Buchanan Declares Bush the Winner in the War Debate
wake of President Bush’s throwing of the gauntlet to the U.N. last week, Patrick J. Buchanan, erstwhile Scourger-in-Chief of “The War Party,” seems to be changing his tune. In an admiring column titled “Who Dares, Wins,” Buchanan declared the President’s speech a “tour de force,”
noting that as a result of his uncompromising stand on the need for forceful action against Iraq, many of Bush’s critics are now moving in his direction or at least muting their opposition. The only person who can stop the war at this point, Buchanan concedes, is Hussein himself.
Buchanan remarks that the day is carried by those who commit their all to a cause, whether right or wrong. He leaves no doubt about his view that, at the present moment, George W. is that man.
Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 18, 2002 12:38 AM | Send
Buchanan is not changing his tune. I think he believes the war is still wrong, but that Buish is finally showing some mettle. As Buchanan says: “Those who believe deeply in a cause, even if it is wrong, usually prevail over those who believe only in their political survival.” Expressing admiration for a leader, as Buchanan does, is not the same as endorsing that leader’s cause. I only wish Bush would show the same courage when it came to immigration. A silly war against a foreign despot who represents no threat to us while allowing millions of hostile foreigners to invade our country is suicide. Hopefully, the globalist neocon cabal currently in power in Washington will pay the political price. Only then, one suspects, will they learn.
I would add that the first thing Bush will do is bring as much of the Iraqui population as he can over here. He will jack up Middle Eastern immigration even higher than it already is, just to show he isn’t “prejudiced.”
I think Buchanan wants to be charitable, so that he’ll get more of a fair hearing. If he simply attacks the War Party incessantly, he could be written off as simply repeating himself.
I’m sure sure Bush’s speech is that great. For one, he dragged us back into UNESCO, which Reagan delivered us from years ago. He also gave credibility by accusing Iraq under UN mandates. Who cares?
If blasting Saddam fits the principles of just war and national interest, let’s get him! If intervention cannot be justified, we stay home. The issue is pretty simple. Why should anyone (especially Buchanan) worry if the !@#$ UN loses face?
Don’t forget that issue #1 of The American Conservative hits the stands any day now. That will tell us more about where Buchanan is headed. I think the discounted charter subscription deal is still running:
Right. In his recent speech to the UN, Bush’s rationale for the war was that Iraq “violated” UN mandates. So in effect, the upcoming war is a war for the UN, for world government, for globalization, the very things I thought American conservatives and traditionalists are dead set against. I’m also looking forward to the first issue of The American Conservative. We badly need it.
I think Bush made a prudential decision to appeal to the UN, on the basis of all the resolutions they had passed against Hussein these last 12 years, as a way of legitimizing what he plans to do. Some in his administration felt it wasn’t necessary to go to the UN at all, others did. So he seems to have decided on this middle course which, insofar as he’s appealing to the authority of the UN, disarms many of his liberal critics, and insofar as he says “We’re going to act with or without the UN”, disarms some of his conservative critics such as Buchanan. Seems like pretty adroit maneuvering to me.
As for the previous comment that this is “in effect” a war for the UN, I’d say it’s just the opposite: It is FORMALLY a war for the UN (or at least formally a war legitimized by the UN), while it is IN EFFECT a war for ourselves and our vital interests.
Bush’s speech posed a dilemma for the UN: to enforce its mandates, or admit that they can be safely ignored. I.e., it struck at the heart of the UN’s authority.
It was a “put up or shut up” kind of speech.
In his speech, the justification Bush used — that this is a war for the UN, for world government, for globalization — should set off alarm bells for all conservatives and traditionalists.
But it is a measure of how far we have fallen that Bush is lauded by the mainstream right for doing something Presidents should do as a matter of course: stand up for American interests first and foremost.
Putting American interests first should be part of the job. Instead, movement conservatives, especially the warmongering neocons, act as if Bush has done something totally extraordinary.
