Stop Promoting Wars

J. Buchanan

by Patrick J. Buchanan: Who
Is Winning the Gun War?

“The worst
mistake of my presidency,” said Ronald Reagan of his decision to
put Marines into the middle of Lebanon’s civil war, where 241 died
in a suicide bombing of their barracks.

And if Barack
Obama plunges into Syria’s civil war, it could consume his presidency,
even as Iraq consumed the presidency of George W. Bush.

Why would Obama
even consider this?

Because he
blundered badly. Foolishly, he put his credibility on the line by
warning that any Syrian use of chemical weapons would cross a “red
line” and be a “game changer” with “enormous consequences.”

Not only was
this ultimatum unwise, Obama had no authority to issue it. If Syria
does not threaten or attack us, Obama would need congressional authorization
before he could constitutionally engage in acts of war against Syria.
When did he ever receive such authorization?

Moreover, there
is no proof Syrian President Bashar Assad ever ordered the use of
chemical weapons.

U.S. intelligence
agencies maintain that small amounts of the deadly toxin sarin gas
were likely used. But if it did happen, we do not know who ordered

Syrians officials
deny that they ever used chemicals. And before we dismiss Damascus’
denials, recall that an innocent man in Tupelo, Miss., was lately
charged with mailing deadly ricin to Sen. Roger Wicker and President
Obama. This weekend, we learned he may have been framed.

It is well
within the capacity of Assad’s enemies to use or fake the use of
poison gas to suck us into fighting their war.

Even if elements
of Assad’s army did use sarin, we ought not plunge in. And, fortunately,
that seems to be Obama’s thinking.

Why stay out?
Because it is not our war. There is no vital U.S. interest in who
rules Syria. Hafez Assad and Bashar have ruled Syria for 40 years.
How has that ever threatened us?

Moreover, U.S.
intervention would signal to Assad that the end is near, making
his use of every weapon in his arsenal, including chemical weapons,
more – not less – likely.

U.S. intervention
would also make us de facto allies of Assad’s principal enemies,
the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Nusra Front, Syria’s al-Qaida. As
The New York Times reported Sunday, “Nowhere in rebel-controlled
Syria is there a secular fighting force to speak of.”

Do we really
wish to expend American blood and treasure to bring about a victory
of Islamists and jihadists in Syria?

If Assad’s
chemical weapons threaten any nation, it is Israel. But Israel knows
where they are stored and has an air force superior to our own in
the Med. Israeli troops on the Golan are as close to Damascus as
Dulles Airport is to Washington, D.C. Yet Israel has not attacked
Syria’s chemical weapons.

Why not? Israel
is well aware that Syria’s air defense system is, as The Wall
Street Journal
reported yesterday, “one of the most advanced
and concentrated barriers on the planet.”

And if Israel
does not feel sufficiently threatened by Syria’s chemical weapons
to go after them, why should we, 4,000 miles away?

Then there
is Turkey, with three times Syria’s population, NATO’s second-largest
army and a 600-mile border. Why is ridding the Middle East of Assad
our assignment and not Ankara’s?

Surely the
heirs of the Ottomans have a larger stake here.

And if we get
into this war, how do we get out?

For the war
is metastasizing. Hezbollah is sending in fighters to help the Alawite
Shia. Other Lebanese are assisting the Sunni rebels. The war could
spread into Iraq, where the latest clashes between Sunni and Shia
are pulling the country apart. Young Muslims are coming in from

Iran and Russia
are aiding Damascus. Qatar and Saudi Arabia are aiding the Islamists.
The United States, Jordan and Turkey are aiding the secularists.
Syria could come apart, and a sectarian and ethnic war of all against
all erupt across the region.

Do we really
want the U.S. military in the middle of this?

Because his
“red line” appears to have been crossed, Obama is being told he
must attack Syria to maintain his credibility with Iran and North

Nonsense. To
attack Syria would compound Obama’s folly in drawing the red line.
Better to have egg on Obama’s face than for America to be dragged
into another unnecessary war.

Obama would
not be alone in having his bluff called. George Bush proclaimed
that no “axis of evil” nation would be allowed to acquire the “world’s
worst weapons.” North Korea now has those weapons.

war hawks, led by Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, are cawing
for air strikes and no-fly zones, which would mean dead and captured
Americans and many more dead Syrians.

Time for Congress
to either authorize Obama to lead us into a new Middle East war,
or direct him, in the absence of an attack upon us, to keep America
out of what is Syria’s civil war.

Before we slide
into another war, let the country be consulted first.

1, 2013

J. Buchanan [send
him mail
] is co-founder and editor of
American Conservative
. He is also the author of seven books,
the Right Went Wrong
, and Churchill,
Hitler, and the Unnecessary War
. His latest book is Suicide
of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?
See his

© 2013 Creators Syndicate

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