Czechoslovakia on Their Minds: Neocon News Flash: Hitler Invades Georgia

Article excerpt

These brief illuminations suggest but don't fully reveal what happened to "The Missing Girls of Iraq," as Time called them in 2006. They may be dancing on the stages of Damascus nightclubs, begging on street corners, tying on suicide-bomber vests, or getting murdered by their own families.

One of the rationales for invading Iraq was to liberate the Iraqi people from an evil man, but it seems that many Iraqis just swapped tormentors. It's fashionable in pro-war circles to talk up women's rights when it comes to beating back the perceived Islamization of Canada or Western Europe, but criticizing our hands-off approach to the depravity spawned by this war invites charges of disloyalty and defeatism.

Before she was murdered outside her home in Mosul last summer, investigative journalist Sahar Hussein al-Haideri wrote about Iraqi families who--knowingly or not--sold their daughters to local pimps, killing for them any hope of a normal future in Iraq.

She interviewed "Zaineb," a 20-year-old who took what she thought was a legitimate job to support her mother and siblings. She was immediately forced into prostitution. "[My boss] and his friends always take me to a farm, where they get drunk, and then have sex with me. I cry, asking for help from my father and mother, but how can they hear me?"

"It cuts to the heart of a society," says Abbas Kadhim, who notes that the women of Iraq--at least before the crackdown that followed the first Gulf War--were active participants in Iraqi social and political life. "Certainly the politicians, whose failure caused this tragedy, should be punished--not the wretched girl who is the victim." NEOCONSERVATIVES and their useful idiots in the American media have been on overdrive this August, rewinding to their World War II analogies and applying them to the fast-forwarding world of global politics. Exhibit A: the obvious likeness of the 2008 Beijing Olympics to the 1936 Berlin Games. Hitlergram of the Month was the parallel drawn between Nazi-era filmmaker turned propagandist Leni Riefenstahl, who was invited by the Fuhrer to film the Olympics in Berlin--the result being the technically and aesthetically impressive documentary "Olympia"--and the celebrated Chinese director Zhang Yimou, who was commissioned by his government to produce the magnificent opening ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. The power of analogy, there for the China-bashers' taking.

But no neocon narrative is complete without Czechoslovakia. Imagine your average Weekly Standard subscriber taking a free-association test and being asked to state the first words that come to his mind when he hears "Czechoslovakia." Rest assured, he would respond with "Munich," "appeasement," "Chamberlain," or "umbrella." And let's not forget "Hitler." Thus can anyone clamoring for U.S. military intervention in, say, the former Yugoslavia or the Persian Gulf, mount a successful media and public-relations campaign by identifying his chosen victim (the Muslims of Bosnia and Kosovo, or Kuwait, or the Kurds) with Czechoslovakia and associating his preferred "aggressor" (Slobodan Milosevic or Saddam Hussein) with Hitler. Those Americans who resist pressure to deploy U.S. troops abroad to save the victim from the aggressor are appeasers leading the world into another Munich.

Here we go again. "The details of who did what to precipitate Russia's war against Georgia are not very important," explained leading neocon foreign-policy ideologue Robert Kagan--who insists that he isn't a neocon at all--in a column in the Washington Post three days after the eruption of hostilities between Russia and Georgia over the breakaway province of South Ossetia. "Do you recall the precise details of the Sudeten Crisis that led to Nazi Germany's invasion of Czechoslovakia?" he asked. Kagan, one of the chief advisers to Republican presidential candidate John McCain, wants to kick "revisionist" Russia out of the G-8 and establish a League of Democracies as part of a strategy to contain the growing threat from Moscow. …

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