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Buchanan's Bunk--Take the Anti-Neo-Con Test: Who Said It - Matthews or Buchanan?
Post Chronicle/Newsbusters ^ | 7-20-06 | James L. Clark

Posted on 07/20/2006 7:39:19 AM PDT by SJackson

Anyone who follows the trail of Pat Buchanan notices that he, whether consciously or not, is anti-Israel. In his writings and many TV activities, one such being the long-running McLaughlin Group, he leaves this impression indelibly. He also leaves an unmistakable impression that one of his favorite people to hate is President Bush, whom he ran against in 2000 as the Reform Party candidate (teamed with an African-American lady even farther right than he), after a bizarre dustup over who should get that privilege, terribly important since federal money depended on the winner. He also attempted to get the republican presidential nomination in 1992 (against the elder Bush), and then against Dole in 1996.

Though there's much to admire in Buchanan's overall conservatism (maybe closer to libertarianism/isolationism), he is often off-base with respect to reality. Here are some thoughts by Buchanan in a recent column, with some responses from yours truly:

Buchanan: When Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert unleashed his navy and air force on Lebanon, accusing that tiny nation of an "act of war", the last pillar of Bush's Middle East policy collapsed.

Clark: No president since the sanctioning of Israel as a nation has had a Middle East policy, other than respecting the right of Israel to exist and protecting that right. Having a constant Middle-East policy otherwise is impossible, since the Arab nations are not democracies and exist at the whim and governance of whoever has risen to the top, usually through something like assassinations. After 9/11, Bush and Congress pummeled Afghanistan in order to get at the Taliban in order to bring down Al Qaeda. The current Lebanon situation is identical to that of Afghanistan. The terrorists (Hezbollah) strike from Lebanon with impunity from the Lebanese government, whose army is not used to root out the terrorists (couldn't anyway - too weak). This is the 1980s redux, when Israel went into southern Lebanon to protect its north. Of course, if memory serves, Buchanan was against the Gulf War, when, because of this nation, Saddam was ousted from Kuwait and actually prevented from taking over the oil-rich Middle East, his ultimate aim.

Buchanan: First came capitulation on the Bush Doctrine, as Pyongyang and Tehran defied Bush's dictum: The world's worst regimes will not be allowed to acquire the world's worst weapons. Then came suspension of the democracy crusade as Islamic militants exploited free elections to advance to power and office in Egypt, Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank, Iraq and Iran.

Clark: The jury's out on all counts. Neither Rome nor this nation was built in a day, so time will tell. Democracy may not be possible anywhere in the Middle East, but it's too soon to tell, especially given the volatile nature of the Arab mind and the accessibility to weapons.

Buchanan: Now, Israel's rampage against a defenseless Lebanon -- smashing airport runways, fuel tanks, power plants, gas stations, lighthouses, bridges, roads and the occasional refugee convoy -- has exposed Bush's folly in subcontracting U.S. policy out to Tel Aviv, thus making Israel the custodian of our reputation and interests in the Middle East.

Clark: Long after Israel pulled out of Lebanon in 2000, the Syrian Army stayed until last year. It needs to be remembered that there has never been a Palestinian state. When Palestine was partitioned by the UN in 1947, the Israelis accepted the some 8,000+ square miles they were allowed and were accepted as a nation by the UN in 1948. The Palestinians accepted nothing, formed no government, and made themselves into perpetual refugees, living, often in squalor, on handouts from Arab nations -- think Arafat and his ilk. All Palestinian organizations (PLO, Hamas, Hezbollah, etc.) are terrorist groups representing no nation, but supported by Arab nations that attacked Israel in 1948, 1956, 1967, and 1973, during which war the U.S. stopped Israel from occupying Egypt. Israeli enemies, then, are terrorist groups supported by Arab governments, and the only way to ward them away is to attack their domiciling countries.

Buchanan: The Lebanon that Israel, with Bush's blessing, is smashing up has a pro-American government, heretofore considered a shining example of his democracy crusade.

Clark: Pure boilerplate...something that might be expected of Howard Dean. Bush has blessed nothing, and the government Buchanan claims is pro-American has allowed Hezbollah to function freely in terrorizing the citizens of a U.S.-friendly nation so small it is but a speck in the midst of its Arabic/Islamic enemies.

Buchanan: Olmert seized upon Hezbollah's capture of two Israeli soldiers to unleash the IDF in a pre-planned attack to make the Lebanese people suffer until the Lebanese government disarms Hezbollah, a task the Israeli army could not accomplish in 18 years of occupation.