If you haven’t done so already, check out Justin Raimondo’s Antiwar.com site, http://www.antiwar.com . This is an excerpt from Raimondo’s latest column, “Back Door to War”:
“Whichever road to war this administration takes –the express lane, or the scenic route – the destination is the same: an American Empire that stretches through Central Asia clear through to the Pacific, encircling both Russia and China and dwarfing the emerging Euro-entity economically as well as militarily. With its favored satraps – the United Kingdom, Israel, Turkey, India, Taiwan – alternately pulling it along, and following in its wake, the American hegemon will establish its “right of preemption” on every continent.
The Iraq war poses Americans with a choice. We can have a republic – a government strictly limited by the Constitution and the rule of law. Or an empire; that is, a lawless, often ruthless, and stupid giant of a nation, like a very large child lumbering carelessly across the global landscape, until it gets careless and inevitably stumbles and falls. How many will be crushed beneath its gargantuan weight?”
Oh come now, we haven’t been purely a republic since 1845. The same people that defame the fact that we have an empire are often those that like the old British Empire which plays a major role in our own.
I wonder if Mr. Williamson is back from his business trip. He might have something to say about the origins of the American Empire.
To clarify my earlier comment, I think that what Buchanan liked about Bush’s speech was that it exposed the UN’s lack of authority. Anyone who hopes for the restoration of an American Republic should applaud moves that work against the trend toward one-world government.
I think it is clear that a war at this time will strengthen the enemy within while attempting to prevent the use of WMD by the enemy without. I’ve seen no serious attempt to square the circle by anyone, though.
I suspect Buchanan is merely being polite about our somewhat challenged president. Buchanan has noted the essential absurdity of Bush policy in the “War against Terr’rism”: the eagerness to commit American blood and treasure to military interventions of doubtful effectiveness (whether linked to last September’s attacks, as in Afghanistan, or not, as in Iraq), while pointedly refusing to do anything effective to control our own borders. When it comes to aggressive projection of U.S. power overseas, Bush seems a red, white and blue hawk. When it comes to defending the United States, Bush is a subversive agent of the Mexican government.
I cannot understand GW Bush (I’m relieved in a way that I cannot), but his attitude toward illegal aliens and mass Mexican migration - to the country his ancestors helped to found - convince me that whatever his real interests may be, the health and security of the United States are not among them. HRS
Howard Sutherland writes: “When it comes to aggressive projection of U.S. power overseas, Bush seems a red, white and blue hawk. When it comes to defending the United States, Bush is a subversive agent of the Mexican government.”
I couldn’t agree more. Yet the dilemma we face is this: Even though Bush is objectively treasonous when it comes to the ongoing immigrant invasion and the resulting cultural destruction of our country, he is striving mightily to protect us from military and terrorist threats from abroad. So, do we oppose him on the latter issue, because he is so bad on the former? That’s not my position. The fact that Bush is betraying the country on immigration does not cancel out the objective threat we face from foreign Muslim terrorist groups and terror supporting regimes and the need to defend ourselves from them.
It is a squishy problem. Push down on one bit and another bit pops up. One basic problem is that issue-politics is fundamentally wrong. Issue-politics wrongly assumes that we can analytically separate problems-solutions into pairs or groups that don’t affect each other. It is a useful simplifying tool but not much as a world view.
I am certain that nobody here takes such a simplistic view, of course. But the problem is very wholistic. Our paleo friends are right to say that any military action now is at best a band-aid with very harmful side effects. On the other hand if it takes an alliance with Stalin to keep the Nazis on the other side of the Channel, don’t we hold our nose and go ahead with the alliance?
So the earlier poll question about which is the greater threat, the inner enemy or the outer, directly affects our answer.
Suppose the paleo dream comes about, and we pack up all the American troops and bring them home. We embark on a program to send every last Muslim back to the middle east, and we start sealing up the borders.
Then a nuke goes off in Atlanta.
Is this going to strengthen or weaken traditionalism? Is this going to strengthen or weaken global liberalism?
