Buchanan urges Obama to arrest Pastor Jones

(Note: in the discussion below, four commenters energetically argue that I have woefully misunderstood Buchanan’s point. They say that he is not calling for Jones’s arrest, but really making a complex and subtle point against Obama’s Afghan policy. I disagree with them all and hold to my original point. Ultimately, one of my critics, an honest man, posts a video link of Buchanan on “Morning Joe” which definitively resolves the issue.)

I’ve been saying for eight years that Patrick Buchanan, notwithstanding occasional glimpses of his old smarts and flair, is a disturbed individual, driven by some inner demon, most likely a consuming though unspoken animus against Jews, to side with our Islamic enemies against the West. Whatever it is that drives him, his compulsion to surrender to Muslims has reached a new height in his latest column.

As the piece opens, Buchanan notes the many prominent figures who have warned against Pastor Terry Jones’s planned Koran burning. However, Buchanan’s purpose is not to point out how crazy it is that the entire American leadership has come down on the head of the half-baked pastor of a tiny and obscure church in Florida. No. It is to complain that these leaders’ warnings have not been efficacious enough, because they are not actually STOPPING Jones from burning a Koran. Jones’s planned action, says Buchanan, citing Gen. Petraeus, is threatening the lives of our troops in Afghanistan, because it will push more Afghans to hate Americans and help the Taliban. Therefore Obama must use his presidential war powers to arrest Jones, just as President Lincoln dispensed with constitutional protections and arrested pro-South civilians during the Civil War. The mind boggles at the comparison. The people Lincoln arrested were trying to undermine the Union’s war effort, while Jones is urging harsher measures against our Islamic adversaries so as to strengthen us against them. It’s not a U.S. military campaign that Jones threatens to undermine, but Petreaus’s strategy of “winning Muslims’ hearts and minds,” a policy Buchanan himself has endorsed in the past. Jones is thus damaging, not an American war against an enemy, but an American policy of appeasing and accommodating that enemy, and that is why Buchanan wants to put him behind bars. (Also, one wonders how Buchanan’s paleocon and neo-confederate allies, Lincoln-haters every one, are reacting to Buchanan’s turning the “bloodthirsty tyrant” Lincoln into his model of presidential leadership!)

In any case, think of what Buchanan’s position means. Buchanan wants to give the U.S. government total power to jail American citizens, in order to stop them from doing anything that offends Muslims and will make them kill Americans, or even anything that an American official says will offend Muslims and make them kill Americans. Buchanan in 2005 vociferously attacked the European newspapers that printed the Muhammad cartoons. By his present logic, he would urge that the editor and publisher of a U.S. newspaper that printed a Muhammad cartoon should be arrested.

And the Buchanan roundup wouldn’t stop with those who publish cartoons of the Prophet. I said about Obama’s Cairo speech that Obama, by promising that he would fight anti-Islamic “stereotypes” wherever they appeared, had in effect made himself into an enforcer of the Islamic law, which prohibits criticism of Islam. But Obama did not go as far as Buchanan. Buchanan wants to jail people who use anti-Islamic stereotypes. The Muslim young lady who was Miss England in 2006 stated that the British establishment, by wanting moderate Muslims to prove their moderateness by opposing radical Muslims, was “stereotyping” moderate Muslims and thus driving them to become terrorists. By Buchanan’s logic, once a Muslim has said that the use of anti-Islamic “stereotypes” will cause an increase of Muslim anger and violence against Americans, the president should arrest anyone who “stereotypes” Muslims, to prevent the use of “stereotypes” that will cause Muslims to kill U.S. troops.

Buchanan, in short, wants to give Muslims total power over us, even as (see below) he says that Muslims have nothing in common with us.

I wrote in 2006:

Buchanan, the scourge of all U.S. involvement in the Muslim world, thinks we can make Muslims like us, and, moreover that our getting them to like us is the key to our safety. And therefore, he argues, it doesn’t matter if they go on printing the most horrific things about Jews and Christians in their newspapers, we must print absolutely nothing offensive about them in ours.

Dhimmitude, or dementia? Your guess is as good as mine.

And now, to top it off, Buchanan in his “arrest Pastor Jones” column has adopted the dhimmi spelling of Koran, “Quran.”

