Their War, Not Ours

Their War, Not Ours

By Patrick J. Buchanan

As the Islamic warriors of ISIS rolled down the road from Mosul, John McCain was an echo of French Premier Paul Reynaud, when word reached Paris that Rommel had broken through in the Ardennes:

“We are now facing an existential threat to the security of the United States of America,” said McCain.

But nothing that happens in Mesopotamia is going to threaten the existence of the United States. As for the terrorist threat from ISIS, for us it is neither greater nor less than it was a week ago.

The existential threat here is to Iraq. Its survival as one nation is now in question, with the possibility it could be torn apart in a civil and sectarian war. But this is preeminently Iraq’s problem, not ours.

And if Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, his 900,000-man army, and Shia militia cannot defend Baghdad from a few thousand Islamist warriors, America is under no obligation to do it for them.

Maliki told us to go home three years ago. We did. And before we plunge back into that misbegotten war, let us consider what the real threats are — to America.

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria consists of fanatics who seek to carve a caliphate out of territory they now control from Aleppo in Syria to 60 miles north of Baghdad.

Yet they have halted before Baghdad. And among the reasons is that Iraq’s Shia majority is not going to allow Sunni zealots to capture their cities, smash their shrines, and murder their fellow Shia.

They will fight, as the Iraqi army did not.

Secondly, ISIS has as allies in the north and west of Iraq Sunnis who detest Maliki and wish to be rid of him. But these Sunni are not demanding a Taliban regime to abolish smoking and drinking. Nor are they fighting to cut off the heads of their Shia countrymen.

If ISIS goes beyond the liberation of the Sunni triangle to trying to take over all of Iraq, they will lose many Sunni allies and find themselves facing Iraq’s Shia majority, backed up by Iranian forces, virtually alone.

But while the Iraqi army and Shia militia may well hold Baghdad, it is hard to see how Maliki can soon reconquer the Sunni provinces. For the Sunnis want no part of him or his regime.

Nor does Maliki seem capable of taking back Kirkuk, which the Kurds seized in the chaos as a step toward independence.

What should America do? Take a hard look at our entire Middle East policy.

Consider. We are now providing weapons to the Free Syrian Army to oust Bashar Assad. “Assad must go!” blared Barack Obama in one of his many ignored ultimata.

But should Assad fall, the result will be the persecution of the Syrian Christians, a massacre of the Alawites, and a possible takeover of the country by the al-Qaida-linked al-Nusra Front and ISIS.

Is any of that in America’s interests?

Vladimir Putin lately raised a valid question: Why, in Syria, are the Americans on the same side as the people who took down the twin towers? Indeed, why are we?

And who is fighting al-Qaida and ISIS in Syria, battling those McCain calls an “existential threat” to American security?

Bashar Assad. Hezbollah. Iran. Russia.

Tehran has reportedly volunteered to work with us in providing military aid to prop up the Maliki regime and keep ISIS out of Baghdad.

If we regard the survival of the Maliki regime to be in our national interests, why would we not green-light the Iranians to do this?

When Hitler turned on his partner Stalin, the United States rushed military aid to save the monster whom FDR and Truman took to calling “Good Old Joe” and “Uncle Joe” at Tehran, Yalta and Potsdam.

Is the Ayatollah somehow worse than Stalin?

Yet, consider, too, how our allies in the Gulf and Middle East have behaved in Syria.

The Turks, clamoring for the overthrow of Assad, looked the other way as jihadists moved into Syria. The Gulf states and Saudis have reportedly sent money and military aid to the extremists.

Are the Turks and Gulf Arabs aiding these jihadists in the belief they will not turn on them, if and when Assad and Maliki fall? Do they think that by feeding this tiger ISIS, it will eat them last?

We may be entering the early stages of a sectarian war between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East. The ISIS claim of having executed 1,700 captured Shia soldiers in Iraq is surely intended to ignite one.

If it happens, this war could spread to Lebanon, Jordan and down into the Gulf states where Shia outnumber Sunnis in Bahrain and in the oil-producing provinces of the Saudi northeast.

Does the Middle East today — Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Lebanon — look like what we were promised by George Bush and his neocon advisers when they were beating the drums for a U.S. invasion of Iraq?

Is Obama Blundering Into a Syrian Quagmire?