Mr. Auster asks whether we should oppose President Bush in his fight against terrorism because he is so bad with respect to immigration and illegal alien invasions. I agree that the answer is no, although we need to watch Bush mighty closely.
Under the spell of his neo-con advisors and perhaps wanting to tidy up some of his father’s loose ends, he wants to drag us into an Iraqi war with no more specified objective than “regime change.” It is one thing for the president to commit armed forces in Afghanistan to chasing people he assures us were behind last year’s attacks on us. I’ll take his word for it and support the effort, although I would be happier if he had made a better case and requested a declaration of war from the Congress, as the Constitution dictates.
The Iraqi escapade appears to be imperialism, pure and simple. It was bad enough that Bush, on the advice of his lawyers, seemed to believe he needed no authorization from the Congress before starting an offensive war abroad. He has now made matters worse by seeming to conclude that he needs UN support in some form, but probably still can dispense with Congressional authorization. He plainly thinks asking for a declaration of war would be an antiquated formality. To put it mildly, the case has not been made either that this war follows as a retaliatory measure for the attacks against us or that it is in America’s interests generally.
The purpose of the Armed Forces is to defend the United States. It is past time to take that mission seriously. We should bring our ground forces home from Germany, Japan and Korea and deploy Army divisions to the Mexican border until it is under control. What the Mexicans think of that should be of no consequence. Our Armed Forces should be mostly home-based and organized as expeditionary forces capable of rapid deployment.
I do not propose entangling the Armed Forces in interior immigration enforcement, with possible Posse Comitatus Act problems, but border defense is the most basic of military missions. The Mexican government’s activities on our border (and through Mexican consulates within the United States) are organized and hostile. They should be dealt with as such. I am no peacenik (former Marine infantry officer and Air Force Reserve fighter pilot); I am simply saying that we need to deploy against the real threat. The demographic dissolution of the United States through unlimited immigration, exacerbated by being so heavily weighted toward Latin Americans, in particular Mexicans, is a far greater threat to this country than Saddam Hussein.
David makes a point worth noting when he says “the first thing Bush will do is bring as much of the Iraqi population as he can over here,” even if he is being tongue-in-cheek. Our overseas adventures have always opened our doors to millions of people who otherwise probably would have stayed home. Without going into whether our country is better or happier for their presence, it is hardly coincidental that the United States has become home to millions of Puerto Ricans, Filipinos, Cubans, Koreans, Vietnamese, Hmong, Haitians, Somalis… HRS
There is a lot to agree with here, but it is the disagreements and omissions that lead to interesting discussion. One is left wondering whether Mr. Sutherland believes that there is no WMD threat, independent of any assessment of other threats. It certainly seems so if “the Iraq escapade appears to be imperialism, pure and simple.”
All other issues aside, doesn’t the paleo cause shoot itself in the foot with this “see no evil” approach?
In reply to Matt, I don’t deny the existence of weapons of mass destruction. There are far too many of them in too many hands. When they pose a threat to the United States or Americans abroad, we should act to deter their use, as we have in the past. As the only belligerent ever to nuke anyone (twice), I believe we should do so soberly. The war fever against Iraq smacks either of wanting to get the Gulf War right in the end (Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld) or to make the Middle East safe for Israel (Perle, Wolfowitz, Kristol, Podhoretz, Safire, Peretz, Netanyahu…). The former smacks of using our Armed Forces to settle a family score, which is unworthy of us, not to say megalomaniacal. The latter is a worthy cause, but not an American mission.
The case I believe Bush needs to make - and he needs to make it to the Congress, convincingly enough that the Congress will declare war on Iraq - is that Iraq both possesses such weapons in usable form and is contemplating their use against the United States or American forces in the region. That is part of the case I say is not made. The other acceptable casus belli against Iraq would be demonstrated involvement in the September 11th attacks; I don’t believe that case has been made either.