The Bonfire of the Qurans

Is there anyone who has not weighed in on the Saturday night, Sept. 11, bonfire of the Qurans at the Rev. Terry Jones’ Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Fla.?

Gen. David Petraeus warns the Quran burnings could inflame the Muslim world and imperil U.S. troops in Afghanistan. Hillary Clinton declares it “disgraceful.” Sarah Palin calls it a “provocation.” President Obama calls it “a recruitment bonanza for al-Qaida. You could have serious violence in … Pakistan and Afghanistan,” and Muslims could be inspired “to blow themselves up.”

The State Department has put U.S. embassies on alert in the near 50 countries where Muslims are a majority. The Vatican calls the bonfire “an outrageous and grave gesture … No one burns the Quran.”

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the defender of the ground zero mosque, is consistent. Burning Islam’s most sacred book is “distasteful,” he says, but the “First Amendment protects everybody.”

Everybody frets and wrings their hands. No one acts.

Yet if, as President Obama and his commanding general both say, the torching of hundreds of Qurans could so enrage the Islamic world as to incite terror-bombings against U.S. troops and imperial our war effort, why does not the commander in chief send U.S. marshals to arrest this provocateur and abort his provocation?

For Jones, who sells t-shirts saying “Islam is of the Devil,” may be an Islamophobe, but he is also a serious man, willing to live with the consequences of his deeds, even if he causes U.S. war casualties.

The questions raised by his deliberate provocation are not so much about him, then, as they are about us.

Are we a serious nation? Is Obama up to being a war president?

Constantly, we hear praise of Lincoln, Wilson and FDR as war leaders.

Yet President Lincoln arrested thousands of citizens and locked them up as security risks, while denying them habeas corpus. He shut newspapers and sent troops to block Maryland’s elections, fearing Confederate sympathizers would win and take Maryland out of the Union.

President Wilson shut down antiwar newspapers, prosecuted editors, and put Socialist presidential candidate and war opponent Eugene Debs in prison, leaving him to rot until Warren Harding released him and invited the dangerous man over to the White House for dinner.

California Gov. Earl Warren and FDR collaborated to put 110,000 Japanese, 75,000 of them U.S. citizens, into detention camps for the duration of the war and ordered the Department of Justice to prosecute antiwar conservatives.

During Korea, Harry Truman seized the steel mills when a threatened strike potentially imperiled production of war munitions. Richard Nixon went to court to block publication of the Pentagon papers until the Supreme Court decided publication could go forward.

This is not written to defend those war measures or those wars. It is to say that if a president takes a nation to war, and commits men to their deaths, as Obama did in doubling the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, he should be prepared to do what is within his power to protect those troops.

And if Petraeus says letting Jones set this bonfire could imperil U.S. troops, Obama should act to stop it. And if he is so paralyzed by uncertainty as to whether he can do anything—and, as a result, soldiers die—what would that tell us about their commander in chief?

Would stopping Jones and confiscating the Qurans violate Jones’ First Amendment rights? Perhaps. And perhaps not. But if Eric Holder cannot find a charge against Davis [sic], or an inherent power of a war president to prevent actions imminently damaging to the war effort, Obama should find some Justice Department attorneys who can.

Let the ACLU make the case that interfering with Davis’ [sic] bonfire violates his First Amendment rights. Let a U.S. court decide whether Obama has the power to take a decision previous wartime presidents would have taken without hesitation.

And if Obama does not have the power to stop actions like this, imperiling our troops, then we should get out of this war.

This episode reveals the gulf between us and the Islamic world. Despite all our talk of universal values, tens of millions of Muslims, in countries not only hostile but friendly, believe that a sacrilege against their faith, like the burning of the Quran by a single American oddball, justifies the killing of Americans. What kind of compatibility can there be between us? [LA replies: Buchanan is amazingly confused. Immediately after urging that an American be arrested to stop him from insulting Muslims, he points out that Muslims are completely incompatible with us and that we have nothing in common with them. But why should we rush to accommodate Muslims’ sensibilities and try to make them like us, something that, given their total incompatibility with us, is something that is impossible for us to accomplish in any case?]

What do we have in common with people who believe that evangelism by other faiths in their societies merits the death penalty, as do conversions to Christianity, while promiscuity and adultery justify stonings, lashings and beheadings.

And what does it say about our ability to fight and win a “long war” in the Islamic world if our war effort can be crippled by a solitary pastor with 50 families in his church who decides to have a book burning?

