John J Miller admirably concedes that, in fact, Buckley had been a skeptic:
It was four years ago that Mr. Cheney first observed that there was a real fear that each fallen terrorist leads to the materialization of another terrorist. What can a “surge,” of the kind we are now relying upon, do to cope with endemic disease?
It's amazing how today's right don't seem to realize that Buckley was, you know, a conservative. Once you remove the WMD issue and the threat to Western security, there is no conservative defense of the Iraq war, let alone a conservative defense of a permanent Iraq "nation"-building occupation. In fact, it is very hard to think of any foreign policy objective that is less conservative than permanently occupying, and re-making, a foreign country, whose subtleties we know nothing about, whose destiny we have no business directing, and whose people resent as a religious imperative the presence of any non-Muslims in their territory. To engage in this task for five years, propose it for fifty, and defend it by the kind of rhetoric used in the Second Inaugural is one of the biggest assaults on conservative principles in a very long while. It takes a Bush.
There's a reason NRO is now citing Angeline Jolie and not William F Buckley on this matter.