Is Obama Blundering Into a Syrian Quagmire?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

With his address at West Point, President Obama succeeded where all his previous efforts had failed. He brought us together.

Nobody seems to have liked the speech.

A glance shows that the New York Times and Washington Times, the Financial Times and Washington Post, and the Wall Street Journal were all disappointed with it.

As was said of one of Harding’s addresses, it was “an army of pompous phrases marching across the landscape in search of an idea.”

What Obama has is less a foreign policy doctrine than a foreign policy disposition. He is a reluctant interventionist.

He got us out of Iraq and is taking us out of Afghanistan. Yet he was pushed into a war on Libya that turned out disastrously and is now dipping his toe into what he has called “somebody else’s civil war” in Syria.

Still, Obama’s foreign policy is not going to be judged on what he said, but what he did and failed to do. The same holds for the Beltway hawks, now so harsh on Obama, who once whooped it up for George W. Bush.

Perhaps it is time to review the respective records.

After America backed him in going after al-Qaida after 9/11, Bush, on a triumphal high, invaded Iraq. Soon we were mired in the two longest wars in our history.

America responded by evicting Bush’s party from leadership of both houses of Congress and the White House in 2008.

And what did we miss out on by not electing John McCain?

McCain would have put us into the Russo-Georgian war over South Ossetia. He would have bombed Iran’s nuclear sites. We would still have troops in Iraq. He would have bombed Syria. He would have sent weapons to Kiev to oust the Russians from Crimea and crush the pro-Russian militias in the Donbass. He would be pushing for membership in NATO for Ukraine and Georgia, so the next time there was a dust-up with Putin’s Russia, we could be right in the thick of it.

As for Obama’s foreign policy, while the think tanks and media elite regard it as vacillating and weak, the people who gave him two electoral victories seem generally to approve.

Broadly speaking, Americans are delighted our soldiers are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan. They were passionately opposed last August to U.S. action in Syria. They dislike Iran, but like that the president is negotiating with Iran.

Thus, whoever persuaded Obama to send TOW antitank missiles to the Syrian rebels and train and arm them may end up responsible for his worst foreign policy blunder.

For we are now extending and broadening a Syrian war that has left 150,000 dead.

And we have become de facto allies of both the al-Qaida-linked Al Nusra Front and the more extreme Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which is carving out a caliphate from Aleppo to Anbar.

President Obama declared years ago that Assad must go.

But has he thought through who rises when Assad falls?

A civil war for power between our rebels and the Islamists would break out. A Sunni-Shia struggle could spread to Lebanon and Iraq.

Reprisals against the Alawite and Christian minorities that backed the Assad family could be horrific.

If so, demands for U.S. intervention would start coming from all quarters: Saudis, Israelis, Turks and pro-Western Syrian rebels.

Obama would be torn between the anti-war country that elected him and the pro-war capital that wants to pivot back to the Middle East.

Another worrisome possibility must be considered.

When President Reagan inserted U. S. Marines into Lebanon’s civil war in 1983, blowback came in the bombing of our embassy and the terrorist attack on the Beirut barracks, killing 241.

Are we not, by sending antitank missiles into a war where Assad is backed by Hezbollah and Iran, inviting terrorist retaliation against us or the Jordanian monarchy that is playing host to U.S. advisers?

There is a reason why Obama has been unable to formulate an Eisenhower Doctrine or a Reagan Doctrine. The nation is divided within itself about where and when we should stand or fight.

Putin’s Russia is not Stalin’s. Xi Jinping’s China is not Mao’s. The 20th century’s ideological struggles between communism, fascism and democracy that produced World War II and the Cold War are over.

Quite naturally, old allies from Saudi Arabia to South Korea and from Japan to Europe want to know why the United States is not out there on point, confronting their adversaries, as we once did.

But the reality is that we are not threatened by Assad in Syria, or by whose flag flies over Crimea or Donetsk, or by who gets custody of the islets in the South or East China Sea.

“Great Britain has lost an empire, but not yet found a role,” said Dean Acheson, also at West Point, half a century ago.

Something similar to that is happening to us.

Obama’s speech simply mirrored our own ambivalence.

——————-

IMAGE NOTES: The image above is an artistic remix by Linda Muller for buchanan.org.
PHOTO CREDIT: Whitehouse.gov

What Would the GOP Do?

