June 18, 2008

Conservatives who said no

For the record, our friend Daniel Flynn has assembled a highly useful catalogue of 50 conservatives, of variousstripes, who’ve opposed the Iraq war.

It’s certainly refreshing to be reminded that the cablenews partition of pro-war nutjob on your right and antiwar whiner on your left simply does not hold. Still, the presence of Francis Fukuyama, Jack Kemp, and Matt Labash on this list not only proves that no antiwar conservative coalition is imminent but, more importantly, that the divisions within the Right run very deep, and were not fully revealed in the debate over the war.     

* * *

1. “What’s really killed the Republican Party isn’t spending, it’s Iraq. As it happens, I was opposed to going into Iraq from the beginning. I think it was a mistake, for the simple reason that I do not believe the United States of America ought to be involved in aggression.”
—Milton Friedman, The Romance of Economics, Wall Street Journal, July 22, 2006

2. “But it is clear to me now that things are not working out well in Iraq. Despite the incredible confidence, bravery and sacrifice of our men and women on the ground there, Iraq is still a violent, largely out of control nation. We may be making more terrorists than we destroy. The word ‘quagmire’ comes sadly to mind.”
—Ben Stein, What Ben Stein Thinks Bush Should Do, CBS.com, October 29, 2006

3. “With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn’t the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago. If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war.”
—William F. Buckley, National Review Founder to Leave Stage, New York Times, June 29, 2004

4. “As President Bush marched the country to war with Iraq, even some voices on the Right warned that this was a fool’s errand. I dismissed them angrily. I thought them unpatriotic. But almost four years later, I see that I was the fool. In Iraq, this Republican President for whom I voted twice has shamed our country with weakness and incompetence, and the consequences of his failure will be far, far worse than anything Jimmy Carter did.”
—Rod Dreher, Bush, Iraq Lead a Conservative to Question, National Public Radio, January 11, 2007

5. “I think it’s a total nightmare and disaster, and I’m ashamed that I went against my own instincts in supporting it.”
—Tucker Carlson, Newly Dovish, Tucker Carlson Goes Public, New York Observer, May 16, 2004

6. “I thought there was an arrogance about this war, and a belief flowing from self-righteousness and misdirected idealism, which was bound to end in disaster. I thought of my own country at the end of the nineteenth century and embarking on the Boer War and ending essentially its imperial power by its overweening folly. And I thought, not merely wrong but a mistake. And nothing, absolutely nothing that has happened since—and I have been to Iraq twice since that war took place—has convinced me in any way that I was wrong. This was an idealist’s war. It was an idealist’s war supported by idealists for the best of reasons. And it fulfilled my belief that there is nothing in this world more terrifying than somebody who thinks that he is right.”
—Peter Hitchens, Debate: Hitchens v. Hitchens, April 3, 2008

7. “The thought of Saddam Hussein with a sophisticated nuclear capability is a frightening thought, okay? Now, having said that, I don’t know what intelligence the U.S. government has. And before I can just stand up and say, ‘Beyond a shadow of a doubt, we need to invade Iraq,’ I guess I would like to have better information…. I think it is very important for us to wait and see what the inspectors come up with, and hopefully they come up with something conclusive.”
—General Norman Schwarzkopf, Desert Caution, The Washington Post, January 28, 2003

8. “Despite the myriad voices in the press insisting, ‘Iraq is not a Vietnam!’ the indisputable fact is that, if you consider the passions and principles applied there, it really IS another Vietnam. Among the causes for the war are obscurantist theories about foreign threats that have little basis in reality; civilians at the top who play with the soldiers they have never been; and the underlying lies that give credence to special interests (the Bay of Tonkin pretense in Vietnam, the supposed weapons of mass destruction in Iraq).”
—Georgie Anne Geyer, Vietnam and Iraq Have More Similarities Than Differences, November 10, 2003

9. “We didn’t have a casus belli going in, and that was disturbing to me. Casus belli means that this guy is a threat to our national security, to our vital national interests, or to American lives. I just didn’t see that that was the case. We had Afghanistan happening, and Osama bin Laden is a fellow who needs to meet God sooner or later—preferably with a U.S. bullet in his head—and that was a more pressing matter to me at that time.”
—Tom Clancy, Charlie Rose Show, May 25, 2005

