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Unpatriotic Conservatives: A war against America.
National Review ^ | April 7, 2003 | David Frum

Posted on 03/19/2003 9:22:39 AM PST by quidnunc

"I respect and admire the French, who have been a far greater nation than we shall ever be, that is, if greatness means anything loftier than money and bombs." – THOMAS FLEMING, "HARD RIGHT," MARCH 13, 2003

From the very beginning of the War on Terror, there has been dissent, and as the war has proceeded to Iraq, the dissent has grown more radical and more vociferous. Perhaps that was to be expected. But here is what never could have been: Some of the leading figures in this antiwar movement call themselves "conservatives."

These conservatives are relatively few in number, but their ambitions are large. They aspire to reinvent conservative ideology: to junk the 50-year-old conservative commitment to defend American interests and values throughout the world — the commitment that inspired the founding of this magazine — in favor of a fearful policy of ignoring threats and appeasing enemies.

And they are exerting influence. When Richard Perle appeared on Meet the Press on February 23 of this year, Tim Russert asked him, "Can you assure American viewers … that we're in this situation against Saddam Hussein and his removal for American security interests? And what would be the link in terms of Israel?" Perle rebutted the allegation. But what a grand victory for the antiwar conservatives that Russert felt he had to air it.

You may know the names of these antiwar conservatives. Some are famous: Patrick Buchanan and Robert Novak. Others are not: Llewellyn Rockwell, Samuel Francis, Thomas Fleming, Scott McConnell, Justin Raimondo, Joe Sobran, Charley Reese, Jude Wanniski, Eric Margolis, and Taki Theodoracopulos.

The antiwar conservatives aren't satisfied merely to question the wisdom of an Iraq war. Questions are perfectly reasonable, indeed valuable. There is more than one way to wage the war on terror, and thoughtful people will naturally disagree about how best to do it, whether to focus on terrorist organizations like al-Qaeda and Hezbollah or on states like Iraq and Iran; and if states, then which state first?

But the antiwar conservatives have gone far, far beyond the advocacy of alternative strategies. They have made common cause with the left-wing and Islamist antiwar movements in this country and in Europe. They deny and excuse terror. They espouse a potentially self-fulfilling defeatism. They publicize wild conspiracy theories. And some of them explicitly yearn for the victory of their nation's enemies.

Common cause: The websites of the antiwar conservatives approvingly cite and link to the writings of John Pilger, Robert Fisk, Noam Chomsky, Ted Rall, Gore Vidal, Alexander Cockburn, and other anti-Americans of the far Left.

Terror denial: In his column of December 26, 2002, Robert Novak attacked Condoleezza Rice for citing Hezbollah, instead of al-Qaeda, as the world's most dangerous terrorist organization: "In truth, Hezbollah is the world's most dangerous terrorist organization from Israel's standpoint. While viciously anti-American in rhetoric, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah is focused on the destruction of Israel. 'Outside this fight [against Israel], we have done nothing,' Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, the organization's secretary-general, said in a recent New York Times interview." The sheik did not say, and Novak did not bother to add, that Hezbollah twice bombed the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, murdering more than 60 people, and drove a suicide bomb into a Marine barracks in October 1983, killing 241 servicemen.

Espousing defeatism: Here is Robert Novak again, this time on September 17, 2001, predicting that any campaign in Afghanistan would be a futile slaughter: "The CIA, in its present state, is viewed by its Capitol Hill overseers as incapable of targeting bin Laden. That leads to an irresistible impulse to satisfy Americans by pulverizing Afghanistan." And here is Patrick Buchanan that same day gloomily asserting that the United States would be as baffled by Osama bin Laden as the British Empire was by George Washington: "We remain unrivaled in material wealth and military dominance, but these are no longer the components of might. . . . Our instinct is the strongman's impulse: hit back, harder. But like British Lobsterbacks dropped in a colonial wilderness, we don't know this battle, and the weapons within our reach are blunt."

Excuse-making: On September 30, 2002, Pat Buchanan offered this explanation of 9/11 during a debate on Chris Matthews's Hardball: "9/11 was a direct consequence of the United States meddling in an area of the world where we do not belong and where we are not wanted. We were attacked because we were on Saudi sacred soil and we are so-called repressing the Iraqis and we're supporting Israel and all the rest of it."

Conspiracy-theorizing: Justin Raimondo, an Internet journalist who delivered Pat Buchanan's nominating speech at the Reform party convention in 2000, alleged in December 2001 that Israel was implicated in the terror attacks of 9/11: "Whether Israeli intelligence was watching, overseeing, collaborating with or combating the bin Ladenites is an open question…. That the Israelis had some significant foreknowledge and involvement in the events preceding 9/11 seems beyond dispute." Raimondo has also repeatedly dropped broad hints that he believes the October 2001 anthrax attacks were the work of an American Jewish scientist bent on stampeding the U.S. into war.

