September 05, 2004

Pat Buchanan, We Hardly Knew You

Imagine, if you will, that as I ask the following question, I'm looking up with my hands raised heavenwards in an imploring gesture: Why exactly is it that out of all the recent talking head commentary on Iraq and foreign policy, Pat Buchanan seems to be making the most sense.

Not that, as a disclaimer, I agree with him on everything he says, or on a broad variety of other issues. But he was on NBC's Meet the Press this morning, and had by far the most coherent foreign policy statement I've heard in a long time. As he said:

MR. RUSSERT: Pat Buchanan, in your book, "Where the Right Went Wrong," you write the following: "In 2003, the United States invaded a country that did not threaten us, did not attack us and did not want war with us to disarm it of weapons we have since discovered it did not have. ... Now our nation is tied down, our Army is being daily bled in a war to create democracy in a country where it has never before existed. ... With the guerrilla war, U.S. prestige has plummeted."

You go on to write that Iraq was, "...the greatest strategic blunder in 40 years, a mistake more costly than Vietnam."

MR. PAT BUCHANAN: Certainly, Tim, I believe it is an unnecessary war; it is an unwise war. The United States, by invading that country and taking over its capital, we have inflamed the entire Middle East and Arab and Islamic world. American prestige and support for the president and the United States has never been lower in that part of the world. And Mr. Rumsfeld's question has been answered.

He asked, "Have we been creating more terrorists than we are killing?" When he said that, some 5,000 insurgents were said to be in Baghdad by General Abizaid. The latest count is 20,000. I believe this war itself is creating a pool, a spawning pool out of which Osama bin Laden can draw recruits. I think that there has been nothing that has done more to put Osama bin Laden, if you will, in the mainstream of the Arab cause of nationalism than what appears to the Arabs to be to be a near-imperial adventure by the United States in Iraq. ...

MR. BUCHANAN: Well, certainly, the Iraqi people are probably safer as a consequence of the American liberation and overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The problem, Tim, is this: Now, that Saddam Hussein is gone, what we have is a situation in Fallujah and Ramadi where Sunni fundamentalists are in control and the Shias are rising up in the south, and we--and Americans are dying, and we do not have enough troops, in my judgment, in place to win this war. What you could have here and what the risk is: that having overthrown this one devil, we could have seven devils enter in his place. This could turn into a failed state in chaos and civil war, where the United States is forced out or either forced to double our troops in there. And if that happens, Tim, we've got ourselves a hellish situation there. It was not a problem. Saddam was a criminal and a thug and a brute, but he was no threat to a country that flew 40,000 sorties over Iraq in 10 years. He did not shoot down a single one. ...

MR. BUCHANAN: Who promised us, Tim, a cakewalk? Who promised the president a rose garden? Who failed to prepare for what would happen after we took Baghdad and Iraq? Who are the men responsible for this and why has the president of the United States not removed any of them? Most of them over in the Pentagon are the neoconservative war hawks who planned, prepared and propagandized for a war in Iraq as far back as 1996. This was their class project. I believe they imposed it upon the president. The president bears full responsibility for accepting it. But why he has not removed these people from office, I cannot for the life of me understand. ...

MR. RUSSERT: They are not attacking us because they hate us and hate our culture?

MR. BUCHANAN: This is the fundamental point. Are they attacking us because of who we are and what they believe or are they attacking us because of what we do? I believe it is our policies, not our principles that are causing these attacks. Osama bin Laden wasn't sitting in some cave in Afghanistan and stumble on the Bill of Rights and go bananas. It is because of what we are doing. Most fundamentally, it wasn't Israel number one. Number one, Saudi Arabia, female soldiers, American soldiers sitting there on the land of Mecca and Medina. ...

In fairness, Bob Graham was on the program along with him, and made some good points about the diversion of resources from the fight against Al Qaeda and the war in Afghanistan. He simply failed to make as memorable and effective a case as Buchanan, not least by unhelpfully re-muddling Kerry's position on Iraq. Gingrich was on with them, and made several factually incorrect declarations which went virtually unchallenged by anyone besides Buchanan, who missed some egregious whoppers.

How did we come to such a dearth of clear commentary that this is the most plainly presented and unambiguous declaration of the case against neo-imperialism to come down the pike for so long? I don't know, but no good can come of it.

Posted by natasha at September 5, 2004 03:06 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |

You are not alone in your increduluity; I shared it right before the start of the war, when Buchanan was again making sense and giving me the willies for agreeing with him.

It's so conservative to leave Saddam alone and not take enormous risks. It's so fokking radical to invade. Why is this not obvious on its face?

Posted by: paradox at September 5, 2004 04:22 PM

My thoughts exactly! It was mind boggling to me that I agreed with, like, 75% of what Buchanan said. Reality is Reality, though. It's very difficult to make something it isn't. BushCo is very good at it, but Buchanan knows this also. Most Americans know that 'something stinks in Denmark'. What are we going to do? Allow the bulls**t to continue? Kerry represents a PART of the problem, but not the most important part of the problem today. The current president is so insulated from the world that he actually believes what he says. Kerry is in the position that he has to say things that you and I don't nessecarily agree with, but what is our choice at this point? Honestly, what are you going to do on November 2. You're going to vote for Kerry or you're going to vote for Nader, our you're NOT going to vote for President. Where does this, honestly, leave us? A vote for Kerry leaves us in limbo---but limbo could be good in that it allows the electorate so take a deep breath and get an understanding of what is going on. That is all I'm asking this time. Take a deep breath and understand what is going on.

Posted by: Babba at September 5, 2004 05:50 PM

I have always said that you know thing are really screwed up when Pat Buchanan starts making sense. He is actually highly informed and articulate when circumstances force him from his personal agenda.

Posted by: patriotBoy at September 5, 2004 08:44 PM

I share the incredulity with you.

I was just sitting there with my mouth open. Both at what he was saying and the fact that I was unambiguously agreeing with PAT BUCHANAN! I turned off 'Meet the Press' when the husband and wife team came on (when did she become a brunette?) as they were just bouncing partisanshiup off each other. But I just couldn't get over Buchanan.

As an aside, was anyone else seriously annoyed how all the sunday-morning political 'analysis' shows trotted out the only two polls to give BushCo. an 11 point bounce post the convention? Every single other poll on earth gave the bounce at 3-4 points, but they focused on just these two. It was bloody agrivating to think that those peeps who don't read blogs will only get this perspective.

Posted by: Sarah in Chicago at September 6, 2004 08:13 PM

I saw Mr. Buchanan on Sunday and I was very surprised to see someone as conversative he is to make those statements. I knew this all along but I did not expect Pat to be the one to bring it all home.

I also watched it again on Tuesday Morning at 3AM and when Pat started to talk the screen just went blank w/ lines and dots. I could not believe what was happening and the show returned at the time Tim was thanking his guest for being there.

Humm, I wonder who did that?

Posted by: majek at September 8, 2004 09:18 AM