By Alan Caruba
An ignorance of history can leave an entire generation vulnerable to threats they may otherwise dismiss as bombast.
Most who lived during the 1930s rise of the Nazi's Third Reich are dead and all that's left are the images on the History Channel. That's why the sight of goose-stepping Iranian soldiers is eerily redolent of goose-stepping German storm troopers.
In an even more bizarre reflection of the German regime that emerged in the 1930s is the obsessive rhetoric blaming the Jews for the troubles of the Middle East and the threats to wipe Israel off the map. In the midst of WWII, the Nazis diverted important resources to round up and kill six million European Jews, along with five million Christians, Gypsies, homosexuals, and others they deemed "sub-human" or political enemies.
We know that in America, Spain and England, being an "infidel" is sufficient to get you killed as you commute to work or prepare for another day in the office.
We know that Europe hesitated to confront Adolf Hitler and paid a terrible price for it. We know, too, that those Jews who fled Europe were the fortunate few survivors and those who immigrated to Israel after the war had no place else to go. Would you want to go "home" to live next door to a neighbor who betrayed you to the death camps?
Barely one percent of the entire landmass of the Middle East and surrounded by twenty-two nations that still daily deplore its existence, Israel remains the victim of terrorist bombings of its civilian population, along with the rockets and mortars of the Palestinians to the north and south of its borders.
Rather than invading Gaza, Israel has withdrawn from it. Rather than remaining in southern Lebanon, it has withdrawn from it. Rather than retain sections of the West Bank, it plans to withdraw from parts of it.
This is not the picture of a militant, occupying force intent on retaining its gains in the 1967 war waged against it. This is a people who have opted to build a long, high wall to fence itself off from a totally toxic population on the other side.
The Palestinians are people who use boys to penetrate the wall in order to murder Israelis with an act of suicide.
At some point, the Israelis are going to want their leaders to do unto the Iranians that which the Iranians are threatening to do to them, only first. Unless, of course, the United States decides that diplomacy is inadequate to the job of dealing with homicidal ayatollahs and their henchmen.
History reveals that the desperate diplomacy of the 1930s was merely a prelude to World War II. It is likely to be the same for WW III if everyone waits around for the new Iranian Hitler's to fulfill their threats.
Few paid attention to Winston Churchill, out of power in England, when he raised warnings about the intentions of the Nazi government. Comparable warnings being raised today regarding the Iranians are also being ignored. Worse, Americans who have grown weary of the struggle in Iraq are in no mood to consider an extended field of battle that would include Iran.
There are, however, some stubborn facts that cannot be ignored. The Iranian leadership has spent twenty years and billions of dollars to achieve nuclear parity with the world. While President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was celebrating the enriching of uranium at Nathanz, the real threat was at Neyshabour in Khorassan, a place guarded day and night by the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the elite Ansar al-Mahdi unit. This site will have three times the capacity of Nathanz to enrich the material the Iranians need to build nuclear bombs. You can thank the Russians for making that happen.
Little wonder the Pentagon has pulled the maps of Iran off the shelf and begun to upgrade plans for invasion or, at the very least, a deterrent bombing of nuclear facilities.
You may think the year is 2006 and it is, but the year is also any one of those leading up to 1939 when the Nazis invaded Poland. They felt safe in doing so. After all, they had signed a secret non-aggression pact with the Russians. And the Russians believed them. Right up to the day and hour when the Germans invaded Russia.
Then, for the duration of WW II, the Russians became our allies. When WW II ended, they went right back to their own mad dreams of imposing communism on the world.
Iran is hardly isolated. There are the Russians and Chinese who are reluctant to permit the United Nations to impose any sanctions. It has friends in Turkey, a formerly secular nation that is embracing its own Islamic revolution, reversing decades of democracy. It has friends in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the Palestinian territories.
Goose-stepping Iranians are on the march. Ignoring them will not change their minds. Threatening them will not change their minds. History has a nasty way of repeating itself and it is doing so now in the Middle East.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly commentary, "Warning Signs", posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center. © 2006, Alan Caruba
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