Yearning for defeat: On January 30, 2002, Eric Margolis, the American-born foreign editor of the Toronto Sun, appealed to the leaders of the Arab world to unite in battle against the U.S. "What could Arabs do to prevent a war of aggression against Iraq that increasingly resembles a medieval crusade? Form a united diplomatic front that demands U.N. inspections continue. Stage an oil boycott of the U.S. if Iraq is attacked. Send 250,000 civilians from across the Arab World to form human shields around Baghdad and other Iraqi cities. Boycott Britain, Turkey, Kuwait, and the Gulf states that join or abet the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Withdraw all funds on deposit in U.S. and British banks. Accept payment for oil only in Euros, not dollars. Send Arab League troops to Iraq, so that an attack on Iraq is an attack on the entire League. Cancel billions worth of arms contracts with the U.S. and Britain. At least make a token show of male hormones and national pride."

Raimondo was more explicit still on March 12, 2003. Speaking of the negative consequences he foresaw of even a successful American campaign in Iraq, he wrote: "It is a high price to pay for 'victory' — so high that patriots might almost be forgiven if they pine for defeat."

The writers I quote call themselves "paleoconservatives," implying that they are somehow the inheritors of an older, purer conservatism than that upheld by their impostor rivals. But even Robert Taft and Charles Lindbergh ceased accommodating Axis aggression after Pearl Harbor. Since 9/11, by contrast, the paleoconservatives have collapsed into a mood of despairing surrender unparalleled since the Vichy republic went out of business. James Burnham famously defined liberalism as "the ideology of Western suicide." What are we to make of self-described conservatives who see it as their role to make excuses for suicide bombers?


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TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; Philosophy
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I did not say I was against this war did I? But the paleo-cons make great points that will benefit our Republic if listened too--if only to sharpen our understandings of the need for this war.

If one has seen my posts you will see I am not a peacenik by any means but I will drink a taost with Raimondo rather than Frum any day.

41 posted on 03/21/2003 3:55:11 PM PST by Destro (Fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting
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To: Destro
Agreed...they are spot on about lack of Border Security in this country. But National Security concerns transend our borders. It would be dangerous in the modern world for us to be isolationists. I read Raimondo when he posts an article here.

Some of it I agree with.

But he seems to side more with Arab Islam than Israel in his writing. I part company with him there...we perceive different enemies beyond our borders.

42 posted on 03/21/2003 7:09:06 PM PST by KDD
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The problem with the neo-cons is that they approach national security as "ideology security". What I mean by that is they base their security concerns not on what is best for America but what is best for their vision. Paleo-conservatives do tend to like their nation's borders and not go forth from them.
43 posted on 03/21/2003 7:16:07 PM PST by Destro (Fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting
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To: Destro
Fulani may have been a disaster for Buchanan, but the temporary allaince showed me that the movement tended toward the extreme, which is where dogma often leads. In the case of Fulani and Buchanan, it was the fringe right meeting the fringe left at the extreme of the political spectrum. An invitation to anarchy if ever there was one.

I'm not ready for that.


Paleo-conservatives do tend to like their nation's borders and not go forth from them.

They need to look out over their ramparts once in a while...nature abhors a vaccum.

If we don't fill it on the international scene someone else will.

China perhaps?

44 posted on 03/21/2003 7:31:00 PM PST by KDD
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See that is the problem--how should we fill in the seam?

Where do I fall in--Well I loved NATO-really loved the concept-of a mutual defensive organization--but only that.

When the neo-cons and the neo-liberals (the so called third way) began to change NATO into an offensive alliance allowing it to go and do what it did to Yugoslavia then I I see where the line in the sand is. That role for NATO--its mutation was evil and disgusting to me.

Neo-liberals want to US via NATO to be their multilateral police force/army enforcing the third way agenda-remember Clinton's Strobe Talbot saying borders no longer matter?

Neo-cons want the exact same thing but instead of having the UN or some multilateralist organization as hegemon the neo-cons envision the USA alone in the hegemons throne.

Neo-cons and Neo-libearls are opposite sides of the same coin.

If NATO was left alone--not used to do pet "humanitarian war" projects--if America only created defensive alliances, deterence as a policy, MAD, etc then whatever that is called--that is what I am.

45 posted on 03/21/2003 8:38:32 PM PST by Destro (Fight Islamic terrorisim by visiting
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