Tuesday, July 25, 2006

The old dog barks

Give it up for the Old Man. Buckley does some remarkable things in this column: He dredges something useful out of Pat Buchanan and he raises a fair point, radical Islam is in "fighting trim."

Overall, though, I think he's not quite on board. He accuses Bush essentially of what the Left accuses, that he's too simplistic, too tied to idealism. Really, in Reagan, the Left said the same thing, but the Right recogized it as leadership. Bush's problem isn't false goals (i.e., he should not be more "pragmatic" with those rising heathens) but instead an unwillingness to articulate them more forthrightly than he does. Why, who knows. Maybe it's the same political calculating that gave us NCLB and Medicare Part D.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

We can give Buckley points for consistency, since he's always maintained if the Chinese are biting the heads off their babies, it's none or our business. But on almost every other count, he's nuts.

The war on terror, including on Iraq, isn't about "idealistic certitudes," it's about down and dirty calculations that get that leaving the problem alone will lead to more and bigger 9/11's. Buckley thinks Americans wouldn't have gone along with the war in Iraq (or even Afghanistan!--how clueless is that?) without Bush's idealism to sell them, when the truth is if he hadn't fought Saddam he'd have been tossed out in 2004 and that would have been the right thing to do.

I understand that Buckley goes backs to the nativist, isolationist Right, but that should have gone out with Reagan, not to mention 9/11.

It's when he quotes Buchanan that he really loses it. Oh no, there's a Muslim under my bed! Muslim's aren't in "fighting trim." They're incredibly weak in relation to the West. What's not in fighting trim is the West's will, except for Bush.

Buckley even asks what Islam wants that they can't get from turning into Christians. Hey, Bill, why not become a Muslim and find out?

By the way, Reagan got it pretty tough from the Right, maybe tougher than Bush. Reagan got called a useful idiot by a lot of people who used to be on his side. History proved him right, around the same time Buckley stopped taking in new information.

8:50 AM, July 25, 2006  
Blogger ColumbusGuy said...

Excellent post.

If you'll permit a quibble, though, I think you misinterpret one thing about Buckley's piece. He wasn't saying those folks are our equals in capability; he was saying they've got will, which is also what you say. And similarly for the Christian line: he's not calling for conversion either way. He's asking why the Muslims are motivated and, by implication, Christians are not (putting aside whether he's right in his assumptions, it's a good question).

9:19 AM, July 25, 2006  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

I was gonna rebut two points by "anonymous", and then it turns out that ColumbusGuy rebutted those exact two points.

"Fighting trim" is a real issue. Suppose, hypothetically, that Nation A had the most powerful military equipment in human history and our soldiers are slackers who sign up to get money for college, and that Nation B had limited and inferior equipment, and an unlimited supply of soldiers who were eager to give every moment of their lives to kill and die for their cause.

Who will win in the short run? Certainly Nation A.

Who will win in the long run? I honestly don't know. If you are certain that it's Nation A, then it doesn't matter who is fighting trim.

FWIW, I do think that the low quality of a significant fraction of our soldiers is partially the fault of the liberal opposition to this war. The Weathermen smiled every time the Viet Cong downed an American plane, but the followers of RFK and McCarthy didn't. But today, many liberals I know smile when Americans hit setbacks.

Just to be clear: they don't do this because because they favor our enemies, but because they hate Bush so much that they are jumping out of their skins in eagerness to say "I told you so." But is that any less destructive of morale? The New York Times and Nancy Pelosi have pretty much made it clear to our soldiers in Iraq that they are the armed forces of the Red States, not of the United States.

Do any of you know a single middle-class liberal who has enlisted in the armed forces in the past three decades?

9:35 PM, July 25, 2006  
Blogger LAGuy said...

As a neutral observation, I'd say our armed forces are as good as they've ever been. Antiwar people might undermine the public's confidence (that's their intention, after all) and even encourage the enemy, but I don't think they have that much to say about the effectiveness of our troops.

(One thing that would make a difference--reintroducing the draft. But since no one except a few Democrats takes this seriously, I'm not worried.)

In an all-out fight, the West would easily beat Islamofascism, and will be able to for the foreseeable future. What we're trying to do is 1) prevent such an all-out fight and 2) avoid 10,000 or 100,000 or 1,000,000 of our side being taken out in one incident.

11:44 PM, July 25, 2006  

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