May 15th, 2008
12:05 PM ET

Bush suggests Obama wants 'appeasement' of terrorists?

David M. Reisner
360° Digital Producer

During a speech to the Knesset, Pres. Bush compares calls to talk with unnamed terrorist groups a 'foolish delusion.'
During a speech to the Knesset, Pres. Bush compares calls to talk with unnamed terrorist groups a 'foolish delusion.'

Hey Bloggers,

Wanted to get your thoughts on something that President Bush said today when adressing Israel's parliament, the Knesset, on Israel's 60th anniversary celebration in Jerusalem.

Some are saying the President launched a sharp but veiled attack on Sen. Barack Obama and other Democrats, suggesting they favor "appeasement" of terrorists in the same way some Western leaders appeased Hitler in the run-up to World War II.

The president did not say Obama's name directly (or any other Democrat for that matter) but White House aides privately acknowledged the remarks were aimed at the presidential
candidate and others in his party. Former President Jimmy Carter has called for
talks with Hamas.

"Some seem to believe we should negotiate with terrorists and radicals,
as if some ingenious argument will persuade them they have been wrong all

"We have heard this foolish delusion before... 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, which has been repeatedly discredited by

The remarks seemed to be a not-so-subtle attempt to continue to raise
doubts about Obama with Jewish Americans. Those doubts were earlier stoked by
Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee in the 2008 presidential
election, when he recently charged that Obama is the favored candidate of the
Islamic fundamentalist group Hamas, which the U.S. government has listed as a
terrorist group.

Obama last week called the Hamas allegation a "smear" and lashed out
Thursday at Bush's speech in Israel.  In a statement release to CNN by his campaign Obama said:

"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... It is time to turn the page on eight years of policies that have strengthened Iran and failed to secure America or our ally Israel...."

"George Bush knows that I have never supported engagement with
terrorists, and 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..."

So what do you think? I have included a clip of the president's speech...

Please share your thoughts

soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Eileen Johnson

    Out on lunch break today I was behind a truck with a bumper sticker that stated, "A vote for Obama is a vote for Osama." I guess it is the week to use the word "appalling." Needless to say, I didn't have much of an appetite, and I was saddened by the thought that the person who must have printed all these stickers complete with pictures of the aforementioned, must've expected a large amount of requests.
    Eileen Johnson
    Mesa, Arizona

    May 20, 2008 at 9:19 pm |
  2. mike d utica ny

    The unfortunate outcome of this next election will really not matter. The reason is simple enough. The candidates who are running do not actually care about the ways of America. Obama will not defend this country against his muslim relatives over seas. Hillary is only concerned about power so she will please anyone who will elect her no matter the cost. McCain will do nothing more than cost us billions more in Iraq. Not to mention the fact that Obama is already trying to disarm the American people by limiting and forbidding the ownership of guns. People need to understand that the control we still have on this country is partly because we own our own weapons. To disarm us would put us in jepardy with the inability to defend our country and he knows that. And besides this, why would those of us who are being killed overseas by the muslims give a single care that a fellow soldier shot a quran when they are killing us everyday. Not to mention the fact that they burn our bibles and the American flag, while our goverment does nothing about it. Do you really want to elect people into office who will do the same and allow the immoral acts of the leaders of what use to be a free country to continue. Think before you vote this time. If you say you are a christian than vote like it. Take a stand against same sex marriage, abortion, dishonor in the goverment.Remember, they are elected to serve us, not control everything that is wrong because it pleases them on the inside.

    May 18, 2008 at 3:28 am |
  3. Julie

    I am absolutely outraged and furious at how TWISTED the spins shooting at Obama from every conniving, sleezy angle possible throughout this whole campaign!!!!! Just how short is the American attention span anyway?? Does anyone remember Amedinejad coming to the UN last September? - and yes, speaking at Columbia University!!!– where yes, everybody saw/ heard what he was about– and our notions were confirmed with hearing him speak. (isn't there some value in that?) NEVERTHELESS HE WAS HERE!!– IN THE US!! Did anyone CRY that BUSH SHOULD NOT HAVE LET HIM EVEN SET FOOT IN OUR COUNTRY?– AND WAS BUSH APPEASING A TERRORIST?!!!!
    Does anyone remember the threats coming from North Korea, the more Bush's tactic of giving him( jong il) the silent treatment - just how well did that work!!????
    I was travelling overseas for most of last year and completely embarrassed and ashamed seeing the viewpoint of our country, from an outside perspective– Our country has NEVER been so vulnerable just by the sheer stupidity of our "leaders". and– Ever hear of the saying " keep your allies close and your enemies even closer" ??