10. “The Pope has very clearly expressed his thoughts, not only as the thoughts of an individual, but as the thoughts of a man of conscience occupying the highest functions in the Catholic Church. Of course, he has not imposed this position as a doctrine of the Church, but as the appeal of a conscience enlightened by the faith. This judgment of the Holy Father is convincing from a rational point of view also: reasons sufficient for unleashing a war against Iraq did not exist. First of all it was clear from the very beginning that proportion between the possible positive consequences and the sure negative effect of the conflict was not guaranteed. On the contrary, it seems clear that the negative consequences will be greater than anything positive that might be obtained. Without considering then that we must begin asking ourselves whether as things stand, with new weapons that cause destruction that goes well beyond the groups involved in the fight, it is still licit to allow that a ‘just war’ might exist.”
—Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), The Catechism in a Post Christian World, April 2003

11. “My fault was in not grasping the scale of the administration’s multiculturalist ambitions. (Of which, to be fair to them, they had given plenty of hints, and even one or two frank declarations of intent.) George W. Bush believes that, to borrow and adjust a line from the colonel in Full Metal Jacket: ‘Inside every Middle East Muslim there is an American trying to get out.’ The effort to stabilize Iraq, and the reluctance to just leave the Iraqis to fight each other among the rubble, followed inevitably from that belief, which is, according to me, a false belief. I see all that now. I didn’t see it then. I am sorry.”
—John Derbyshire, Apologizing for Iraq, NRO, June 12, 2006

12. “I for one would not have supported the war if I thought that its principal justification was the liberation of the Iraqi people, which is what the White House now says was its primary mission. Our military exists to defend the nation, not be the world’s policeman.”
—Bruce Bartlett, My Misgivings, Townhall.com, April 21, 2004

13. “Of all of the different views that have now come to be associated with neo-conservatives, the strangest one to me was the confidence that the US could transform Iraq into a Western-style democracy and go on from there to democratise the broader Middle East. It struck me as strange precisely because these same neo-conservatives had spent much of the past generation warning about the dangers of ambitious social engineering and how social planners could never control behaviour or deal with unanticipated consequences. If the US cannot eliminate poverty or raise test scores in Washington, DC, how in the world does it expect to bring democracy to a part of the world that has stubbornly resisted it and is virulently anti-American to boot?”
—Francis Fukuyama, Shattered Illusions, The Australian, July 16, 2004

14. ‘‘I don’t believe that America will justifiably make an unprovoked attack on another nation. It would not be consistent with what we have been as a nation or what we should be as a nation…. My own view would be to let [Saddam Hussein] bluster, let him rant and rave all he wants and let that be a matter between he and his own country. As long as he behaves himself within his own borders, we should not be addressing any attack or resources against him.’’
—Majority Leader Dick Armey, Iraq Is Defiant as GOP Leader Opposes Attack, New York Times, August 9, 2002

15. “The war on Iraq is a dangerous diversion from the war on al-Qaida. Indeed, an Iraq invasion is likely to inspire retaliatory terrorism from Islamists everywhere. I would prefer to see America’s resources—money, manpower, intelligence services, military might—devoted to crushing the al-Qaida infrastructure, tracking down its operatives and protecting the American homeland from terror assault. Our current anti-terror efforts are pathetically inadequate, as I fear we shall soon see.”
—Heather MacDonald, Who’s for War, Who’s Against It, and Why, Slate, February 19, 2003

16. “For some, the promotion of democracy promises an easy resolution to the many difficult problems we face, a guiding light on a dimly seen horizon. But I believe that great caution is warranted here. Without strong evidence to the contrary, we should not readily believe that, without an enduring American presence, democracy can be so easily implanted and nourished in societies where history and experience suggest it is quite alien. It may, in fact, constitute an uncontrollable experiment with an outcome akin to that faced by the Sorcerer’s Apprentice.”
—Rep. Henry Hyde, The Perils of the Golden Theory, February 26, 2006