Russia and China

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Though Barack Obama is widely regarded as a weak president, is the new world disorder really all his fault?

Listening to the more vocal voices of the GOP one might think so.

According to Sen. Lindsey Graham, Vladimir Putin’s move into Crimea “started with Benghazi.”

“When you kill Americans and nobody pays a price, you invite this type of aggression,” said Graham. Putin “came to the conclusion after Benghazi, Syria, Egypt” that Barack Obama is “a weak indecisive leader.”

Also blaming Obama for Crimea, John McCain got cheers at AIPAC by charging, “This is the ultimate result of a feckless foreign policy in which nobody believes in America’s strength anymore.”

This “blatant act” of aggression “cannot stand,” said McCain.

How McCain plans to force Putin to cough up Crimea was left unexplained.

Now Marco Rubio seems to be auditioning to replace the retired Joe Lieberman as third amigo. His CPAC speech is described by the L.A. Times:

“[Rubio] said that China is threatening to take parts of the South China Sea … a nuclear North Korea is testing missiles, Venezuela is slaughtering protesters, and Cuba remains an oppressive dictatorship. He added that Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons and regional hegemony and Russia is attempting to ‘reconstitute’ the former Soviet Union.”

What all these countries have in common, said Rubio, is “totalitarian governments.” Rubio proposes a U.S. foreign policy of leading the world to “stand up to the spread of totalitarianism.”

Not quite as ambitious as George W. Bush’s “ending tyranny in our world,” but it will do.

Where to begin.

First, it is absurd to suggest Putin felt free to restore Crimea to Russia because of Obama’s inaction in Benghazi. And while Castro’s Cuba and Kim Jong-Un’s North Korea are totalitarian, Putin’s Russia is not Stalin’s. Nor is Xi Jinping’s China Mao’s China.

Russia and China are great power rivals and antagonists, not the monster regimes of the Cold War that massacred millions. We must deal with them, and they don’t take direction from Uncle Sam.

As for Iran, 17 U.S. intelligence agencies say it has no nuclear weapons program. Moreover, Hassan Rouhani is an elected president now presiding over the dilution of his 20-percent-enriched uranium in compliance with our November agreement.

McCain points to Obama’s failure to enforce his “red line” in Syria with air and missile strikes, when Bashar Assad used chemical weapons, as the reason Obama is not respected.

But a little history is in order here.

While John Kerry and Obama were ready to attack Syria, it was the American people who rose up and said “no.” It was Congress that failed to give Obama the authorization to go to war.

If McCain, Graham and Rubio think Obama should attack Syria, why don’t they get their hawkish Republican brethren in the House to authorize war on Syria? See how that sits with the voters in 2014.

Last fall, Lindsey Graham was shopping around a resolution for a U.S. war on Iran. What became of that brainstorm? After Iraq and Afghanistan, Americans are weary of what all this bellicosity inevitably brings.

Is Russia really reconstituting the Soviet Union?

True, Putin seeks to bring half a dozen ex-Soviet republics, now nations, into an economic union to rival the EU. But where the state religion of the USSR was Marxism-Leninism, i.e., communism, Putin is trying to restore Russian Orthodox Christianity.

There is a difference, as there is a difference between Stalin murdering priests and Putin prosecuting Pussy Riot for blasphemous misbehavior on the high altar of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

How do we think King Abdullah would have handled the women, had they pulled their stunt in the Great Mosque in Mecca?

While China is indeed moving to claim the East and South China seas, bringing her into possible conflict with Japan over the Senkakus, the GOP is not without culpability here.

It was a Bush-led Republican Party that voted to throw open America’s markets to China. Result: In the last two years, China ran up $630 billion in trade surpluses at our expense, a figure larger than the entire U.S. defense budget for 2015.

Our trade deficits with China provide her annually with enough dollars to finance her own defense budget twice over. Twenty years of such U.S. trade deficits have given the Middle Kingdom the trillions it needed to build the armed forces to drive us out of East Asia.

Are U.S. sailors and Marines now to die defending the Senkakus against a menacing China that the Bush free traders helped mightily to create?

If Sen. Rubio wants to “stand up” to China, why not call for a 50 percent tariff on all Chinese-made goods. Try that one out on the K Street bundlers and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Yet Marco Rubio in the primaries would be healthy for America. A showdown between non-interventionists and the neocon War Party, to determine which way America goes, is long overdue. Let’s get it on.