I agree that “see no evil” is a stupid attitude. Peripatetic interventionism doesn’t have much to recommend it either. While the United States can defeat Iraq, even with our feminized forces, I don’t want to see Americans take on the burden of garrisoning, policing and governing Iraq. Nor do I think the hatred we will incur among Arabs and Moslems generally is worth it (not that they love us now). Still less do I want to see the United States flooded with Arab, Kurdish, Turkic “refugees” from Iraq, as inevitably will happen.
For someone as bellicose as he seems to be, President Bush is surprisingly soft-headed. He has perpetuated the no-questions-asked acceptance of any Cuban who can get here and amnestied Central American illegal aliens because of a hurricane at home. Are you willing to bet that more Middle Easterners, not all friendly, won’t become the next protected class of immigrants? It would indeed be ironic if the Arab terrorist attack that killed over 3,000 people in the United States were to become the root cause of an explosion of Moslem immigration to the United States, but in the upside-down world of George W. Bush it would not surprise me. Religion of peace, don’t you know. HRS
Mr. Sutherland makes many cogent points, but drops the ball when he says the only justification of war on Iraq would be their actual possession of a WMD. As Secretary Rumsfeld pointed out last week, the only absolute proof that Iraq has a nuclear weapon would be their setting one off; the “smoking gun” would be a mushroom cloud. We cannot wait that long. The point of Bush’s policy is to prevent Iraq from gaining a deliverable nuclear bomb or other WMD, not to wait until they have one.
We can all stipulate that Mr. Bush is not the brightest lightbulb in the pack, or that his motives are detestable, etc without affecting whether or not an Iraq invasion is objectively the right thing to do. The motivations that individuals happen to have for pursuing particular policies do affect how the results will be interpreted, so they are in that sense important, but in terms of objectively evaluating policy they are just useless _ad hominem_.
Here is the thing: even if the storming of Normandy Beach was primarily motivated for most of the actors involved by a desire to spend generations making fun of the French as cowards, that still says nothing about whether or not D-Day was OBJECTIVELY the right campaign. All of the observations that any number of people are in favor of an Iraq invasion for stupid or contemptible reasons may well be true, but they are completely useless in helping to determine whether or not invasion of Iraq is OBJECTIVELY the right policy to pursue.
The tendency to reduce an objective decision to the motivations of various actors is part and parcel to the modern liberal mindset, and it should be recognized as such and discouraged. How history interprets events will be important of course, but who really cares what GWB or anyone else happens to believe his own motivations to be?
I heartily endorse Howard’s comments. Our military forces would do more good guarding the border than they would occupying Iraq the next thirty years. I say it again. Bush will bring as many Moslems as he can over here.
What precisely would David have us (or anyone) do about WMD proliferation, I wonder, independent of other problems? Does he think that the existence of one problem precludes the existence of others, or that the presence of negative externalities in any course of action precludes all courses of action? Am I the only one who finds the “see no evil” attitude unhelpful?
It may well be that the best of all courses of action is to bring the boys home, zip up the borders as best as politically possible, and hope like hell that no nuke goes off in Atlanta (in my opinion such a sequence of events would, in addition to ending in absolute horror, destroy all possibility for a viable traditionalism in America). But paleos don’t help their case by refusing to acknowledge the risks involved in their own favored course of action: they just make the position look stupid. I’d like to agree, or at least try to see what sort of argument can be made, but nobody wants to jump aboard a ship of fools.
I must agree with Matt that the antiwar side keeps urging a course of action that all of us would PREFER to follow, if it were possible to follow it, while they systematically ignore the REAL factors in the REAL world that may make that preferred course impossible. It is not an argument to say that it would be “better” to guard our border than to have troops in Iraq for the next thirty years; all of us would agree with that. But IF Iraq were in a position to deliver WMDs against us directly or indirectly, and IF the only way we could stop that were by occupying Iraq, would the antiwar people still be saying “it would be better to guard our borders than occupy Iraq”? Obviously, if such inescapable facts were presented to them, then, against their own preferences, the antiwar people would (assuming they were sane) say that we had choice but to occupy Iraq. So the question is not what we prefer. The question is, what is happening in the REAL world and what do we have to do about it?
