Friday, July 28, 2006

How much must we pay for the education of Pat Buchanan? Nothing. It's free and right here.

As promised, it's time to address this column. The headline is inflammatory, and it gets worse from there. Buchanan is so very wrong, and it's time to set the record straight.

So, the column follows, with my responsive comments inserted throughout:

Buchanan: Where are the Christians?

Response: Well, I can't speak for the rest, but one is right here. By the question, we can assume that Buchanan means that he is one of these (Christians) and that the rest of us who don't want to turn our backs on Israel are heathens. Buchanan has apparently never thought much of the concept that people could, in good conscience, come to a different conclusion than he on important matters. But Christians are permitted to do this (as compared to Hezbollah). Put another way, Buchanan has never been much for freedom, which is another way of saying that Buchanan has never been much of a conservative.

Buchanan continued: 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.

Response: So the dogs have been unleashed, huh? And on "tiny Lebanon"? This is inaccurate and disingenuous. Israel is trying to dismantle and defeat Hezbollah, not Lebanon. Israel's task in this regard is admittedly difficult since Islamic militants hide in civilian areas (and apparently near U.N. outposts, as well) and use women and children as shields. And we see in the last sentence above that it once again comes back to Pres. Bush, whose entire foreign policy in the Middle East has been deemed a "failure" by Buchanan. Note, too, that coming across a nation's border, killing 8 soldiers and abducting two others is only a quote-unquote "act of war", and not an actual act of war. But by whose standards? If a force thinks a particular country doesn't have a right to exist and then crosses that country's border and attacks its military, I think that's an act of war.

Buchanan cont.: 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.

Response: More Bush bashing. It's the same from the Left and their useful idiots all the time. But let's address the content here, at any rate. Did Pyongyang and Tehran defy the Bush Doctrine? Do they, in fact, have nuclear weapons? If Buchanan knows this, he should tell us how he found out. I thought that what we have been engaging in with respect to both N. Korea and Iran was to ensure that neither nation got nuclear weapons. Of course, applying Buchanan's "never attack until the world has you surrounded" philosophy, Iran and N. Korea would both have nuclear arsenals and have them pointed at us before he thought military action was appropriate. And even then, Buchanan would probably insist that they shoot first so that we not be overly "interventionist".

Buchanan cont.: 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.

Response: There he goes again. Buchanan can try this on the CNN or MSNBC audiences, but not with people who pay close attention. Is the "crusade" suspended? (By the way, note the usage of the pejorative term that connotes Christian aggression in the Muslim world here.) And were the elections "free" or were the elections "exploited"? It's hard to be both. Buchanan can't be arguing with a straight face that Ahmadinejad was elected freely by the Iranian people, most of which would love to throw off their mullah leaders. Or is he? Is he referring to Hezbollah in Lebanon as Islamic militants who "exploited a free election"? And if so, what's the problem with the Israelis blasting away at them, since they are Islamic militants? Even in Texas, we have to leave our weapons outside the voting booth.

And who are the militants Buchanan refers to in Iraq? Once again, he doesn't say. Democracy entails more than being granted the right to rule with an iron fist by a majority of the vote. Maybe Buchanan does view democracy this way, and if so, this would explain in part some of the errors in his thinking.

Buchanan cont.: 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.

Response: There goes Israel again, first with the attack dogs, and now "rampaging". Buchanan needs to spring for cable, or an internet connection ... or at least stop reading (and believing) Hezbollah press releases. I wonder, what would Buchanan call randomly firing missiles into civilian areas, indiscriminately killing women and children? Would that qualify as a "rampage"? We don't know, because he doesn't talk about it. Rather, all of Buchanan's moral indignation seems reserved for the Israelis. Who could possibly support attacking civilians, tearing apart and degrading a civilian infrastructure for no reason? Islamic militants, like the ones Israel is at war with, that's who.

As for subcontracting out American policy to Israel, I thought it was supposed to be the other way around. Or is one line of logic suspended at the end of a paragraph? Also, in the Middle East, the reputation one needs to survive is that you will wipe an enemy off the map if it attacks you. That's a good reputation in the Middle East. Make no mistake about it.

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. Yet, asked in St. Petersburg if he would urge Israel to use restraint in its airstrikes, Bush sounded less like the leader of the Free World than some bellicose city councilman from Brooklyn Heights.

Response: Note the repeated usage of "crusade" to describe the efforts to democratize the Middle East. I personally don't believe that Buchanan thinks much of democracy (Maybe this goes back to his definition of it. See above,). But one has to ask, if it's a bad idea to waste American resources to democratize the Middle East (this is a different argument than Buchanan's general ambivalence for democracy) then what is the problem with "smashing up" an experiment gone bad? Buchanan, in his burning desire to constantly attack the Bush Administration, stumbles incoherently in taking his pot shots.

And one typically doesn't urge allies to use restraint in war. Rather, one wishes allies the best and, if possible, helps them to achieve victory in war. Furthermore, it is outrageous to scold Israel for not using "restraint" when its jihadi enemies are indiscriminately raining rockets down on Israeli civilians.