How the GOP Lost Middle America

How the GOP Lost Middle America

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Out of the Republican retreat on Maryland’s Eastern shore comes word that the House leadership is raising the white flag of surrender on immigration.

The GOP will agree to halt the deportation of 12 million illegal aliens, and sign on to a blanket amnesty. It only asks that the 12 million not be put on a path to citizenship.

Sorry, but losers do not dictate terms. Rich Trumka of the AFL-CIO says amnesty is no longer enough. Illegal aliens must be put on a path to citizenship and given green cards to work — and join unions.

Rep. Paul Ryan and the Wall Street Journal are for throwing in the towel. Legalize them all and start them on the path to citizenship.

A full and final capitulation. Let’s get it over with.

To understand why and how the Republican Party lost Middle America, and faces demographic death, we need to go back to Bush I.

At the Cold War’s end, the GOP reached a fork in the road. The determination of Middle Americans to preserve the country they grew up in, suddenly collided with the profit motive of Corporate America.

The Fortune 500 wanted to close factories in the USA and ship production abroad — where unions did not exist, regulations were light, taxes were low, and wages were a fraction of what they were here in America.

Corporate America was going global and wanted to be rid of its American work force, the best paid on earth, and replace it with cheap foreign labor.

While manufacturing sought to move production abroad, hotels, motels, bars, restaurants, farms and construction companies that could not move abroad also wanted to replace their expensive American workers.

Thanks to the Republican Party, Corporate America got it all.

U.S. factories in the scores of thousands were shut down, shedding their American workers. Foreign-made goods poured in, filling U.S. stores and killing the manufacturers who had stayed behind, loyal to their U.S. workers.

The Reagan prosperity was exported to Asia and China by the Bush Republicans. And the Reagan Democrats reciprocated by deserting the Bush Republican Party and going home. But this was not the end of what this writer described in his 1998 book, “The Great Betrayal.”

As those hotels, motels, restaurants, bars, fast-food shops, car washes, groceries and other service industries also relished the rewards of cheap foreign labor, they got government assistance in replacing their American workers.

Since 1990, some 30 to 40 million immigrants, legal and illegal, have entered the country.

This huge increase in the labor force, at the same time the U.S. was shipping factories abroad, brought massive downward pressure on wages. The real wages of Middle Americans have stagnated for decades.

What was wildly wonderful for Corporate America was hell on Middle America. But the Republican Party had made its choice. It had sold its soul to the multinationals. And as it went along with NAFTA, GATT, fast track and mass immigration, to appease Corporate America, it lost Middle America.

The party went with the folks who paid for their campaigns, only to lose the folks who had given them their landslides.

When Republicans accede to the demand for amnesty, and immigration without end, it does not take a political genius to see what is going to happen. For it is happening now.

Almost all of those breaking our laws, crossing the border, and overstaying their visas are young, poor or working class. Between 80 and 90 percent are from Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

They are Third World peoples. They believe in government action and government programs that provide their families with free education, health care, housing, food, and income subsidies. They are not Bob Taft or Barry Goldwater conservatives.

Perhaps 85 percent of all immigrants, legal and illegal, more than a million a year now, are people of color. And while over 70 percent of Hispanics and Asians voted Democratic for Obama, among voters of African descent, the Obama vote was well above 90 percent.

Four of every five U.S. citizens of Asian, African and Hispanic descent vote Democratic in presidential elections. And it is their numbers that are growing. Already they are well over a third of the U.S. population.

As has been observed often, America, demographically, is going to look like California. And while Nixon won California all five times he was on a national ticket, and Reagan won California in landslides all four times he ran, California has not gone Republican in six straight presidential elections.

Democrats outnumber Republicans there by more than two-to-one in the Congressional delegation and in the state assembly, and not a single Republican holds statewide office.

If Bush I had built that border fence back in 1992 and declared a moratorium on legal immigration that fall, as many implored him to do, the party of the Bushes would not be facing its demise well before midcentury.

Is Kerry In Denial?

Stay Out of Wars

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Does John Kerry understand the world he inherited? Is he in denial?

Consider. At Davos, Switzerland, Kerry called it a “myth” that America is withdrawing, and “the most bewildering version of this disengagement myth is about a supposed U.S. retreat from the Middle East.”