Clark: Too simple by half. Olmert, unlike President Carter in 1979-81, would not accept hostage-taking. Hezbollah is not a nation, as Iran was in Carter's day, so Olmert had to deal with the captors as terrorists, disrupting their supporters in the process - no alternative, as was the case in Afghanistan. Carter chose not to spring the hostages from a nation, but let them rot for 14 months. Either Lebanon will rid itself of Hezbollah or it will be destroyed again, as was the case in the early 80s.

Buchanan: Israel instructed the United States to terminate all aid to the Palestinian Authority, though Bush himself had called for the elections and for the participation of Hamas. Our Crawford cowboy meekly complied.

Clark: This is what is known as the Covenant of Hamas -- The 1988 Hamas Covenant (or Charter) -- states that the organization's goal is to "raise the banner of God over every inch of Palestine," in order to establish an Islamic Republic. Enough said! The "meekly" comment is juvenile.

Buchanan: The predictable result: Fatah and Hamas fell to fratricidal fighting, and Hamas militants began launching Qassam rockets over the fence from Gaza into Israel. Hamas then tunneled into Israel, killed two soldiers, captured one, took him back into Gaza, and demanded a prisoner exchange.

Clark: It's amazing that Buchanan said this, since it destroys whatever point he was trying to make. Israel can hardly stop two terrorist groups from terrorizing each other, as the Sunnis and Shi'ites do in Iraq. In any case, the groups could have slaughtered each other without slaughtering Israelis in the process.

Buchanan: Israel's response was to abduct half of the Palestinian cabinet and parliament and blow up a $50 million U.S.-insured power plant. That cut off electricity for half a million Palestinians.

Clark: Was Israel supposed to sit idly by while the rockets fell and do nothing? Again, if the Palestinian cabinet and parliament amount to a government that supports terrorists, these entities have to expect retaliation.

Buchanan: Let it be said: Israel has a right to defend herself, a right to counter-attack against Hezbollah and Hamas, a right to clean out bases from which Katyusha or Qassam rockets are being fired, and a right to occupy land from which attacks are mounted on her people. But what Israel is doing is imposing deliberate suffering on civilians, collective punishment on innocent people, to force them to do something they are powerless to do -- disarm the gunmen among them. Such a policy violates international law and comports neither with our values nor our interests. It is un-American and un-Christian.

Clark: Buchanan rages but offers no solution, knowing full well that the enemy is not on a battlefield, but in the shops and neighborhoods. Trying to make a religious issue out of the whole affair is disingenuous.

Buchanan: Democrats attack Bush for crimes of which he is not guilty, including Haditha and Abu Ghraib. Why are they, too, silent when Israel pursues a conscious policy of collective punishment of innocent peoples?

Clark: Simple. Democrats (at least in leadership) don't give a fig about Israel or the Middle East. Presently, they're almost exclusively engaged in November politics and an almost incomprehensible hatred for the president.

Buchanan: Britain's diplomatic goal in two world wars was to bring the naive cousins in, to "pull their chestnuts out of the fire."

Clark: It's hard to imagine anything this disingenuous. Britain was mainly interested in survival, and the goal was far too sanguinary to be just "diplomatic". FDR knew full well, notwithstanding any other British motive(s), that the USA, in foregoing the European WWII action, would be left to fend for itself in a war that could reach its shores, even then, in the 40s. England would have fallen, and the French quit the war in 1940, so the waterways and airways to the USA would have been open to Hitler.

Buchanan: Israel and her paid and pro-bono agents here appear determined to expand the Iraq war into Syria and Iran, and have America fight and finish all of Israel's enemies.

Clark: It's only because of this country's action in 1973 that Israel did not decimate much of Egypt. The Israelis needed no help or permission from this country when they completely obliterated Iraq's nuclear program in 1981 in a brief moment on a quiet afternoon. Syria and Iran, in and of themselves and for perfectly obvious reasons, have been threats to the entire world for some time without Israel being any part of the equation. Israel has the power and technology right now to wipe out all of its neighbors in an afternoon, and would do so before being enslaved or getting a by-your-leave from this or any other country.

Buchanan has his reasons, and he may fancy himself to be the voice in the wilderness. He isn't.


Take the Anti-Neo-Con Test: Who Said It - Matthews or Buchanan?