17. “President Bush has adopted and fostered an ideologically charged missionary spirit that bears a striking resemblance to that of the Jacobins who led the French Revolution. The principles of ‘freedom and democracy’ are to be promoted around the world by virtuous American power. The French Jacobins, too, saw themselves as virtuous champions of universal principles, ‘freedom’ and popular rule prominent among them.”
—Professor Claes Ryn, A Jacobin in Chief, The American Conservative, April 11, 2005

18. “Although the Constitution endows the legislative branch with the sole authority to declare war, the president did not consult Congress before announcing his new policy. He promulgated the Bush Doctrine by fiat. Then he acted on it. In 2003, Saddam Hussein posed no immediate threat to the United States; arguing that he might one day do so, the administration depicted the invasion of Iraq as an act of anticipatory self-defense. To their everlasting shame, a majority of members in both the House and the Senate went along, passing a resolution that ‘authorized’ the president to do what he was clearly intent on doing anyway.”
—Professor Andrew Bacevich, Rescinding the Bush Doctrine, Boston Globe, March 1, 2007

19. “What’s human sacrifice if not sending guys off to Iraq for no reason?”
—Mel Gibson, Mel Gibson Criticizes Iraq War at Film Fest, AP, September 25, 2006

20. “Although the argument that the United Nations cannot dictate to us what is in our best interest is correct, and we do have a right to pursue foreign policy unilaterally, it’s ironic that we’re making this declaration in order to pursue an unpopular war that very few people or governments throughout the world support. But the argument for unilateralism and national sovereignty cannot be made for the purpose of enforcing UN Security Council resolutions. That doesn’t make any sense. If one wants to enforce UN Security Council resolutions, that authority can only come from the United Nations itself. We end up with the worst of both worlds: hated for our unilateralism, but still lending credibility to the UN. The Constitution makes it clear that if we must counter a threat to our security, that authority must come from the U.S. Congress.”
—Rep. Ron Paul, Another United Nations War?, February 26, 2003

21. “[Saddam Hussein] is a bad guy. He’s a terrible guy and he should go. But I don’t think it’s worth 800 troops dead, 4,500 wounded—some of them terribly—$200 billion of our treasury and counting, and our reputation and our image in the world, particularly in that region, shattered.”
—General Anthony Zinni, Author Tom Clancy Criticizes Iraq War, AP, May 24, 2004

22. “The United States intends to invade and occupy a nation that has not attacked us, to reshape its society, rebuild its government, and redirect its foreign policy to reflect American ideals and serve American interests. Imperialism, pure and simple. Though President Bush declares our aims to be altruistic—liberation of the people of Iraq from the grip of a brutal dictator—this war is already seen in Arab eyes as a war of American empire.”
—Patrick J. Buchanan, After Baghdad, Where Do We Go?, March 3, 2003

23. “And what are we to say of the threat of a war which could strike the people of Iraq, the land of the Prophets, a people already sorely tried by more than twelve years of embargo? War is never just another means that one can choose to employ for settling differences between nations. As the Charter of the United Nations Organization and international law itself remind us, war cannot be decided upon, even when it is a matter of ensuring the common good, except as the very last option and in accordance with very strict conditions, without ignoring the consequences for the civilian population both during and after the military operations.”
—Pope John Paul II, Address of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to the Diplomatic Corps, January 13, 2003

24. “We’ve got to be looking at priorities here. Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden have one thing in common, and that is they both hate the United States. Otherwise, they have very little in common. As a matter of fact, my guess is, if it weren’t for the United States, Osama bin Laden would turn on Saddam Hussein. Why? Because Saddam Hussein is the head of a Ba’athist party—a secular, socialist party. He is anathema to the kind of world that Osama bin Laden wants to reinstall. So he’s part of the problem; he’s not part of the solution. That doesn’t mean they can’t cooperate, and might not cooperate. But what I’m saying is we need to get our priorities straight, and we’ve got them straight right now. We’re going after number one target.”
—Lt. Gen. Brent Scowcroft, PBS Interview, October 2001