Action creates consensus, Mr. President. People follow when a leader leads.

[end of Buchanan column]

- end of initial entry -

Diana West writes:

I guess that puts Buchanan fully in line with the Organization of Islamic Conference on the defamation of “religions”—and also in sync with Iranian ayatollah who also called for Jones’ arrest!

“In Iran, senior Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Saafi Golpayegani said Jones should be arrested immediately and his church permanently shut down..”

In that book of his (can’t recall title) that I interviewed him about on BookTV I remember being jarred by multiple references to the “sacred sands of Saudi Arabia.”

Hannon writes:

I first noticed the striking incoherence of Buchanan’s article (your bolded remarks) in the original version. You captured the essence of it well. Why does he bother to make his principal argument and then throw it away at the end? Also, did you notice he mistakenly uses “Davis” three times, in place of “Jones”? What is that about?

I liked this, from the comments. “Egon” writes:

“So Pat, do you expect Obama to intern all the Muslims and close down all the Mosques in America? After all, they are the enemy!”

Someone needs to coin Enemy Confusion Syndrome (ECS) for Mr. Buchanan.

Bill Carpenter writes:

In the seventh paragraph from the end, it appears that Jones metamorphoses into “Davis.” Would that be Jefferson Davis?

Buck O. writes:

I can’t stand to see Pat spinning off into madness. I’m going to sedate myself by listening to some old Lyndon LaRouche tapes.

LA writes:

Bill O’Reilly has a position similar to Buchanan’s. He wants a court to issue an injunction ordering Jones not to burn a Koran.

And O’Reilly is supposed to be a commonsensical centrist!

Dean E. writes:

I think your view that he’s disturbed is evident in this confused article. I can’t make sense of it either.

Max P. writes:

You are misreading what Buchanan is saying. Clearly Buchanan does not support the nation building operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He is pointing out that if the nation’s leaders have committed our troops to an operation that is vital for our security, then they have the responsibility to keep those troops as safe as possible. Therefore, if the nation’s leaders from Petraeus to Hillary to Obama are saying that Pastor Jones is threatening our troops with his actions, they are obliged to prevent him from proceeding even if that means arresting the man like previous administrations did in previous wars. In other words, don’t tell us Pastor Jones is threatening our troops in Afghanistan and then not take any action to prevent it. Whether that action is constitutional or not, is not their concern. That can be figured out later in the courts. The primary concern for the leaders is the troops’ safety.

To me Buchanan wrote this as a challenge to our leaders to put their money where their mouths are. They are using the excuse of the troops when in reality there are other reasons why they don’t want Jones to proceed. Buchanan is just trying to prevent them from hiding behind the cover of “defending the troops.”

LA replies:

The whole article is a bluff? He doesn’t mean what he says for paragraph after paragraph, that Jones should be arrested? This is what I would call a strained reading.

It’s remarkable the lengths people will go to to rationalize Buchanan’s indefensible statements. I remember in 2002, after I had written my “Open Letter to Patrick Buchanan,” denouncing him for his attacks on Israel and his excusing of terrorists, a young right-winger said to me that when Buchanan wrote that the Israeli government was the “mirror image of Hamas and Hezbollah,” he was just joking. Similarly, you tell us that when Buchanan calls for Jones to be arrested, he doesn’t really mean it.

Mark A. writes:

Let me see if I get this straight: Buchanan founded a magazine that stands for the “traditional” right. He opposes Empire and wants to restore the Republic. He abhors “Wilsonian” imperialism. In 2000, he traveled to West Virginia on his presidential run to express his support for the oppression blue collar union (!) worker.

In his column today, however, Buchanan expresses support for Wilson’s imprisonment of a man who founded the Industrial Workers of the World union and gleefully rejoices that Wilson “let him rot” until Harding pardoned him. This is the same Debs who was arrested for urging resistance to the draft because he didn’t want Americans fighting in Wilson’s imperial war.

What does this say about this man (Buchanan)? If this is his true belief, then he is nothing more than a war-mongering Fascist. And if this is what The American Conservative stands for, I want no part of it.

