11 September 2012

Buchanan Nails It Again

This time on the need to avert war with Iran. Excerpts:

What is Bibi Netanyahu up to?

With all his warnings of Iran’s “nuclear capability,” of red lines being crossed, of “breakout,” of the international community failing in its duty, of an “existential threat” to Israel, what is the prime minister’s game?

The answer is apparent. Bibi wants Iran’s nuclear program shut down, all enrichment ended, all enriched uranium removed and guarantees that Iran will never again start up a nuclear program.

And if Tehran refuses to surrender its right even to a peaceful nuclear program, he wants its nuclear facilities, especially the enrichment facility at Fordow, deep inside a mountain, obliterated.

And he wants us to do it.

How has Bibi gone about getting America to fight Israel’s war?

He is warning, indeed threatening, that if we do not set a date certain for Iran to end enrichment of uranium, and assure Israel that we will attack Iran if it rejects our ultimatum, Israel will bomb Iran and start the war itself.


Thus far, Obama has called Bibi’s bluff, assuming it is a bluff.

The United States has refused to set a date certain by which Iran must end all enrichment. Hillary Clinton said this weekend that we are “not setting deadlines.” And the election, which could give Obama a free hand to pursue his own timetable and terms for a deal with Tehran, is only eight weeks off.


And the Americans have sent emissaries, including Secretary Leon Panetta, to tell Bibi we oppose an Israeli attack. The Pentagon does not want war. Three former U.S. Central Command heads oppose a war. And last week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Martin Dempsey said he does not wish to be “complicit” in any Israeli attack.

Implied in the word “complicit” is that Dempsey believes an Israeli first strike on Iran could be an act of aggression.

The Israelis were furious, but suddenly the war talk subsided.

From the clashes, public and private, between these two close allies, it is apparent the United States shares neither Israel’s assessment of the threat nor Israel’s sense of urgency.

Why not? Why, when Netanyahu says Israel is facing an “existential threat,” do the Americans dismiss it?

The first reason is the elephant in the room no one mentions: Israel’s own nuclear arsenal. If Fordow is a difficult target for Israel to destroy with conventional air strikes, it could be annihilated with a single atom bomb.

And Israel has hundreds.

Indeed, if Israel has ruled out use of an atomic weapon, even when it says its very existence is threatened, and neoconservatives claim that Iran’s mullahs are such death-wishing fanatics they cannot be deterred even by nuclear weapons, what is Israel’s awesome atomic arsenal for?

What this suggests is that the Israelis do not believe what they are saying. Their nuclear deterrent is highly credible to all their neighbors. Their existence is not in imminent peril. And the mullahs are not madmen.

When Ronald Reagan was about to take the oath, suddenly those mullahs, assessing that the new American president might be a man of action, not just words, had all the U.S. hostages winging their way home.

When the USS Vincennes mistakenly shot down an Iranian airliner in 1988, the Ayatollah Khomeini, founding father of the Islamic Republic, ended his war with Iraq on unfavorable terms, fearing America was about to intervene on the side of Saddam Hussein.

Like all rulers, good and evil, Iran’s leaders want to preserve what they have—families, homes, lives, privileges, possessions, power. When suicide missions are ordered, you do not read of ayatollahs or of Iranian politicians driving the truck or wearing the vest.


If there is no reason to go to war with Iran, there is every reason not to go to war. Notwithstanding the alarmist rhetoric of Bibi and Ehud Barak, President Obama should stand his ground. And on this one, Gov. Romney should stand with the president, not the prime minister.


Anonymous said...


Point: If the US were energy independent, this whole issue would fade from US strategic consciousness.

Counter-point#1: Who are you kidding? Even if the US were energy independent, the strategic oil reserves would be a big enough strategic resource that the US would not and should not cede influence over the area to any other hegemon (i.e. China? Russia? South Africa? EU? Canada? just kidding on that last one, maybe the last two).

Counter-point #2: Even if Counter-point #1 is incorrect, the pro-Israel lobby is so powerful that the issue will continue to make the Middle East an outsized focal point in US politics.

Counter-counter point (to CP#2): Eh, maybe, but with the strategic importance of the region compromised, the US would be much more likely to be anti-Israel than pro-Israel. There is still REAL anti-Semitism (not just the manufactured stuff that politicians who dare to disagree with the pro-Israel lobby get tagged with) and not just among hard-line Muslims or Palestinians.

I'm so glad that I solved everything with this post.


Proud SLPS Parent

thetimman said...


You're talking to yourself in the mirror again. Very bad sign.


Peggy R said...

Trying to decide how to respond here. I am no "neo-con" but I am not opposed to Israel's existence or right of self-defense. So, I'm not quite the paleo-con Buchanan is. I don't like his antipathy toward Israel. I will not stand with Barack Obama and Islam against Israel. [I don't O's a Muslim, but I think his sympathies are quite clear...and look at the mess his Arab spring is causing--"blowback"?]
I don't favor Israel b/c of some theological belief. I agree with one of SPLS parent's comments to the effect that we should divest ourselves of middle eastern oil interests and dependence. We don't need them. I say end relations with Arab/Muslim nations.

I do not support US involvement in another war, certainly no more foolish nation-building. I am fine if Israel wants to do this itself. More power to 'em.

Fenian said...

I think Pat Buchanan really does frame the issue well and explains why we don't need to get into another war.

That being said, the part about the release of the hostages because of Reagan's perceived strength is little more than historical revisionism.

No Nukes said...

I agree with you Peggy. The fact is that Iran has made it clear that they intend to bomb Israel and they are crazy. What good does the nuclear arsenal of Israel do them if they are all dead and their own defense is destroyed? Israel is a small country and it wouldn't take much to destroy them. Obama wouldn't care if Israel were bombed and Iran knows it, so why not go for it?

Terri said...


Anonymous said...

Pat Buchanan sounds like a great anti-dote to the neo-cons.

Wish the US had followed Pope John Paul II's advice, and not invaded Iraq. Iraq had absolutely no connection to 9/11. None.
Saddam had to rule with an iron hand, as the world is finding out, because there was always a civil war waiting to burst forth.
Sure enough, the neo-cons got the war they wanted. They added $2 trillion to the US debt. Over 100,000 immediately killed in our initial bombardment. Most Catholics have fled or are in hiding. The civil war rages. The US lost all respect in the middle East.
Pat Buchanan is right - the US has no right jumping into another war. The neo-cons disagree.

Sadly, NOTHING was mentioned of the Palestinian Christians and Muslims, the most oppressed group on the planet. Nothing in mainstream media ever even mentions the 4 million Palestinian refugees forced out of their homeland by Israel's expansion, and continued land-grab.