“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Friday, December 22, 2006

Pat Buchanan on Scarborough Country Last Night

Pat, things seem to be heating up. And the president of Iran, as crazy as he is, seems to enjoy provoking America, provoking Israel, provoking its allies, saying he‘s going to wipe us off the map.

Does that not give President Bush the cover he needs to say, this man can‘t be trusted with a nuclear weapon; we need to act sooner rather than later against Iran?

PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first off, he‘s prophesizing we‘re going to disappear from the earth. Secondly, he doesn‘t have control over the military authority in Iran. That is the ayatollah that does.

But there, Joe, what exactly what he is doing, he‘s appealing to the Arab and Islamic street. He‘s uniting Sunni and Shia by mocking and belittling and provoking the United States verbally.

I wouldn‘t worry about that much. He‘s been doing it for a year. Iran is yet to take a single military action that they know would result in massive American or Israeli retaliation.

I do think, on our side, the president is probably considering - has to be, he and Cheney - whether or not they want to leave office with Iran still moving toward enrichment of uranium, toward the possibility of a nuclear weapon.

So, I think if there‘s .

SCARBOROUGH: Don‘t you think, Pat, that this president and the vice president are right now considering the possibility of military strikes on Tehran - not an invasion, but military strikes?

BUCHANAN: Well, I don‘t know about Tehran, but I would think the Bushehr plant, the Natanz plant and the other nuclear facilities, they‘ve probably got - we probably have active plans for taking those out. My guess is the Israelis do.

But I don‘t think the president‘s going to pull the trigger yet, Joe. He‘s still moving down the diplomatic track. They might get some sanctions on Tehran. I think there‘s the makings of a deal.

One Iranian spokesman said today, we will accept inspections, and we will agree to peaceful nuclear power and accept inspections. That‘s a solution. If we could get a solution like that, I think we should go for it.

SCARBOROUGH: Michael Crowley, though, isn‘t it possible - I really believe that this president may consider attacking - along with Israel - attacking some nuclear site in Iran, simply because, you know, the way they work. They don‘t trust the Iranians. They‘re not going to sit down with the Iranians and negotiate with the Iranians like the Baker commission suggested.

So, in the end, don‘t you think we may see some military strikes along with Israel against some of these nuclear positions there, especially if their president continues to threaten wiping out the United States and Israel?

CROWLEY: Yes, well, you know, Ahmadinejad does not - I mean, I can see the strategic reason for how those words play in the Middle East. But as far as trying to get the United Nations and our European allies off his back, he does not do himself any favors with that rhetoric and this crazy Holocaust conference he had.

I wouldn‘t be shocked if there were military strikes. I do think that it sounds like Cheney, and maybe Bush also, think that it‘s a very plausible option. But it‘s a very frightening one.

I mean, first of all, it‘s not clear to me that .

SCARBOROUGH: Well, talk a little bit more about Iran‘s president. This is a guy that was involved with the students back in 1979. He‘s been at the epicenter of this Islamic revolution all these years.

I mean, people, especially in Israel, but conservatives in America, are scared to death by this man, aren‘t they?

CROWLEY: Yes. I mean, he definitely seems crazy. He says - he may be crazy like a fox, but he says crazy-sounding things. I mean, the Holocaust conference was appalling. He talks about the destruction of America. And there is a persuasive argument that says, sometimes you have to take people at their word.

You can‘t always - I mean, it‘s a tired - Hitler analogies tend to be kind of tired, but there is truth to the fact that some people thought that Hitler said a lot of crazy things, but he didn‘t actually intend to act on them. Sometimes people mean what they say, and you can‘t always just write it off.

I just feel like it‘s not even clear whether bombing these nuclear sites would be effective. You could have the worst of both worlds by striking at the nuclear plants .

BUCHANAN: Exactly.

CROWLEY: . and not knocking them out.


CROWLEY: And we know how taxed our military is right now. We can‘t afford to be starting a second war, particularly with our troops so vulnerable there in Iraq. Iran could make life miserable for the U.S. military in Iraq.

BUCHANAN: Joe, here‘s the thing, though. Ahmadinejad is not a - he‘s not crazy; he‘s a fanatic. He‘s a dedicated, serious fanatic.

But here‘s the thing. The president of the United States does not have the authority to attack Iran. That is an act of war against a country we have not declared war against.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, didn‘t Ronald Reagan .

BUCHANAN: The Congress of the .

SCARBOROUGH: Didn‘t Ronald Reagan attack Libya?

BUCHANAN: He attacked Libya in response to an attack. If Iran attacks us, George Bush has authority to smash them. And he would.

But what I believe Congress ought to do is pass a resolution, if it‘s got any guts, saying the president of the United States does not have the authority to attack Iran unless and until it comes to us and gets our approval of acts of war against Iran. If the Congress had any guts, they would do that on January 5th.

SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t think they‘re going to do it. And I think this conflict is going to continue to rise. And I wouldn‘t be surprised if we didn‘t strike out against Iran in the next six months to a year, because I believe - look, Pat, and you alluded to it - I believe this president will not leave office with the Iranians holding a nuclear weapon.

BUCHANAN: But, Joe, isn‘t that .

SCARBOROUGH: I just - I don‘t think it‘s going to happen.