25. “Now America is engaged in a great exercise in nation-building. America invaded Iraq to disarm a rogue regime thought to be accumulating weapons of mass destruction. After nine months of postwar searching, no such weapons have as yet been found. The appropriate reaction to this is dismay, and perhaps indignation, about intelligence failures—failures that also afflicted the previous American administration and numerous foreign governments. Instead, Washington’s reaction is Wilsonian. It is: Never mind the weapons of mass destruction; a sufficient justification for the war was Iraq’s noncompliance with various U.N. resolutions. So a conservative American administration says that war was justified by the need—the opportunity—to strengthen the U.N., a.k.a. the ‘international community,’ as the arbiter of international behavior. Woodrow Wilson lives.”
—George Will, Can We Make Iraq Democratic, City Journal, Winter 2004

26. “[T]he administration believes Saddam Hussein is on the verge of acquiring weapons of mass destruction and using them against us. Outside the White House complex, there is some doubt on this score. I am not convinced and I do not believe the majority of Americans are yet convinced that it is wise or prudent to divert resources away from the difficult struggle against the fanatical Islamic Jihadists and the task of rebuilding Afghanistan…. Based upon the hard evidence I have seen, I do not believe the administration has yet made a compelling case for the invasion and occupation of Iraq. There is no doubt in my mind we could win such a war and dispose of Saddam Hussein. The question that continues to nag, however, is ‘what then?’”
—Jack Kemp, Questions to Ponder, Townhall.com, September 24, 2002

27. “Considering that I’m writing this from inside the bunker of what many regard as the Alliance of Neocon Warmongers, it bears mentioning that Michael Moore and I have one surprising trait in common: We both believe that the war in Iraq was ill-advised, ill-planned, and ill-executed, an apparent failure bordering on unmitigated disaster, that was never in our best national interest. Around our office over the last two years, I’ve made these arguments to colleagues, open-minded types who, after they put me through my water-boarding/naked pyramid sessions, say they’ll take it under advisement.”
—Matt Labash, Un-Moored From Reality, The Weekly Standard, July 5/12, 2004

28. “At last Thursday’s White House briefing, spokesman Ari Fleischer was asked whether the president was retreating from 2000 campaign opposition to the use of U.S. troops for nation building, since they now are stationed in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia and probably soon in Iraq. ‘No,’ responded Fleischer, ‘the president continues to believe that the purpose of using the military should be to fight and win wars.’ Instead, he talked about U.S. relief workers distributing humanitarian aid in occupied Iraq along with ‘a variety of international relief organizations.’ Watching Fleischer on television, a skeptical Republican in Congress could only chuckle. It will take more than civil servants to bring order to Baghdad after the coming war. In quest of national greatness at home and of a Middle East that is safe for America and Israel, George W. Bush faces a daunting task. While disdaining nation building, he is embarking on empire building.”
—Bob Novak, The American Imperium, February 10, 2003

29. “As was predicted here almost four years ago, the Iran-backed Shia Muslims, who are the majority in Iraq, are steadily taking over Iraq and turning it into an ally of Tehran—a most ominous development for the United States. Iran is truly one of the charter members of the Axis of Evil—and, ironically, the Bush Plan is turning Iraq into an adjunct of Iran! Under the new Constitution of Iraq, these fundamentalist Muslims will be able to control the oil in the south and also impose their radical political and social agenda. Women will be treated worse under this new government than under Saddam. Beatings and stonings will be allowed; and women will be confined to a backward lifestyle including limited education and no outside-the-house jobs. Did US troops fight and die so that a Muslim Theocracy could be imposed in Iraq? Our whole adventure in Iraq is an example of American intervention run amok. It is why true conservatives never liked the notion of a pre-emptive invasion and we don’t believe in nation-building.”
—John LeBoutillier, Deterioration, Boot’s Blasts, August 29, 2005

