Patrick Buchanan / The AAmerican Cause – 2007-01-13 23:36:14
Still One More Card to Play
(January 12, 2007) — Wednesday night, George Bush seemed to play his last card in the Iraq war. It was not impressive. Consider.
First, he warned of the awful consequences of a U.S. defeat: “Radical Islamic extremism would grow … in strength and gain new recruits. They would be in a better position to topple moderate governments, create chaos in the region and use oil revenues to fund their ambitions. Iran would be emboldened in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.”
Bush then warned of the awful consequences of the Baker commission proposal to “announce the phased withdrawal of our combat forces.” “(T)o step back now would force a collapse of the Iraqi government, tear the country apart and result in mass killings on an unimaginable scale.”
Twin those two warnings, and what is Bush saying?
His critics favor a course in Iraq that risks the fall of Baghdad, Iraq torn apart, slaughter of our friends, a surge in Islamic terror, the toppling of moderate Arab states, chaos in the Gulf, billions in oil revenue flowing to al-Qaida killers and a nuclear Iran.
And how do we avert so monstrous a calamity?
A “surge” of 21,500 troops, 15 percent of the U.S. forces already in Iraq, to pacify the capital. And even that troop commitment is “not open-ended.”
This is just not credible. For, if the situation is as dire as Bush says and the potential disaster as horrific as he describes, the logical course would be to treble the number of troops in Iraq and commit to fight indefinitely.
How explain the disconnect? Is Bush absurdly exaggerating the consequences of a pullout?
No. U.S. strategic interests in the Middle East are indeed at risk because of the hubristic folly of our political elite in putting them there, when they launched this insane war.
But Bush cannot now commit to fight to victory, because the war is lost in the United States. Two-thirds of the American people are unwilling to make the sacrifices to save Iraq. Though they do not want a defeat and may not realize the consequences of a defeat, they are willing to risk a defeat, rather than continue to read of American kids being IED’ed to death and dismemberment in Baghdad and Anbar. The people want out and are saying to hell with the consequences.
That is the political realty that underlay the president’s modest proposal of a “surge” to avert what he warns is a strategic disaster.
But Bush has to know the card he played is not going to save the pot into which he has plunged his legacy, the credibility of his country and America’s standing as a superpower.
Which leads me to believe Bush has yet another card to play, an ace up his sleeve. What might that be?
Midway through his speech, almost as an aside, Bush made a pointed accusation at and issued a direct threat to — Tehran.
To defend the “territorial integrity” of Iraq and stabilize “the region in the face of extremist challenge,” Bush interjected, “begins with addressing Iran and Syria.”
“These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops. We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”
Now, any networks providing “advanced weaponry and training” to jihadists and insurgents are outside Iraq. Otherwise, they would have been neutralized by air strikes already.
So, where are they? Answer: inside Syria and Iran. And Bush says we are going to “seek out and destroy” these networks.
Which suggests to this writer that, while the “surge” is modest, Bush has in mind a different kind of escalation — widening the war by attacking the source of instability in the region: Tehran.
“I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region,” said Bush. “We will deploy … Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies.”
But there is no need for more carrier-based fighter-bombers in Iraq. And the insurgents have no missiles against which anyone would need Patriot missiles to defend. You only need Patriots if your target country has missiles with which to retaliate against you.
What Bush signaled in the clear Wednesday is that air strikes on Iranian “networks” are being planned. That would produce an Iranian response. That response would trigger U.S. strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, for which Israel and the neocons are howling.
And should this scenario play out, what would Hillary, Biden, Kerry, McCain, Giuliani, and even Pelosi and Obama do? Hail Bush as a Churchill. At first.
And Bush would have another legacy than a lost war in Iraq. Like Menachem Begin, only big-time, he would have his own Osirak.
Who Is Planning our Next War?
WASHINGTON (January 9, 2007) — As George Bush reflects on his legacy, an urgent question must be pressing in upon him each day.
Will I leave here as the man who launched failed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that cost thousands of U.S. dead, to no avail? Or can I yet enter history as the Churchillian statesman who used U.S. power to save America and Israel from the mortal threat of atomic weapons in the hands of the Iranian mullahs?
Which legacy would Bush prefer? Or Cheney?
As Americans await Bush’s address announcing a “surge” of 20,000 to 30,000 U.S. troops to Iraq, we may be missing the larger picture. The War Party is turning its attention from Iraq — to Iran.
Nor is it simply an analysis of the character of George Bush that causes one to so conclude.
Tehran is now two weeks into a 60-day deadline to answer a Security Council resolution directing it to cease enriching uranium. While the sanctions are mild, the resolution passed unanimously and gives Bush the U.N. cover he used to wage war on Iraq. If Iran defies the United Nations, Bush will demand further sanctions. Up the escalator we go.
Moreover, a second U.S. carrier battle group is heading for the Gulf. More interesting, the new CentCom commander, replacing Gen. John Abizaid, is no soldier, but Adm. William J. Fallon, commander in chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific. What Fallon does not know about securing streets, he does know about taking out targets from the air and keeping sea lanes open in a time of war.
Bush may be sending signals, but the Israelis are preparing for war. The London Sunday Times reports that Israeli pilots have been making the 2,000-mile run to Gibraltar to train for strikes with bunker-busting nuclear bombs on Iran’s heavy water plant at Arak, the uranium hexaflouride facility at Isfahan and the centrifuge cascade at Natanz.
Israel angrily denies the report. But, on Dec. 30, retired Gen. Oded Tira, who headed up all Israeli artillery units, burst into print with this admonition:
“As an American air strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help (Bush) pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and U.S. newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure.”
“Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran,” writes Tira. Thus, Israel and its U.S. lobbying arm “must turn to Hillary Clinton and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party so that they publicly support immediate action by Bush against Iran.”
“The Americans must act,” Tira concludes. “If they don’t, we’ll do it ourselves … (and) we must immediately start preparing for an Iranian response to an attack.”
According to UPI editor-at-large Arnaud De Borchgrave, Tira’s line tracks the New Year’s Day message of Likud superhawk “Bibi” Netanyahu, the former prime minister.
Said Netanyahu, Israel “must immediately launch an intense, international public relations front first and foremost on the U.S. The goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make clear to the (U.S.) government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world, not only Israel.”
Israel’s war, says Bibi, must be sold as America’s war.
We are thus forewarned. A propaganda campaign, using Israeli agents and their neocon auxiliaries and sympathizers, who stampeded us into war in Iraq, is being prepared to stampede us into war on Iran.
We are to be convinced that Iran, with no air force or navy to speak of, an economy not 2 percent of ours, which has not started a single war since the revolution, 27 years ago, is about to give to terrorists, to use on us, a nuclear bomb it may be 10 years away from even being able to build.
Will Congress be duped again into giving Bush a blank check for war? Or will this new Congress summon the courage to take the war option out of Bush’s hands, to decide itself, for the nation, when, where and whether America should ever go to war against Iran?
Every presidential candidate should be asked: Does President Bush have the authority to attack Iran without specific congressional authorization? And would you support giving him that authority?
Needed today are courageous men and women of both parties who will introduce and pass a congressional resolution stating, “In the absence of a direct Iranian attack on U.S. forces or personnel, or an imminent threat of such an attack, President Bush has no authority to launch a pre-emptive strike or a preventive war on Iran.”
If we are going to war, let us do it constitutionally, for once, and not leave it up solely to George W. Bush and Brother Cheney.
Patrick J. Buchanan – Chairman | Angela “Bay” Buchanan – President
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