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Monday, May 19, 2008

So... yeah.

Dropping by the good folks over at Conservapedia I happened to notice something a bit... striking:

For those who don't want to read the image:

The New Appeasers
Is Obama an appeaser? Of course. Obama has already offered Iraq to Iran without getting anything in return.

Now, believe it or not, I am not going to discuss the issue of whether or not Obama is, in fact, "an appeaser." I'm not convinced that a lot of the conservatives yelling that at him have the historical background to even understand the term and I don't much enjoy debating history with the ignorant. Rather, I just want to point out something in this remark. Specifically, this:

...offered Iraq to Iran without getting anything in return.[emphasis added]

See, here's the thing: Schlafly's* issue is not, it would seem, that giving Iraq to Iran is intrinsically bad. His issue is that we won't get anything valuable in exchange. Put another way: he doesn't think it's ethical to give one country to another but he's perfectly willing to sell one country to another. This is an ethical distinction that I find, frankly, repulsive.

I know, I know- you might legitimately argue that diplomacy is all about negotiating exchanges. You agree not to invade me, I will give you a shit-ton of money every other year. I'm familiar with the grand historical permutations of the concept. Nevertheless, there is an important difference here. It's one thing to negotiate with your own resources while it's quite another to negotiate with those of a third party. Given that we now find ourselves in a position of authority over Iraq as a result of an invasion, it's roughly akin to mugging someone and then selling them into slavery. I'm not saying that giving them to slavers is any better, but it's hardly any worse.

And, ironically, Schlafly's argument really does nothing except demonstrate that he is, indeed, ignorant of history. Neville Chamberlain, who is often castigated as an appeaser, did indeed "give" Hitler the Sudetenland. But he gave it to Hitler in exchange for an agreement that Hitler would not initiate hostilities against the rest of Czechoslovakia and a peace treaty between the U.K. and Germany. In other words, ladies and gentlemen, Chamberlain sold the Sudetenland to Hitler.

So who is the appeaser now, I wonder?

* In perfect honesty I can't tell if Schlafly is the one who penned this headline since Conservapedia is being uncooperative. I blame him specifically, however, simply because of the sheer quantity of ferocity of vitriol he regularly spews forth.

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