America’s Accommodation of Evil

by | May 8, 2002 | Terrorism

In perusing through a recently published book on American politics, the following statement caught my eye: “[The spectre] our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face is that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and appeasement does not give you a choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. We are told that the […]

In perusing through a recently published book on American politics, the following statement caught my eye:

“[The spectre] our well-meaning liberal friends refuse to face is that their policy of accommodation is appeasement, and appeasement does not give you a choice between peace and war, only between fight or surrender. We are told that the problem is too complex for a simple answer. They are wrong. There is no easy answer, but there is a simple answer. We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right, and this policy of accommodation asks us to accept the greatest possible immorality.”

Eloquent words. But accommodation and appeasement of whom, you might ask. Given today’s political climate, one might think that the speaker is referring to the current crisis faced by Israel. Right? Many people, including our President, are demanding that Israel “accommodate” the Palestinians.

Well, the current administration could learn something from its party’s own history. These words were spoken over twenty years ago by Ronald Reagan. At that time, Reagan was speaking of the liberals’ insistence that we “accommodate” the Soviet Union. Reagan recognized this for what it was: appeasement. And those clamoring for appeasement always rationalize its alleged necessity by harping upon the “complexity” of the situation. Reagan also recognized the nature of such a rationalization: it masked a profound moral cowardice. Moral choices are not always easy, but there is no fundamental complexity in the division between good and evil.

President Bush and Colin Powell could learn today from Reagan’s insights. A senior foreign policy aide to the Bush administration recently told the New York Times that America is working diligently to “convince the Israelis it’s in their long-term interest to deal with Arafat, no matter how reprehensible he may be.” What is it that makes Arafat “reprehensible”? The answer is obvious: it is the well-documented, decades-long death and destruction that Arafat, the PLO, and the Palestinian Authority have brought to countless innocent Israelis. Yet Israel is to set aside this mass slaughter of innocent lives because it is in its so-called “long-term interest” to “deal” with Arafat? The Bush administration’s demand that Israel accommodate Arafat and its other Arab neighbors, people who call daily for the eradication of not only Israel, but also of all Jews, is appeasement. One does not accommodate a murderer, no matter what the murderer claims as his alleged justification for slaughtering the innocent.

The admission that the Israel-Palestinian conflict is a “complicated situation” further reveals the degree to which the Bush administration is rationalizing its own moral capitulation. The choices mandated by our moral principles may be difficult, but they are never so complicated that they require us to befriend such an openly brazen evil as terrorists and their sponsors. And to “accommodate” evil in the name of any alleged “complexity” is, in the words of Reagan, “to accept the greatest possible immorality.”

Americans now await the return of the moral clarity expressed last September in the announcement of the Bush Doctrine. The moral judgment that the Bush Doctrine demands is clear: Arafat is a terrorist, the Palestinian Authority is a terror-sponsoring organization, and both should be destroyed without qualification. Without this declaration from our President, we are adrift–and our enemies will take advantage of this vacillation by causing more slaughter and destruction.

Mr. Mossoff is a professor of law at Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. He is a Visiting Intellectual Property Fellow in the Edwin Meese III Center for Legal and Judicial Studies at The Heritage Foundation, a Professor of Law at the Antonin Scalia Law School of George Mason University, and a Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute. His scholarship has been relied on by the Supreme Court, by federal courts, and by federal agencies, and he has been invited numerous times to testify before the Senate and the House of Representatives on proposed intellectual property legislation. Visit his website at adammossoff.com.

The views expressed above represent those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the editors and publishers of Capitalism Magazine. Capitalism Magazine sometimes publishes articles we disagree with because we think the article provides information, or a contrasting point of view, that may be of value to our readers.

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