BUCHANAN: Isn‘t that a impeachable act to take us to war in the absence of a declaration of war and in the absence of any attack? Where does he get that authority? He‘s not a king.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, a lot of people would say right now that the president‘s acting like a king in Iraq. When you‘ve got only 12 percent of Americans wanting more troops.


SCARBOROUGH: When you have him going against all of his generals.

We‘re in a very frightening time.

BUCHANAN: But, you know, Joe .


BUCHANAN: Joe, the Congress could cut off the funds for the new troops, if they had any courage. They don‘t. That‘s the problem.

SCARBOROUGH: Well, we‘re going to see what happens. We‘re going to see if the Democrats deserve the majority, or whether they‘re going to be booted out two years from now.

Pat Buchanan, thanks for being with us. Michael Crowley, I greatly appreciate it.

And as Pat said, it‘s all in the hands of the Democrats right now. They‘re in charge. They asked to be in charge. Now, let‘s see what they‘re going to do with the power that the American people entrusted them with.

Republicans have certainly blown it over the past six years. Let‘s see how Democrats handle it for the next two.


  1. dave h,
    If the president is impeached and there is no sitting vice president what happens?
    If the president is found guilty by the Senate and removed from office the next in line for the presdency is the Speaker of the House.
    In my opinion this impeachment gig is and has been way out of hand.
    Andrew Johnson was impeached and saved from guilt by one vote..what was his crime? He was attempting to carry out Lincolns reconstruction and healing programs so the nation could get past the Civil War.
    The Republicans demanded war reparations from a defeated south, which neither Lincoln (dead) or Johnson thought was a good healing method.
    Clinton, ok I didn't like him but his impeachment was on thin gruel also.
    As far as I can tell Geo.W has done nothing to be impeached over, but Washington is a vicious get back,get even town so ya never know.

  2. Busy right now, but on Bennet's show last nite some guy that's known Joe for years was blown away by the turn he's taken.
    Like Clint Eastwood, the lure of them Singing MSM Sirens is just impossible to resist, I guess.

  3. BUCHANAN: Joe, here‘s the thing, though. Ahmadinejad is not a - he‘s not crazy; he‘s a fanatic. He‘s a dedicated, serious fanatic.
    But here‘s the thing. The president of the United States does not have the authority to attack Iran. That is an act of war against a country we have not declared war against.
    Here's where Buchanan has lost it. He knows full well that the War Powers Act of 1973 allows the President to commit land ,sea,and air to combat without congressional authorization. He must report to them and within 90 days they must decide what they're going to do.
    The War Powers Act doesn't require us to be attacked or anything else. If in the Presidents opinion the US is in imminent danger he can attack.

  4. The President could determine that Iran:
    planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons, in order to prevent any future acts of international terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations or persons. ...

    If he does so determine, to what ever Standard HE determines sufficent to so determine, the President is then:
    "... authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines ..."

    Now that is the Law.
    Passed 14 Sept 01 and signed by the President on 16 Sept 01.

    So there you go, all Mr Bush has to do is deermine Iran is harbouring terrorists of International Reach. Which has already been documented, many times over. And act accordingly, under the Authority granted by Congress.

  5. Habu said, "The War Powers Act doesn't require us to be attacked or anything else. If in the Presidents opinion the US is in imminent danger he can attack."

    But if Congress doesn't sign the checks, he's gonna have to attack with slingshots.

  6. Limits the length of the Campaign, Ms T, that's all.

    But the Dems would not freeze the troops.

  7. "Limits the length of the Campaign, Ms T, that's all."

    Frankly, if Bush undertook an air campaign to take out as much of Iran's nuke sites as possible, I suspect it would be greeted with majority approval among the citizenry.

    Let's face it, as much as it grates on our very souls that the current ROE saddling our young finest is the equivalent of being handed a sh!t sandwich in Iraq, the seeming stalemate over the larger Middle East is similarly grating for many Americans, in part because we know we could deflate that windbag in a heartbeat.

    If Bush took such a decisive action, I suspect public opinion would give him the 90 days in spades.

    The Dems would oppose at their peril.

  8. Developments in Iran are very very interesting at this point.
    We have one of the head cheeses getting ready to croak..Khomenei, I believe(somebody fill in here if that's not right I'm not looking it up)..ya got the mad insane guy Amexnjadinwino losing power via elections and being booed at universities....all that is good for a coup. A few of the minuses ...the guy in line to take K's place is as whacked as
    Adamneveajah..we can hope for some nice rioting and a coup, hopefully being fomented by CIA/SAVAK (leftovers) OR Israel or the US will bomb, no troops just some bombing.

  9. rufus, looks like nothing a guy could hang his hat on:
    Prime Minister al-Maliki's call to former military personnel to return to duty indicated a genuine attempt to reach out to the disaffected Sunnis. The Ba'athists promptly rejected that appeal, describing the new Iraqi Army as "an army of collaborators with the occupation."

    From a Radio Free Europe article.

  10. Why, dave h, you write as if the US was at war with Iran, to promote such a scenario.
    While I am one of the first to admit that Iran is at war with US, it is a fact that the US is not War with Iran.

    Campaign for the strategic idea of the "Larger" war rather than the "Longer" war, then an Iranian scenario could become possible.