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Tilting at Windmills

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April 2, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

BUCKLEY vs. THE HAWKS....Is William F. Buckley a traitor and a defeatist, a useful idiot who provides aid and comfort to our enemies?

William F. Buckley Jr., the longtime conservative writer and leader, said George W. Bush's presidency will be judged entirely by the outcome of a war in Iraq that is now a failure.

.... Buckley said he doesn't have a formula for getting out of Iraq, though he said "it's important that we acknowledge in the inner councils of state that it (the war) has failed, so that we should look for opportunities to cope with that failure."

The 80-year-old Buckley is among a handful of prominent conservatives who are criticizing the war. Asked who is to blame for what he deems a failure, Buckley said, "the president," adding that "he doesn't hesitate to accept responsibility."

Buckley called Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a longtime friend, "a failed executor" of the war. And Vice President Dick Cheney "was flatly misled," Buckley said. "He believed the business about the weapons of mass destruction."

I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but Dick Cheney was "flatly misled"? In which alternate universe could someone believe that?

Kevin Drum 12:27 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (52)

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And Vice President Dick Cheney "was flatly misled," Buckley said.

Maybe that "was" is a transcription error.

Posted by: Otto Man on April 2, 2006 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

...George W. Bush's presidency will be judged entirely by the outcome of a war in Iraq that is now a failure.

I have no problem with that, but I hate to see him get a pass on his uniformly disastrous domestic policies.

And you're right, Kevin; Cheney was the premier architect of the mass misleading. Is Buckley just stupid, or does he have some reason to suck up to Cheney?

Posted by: shortstop on April 2, 2006 at 12:34 PM | PERMALINK

Heh. I like Otto Man's explanation.

Posted by: shortstop on April 2, 2006 at 12:35 PM | PERMALINK

Malicious or incompetent? Stupid? Liars? Hidden agenda? Deceptive? Disingenious? Puppet or Puppet master?

Why choose one to explain the perception of the others? They are all true.

Posted by: MonkeyBoy on April 2, 2006 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

Glad to see that Buckley admits to having no formula for getting out. That is the definition of a quagmire, dude! AKA, damned if you do, damned if you don't.

Posted by: Hedley Lamarr on April 2, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

That Bloomberg story went on line Friday morning. Not a word about it from anyone at The Corner.

Posted by: penalcolony on April 2, 2006 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

Not only the crazy thing with Cheney, but this about Bush:

Asked who is to blame for what he deems a failure, Buckley said, "the president," adding that "he doesn't hesitate to accept responsibility."

Huh?

I guess conservatives like Buckley can't even stop being wrong even when they finally start to get things right.

Posted by: frankly0 on April 2, 2006 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

Clueless in Baghdad

Posted by: WPB on April 2, 2006 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK

In which alternate universe could someone believe that?

In a mental universe that swirls about thickening galaxies of amyloid proteins.

Posted by: koreyel on April 2, 2006 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

If the transcription is correct, Buckley, while mostly blaming Shrub & Co., is still trying to have it both ways - it's Shrub, Big Time, and Rummy's fault, but they were mislead. If so, by whom? Could that be big bad Medal 'O Freedom winner George "Slam Dunk" Tenet? You mean we can dump the whole thing on that single apparently invertabrate man?

Ma, go an' fetch me my tar and feathers!

Come one, Billy Boy, which is it?

Posted by: Jeff II on April 2, 2006 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

It would be quite humorous, if the subject was not of such grave importance to the existence of the Republic, to see that the liberals are so quick to applaud a physically declining conservative who probably suffers from some sort of frontal lobe atrophy.

It shall always remain a mystery that those who claim to base their views on reality always end up ignoring the voices of the real conservatives in their prime who are uniformly supportive of the Republican President's grand project to democratize the world.

Posted by: tbrosz on April 2, 2006 at 1:00 PM | PERMALINK

Didn't the media mislead Cheney by writing all of those WMD stories before the war?

Posted by: Carl on April 2, 2006 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK

Flatley Misled?? HAHAHAHAHAA..Buckley STFU you QUACK.

Kevin bout damn time you got off the Oprah Crapper.

Hey you Intellectual Star Trekkians of Tachyon Tackiness and Silly Suits!!
---------------------
Sources familiar with the Middlebury conference say that the event capped an organizing drive for the "privatization of national security" that has been under way since the collapse of the Soviet Union. During the Presidency of William Clinton, Rohatyn, who served briefly as Ambassador to France, was the leading champion of the privatization and outsourcing of as many Pentagon functions as possible.