Urban Grind writes:

Buchanan is completely contradicting himself. At the beginning of his commentary, he says we have to respectful of Muslims by not burning their Koran, and that Obama should arrest this Pastor Jones, since he’s endangering our soldiers. (Let me remind you that Buchanan was against the war in Iraq, and wanted us to leave Afghanistan about two months after 9/11.) Then he goes on to say that Islam in not compatible with the West (which I agree with).

Being that Islam is incompatible with the west, why should we win their “hearts and minds?” Why not just do as you have advocated in the past and stop all Muslim immigration?

Also, wasn’t his book “Death of the West” about how Muslims are out breeding Europeans, and how Third Worlders hate Americans? Have you read that book? Did he advocate being nice and respectful to Muslims? Or did he just end it with some bromide about how white people should have more kids? (By the way, I understand, Buchanan has no kids despite fifty years of marriage. You would think he could have at least put his money where his mouth was, and is by adopting. But I digress … )

Anyway, great post.

LA replies:

I read Death of the West. His focus is on blaming the West for not reproducing itself, not on seeing Islam as a threat. He has never, not in that book, nor in its followups, had a coherent view of the Islam problem. Sometimes he sees Islam as some kind of vague threat, other times he urges surrender to it. He simply has not applied serious thought to the issue.

Tony S. writes:

Max P. is exactly right about Buchanan’s article, especially in light of your own statement that Buchanan is “the scourge of all U.S. involvement in the Muslim world.”

Max said: “Clearly Buchanan does not support the nation building operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.” If you grant that, your whole interpretation doesn’t make sense without Buchanan himself crazily engaging in “complete contradiction.” That’s pretty far-fetched. It’s an anti-war piece. All war, according to Buchanan, results in the sort of drastic measures he “recommends” in this article. Past “progressive” (I use the word to link them to Obama) heroes like Lincoln and Wilson realized this and acted accordingly. They were, therefore, far more “serious” about war than Obama who only pretends to be serious (sending more troops to Afghanistan).

Buchanan writes:

“This is not written to defend those war measures or those wars. It is to say that if a president takes a nation to war, and commits men to their deaths, as Obama did in doubling the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, he should be prepared to do what is within his power to protect those troops.”

This is similar to the distinction that Andrew Bacevich drew between Bush and Obama in a July New Republic article:

“Yet when Bush stands before his Maker (or the bar of History), he will say without fear of contradiction: “I did what I thought was right.” Barack Obama is anything but a fool. Yet when called upon to account for his presidency, honesty will prevent him from making a comparable claim. “The problems I inherited were difficult ones,” he will say. “None of the choices were good ones. Things were complicated.”” (“Non-Believer”)

LA replies:

I think that you and Max P. are simply wrong. It is true that the article is poorly and confusedly written, which leads to confusion in trying to understand it. But it is undeniable that Buchanan says, over and over, that if Obama is serious about his Afghan policy, then he should jail Jones. For example,

“But if Eric Holder cannot find a charge against Davis [sic], or an inherent power of a war president to prevent actions imminently damaging to the war effort, Obama should find some Justice Department attorneys who can.”

There is no ambiguity in that sentence.

Yes, we know that Buchanan does not support that Afghan policy, but he’s clearly saying that the president, who does support that policy, if he is to be consistent, should jail Jones. If Buchanan does not mean that, then the article is even more confused and incoherent than it appears.

Personally I think that Buchanan should retire from opinion journalism, along with Peggy Noonan, two writers who have long since lost their mojo.

Michael S. writes:

You wrote:

“Also, one wonders how Buchanan’s paleocon and neo-confederate allies, Lincoln-haters every one, are reacting to Buchanan’s turning the “bloodthirsty tyrant” Lincoln into his model of presidential leadership!”

Well, if you’re talking about, for example, the LewRockwell.com crowd, I predict that you’ll hear crickets. They seem to be of the opinion that Moslems just want to live in peace, and the only real problem is The State. It’s always The State, The Total State, and Nothing But The State. The solution to the whole Ground Zero mosque “controversy” is respect for property rights. They seem to be utterly clueless about culture. If we would simply abolish The State, all of these problems would just go away. With regard to the problem of Islam, they are completely useless.

Roland D. writes:

Buchanan wrote:

“And if Obama does not have the power to stop actions like this, imperiling our troops, then we should get out of this war.”

Buchanan was being extremely tongue-in-cheek—he’s neither a fan of Lincoln nor of Wilson, as you know.