Posted by Mark Finkelstein on July 19, 2006 - 21:32.

It is axiomatic that the goal of the foreign policy of the United States should be the advancement of the interests of the United States and not of any other country, no matter how sympathetic, including Israel. That said, should it not give Chris Matthews pause that his pointed anti-neo-con spiel has become indistinguishable from the well-rehearsed Pat Buchanan line on the matter? In a weird twist, Dem hyper-partisan Bob Shrum, a supporter of Israel, was the odd man out on this evening's Hardball.

To demonstrate my point, let's play a little game. Guess who made the following statements?

A. "The neo-cons are out there complaining that this president isn't tough enough. I have no idea what they mean. 50,000 dead in Iraq - it was supposed to be a cakewalk, Ken Adelman is out there today saying we should go other places, you have other guys that want to blow up every Arab country on the list."

B. "They want a wider war, especially in the Middle East. They want the United States to fight Israel's war against Hezbollah, Syria but especially Iran. But it's not in the interest of the United States. None of those countries - even Hezbollah and Hamas - have attacked the the United States. I don't think the country is listening to the neo-cons anymore - they're discredited. The question is, is Bush listening to them? He was gone for a while, right up through the second inaugural, to a script they wrote."

C. "Frum wrote [the script]."

D. "When are we going to notice that the neo-cons don't know what they are talking about, they're not looking at this country's long-term interest? They're bound up in regional and global ideology. And they have had no experience, I'll say it again, in even a school-yard fight. They don't know what physical fighting's all about. I don't why we keep falling for it."

E. "The president fell for it after 9-11, when they put their little pre-cooked meal in front of them, after he knocked down Afghanistan. Wolfowitz and all the rest of them."

F. "I really certainly hope the president isn't listening to them, because I really question whether they have America's national interest at heart."

OK, answers please!


For the record, Matthews was A, C & D and Buchanan B, E & F. But the tone, and the not-so-subtle sub-text, were identical.

TOPICS: Foreign Affairs; Israel; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: buchanan; patbuchanan
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To: SJackson

Pat is pro-America. Not pro England, Kosovo, Korea, Formosa, Israel, Kuwait, etc. etc. etc. If being pro-America is anti-all of the above, Pat is guilty as charged.

21 posted on 07/20/2006 3:25:48 PM PDT by ex-snook ("But above all things, truth beareth away the victory.")
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To: ex-snook
As well as pro-Iran, pro-Hizbullah, pro-Hamas, and pro-Putin.

Anti Israel, anti Poland, so I guess he gets a few points.

I presume you consider America an out of control colonial power, run by a vague conspiracy of who knows who, Pat knows but won't say, despoiling non aggressive nations like Iran, horning in on Russia's natural sphere of influence.

Pat will save us. If not Pat, maybe Barbara Lee.

22 posted on 07/20/2006 3:31:33 PM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do!)
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To: Iscool
This may be explained by the fact that Pat is a staunch Roman Catholic...It's no secret that the 'religion' adheres to replacement theology whereby God is done with the Jews and the Catholic church is modern day Israel with the old promises and inheritance belonging to the Catholic church...

The RC Church would quibble with this characterization. She sees Herself as the fulfillment, as foretold by the Old Testament prophets, not the replacement.

Pat seems to see the Jews/Israel as no one special in God's or anyone else's eyes...

Then he would be unfamiliar with what his Church has to say about the Jews. " Nevertheless, according to the Apostle, the Jews still remain most dear to God because of their fathers, for He does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues." --- from the Vatican II "Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions."

Your misunderstanding and apparent bias ('religion'?) doesn't make your explanation very convincing.

23 posted on 07/20/2006 10:51:54 PM PDT by LordBridey
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To: SJackson; ex-snook
Say what you will about the paleos, one thing for certain is that their predictions about the Iraq war have turned out to be way more accurate than the neo-con predictions. They seem to be far more in touch with reality, which gives them a credibility that the neos haven't earned. Reality being the cornerstone of conservativism.

Wait'll you get a load of Buchanan's latest missive.

24 posted on 07/20/2006 11:20:39 PM PDT by LordBridey
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To: LordBridey
The RC Church would quibble with this characterization. She sees Herself as the fulfillment, as foretold by the Old Testament prophets, not the replacement.

Everything I've read on the Catholic Church from the Catholic Church indicates, or flat out states that when Jerusalem was destroyed in 70 AD, God dispersed the Jews and was finished with them...

