Pat Buchanan is a rare voice for restraint in military adventurism. In a strong essay, published yesterday, he pushes back against the idea of going to war against Syria.
A long excerpt (link added):
Some 50 State Department officials have signed a memo calling on President Obama to launch air and missile strikes on the Damascus regime of Bashar Assad.
A “judicious use of stand-off and air weapons,” they claim, “would undergird and drive a more focused and hard-nosed U.S.-led diplomatic process.”
In brief, to strengthen the hand of our diplomats and show we mean business, we should start bombing and killing Syrian soldiers.
Yet Syria has not attacked us. And Congress has not declared war on Syria, or authorized an attack. Where do these State hawks think President Obama gets the authority to launch a war on Syria?
Does State consider the Constitution to be purely advisory when it grants Congress the sole power to declare war? Was not waging aggressive war the principal charge against the Nazis at Nuremberg?
If U.S. bombs and missiles rain down on Damascus, to the cheers of the C-Street Pattons, what do we do if Bashar Assad’s allies Iran and Hezbollah retaliate with Benghazi-type attacks on U.S. diplomats across the Middle East? What do we do if Syrian missiles and Russian planes starting shooting down U.S. planes?
Go to war with Hezbollah, Iran and Russia?
Assume U.S. strikes break Syria’s regime and Assad falls and flees. Who fills the power vacuum in Damascus, if not the most ruthless of the terrorist forces in that country, al-Nusra and ISIS?
Should ISIS reach Damascus first, and a slaughter of Alawites and Christians ensue, would we send an American army to save them?
According to CIA Director John Brennan, ISIS is spreading and coming to Europe and America. Does it make sense then that we would launch air and missile strikes against a Syrian regime and army that is today the last line of defense between ISIS and Damascus?
Does anyone think these things through?
Wherever, across the Middle East, we have plunged in to wage war — Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Syria — people continue to suffer and die, and we are ensnared.
Have we not fought enough wars in this Godforsaken region?
Last week, Russian planes launched air strikes on the rebels in Syria whom we have been arming and training to overthrow Assad.
Said John Kerry, “Russia needs to understand that our patience is not infinite.” But why are we arming rebels to overthrow Assad?
Who rises if he falls? Moscow’s alliance with Damascus goes back decades. Syria provides Russia with a naval base in the Mediterranean. Vladimir Putin’s support for the embattled Syrian regime in the civil war being waged against it is legal under international law.
It is our policy that appears questionable.
Where did Obama get the right to arm and train rebels to dump over the Damascus regime? Did Congress authorize this insurrection? Or is this just another CIA-National Endowment for Democracy project?
Why are we trying to bring down Assad, anyhow?
U.S. foreign policy today seems unthinking, reactive, impulsive.
Sounds correct to me. (It might not have, 13 years ago — but history has since added some new pages to its lesson-book, and I am older, wiser, and better-educated now than I was then.)
Read the whole thing here.