By Hannah Simpson
Three-time presidential candidate and political analyst Pat Buchanan spoke out on the U.S.’s role in the Middle East, prospective candidates for the 2008 elections and issues concerning the courts and immigration on March 20 at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke.
Buchanan, who spoke as part of UNCP’s Distinguished Speaker Series, said the major issue dividing the country is the war in Iraq. He described Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein as a thug, but also said that no Middle East countries feared him.
“Why was the greatest country in the world afraid of him?” Buchanan asked. “He wasn’t a threat.”
It is not necessary for a country to go to war unless its citizens are in peril, Buchanan said. He also stated that he voted to refrain from war, as he did with both Gulf wars.
Buchanan gave three reasons for the war in Iraq.
The first of these he said was hubris, stating that the U.S. has an “arrogance of power.” Buchanan said that the U.S. was encouraged after winning the war with Afghanistan; the government also feared that another 9/11 would occur if Iraq was not invaded.
However, Buchanan said all that occurred by the invading of Iraq was the creation of a safe haven for terrorists, the loss of alliances, the loss of any friendship in the Middle East and discovering that the weapons of mass destruction did not exist. Korea recently built their weapons because of Iraq, he added.
Buchanan said that Bush’s defense was that he believed in his cause. The second reason was the ignorance of history.
“It is said that the only thing we know about history is that we forget history,” he said.
The third reason for the war was ideology. Buchanan said that when current President George W. Bush first ran for office, he had no ideology. Buchanan said the president has since become a “neo-conservative.”
Buchanan’s example was a quote from the president during the recent state of the union address, in which Bush said the goal of the U.S. was to make countries of the world democratic. Buchanan added to the quote, saying that if countries are not democratic, then they are tyrannical and the world won’t be safe, right? Wrong, he said.
Buchanan said that it should not be the goal of the U.S. to make a democratic example of Iraq for the Middle East. The U.S. will soon try to rid the world of evil and sin, Buchanan joked. He said that the U.S. is trying to create a utopia that can never exist.
“There have always been tyrants, and we have always been secure,” said Buchanan.
“When I was growing up, we were a constitutional republic,” he said, saying that many of the founding fathers recoiled from the use of the word “democracy.”
“We don’t all share the same universal beliefs,” he said.
Buchanan said that the presidential election in 2008 should bring about a focus on other issues than the war, such as what it means to be a super power, and if it is in the best national interest of the people to fight so many wars.
Buchanan said that the 2008 presidential candidates will likely fall to Senators Hilary Rodham Clinton and John McCain.
“She has done an extraordinary job turning herself into a credible candidate,” he said of Clinton.
Buchanan said that her husband, former president Bill Clinton, will be a burden on her candidacy, as will the high pitch her voice takes when she speaks vindictively, which he says is “something every husband in America has heard.”
Despite going out of his way to be unfavorable to the Republican Party, Buchanan says that Sen. McCain is still the strongest candidate for the party, claiming that he “has both money and polls.”
Buchanan also argued that the judicial system has “seized and perverted” the constitution by changing it without the consent of the people.
He said that it is not the job of the courts to throw religious monuments and prayer out of schools and public buildings without the consent of the citizens.
It is also not appropriate for the court to make decisions concerning the legality of abortion or upsetting society for a change in school segregation laws, such as making it mandatory for school districts to consider race when allowing students to enter the system, he said.
“Are we a judicial dictatorship or a constitutional republic where ‘we the people’ govern ourselves?” he asked.
It’s not what we decide, Buchanan said, but who decides that matters.
Another hot topic discussed was illegal immigration by Mexicans into the U.S.
Twelve million illegal aliens live in the U.S., Buchanan said, and, according to the president, one in 12 has a criminal record. Buchanan said illegal immigration needs to stop because American citizens are moving towards the East due to the influx of immigrants in the West.
Pat Buchanan is a political analyst and a contributor to MSNBC. Buchanan also served as co-host for CNN’s Crossfire for nearly 20 years, was a former White House speechwriter and is a current panelist on The McLaughlin Group.
Sports commentator and NFL analyst James Brown is the final speaker in the series on Thursday, April 19, at 7 p.m.
Hannah Simpson is a first year student majoring in Mass Communications.