    May 17, 2008 at 8:44 pm |
  4. Andrew

    Some fun facts to ponder. Bush goes in front of the Israeli government and compares himself to Lord Chamberlain! I laughed so hard i cried. Remember that guy from Libya known for blowing up planes with Americans on them? Bush sat down and cut a deal with him. Because its only wrong with other people do it right??? Seems to be the American motto since Bush took power and if you know anything about history he seems scarily similar to the roman emperor Nero. Remember him? Had many a loft Ideal when he became emperor and then promptly lost his mind, bankrupted the richest nation of the old world and nearly destroyed Rome with his Insane policies. Oh and don't forget to read the part about how his Reign came to an end thats the best part.

    May 16, 2008 at 11:49 pm |
  5. winnie

    please, leave Hillary some ammunition to continue her campaign. With Obama crying foe over the appeasement blust, Hillary can't use her long term experience in foreign diplomacy as her strength to be considered the qualified candidate, or she will be thought to be siding with Bush and McCain.

    May 16, 2008 at 3:05 pm |
  6. David Lawver

    It is amazing to me that G. W. Bush would raise the issue of Hitler appeasement, given the History of Prescott Bush and his involvement with Hitlers Germany. What is even more amazing is that none of the pundits on TV will mention that fact.

    May 16, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  7. dick

    Blather, blather, blather.

    The issue's not "who was Bush referring to". The real issue is whether Bush is right or wrong in suggesting that any of the current candidates would adopt a policy of appeasement towards Iran.

    Hoping that your enemy will "behave" if you're nice enough to him, and giving him part of what he wants to secure such a promise, is appeasement – especially if it's accompanied by a weakening of your military posture. Discussion and negotiation, accompanied by a strengthening of military posture and a clearly understood willingness to fight if negotiation fails, is sound diplomacy.

    European history illustrates that short term appeasement can lead to longer term disaster. Which approach will Obama adopt: appeasement or sound diplomacy? Negotiation accompanied by strength, or talk accompanied by weakness? It's an important question. It may turn out to be the most important question of our time, if Iran goes nuclear.

    Some of Obama's statements – withdrawal from Iraq, discussions with Ahmadinejad without preconditions – suggest the possibility of appeasement. Perhaps that's a wrong inference. But surely, this is what we should be discussing.

    Obama could have resolved this so easily. He could have stated an intent to combine negotiation with military strength. He could have acknowledged the folly of appeasement, and stated that he will never be an appeaser. Instead, he has responded – just as in the initial Wright episode – with petulance. What is one to think?

    May 16, 2008 at 12:40 pm |


    May 16, 2008 at 11:38 am |
  9. gail stockwell

    Since when did Bush say Obama's name?? In the reality of what we deal with in this world's real terror is that radical human beings want to destroy Americans and Isreal and anyone else that is in agreement with us!!! And /or is an alliance with us in fighting evel terroistic countries that HATE all of us for allowing all human beings to freely think, live, and choose our way of life!! In other words FREEDOM, THE DEMOCRATIC WAY OF LIFE!! Bush was referring to anyone that thinks he can change these kind of sick minds , convince those leaders of these countries that are bent on destroying anyone that doesn't live the way they do, to choose our principles and values and turn into peaceful and loving nations, living in some kind of perfect world. Bush was talking about all those that are so far left, though so missguided, think they can convince such evil people that their way of life isn't right. NOT POSSIBLE!! They would NEVER allow anyone to change their radical views, let alone an American leader to tell them how to make policies in their own countriesl Bush was talking about all the DEMS, FAR LEFT LIBS., that are so iggnorant to think they can change controlling, radical, & evil human beings!! Obama must have some guilt over issues on his foreign policy agenda, and so must his party, since they are so defensive of him!!

    May 16, 2008 at 2:31 am |
  10. Tammy

    It's one thing for a candidate or even a sitting president to question another's proposed tactics here at home. But Bush broke with 60 years of presidential etiquette when he brought up a divisive partisan issue while he was a guest speaker on foreign soil. Nancy Pelosi was right when she described his actions as 'beneath the office of president'. Bush's other error was this: condeming others (whether it be Obama, or Carter, or whomever he was referring to behind the not-so-thin veil) for actions that his own administration and past republican and democrat administrations have engaged in: talking with our enemies. Obama says he believes it's important to be open to talking (with preparation, but not preconditions) to our enemies, not to make concessions to them. Condi, Rice and James Baker have met with the leaders of nations considered threats to us. That's probably a step toward peaceful understanding. But if a democrat suggests the same thing, it's mislabeled as appeasement.
    I have to think that Bush and his speech writers must be as misinformed as that radio talk show host that Chris Matthews showed up today, that obviously had not paid attention in history class to even know what Nazi appeasement was specifically. Either uniformed, or so lacking in ethics as to knowingly bear false witness against a fellow American while on foreign soil. Now who's unpatriotic?
    What John McCain did was to show himself either lacking in the ability to see the nuances of history by taking Bush's remarks and rather than correct them either in fact or point out the error in presidential etiquette, using them as a springboard to align himself once again with Bush, thereby nearly negating all the rosy promises he had just made in his speech earlier the same day. Promises about avoiding partisam bickering, and taking opportunities for partisan gain at the expense of others. Promises that he would be willing to point out when his administration made mistakes (if he won't point out Bush's now, how will he be able to admit his own later), promises that he will not be the same as Bush......