Is he serious? How else does Kerry describe Obama’s pullout of all U.S. troops from Iraq, and from Afghanistan by year’s end?

Syria is “someone else’s civil war,” says President Obama. If we do any strikes there, promised Kerry, they will be “unbelievably small,” and rest assured there will be “no [U.S.] boots on the ground.”

When al-Qaida and its allies seized Ramadi and Fallujah in Anbar province, Kerry rushed to the microphones: “We’re not … contemplating returning. We’re not contemplating putting boots on the ground. This is their fight. … this is a fight that belongs to the Iraqis.”

Yes it is. But does this sound like the defiant “This will not stand!” of George H. W. Bush, after Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait?

Moreover, a Pew poll last fall found that 52 percent of the nation approves of U.S. disengagement, saying America should “mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own.”

Staying out of other countries’ quarrels and other nations’ wars is what Americans want, and Obama is delivering.

Why does John Kerry deny the obvious?

To his credit, the secretary has undertaken three diplomatic initiatives, the success of any one of which could earn him a Nobel.

The Geneva II Conference on Syria, the U.S.-U.N. negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program, and the Palestinian-Israeli peace initiative.

Yet Kerry’s own undiplomatic conduct may be imperiling two of his initiatives, and naivete and hubris may be blinding him to the coming collapse of the third.

On arrival at Geneva II, Kerry demanded that Iran be disinvited, then launched into a tirade insisting that Assad get out of Damascus:

“There is no way … that the man who led the brutal response to his own people could regain the legitimacy to govern.”

Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moallem was right back in his face:

“No one, Mr. Kerry, has the right to provide legitimacy … except for the Syrian people.”

Dismissing Kerry’s call for a transitional government without Assad, Moallem implied that not only was Kerry’s position irrelevant — Assad currently holds the whip hand in Syria and is going nowhere — but irrational from the standpoint of U.S. national interests.

“Those doing suicide attacks in New York,” Moallem instructed Kerry, “are the same as those doing it in Syria.”

The Washington Post backed Moallem with a report that Ayman al-Zawahiri has called on all jihadists in Syria to line up in “one rowlike, solid structure in confronting your sectarian, secularist enemy,” the Assad regime, that is backed by “Iran, Russia and China.”

“What makes our hearts bleed,” said Zawahiri, “is the hostile sedition, which has intensified among the ranks of the mujahideen of Islam.”

Can Kerry explain why America’s goal remains the ouster of Assad, when the offensive coordinator for the rebels who would take power is the successor to Osama bin Laden?

Asked what would happen should Iran backslide on the new interim nuclear agreement, Kerry rattled America’s rockets:

“If they do that, then the military option that is available to the United States is ready and prepared to do what it would have to do.”

Who is Kerry to threaten a war Congress has never authorized?

How does it advance diplomacy to threaten publicly to bomb your negotiating partners? Kerry talks as though he were back in the Senate.

The head of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard dismissed Kerry’s threat as “ridiculous,” called his negotiating strategy “bankrupt” and warned that “the revolutionary people” of Iran are anxious for battle with the Americans.

If Kerry’s wants a deal, how does this bellicose bluster help?

Kerry now says that Iran will have to “dismantle” centrifuges. But is not America’s objective here proof positive Iran has no nuclear weapon or weapons program, and that its nuclear program is peaceful?

When did the destruction of Iranian centrifuges become the U.S. demand? Tehran has now planted its feet in concrete that there will be no dismantling of centrifuges, and “Bibi” Netanyahu is crowing that this means the failure of the talks.

As for an Israeli-Palestinian deal in which Kerry has invested 10 trips, Israeli economics minister Naftali Bennett calls it “a joke.”

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon says that Kerry “is acting out of misplaced obsession and messianic fervor,” that his peace plan “is not worth the paper it is written on,” that he wishes Kerry would get his Nobel prize now, and leave Israel alone.

As for Bibi, who resigned from Ariel Sharon’s cabinet rather than accept a withdrawal from Gaza, he now says that not one settler on the West Bank will be uprooted, and not one settlement shut down.

Kerry is heading into a minefield. And so are we.

What Did Our Wars Win?

What Did Our Wars Win?

By Patrick J. Buchanan

“He ended one war and kept us out of any other,” is the tribute paid President Eisenhower.