The above quote is his real point—he’s saying, “Look, either you have to give government the power to stomp all over the rights of people like Terry Jones, and the American people have to accept it, or we have to disentangle ourselves from this whole mess. There is no middle ground.”

And he’s right.

You’re so ready to pounce on Buchanan over his supposed anti-Semitism that you let that blind to his sarcasm and over-the-top use of irony, sir.

Personally, I don’t think Buchanan is an anti-Semite; I think he’s an anti-Zionist. Not being a pro-Zionist doesn’t equate to anti-Semitism, after all.

LA replies:

And you are so set on pouncing on me for my anti-anti-Semitism that you didn’t notice that I said, in the first paragraph of my article:

Whatever it is that drives [Buchanan], his compulsion to surrender to Muslims has reached a new height in his latest column.

Thus I explicitly left the Jewish issue completely behind, and discussed Buchanan’s well-known dhimmi attitude to Islam by itself, without reference to a possible anti-Jewish motive for it. But you didn’t notice that, because you were looking at my comment through your preconceptions about me.

As for the substance of your defense of Buchanan, see my responses to Max P. and Tony S., who made the same point you did.

If you think that Buchanan wrote two thirds of his column with tongue in cheek, I think that that is pathetic. As I said, some people will stop at nothing to defend Buchanan. They will deny that he said what he said. They will deny that he meant what he said.

I’ll repeat: of course Buchanan does not support the war in Afghanistan. But he’s saying to Obama: “You are the president. If you are serious about your policy, if you are serious about the exercise of your power, then you must arrest Jones.”

Max P. writes:

I still think you don’t understand. He does not mention arresting Jones in paragraph after paragraph. He first addresses arresting Jones in paragraph 6:

“Yet if, as President Obama and his commanding general both say, the torching of hundreds of Qurans could so enrage the Islamic world as to incite terror-bombings against U.S. troops and imperial our war effort, why does not the commander in chief send U.S. marshals to arrest this provocateur and abort his provocation?”

He is saying that if Obama believes the troops are in jeopardy because of Jones’s actions, then Obama must prevent those actions to save the troops even if that means calling in the marshals. He then goes on to detail how previous Presidents have gone to extreme lengths, constitutional or not, to do the same.

This is not the same as Buchanan advocating Jones’ arrest. He is challenging those who claim that the troops will be in danger to put up or shut up. He later adds this paragraph to suggest that if President won’t do everything possible to protect the troops, then he should bring them home:

“And if Obama does not have the power to stop actions like this, imperiling our troops, then we should get out of this war.”

This fits in with Buchanan’s constant preaching on ending foreign wars.

So I believe, as I wrote previously, that Buchanan is challenging Obama to come clean on the real reasons he opposes Jones. Because if he really were worried about the troops, it is his moral obligation to protect them at all costs.

I imagine Buchanan, and others like yourself, don’t believe that the troops are at the top of Obama’s list.

LA replies:

This is the most tortured argument I have encountered in quite a while. If it was Buchanan’s main intent to say that Obama is not serious about Afghanistan, why didn’t he just say so?

What you and Tony S. and Roland D. are not seeing is that in this column Buchanan is adopting the pose of the presidential advisor. Columnists do this all the time. It’s not about whether in real life they actually support that president. For the nonce, they become the president’s advisor, and, assuming a stance of support for that president’s purposes and success, tell him what he ought to do. In this column, Buchanan is saying, “Given your policy of using your presidential power to send troops to make war in another country, you should arrest Jones. If you’re not serious about the war, then end the policy. But if you are serious about it, you should arrest Jones.”

That Buchanan means what he says about arresting Jones is further underscored by the fact that it is consistent with his long held, passionate view that we should never do anything that is insulting to Muslims.

Tom Piatak writes:

If you were actually interested in analyzing Buchanan’s views on Islam, you would have publicized and considered his several columns against the Ground Zero mosque. But I don’t remember you mentioning any of those columns. [LA replies: I haven’t read Buchanan’s columns on the GZ mosque. I don’t make a habit of reading Buchanan. I read and commented on this column because someone sent it to me. ]

And you have badly misread this column. The person asserting that the bonfire of the Korans will imperil our troops is their commanding officer, General Petraeus. Buchanan’s point is that a President should take concrete actions to protect the troops he sends into battle, and that if he is unwilling to take those actions, he should bring the troops home. As Buchanan wrote, “And if Obama does not have the power to stop actions like this, imperiling our troops, then we should get out of this war.”

