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Who's Planning Our Next War?

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                  July 1, 2008

Who's Planning Our Next War?
by Patrick J. Buchanan

Of the Axis-of-Evil nations named in his State of the 
Union in 2002, President Bush has often said, "The United 
States will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes 
to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons."

He failed with North Korea. Will he accept failure in Iran, 
though there is no hard evidence Iran has an active nuclear 
weapons program?

William Kristol of The Weekly Standard said Sunday a U.S. 
attack on Iran after the election is more likely should 
Barack Obama win. Presumably, Bush would trust John McCain 
to keep Iran nuclear free.

Yet, to start a third war in the Middle East against a 
nation three times as large as Iraq, and leave it to a 
new president to fight, would be a daylight hijacking of 
the congressional war power and a criminally irresponsible 
act. For Congress alone has the power to authorize war.

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Yet Israel is even today pushing Bush into a pre-emptive 
war with a naked threat to attack Iran itself should Bush 
refuse the cup.

In April, Israel held a five-day civil defense drill. In 
June, Israel sent 100 F-15s and F-16s, with refueling 
tankers and helicopters to pick up downed pilots, toward 
Greece in a simulated attack, a dress rehearsal for war. 
The planes flew 1,400 kilometers, the distance to Iran's 
uranium enrichment facility at Natanz.

Ehud Olmert came home from a June meeting with Bush to 
tell Israelis: "We reached agreement on the need to take 
care of the Iranian threat. ... I left with a lot less 
question marks regarding the means, the timetable rest-
rictions and American resoluteness. ...

"George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian 
threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act 
on the matter before the end of his term. ... The 
Iranian problem requires urgent attention, and I see no 
reason to delay this just because there will be a new 
president in the White House seven and a half months 
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If Bush is discussing war on Iran with Ehud Olmert, why 
is he not discussing it with Congress or the nation?

On June 6, Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz threatened, 
"If Iran continues its nuclear weapons program, we will 
attack it." The price of oil shot up 9 percent.

Is Israel bluffing – or planning to attack Iran if America 

Previous air strikes on the PLO command in Tunis, on the 
Osirak reactor in Iraq and on the presumed nuclear reactor 
site in Syria last September give Israel a high degree 
of credibility.

Still, attacking Iran would be no piece of cake.

Israel lacks the stealth and cruise-missile capacity to 
degrade Iran's air defenses systematically and no longer 
has the element of surprise. Israeli planes and pilots 
would likely be lost.

Israel also lacks the ability to stay over the target or 
conduct follow-up strikes. The U.S. Air Force bombed Iraq 
for five weeks with hundreds of daily runs in 1991 before 
Gen. Schwarzkopf moved.

Moreover, if Iran has achieved the capacity to enrich 
uranium, she has surely moved centrifuges to parts of the 
country that Israel cannot reach – and can probably rep-
licate anything lost.

Israel would also have to over-fly Turkey, or Syria and 
U.S.-occupied Iraq, or Saudi Arabia to reach Natanz. Turks, 
Syrians and Saudis would deny Israel permission and might 
resist. For the U.S. military to let Israel over-fly Iraq 
would make us an accomplice. How would that sit with the 
Europeans who are supporting our sanctions on Iran and 
want the nuclear issue settled diplomatically?

And who can predict with certitude how Iran would respond?

Would Iran attack Israel with rockets, inviting retalia-
tion with Jericho and cruise missiles from Israeli submar-
ines? Would she close the Gulf with suicide-boat attacks 
on tankers and U.S. warships?

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With oil at $135 a barrel, Israeli air strikes on Iran 
would seem to ensure a 2,000-point drop in the Dow and a 
world recession.

What would Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria do? All three are 
now in indirect negotiations with Israel. U.S. forces in 
Afghanistan and Iraq could be made by Iran to pay a high 
price in blood that could force the United States to ini-
tiate its own air war in retaliation, and to finish a war 
Israel had begun. But a U.S. war on Iran is not a decision 
Bush can outsource to Ehud Olmert.

Tuesday, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Adm. Michael Mullins 
left for Israel. CBS News cited U.S. officials as conced-
ing the trip comes "just as the Israelis are mounting a 
full court press to get the Bush administration to strike 
Iran's nuclear complex."

Vice President Cheney is said to favor U.S. strikes. 
Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Mullins are said 
to be opposed.

Moving through Congress, powered by the Israeli lobby, 
is House Resolution 362, which demands that President Bush 
impose a U.S. blockade of Iran, an act of war.

Is it not time the American people were consulted on the 
next war that is being planned for us?

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