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.
Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?" To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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