Buchanan’s views were shaped, no doubt, by working in two White Houses of Presidents who took their obligations as Commander in Chief seriously and who provide a stark contrast to the current occupant of the White House.

LA replies:

You claim that I am completely misunderstanding Buchanan’s point. In reality, you’re not saying anything different from what I’m saying. You write: “Buchanan’s point is that a President should take concrete actions to protect the troops he sends into battle”—and in Buchanan’s view this includes arresting Jones. So you are agreeing with my reading of the article, not disagreeing.

Tony S. writes:

After watching video of Buchanan’s appearance on MSNBC, I confess to being less sure of the argument that Max P. and I have tried to make.

LA replies:

Thanks for your forthrightness in sending the video link. But to say that, on the basis of viewing the video, you are merely “less sure” of your previous interpretation has to be an understatement. Buchanan’s remarks on this program are unambiguous. He says that if by tomorrow, Saturday, Jones has not renounced his plan to burn a Koran, Obama must have him arrested. There is no “rhetorical play” here, no irony. Buchanan is dead serious. He says, over and over, that Jones’s actions place our troops in peril, and that the president must act to protect the troops, by arresting Jones.

Will Max, Roland, and Mr.Piatek admit that Buchanan is plainly calling for Jones’s arrest?

James P. writes:

By the logic of Buchanan’s statement, George W. Bush should have arrested Pat Buchanan at some point between 2001 and 2008, because Pat Buchanan’s numerous anti-war tirades preached defeatism, undermined the war effort, encouraged the enemy, and thus directly endangered American troops. Put him in a cell next to Noam Chomsky!

LA replies:
As the U.S. invasion of Iraq was being launched in March 2003, Buchanan had a cover article in the woefully misnamed magazine The American Conservative called “Whose War?”, in which he charged that the entire reason for the war, which Bush had argued for an entire year, that Saddam Hussein’s possession of weapons of mass destruction posted a danger to the U.S., was a lie, and that the real though hidden reason for the invasion was that Bush’s Jewish neoconservative advisors wanted to topple Saddam in order to make Israel safe. Buchanan was telling the troops that the president had deceived them, that he was in thrall to advisors who were serving a foreign country, and that they were being sent to fight and kill and maybe die, not to protect America, but to protect the country of Israel. Gentile American boys were being sent, without their knowledge, to die for the Jews.

Imagine the effect on morale of such an attack on the commander in chief. Surely to undermine the troops’ morale in the middle of the invasion would place our troops at risk. Surely, by Buchanan’s present reasoning, Buchanan and his co editors Scott McConnell and Taki should have been arrested, and The American Conservative closed down.

Roland D. writes:

I’ve seen the video, and I’m of the opinion that Buchanan is setting the cat amongst the pigeons by saying that if Obama and Petraeus really and truly believe that Terry Jones is endangering U.S. troops engaged in (ill-advised) combat operations, then they’ve no choice but to act against Jones.

By doing this, Buchanan a) has tricked so-called “liberals” into exposing their closet totalitarian tendencies, while at the same time b) exposing the fact that Obama and Petraeus lack the courage of their supposed convictions, and c) highlighting the danger to a constitutional republic of engaging in open-ended, undeclared wars of choice.

What Buchanan is saying in the video is that muzzling people like Jones is the only sensible, logically consistent position for those who truly support what the U.S. government and military are doing in Afghanistan, from Obama through Petraeus to the man in the street—inter arma silent leges, after all.

Buchanan is calling Obama’s and Petraeus’ bluff, and pointing out the utter folly of the “Long War” in a very effective manner, by ensuring that everyone understands the inevitable, unpleasant and un-American political realities of pursuing a policy of perpetual war for perpetual peace, continuing to attempt to “engage” with the adherents of an alien and hostile ideology, and coddling our supposed enemies all the while.

I fully expect Buchanan to come clean on his little stunt in the next week or two. You read it here, first.

LA replies:

I can’t regard this comment seriously. This is the most flagrant example of rationalization and fancy theorizing to defend an indefensible position that I have ever seen. I am shocked. You told me in an e-mail that you carry no water for Buchanan. Based on this comment, I dispute that statement.

