Paul Weyrich, RIP

Jon Basil Utley, on the Antiwar.com blog, gives another view of conservative patriarch Paul Weyrich, who died last Thursday. While most people are familiar with Weyrich’s role on social issues, Utley focuses on his war position and support for civil liberties. He notes, for example:

Weyrich also funded for several years an e-mail letter on protecting constitutional freedoms and often invited former Congressman Bob Barr [2008 presidential candidate of the Libertarian Party] to speak on the Patriot Act and such issues.

Here is the full text of Utley’s posting:

Paul Weyrich and Wars
By Jon Basil Utley
Antiwar.blog

Paul Weyrich, who died last Thursday, was one of the half dozen leaders who brought forth the conservative victory in Washington. With the Iraq war, as most Republicans were overcome by the siren songs of big government and world empire, Weyrich remained an extraordinary defender of freedom and limited government.

He opposed starting confrontations with Russia, the egregious violations of the Patriot Act and unending wars. An old cold war warrior, he immediately changed when communism fell and went dozens of times to various Russians cities with delegations to teach and train political activists. I went with him on one of the trips. Rare among most conservatives, he learned about how other nations view America and, later, tried to assuage Russian nervousness about the expansion of NATO to its borders by urging that Russia be invited to join NATO too. Last August he warned of the reason for opposition in Washington, “Because cold war warriors, who have made careers of fighting the Russians and justified ever increasing defense budgets accordingly, put an end to it.”

I first met Paul 30 years ago and, since 2002 have regularly attended his famous Wednesday luncheon meetings of conservative organizations in Washington. After 9-11 it was difficult for any Republican to oppose the war on Iraq and post-war occupation policies. All the big conservative media and think tanks wanted war on Iraq. Individuals opposed feared that any open opposition would cut access, careers and funding. Neoconservatives controlled the big money foundations — Bradley, Olin, Smith-Richardson and Scaife which funded many of them. The Washington Times, Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, National Review, Human Events, FOX News, Rush Limbaugh — all wanted war and precluded any debate or questioning of the Bush Cheney lies and policies. Weyrich let me speak up and distribute anti-war material (much of it from Antiwar.com) at every meeting. After one argument I got a hand written note from him explaining how a dozen of the organizations had petitioned him to disinvite me from the meetings and to please not make it too difficult for him. Over the years I got other notes from Paul encouraging me to go on fighting. I treasure them greatly. In March, ’05, he wrote me, “I know it is tough representing the minority view, but sooner or later our views will look much better as the war drags on and on.”

My nemesis at the meetings was smooth talking Frank Gaffney, consistently terrifying the social conservatives, most of whom knew very little about the outside world, with visions of fanatical foreigners, while urging support for ever more military aggressiveness and for the Likud West Bank settlements in Israel. Gaffney was influential and Weyrich did put him in later years in charge of the Stanton Group, which met monthly on foreign policy and from which I was excluded. I understood the trade offs as Paul could not be too up front in opposing the war when it first started.

The founding of the American Conservative magazine in late 2002 by Scott McConnell, Pat Buchanan and Taki finally gave me “real” ammunition and I began distributing copies of the magazine at every meeting. It was of tremendous importance in finally providing a place to publish for conservatives and libertarians opposed to the war and excluded from traditional conservative media.

Another of Paul’s great activities was to support and house William Lind, one of the most original military thinkers in Washington. Lind is an expert on Fourth Generation Warfare and constantly opposed the Rumsfeld Cheney neocon war measures. Lind never attended the luncheons because his ideas were so alien to the weekly war promotions of White House spokesman. Lind’s essays are published on Antiwar.com. Weyrich also funded for several years an e-mail letter on protecting constitutional freedoms and often invited former Congressman Bob Barr to speak on the Patriot Act and such issues.

Weyrich’s Free Congress Foundation never got the big money from War Party foundations and lobbying interests and funding was always a struggle, although he had been a co-founder of the Heritage Foundation in the 1970’s. Weyrich’s writings on war and freedom remain prophetic as he warned that “empire abroad almost certainly means eventual extinction of liberty here at home.” His essay, “A Conservative Foreign Policy” is a wonderful distillation of arguments for preserving Americans’ freedom and prosperity by limiting military actions abroad. It also takes much from former Senator Robert A. Taft.