30. “No one has ever thought Wilsonianism to be conservative, ignoring as it does the intractability of culture and people’s high valuation of a modus vivendi. Wilsonianism derives from Locke and Rousseau in their belief in the fundamental goodness of mankind and hence in a convergence of interests. George W. Bush has firmly situated himself in this tradition, as in his 2003 pronouncement, ‘The human heart desires the same good things everywhere on earth.’ Welcome to Iraq. Whereas realism counsels great prudence in complex cultural situations, Wilsonianism rushes optimistically ahead. Not every country is Denmark. The fighting in Iraq has gone on for more than two years, and the ultimate result of ‘democratization’ in that fractured nation remains very much in doubt, as does the long-range influence of the Iraq invasion on conditions in the Middle East as a whole. In general, Wilsonianism is a snare and a delusion as a guide to policy, and far from conservative.”
—Jeffrey Hart, The Burke Habit, Wall Street Journal, December 27, 2005

31. “Unfortunately, what we face in Iraq today is a vacuum of power, a lack of stable institutions needed to govern, and the problem that the promise of democracy for which our nation stands may be lost in the essential scramble for safety and stability in the streets. This is one of the reasons I am uneasy about the war we have made here—for we have helped to create the chaos that has overtaken the country, and we may have reduced rather than promoted the pace of democratic reform.”
—Jeane Kirkpatrick, Neocon Godmother Considered Iraq War a Mistake, The Nation, April 9, 2007

32. “The emergence of a postwar democratic Iraq is a Walter Mitty fantasy.”
—Arnaud de Borchgrave, Bush’s Rubicon: War on Iraq Risks Global Muslim Terrorism, Newmax, January 31, 2003,

33. “And the existence of myriad threats highlights the real problem: there are opportunity costs in this dangerous world to being bogged down in a WMD-free Iraq. Yes, presidents sometimes have to make decisions based on imperfect intelligence. But there were substantial prewar doubts. We conservatives have too often allowed this president to soft-pedal those doubts and, worse, conflate the war aims with its actual results. Many conservatives have been too slow to grapple with new data unfolding on the ground in Iraq, preferring the comfort of familiar talking points. But it is not disloyal to our brave troops, a thousand of whom have already made the ultimate sacrifice for their country, to question the war. Nor is this presidential campaign the wrong time to raise such questions, for fear of helping Kerry, whose position on the war is indecipherable and is otherwise banally liberal. In addition to the election, something else is at stake: the credibility of conservatism as the guarantor of responsible national defense.”
—W. James Antle III, Conservatives Must Face Iraq Facts, EnterStageRight.com, October 11, 2004

34. “The administration has yet to challenge any of the following statements that bear on whether Iraq is a serious threat to U.S. national interests: Iraq has not attacked the United States. The administration has provided no evidence that Iraq supported the Sept. 11 attacks. Iraq does not have the capability for a direct attack on the United States—lacking long-range missiles, bombers, and naval forces.”
—William Niskanen, One Last Time: The Case Against the War with Iraq, Cato Institute, February 5, 2003

35. “For a movement that began uniquely united in opposition to communism, it is strange that the conservative split would become most profound on foreign policy. From its founding document, the Sharon Statement, conservatives had agreed that all foreign policy had to be justified on the criterion—was it in ‘the just interests of the United States’? Communism was the ‘greatest threat’ to those interests, so it had to be opposed. Iraq was not so simple for the question was empirical, not principled—was that war in the U.S. interest or not? Was it necessary to eliminate weapons of mass destruction and control terrorism or was Iraq not a threat unless the U.S. invaded and stirred up Mideast terrorism? Buckley and many others calculated war was necessary but still opposed empire building. Philosophically, either he was right that building an American world empire was against conservative principles or Bill Kristol, Max Boot and Paul Johnson—with some NR and the Wall Street Journal support—were correct that a new American colonialism was required to bring peace and democracy to the world.”
—Donald Devine, Revitalizing Conservatism, May 13, 2003

36. “Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.”
—Kevin Tillman, After Pat’s Birthday, October 19, 2006

37. “You can make a case for it. You can make a case against it. But what you can’t oppose is the clear obligation of the president of the United States to secure a declaration of war from the Congress of the United States before he initiates action in Iraq or elsewhere. We will suffer greatly whenever we fail to adhere to the Constitution of the United States.”
—Howard Phillips, U.S. Can’t Attack Iraq Unless Congress Declares War, Newsmax, July 23, 2002

