In 2003, George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum penned the infamous “Unpatriotic Conservatives” essay for National Review, which sought to discredit and shun anyone on the Right opposed to a U.S. war in Iraq.
Frum’s smear did not age well. Today, the U.S. invasion of Iraq is considered one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in American history, including by the last Republican president.
Now, some conservatives are warning against a U.S. war over Ukraine.
What has been the neocon response? If you oppose this war you’re “unpatriotic!”
You can’t make this up. The Bulwark’s Christian Vanderbrouk tweeted on Wednesday:
The far-right wing of the American conservative movement is breaking hard in favor of Putin and against the post-World War II order. It won’t be long before elected Republicans start to fall in behind them.
— Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) February 21, 2022
Libertarian Republican and mayor of Knox County Glenn Jacobs said the neocons were being deceptive and intent on playing their “great game.”
It's not "far-right" and it's not "in favor of Putin." It's a rejection of the United States as the world's policeman, and of American boys & girls shedding their blood and the country going in even more debt so elitist neo-cons can play their "great game." https://t.co/vl81x9Oou6
— Glenn Jacobs (@GlennJacobsTN) February 23, 2022
Similar criticism came the way of Christina Pushaw, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’ press secretary, when she expressed skepticism about spreading “democracy” in Ukraine.
Pre 2020, I was an idealist who truly wanted to help Ukraine become a strong democracy. I spent a lot of time in Ukraine, still have friends there I worry about now. But the sad fact is the USA is in no position to “promote democracy” abroad while our own country is falling apart
— Christina Pushaw 🐊🚛 (@ChristinaPushaw) February 22, 2022
Hawkish Democratic Congressman—and Iraq war supporter who claimed that debacle actually made the world “safer and better off”—Charlie Crist called Pushaw “unpatriotic” for her statement. He even wants DeSantis to condemn her tweet.
America stands for freedom and democracy. We strongly support democratic values when they are threatened, whether at home or abroad. This statement is unpatriotic and should be condemned by @govrondesantis. https://t.co/4d46SEniR8
— Charlie Crist (@CharlieCrist) February 22, 2022
AEIR President and military veteran Will Ruger pointed out that neocons were using the same tactic all over again.
Now .@ChristinaPushaw is being given the Frum “unpatriotic conservatives” treatment that neocons are famous for. Saw Kristol do it earlier today too.
Recall that those “unpatriotic conservatives” were right about Iraq. https://t.co/mEN19wlsAS
— William Ruger (@WillRuger) February 22, 2022
A primary argument against a new U.S. war over Ukraine is how colossal America’s failures were in Iraq and 20 years in Afghanistan.
Two decades ago, those on the Right most in favor of those wars were quick to accuse any conservative who opposed them of being against their country. In hindsight, the worst thing anyone could have done for the health, safety and security of the United States was to support those wars.
The worst we could do for America again is to repeat those mistakes in a new war with Russia.
The most patriotic thing conservatives can do right now is staunchly oppose a war over Ukraine.
Like this article? Check out the latest BASEDPolitics podcast on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or below: