Vail Daily letter: Grave danger

History certainly does have the nasty habit of repeating itself, and nowhere is this more evident than in the comparison of world events in 1940 with what is happening in the Middle East today.

In the late 1930s and early 1940s, Hitler’s mob was on the march and this impressive juggernaut appeared unstoppable, with only a badly-battered England standing in the way of the Nazis riding roughshod over all of Western Europe and Russia.

Military aid from the United States was viewed as England’s only hope, but the painful experiences of World War I, the lingering Great Depression and a national mood of isolationism made president Franklin Roosevelt most reluctant to get the nation involved in the conflict.

England’s prime minister, Winston Churchill, and the efforts of three influential Americans, Ambassador John Winant, correspondent Edward R. Morrow and industrialist Averell Harriman, have been credited in helping to persuade Roosevelt to join the fray, which the nation did immediately following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The rest is history.

Today a witches’ brew of unmitigated horrors is boiling up in the Middle East in Syria, Iraq and many other parts of the Levant as elements of the followers of radical Islam are brutally murdering thousands of Christians and fellow Muslims who they feel are standing in the way of a Muslim caliphate; and if not stopped, this hoard will in very short order dominate the affairs of most all Arab nations in the region.

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These radicals will never be satisfied until they have spread their crazed religious dogma, brutality and oppression of all who will not convert to their brand of Islam across Western Europe and eventually to North America.

The parallel to 1940 is unmistakable — then Britain alone stood against the Nazis while pleading for help from the United States, and today it is our ally Israel who fully recognizes the grave danger not only to its security, but to the existence of all the moderate Arab states, and along with others, is pleading for us to do more to counter this threat.

As President Obama appears unable or unwilling to comprehend history, will it take a Republican in the White House to fully appreciate the grave danger the Western world could be facing? By then will the entire Middle East be ruled by madmen who will have not only the capability of building and delivering nuclear weapons, but who would endeavor to detonate them in the heart of a number of major Western cities? If so, by then it will be too late to avoid what could prove to be a death blow to the civilized world.

Peter Bergh


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