In fact, from the outset, the "neo-feudal" scheme to privatize the U.S. military and knock down the last pillar of national sovereignty, has been associated with three names in particular: George Shultz, Felix Rohatyn, and Dick Cheney. Shultz and Rohatyn, sources close to the two men report, have been tight friends for a long time, perhaps dating back to their early 1970s collaboration on the Pinochet coup in Chile.

Well well as you KNOW that Money went thru Riggs Bank [HW Bush et ilk] Riggs got a Huge Fine for this one. But Yes They Were Misled, or Misremembered, or out of the Loop, damnit JIM, MISLED...

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 2, 2006 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

In fact, from the outset, the "neo-feudal" scheme to privatize the U.S. military and knock down the last pillar of national sovereignty, has been associated with three names in particular: George Shultz, Felix Rohatyn, and Dick Cheney.

'Privitisation' for Corporate Dominance of American Politics and National Security

CAPICE??

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 2, 2006 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, who are these neo-conservatives that misled Cheney?

In the interview, Buckley criticized the so-called neo- conservatives who enthusiastically embraced the Iraq invasion and the spreading of American values around the world.

``The neoconservative hubris, which sort of assigns to America some kind of geo-strategic responsibility for maximizing democracy, overstretches the resources of a free country,'' Buckley said.

Posted by: Carl on April 2, 2006 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Two Ball Caine

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 2, 2006 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

Man, you guys are SLOW.

Full Spectrum Dominance= Earths Electromagnetic field..


Yew Genius Trekkies!

Posted by: one eye buck tooth [X^B on April 2, 2006 at 1:15 PM | PERMALINK

"If the transcription is correct, Buckley, while mostly blaming Shrub & Co., is still trying to have it both ways - it's Shrub, Big Time, and Rummy's fault, but they were mislead. If so, by whom? Could that be big bad Medal 'O Freedom winner George "Slam Dunk" Tenet? You mean we can dump the whole thing on that single apparently invertabrate man?"

JeffII April 2, 2006 at 12:50 PM

With these guys the buck stops at the lowest possible level. I am voting that ultimately bush and company will blame some unknown private working for some army intelligency unit someplace or maybe the personal assistant to an undersecretary of the undersecretary of argiculture. You know, some low lever person working for the person who misidentified the milk trucks.

Posted by: Ron Byers on April 2, 2006 at 1:25 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, great comments. So witty, so germane. So calculated to feed off each other. So framed to convince conservatives such as I to change our mind.

I just hope Kevin doesn't turn off the comment thread.

More please.

Posted by: twwren on April 2, 2006 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Interestingly that Buckley admitted he and the magazine were wrong in resisting the civil rights movement.

Posted by: anonymous coward on April 2, 2006 at 1:42 PM | PERMALINK

"Flatly misled" or "self deluded" ?

i.e. "Believing in a pre-existing agenda even when it is contrary to evidence and sound advice."

Posted by: david s on April 2, 2006 at 1:46 PM | PERMALINK

Consider all his ludicrous statements in public that went far beyond anyone else's.

If I could which person in the administration had most earnestly swallowed the bullshit, my guess would be Cheney.

Posted by: Boronx on April 2, 2006 at 1:48 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, great comments. So witty, so germane. So calculated to feed off each other. So framed to convince conservatives such as I to change our mind.

I hate to break it to you, but no one cares if you change your small mind--the vast majority of Americans already have, and recognize Bush's Iraq adventure for the dismal failure that it is. Failed war, failed presidency. Two more years to go, hang in there America.

Posted by: haha on April 2, 2006 at 2:09 PM | PERMALINK

"So framed to convince conservatives such as I to change our mind."

Conservatives like you have minds? Who knew?

Posted by: Joel on April 2, 2006 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, great comments. So witty, so germane. So calculated to feed off each other. So framed to convince conservatives such as I to change our mind. More please. Posted by: twwren

You want more, dumb ass? Here you go.

A plan for the invasion of Iraq and overthrow of Saddam was first "devised" by Wolfowitz just after the first Gulf War in 1992.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/iraq/etc/wolf.html

http://zfacts.com/p/169.html

Posted by: Jeff II on April 2, 2006 at 2:24 PM | PERMALINK

I hate to look a gift horse in the mouth, but Dick Cheney was "flatly misled"?

