III of Bush's War
By Patrick Buchanan
-- - Those who hoped that — with the victory of the antiwar party in 2006, the
departure of Rumsfeld and the neocons from the Pentagon, the rise of Condi and
the eclipse of Cheney — America was headed out of Iraq got a rude awakening.
They are about to get another.
Today, the United States has 30,000 more troops in Iraq than on the day America
repudiated the Bush war policy and voted the GOP out of power. And President
Bush, self-confidence surging, is now employing against Iran a bellicosity
redolent of the days just prior to Operation Iraqi Freedom.
What gives Bush his new cockiness? The total collapse of the antiwar coalition
on Capitol Hill and the breaking of the Congress.
Last spring, Bush vetoed the congressional deadlines for troop withdrawals, then
rubbed Congress' nose in its defeat by demanding and getting $100 billion to
support the surge and continue the war.
Before the August recess, Democrats broke again and voted to give Bush the
warrantless wiretap authority many among them had said was an unconstitutional
and impeachable usurpation of power. They are a broken and frightened lot.
Comes now evidence congressional Democrats have not only lost the pro-victory
vote, but forfeited the peace vote, as well.
According to a Zogby poll the last week in August, just two weeks before Gen.
Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker report, Americans, by 45 percent to 20 percent,
give this Democratic Congress lower grades on handling the war than the
Republican Congress it replaced.
Fifty-four percent of the nation believes, contra Harry Reid, the war is not
lost. That is twice the support that Bush enjoys for his war leadership, a
paltry 27 percent. But, by nine to one, Bush's leadership on the war is
preferred to that of the Congress of Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid.
Incredibly, only 3 percent of the nation gives Congress a positive rating on its
handling of the war. Congress has lost the hawks, and the owls, and the doves.
No one trusts its leadership on the war.
And George W. smells it. He no longer fears the power of Congress, and his
rhetoric suggests he is contemptuous of it. He is brimming with self-assurance
that he can break any Democratic attempt to impose deadlines for troop
withdrawal and force Congress to cough up all the funds he demands.
Confident of victory this fall on the Hill, Bush is now moving into Phase III in
his War on Terror: First, Afghanistan, then Iraq, then Iran.
Do not take this writer's word for it. Hearken to the astonishing rhetoric Bush
used at the American Legion Convention in Las Vegas against Tehran:
"Iran ... is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. ... Iran funds
terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the
innocent and target Israel. ... Iran is sending arms to the Taliban. ... Iran
has arrested visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes. ... Iran's
active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put
a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a
"Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. ... We will
confront this danger before it is too late."
Bush has repeatedly warned Iran to cease supplying Iraqi insurgents with arms
and enhanced IEDs for attacks on our troops in Iraq.
How has Tehran responded to Bush's virtual ultimatums?
"The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have
increased in the last few months — despite pledges by Iran to help stabilize the
security situation in Iraq. ...
"Iran's leaders cannot escape responsibility for aiding attacks against
coalition forces and the murder of innocent Iraqis."
This is a case for war. Indeed, it's an assertion by President Bush that Iran is
colluding in acts of war against the soldiers and Marines and allies of the
United States. What does he intend to do?
"I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's
murderous activities. ... We've conducted operations against Iranian agents
supplying lethal munitions to extremist groups."
This suggests that U.S. forces may already be engaged in combat operations
Who or what can stop this drive to war?
Last spring, Nancy Pelosi herself, after a call from the Israeli lobby, pulled
an amendment that would have forced Bush to come to Congress for specific
authorization before attacking Iran. Before the August recess, the Senate voted
97 to zero for a resolution sponsored by Joe Lieberman to censure Iran for
complicity in the killing of U.S. soldiers in Iraq.
The resolution explicitly rejected authorization for immediate military action,
but the gist of it declared that Iran is participating in acts of war against
the United States, laying the foundation for a confrontation.
What is to prevent Bush from attacking Iran and widening the war, at a time and
place of his choosing, and sooner than we think?
Nothing and no one.
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