Jon Basil Utley is associate publisher of The American Conservative. He was a correspondent for Knight Ridder newspapers in South America during the 1970’s and a commentator for the Voice of America during the Reagan years. Utley was a co-founder in 1990 of the Committee to Avert a Mideast Holocaust against the first Iraq war and an activist against the second one. He is director of Americans Against World Empire and a writer for Antiwar.com.

5 Responses to “Paul Weyrich, RIP”

  1. Glenn Brown Says:

    I meet Paul in the 1970’s in Washington DC. I thought he was going to start a Third Party Movement then. Then like many Conservative when back to the Republican’s. One of few mistakes he made.

  2. DonaldRaymondLake Says:

    AND [IN BRITAIN] HARRY T. PINTER RIP:

    API/UPI
    “Nobel Laureate Harold Pinter dies AS POLITICAL ACTIVIST

    By PAISLEY DODDS, Associated Press Writer Paisley Dodds, Associated Press International Writer –

    LONDON – British Nobel laureate Harold Pinter — who produced some of his generation’s most influential dramas and later became a staunch critic of the U.S.-led war in Iraq — has died, his widow said Thursday. He was 78.

    Pinter died Wednesday after a long battle with cancer, according to his second wife Antonia Fraser.

    In recent years he had seized the platform offered by his 2005 Nobel Literature prize to denounce President George W. Bush, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and the war in Iraq.

    His writing featured cool, menacing pauses in dialogue that reflected his characters’ deep emotional struggles and spawned a new adjective found in several dictionaries: “Pinter-esque.”

    “Pinter restored theater to its basic elements: an enclosed space and unpredictable dialogue, where people are at the mercy of each other and pretense crumbles,” the Nobel Academy said. “With a minimum of plot, drama emerges from the power struggle and hide-and-seek of inter locution.”

    His characters’ internal fears and longings, their guilt and difficult sexual drives were set against the neat lives they constructed in order to try to survive. Usually enclosed in one room, the acts usually illustrated the characters’ lives as a sort of grim game with actions that often contradicted words.

    The working-class milieu of his first dramas reflected his early life as the son of a Jewish tailor from London’s East End.

    Born Oct. 30, 1930, in the London neighborhood of Hackney, he was forced along with other children during World War II to evacuate to rural Cornwall in 1939. He was 14 before he returned. By then, he was entranced with Franz Kafka and Ernest Hemingway.

    A year later, his first major play, “The Birthday Party” was produced in the West End.

    In it, intruders enter the retreat of Stanley, a young man who is hiding from childhood guilt. He becomes violent, telling them, “You stink of sin, you contaminate womankind.”

    The play closed after just one week to disastrous reviews, but Pinter continued to write and was most prolific between 1957 and 1965.

    “With his earliest work, he stood alone in British theater up against the bewilderment and incomprehension of critics, the audience and writers, too,” British playwright Tom Stoppard said when the Nobel Prize was announced.

    “I find critics on the whole a pretty unnecessary bunch of people,” Pinter once said.

    In “The Caretaker,” (1959) a manipulative old man threatens the relationship of two brothers, while “The Homecoming” (1964) explores the hidden rage and confused sexuality of an all-male household by inserting a woman.

    In “Silence” and “Landscape,” (1967 and 1968) Pinter moved from exploring the underbelly of human life to showing the simultaneous levels of fantasy and reality that occupy the individual.

    “The speech we hear is an indication of that which we don’t hear,” Pinter once said. “It is a necessary avoidance, a violent, sly, and anguished or mocking smoke screen which keeps the other in its true place. When true silence falls we are left with echo but are nearer nakedness.”

    “Betrayal” (1978) was reportedly based on the disintegration of his marriage to actress Vivien Merchant, who appeared in many of his first plays.

    Their marriage ended in 1980 after Pinter’s long affair with BBC presenter Joan Bakewell. He then married Fraser. Merchant died shortly afterward of alcoholism-related disease.

    During the late 1980s, his work became more overtly political; he said he had a responsibility to pursue his role as “a citizen of the world in which I live, (and) insist upon taking responsibility.”

    In the 1980s, Pinter’s only stage plays were one-acts: “A Kind of Alaska” (1982), “One for the Road” (1984) and the 20-minute “Mountain Language” (1988).

