R. Cort Kirkwood
My late dear friend and mentor Howard Phillips, one of the few conservatives who went broke because he didn’t sell out to Conservatism Inc., gave me the following advice: “Never attribute to malice what can be explained by ignorance.” We must therefore not be angry with a young conservative you’ve never heard of, Jack Butler, who recently suggested at National Review that Pat Buchanan is an antisemite. He didn’t say it of course, but he strongly implied it.
This terrible calumny is nothing new. Thirty years ago, because of Buchanan’s strong stand against U.S. interference in the Middle East and Israel’s interference in American politics, the neoconservatives hoked up a smear campaign to wreck Buchanan’s career and public image. It didn’t succeed, but their dirty work lives on in cyberspace.
Thus did Young Jack, the NR website’s “submissions editor,” sally forth with all the same excerpts from Buchanan’s works and public appearances we heard so long ago, and supposedly prove that Buchanan is, well, you know what he is. Yet like all the previous attacks on Buchanan, Young Jack’s limp jab is scare-quote journalism. Like everyone else, Young Jack didn’t grab the nettle and discuss the substance of Buchanan’s remarks, or whether he was right … or wrong. With scare-quote journalism, merely offering the quotes, presumably with a grim, furrowed brow, is enough to show they are false.
Unhappily for Young Jack, a 2015 graduate of Hillsdale College — a finishing school for the future salesman and CEOs of Conservatism, Inc. — Buchanan was right. But Young Jack wouldn’t know that, because he’s not old enough to know it, and likely doesn’t know much history.
The Scare Quotes
And so All-Of-About-30-Year-Old Jack took to task Heritage Foundation President Kevin Roberts for mentioning Buchanan in a speech that condemned “international elites [who] ‘spend much of their time and budgets’ condemning, among others, ‘our Jewish brothers and sisters.’”
“Roberts further contended that aid to Israel is of paramount importance, part of a series of issues that will set ‘America’s trajectory,’” Young Jack explained, following with a blast at Roberts, and after that, Buchanan. Some excerpts:
In light of this commendable stance, however, there is little justification for Roberts, in this same speech, to have praised Washington, D.C., native and longtime Beltway fixture Pat Buchanan as a prescient and noble voice. Buchanan, he says, made his “mark in the world by being a thorn in the side of elites who badly deserved one.” As America’s leaders “sold out our republic’s Cold War triumph for a mess of globalist pottage,” Buchanan was there, warning against such follies as excessive American overseas intervention. (And Roberts was there as well, as a Buchanan presidential-campaign volunteer.) Ignored or even lumped in with a group of “traitors” for questioning the Iraq War, for example, Buchanan has, in Roberts’s view, only been vindicated over time. …
But Pat Buchanan has had other foreign-policy views during this period. His views on Israel are especially worth recalling at this moment. In the debate leading up to and during the Gulf War, Buchanan emerged as a prominent dissenting voice. He went further than asserting that the war was not in the U.S. interest. Rather, he argued that Israel and its influence operation in the U.S. were luring it into war. “There are only two groups that are beating the drums … for war in the Middle East,” Buchanan said. “The Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.” He criticized the Democratic Party for being the “diapered poodle of … the Israeli lobby.” But it wasn’t just Democrats: All of Capitol Hill is “Israeli-occupied territory.” It was “a Parliament of Whores incapable of standing up for U.S. national interests, if AIPAC is on the other end of the line.” Israel learned long ago, in his estimation, that the U.S. would even go so far as to cover up Israel’s mistakes, citing Lyndon Johnson’s handling of the Israeli attack on the USS Liberty during the Six-Day War. Buchanan in his objections to the Gulf War portrayed Israel as a malign force in our politics, subverting popular will through domestic interference.