Ike ended the Korean conflict in 1953, refused to intervene to save the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954, and, rather than back the British-French-Israeli invasion, ordered them all out of Egypt in 1956.

Ending America longest wars may prove to be Barack Obama’s legacy.

For, while ending wars without victory may not garner from the historians’ the accolade of “great” or “near great,” it is sometimes the duty of a president who has inherited a war the nation no longer wishes to fight.

That was Nixon’s fate, as well as Ike’s, and Obama’s.

And as we look back at our interventions in the 21st century, where are the gains of all our fighting, bleeding and dying?

We know the costs — 8,000 dead, 40,000 wounded, $2 trillion in wealth sunk. But where are the benefits?

After Moammar Gadhafi fell in Libya, the mercenaries he had hired returned to Mali. The French had to intervene. In Benghazi, the city we started the war to save, a U.S. ambassador and three Americans would be murdered by terrorists.

Libya today appears to be breaking apart.

While Gadhafi was dreadful, what threat was he to us, especially after he had surrendered his weapons of mass destruction?

In Egypt, we helped overthrow President Hosni Mubarak and hailed the election of the Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohammad Morsi.

A year later, we green-lighted Morsi’s overthrow by Mubarak’s army.

Terrorism has returned to Egypt, the Sinai is now a no man’s land, and almost all Egypt hates us now.

The Shia regime we brought to power in Iraq has so repressed the Sunnis that Anbar province is now hosting al-Qaida. Fallujah and Ramadi have fallen. President Nuri al-Maliki is asking for U.S. weapons to retrieve Anbar and for U.S. personnel to train his soldiers.

Unlike the bad, old Iraq, the new Iraq tilts to Tehran.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai has refused to sign a status of forces agreement giving our troops legal protections if they remain. This could cause a complete U.S. pullout in 2014, leading to the return of the Taliban we drove out in 2001.

Sunday saw terrorism in the heart of Kabul, with a restaurant favored by foreign officials targeted by a car bomb, followed by a machine-gunning of dining patrons in which 21 were killed.

Americans have fought bravely there for a dozen years.

But how has our nation building in the Hindu Kush benefited the good old USA?

Pakistan, with nuclear weapons, has become a haven of the Taliban, perhaps the most dangerous country on earth. Anti-American elements in the Khyber region have, because of our drone attacks, been blocking a U.S. troop exodus to the sea.

How enduring is what we accomplished in Afghanistan?

Last summer, Obama, goaded by democracy crusaders and the War Party, was about to launch strikes on Syria when America arose as one to call a halt.

We did not attack Syria. Had we, we would have struck a blow for an insurgency dominated by the al-Nusra Front and Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. The ISIS goal? Detach Anbar from Iraq and unite it with jihadist-occupied sectors of Syria in a new caliphate.

Can we not see that Bashar Assad’s worst enemies are ours as well?

Syria’s civil war, which has cost 100,000 dead, with millions uprooted and a million in exile, has spilled over into Lebanon, where Hezbollah backs Assad and the Sunnis back the rebels.

The neoconservatives say much of this might have been averted, had we left a stronger contingent of U.S. troops in Iraq and supported the Syrian uprising before the jihadists took control.

They were for attacking Assad last summer, are for more severe sanctions on Iran now, and are for war if Iran does not give up all enrichment of uranium.

But the neocons have broken their pick with the people. For they have been wrong about just about everything.

They were wrong about Saddam’s WMD and a “cakewalk” war.

They were wrong about how welcome we would be in Iraq and how Baghdad would become a flourishing democracy and model for the Mideast.

They did not see the Sunni-Shia war our intervention would ignite.

They were wrong about how our interests would be served in attacking Libya.

They did not see the disaster that would unfold in Pakistan.

While we did not follow their advice and attack Syria, how have we suffered from having taken a pass on Syria’s civil-sectarian war?

From Libya to Lebanon, Syria to Yemen, Iraq to Afghanistan, the Maghreb and Middle East are aflame. What have we lost by getting out of the wars Obama found us in? How would we benefit from parachuting back into the middle of the fire?

Which raises a related question: Was Obama wrong in extricating us from the wars into which George W. Bush plunged his country?

How will history answer that one?

