Pat Buchanan

For whence does it come, if not the same hawks and neocons who beat the drums for a unnecessary war on Iraq that cost 4,000 U.S. dead, 35,000 wounded and $700 billion, while making widows and orphans of half a million Iraqis?

And what was that all about? Invading and occupying a country that never attacked us -- to strip it of weapons it did not have.

Certainly, as the last nominee of the Republican Party, McCain can claim to be titular leader, as could George W. Bush, or Dick Cheney, Mitch McConnell or John Boehner.

But, if memory serves, the Bush-McCain party was repudiated in landslides in 2006 and 2008, giving Democrats the presidency, the House and a veto-proof Senate. And high among the reasons the country turned on the GOP is that, like Harry Truman and LBJ, the Bush-McCain GOP marched us into wars they could not win and could not end.

This campaign to censure and remove Steele is designed to censor debate and stifle dissent on Obama's war policy, as long as Obama's war policy closely tracks the agenda of the War Party.

Should Obama declare that he intends to stand by his deadline and begin pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan by July 2011, those Republicans today accusing Steele of not supporting the troops and undercutting the president in wartime would themselves begin undercutting the president.

In November, the Republican Party will make gains. But the party will be deluding itself if it assumes this means America wants a return to the interventionist policies that brought us the Iraq and Afghan wars. The country will simply be saying: We reject Obama's liberalism as emphatically as we rejected Bush neoconservatism.

Most Americans today approve of the agreed-upon end of U.S. combat operations in Iraq by August and removal of all U.S. troops by the end of 2011, just as they support an American withdrawal from Afghanistan, starting a year from now.

But to contend that those who want the withdrawals to begin sooner, or those who want them to begin later, are unpatriotic and do not support the troops is itself unpatriotic.

The time for Republicans to decide on what the foreign policy of the party and a new administration should be is in the primaries of 2012. Until then, let every voice be heard, including that of Michael Steele.

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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