As I have observed over and over during the last year, the people who oppose a war against Iraq consistently, to a man, ignore the actual realities to which the advocates of such a war are responding. Many paleocons are more like neocons and liberals than they realize; they make judgments based on ideology and they don’t allow facts at variance with that ideology to enter consciousness. Since war is very bad from a paleocon perspective, the paleocons don’t acknowledge facts that may make war necessary. Talking with a paleocon or paleo-libertarian about the possible necessity of a foreign war is like talking with an editor of the New York Times about racial differences in IQ. It’s impossible to have a discussion, because the other party refuses to acknowledge the objective reality of the subject being discussed.
Mr. Auster is right, so I amend my earlier comment. If the Administration can present compelling evidence to the Congress that Iraq is close to having WMD capabilities and plausibly capable (or close to being capable) of deploying WMDs against the United States or Americans, and that Saddam Hussein is thinking of using them against us - evidence compelling enough that the Congress will declare war on the basis of it - then let’s roll, as Todd Beamer put it.
I question the last, though. Saddam Hussein is a vicious and bloodthirsty dictator (a man of his region: how many better are available to replace him at our bidding?), but suicidal tendencies don’t appear to be part of his makeup. Why devote so much of your own efforts and other people’s blood to getting and keeping power if, in the end, you don’t care if you live or die? Also, as a secular Ba’athist dictator, the Wahhabi Moslem impulse to suicidal jihad seems absent.
If we require no more than the possibility of having or developing WMDs and the possibility of being able, or nearly, to use them against America or Americans, without considering whether the WMD-equipped (or nearly equipped) power is actually likely to try to use them against us, we grant ourselves an open warrant for preemptive war for non-proliferation. By that logic, why have we not yet throttled the North Koreans, the Chinese, the Indians, the Pakistanis, even the French, since they seem to irritate many Americans these days?
Proposing using the Armed Forces to defend the border is not to deny their overseas missions, including power projection against threats offshore. Both are aspects of national defense. The foundation analysis, though, must be what the threat is to the United States and legitimate American interests. I still think Saddam Hussein is not yet demonstrably such a threat that a preemptive war for regime-change in Iraq meets my criteria.
That said, let’s see what Blair produces today. It is sad that Americans have to look to the home of the Official Secrets Act for information on the basis of which their own government is mulling war. HRS
Asking the pro-war crowd for evidence or proof of Iraq’s WMD capabilities is like talking to a barn door. All you get is silence.
That is because there is no evidence or proof of Iraq’s WMD capabilities. What we have instead are the menacing warnings of the Israel-centric neoconservative cabal in the GOP: Horowitz, Kristol, Perle, Wolfowitz, Podhoretz, etc.
How any traditionalist can support the imperialist agenda of these neocon extremists, while simultaneously opposing their multicultural policies at home, is baffling. Imperialism abroad and multiculturalism at home are two sides of the same globalist coin.
Proliferation exists. It is a fact of life. The cat is out of the bag. If we follow the warmongers’ agenda and attack every country with WMDs or hostile intentions, what we will be engaged in is endless war. It will be a nonstop effort.
The best way to defend our civilization is to end 1) the imperialist missions overseas, which only increase the world’s hatred of us, thus INCREASING the likelihood that we will be attacked, and 2) the suicidal multiracial/multicultural policies at home that only increase the chances of instability, racial conflict, and terrorism destroying our country.
From the two previous comments we get two very different responses. From Mr. Sutherland we get a rational admission of the existence of an objective world in which demonstrable facts may or may not make it necessary for the United States to wage a pre-emptive war against a regime threatening to deploy WMDs against us. From William, we get paranoid rantings about a sinister cabal of Jews running America. In William’s view, there are no objective facts pertaining to the possible necessity or lack of necessity of a war on Iraq; there is only this cabal of Jews, and one is either under their spell, in which case one will be for such a war, or one has broken their spell, in which case one will be against such a war. With such a mindset it is not possible to have a rational discussion.
