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WWWFBJrD? Not Invade Iraq.

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The latest issue of Commentary has a solemn black-bordered memorial to William F. Buckley Jr. as a "master" and "cherished friend" (and the magazine’s editor, John Podhoretz, offered this vaporous and largely meaningless eulogy). Buckley has also been fondly eulogized by Bill Kristol, promoter of the Iraq war.

But in The American Conservative, Jeffrey Hart, of The National Review, says that Buckley had a "tragic" view of the Iraq war, "saw it as a disaster and thought that the conservative movement he had created had in effect committed intellectual suicide by failing to maintain critical distance from the Bush administration." Wow; they loved power too much. Hart:

  Buckley published three syndicated columns about Iraq, all of which
were reprinted in National Review. The first argued that it is doubtful
that an effort "hugely greater in scale and more refined in
conception" would produce the desired result. [not sure what that means!] When no weapons of
mass destruction were found, Buckley speculated that this rationale for
the invasion, now discredited, would not matter if all ended well. But
as the 2004 presidential election approached, he compared the evident
quagmire to the French defeat by a brutal insurgency in Algeria.
[my emphasis]

   In these pieces, Buckley diverged sharply from the generally
optimistic view of Iraq taken by National Review. Kristol must have read
these columns at the time but had perhaps forgotten them when he wrote
his column about Buckley–or else dismissed them since the Weekly
Standard still believes that the Iraq effort has been a success.

Intellectual suicide. Got to remember that one.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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