Last week, on Bill O’Reilly’s Radio Factor, Patrick Buchanan made a passing statement of such stunning inaccuracy it cannot be ignored. The topic was Iran, a perfect opportunity for Buchanan to pontificate on his favorite subjects: isolationism and the Jews. Were the Israelis planning an attack on Iran, host O’Reilly worried? Or in Buchanan’s predictably paranoid worldview, were the Jews (American and Israeli) trying to force America into a war against Iran on their behalf?
Never mind the anti-Semitic implications in that canard, Buchanan, in the midst of a media blitz promoting his new book, Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War, naturally enough employed the same arguments about Iran as he does about Nazi Germany. According to Buchanan, the Islamic Republic of Iran in 2008 no more wants war with the west than Germany did in 1939.
Buchanan is correct in drawing a comparison between the two countries, just sickeningly wrong about what they have in common. Hint to Buchanan: it’s not a desire to stay out of war, but rather a burning ambition to exterminate the Jews.
But how does Buchanan come to his conclusion that Iran does not want a war? I’ll let him speak for himself on the subject:
“They [Iran] don’t want a war. They haven’t fought one since the revolution. I can’t think of the last time they did.”
Really, Pat? Tell that to the families of the estimated one million casualties of the Iran-Iraq war, an eight year battle which ranks as one of longest, bloodiest conflicts of the previous century. A war that stretched from 1980 – 1988, with prisoners of war being exchanged as recently as five years ago.
There are only a few explanations for Buchanan’s jaw-dropping omission. I’m afraid the most charitable, but least probable, is that he is embarrassingly ignorant of 20th century history. Alas, in 1985, in the very midst of the fighting, he was Director of Communications in the Reagan White house. He was certainly aware of the war.
Which means, consciously or not, he was lying on O’Reilly’s show. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and believe it was an unconscious omission because to willfully erase the memory of so many hundreds of thousands of dead and wounded is a crime against humanity and history.
But for an individual like Buchanan, who makes his living lecturing the public about the dire implications of America’s foreign policy (and relationship with Israel), to unconsciously revise history so it fits his ideology, is equally abhorrent. And apparently, this wasn’t a singular example. In his Newsweek review of Buchanan’s new book, Christopher Hitchens writes, “as with his discussion of pre-1914 Germany, he commits important sins of omission that can only be the outcome of an ideological bias.”
The left is currently the home of some of the worst forms of cultural relativism, but let us not forget that the right houses its own equally dangerous revisionist historians who attempt to use their false history to influence current events. Now is not a time when America can afford to be fuzzy with the truth. Facts are facts. Ideology blinds people. We forget that at our own peril.