38. “For the past ten years at least, the conservative movement has been dominated by a bunch of pudgy, pasty-faced kids in bow-ties and blue blazers who spent their youths playing Risk in gothic dormitories, while sipping port and smoking their father’s stolen cigars. Thanks to the tragedy of September 11—and a compliant and dim-witted president—these kids got the chance to play Risk with real soldiers, with American soldiers. Patriotic men and women are dying over in Iraq for a war that was never in America’s interests. And now these spitball gunners, these chicken hawks, want to attack Iran—which is no threat to the U.S. at all. One thing I can tell you for sure, there may well be some atheists in foxholes—but you’ll never find a neocon. They prefer to send blue-collar kids out to die on their behalf, so they get to feel macho—and make up for all the times they got wedgies in prep school. It shall be our considered task to take on the chicken-hawks of this world, and give them wedgies again.”
—Taki Theodoracopulos, TakiMag, 2007

39. “The next president should commit to a speedy and complete withdrawal from Iraq, and tell the Iraqi people that the U.S. troops will be going home…. the war and subsequent occupation was a mistake and has been badly mismanaged.”
—Bob Barr, Tell Iraqis No Permanent Bases, Says Barr, June 3, 2008

40. “In the ongoing debate over the present Iraq War, I have stood opposed since before we first attacked on March 19, 2003. I opposed the war on prudential grounds, believing it to be both unwarranted and counterproductive to the War on Terror. And I opposed it because it is unconstitutional, lacking the congressional Declaration of War required by the Constitution for sustained offensive actions against another sovereign nation.”
—Eric Langborgh, Is the Iraq War Constitutional?, Borg Blog, July 19, 2007

41. “Let’s be clear: we have lost this war. We have lost because the initial, central goals of the invasion have all failed: we have not secured WMDS from terrorists because those WMDs did not exist. We have not stymied Islamist terror—at best we have finally stymied some of the terror we helped create. We have not constructed a democratic model for the Middle East—we have instead destroyed a totalitarian government and a phony country, only to create a permanently unstable, fractious, chaotic failed state, where the mere avoidance of genocide is a cause for celebration. We have, moreover, helped solder a new truth in the Arab mind: that democracy means chaos, anarchy, mass-murder, national disintegration and sectarian warfare. And we have also empowered the Iranian regime and made a wider Sunni-Shiite regional war more likely than it was in 2003. Apart from that, Mr Bush, how did you enjoy your presidency?”
—Andrew Sullivan, Ron Paul for the Republican Nomination, Daily Dish, December 17, 2007

42. “Notice what Colin Powell didn’t say. Addressing the United Nations Security Council, the meticulous secretary of state—the Bush administration’s most credible spokesman—didn’t say that Saddam Hussein had anything whatever to do with the events of 9/11. That was supposed to be the whole point of the ‘war on terrorism’: to avenge and punish the destruction of the World Trade Center and part of the Pentagon, and to prevent a recurrence of that horror. It’s hard to see how war on Iraq will achieve either purpose. What do Iraq’s hidden ‘weapons of mass destruction,’ however terrible, have to do with a score of terrorists armed only with box-cutters? Nothing. Nor did Powell say that conquering Iraq would amount to a victory. Or that it would defeat or diminish terrorism. Or that Americans would be safer from terrorists if the United States launches war on Iraq. Have Americans already forgotten that the ‘war on terrorism’ is supposed to be about—terrorism?”
—Joe Sobran, What Happened to the War on Terrorism?, February 6, 2003

43. “We have created in Iraq the exact type of scenario Bin Laden was hoping (but failed) to lure us into in Afghanistan—an unwinnable war where we’re isolated from the world, our troops are walking targets for guerilla terrorists, and our only options are bad (pull out and hope for minimal carnage) and worse (stay in, where our troops will continue to die, and where there’s no prospect for stability in the near future). A loosely-connected, (relatively) poorly funded, backward-thinking organization like Al-Qaeda could never inflict significant harm on the United States, at least not in a straightforward war. Their best hope is to scare us into rash, ill-considered actions like overextending our military, alienating our allies, and doing away with the open society and civil liberties that define who we are.”
—Radley Balko, Six Years Later: Bin Laden Still Free, U.S. Mired in Iraq, FoxNews.com, September 11, 2007

