woody zimmermann 120In 2007 I wrote an article in which I channeled Noel Coward’s famous song, “Don’t Let’s Be Beastly to the Germans.” Here’s an updated version of my bowdlerization of his brilliant satire:

Don’t let’s be beastly to the Muslims,
Once our wars with them have finally been won.
We must say and do nice things, and be filled with bonhomie,
For their peaceable intentions can be always guaranteed.
Let’s employ with them a kindly joi de vivre, with them,
Never mind how many heads they have lopped off…
Let’s make them feel they’re swell again, so they can bomb us all to hell again,
But let’s not be beastly to Islam.

Noel Coward’s original song ran along the same lines, but in more fulsome form. It was wildly popular in England, where Winston Churchill called for several encores when he first heard it. Coward’s performance is quite marvelous – even on a grainy old 78 RPM recording – as he tosses off his witty satire about making nice with the beasts who tried their best to bomb England into rubble. (Hear the recording at https://archive.org/details/DontLetsBeBeastlyToTheGermans )

When I wrote that article, nearly eight years ago, we had knocked over Iraq, had hung Saddam Hussein higher than Haman, and were well on our way to kicking Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorists back to the Stone Age from whence they had come.  Just six years earlier, Democrats and Republicans had tearfully embraced and stood together at a stirring church service, vowing to fight on to the last man and woman (no doubt meaning someone beside themselves, personally). “We shall never surrender,” declared one overwrought pol, evidently channeling Winston Churchill. Our fearless Congressional leaders were ready to kick some serious terrorist butt – or, at least, they assumed someone was ready to do it…

But by 2007 some of those same firebrands had cooled off. “Can’t we all just get along?” was the new mantra from the political port-side. We seemed to lack the will to really crush the barbaric enemy who had inflicted the worst single attack on us in our history. The ACLU was suing to stop intelligence services from secretly eavesdropping on phone calls to (and from) foreign parties who might be terrorists. (They claimed grounds of “telephonic freedom” – a “natural” right they insisted was actually enumerated in the Constitution.) Schools were cautiously banning any mention or observance of Christmas to avoid “offending” Muslim students. President Bush and family celebrated Ramadan (having mercifully dropped the absurd “religion of peace” line). Senator Hillary Clinton had accused General Petraeus of lying about the war, and Democrats were in full anti-war mode. We were positively falling over ourselves not to be “beastly” to the Muslims, even though we were still locked in mortal combat with Islamic terrorist forces.

In 2008 a new presidential candidate rode in on a splendid charger, promising a worldwide “reset” with countries and groups we had fought in the War on Terrorism. He said he would end the Bush wars and bring our troops home. A new day would dawn, with peace in the ascendant.  America would no longer pose a threat to the world.  Millions of war-weary Americans embraced this new leader as a miraculous deliverer – “almost a rapture.” He was the “messiah of peace.” Oh, what a happy day!

Today, six years on from those glorious days of promise, how have things worked out? Well… not so hot. Our dashing Evangelist of Peace and Good Feeling has certainly changed our posture before the world – from strength to weakness, unfortunately. He withdrew most of our troops from foreign battlefields and declared that those wars were “over” – as though he could end a war simply by the word of his mouth, without actually winning it. He cashiered our most capable battlefield commanders, and reduced our defense expenditures – freeing funds for Obamacare and for the thousands of illegal immigrant children who were streaming across our southern borders.

Instead of peace and reasonableness among nations, which our president promised, we find two-bit satrapies now treating us with contempt. National leaders, who once regarded our suggestions as virtual commands that they eagerly leapt to obey, now ignore our overtures and disrespect our statesmen. We are regarded as a “toothless tiger.” To try to balance the ledger, we treat Israel as more of an adversary than as our closest ally in the turbulent Middle East.  Consequently, in a massive repudiation of the president’s policies and actions, voters in 2014 rejected the Dems, nationwide, handing the GOP control of the Senate and an expanded majority in the House.