I guess this brings us back to a question for Buchanan: Is Israel our ally, his view? And if not, why not? And another question might be: What does a bellicose city councilman from Brooklyn sound like? We are left to assume that such a councilman would be Jewish. And one is also left to wonder what such a comment means and what it is doing in Buchanan's column. So, is Buchanan is saying that Pres. Bush sounds like an angry Jew? How, if at all, is Buchanan's comment here related to the other opinions expressed in the column?

Maybe these questions will get asked on the next episode of Hardball. Then again, maybe not.

Buchanan: What Israel is up to was described by its army chief of staff, Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, when he threatened to "turn back the clock in Lebanon 20 years."

Response: The general is likely referring to a time before Hezbollah developed its infrastructure and ability to attack Israel from Lebanon. Does Buchanan have a problem with this?

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.

Response: Israel "unleased" ... again. Buchanan needs to spring for a thesaurus, or at least slow down and edit his diatribes. He could say "vicously attacked" or "mercilessly rained down suffering", etc. But his point is clear: Israel is at fault and has "used" the capture of two soldiers (note that the killing of 8 in the same raid is ignored by Buchanan) as a pretext to go after Hezbollah. So, now the neo-con puppetmasters have the power to control even Hezbollah. That Israel could have predicted and controlled Hezbollah's movements and used them to Israel's advantage is, well, amazing. But given the fact that they have hypnotized the President and the entire U.S. Congress, I guess we shouldn't be surprised that the Israelis have such immense, indeed almost supernatural, powers.

And Buchanan seems to almost purposely misstate what is going on in Lebanon on several scores. First, although it is no doubt true that Lebanese people are suffering in this conflict, Hezbollah is suffering, too. And it has no regard for the Lebanese civilians it hides behind, either. Additionally, who has argued that the Lebanese army is going to disarm Hezbollah? It looks to me like the Israelis are doing the bulk of the work here. Talks are underway for an international force to take over once the Israelis leave, but Buchanan is blustering Hezbollah talking points here.

Buchanan: Israel is doing the same to the Palestinians. To punish these people for the crime of electing Hamas, Olmert imposed an economic blockade of Gaza and the West Bank and withheld the $50 million in monthly tax and customs receipts due the Palestinians.

Then, 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.

Response: Query: Is it a crime to knowingly elect criminals to office? How about terrorists? Jihadis? Are jihadis criminals? Or worse? What about electing people who have sworn to end another nation's existence? It's probably not a crime to elect Hamas, but its election was a statement of aggression against Israel, essentially a declaration of war. What is Israel supposed to do, have the prime minister give a congratualatory call on election night? Now, Buchanan is all warm and fuzzy over Islamic militants again. Is this because Hamas got more votes? I hear that guns come in handy for electoral discipline.

I think that Israel's pressure on Hamas is perfectly appropriate. Buchanan says the "Crawford cowboy meekly complied". Once again, who is subcontracting who? And consider the implications of Buchanan's repeated argument of the overwhelming power of the Jews. It begs the question about what he really believes about the Jewish people.

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.

Response: Here, Buchanan trumpets the same tune we often hear from leftists: "Why do they hate us? What did we do to cause Islamic militancy?" Buchanan blames Israel for Islamic hatred and terrorism. Apparently he blames Israel because Fatah and Hamas hate each other, too. Perhaps I am just slow, but how is Israel responsible for Hamas and Fatah wiping each other out?

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. Their food spoiled, their water could not be purified, and their families sweltered in the summer heat of the Gaza desert. One family of seven was wiped out on a beach by what the IDF assures us was an errant artillery shell.

Response: Buchanan repeats the nonsensical "proportionality" charge. But this is war, and arguments pertaining to porportionality have no place in this debate. Here again, Buchanan indulges every inference in favor of the Islamic militants. His last charge has been proven false.

As for the suffering of the Palestinian people, perhaps they should take control of their destiny and rise up against their true oppressors -- the Islamic militants who keep them living like cavemen. If they are unwilling to forego hatred of the Jewish people in order to move into modernity, this is not Israel's fault.

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.

Response: Yes, indeed. Buchanan would let it be said, just not done. His description here of what Israel has a right to do is exactly what Israel has done. To prove my foregoing point, look at what Buchanan has said about what Israel has done.

Buchanan: 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.

Response: More repetition from Buchanan. I guess there's not much for Buchanan to say other than: Israel is bad and the Jews control the world. Completely out of ammo, now he deals the "international law" card from the bottom of the deck. But as for the claimed violations of international law, says who? Syria? Iran? Hezbollah? The U.N. hasn't even said this. Incredible.

And since when does Buchanan care anything about international law, in any event? Plus, if a particular activity is un-American and un-Christian, surely Buchanan and his anti-war friends could find some supportive international law. But really, Buchanan is just calling names here ... throwing verbal bombs.

