Not long ago I happened to be listening to one of our local radio call-in programs discussing that interminable subject known as Iraq. While calmly absorbing the myriad of comments flowing over the airways I was suddenly taken aback by one of the most ill-considered utterances yet to have emerged. One of the callers drew a parallel between the Saddam Hussein of today and the Hitler of the 1930's and contended appeasement is no way to approach the former in light of what occurred with the latter. I could hardly believe my ears. Apparently that benighted soul needs to re-enroll in History 101 because he missed some blatantly obvious facts. Let's recount some history. Hitler came to power in Germany in 1933 and 3 years later in 1936 he remilitarized the Rhineland in violation of the Treaty of Versailles and in direct defiance of England and France. Although the latter two could have taken military action they decided to appease the Nazi appetite. Two years later in 1938 Hitler decided he would take Austria, again in defiance of the Treaty of Versailles, and Britain and France sat on their hands. Later that same year Hitler demanded the Sudetenland and a blatant case of appeasement was consummated at the Munich sell-out. Hitler's pattern was to make increasingly more aggressive demands just as George Bush currently follows the same scenario of progressively upping the ante. Saddam Hussein finds himself in the same predicament today as England and France found themselves in during the 1930's--one confrontation after another against an increasingly more aggressive and unreasonable opponent intent on obtaining every one of its demands through war if necessary. Finally Hitler wanted Danzig and that was simply beyond the pale and the allies declared war.

Those who try to compare Hussein to Hitler with respect to appeasement have their roles reversed. It is Bush, not Hussein who is making the demands. It is Bush, not Hussein, who is making ever more unreasonable and non-negotiable claims. It is Bush, not Hussein, who is the aggressor. It is Bush, not Hussein, who will cause a war.

Even more egregious is the fact that Hitler had a better case than Bush does. Hitler remilitarized an area within his own nation and Hitler was demanding the return of Austria, the Sudetenland, and Danzig to Germany primarily because those areas were populated overwhelmingly by Germans and had been taken from Germany. He wanted to restore the inhabitants to the Reich which the overwhelming majority of those Germans wanted as well. There was no guesswork or hypothesizing with respect to the demands Hitler formulated. He was confronting a real program with tangible evidence proving Germany was unjustly treated and many international observers sympathized with his yearning to reconstitute Germany as it was.

Bush, on the other hand, has a far weaker case. He has presented no evidence that Hussein has weapons of mass destruction and is engaged in pure guesswork when he claims to know, as if he were Saddam's shrink, what Iraq intends to do militarily, if anything at all. In effect, when asked why he intends to attack Iraq all Bush can say is: I am not sure what they have nor am I certain as to what they intend to do, but I am taking no chances and will go to war to alleviate my speculations and assumptions.

When that German minister was recently fired for sensibly comparing Bush to Hitler, a comparison which many were far too quick to sluff off as exaggeration, she was not only done an injustice but she did Hitler an injustice because Hitler had a stronger case than Dubya's. No comparison! Should Bush's thesis prevail the Wild West on the international scene would reign supreme, something even Hitler did not propound or promote. Under Bush's proposal any country would be fully justified in launching an attack on any other country on the mere suspicion or supposition that they were being threatened and did not wish to take any chances.

On a personal note, I don't like Saddam Hussein for what he did to the Left and the Iraqi people. I didn't like him then and I don't like him now. But you know something. In the last year I have come to like George Bush even less.

D. McKinsey