44. “Still, throughout Bush’s almost two-year rush to use the military solution against Iraq, I became increasingly convinced that the Butcher of Baghdad was not a threat to our national security and was far from the main event. No way in my military mind could I see how he represented anywhere near the clear and present danger of a dirty-bomb-armed al-Qaida or a North Korea with nukes and a missile-delivery system probably capable of frying our West Coast at the push of a button. So I was opposed to employing the military solution against Iraq because: We’d lose our focus on dealing with the main contenders; we’d use too many military assets and too many tax dollars; and we’d end up with an already overstretched military force stuck in the Iraqi sand for years.”
—Col. David Hackworth, Bad Call, WorldNetDaily, August 5, 2003

45. “Conservatives are divided on the Iraq war, but there is a growing feeling it was a mistake. It’s not a Ronald Reagan-type of idea to ride on our white horse around the world trying to save it militarily. Ronald Reagan won the cold war by bankrupting the Soviet Union. No planes flew. No tanks rolled. No armies marched.”
—Richard Viguerie, How the Right Went Wrong, Time, March 15, 2007

46. “The consequences of the neocons’ adventure in Iraq are now all too clear. America is stuck in a guerrilla war with no end in sight. Our military is stretched too thin to respond to other threats. And our real enemies, nonstate organizations such as Al Qaeda, are benefiting from the Arab and Islamic backlash against our occupation of an Islamic country.”
—Paul Weyrich, The Antiwar Right Is Ready To Rumble, New York Times, November 7, 2004

47. “My opposition has deepened as the war has exceeded my worst fears in duration, blatant economic motives, political incompetence and military brutality…. Get out right now. Declare victory, declare defeat, remember a pressing engagement back home… it doesn’t matter what reason is given. Get out immediately.”
—Wendy McElroy, Iraq Progress Report, Reason, March 17, 2006

48. “It is a traditional conservative position to be in favor of a strong national defense, not one that turns our soldiers into international social workers, and to believe in a noninterventionist foreign policy rather than in globalism or internationalism. We should be friends with all nations, but we will weaken our own nation, maybe irreversibly unless we follow the more humble foreign policy the President advocated in his campaign. Finally, it is very much against every conservative tradition to support preemptive war.”
—Rep. John Duncan, Conservatives Against a War With Iraq, March 6, 2003

49. “[T]he invasion of Iraq in 2003, has served American interests in no identifiable way. The United States is more diplomatically isolated than at any time in recent memory. The secular regime of Saddam Hussein, detestable as it was, was nevertheless among the more liberal states of the region. As many observers predicted at the time, in the absence of Saddam it may now be replaced by an Islamic state. That is what American security and the ‘American national interest’ have gained from a conflict whose financial cost alone will surpass the cost of America’s share of World War I sometime next year.”
—Thomas Woods, The Progressive Peacenik Myth, The American Conservative, August 2, 2004

50. “Congress is there for the exercise of that responsibility. I think our Constitution and our tradition are quite sufficient here. [Bush] should not do what he’s planning to do without a clear congressional mandate. This is against all American tradition. Anyone who has ever studied the history of American diplomacy, especially military diplomacy, knows that you might start in a war with certain things on your mind as a purpose of what you are doing, but in the end, you found yourself fighting for entirely different things that you had never thought of before. In other words, war has a momentum of its own and it carries you away from all thoughtful intentions when you get into it. Today, if we went into Iraq, like the president would like us to do, you know where you begin. You never know where you are going to end.”
—George Kennan, George Kennan Speaks Out About Iraq, History News Network, September 26, 2002



Subscribe to Taki’s Magazine for an ad-free experience and help us stand against political correctness.


Sign Up to Receive Our Latest Updates!


Daily updates with TM’s latest