Buckley Again Chastises Bush For Being "Incapable" Of Ending Iraq War "Failure"
William F. Buckley, the father of U.S. conservative political philosophy, told CBS News yesterday that he finds himself parting ways with President Bush, whom he admonishes for having strayed from true conservative principles in his foreign policy.
"If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we've experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign," Buckley said for the July 22 interview, from his home in Stamford, Conn.
In particular, Buckley said he views the Iraq War as a failure, because he was "incapable of bringing together such forces as apparently were necessary to conclude the Iraq challenge."
It's the latest in a series of stinging comments by Buckley, who was honored by Bush in October, for the 50th anniversary of Buckley's legendary conservative magazine, National Review.
Such is life when you're fighting an increasingly unpopular war, with no satisfactory end in sight and the number of U.S. dead at 2,500 and counting. If a Democrat were to say the things Buckley has been saying, he would be blasted by conservative pundits and called a hero by the left. When Buckley is the one doing the talking, the conversation is much more serious. Buckley has not minced words this year on the state of the Iraq War, and who he was blaming.
Back in March, Buckley told Bloomberg News: "(I)t's important that we acknowledge in the inner councils of state that it (the war) has failed, so that we should look for opportunities to cope with that failure.''
Asked who was to blame for what he deems a failure, Buckley told Bloomberg, "the president." Buckley also called Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, a longtime friend, "a failed executor'' of the war.
A month earlier, Buckley wrote in National Review: "One can't doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. ... Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven't proved strong enough. ... A problem for American policymakers — for President Bush, ultimately — is to cope with the postulates and decide how to proceed."
Speaking to CBS News yesterday, Buckley took the argument a step further, suggesting that because of Iraq, the Bush Administration has ignored other problems, such as those that led to the recent blow-up between Israel and the terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah.
Because the administration has been "engulfed by Iraq, by which I mean no other subject interests anybody (in the administration) other than Iraq," Buckley said the administration has failed to have proper perspective "with respect to, well, other parts of the Middle East with respect to Iran in particular."
Given that, it should be no surprise that with regard to foreign policy, Buckley said, "There will be no legacy for Mr. Bush."