Your comment is at an Orwellian degree of denial, like in the torture scene in Nineteen Eighty Four. It’s as if Buchanan were holding up two fingers, and you were insisting that he was holding up four.

Roland replies:

Time will tell whether I’m right or wrong. If I’m wrong, and Buchanan has truly gone off the deep end, I’m prepared to eat the requisite amount of crow.

And I’m perfectly happy for you to post this exchange, sir, including your shocked reaction.

Sometimes people say things they don’t believe in order to make a larger point; I think this is an example of same.

If Buchanan doesn’t say or write anything which supports my hypothesis in the next week or two, I’m perfectly willing to admit that you’re right, and I’m wrong.

LA replies:

Your reply strikes me like this. It’s as though I was holding up two fingers, and you said I was holding up four fingers, and you said, “Look, I’m a reasonable man, and if it turns out after a week that you’re really holding up two fingers, I’ll eat crow and admit that. But for now I think you’re holding up four fingers.” Thus you get to have it both ways. You get to indulge your blatantly false view of reality, and you get to sound like a reasonable fellow who’s willing to admit he’s wrong. In reality, based on what Buchanan said on the TV program, there is no basis for doubting that he’s calling for Jones to be arrested, and no rational person has the rght to pretend otherwise, not for a week, not for five minutes.

The idea that Buchanan would go on television and speak for several minutes saying in all seriousness that he thinks Jones should be arrested, and then a week later announce that he didn’t really mean it, he was just being ironic or something, is just ludicrous. For you to expect us to entertain such an idea is an insult to our intelligence. When a man speaks on television saying, “I believe X ought to be done,” then that is his position. He might change his position later. But he’s not going to say, “I was putting one over on you to make an ideological point.” And if he did, he’d be seen as a person engaging in utterly irresponsible games, not as a political commentator.

Robert B. writes:

I e-mailed you the Buchanan article. Your analysis is correct, he is not speaking tongue and cheek, he is advising Obama.

Robert B. writes:

Your final note on Buchanan is spot on. He is a Moslem apologist, which is why he has become an anti-Judaic.

September 11

Jake F. writes:

I thought Buchanan might be making an ironic point. The self-contradiction in the article made me think that he might want us to look at which of those two messages would be consistent with his previous messages, which included “get us out of this war”. I wrote to a (very liberal) friend:

I can only hope that he’s being facetious—that he thinks his suugestion is so over-the-top that we need to do his other suggestion, which is to get out of the wars completely. He doesn’t make that clear, though, and I’m sure that others would take him at face value. After all, they’d argue, you can’t yell “fire” in a crowded theater. (That’s the classic example of a way in which the right to free speech isn’t absolute.)

And then the MSNBC video completely blew that hope out of the water. Buchanan really means what he said. Wow.

LA writes:

Tony S. sent a comment which began with this:

I recognize that the discussion has moved on. I won’t be put out at all if you don’t find this worth posting. Like Roland, I am willing to “eat the requisite amount of crow.”

I will try to explain why I am only “less sure” that Buchanan’s ultimate argument is what Max P., Tom Piatak, and I have claimed it to be….

I’ve decided not to post the rest of his comment. It is almost 600 words long, and it is incomprehensible. There are many conservatives today who allow their minds to get caught up with secondary and tertiary issues, and lose focus on the primary issue.

Paul K. writes:

In the discussion of Pat Buchanan’s latest column that calls for jailing Terry Jones if we are serious about the war in Afghanistan, I didn’t see a mention of his February 7, 2006 column in which he condemned the publication of the Danish Muhammad cartoons, which was discussed at VFR at the time.

Making it clear where he stands on the First Amendment when it conflicts with Moslem sensibilities, Buchanan wrote:

“What was the purpose of this juvenile idiocy by the Europress? Is this what freedom of the press is all about—the freedom to insult the faith of a billion people and start a religious war? Can Europeans be that ignorant of the power of the press to inflame when Bismarck’s editing of just a few words in the Ems telegram ignited the Franco-Prussian war? Did Europeans learn nothing from the Salman Rushdie episode? Or the firestorm that gripped the Islamic world when Christian ministers in the United States called Mohammed a “terrorist”?”

Posted by Lawrence Auster at September 10, 2010 04:43 PM | Send

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