Pat Buchanan's Iraq Conspiracy

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In the uproar that followed the remarks by Congressman Jim Moran (D-Va.) about Jews and Iraq last month, scant attention was paid to some more egregious charges. They were hurled by Pat Buchanan, the former Presidential speech writer, two-time Presidential candidate, columnist and television personality, who these days is showing unmistakable signs of paranoia.

Representative Moran, speaking at a town meeting, had declared, "If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for the war with Iraq, we would not be doing this." Surprised and appalled by the firestorm of criticism that followed, Moran quickly apologized, admitting that his remarks were "insensitive."

But even as Moran was committing his political gaffe, the March 24 issue of "The American Conservative" was carrying a little noticed Buchanan diatribe entitled "Whose War?" The article charged that American foreign policy has been hijacked by a "cabal" of "neoconservatives," clearly Buchanan's code word for high-ranking Jews in the Bush Administration. These neocons, he says, are "deliberately damaging U.S. relations with every state in the Arab world that defies Israel or supports the Palestinian peoples' right to a homeland of their own." They "harbor a 'passionate attachment' to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on the assumption that, somehow, what's good for Israel is good for America." In other words, it's "their war," not ours.

Think about this. Buchanan in effect is charging that such strong-minded and staunch officials as Donald Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney and Colin Powell, to say nothing of the President, are mere putty in the hands of such wily plotters as Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle and Elliott Abrams, bending willingly to their traitorous agenda.

Over the years, the record of this renegade Republican has been loaded with proclamations that have caused many of his fellow conservatives to shy away and even disown him. William Bennett, for one, has charged Buchanan with "flirting with fascism." During the 2000 Presidential primaries, candidate Alan Keyes accused Buchanan's advisors of appealing to racist and anti-Semitic voters. Both William Buckley, writing in the National Review, and New York Times columnist Bill Saffire have noted that Buchanan demonstrates hostility to Jews in his public statements.

And how about this? While conceding that Adolph Hitler had committed heinous deeds, Buchanan once wrote that "he was also an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier in the Great War, a political organizer of the first rank, a leader steeped in the history of Europe, who possessed oratorical powers that could awe even those who despised him." That comes close to the kind of worship that I reserve for people like Andre Agassi.

There's more. In 1990, in his columns defending Nazi death camp guard John Demanjuk, on trial in Israel for war crimes, Buchanan charged that diesel engines used in the World War II gas chambers at Treblinka and other death camps "do not emit enough carbon monoxide to kill anybody." That false argument was borrowed directly from so-called Holocaust deniers. And he has scoffed at the so-called Holocaust Survivor syndrome, charging that it involves "group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics."

Buchanan has also charged that the British started the terror bombing in World War II, causing the Germans to retaliate and that, in world War I, "lying British propaganda" (not the sinking of the Lusitania?) enticed the U.S. into war with Germany.

It all seems so unfair. Representative Moran, who has no record of prejudice or demagoguery, simply made a bad mistake and is still taking heat for it. But nary a word about Pat Buchanan's disgraceful polemic. Indeed, Buchanan still holds his current job as co-anchor of MSNBC's "Buchanan and Press" a show that like CNN's Crossfire is supposed to pit Left against Right. But while the Left is ably represented by Bill Press, a former California Democratic Party chairman and Crossfire veteran, Pat Buchanan, despite an engaging personality and an obviously high IQ, has got to be an outright embarrassment to the Right. At long last, MSNBC, have you no shame?