By his conscience.

Posted by: obscure on April 2, 2006 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

"So framed to convince conservatives such as I to change our mind."

Conservatives like you have minds? Who knew?

No, like he said, they have ONE mind.

Posted by: exasperanto on April 2, 2006 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Not a single one of them cared if the wmd story was bullshit or not.

They were going to attack anyway and they are more than happy to lie about that.

Posted by: Ten in Tenn on April 2, 2006 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

"And Vice President Dick Cheney "was flatly misled," Buckley said.

Perhaps it was Buckley who was mislead.

Conservatives refuse to acknowledge the limits of their movement.

In general their are two survival strategies - Individualism and Collectivism: Orangetangs, and Cheetahs are Individuals; Babooms,Wildebeast, Lions and Hyennas live in collectives. Humans do both, sometimes simultaniously, depending upon the circumstances.

Most would agree that individualism and collectivism have their place, so we argue about the margins or where the margin between the two should be placed.

Buckely's movement argued an individualism in economics and a collectivism in sociology that was harsh and completely outside the bounds of functionality.

Because they have such strong franchise now, and are unable to function, let alone dysfunction, the perplexed denial amongst Conservatives has begun.

Later, it will become enraged denial.

That will be helpful for American's movement back to a normal functionality.

My hope is that Buckley's twilight years eclipse all else, in a rollback in what he spent his whole life pursuing.

Conservativism, Neoconservativism, Paleoconservativism, whatever, has its limits and they are far more reduced than what Republicans can contemplate at this hour. Thus the denial, and soon the rage.

Posted by: Bubbles on April 2, 2006 at 3:38 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, I want to add, I am positively ammused at their perplexed failure.

There were given leave, by complete measure - dominating all branches of politics and they have failed. Completely.

And now they are perplexed as to why.

It it hadn't been so horrific, it would bring forth the giggles. But real people are dying and hurting as a result of these mens grandoise schemes.

Posted by: Bubbles on April 2, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

So, tbrosz (the real one?) says WFB is "a physically declining conservative who probably suffers from some sort of frontal lobe atrophy."

I guess that's one probability. Or maybe he's an observer who never really bought into the rush to war and has now reluctantly reached conclusions that the likes of tbrosz can't accept.

Honestly, tbrosz, I know trolls such as you like to foul up people's online nests, but doesn't your comment here shame you even a little? If you were wise, you would think seriously about Buckley's views, since they basically follow from the skepticism about big government that he's always expressed. If you wanted to, you could take issue with his comments, while acknowledging the possible wisdom of his perspective.

But, no, you'd rather call him senile because he disagrees with you. Congrats, you really are a conservative "in your prime."

Posted by: nandrews3 on April 2, 2006 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

The apologists blame the intel community. But remember all those stories about the misadministration turning "maybe" into "probably" in the briefing digests etc? We can't let those stories be forgotten.

Posted by: Neil' on April 2, 2006 at 3:53 PM | PERMALINK

Buckley's admissions are welcome, however he got one big thing wrong: Bush will or should also be judged by his overall incomptence (running government, response, debt and deficit, transparency, legal protections, corruption, etc.) and not just the Iraq war (BTW, what is the official name of this conflict?)

Posted by: Neil' on April 2, 2006 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

Is Buckley just stupid, or does he have some reason to suck up to Cheney?

Not to beat a dead horse, but maybe Buckley has talked to Mr. Whittington since the unfortunate accident. Maybe one old man said to the other, "Whatever you do, don't question Dick in any way that makes him the least bit uncomfortable. He's got an itchy trigger finger."

Posted by: Emily on April 2, 2006 at 4:04 PM | PERMALINK

Actually, if you want to assign blame, I really believe you could put the whole thing on Powell. He was supposedly against the invasion from the beginning. But rather than standing up to the chickenhawks and head-in-the-clouds neo-cons, he decided to register his displeasure by resigning his position, a year after the invasion.

Had he been strong, not done the UN dog and pony show, and gone public on why he was resigning, it would have given a lot of weak kneed folks on both sides of the aisle pause in voting for the resolution Bush used as justification for the invasion.

I guess the very fact that a career military man, particularly one that had served in Vietnam, would even agree to work for someone like Bush shows that nothing could be expected from him when the going got rough.

