I trust that few people will contend that Bill Buckley is not a "real" conservative (whatever that means these days). Unlike many conservatives, he has been skeptical about the Iraq war for some time. It's ironic that over at National Review only the "Godfather" who founded the magazine but apparently has no active role beyond writing columns now, has staked out a position on war and foreign policy notably independent of the Bush administration. Well, Jeffrey Hart, associated with the magazine for decades, saw through Bush early on, but I guess he's become something of an unperson to the jejune war-whoopers.
How a self-respecting conservative could maintain any degree of loyalty to such a collection of mediocrities as those assembled by the big-spending non-communicator-in-chief is beyond me, but war seems to have a chilling effect on independent thought.
In this column, Buckley figures that "The political problem of the Bush administration is grave, possibly beyond the point of rescue." He closes by suggesting that because of the war, "There are grounds for wondering whether the Republican Party will survive this dilemma." Money quote:
"It is simply untrue that we are making decisive progress in Iraq. The indicators rise and fall from day to day, week to week, month to month. In South Vietnam there was an organized enemy. There is clearly organization in the strikes by the terrorists against our forces and against the civil government in Iraq, but whereas in Vietnam we had Hanoi as the operative headquarters of the enemy, we have no equivalent of that in Iraq, and that is a matter of paralyzing importance." Such a decentralized force is much more difficult to cope with militarily.