MY RECENT REVIEW of Pat Buchanan’s new book, The Death of the West, has triggered some angry letters from Buchanan supporters.
Offended at various remarks that I made, my critics are mostly upset at my implication that Buchanan is a racist. One reader writes to me,
"Your paranoid feelings are coming out. I read Buchanan’s book, The Death of the West, and I do not get out of it any racial feelings."
For a person to read The Death of the West and not "get out of it any racial feelings" is unquestionably quite a feat. This is like spending an entire day hanging around with members of the flat earth society and never getting the hint that something might be a little bit, well, not altogether right.
I have studied Pat Buchanan’s philosophy of life for quite a while. Aside from his anti-communism and Catholicism, both of which I deeply respect, his views on other issues do more than just raise my eyebrows. There is one particular realm of Buchanan’s world vision that troubles me the most. I would like to take this opportunity to offer all the Buchanan supporters a summary of this realm. It will probably serve as a great inspiration to them.
Let’s begin with an illuminating fact: if you read the criticisms of my review in the Go Postal section, you will find that several Buchanan supporters keep accusingly inquiring if I am a Jew. What does this say about them?
Let me give you a clue:
Buchanan wrote a real charming book before The Death of the West. In A Republic, Not An Empire, he denied that Adolf Hitler had any malicious intentions toward the West, let alone toward the Jews living there. He also argued that Hitler was forced into pursuing the Final Solution because of British and American intervention in the war. Buchanan’s implication, in other words, was that Hitler wasn’t really responsible for what he did.
Buchanan has described Hitler as a "genius" and "an individual of great courage, a soldier's soldier in the Great War."
What feelings or beliefs would motivate a person to make such a tribute to Hitler?
Buchanan’s words have always implied that, if Hitler had only entertained designs on Eastern European Jews for his Final Solution, and that as long as this did not affect American interests, then America had no obligation to intervene on purely humane grounds. That’s what Buchanan’s "America First" policy is all about.
I can’t help from wondering: what exactly is Buchanan saying about the Holocaust?
Buchanan has also shown an obsessive predilection for defending accused Nazi war criminals, every one of whom somehow appear to be innocent in his eyes.
What rests behind a man’s passion to distinguish himself in this light?
During his infamous defense of John Demjanjuk, Buchanan claimed that Demjanjuk was not the guard he was alleged to be at Treblinka. Buchanan turned out to be right: Demjanjuk was a guard in a different concentration camp.
The non-existence of a forthcoming Buchanan apology on Demjanjuk implied that Buchanan believed that he had actually won on this issue.
During his defense of Demjanjuk, Buchanan made the intriguing statement that the diesel gas fumes used at Treblinka could not have killed anyone. These diesel gas fumes were used not only at Treblinka, but also at a number of other death camps. Hundreds of thousands of Jews died in these camps. If these victims did not die from diesel gas fumes, then how and why did they die? Would Buchanan be willing to expose his family members, as well as himself, to the same fumes in order to demonstrate his point?
During Ronald Reagan’s presidential visit to the Bitburg cemetery in Germany, Buchanan wrote, for Reagan's controversial speech, that the Germans buried there, who included members of SS units and Nazis who participated in Hitler's extermination of the Jews, were "victims of the Nazis just as surely as the victims in concentration camps."
Buchanan has also compared the Nazi camps with those set up by Gen. Eisenhower for German prisoners of war. This is a comparison between POWs being held because they are an enemy in war and a group of people who are liquidated because of their race.
Buchanan has drawn a parallel between Andrei Sakharov, the great Soviet dissident who was persecuted for, among other things, his courage in standing up for human rights in a totalitarian regime, and Arthur Rudolph, a German rocket scientist who admitted his involvement with slave labor and other atrocities of the Nazi regime.
Why would Buchanan do this?
During the Gulf War, Buchanan charged that the American intervention was caused by a Jewish conspiracy, which consisted of American Jews conspiring with the Israeli Defense Ministry. On other occasions, he has talked about the "Holocaust survivor syndrome" which, in his view, involves "group fantasies of martyrdom and heroics." During these particular interpretations, he put himself in the same league with Holocaust deniers and Holocaust perpetrators by using their favorite vocabulary.
Holocaust deniers consistently talk about the "Jewish conspiracy," that pathological fantasy that involves the Jewish control of the media and the banks, the Jewish assault on culture, the Jewish poisoning of the Aryan race, etc. We've heard this all before: in Mein Kampf and in the terminology of Nazi spokesmen who engineered Auschwitz, Dachau, Buchenwald and, yes, Treblinka.
What is it that possesses a man to use this vocabulary when he knows full well the ugly context in which it has already been used?
After being confronted about the anti-Semitic implications of his words, Buchanan has stated, several times: "I don't retract a single word."
Not a single word? Not even a single one?
Perhaps Buchanan’s fans can enlighten me.