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Return of the War Party?

Is a vote for the Republican Party in 2012 a vote for war?

Is a vote for Mitt Romney or Newt Gingrich a vote for yet another unfunded war of choice, this time with a nation, Iran, three times as large and populous as Iraq?

Mitt says that if elected he will move carriers into the Persian Gulf and “prepare for war.” Newt is even more hawkish. America should continue “taking out” Iran’s nuclear scientists — i.e., assassinating them — but military action will probably be needed.

Newt is talking up uber-hawk John Bolton for secretary of state.

Rick Santorum has already called for U.S.-Israeli strikes: “Either we’re going to stop them … or take the long term consequences of having a nuclear Iran trying to wipe out the state of Israel.”

But if Iran represents, as Bibi Netanyahu is forever reminding us, an “existential threat,” why does not Israel itself, with hundreds of nuclear weapons, deal with it?

Bibi’s inaction speaks louder than Bibi’s words.

He wants the Americans to do it.

For the retired head of Mossad, Meir Dagan, calls attacking Iran “the stupidest thing I have ever heard of.” He means stupid for Israel.

Why? Because an Israeli attack would be costly in planes and pilots, and only set back Iran’s nuclear program. And such a pre-emptive strike would unify Iranians behind the regime.

Moreover, Israel would be inviting Tehran’s ally Hezbollah to rain down rockets on Israel, igniting another of the bloody Lebanon wars that Israel was desperate to end the last time.

As for the United States, the only way we could eliminate Iran’s nuclear program would be days of air and missile strikes.

Iran could retaliate by cutting off oil exports and mining the Strait of Hormuz, tripling the world price of oil, and hurling the European Union and United States into recession.

Iran could also turn Hezbollah loose on Americans in Lebanon and urge Shias to attack U.S. troops, diplomats and civilians in Bahrain, Iraq and Afghanistan, and here in the United States.

No one knows how this would end. A U.S.-Iran war could force us to march to Tehran to remove the Islamic regime and scour that huge country to ensure that it was shorn of weapons of mass destruction — for an Islamic regime that survived a U.S. war would be hellbent on acquiring the bomb to pay us back. Yet, we lack a large enough army to occupy Iran.

And why should thousands more Americans have to die or come home to be fitted for metal limbs so Israel can remain sole proprietor of a nuclear weapon from Morocco to Afghanistan?

And where is the hard evidence Iran is acquiring nukes?

The U.S. intelligence community declared in December 2007, with “high confidence,” that Iran was no longer seeking nuclear weapons. It has never rescinded that declaration.

And there is no conclusive evidence in that media-hyped report last week from the International Atomic Energy Agency that Iran is for certain building nuclear weapons. Indeed, that report was exposed as the work of incompetents within hours.

Relying on intelligence agencies, the IAEA said a top Russian nuclear weapons scientist had been instructing Iranians for years. The scientist turns out to be V.I. Danilenko, who has no expertise in nuclear weapons, but is a specialist in using conventional explosives to produce nanodiamonds for the manufacture of lubricants and rubber.

Are we being lied and stampeded into yet another war by the same propagandists who gave us the yellow-cake-from-Niger forgeries?

Bibi calls Mahmoud Ahmadinejad another Hitler and says we are all in 1939 again. But is this credible?

True, Ahmadinejad hosted a Holocaust conference featuring David Duke and said Israel should be wiped off the map, but he does not control Iran’s military, has lost favor with the ayatollah, and has been threatened with impeachment. Ahmadinejad is a lame duck with less than two years left in his term. Is mighty Israel afraid of this man?

Told that the IAEA said Iran was actively pursuing nuclear weapons, Ahmadinejad laughed: “The Iranian nation is wise. It won’t build two bombs against 20,000 (nuclear) bombs you (Americans) have.”

Does he not have a point? How would an Iranian bomb secure Iran, when Israel’s nuclear arsenal would be put on a hair trigger, and Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt would then rush to get their own bombs?