Posted by: Jeff II on April 2, 2006 at 6:41 PM | PERMALINK

Not to beat a dead horse, but maybe Buckley has talked to Mr. Whittington since the unfortunate accident. Maybe one old man said to the other, "Whatever you do, don't question Dick in any way that makes him the least bit uncomfortable. He's got an itchy trigger finger." Posted by: Emily

I doubt there is much risk of Big Time and Buckley being in the same duck blind. First off, I don't think Buckley hunts. He's an "effete" sailing and tennis preppy. For the most part, old money types in the U.S. are less likely to be hunters than their counterparts in the Europe.

Secondly, Buckley is a New Englander, inherited his money, he speaks French, he served in WWII, and was Ivy league-educated (being Irish and Catholic are the only thing that keeps him from being a true WASP).

Cheney is from Cheyenne, Wyoming, never finished even a crappy state college, he was a draft dodger (multiple deferments being the same thing), and grubbed for his money when not sucking off the government teet.

I doubt they are friends. He was, is most likely, social with Bush the Elder being about the same age, and both were Skull and Bones at Yale.

Posted by: Jeff II on April 2, 2006 at 6:58 PM | PERMALINK

Finally an intelligent comment from Bubbles. I will summarize:

"Mairzy doats and dozy doats and liddle lamzy divey, A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you. If the words sound queer and funny to your ear A little bit jumbled and jivey Sing, "Mares eat oats and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy".

Congratulation to all for staying on point.

"A kiddley divey too, wouldn't you?"

Posted by: twwren on April 2, 2006 at 7:03 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe he meant Cheney was mislaid, perhaps after having sex with Lynne after she wrote Sisters . . .

Posted by: Randy Paul on April 2, 2006 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

With respect to the war in Iraq, Buckley is not saying much new. However, he is being more pointed about the source of failure...

From What Mr. Bush Left Out, March 18, 2003:

Mr. Bush would have done better to speak more modestly about expectations. Sitting down on vast oil reserves does not bring prosperity or freedom... We can devoutly hope that internecine tribal antagonisms will be subsumed in the fresh air of a despot removed, and that the restoration of freedom will be productive. But these concomitant developments can't be either foreseen by the United States, or implemented by us. What Mr. Bush can accomplish is the removal of a regime and its infrastructure. The Iraqi people will have to take it from there.
From It Didnt Work, February 24, 2006:
One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. ... Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough.A problem for American policymakers-- for President Bush, ultimately--is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed. ... One of these postulates, from the beginning, was that the Iraqi people, whatever their tribal differences, would suspend internal divisions in order to get on with life in a political structure that guaranteed them religious freedom. The accompanying postulate was that the invading American army would succeed in training Iraqi soldiers and policymkers to cope with insurgents bent on violence. This last did not happen.
From Next Step, February 28, 2006:
Mr. Bush is entitled to maintain, doggedly and persuasively, that he took the right steps--up through the overthrow of Saddam and the exposure of an armory without weapons of mass destruction. From that point on, the challenge required more than his deployable resources. His political reputation will rest on his success in making that point and ceding realistically to realities we are not going to cope with, and ought not to attempt to cope with.
Ergo, the blame lies with:
  1. The Iraqi people for not summoning the necessary "human reserves"; and
  2. Rumsfeld, who failed at "training Iraqi soldiers; and policymakers"; and
  3. All of the above and others who "misled" Bush and Cheney into thinking it would work with the available "deployable resources".
Obviously that is little more than an attempt defend the rightness of the strategy--and the neocon manifesto--and separate it from a flawed execution. A flawed execution Buckley doesn't hold Bush/Cheney accountable for, which leaves Rumsfeld holding the bag.

Posted by: has407 on April 2, 2006 at 7:22 PM | PERMALINK

It's possible Cheney was misled. Even evil bastards have lines they won't cross. He might, you know, have wanted to be president some day and might have realized that this war would destroy any hope of that.

Posted by: Soullite on April 2, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's possible Cheney was misled. Even evil bastards have lines they won't cross. He might, you know, have wanted to be president some day and might have realized that this war would destroy any hope of that.

