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Who's Planning Our Next War?

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THE PROGRESSIVE REVIEW - July 3, 2008
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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. 

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.

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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 
restrictions 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 from now." 

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 
balks? 

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.

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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 
replicate 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 retaliation 
with Jericho and cruise missiles from Israeli submarines? 
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 initiate 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 conceding 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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