In that South Carolina debate, Ron Paul, the one person there proven right on Iraq, was given less than 90 seconds to speak.

Under the Constitution, said Paul, no president has the right to launch an unprovoked attack on Iran without congressional authorization.

Before America goes to war with Iran, let Congress, whose members are forever expressing their love for the Constitution, follow it, and vote on war with Iran. And before we go to the polls in 2012, let’s find out if the GOP is becoming again the same old War Party that bankrupted the nation.

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#1 Comment By LarryS On November 14, 2011 @ 11:35 pm


So what did Ahmadinejad actually say? To quote his exact words in Farsi:

“Imam ghoft een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad.”

The Proof:

The full quote translated directly to English:

“The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time.”

Word by word translation:

Imam (Khomeini) ghoft (said) een (this) rezhim-e (regime) ishghalgar-e (occupying) qods (Jerusalem) bayad (must) az safheh-ye ruzgar (from page of time) mahv shavad (vanish from)


“Ahmadinejad did not say he was going to wipe Israel off the map because no such idiom exists in Persian,” remarked Juan Cole, a Middle East specialist at the University of Michigan and critic of American policy who has argued that the Iranian president was misquoted. “He did say he hoped its regime, i.e., a Jewish-Zionist state occupying Jerusalem, would collapse.”

Jonathan Steele, a columnist for the left-leaning Guardian newspaper in London, recently laid out the case this way: “The Iranian president was quoting an ancient statement by Iran’s first Islamist leader, the late Ayatollah Khomeini, that ‘this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time,’ just as the Shah’s regime in Iran had vanished. He was not making a military threat. He was calling for an end to the occupation of Jerusalem at some point in the future. The ‘page of time’ phrase suggests he did not expect it to happen soon.”

#2 Comment By Nergol On November 15, 2011 @ 12:16 am

They have learned nothing and forgotten nothing.

#3 Comment By byrresheim On November 15, 2011 @ 4:00 am

why do you repeat the oft-debunced canard of Ahmandinejad wanting to wipe Israel off the map? It has been shown often enough that this is grounded on a rather shaky translation – that is the most benevolent interpretation by the way.
If you have sources indicating that these were Mr. Ahmadinejads actual words, please do share them, in that case my apologies for the word canard in advance.

Thank you for pointing out that there are nuclear weopons and the capability to reach the whole of western Europe.
That fact goes a long way to explain everybody’s leniency towards Mr. Netanyahu.

#4 Comment By byrresheim On November 15, 2011 @ 4:01 am


A preview or editing function would be greatly appreciated.

#5 Comment By Libertarian Jerry On November 15, 2011 @ 5:36 am

Great article Pat….The only comment I can make is that The U.S. Constitution died decades ago and that we do not live in a nation of laws but a nation of power hungry men.

#6 Comment By Sheldon On November 15, 2011 @ 7:43 am

Pat, on the two most important questions facing the United States – the erosion of our middle class, and the militarization of our foreign policy – your positions are diametrically opposed to the philosophy and policies of today’s Republican Party. Why, exactly, are you a Republican?

#7 Comment By Cap Bluestate On November 15, 2011 @ 9:47 am

The demographic most impacted by the next war is the one least likely to be involved in it. Generation Y, who daily fight electronic battles with dragons and oversized supersoldiers have been anesthetized by their feminized educators to become sloganeers spouting gibberish whenever anything more crucial than the price of a new app is mentioned. Are the armchair warriors of the neocon army prepared to install the DRAFT that will be needed to populate an army sufficient to carry out the task? As if…

#8 Comment By cfountain72 On November 15, 2011 @ 9:53 am

Pat, please stop it with your continued use of facts, multi-syllabic words, and valid historical references! You are confusing the foreign policy automatons, who’ve only been programmed to speak in simple, short, binary phrases, and whose historical databases only include years 1939 and 2001. Try using statements like:

Iran Nuclear Weapon Program
Take Fight to the Enemy
Stand With Our Friends
Defense Cuts Bad
Most Powerful Military on Earth
Torture is Good (Except When Others Do It)
Existential Threat
Sharia Law Is Coming

Thanks you for your compliance.

