[THS] Patrick J. Buchanan: Will Obama Play the War Card?
psalience at fastmail.fm
Sun Feb 7 12:21:35 CET 2010
[yes, it's all just a big card game, will we nuke Iran? what a 'play' that would be. a geostrategic ace of spades, I guess. anybody got trumps left?]
"The person that loses their conscience has nothing left worth keeping."
- Izaak Walton
Will Obama Play the War Card?
By Patrick J. Buchanan
February 05, 2010 "CS" -- Republicans already counting the seats they will pick up
this fall should keep in mind Obama has a big card yet to play.
Should the president declare he has gone the last mile for a negotiated end to Iran's
nuclear program and impose the "crippling" sanctions he promised in 2008, America
would be on an escalator to confrontation that could lead straight to war.
And should war come, that would be the end of GOP dreams of adding three-dozen
seats in the House and half a dozen in the Senate.
Harry Reid is surely aware a U.S. clash with Iran, with him at the president's side,
could assure his re-election. Last week, Reid whistled through the Senate, by voice
vote, a bill to put us on that escalator.
Senate bill 2799 would punish any company exporting gasoline to Iran. Though
swimming in oil, Iran has a limited refining capacity and must import 40 percent of
the gas to operate its cars and trucks and heat its homes.
And cutting off a country's oil or gas is a proven path to war.
In 1941, the United States froze Japan's assets, denying her the funds to pay for the
U.S. oil on which she relied, forcing Tokyo either to retreat from her empire or seize
the only oil in reach, in the Dutch East Indies.
The only force able to interfere with a Japanese drive into the East Indies? The U.S.
Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Egypt's Gamel Abdel Nasser in 1967 threatened to close the Straits of Tiran between
the Red Sea and Gulf of Aqaba to ships going to the Israeli port of Elath. That would
have cut off 95 percent of Israel's oil.
Israel response: a pre-emptive war that destroyed Egypt's air force and put Israeli
troops at Sharm el-Sheikh on the Straits of Tiran.
Were Reid and colleagues seeking to strengthen Obama's negotiating hand?
The opposite is true. The Senate is trying to force Obama's hand, box him in, restrict
his freedom of action, by making him impose sanctions that would cut off the
negotiating track and put us on a track to war a war to deny Iran weapons that
the U.S. Intelligence community said in December 2007 Iran gave up trying to
acquire in 2003.
Republican leader Mitch McConnell has made clear the Senate is seizing control of
the Iran portfolio. "If the Obama administration will not take action against this
regime, then Congress must."
U.S. interests would seem to dictate supporting those elements in Iran who wish to
be rid of the regime and re-engage the West. But if that is our goal, the Senate bill,
and a House version that passed 412 to 12, seem almost diabolically perverse.
For a cutoff in gas would hammer Iran's middle class. The Revolutionary Guard and
Basij militia on their motorbikes would get all they need. Thus the leaders of the
Green Movement who have stood up to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the Ayatollah
oppose sanctions that inflict suffering on their own people.
Cutting off gas to Iran would cause many deaths. And the families of the sick, the
old, the weak, the women and the children who die are unlikely to feel gratitude
toward those who killed them.
And despite the hysteria about Iran's imminent testing of a bomb, the U.S.
intelligence community still has not changed its finding that Tehran is not seeking a
The low-enriched uranium at Natanz, enough for one test, has neither been moved
nor enriched to weapons grade. Ahmadinejad this week offered to take the West's
deal and trade it for fuel for its reactor. Iran's known nuclear facilities are under U.N.
watch. The number of centrifuges operating at Natanz has fallen below 4,000. There
is speculation they are breaking down or have been sabotaged.
And if Iran is hell-bent on a bomb, why has Director of National Intelligence Dennis
Blair not revised the 2007 finding and given us the hard evidence?
U.S. anti-missile ships are moving into the Gulf. Anti-missile batteries are being
deployed on the Arab shore. Yet, Gen. David Petraeus warned yesterday that a strike
on Iran could stir nationalist sentiment behind the regime.
Nevertheless, the war drums have again begun to beat.
Richard Pipes in a National Review Online piece featured by the Jerusalem Post
"How to Save the Obama Presidency: Bomb Iran" urges Obama to make a
"dramatic gesture to change the public perception of him as a lightweight, bumbling
ideologue" by ordering the U.S. military to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.
Citing six polls, Pipes says Americans support an attack today and will "presumably
rally around the flag" when the bombs fall.
Will Obama cynically yield to temptation, play the war card and make "conservatives
swoon," in Pipes' phrase, to save himself and his party? We shall see.
Patrick Buchanan is the author of the book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary
War." To find out more about Patrick Buchanan, and read features by other Creators
Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate web page at
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