven’t written a book, but they’ve repeatedly stated their intentions to all who care to listen. They’re kind of hard to ignore, but many - to the strains of "Kumbaya" - are somehow managing to do just that.

In the span of 30 years, theses fanatics have risen to power, taken control of several nations, silenced their opposition, thumbed their noses at the world, locked and cocked their weapons, and are now well on their merry way to mayhem.

Again, many in the United States want no part of an armed conflict. The problem is that this war is already here. Battles have occurred in New York, Washington, D.C., and a small field in Pennsylvania. This past Thursday, the Brits prevented an attack that would’ve blown several thousand innocent but targeted (think about the import of that word) men, women, and children into the Atlantic Ocean.

Unfortunately, the world’s diplomats continue to swear by an organization that’s repeatedly proven itself to be an incompetent and hugely corrupt institution.

These same diplomats look down their noses at those who warn that weakness will only embolden these individuals. And, in spite of repeated examples of the nothing their negotiations have accomplished (same bloodshed, different date), they continue to argue in favor of their empty methods.

The simple reason for this is that these diplomats have never learned a basic schoolyard lesson: Whenever a bully attacks, it does no good for those set upon to back away and run elsewhere for help. The bully will simply wait for things to die down and return to make things worse. Better for the put upon to just stand and fight. Bullies don’t understand much, but they do understand pain.

The really scary thing, though, is that these fundamentalist bullies have become accustomed to the civilized world backing away. Seeing this, they’ve become bolder, dropped any pretense at reasonableness, and are now doubly intent on pursuing their insane goals.

Given the response to current events by a large part of the western world, one wonders if we understand that this lesson still applies and that we ignore the lessons of history at our own peril.

Larry Simoneaux

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Biography - Larry Simoneaux

Larry Simoneaux is a regular columnist for The Everett Herald in Washington state. He is a retired ship driver for the US Navy and NOAA.

Read other commentaries by Larry Simoneaux.

Copyright © 2006 by Larry Simoneaux
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