Right Thinking From The Left Coast
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Buckley on Iraq
by Lee

Here’s what William F. Buckley—lifelong Democrat, America-hater, and poster boy for Bush Derangement Syndrome—has to say about how things are going in Iraq.

[B]eyond affirming executive supremacy in matters of war, what is George Bush going to do? It is simply untrue that we are making decisive progress in Iraq. The indicators rise and fall from day to day, week to week, month to month. In South Vietnam there was an organized enemy. There is clearly organization in the strikes by the terrorists against our forces and against the civil government in Iraq, but whereas in Vietnam we had Hanoi as the operative headquarters of the enemy, we have no equivalent of that in Iraq, and that is a matter of paralyzing importance. All those bombings, explosions, assassinations: we are driven to believe that they are, so to speak, spontaneous.

When the Romans were challenged by Christianity, Rome fell. The generation of Christians moved by their faith overwhelmed the regimented reserves of the Roman state. It was four years ago that Mr. Cheney first observed that there was a real fear that each fallen terrorist leads to the materialization of another terrorist. What can a “surge,” of the kind we are now relying upon, do to cope with endemic disease? The parallel even comes to mind of the eventual collapse of Prohibition, because there wasn’t any way the government could neutralize the appetite for alcohol, or the resourcefulness of the freeman in acquiring it.

General Petraeus is a wonderfully commanding figure. But if the enemy is in the nature of a disease, he cannot win against it. Students of politics ask then the derivative question: How can the Republican party, headed by a president determined on a war he can’t see an end to, attract the support of a majority of the voters? General Petraeus, in his Pentagon briefing on April 26, reported persuasively that there has been progress, but cautioned, “I want to be very clear that there is vastly more work to be done across the board and in many areas, and again I note that we are really just getting started with the new effort.”

The general makes it a point to steer away from the political implications of the struggle, but this cannot be done in the wider arena. There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican party will survive this dilemma.

For those of you who don’t know, Buckley is the founder of National Review magazine, and one of the grand old men of American conservatism.  And now, according to the standards set by so many “conservatives” these days, he’s a durn Amurka-hating liberal defeatist.

Posted by Lee on 04/30/07 at 09:31 AM (Discuss this in the forums)


Posted by on 04/30/07 at 10:43 AM from United States

This is the general consenus among MOST conservatives and, I serious doubt Buckley had an epephany, only now realizing that Iraq is a mess.
Parading conservative Icons out one by one, aligned with the same voice, that we are in deep shit in Iraq, is not useful.
I would be more interested in what Buckley would do NOW.

Posted by Brian at Tomfoolery on 04/30/07 at 10:53 AM from United States

This is nothing new.  Buckley has taken this position for years now.  No one who knows Buckley is surprised at this commentary at all.  I have great respect for that man and have considered his opinions on the subject in my thinking for years now.

Posted by Lee on 04/30/07 at 11:37 AM from United States

This is nothing new.  Buckley has taken this position for years now.  No one who knows Buckley is surprised at this commentary at all.

That’s because Buckley is a conservative, not a Republican.  There’s an important distinction between the two.

Posted by on 04/30/07 at 12:57 PM from United States

What would Buckley do NOW?
My belief (and in my reading it’s starting to come up more and more):
And it ain’t easy, or cheap

Establish safe zones in the North and South.
Massively fortify the oil fields and start planning for the need to contain oil at the source on the assumption that the pipes will be cut (and that’s why we’re there in the first place, really).

Identify and plan for the mass migration of sympathetic Iraqis to the safe zones.

Pull forces to the safe zones, escorting the civilians (and yes there will be 100,000s of them) as necessary.

Institute the draft at home. 

Put an additional 500,000+ men and women in uniform, train them and get ready.
See if the place falls into chaos. 
If it does not, hey, those advocating pulling out were right.  And we take it from there.
If it does, reinvade.  Doing it right this time. 
Think if it as Dunkirk.
We did it in WWII.  Can do it again. 
Won’t be fun, but if this war is necessary then we have no choice, except to do it on our terms.

We are at the limit of our military reach at this point in time, we need additional man and material.  We need to gear up to meet the threat. 
So, it’s not about pouring more into the pit at this time, we can’t, we don’t have the men and material to fully engage.  So we wait.  And plan.  And prepare.

It’s about figuring out how to stop them in the near future. 

And since the war has created another have a million more fanatics then existed before the war (good call on fighting them there, nor here… now, not only are we going to have fight them here they’re fucking experienced and really really pissed.) the chances are EXPONENTIALLY greater that terrorists will strike here.

Having a trained standing army, even if we don’t need to go back in will have a huge impact on the response to an internal attack.

Posted by on 04/30/07 at 01:00 PM from United States

Sorry about the typos… hit submit instead of preview.  But you get the gist.

Posted by on 04/30/07 at 01:07 PM from United States

The other day I saw this article posted on another blog. It prompted this comment from a poster there:

“It’s sad to read that Bill Buckley has switched sides and become a defeated Democrat, but good riddance… If we were to take Buckley’s spineless comment to it’s logical conclusion, then we should surrender to the jihadists now, because nothing we can do will have an effect against them...The Democrats and Bill Buckley are welcome to the audacity of hoping we’ll lose and collapse as a civilization, but I prefer the optimism of the GOP and our candidates that we can fight and win.”

I’m so sick of Republicans right now. It doesn’t matter what your conservative credentials are… If you don’t agree 100% with the president on the Iraq War, you’re a defeatist Democrat.

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 04/30/07 at 04:05 PM from United States

That’s because the GOP has become taken over by mouth-breathing fundamentalist nannystaters on the one hand and wusses who really do earn the title of RINOs on the other. That’s why the leading candidates right now are “Outsiders” like McCain, Giuliani and Romney.

Posted by Brian at Tomfoolery on 04/30/07 at 04:33 PM from United States

That’s because Buckley is a conservative, not a Republican.  There’s an important distinction between the two.

Amen, brother.  I am a Buckley-ite, as I believe in many ways you are too.

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