Retired Air Force Lt. Col. Robert “Buzz” Patterson doesn’t mince words: “The only time the political left wins in the country is when America loses,” the best-selling author says, summarizing the theme of his new book, “War Crimes.”
the country is when America loses,” the best-selling author says, summarizing the theme of his new book, “War Crimes.”
Since retiring as a senior White House military aide for President Clinton, Col. Patterson has produced three books about Mr. Clinton and the Democratic Party.
“If I sell 5,000 copies and get this off my chest, I’ll be happy,” said the husband and father of three.
The recipient of the Defense Superior Service Medal exceeded his expectations when his first two books, “Dereliction of Duty” and “Reckless Disregard,” made their way to the New York Times best-seller list. “Dereliction of Duty” remained on the list for at least six months.
“Dereliction of Duty,” an account of his two years in the White House with Mr. Clinton, was written because Col. Patterson thought Americans deserved to know the ways their president failed them by compromising national security.
Col. Patterson said he expects “War Crimes,” which was released in June, to make its way to the best-seller list because of the discussion of the Iraq war prompted by Gen. David H. Patraeus’ testimony.
“The left has declared war,” said the 51-year-old Chapel Hill, N.C., native. “For decades, liberals have tried to emasculate the armed forces; now, in the war on terror, this war of attrition has become a full-fledged attack on America.”
Besides recalling his own experiences in Iraq, Col. Patterson includes numerous statements from troops serving in Iraq in his book, quoting Army Spc. Jason Gilson, Army Sgt. Eddie Jeffers, Air Force Maj. Eric Egland and Marine Capt. Rory Quinn among others.
“Terrorists cut the heads off of American citizens on the Internet and there is no outrage, but an American soldier kills an Iraqi in the midst of battle, and there are investigations,” Sgt. Jeffers wrote. “It is absolutely sickening to me to think our country has come to this.”
To research the book, Col. Patterson flew to Iraq and embedded himself with troops in July 2005. He talked with more than 400 randomly selected service members about what they were experiencing.
“I did not meet a single person who wanted to come home before the job was done,” said Col. Patterson, who is chief operating officer for the David Horowitz Freedom Center, a conservative group based in California.
“I came away with frustration that the left in this country was trying to lead the country down the road of defeat,” he said.
“With only 1 percent of America either in the military or related to someone in the military, 99 percent of our population has very little contact with the military,” Col. Patterson said. “I wanted to try to describe the military culture to the American people and describe how the politics in this country either helps their [military’s] cause, or in this case hurts their cause.”
Col. Patterson said the press has had a negative effect on U.S. troops and the progress of the war in Iraq.
“Such erosion of America’s resolve is exactly what the terrorists had hoped for. They know they cannot beat the United States military,” he said. “They can only win if Americans become so demoralized that they run from the fight. Unfortunately, liberals in America are working overtime to make this happen.”
Antiwar sentiments “give the Democratic Party a political capital in Washington,” said Col. Patterson, a graduate from the Air Command and Staff College, adding that “the political party that voted to support the war in 2002 is now bashing it for political clout in D.C.”
Col. Patterson serves as vice chairman of Move America Forward, the largest grass-roots pro-military and pro-victory group in the country. He recently returned from a 12-day “Fight for Victory Tour,” during which he and other members of Move America Forward held pro-troop rallies in 27 cities across the country. They drove almost 5,000 miles, starting in Carson City, Nev., and ending Sept. 15 in Washington, where they led counterprotests against antiwar demonstrators.
“We wanted to be sure that the antiwar groups weren’t the only voice in town that weekend,” he said.
Besides being a political activist and author, Col. Patterson said, he would not rule out politics from his future.
“I will probably enter politics at some point,” he said. “But it’s more fun to bash the Clintons than run for my own office right now.”