As a result, all of the Old and New Testament promises to Israel are taken over by the (Catholic) church...

You may want to call it fulfillment as opposed to replacement but the intent is clear...There is no room in the Catholic church for the restoration of Israel as it pertains to the Jewish people...

And as a good Catholic, I suspect this is Pat Buchanan's position...

25 posted on 07/21/2006 8:01:30 AM PDT by Iscool
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To: LordBridey
Say what you will about the paleos, one thing for certain is that their predictions about the Iraq war have turned out to be way more accurate than the neo-con predictions. They seem to be far more in touch with reality, which gives them a credibility that the neos haven't earned. Reality being the cornerstone of conservativism... Wait'll you get a load of Buchanan's latest missive.

I read it. Iran is peaceful, the US is an aggressor, and GWB is in the sway of an unspoken conspiracy.

In my view the whole paleo/neo thing is nonsense. Neither have a cohenent political platform, particularly the paleos. Best to leave that for the Republicans and the Democrats.

26 posted on 07/21/2006 8:24:48 AM PDT by SJackson (The Pilgrims—Doing the jobs Native Americans wouldn’t do!)
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To: uncbob
re: Buchanan has no credibility)))

Of course he doesn't. He is also irrelevant, unless he's useful as a whipping boy and straw target. What I don't appreciate is when PB allows the smug weasel Bill Kristol to play victim of antisemitism.

27 posted on 07/22/2006 3:24:42 PM PDT by Mamzelle
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To: SJackson

I'm Jeff Taylor, author of the book Where Did the Party Go? (reviewed by Bill Kauffman in The American Conservative). Tom Roeser's critique of the book review is somewhat misleading, although some of our differences are just honest differences of perspective.

First off, Humphrey never was a populist. His father in South Dakota was, but by the time Humphrey was in grad school at the University of Minnesota he had set aside any residual populism.

When Roeser quotes from my book, he writes, "He opposed the traditional Farmer-Labor party in the mid-1940s, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in the mid-1960s, the New Left and Counterculture in the late 1960s…” He leaves out my last example: "and the right-to-life movement in the mid-1970s." Why does he omit that example? Maybe because this point would appeal to conservatives? Roeser admires Henry Hyde. Well, unlike Hyde and Reagan in the '70s, Humphrey supported Roe v. Wade. Why did HHH support legalized abortion? Not because he was a feminist, certainly. It was because he was a faithful follower of the Power Elite and by 1973 one of its principles was legal access to abortion. Kauffman comments on this section of my book: "In each case the enemy of populism was the Democratic establishment in all its mottled inglory: New Deal bureaucrats, racist Dixiecrats, Vietnam War technocrats, and urban feminist harpycrats." Again, Roeser didn't see fit to quote this portion of the review--perhaps because conservatives might agree with most of Kauffman's sentiments. Personally, I don't hold feminists responsible for Roe v. Wade since abortion rights had its roots in the elite-dominated eugenics/population control movement and the decision to strike down state laws was made by seven privileged men (not grassroots women).

My book does not bash Humphrey "for being too anti-Communist." My heroes over the years have included Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Jesse Helms. I'm as anti-Communist as they come. What I criticize Humphrey and the Truman-LBJ Democratic establishment for is using accusations of anti-communism selectively for the purpose of smearing populists on both the Left and Right. Roeser seems to admire Truman, which is an odd position for a supposed conservative. Did I miss the memo when conservatives suddenly became lovers of the New Deal and Fair Deal? This is what I write in my book about Humphrey and Communism:

"[In the late 1940s,] traditional liberals and Taftian conservatives who opposed or questioned what they viewed as the militaristic or imperialistic nature of the Cold War were denounced [by Truman Democrats] as either full-fledged Communists or unwitting dispensers of Kremlin propaganda." But neither Elmer Benson nor Robert Taft were Reds or dupes of Stalin. That was a ridiculous assertion made by men who were being cynical and two-faced. These anti-Communists-of-convenience had been allied with the Communist Party USA and fawned over "Uncle Joe" Stalin throughout the early-mid 1940s as part of the Popular Front. It's not the anti-Communism of Humphrey I find objectionable; it's the selective and even spurious nature of his anti-Communism that is objectionable.