His views on this matter outlasted the Gulf War. In 1999, he professed to “know the power of the Israeli lobby,” which is the “most powerful of ethnic lobbies.” In 2001, he declared that, “so long as the United States provides Israel with the weapons and money to crush intifadas, expand settlements and postpone the coming of a Palestinian state, our reputation in the Middle East is in the custody of Ariel Sharon,” then Israel’s prime minister. In 2003, he accused neoconservatives of seeking “to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel.” In Where the Right Went Wrong: How Neoconservatives Subverted the Reagan Revolution and Hijacked the Bush Presidency, he stressed that “America needs a Middle East policy made in the USA, not in Tel Aviv, or at AIPAC or AEI.” Referring to Israel’s ruling party and again to Sharon, then its prime minister, he described “a war between America and Islam” as designed to benefit “one nation, one leader, one party. Israel, Sharon, Likud.” He accused his critics of harboring a “‘passionate attachment’ to a nation not our own that causes them to subordinate the interests of their own country and to act on an assumption that, somehow, what’s good for Israel is good for America.” In 2004, he called George W. Bush’s “blind solidarity” with Sharon “among the greatest crosses we have to bear in the war on terror.”
Near the end of the George W. Bush administration, he accused “Israel and its Fifth Column in this city” of trying “to stampede us into war with Iran.” In reference to Israel’s next prime minister, Ehud Olmert, he called the U.S. “Ehud’s poodle” for its apparent willingness to do Israel’s bidding.
There’s more, but you get the idea.
Pollard And The USS Liberty
Now, give Young Jack credit for one thing. He has certainly leanred that mouthing boilerplate pro-Israel platitudes is something of a litmus test on the Official Right. And so is attacking anyone who doesn’t. The boy knows who butters his bread.
But most bothersome about Young Jack’s stupid piece is that he mimics the neocons, leftists, and communists (or do I repeat myself) and never attempts to refute a single one of Buchanan’s words. Not one.
What Young Jack thinks about the Israel Lobby and whether it is as powerful as Buchanan has said it is, we never learn. Of course, we have to hope NR’s submissions editor won’t deny that there is an Israel Lobby and that is at least somewhat influential. If the neocons in the late 1990s and early aughts did not want “to conscript American blood to make the world safe for Israel,” Young Jack offers no evidence to prove Buchanan wrong. And if he doesn’t think the entirety of the Republican and Democrat parties have a “‘passionate attachment’ to a nation not our own,” then one can only suggest he read the newspapers and what newly-elected speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives said after the Hamas attack:
Not to put too fine a point on it, but here’s what Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu said about Israel’s influence in the states: “In recent years, we have promoted laws in most US states, which determine that strong action is to be taken against whoever tries to boycott Israel.”
But let’s move on. Young Jack is too young to remember, but Israel, “our most reliable ally,” brutally and purposely attacked the USS Liberty, a lightly-armed surveillance ship sailing in international waters, on June 8, 1967. Israeli aircraft and boats strafed, bombed, and torpedoed the Liberty until they killed 34 Americans and wounded 171. It was a mass murder; a war crime. When the Sixth Fleet’s USS America dispatched eight aircraft to defend the besieged vessel, a vice admiral recalled them. And the attack continued.
The captain William McGonagle, received a Medal of Honor not in a public ceremony at the White House, as was and is customary going back to at least World War II. Instead, he received it secretly from the secretary of defense at the Washington Navy Yard, the equivalent of a janitor’s closet at the Pentagon. The citation is a lie by omission. It says he received the medal during the Vietnam War, which is true only in the sense that I hurt my knee when I was kid during the Vietnam War. And unlike all other citations, doesn’t mention the word “enemy,” identify an enemy, or say who attacked the Liberty. I wonder why.
But let us not dwell on what the Israelis and their trained poodle, President Lyndon Johnson, called a case of “mistaken identity,” a risible lie only an idiot would believe.
