The Situation Room: Buchanan And Hitler

Politics makes strange bedfellows, as the old saying goes. Former presidential candidate and current professional Republican pundit Pat Buchanan is one of the few voices on the right that agrees with us on the left about the uselessness of the Iraq invasion and occupation. Unfortunately, to arrive at the same conclusion we have, Buchanan has to hop on the bus to CrazyTown, by way of Isolationist-Ville via the Godwin Express.

Buchanan has written a new book: Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War where he places blame for the Holocaust and WWII at an unconventional target: Winston Churchill. Though I can't claim to be a history buff to say definitively, Buchanan's reasoning is a little shaky at best. All this time, I thought it was Hitler that caused the Holocaust. Who knew?

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Somehow, Buchanan manages to pull from this Godwin nightmare that had England not promised to save Poland, Hitler would not have exterminated 6 million Jews, and like that unnecessary World War II, the lesson that we should take from that is that Bush is making similar imperialistic entries and taking us into an unnecessary war in Iraq.

Like I said, we arrived at that conclusion without the detour into CrazyTown.

Full Transcripts below the fold...

Joining us now from our studios in New York is Pat Buchanan. He is the author of a brand-new big entitled, "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War." Britain lost its empire and the West lost the world.

Pat, thanks very much for joining us.

PAT BUCHANAN, FORMER GOP PRES. CANDIDATE: Thank you, Wolf.

BLITZER: You make the case there would have been no Hitler, there would have been no World War II, there would have been no holocaust albeit in effect for Winston Churchill. What's the point?

BUCHANAN: Well the point of this is obviously Hitler came out of World War I and the tearing apart of Germany but what I am saying is, had Britain not given an insane war guarantee to Poland and then go on the war on behalf of a Poland it could not save, I don't think there would have been any war in Europe. I don't think there would have been a war against the western democracy. At the very least, all the Jews of Western Europe would have survived. That's basically one of the cases we make.


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BLITZER: Here's what you write on page 421. Let me read it to you.

"Rather than follow the wisdom of conservative men like Kennan, Eisenhower and Reagan, we began to emulate every folly of imperial Britain in her plunge from power. With all our braying about being the indispensable nation and bring them on bravado (ph), we exhibited an imperial hubris the whole world came to detest."

You're implying that the same mistakes that Churchill made that you suggest he made between World War I and World War II President Bush has been making now.

BUCHANAN: That's right, Wolf. What I'm saying is this. Basically the blunders the British made in alienating allies, in pushing enemies together or rivals together and turning them into enemies, in cutting off alliances, in giving war guarantees they could not defend, the United States has been emulating itself. Just has Britain gave a foolish war guarantee to Poland it could not honor and did not honor in the end, the United States is giving war guarantees to Poland, the Baltic Republicans. We're thinking of giving a NATO war guarantee to Ukraine and to Georgia.

Secondly, the United States is engaging in wars I think are unnecessary wars.

BLITZER: You speak specifically about the war in Iraq which you think has been a horrible blunder.

BUCHANAN: I think the war in Iraq was quite clearly an unnecessary war. Saddam Hussein did not attack us, did no threaten us, want war with us, and we went to war with him to deprive him of weapons he did not have.

BLITZER: You would agree --

BUCHANAN: It was an unnecessary war.

BLITZER: You agree with Scott McClellan who in his new book, the former White House press secretary writes, "What I do know is that war should only be waged when necessary and the Iraq war was not necessary." It's not shocking to hear you say that. It is pretty shocking to hear a former White House press secretary imply, suggest that 4,000 American troops, $600 billion, $700 billion have been squandered for nothing.

BUCHANAN: You've got to ask why Scott McClellan didn't resign, for heavens sakes. He said basically that the Bush White House and the others were propagandizing for war, cherry picking information, making the case as a prosecutor would for a war in which Scott McClellan did not believe. I would wonder why a man would participate in something like that if he disbelieved in the cause and in the war, Wolf. I can't explain that. I haven't read his book. But I have read what he said.

BLITZER: John McCain says the United States will never surrender in Iraq. He wants to win. Can the United States do what McCain says?

BUCHANAN: I think it's possible, Wolf. There's no question about it. The surge has worked. Maliki has taken down. Sadr City and Basra. There's a possibility you could have a Shia government which could deal with the Sunnis and could get dominance over the south of Iraq. I say it's possible. It may be probable. I'm not certain. I do think it's far more possible now than it was in 2006 when the Iraq report came in saying we were losing the war and catastrophe impended. It doesn't impend right now.

BLITZER: We asked our viewers to send in some I-reports. We told them you were going to be on the show. We asked them if they had any questions. This would be a good way to pose their questions. We got this I-report from John Carol. He says he plans to vote for Obama. Listen to his question.

JOHN CAROL, IREPORT QUESTION: I wanted to hear your thoughts on an idea I had to allow every Canadian, U.S., and Mexican citizen the right to work in any of these three countries, sort of a NAFTA labor union that would match to some degree what the Europeans are doing with the European Union.

BLITZER: The point being you live in Europe, if you're a member of the EU you can work in any of those countries, he says we should do the same thing in America.

BUCHANAN: Those European countries are not being allowed to vote in Britain are surrendering their national sovereignty, independence. That fellow's a Canadian as I understand it. Americans fought and died from 1775 to 1881 in enormous numbers to make us a sovereign, independent, free republic forever. I believe in free trade with Canada. I don't agree with the NAFTA agreement. I do insist and most Americans will insist we maintain our sovereignty, our independence, our unique culture, language and borders.

BLITZER: Let me get back to the book now because we're almost out of time. I want you to explain the notion that you have that Hitler would have never come to power, there would have been anti- Semitism, to be sure, but there wouldn't have been the extermination of 6 million Jews. Because that's going to cause a lot of controversy, this notion you have that, in effect, Churchill was responsible for the chain of events that led to the Holocaust.

BUCHANAN: Churchill was not -- Chamberlain made the decision to give the war guarantee to Poland.

Here's my view, Wolf. I've read and studied Hitler. One thing he did not want was war with the British Empire. He admired it. He respected it. He never wanted war with it. He wanted to make an ally of it. Had Chamberlain at the goading of Churchill not given a war guarantee to Poland, Britain would not have had to go to war on behalf of Poland. It's because Britain declared on Germany that Germany came west. That's the reason Germany had basically hostages of everybody in Western Europe from the --

BLITZER: Hitler had plans of exterminating the Jews in the '30s, a lot earlier.

BUCHANAN: Wolf, I have not seen any plans of extermination. Hitler went genocidal after the invasion of Russia was broken down in Russia, after he declared war on the United States, and he was looking to defeat in the face. It was at that point that the conference was held, Wolf. As you know, that was in January of 1942.

BLITZER: What about all the anti-Semitic laws, all those Jews who were rounded up starting in the 30s in Germany?

BUCHANAN: Look, there's no doubt Hitler was anti-Semitic from the time even before he wrote camp. What we're talking about, when you mention the Holocaust, for heaven sakes, is genocide. You're not talking about anti-Semitism. It was anti-Semitism in Poland in those years. There's no doubt that Nuremburg laws were in 1935. They were dreadful. As a consequence, half the Jews had left Germany before November 1938. Another half fled after that. They were outside Germany with the curtain fell.

What Hitler did was a monstrous crime, Wolf. It was a war crime. Had there been no war, there would have been no holocaust in my judgment.

BLITZER: All right. Pat Buchanan has written a provocative book, "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War." Pat, thanks very much for joining us.

BUCHANAN: Thank you as always, Wolf.

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