Peace be with you.

#9 Comment By cfountain72 On November 15, 2011 @ 9:57 am


I suppose Pat might turn the question around on them: Considering they have abandoned so much of what it meant to be a Republican, why exactly are THEY still Republicans?

#10 Comment By Jim On November 15, 2011 @ 9:58 am

It’s interesting that neither Newt nor Mitt served in the military, even though there was a military draft and a war going on when they were old enough to serve. Is there anything more disgusting than a chickenhawk?

#11 Comment By Sheldon On November 15, 2011 @ 11:33 am

@ cfountain,

But in fact this is what mainstream Republicanism is today. You probably really mean conservative, and there I would agree with you. There’s nothing conservative about current Republican foreign policy positions, Ron Paul aside.

#12 Comment By James Canning On November 15, 2011 @ 12:49 pm

Apparently Romney and Gingrich think that warmongering stupidity gains favor among the Republican bedrock. What an appalling thought.

#13 Comment By James Canning On November 15, 2011 @ 12:50 pm

Sheldon – – Yes, idiotic squandering of trillions of dollars on unnecessary wars is very far indeed from conservatism.

#14 Comment By Andy On November 15, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

If Israel can but won’t strike at Iran, and many there don’t favor that action as per your quote of M.Degan, and nobody in the USA can make a sane case for it then why are all the Republican candidates except Ron Paul seemingly endorsing it as a viable policy?Why are we spending 2 billion per week in Afghanistan? No oil or nukes there and whatever terrorist training bases existed are long gone. Seems like either there is sensitive information being kept from the citizenry or more likely to me our leaders are as a group corrupt to the core or insane.

#15 Comment By Philip Giraldi On November 15, 2011 @ 1:19 pm

Iran is by many accounts an unsavory place, but its leaders have never said Israel “should be wiped off the map” or attacked or anything similar. It is a deliberate mistranslation by the usual parties. Iran (or Persia) has not attacked a neighbor since a war with the Ottoman Turks in the seventeenth century. Compare that with the recent record of the US and Israel.

#16 Comment By Ken Hoop On November 15, 2011 @ 2:00 pm

Juan Cole, an expert in the area, translated Ahmadineijad’s remark as predicting Israel would self-destruct by its aggressive actions, and not as a direct threat.

#17 Comment By Barry Loberfeld On November 15, 2011 @ 2:08 pm


#18 Comment By Ed Marimba On November 15, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

Great summary, Mr. Buchanan. It pains me to see that we will likely have another war hawk as president; another country club Republican who has no more belief in the restraints of the Constitution than do the Democrats.

The televised debates have turned into a macabre display of chest-beaters attempting to prove who’s the most eager to send our boys overseas to fight and die in wars that are not only pointless, but unconstitutional. The only one on that stage with any standards or integrity is Ron Paul.

I’d hoped this time that conservatism would finally win the day. But since Paul won’t be nominated, we’re going to be stuck with yet another Nixon or Bush.

#19 Comment By T. Sledge On November 15, 2011 @ 6:40 pm

Do these fools think that attacking Iran will be as simple as ordering a few Navy Seals to take out some Somali pirates, or Bin Laden?

Thirty-five years ago I sat in quite a few classes in the old engineering building at a branch of the University of Texas, with students from the Middle East — Egyptians, Jordanians,
Saudis, Algerians and many Iranians.

These are NOT incapable people. And even though most of the young people today in Iran are SICK of the mullahs and the embarrassing “Ima-dinner-jacket”, bombing their country will not win us any friends in a country with a continuing civilization that goes back to the ancient Persians.

My God, our political class is populated by feckless frauds (Obama) and pandering imbeciles (most of the GOP clowns ready to replace him).