Furthermore, as if deliberately enacting my earlier description of the paleocon/paleo-libertarian approach, William presents his ideal preferences in substitution for a consideration of actual facts: the “best way to defend our civilization,” he writes, is to withdraw our imperial commitments overseas while ending our multiracial immigration policies at home. This is a very nice policy. It’s exactly what I would prefer also, if given my druthers. But it leaves out the actual facts with which rational people as distinct from paranoid anti-Israelites are grappling in this debate: the entire history of Saddam Hussein’s efforts to gain deliverable WMD’s and the wholly unacceptable likelihood of his actually possessing them.
We are not at the moment dealing with every possible regime. In the case of Iraq there is a unique history of his attempts to build such weapons despite his own agreement not to do so, which was the very condition of the cessation of hostilities against his regime in 1991. There is no parallel circumstance with other possible WMD-possessing regimes. What must be done about those regimes is a distinct question from the immediate question of what must be done about Iraq, though I certainly agree that it is a legitimate question that needs to be raised as part of this debate. Jack Kemp raises it in the article I posted earlier today.
I have asked you more than once for evidence or proof of Iraq’s WMD capabilities. Your response has been varied yet wholly unsatisfactory:
You scold me for criticizing the Israel-centric neoconservative gang currently dominating the conservative movement. Silly me. I thought that the disproportionate influence on American foreign policy of those who put Israel before America was a bad thing. I guess not. Just be honest about it from now on, okay?
You rap my knuckles for not being sufficiently concerned about Saddam Hussein’s designs on America. I do not demand war on Iraq because I remain unpersuaded by the pro-war argument. If you are going to advocate bombing innocent people (as the US/NATO did in Serbia, to our shame) and risk American lives in the process, at least have the decency to provide evidence or proof of the necessity of the operation. Hysterical rantings about how Saddam is another Hitler just aren’t good enough. But maybe that’s the best you and your pro-war neocon comrades can do?
Finally, you engage in vulgar ad hominem attacks against me, which simply demonstrates what kind of debate you’re most comfortable with. You call me paranoid. Well, who’s the paranoid one here, Lawrence? I’m not the one trying to scare the American public. I’m not the one who thinks Saddam Hussein is planning to invade America. I’m not the one spreading rumors about WMDs in Iraq.
You’ve sided with the hawks. You are demanding war on Iraq. Therefore, it is up to YOU to provide the argument that such a war is in our best interests. So far you, and the pro-war side in general, have failed to make the case.
Mr. Auster has asked William for his “proof” criteria before. I have not seen William’s proof criteria, but perhaps that was my oversight and he has provided it somewhere else on VFR. Without such criteria it is not possible to know what he would find convincing, and indeed as long as such criteria are withheld it implies that no criteria short of a nuke going off somewhere will suffice. If that is William’s criteria then fair enough, but lets have it out in the open.
Auster: I’m not sure the paleocons oppose all foreign wars. Ask the one you know if they would support taking out Mugabe.
Paleos like all sorts of conflicts from the conquest of Texas to the Crusades. Many of them admire Teddy Roosevelt’s adventures. A few even tout Charlemagne, Rome, the Austro-Hungarians and the British Empire as role models.
In fact, most people who are today paleocons (Sobran, Francis, Buchanan) were Cold War hawks who wanted to go back to the old republic once the Sovets vanished. Except they were likely to say that the Reds at home were of equal concern as the Reds abroad.
Good point. No paleocon to my knowledge has ever argued that _all_ foreign wars are to be opposed. It’s an absurd notion. What the paleocons are opposed to is the upcoming war on Iraq. Period. Connecting the neocons’ desire to see Iraq burn to the Crusades, the battle for Texas, and Rome’s campaigns, among others, would not only be ridiculous, but also quite wrong. The last three were wars for the West; the war on Iraq is for multiculturalism, “democracy,” Israel, Standard Oil shareholders, and American-style consumerism.