    May 16, 2008 at 1:53 am |
  11. PJ

    Michelle, he said a senator in 1939!

    May 16, 2008 at 1:38 am |
  12. PJ

    The first reaction I had was that Bush, in Israel, was talking about Carter's trip to talk to Hamas.

    Seems like the people accusing him must be feeling guilty.

    May 16, 2008 at 1:35 am |
  13. Samantha E.

    I am deeply ashamed that our President would choose to talk about democrats acting like Hitler appeasers at Israel's anniversary. No matter how objectively accurate his comments may have been, I have to wonder where his editors were. Would some one take the paddle from this frat boy and tell him the party is over? Adults that represent the United States of America think about what they're going to say, weigh the consequences and don't talk about Hitler in the presence of Israel.

    May 16, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  14. Don V

    Democrats, Senator Obama et. al. are vain and arrogant to assume President Bush was referring to them directly in his comments in Israel today.

    While there are some Dems (including Obama) that have suggested diplomacy is the best way to handle supporters of terrorism and genocide, there are also many European politicians who are naive enought to believe the same.

    However, since several Dems believe they are more important than anyone else, I guess they took offense to the statements made by President Bush as well as others on several occassions. Get over it!

    May 15, 2008 at 11:51 pm |
  15. Tereska

    Bush remarks are totaly shame.Somebody should remove him from the office- he is making more danger world on daily basis.Shame that a President act like this .....well we all paying price ...... Bush 8 years totally damage this so great country,Thanks to Bush all world is against us.

    May 15, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  16. Barb

    Somebody better start looking at Obama's poor judgement, he has so many associate's from his past that hate america, he surrounded himself with those people. Now he wants too talk to Iran on behalf of America, does that not worry anyone.
    Obama let his young daughters listen to the Rev. Wright , children that are taught too hate young get a distorted view of the world, now this man wants to influence america's young people.
    Maybe that's why Hamas indorced Obama, isn't that how they program their children to hate america.
    President Bush may be a lot of things, but he does want too protect america , Iran has put a rewards on the heads of american soldiers, or has everyone forgotten that.

    May 15, 2008 at 11:14 pm |
  17. Ron M

    We were deeply involved in the negotiations in Northern Ireland. We have negotiated with Libya (under Bush – imagine, speaking to terrorists). We are negotiating with North Korea (an axis of evil).

    You need to keep your friends close and your enemies closer if you are ever to succeed. Speaking to your enemies is never easy but it is through dialogue that understanding is reached. When you choose to ignore them, it is easy for them to demonize you to their people. A smart leader realizes that the dialogue is not only with their leader but also with their people.

    Our military realized far too late that to succeed in Iraq, we would need to engage the people of Iraq. Our defense secretary states often that Iraq will never be safe until Iran is brought into negotiation.

    It is not hard to understand why the world seems so unsafe right now. The leader of the free world practices foreign policy defined in the vacuum of only those who agree with his policies.

    January, 2009 seems so far away...

    May 15, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  18. june

    Shame on the President for making a political statement (and an incorrect one) in a foreighn country, while celebrating its anniversary. He must be desperate.

    May 15, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  19. Barb

    Looks like Bush and McCain are playing "good cop, bad cop"!

    May 15, 2008 at 10:43 pm |
  20. Rick

    AC, I have 2 points, first, President Bush has shown his double standard side again. it is interesting to me that he can bash Obama about being willing to be open to talk to the Iran's leader, when if this person is so bad, why did he let him in our country to talk at our Universities, about our country. ON OUR SOIL. Seems he would rather send our kid to war rather trying to avoid war.

    May 15, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  21. Anne-Marie

    When the Nazi's went into Poland ............Grandpa Bush started to make his family fortune by doing business with the nazi's!!!!!!!!!

    May 15, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  22. cedar

    I can't stand Bush. He is a disgrace. That said though, isn't it possible that he was talking about Jimmy Carter as well?

    May 15, 2008 at 10:37 pm |
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