#20 Comment By Rossbach On November 15, 2011 @ 10:19 pm

So what if Iran acquires a few atomic bombs? We didn’t attack the Soviet Union in 1949 when they got one. We didn’t attack the People’s Republic of China in 1962 when they got one. Granted that nuclear proliferation is not a salutary thing, but why does it mean that we have to go to war with Iran when they finally acquire a bomb? After all, Pakistan has lots of nukes and their population hates the US at least as much as that of Iran. Are we going to attack them, too?

#21 Comment By scott On November 16, 2011 @ 3:02 am

Iran driving us into a recession because of oil price increases ? I thought we were already in a recession/ depression ! I also thought we were rid of the commie neocon crazies. Pat is a real republican.
The republican party are nothing more than multinational corporate lackeys. Ditto the dems. An attack on Iran will end up an absolute disaster, just like Iraq and Afghanistan. The disaster in Fukushima Japan is apparently causing problems with radiation. What will happen with the bombing of Iran’s nuclear facilities? Lets hope sanity reigns!

#22 Comment By Guest On November 16, 2011 @ 7:16 am

We need a DRAFT for both young men AND women. Only then will the upper middle class suburban soccer moms have a stake in the decision to send this country off to fight another war. Not until rich suburban white kids start coming home in body bags will this insanity come to an end.

#23 Comment By Sean Gillhoolley On November 16, 2011 @ 8:49 am

Don’t worry, Obama will win in 2012. The primaries have shown how bad the choices are on the Republican slate. Bachmann…nah, she’s not a witch. Perry…nah, gets drunk or stoned before a speech. Cain…loses his cool too easily. Gingrich…was the genius who shut down the government in the 90s and gave Clinton his 2nd term. Romney…not even sure what he stands for, if he stands for anything. At least you know what you get with Obama…a pro-corporate Schill who suckers liberals in.

#24 Comment By Keith J. Kelly On November 16, 2011 @ 9:24 am

I disapprove of Obama, but if McCain were President we probably would have had boots on the ground in Libya and the anti-American insurgency would be in its third month by now.

#25 Comment By Adam Rurik On November 16, 2011 @ 11:05 am

Israel wants America to do its dirty work? Well I am shocked! Shocked, I say!

#26 Comment By Hardeep SIngh On November 17, 2011 @ 11:44 am

Bib won’t even inform Obama about a pre-emptive strike on Iran according to the Australian Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. Obama wants prior knowledge of any attack on Iran by the Israelis however Bibi and Israeli defense minister Ehud barak will not notify the President before attacking Iran if they choose to do so.
I know Obama gets alot of flack from the Neocon right for supposedly throwing Israel under the bus, but for Bibi to treat his biggest ally this way when they get 3 billion dollars a year is ridiculous, where are those hard right war hawks and pro Israel liberals when Bibi disrespects their President? They make excuses for Bibi and condemn their own President, how shameful on their part.

#27 Comment By David Knight On November 17, 2011 @ 1:16 pm

They only gave Ron Paul 89 seconds out of the televised hour, but in that short time he pointed out that…
– under the Constitution, Congress, not some elected dictator, gets to decide who goes to war
– this is all a replay of the phony warmonger buildup that preceded the Iraq war
– waterboarding is torture and is illegal (nationally and internationally), immoral and impractical
– authoritarian police states that ignore the rule of law won’t stop at “terrorists” but will come for you next

Paul got ALL that in in only 89 seconds. He won the debate IMO.

The rest of the GOP wants to start wars with Iran, Syria & Pakistan, use torture, use a star chamber to declare US citizens terrorists & kill them and continue “nation building” around the globe presumably borrowing money from China to do it.

We will ALL win a greater peace, prosperity and dignity if Ron Paul is elected. The rest of the field, including Obama, will give us more war and greater poverty.

#28 Comment By Dan A. On November 17, 2011 @ 3:36 pm

Hey Pat,

How can you, of all people, be duped by the “wiped off the map” myth, after six years and countless refutations by contributors to your own Website?

