Dogs Lie Down With Cats, Pat Buchanan Makes Sense

From Holden:

I’ve considered Pat Buchanan to be one of the most repellent characters on the American political scene for years, but this transcript of his appearance on Meet the Press last Sunday has my head swimming. I knew Buchanan opposed Bush’s War on Iraq, but I assumed his opposition stemmed from nascent isolationism.

The discovery that he opposes the war because of a realistic assesment of the threat posed by Saddam (ie: zero), and his sober examination of the motivation for terrorist attacks on the U.S. is simply amazing.

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.

[snip]

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. RUSSERT: Would you send more American troops or would you withdraw?

MR. BUCHANAN: This is the question that, I think, should be put to John Kerry and the president of the United States in the debates: “Mr. President, if John Abizaid comes to you and says, `We can’t do it with the present complement, we need 75,000 more American troops’–what would you do, John Kerry? What would you do, George W. Bush?” If it were up to me, Tim, I think I would execute a strategic withdrawal from Iraq. I think it was a terrible mistake. We’re going to pay consequences one way or the other. And my feeling is probably it would be better for us in the long run if we withdrew.

[snip]

In my judgment, Chris [Heh – here Buchanan confuses host Tim-MEH Russert with the slightly less-whorish Chris Matthews], this one-sided support for Sharon, the refusal to condemn that wall snaking through the West Bank, the agreement to support Sharon’s claim to virtually half of the West Bank, this has caused enormous hostility and animosity and hatred for this country in that part of the world, not just among the Palestinians. And if we want to drain off some of this hatred, this venom against us, we have got to adopt a more evenhanded policy here. We have got to stand up for the same rights for the Palestinian people, a homeland, a nation, a state of their own, a viable one, on the land their forefathers farmed for a thousand years, because those are first our principles and secondly, that is in the national interest of the United States of America. I don’t care what Ariel Sharon believes.

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.