Now, on to Jonathan Pollard, the Jewish-American intelligence analyst who gave Israel top secret information in 1984. He should have hanged, but instead received a life sentence from which he was paroled, after which he repaired to Israel on a private jet owned by GOP moneyman Sheldon Adelson. In Israel, in yet another laughable lie, he accused the Biden Regime of “antisemitism.” Right. Here is the list of Jews now helping Let’s Go Brandon execute the Great Replacement, wreck the economy, fill the military with sex perverts, and otherwise destroy what’s left of our country.
Young Jack was a wee shaver when the Project for a New American Century, which began pushing in 1998 for an unprovoked attack to remove Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. Here’s leftist Wikipedia:
[C]ore members of the PNAC including Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, R. James Woolsey, Elliott Abrams, Donald Rumsfeld, Robert Zoellick, and John Bolton were among the signatories of an open letter initiated by the PNAC to President Bill Clinton calling for the removal of Saddam Hussein. Portraying Saddam Hussein as a threat to the United States, its Middle East allies, and oil resources in the region, and emphasizing the potential danger of any weapons of mass destruction under Iraq’s control, the letter asserted that the United States could “no longer depend on our partners in the Gulf War to continue to uphold the sanctions or to punish Saddam when he blocks or evades UN inspections.” Stating that American policy “cannot continue to be crippled by a misguided insistence on unanimity in the UN Security Council,” the letter’s signatories asserted that “the U.S. has the authority under existing UN resolutions to take the necessary steps, including military steps, to protect our vital interests in the Gulf.” Believing that UN sanctions against Iraq would be an ineffective means of disarming Iraq, PNAC members also wrote a letter to Republican members of the U.S. Congress Newt Gingrich and Trent Lott, urging Congress to act, and supported the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 (H.R.4655) which President Clinton signed into law in October 1998.
That sounds an awful lot like the neocons wanted to conscript American blood to make the world safe for some country, which couldn’t have been the United States, to which Hussein presented no threat. He certainly didn’t threaten his Arab neighbors.
Anyway, Young Jack mightn’t know most of this because he was 0 years old when a lot of it happened. He was a toddler, and quite possibly still potty training, when the Smear Bund opened fire on Buchanan for criticizing Israeli influence on American foreign policy.
Quotes Himself At 30 Years Old
Maybe Young Jack knows this history; maybe he doesn’t. It doesn’t much matter. What matters is that NR, a magazine for which I wrote regularly before Young Jack was born, has yet again smeared Buchanan. The first time, founder William F. Buckley Jr., sucker-punched Buchanan and Joe Sobran, two fellow Catholics, in a ridiculous screed called In Search Of Anti-Semitism that became a more ridiculous book.
NR jumped its tracks some time ago, and anyone who saw the preposterous Against Trump issue had wondered whether how far off the rails it could go. Well, now we know. The soy boys who run it used communist scare-quote journalism to attack the only GOP presidential candidate who would have, and could have, done something to turn this country around. No wonder serious conservatives regard NR as a joke.
As a final note, one marvels at Young Jack’s self-regard. Here we have a man — still using Clearasil for all we know — who actually quotes himself. At 30-something years old. “As I have written,” he wrote to introduce something he had written, as if he were Winston Churchill or Douglas MacArthur. Maybe I’m out on a limb, but I dare say that introducing a sentence with “as I have written” sounds a lot more convincing coming from a British prime minister or five-star general who left their mark on history.
Then again, Young Jack is, well, young. The callow fellow doesn’t know what he doesn’t know, not least that real journalists don’t repair to scare-quote journalism, and writers who might still use pimple cream don’t quote themselves.
I worked for Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign. I interviewed Buchanan in his living room. I can’t say I am an intimate friend. But I can say that the suggestion that Buchanan is a malevolent hater because he cares more about his own country than Israel is contemptible. Saying so is a filthy lie.
But let’s attribute Young Jack’s limsy, pseudointellectual report not to malice but instead to ignorance.
All of eight years out of school, the laddybuck still has a lot to learn.