Tales from the Trail

Bush appeasement comment stirs up U.S. political race

May 15, 2008

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush stirred up the U.S. presidential campaign Thursday by suggesting that Democratic front-runner Barack Obama’s pledge to talk to Iran’s leader amounted to “the false comfort of appeasement.”

“Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals, as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all along,” Bush said in a speech to the Israeli parliament marking Israel’s 60th anniversary.

Without mentioning Obama by name, he compared “this foolish delusion” to the appeasement of the Nazis ahead of World War Two. 

“As Nazi tanks crossed into Poland in 1939, an American senator declared: ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ We have an obligation to call this what it is — the false comfort of appeasement,” Bush said.

The remark drew swift response from Obama, who argues the United States blunders by refusing to talk to the leaders of hostile nations like Iran, Syria and Cuba.

“It is sad that President Bush would use a speech to the Knesset on the 60th anniversary of Israel’s independence to launch a false political attack,” Obama said.

“The president’s extraordinary politicization of foreign policy and the politics of fear do nothing to secure the American people or our stalwart ally Israel,” he said.

Republican candidate John McCain criticized Obama’s pledge to speak directly to U.S. foes, saying “it shows naivete and inexperience and lack of judgment” to consider sitting down with a country like Iran that wants to destroy Israel. “My question is, what does he want to talk about?” McCain said.

Not everyone in Bush’s administration is opposed to talking to Iran. Defense Secretary Robert Gates offered his own ideas just a day before the president’s Knesset speech, telling a diplomatic forum: “We need to figure out a way to develop some leverage with respect to the Iranians and then sit down and talk with them.”

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Comments
12 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

So exactly which American Senator said ‘Lord, if only I could have talked to Hitler, all of this might have been avoided.’ as stated by George Bush.

Posted by David Shaw | Report as abusive
 

I don’t get it… the Bush administration has held direct negotiations with the North Korean regime, had three rounds of talks with Iran, and negotiated with Libya’s Gadhafi, what’s he talking about?

Posted by Baba | Report as abusive
 

Story’s head makes it seem like a reaction story to Bush’s remarks, but Bush, White House, McCain and Lieberman get 12 paragraphs while Obama and Dems get 6. Not a fair ratio for the sort of story this purports to be.

Posted by Charley M. | Report as abusive
 

The statement was originally said by the REPUBLICAN senator from Idaho, William Edgar Borah.

Posted by Alise | Report as abusive
 

Must be my republican blood but nowhere in Pres. Bush’s speech did I read “Mr. Obama”. Actually our involvement in WWII was due to a cohersion between Rosevelt and Churchill. Remember Hanoi Jane back in the late 60′s? How about Rev Jesse Jackson, or Jimmy Carter or even the speaker of the house after she got appointed? Early in the campaine during a debate, at lease think it was, Mr. Obama did say that he would have meetings with these folks no strings attached. As for Iran and North Korea, there was an agenda for the talks. Odd how offended one can be if the shoe fits.

Posted by Jack from Kansas | Report as abusive
 

One, he didn’t mention Obama. He’s either guilty of exactly what the president said, or his over inflated ego thinks that when ever someone is talking politics, they must be talking about him. Two, the president was right on the mark. Check history. By the way, someone tell Pelosi and all the other freaks to stop over reacting. No one was talking to them either. Every time they talk, by virtue of listening, people are getting dumber.

Posted by Steve Davidson | Report as abusive
 

Didn’t Bush say he was a Christian. I must
be missing something. I didn’t vote for him
and I won’t vote for McCain either.
I will never understand how he wasn’t Impeached!!!

You lead by example so I guess with Bush leading
and saying he is a Christian I guess that is
why we are in the mess we are today.

Sounds more like he worships Satan than God.

Posted by Sammy | Report as abusive
 

President George Bush is a tyrant and have no regard for humanity since he became the US president and he’s put the whole world into conflicts because of his arrogancy. He lied against Iraq of nuclear weapon of mass destruction which turned out to be untrue…he must learn to know that American should not disrespect other nations ability to surpass America in whatever way…I know that Obama’s candidacy will bring peace, understanding and respect to America and the world in general…

Posted by Ade Adebayo | Report as abusive
 

Perhaps the dems over-reacted. That said, Bush’s comment was not called for. Comments from public officials, especially the President about domestic concerns must stay within our boundaries.

Posted by Carol | Report as abusive
 

I think Bush is the most disgusting President ever knowing the fact that his Grand father was involved with the NAZI, and along with his history of drug abuse, alcohol, DUI, Lies, sending us to war with the wrong nation, depleted the US economy and can’t speak proper English. What has our domestic affairs to do with Israel? It is just unbelievable, while he ignored the crisis in the Mid East for the last 7 years on purpose to fuel more this bloody war.

Now the Republican Agenda seems to be through the president, want Israel (the one who were caught spying on America not long ago) to lobby against the American people, the Democratic Party and to meddle in our own Domestic affairs. Why not mention North Korea whose people are going through a present holocaust and no one is saying or doing anything? I guess they are not the chosen people. Those who support this war or any other war are delusional themselves, causing the crisis to escalate and enticing more fear.

And so what if Obama’s background was Muslim as adults we choose what to believe in beside, these three religions are synonymous
MADRASSAS (Quran) = SUNDAYS SCHOOL (Bible) = Judaism are the Western Religions and share the same origin of misogyny, racism, sexism and love of war for the sake of the bloody God. Same garbage

Posted by la | Report as abusive
 

I am responding ever so briefly to “la”. I ain’t a Republican, but George Bush is not the most disgusting President ever,la. I understand your exasperation with him, but he is not “the most”…. Mr. Obama is entirely too eager to begin sparring with the political establishment when, in fact, he is suppose to be honoring timelines for the end of the Democratic campaign. He should be more concerned over whether he can learn to restrain himself from using the word “sweetie”. Now, in all fairness, I am a “honey” and “sweetheart” user myself, but I am not running for President of the United States and I do not think his platform for “Change” should include relaxed addresses to people… no matter how well meaning. He has to start thinking along the lines of Presidential protocol… and that is something he definitely will not be attempting to “Change” unless he wants to become a most unpopular man at large.

Posted by Sandra Lewis | Report as abusive
 

Do Americans ever wonder why they should appease Israel in the first place? The notion of a free and democratic middle east should have started in Palestine where it`s people are under a terrible occupation by Israel. Bush is a spoilt grown up who lacks empathy as a person and cares less as a DECIDER what happens to Americans at home and the rest of the world.

Posted by dublin | Report as abusive
 

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