    Off-stage he was also highly political: Pinter turned down former Prime Minister John Major’s offer of a knighthood and strongly attacked Blair when NATO bombed Serbia. He later referred to Blair a “deluded idiot” for supporting Bush’s war in Iraq.

    He said he deeply regretted having voting for Margaret Thatcher in 1979 and Tony Blair in 1997.

    French President Nicolas Sarkozy called Pinter a “great playwright and lucid, agitated and uncompromising humanist.”

    He called the Nobel “a belated consecration of his immense work, but also an homage to a man’s courage and commitment against all forms of barbarism.”

    The prize gave Pinter a global platform, from which he frequently and bitterly decried the Iraq war.

    “The invasion of Iraq was a bandit act, an act of blatant state terrorism, demonstrating absolute contempt for the concept of international law,” Pinter said in his Nobel lecture, which he recorded rather than traveling to the Swedish capital of Stockholm.

    “How many people do you have to kill before you qualify to be described as a mass murderer and a war criminal? One hundred thousand?” he asked, in a hoarse voice.

    Though he had been looking forward to giving the Nobel lecture — calling it “the longest speech I will ever have made” — he canceled his attendance at the award ceremony, and then announced he would skip the lecture as well on his doctor’s advice.

    In March 2005, Pinter announced his retirement as a playwright to concentrate on politics. But he created a radio play, “Voices,” that was broadcast on BBC radio to mark his 75th birthday.

    “I have written 29 plays, and I think that’s really enough,” Pinter said. “I think the world has had enough of my plays.”

    Pinter’s influence was felt in the United States in the plays of Sam Shepard and David Mamet.

    Friend and biographer Michael Billington said Pinter “was a political figure, a polemicist and carried on fierce battles against American foreign policy and often British foreign policy, but in private he was the most incredibly loyal of friends and generous of human beings.”

    “He was a great man as well actually as a great playwright,” Billington said.

    Pinter is survived by his son, Daniel, from his marriage to Merchant.

    _

    Associated Press writers Jill Lawless and Robert Barr in London and Michael Kuchwara in New York contributed to this report.

  3. DonaldRaymondLake Says:

    MORE RIP: SAMUEL HUNTINGTON, CULTURE CONFLICTS

    Samuel Huntington, political scientist, dies at 81
    The Associated Press
    Published: Saturday, Dec. 27, 2008

    BOSTON —Samuel Huntington, a political scientist best known for his views on the clash of civilizations, died Wednesday on Martha’s Vineyard, Harvard University announced Saturday. He was 81.

    Huntington had retired from active teaching in 2007 after 58 years at Harvard. His research and teaching focused on American government, democratization, military politics, strategy, and civil-military relations.

    He argued that in a post-Cold War world, violent conflict would come not from ideological friction between nations, but from cultural and religious differences among the world’s major civilizations.

    He identified those civilizations as Western (including the United States and Europe), Latin American, Islamic, African, Orthodox (with Russia as a core state), and Hindu, Japanese, and “Sinic” (including China, Korea, and Vietnam).

    He made the argument in a 1993 article in the journal Foreign Affairs, and then expanded the thesis into a book, “The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order,” which was published in 1996. The book has been translated into 39 languages.

    In all, Huntington wrote 17 books including “The Soldier and the State: The Theory and Politics of Civil-Military Relations,” published in 1957 and inspired by President Harry Truman’s firing of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, and “Political Power: USA-USSR,” a study of Cold War dynamics, which he co-authored in 1964 with Zbigniew Brzezinski.

    His 1969 book, “Political Order in Changing Societies,” analyzed political and economic development in the Third World.

    “Sam was the kind of scholar that made Harvard a great university,” Huntington’s friend of nearly six decades, economist Henry Rosovsky said in a statement released by the university.

    Huntington was born on April 18, 1927, in New York City. He received his B.A. from Yale in 1946, served in the U.S. Army, earned an M.A. from the University of Chicago in 1948, and a Ph.D. from Harvard in 1951.

  4. Elf Ninos Mom Is Tamara Johnson from Huntington WV Says:

    Elf Ninos Mom (“Least Free Voice”) Is Tamara Johnson from Huntington WV

    badda bing badda bang badda boom

    allahu akhbar

  5. ETJB Says:

    I must find it rather odd that a man can claim to be for “limited government” while also supporting the creation of a theocratic republic. Although, Congressman Paul has some how managed to convince people that he is a libertarian…

Leave a Reply