Lindsey’s Plan for War on Iran

Lindsey's Plan for War on Iran

By Patrick J. Buchanan

This summer produced a triumph of American patriotism.

A grassroots coalition arose to demand Congress veto any war on Syria. Congress got the message and was ready to vote no to war, when President Obama seized upon Vladimir Putin’s offer to work together to disarm Syria of chemical weapons.

The war America did not want — did not come.

Lindsey Graham is determined that this does not happen again.

The next war he and his collaborators are planning, the big one, the war on Iran, will not be blocked the same way.

How does Graham propose to do this?

He plans to introduce a use-of-force resolution, a peacetime declaration of war on Iran, to ensure Obama need not come back to Congress — and can attack Iran at will. Lindsay intends a preemptive surrender of Congress’ constitutional war-making power — to Obama.

He wants to give Obama a blank check for war on Iran, then stampede Obama into starting the war.

On Fox’s “Huckabee” Sunday, Lindsey laid out his scheme:

“I’m going to get a bipartisan coalition together. We’re going to put together a use-of-force resolution, allowing our country to use military force … to stop the Iranian nuclear program. … I’m going to need your help, Mike, and the help of Americans and friends of Israel.”

In July, Graham told a cheering conference of Christians United for Israel: “If nothing changes in Iran, come September, October, I will present a resolution that will authorize the use of military force to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.”

That Graham is braying that he intends to give Obama a blank check for war on Iran is not all bad news. For he thus concedes Obama does not now have the authority to attack Iran.

And by equating Iran’s “nuclear program” with a “nuclear bomb” program, Graham reveals that his bottom line is not Obama’s bottom line, but Benjamin Netanyahu’s.

Obama has said only that Iran must not be allowed to build a bomb. Bibi says Iran must not have a nuclear program.

Yet, make no mistake. The goal of Graham, the neocons, Israel and Saudi Arabia is not a negotiated solution permitting a peaceful nuclear program in Iran. The goal is a U.S. war to smash Iran.

On Nov. 10, 2010, Graham let it all out: “Instead of a surgical strike on their nuclear infrastructure, I think we’re to the point now that you have to really neuter the regime’s ability to wage war against us and our allies.

… [We must] destroy the ability of the regime to strike back.”

Graham wants us to do to Iran what President Bush II did to Iraq.

But there are obstacles in our warlord’s path.

First, there is no conclusive proof Iran has decided to build a bomb.

Twice, the U.S. intelligence community, in 2007 and 2011, has asserted with high confidence that Iran has made no such decision.

Senators who do not seek a new war with Iran should call James Clapper, Director of National Intelligence, to testify publicly as to whether Iran is “racing” toward a bomb. Or is this the usual War Party propaganda?

As of today, Iran has not tested a bomb and, to our knowledge, does not possess any uranium enriched to the 90 percent necessary to build a bomb. Indeed, Iran has just announced that half its supply of 20 percent-enriched uranium has been converted to fuel rods.

Iran’s new president, Hassan Rouhani, was elected on a pledge to get U.S. sanctions lifted and to end Iran’s isolation. But to accomplish this, he must prove that Iran has no active bomb program and that he is willing to allowing intrusive inspections to prove it.

As a first step to negotiations, Rouhani just appointed the most pro-American foreign minister in four decades.

Moreover, Iran, victim of the worst poison gas attack since Benito Mussolini invaded Ethiopia, launched by Saddam Hussein with U.S. knowledge, has condemned any Syrian use of chemical weapons and signed the agreement banning them as well the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.

The Ayatollah has issued a fatwa against an Iranian nuclear weapon.

Often, the interests of adversaries coincide. In World War II, with Hitler as the enemy, the monster Stalin becomes an ally.

Putin wants no U.S. war on Syria or Iran. This requires no chemical weapons use in Syria and no nukes in Iran. This coincides with U.S. interests, if not Lindsey Graham’s.

The Russians, with ties to Tehran and Damascus we do not have, can be helpful in keeping us out of wars we do not want.

The true friends of America are those seeking to keep us out of wars, not those maneuvering us in.

That Vladimir Putin is going to Tehran, and Obama to the U.N. to meet Rouhani is good news.

Better news would be that Congressional anti-interventionists were meeting Graham’s war resolution with one of their own, reaffirming that, as of today, Obama has no authority to launch any preemptive or presidential war on Iran.