C’mon, man!

It’s time to exorcise your beltway-journo demons, once and for all!

(Seriously though…)

#29 Comment By Earle Belle On November 17, 2011 @ 8:46 pm

Gingrich 1997: “There is No Place for Torture”

Let me be perfectly clear: If the life of my mother, father, child, friend, or basically anyone I loved could be saved by doing horrible things to some horrible person, I would do it. In fact, most normal people wouldn’t mind hurting some bad guy to save the lives of good guys.

The question of torture is not whether in some Hollywood-style, almost-never-happening life-or-death scenario, we should use it. Those who view the issue of waterboarding in this absurd light—an interrogation method everyone from Ronald Reagan to the United States military during World War II has rightly called torture—are being completely unreasonable in their general premise.

The most basic question concerning torture is whether, as a general rule, it should be endorsed. The question is whether it actually works as an interrogation tactic, which most experts say it doesn’t. The question is whether or not torture should be an acceptable rule of thumb for any civilized society.

The question is whether or not torture should be the official policy of the United States.

For most of our history, that answer has been an emphatic “no!”

Most of this year’s Republican presidential candidates care little to nothing about such questions because they know little to nothing about history, know or care little to nothing about our conventional Judeo-Christian Western morality, they know even less about the history of the conservative movement, and most seem content to try to look “tough” in front of GOP primary audiences by explicitly endorsing the use of torture, or, excuse me, “enhanced interrogation techniques.” This view on torture extends to these Republican candidates’ extremely anti-conservative views on civil liberties, recklessness concerning the constitutional powers of the Executive branch, and these candidates’ general dismissal of some of the most basic concepts and precepts of American law.

Newt Gingrich—who does know history and yet now refuses to call waterboarding “torture” or to strongly denounce it—nevertheless expressed the traditional conservative view on torture in 1997, after meeting with Chinese President Jiang Zemin. Gingrich’s language here is plain, simple, conservative…

And absolutely right—in the deepest American sense:

“There is no place for abuse in what must be considered the family of man. There is no place for torture and arbitrary detention. There is no place for forced confessions… the roots of American rule of law go back more than 700 years, to the signing of the Magna Carta. The foundation of American values, therefore, is not a passing priority or a temporary trend.”

Today, for most of the GOP presidential field, including Gingrich, this “foundational American value” of opposition to torture has become a mere “passing priority” and “temporary trend.”

God help us.

Do We Have a Constitution or Not?

The entire purpose of our Constitution is to restrain the federal government. Today, both Democrat and Republican leaders regularly pretend we don’t have a Constitution in areas where they prefer not to be restrained. First the Democrats, or as The American Spectator’s James Antle at [4] explains concerning today’s ObamaCare court decision:

“Do we even have a written Constitution? That is really the fundamental question at stake in the Obamacare case. Many countries are governed by unwritten constitutions, a patchwork of court decisions, legal and political precedents, laws, and customs that shape the boundaries of government rather than any single document. Over the past eighty years, the United States has increasingly moved to that system as well. But even the post-New Deal, post-World War II consensus has always tried to appeal to our written Constitution for authority, which its champions have pretended to revere as a living document.

This case is the biggest conflicit between the unwritten constitution that gives the federal government virtually unlimited power to, as Laurence Silberman puts it, ‘forge national solutions to national problems’ and the actual Constitution on which Washington bases its legitimacy, a document that created a limited federal government of enumerated powers. Those powers, by the way, are delegated by the states and the people.”

Antle asks: “Who delegated the power to impose an individual mandate?”

