Buckley’s been a skeptic on Iraq for some time

Conservative icon and NRO Editor William F. Buckley, Jr. created quite a stir last week when he came out and essentially said we’ve lost in Iraq. The popular sentiment seemed to be that he, as a staunch conservative, was a strong supporter of the Iraq war who had resigned himself to the belief that we’d lost there.

Ramesh Ponnuru at NRO reminds everyone that Buckley has been a skeptic of the Iraq war for quite some time:

William F. Buckley Jr. has been skeptical about the Iraq venture for some time. Two years ago he said that if he had known before the war that Saddam Hussein had no WMD, he would have opposed the war. The mosque bombing appears to have been the final straw for him. He now says that it is beyond doubt that “the American objective in Iraq has failed.” It is time for an “acknowledgment of defeat.”

This is a refinement and extension of Bill’s position in response to new circumstances. It’s not a case in which a full-throated supporter of the war turned on it and came out for an immediate withdrawal. He wasn’t a full-throated supporter of the war, and he hasn’t (yet?) come out for immediate withdrawal. Still, his pronouncement strikes me as important (even allowing for the bias that comes from working in the House of Buckley).

I myself think that Bill’s conclusion is premature. It could very well be vindicated by events, although obviously I hope it won’t be.

In other words, the lefties who are trying to spin this as being the same as Howard Dean’s position on the Iraq war are incorrect. Howard Dean was never a supporter of the Iraq war from the word go. Buckley’s position has gradually changed over time. It wasn’t a case of going directly from staunch support to believing we lost.

Others blogging about this: Captain Ed, Mark Noonan at Blogs For Bush, Flopping Aces, Decision ’08 (preachin’ to the lefty “Bush supporters are cultists” whiners – heh), UNCoRRELATED, Below The Beltway

Related Toldjah So post:

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