As America has laid aside its responsibilities for combating evil, the world has exploded in violence and outright war. It is not the Peaceable Kingdom we expected. Freed from any restraining influence from the United States, Russia has threatened its neighbors and started rebuilding the old Soviet empire via military conquest. Vladimir Putin looks increasingly like a neo-Hitler, and Barack Obama like a reborn Neville Chamberlain. A new Muslim force – the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) – is romping through those two countries and threatening others with hordes of well-armed, well-led revolutionary troops. Although Mr. Obama initially called them “Al Qaeda’s JV team,” it is now clear that they are the new A-team – able and more than willing to engage in set-piece, full-on military battles against national armies.

On the domestic front, Islamic death squads have kidnapped journalists and humanitarian workers, filmed their ritual beheadings, and published the grisly videos on the Internet. Last week in France – which has done more than any western nation to appease and accommodate Muslim immigrants – radicals murdered a dozen staff of a satirical, anti-religion magazine called Charlie Hebdo. They escaped and killed four more unarmed civilians before police found and killed them. The entire country cowered in fear for days, while the vicious murderers remained at large.

And how is the “Don’t Let’s be Beastly” policy playing out, stateside? White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest denounces the “violence” in France – as though the villains are simply a branch of Al Capone’s old Chicago gang. Never (not once!) does he call them “Islamic terrorists” – even though it is well known that the Hebdo killers were shouting “Allahu Akbar” as they joyfully blasted the publisher’s unarmed employees, plus a wounded policeman who was filmed begging for his life before they mercilessly shot him down.

Democratic gadfly Howard Dean says the killers are “as Muslim as I am” – by way of claiming that they are brigands who have hijacked a “religion of peace” for political purposes. We may not agree with their politics and actions, but we need to know that Islam – which means “peace,” according to Dr. Dean – has naught to do with them. (More knowledgeable commentators have begged to differ on that last point, noting that Islam actually means “submission.”)

Former Secretary of State (and probable 2016 Democratic candidate for the presidency) Hillary Clinton declares that we need to understand the grievances of the precious little dears who make their social and political points by shooting, beheading and blowing up innocent civilians in homes, streets and offices. Being beastly is the last thing we should do. Really, it would undo her four years of peripatetic work, when she ran round the world “resetting” relationships with the murderous swine who want to take us back to the ninth century (or wherever in the name of Allah they think we need to go). If we elect her president, she’ll set things right again. Oh yeah! She’ll save us just like she saved those poor schmucks in Benghazi.

National talk-show jock Rush Limbaugh opines that we haven’t much chance of defeating an enemy when we can’t even identify him correctly. Some wags theorize that President Obama actually suffers from a speech-impediment which prevents him from saying, “Islamic terrorists.” Other analysts are beginning to voice dark suspicions that President Obama – who was raised Muslim – is deliberately positioning the country for alliance with Islam.

I don’t know about either the speech impairment or the Islam-alignment, but it is pretty clear that Mr. Obama has a distinct Muslim bias. He obviously doesn’t want to say anything that casts a bad light on Islam. He doesn’t want to call the bad guys “terrorists;” he doesn’t want to chase them; and he doesn’t really want to fight them, except in the daintiest ways. On his watch, the Don’t-Let’s-Be-Beastly strategy has degenerated, more or less, to Rose Garden speeches denouncing “workplace violence,” etc., and then off to another round of golf. (What a country!)

As I said in the 2007 article, being non-beastly is a nice, warm and fuzzy idea. But it can go only so far. I don’t know if Ronald Reagan originated it, but I recall him saying, “The Constitution is not a suicide pact.” Neither are our culture and society. We can be decent. We don’t have to chop off people’s body-parts. But we shouldn’t be stupid. Being too dumb to prevent your own destruction is a far worse crime than being beastly.

We’ll have two more years of our current Poseur in Chief. They could be pretty rough. Stay vigilant and keep your powder dry. Courage!