And now for Republicans’ disregard for the Constitution, or as Conservative HQ’s Richard Viguerie at [5] writes of Saturday night’s foreign policy debate:

“Saturday’s CBS/National Journal Republican presidential debate on foreign policy once again showed the limits of the establishment media’s grasp of constitutional principles and how the Constitution, as the law that governs government, should instruct our foreign policy. During the entire event, the questions seemed to assume that the President is unconstrained in his or her ability to act in matters of national security — and that the role of Commander-in-Chief is tantamount to being a military dictator. Unfortunately, with the exception of Congressman Ron Paul, the Republican candidates for President generally joined this shallow analysis and skipped-over the Constitution in their answers…

Those who object to re-establishing the Constitutional role of Congress in matters of national security because it makes national security too public and too complicated might ponder what Congressman Ron Paul said during Saturday’s debate, ‘…you go to the Congress and find out if our national security is threatened… [then] you get a declaration of war and you fight it and you win it and get it over with.’

Viguerie concluded: “That sounds a whole lot less complicated, and a whole lot more in line with what the Founders had in mind for how to conduct our foreign relations, than what is going on in national security policy right now.”

#30 Comment By Jacob H. On November 18, 2011 @ 10:39 am

Good article, Pat. Well written and thought provoking, as usual. But I do have one hang-up:

“Does he [Ahmadinejad] not have a point?”

Of course Ahamdinejad has a point in stating that an Iranian nuclear arsenal would be miniscule compared to the Israeli and U.S. ones. But you simply assume that he actually believes what he says in making a realistic strategic calculation (rather than putting up a veneer for the media, as he did when Fareed Zakaria interviewed him last month on CNN and he denied Iran’s connection to the assasination attempt on the Saudi ambassador).

There is no reason to reject out of hand the notion that this man believes that he is heralding the coming of the Mahdi in his country’s nuclear pursuits. Does that mean that Israel should absolutely attack Iran now? I’m not sure. I tend to think not; however, Iran will not relent and time is running out. I am a Jewish-American and a paleolibertarian: I hope Ron Paul wins the 2012 election. However, just because Israel’s security concerns are not identical (or even parallel, always) to those of the U.S., that does not mean they do not exist.

#31 Comment By Andrew On November 20, 2011 @ 11:11 am

The reason they are Republicans is because sadly our system is controlled by party politics. It doesn’t matter how right one is, if they don’t have a D or an R next to their name, they aren’t getting elected. I personally would be all for a serious third party, or even somehow doing away with parties altogether, but that is something nearly impossible. Being realistic it would take a domestic war, another civil war, to get rid of our two-party system. Right now if people broke rank and ran third party it would simply split the vote. I see the democrats as wellfare babies. While some might break rank and be persuaded by an anti-War conservative like Paul, the vast majority vote democrat because they are lazy. So all that will happen is the GOP vote will get trimmed and the democrat will win. This is why it’s so important that we take back the GOP and remake it into a party of true conservatism and the Constitution. That isn’t happening though. The Tea Party would to a large extent pervert the Constitution just as the liberals, but in different ways. Like, for example, they would suspend Constitutional rights for Muslims. They would prevent them from building Mosques. I don’t hear them calling for the repeal of the Patriot Act or the end of the TSA. No, they want to militarize our border. Illegals aren’t our problem. Free services we choose to give them definitely is a problem, but even that is such a small and insignificant probelm compared to everything else. Size of government needs to be shrunk. Not talk about shrinking it, but seriously shrink it. And not by 1%, by like 75%. This just isn’t going to happen, we have to be realistic. Where has the Tea Party been all this year? Why aren’t they demanding that Boehner be removed from office? Or Cantor? Or even Paul Ryan? These charlatans who claim to be for small government and then stab us all in the back with “compromise” budgets and raising the debt ceiling. All they had to do was refuse to raise the debt ceiling. Where is the Tea Party? Where are all the anti-GOP rallies? Sorry, long rant.

#32 Comment By JakeJ On November 25, 2011 @ 8:26 pm

There is no way that the American people want another war.

Still in the clutches of the neocon, the Republican Party is about to give Obama another win.

Supporting the banksters and more war are exactly the wrong positions to have in order to win the next election.