I also write this about Humphrey in the book: In the 1960s, Vice President Humphrey "accused anti-war protesters of giving 'aid and comfort to the Communist enemy.' Ironically, Humphrey himself played a role in strengthening communist dictatorships through his support for detente even as he criticized relatively powerless American citizens for exercising freedom of speech....Humphrey supported increased trade with the Soviet Union and its Eastern European satellites in the early 1960s, and supported the detente policies of Henry Kissinger in relation to the Soviet Union and Communist China in the early 1970s. Humphrey's thinking on East-West trade and aid was primarily influenced by a big businessman (Dwayne Andreas), not by morality or ideology. Echoing the conclusion of Orwell's Animal Farm three decades earlier, labor leader Charles Levinson believed that detente was a convenient arrangement whereby materialistic, power-driven American and Soviet elites mutually derived personal benefits....Most criticism of detente during the 1960s and '70s came from conservative populists. For example, running against the Ford-Rockefeller ticket from within the GOP, in 1975, former California governor Ronald Reagan criticized grain sales to the USSR: 'Are we not helping the godless tyranny maintain its hold on millions of helpless people? Wouldn't those helpless victims have a better chance of becoming free if their slave masters collapsed economically? Maybe there is an answer--we simply do what's morally right. Stop doing business with them.' American liberals could easily dismiss detente criticism coming from 'reactionaries' like Reagan or even-less-respectable sources like the John Birch Society because of basic disagreements on domestic policy. Libertarian socialists Orwell and Levinson, however, were criticizing what they saw as an international charade from a perspective to the left of Humphrey. Condemnation from neither Right nor Left changed the course pursued by Ford, Humphrey, and other centrist politicians."

Does that sound like I'm glorifying Communism or criticizing anti-Communism? It was Johnson, Humphrey, Ford, Rockefeller, and other centrists who were helping Communist dictators in Europe and Asia through their policies of detente--or have conservatives now adopted Dean Rusk and Henry Kissinger as heroes?

As for Pat Buchanan, he has his faults but he's certainly a more sincere and consistent conservative than George W. Bush. There's no comparison! Do you know anything about Bush's background? He was a Rockefeller Republican from the get-go. Take a look at his run for Congress in the late '70s. Look at what he said during his campaigns for governor. His administration is dominated by a coalition of ex-Humphrey Democrats, ex-Trotsky Communists, and ex-Rockefeller Republicans. That's not a recipe for conservatism! In chapter 11 of my book I write,

"The neoconservatives in Washington have worked hand-in-hand with Rockefeller-Ford Republicans like Rumsfeld, Cheney, Powell, and Rice (not to mention Bush himself--the son of a man who opposed Reagan's first three campaigns for the White House). Conspicuously missing in the Bush administration are notable Goldwater-Reagan Republicans. This is especially interesting for a self-described 'conservative' presidency since room was even found in the cabinet for a Clinton Democrat (Mineta). Ironically, in terms of foreign policy, the ideological descent of the Bush II administration can be traced back to Humphrey just as much as could the Clinton administration. The global aims and messianic rhetoric of Bush have been routinely described as Wilsonian. Bush resembles Humphrey on domestic policy as well. From a ballooning budget deficit to encroachment on states' rights in Supreme Court cases, form the Patriot Act and No Child Left Behind, from his idea that taxpayers should finance premarital counseling to his proposal to fund the use of veterans to teach kids how to read after school, there is no area of American life that is seen by Bush as being beyond the proper reach of federal power."

Say what you will about Buchanan, at least he was supporting Goldwater in 1964 while all the neocons were backing Johnson-Humphrey, and he was supporting Reagan in 1976 while the neocons were still Democrats and the Cheney-Rumsfeld crowd was serving the Ford-Rockefeller administration. I know Newt Gingrich loves Franklin Roosevelt and Charles Krauthammer ranks Harry Truman above Reagan, but is grassroots conservatism so debased that it can't recognize a true conservative when it sees one? Even if you disagree with Buchanan on Israeli politics, does that justify rewriting history so that liberals like Humphrey are praised while conservatives like Buchanan are condemned?

I'm not claiming that my book represents 100% pure conservatism because my populist perspective is broader than that, but it's certainly compatible with real conservatism, which is why The American Conservative gave it a favorable review.

P.S. - I enjoyed reading Free Republic during the Clinton years. It became less interesting as most of its posters adopted a knee-jerk Bush-as-Great-Leader party line after 2000. To me, if an action was wrong when Clinton did it, it's still wrong even if Bush does it.

28 posted on 08/01/2006 9:10:30 AM PDT by oldright74
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