Jon Basil Utley, a friend of mine from many Cato Institute meetings, and the publisher of The American Conservative, explains one pivotal moment in the creation of the anti-war right. Back in 1990 when President George H.W. Bush was about to invade Iraq, Utley and a band of anti-war conservatives and libertarians formed a group in opposition to the invasion. Utley writes at The American Conservative:
The recent veneration of George H.W. Bush has been wonderfully uplifting, especially as it recalled his cautious use of persuasion and honest argument.
Peggy Noonan, Ronald Reagan’s former speechwriter, beautifully described Bush’s funeral in the Wall Street Journal as reminding us of our dignity and “re-summoning our mystique.” The event, Noonan said, harkened back to when America was respected and admired, generous and “expected to do good.” President Bush, she noted, had presided over the collapse of the Soviet Union diplomatically and without humiliating Russia’s leaders or its people. He also declined to occupy a Muslim country after defeating Saddam Hussein in Iraq. Bush was indeed a very decent man. In fact, he was a great statesman, as TAC’s editor Jim Antle has noted on these pages.
Yet almost none of the news reported on what was the darkest chapter of his legacy: the First Gulf War. I was a co-founder at the time of a small and vastly outgunned opposition group of conservatives and (mainly) libertarians, the Committee to Avert a Mid-East Holocaust. Today, with at least a million Arabs, Afghans, and Americans dead from the unending chaos the United States unleashed in the Muslim world, the name seems very appropriate.
Our group included truly great conservatives: Henry Regnery, almost the only publisher of conservative books, who helped keep liberty alive during the dark days of the 1940s and ‘50s, along with the always brave Pat Buchanan and Joseph Sobran. Regnery and Buchanan were the main contributors to our group. But we were a virtual who’s who of the incipient libertarian movement: Ron Paul, the once and future Texas congressman who would eventually gain a wider following as a presidential candidate; Lew Rockwell, founder of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, an important libertarian think tank; the economist Murray Rothbard; Bill Niskanen, chairman of the Cato Institute; Sheldon Richman, longtime editor at FEE; Justin Raimondo, who would go on to be a co-founder at Antiwar.com; and Burt Blumert, who helped fund much of Rothbard and Raimondo’s work.
Read more here.