31 December '12..
President Obama's possible nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense has prompted various pundits and analysts to weigh in for or against the move. Among those vehemently in favor of the candidate is Pat Buchanan who asked in a December 28 Townhall column ("Why the War Party Fears Hagel)":
If a senator or defense secretary believes an Israeli action -- like bisecting the West Bank with new settlements that will kill any chance for a Palestinian state and guarantee another intifada -- what should he do?
Defend the U.S. position, or make sure there is "no daylight" between him and the Israeli prime minister?
There WERE a lot of inaccurate media accounts of the E1 settlement developments to which he refers that may have confused Mr. Buchanan. But there were also lots of prominent corrections in places like The New York Times that clarified the issue and made clear the area would not be bisected, nor would a Palestinian state be prevented. Mr. Buchanan must have glided over the full, accurate story for some reason.
In an excellent piece in the February 2012 Columbia Journalism Review entitled "Pat Buchanan and His Enablers" journalist Jamie Kirchick recounted the departure of the commentator from left-leaning MSNBC in the wake of his recent book lamenting the decline of "White America." Kirchick also recalled William F. Buckley Jr.'s painstaking analysis years earlier of Buchanan's statements at the time of the first Gulf War when, among other things, he said:
“There are only two groups that are beating the drums … for war in the Middle East -- the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States."
Kirchick notes Buckley concluded that it was “impossible to defend Pat Buchanan against the charge that what he did and said during the period under examination amounted to anti-Semitism.” And he "wrote his old friend...out of the conservative movement."
Buchanan's latest rantings against "neocons" and "bellicose" Israelis and the "wolves" who want to throw Hagel overboard are a reminder that Buckley's moral leadership is sorely needed today.