Buchanan: But where are the Christians? Why is Pope Benedict virtually alone among Christian leaders to have spoken out against what is being done to Lebanese Christians and Muslims?

Response: Pope Benedict, like his predecessor, is consistently pacifist. However, most of Christendom does not agree with the Pope on this point. So, off with their heads! But seriously, the Pope correctly laments the suffering foisted upon innocents in this conflict. It's the same as it is in all wars. War is awful. But free peoples must be willing to engage in it to stay free.

The real question, it seems to me, is: Where is the anti-war/peace movment in denouncing the atrocities committed by Radical Muslims against Jews, Christians, other Muslims, and frankly any one who doesn't want their daughters to be forcibly fitted for a burkha? Their silence, and Buchanan's, is deafening.

Buchanan: When al-Qaida captured two U.S. soldiers and barbarically butchered them, the U.S. Army did not smash power plants across the Sunni Triangle. Why then is Bush not only silent but openly supportive when Israelis do this?

Response: This type of sophomoric nonsense might pass the muster of blustering fools like Chris Matthews, but it is not suited for the scrutiny of the conservative blogosphere (really, agents of Mossad). To answer Buchanan's question: Uh, because we have different objectives in Iraq than Israel has in Lebanon. But it seems the answer that Buchanan is looking for is that the Jews have the President under an evil spell.

And I was wondering ... What would Buchanan argue was a "proportionate" response if terrorists from Mexico came across the border, killed 8 solders and took two others back into Mexico? And what if Vicente Fox said he was powerless to do anything about it?

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?

Response: Like his token, pro-Israel mini-paragraph above, here Buchanan "scolds" the Democrats for two whole sentences. But this pathetic little swipe is not even accurate. Most Democrats today are not pro-Israel; a number are openly anti-Israel. Compare the Republican and Democrat vote totals on the recent House and Senate resolutions regarding the Israel-Hezbollah battle. Take a peek at Daily Kos. Enough said.

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

That Tel Aviv is maneuvering us to fight its wars is understandable. That Americans are ignorant of, or complicit in this, is deplorable.

Response: Buchanan now swerves into a discussion of the Brits to reiterate his belief that, no he is not kidding, WWI was not worth, and WWII wasn't worth it, either. We are just the "naive" cousins again. So, Buchanan argues that Israelis and their British Zionist allies have consistently used us during this century.

So, let me see if I have got this right ... Per Buchanan, Nazi Germany was not our enemy. Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor was to be ignored. And ... this is interesting ... Syria and Iran are Israel's enemies, not ours. I wonder if Ahmadinejad and Assad see it that way. And I wonder if it occurred to Buchanan that a particular regime could be enemies of more than one other nation. Perhaps if a nation, such as Nazi Germany or modern-day Iran had designs on ruling the world or a large swath of it, other nations' interests might be implicated. Simple I know, but ... Note to Buchanan: Look up "Global Caliphate".

Buchanan: Already, Bush is ranting about Syria being behind the Hezbollah capture of the Israeli soldiers. But where is the proof?

Response: Bush is "ranting". This must be the verbal equivalent of a "rampage". Although Buchanan seems to see Israeli agents under every bush (both paid and "pro bono") he demands strict proof that Syria is supporting Hezbollah, asking, "Where is the proof?" Well, it appears that the proof, or at least Nasrallah, may be in Damascus. And don't look now, but it appears that the Iranians, Syrians and Hez may be meeting in Syria, as well. Buchanan's disbelief of Syrian and Iranian support/involvement with Hezbollah is itself unbelievable.

Buchanan: Who is whispering in his ear? The same people who told him Iraq was maybe months away from an atom bomb, that an invasion would be a "cakewalk," that he would be Churchill, that U.S. troops would be greeted with candy and flowers, that democracy would break out across the region, that Palestinians and Israelis would then sit down and make peace?

How much must America pay for the education of this man?

Response: To Buchanan's final volley of wildly-fired questions, the responses are: 1) Per Buchanan, it must be those wascally Jews who are whispering in Pres. Bush's ear; 2) I guess the Jews are controlling the CIA, too. Wow, but given their supernatural/demonic powers, we shouldn't really be surprised, I guess; 3) The Iraq invasion was a relative cakewalk, and in historical terms, the war in Iraq has had a remarkably-low casualty rate, particularly given the size of the operation; 4) As for Churchill, I note that Buchanan doesn't much like one of this century's great statesmen. After all, Churchill was in favor of fighting the Nazis; 5) We have been greeted in large parts of Iraq with candy and flowers; 6) Democracy is breaking out across the Middle East; and 7) Buchanan is delusional if he thinks that the Iraq War was ever marketed as a means to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Did I cover them all?

Not quite. As for the arrogant question about the need for "education" of the President, with Buchanan's views of the all-knowing and all-powerful Jewish agents operating amongst us, what could any mortal do to resist their influence, at any rate? I mean, we, I mean, they rule the world. Clearly.