Pat Buchanan: Will the War Party goad a gullible America into war?
As President Obama departed for Israel, there came a startling report. Bashar Assad's regime had used poison gas on Syrian rebels.
Two Israeli Cabinet members claimed credible evidence. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said, "It's clear for us that (gas is) being used. ... This ... should be on the table in the discussions."
Yet, 72 hours later, the United States still could not confirm that gas was used, and Syria and Russia have called on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to investigate whether it was used, and if so, by whom.
What's going on here?
It does not require Inspector Clouseau to surmise this may be a fabrication to stampede the ever-gullible Americans into plunging into Syria to win the war for the al-Qaida-saturated Syrian rebels.
But sucking America into Syria's civil war is only a near-term goal for the War Party, which is after larger game - greasing the skids for a U.S. war on Iran.
And lest we underestimate the War Party, the likelihood is they will get their war. For they have already gotten Obama to make concessions that are steering us inexorably toward such a war.
First, Obama was persuaded to declare it U.S. policy that, where Iran's uranium-enrichment program is concerned, "All options are on the table!" Translation: Absent major concessions by Iran, proving she is not seeking a nuclear weapon, war against Iran is in the cards.
Yet, even as Obama parrots the mantra, "All options are on the table," he has been persuaded to take off the table the option that won the Cold War, the George Kennan option of containment and deterrence.
Obama has been goaded into proclaiming that though America contained an evil empire that spanned 13 time zones and possessed thousands of nukes, containment cannot work with Iran.
Why not? Because the ayatollah, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs, we are solemnly instructed, are religious fanatics who could easily opt for committing collective suicide should they get a bomb - by using that bomb on us.
This, of course, is to attribute to Iran's leaders an insanity they have never exhibited. Not in memory has Iran started a war. Saddam attacked Iran, not the other way around. When the Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner, Ayatollah Khomeini himself ordered the Iraq war ended for fear America was about to intervene on Baghdad's side.
Now we come to the sinister role of the U.S. Senate in setting the table for war. Consider what Senate Joint Resolution 65, crafted at AIPAC, the Israeli Lobby, and now being shopped around for signing by Sen. Lindsey Graham and Sen. Robert Menendez, does.
SR 65 radically alters U.S. policy by declaring it to be "the policy of the United States ... to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability and to take such action as may be necessary to implement this policy."
Obama's policy - no nuclear weapons in Iran - is tossed out. Substituted for it in SR 65 is Bibi Netanyahu's policy - "no nuclear weapons capability" in Iran.
Now, as Iran already has that "capability" - as does Germany, Japan, South Korea and other nations who have forsworn nuclear weapons - what SR 65 does is authorize the United States to attack Iran - to stop her from what she is doing now. Yet, according to all 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, Iran does not have a nuclear bomb program.
Critically, SR 65 goes further and "urges that if the Government of Israel is compelled to take military action in self-defense, the United States Government should ... provide diplomatic, military and economic support to the Government of Israel in its defense of its territory, people and existence."
Translation: Should Bibi attack Iran, the Senate urges the U.S. military to join in that attack. SR 65 is a blank check to Bibi to go to war with Iran, with a U.S. Senate commitment to join him.
Coupled with House Resolution 850, which calls for crushing new sanctions, SR 65 is designed to so enrage and humiliate Iran that her delegates walk out of negotiations - and war inevitably ensues.
Here then is War Party calendar and countdown.
First, rule out containment and deterrence of Iran, though that policy won the Cold War. Second, rule in a U.S. war on Iran if Tehran does not yield to all our demands in nuclear negotiations.
Third, ensure the negotiations fail by repeated insults, threats, sanctions, and intolerable demands that so humiliate the Iranians that, enraged, they say "to hell with it" and walk out of the talks.
Then, by default, the last "option" left for dealing with Iran - even if she still has not tested a bomb or enriched uranium to bomb grade - will be U.S. air strikes on Fordow and Natanz, cheered on by a War Party that dreams of this day and that war.
Preventing another generation of war dead delivered to Dover should be the first priority of American patriots.
Pat Buchanan is a former Republican and Reform Party candidate for President, an adviser to two Presidents, a syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C., and the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?"