Posted by: Soullite on April 2, 2006 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

From Meet the Press 4/2/2006, transcript not yet online:
General Zinni has some thoughts, which in the main, are not kind to Rummy, Cheney or Bush
"...those that have been responsible for the planning, for overriding all the efforts that were made in planning before that, that those that stood by and allowed this to happen that didnt speak out and there were appropriate ways within the system you can speak out, at congressional hearings and otherwise I think they have to be held accountable."

Posted by: Mike on April 2, 2006 at 11:14 PM | PERMALINK

This is Buckley's attempt to have "real conservatives" take as little blame for this mess as is possible, consistent with some version of reality he thinks can be sold to the voters and, perhaps more importantly, the historians. As Kevin notes, this does not make any sense, either.

Posted by: David in NY on April 2, 2006 at 11:16 PM | PERMALINK

For some reason we haven't heard from the usual band of trolls. Tbrosz: why the silence, man? Al? McA? Come on guys, we miss you....

Posted by: Tbrosz watch on April 2, 2006 at 11:56 PM | PERMALINK

I talk to conservatives everyday that voted for Bush twice and to a man they are sick of this mess. Massive deficit spending, the realization that gasoline will probably hit $3.00/gallon this summer, a war that they have begun to realize was started based upon lies, and a continous stream of grossly incompetent actions from the operation of the war to Katrina to major intrusion into personal information at all levels. This just leaves them feeling sick and frozen in self-pity of what they have done to America and therefore an unwillingness to even discuss politics. Only a few have any real hope for a continuation of any real conservative values-few of which have been addressed in the last five years and they now realize it. My dad, the conservative-republican for 70 years said to me today that America is now in a real mess.

Posted by: MRB on April 3, 2006 at 12:13 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, people who want a quick and dirty resolution in Iraq are useful idiots. Good lasting change is slow. It needs to be earned. If we just hand over a terrorist free Iraq to Iraqis, they will have no appreciation of the freedom they have and they will make even more sloppy mistakes than they did their overly restrictive and complicated constitution.

Posted by: aaron on April 3, 2006 at 1:39 AM | PERMALINK

Shouldn't "was flatly misled," read
"flatly misled," ? I think there is an extra "was" in there.

Posted by: ET on April 3, 2006 at 10:04 AM | PERMALINK

There's a curious reluctance among newfound Bush/Cheney critics to take that final step of admitting that yes, the bastards lied to us.


Even Anthony Zinni, in his MTP appearance yesterday, eased up by saying that Bush was given "bad intelligence."

Of course he was given bad intelligence. He WANTED bad intelligence. Anything that would give them a pretext for starting a war they'd been looking for even before they took power.

The Busheviks knew full well the facts were against them; why else would George float schemes like flying a plane painted in UN blue over Baghdad in hopes that Saddam would take a shot at it.

Everyone who condemns the war without assigning blame to Bush is doing so with fingers crossed behind their backs.

Posted by: Zak on April 3, 2006 at 10:44 AM | PERMALINK

Aw, c'mon, Kevin, one of the oldest tricks in the book, regarding lying, is to slip in a small amount of truth in an attempt to lend credence and legitimacy to the rest of the lie. It's a fool's game, but one often seen with Republican Guard liars that support Bush.

It is also rather childish, petulant, and something that SHOULD be beneath the dignity of someone like Buckley, but hey, I guess "hangin' out with the Prez" just makes all Republican leaders liars inherently.

It is AMAZING how many Republican Guard members have COMPLETELY sacrificed ANY credibility to rubber-stamp for Bushco.

Posted by: Biil Arnett on April 3, 2006 at 2:14 PM | PERMALINK

Sadly, it doesn't even matter now if Bush were to admit it's not going to work and then pull out the military.

Nope. They've already blown our surplus and left us with trillions in debt. they've already overthrown Iraq and left the Middle East unstable. They've already killed how many thousands of innocents. They've allowed America to be attacked on 9/11 and destroyed thousands of lives here. They have already plundered Iraq and made millions in war profiteering.

They've also used up our military, so they can now argue for more military spending to rebuild.

They've fucked us royally and there's nothing to do except kick 'em out and punish them.

But, low and behold the American public doesn't yet have the balls to punish an ex-president as a war criminal.

So, we're just screwed and Bush is still smirking.

Posted by: MarkH on April 3, 2006 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Xin chao, Minh den tu HL, minh mong muon duoc lam quen voi tat ca cac ban. Thanks you

Posted by: phuong on April 5, 2006 at 12:39 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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