The Fruits of Intervention
By Patrick J. Buchanan
If we had it to do over, would we send an army into Afghanistan
to build a nation?
Would we invade Iraq?
While these two wars have cost 5,200 dead, a trillion dollars,
and a divided America facing an endless war, what have we won?
Gen. Stanley Mc Chrystal needs 40,000 to 80,000 more troops, or
we risk "mission failure" in Afghanistan. At present casualty
rates October was the worst month of the war thousands more
Americans will die before we see any light at the end of this
tunnel, if ever we do.
Pakistan, which aided us in Afghanistan, now has a war of its
own to fight. Its army is in a battle in South Waziristan, while
the country is wracked by terror bombings, the latest in a
Peshawar bazaar that specialized in womens clothing and jewelry
and toys for kids. So horrific was the toll even the Taliban and
al-Qaeda denied any role in it.
The 130,000 U.S. troops in Iraq are, after almost seven years,
to begin pulling out two months after Januarys election. But a
hitch has developed. Iraq's parliament missed the deadline for
setting the rules. At issue: Will voters be allowed to choose
individual candidates, or will they be allowed only to vote for
slates of candidates?
Gen. Ray Odierno implies that postponement of the election may
mean postponement of U.S. withdrawals.
Ominously, in August, terrorists bombed the foreign and finance
ministries in Baghdad, and last week blew up the Justice
Ministry and Baghdad Provincial Governorate. And the Kurds are
now claiming their control of oil-rich Kirkuk is non-negotiable,
which crosses a red line in Baghdad.
Next door, a terror attack by Jundallah (Gods Brigade) in Iran's
southern province of Sistan-Baluchistan killed 40, including two
senior commanders of the Revolutionary Guard.
An enraged Tehran pointed the finger at the United States, as
there have been charges the CIA has been in contact with
Jundallah as part of President Bushs destabilization program to
effect "regime change."
But Barack Obama has been in office for nine months and he would
never authorize such an attack on the eve of a critical meeting
on Iran's nuclear program. Moreover, the State Department
condemned the Jundallah bombing as terrorism and offered public
condolences to the families of the victims.
But if we didn't authorize this, who did?
Was the timing of this attack coincidental? Were these just
freelance secessionists on an operation unrelated to the
U.S.-Iran talks? Or is someone trying to torpedo the talks and
push Iran and the United States into military collision?
For this was a provocation. And whoever carried it out and
whoever authorized or abetted it wishes to dynamite the
U.S.-Iran negotiations, abort a rapprochement and put us on a
road to war.
Speculation is focusing on the Saudis, the Gulf Arabs and the
Israelis, who have been accused, as has the United States, of
aiding PJAK, a Kurdish faction that has conducted raids in
If we have any control of these organizations, we should shut
them down. With U.S. armies tied up in Iraq and Afghanistan, and
America conducting Predator and cross-border attacks in
Pakistan, provoking a war with Iran would be an act of madness.
Looking back, how has all this fighting advanced U.S. national
interests? We have a "democratic" Iraq that is Shia-dominated
and tilting to Iran. We have an open-ended war in Afghanistan
that will likely do for Obama what Iraq did for Bush. But we
cant pull out, it is said, for if we do, Kabul falls and
Afghanistan becomes the sanctuary for an Islamist war to take
over Pakistan and its nuclear weapons.
And if that should happen, it would indeed be a crisis.
And so, how has all this intervention availed us?
We ran Saddam out of Kuwait and put U.S. troops into Saudi
Arabia. And we got Osama bin Ladens 9-11. We responded by taking
down the Taliban and taking over Afghanistan. And we got an
eight-year war with no victory and no end in sight. Now Pakistan
is burning. We took down Saddam and got a seven-year war and an
Meanwhile, the Turks, who shared a border with Saddam, have done
no fighting. Iran has watched as we destroyed its two greatest
enemies, the Taliban and Saddam. China, which has a border with
both Pakistan and Afghanistan, has sat back. India, which has a
border with Pakistan and fought three wars with that country,
has stayed aloof.
The United States, on the other side of the world, plunged in.
And now we face an elongated military presence in Iraq, an
escalating war in Afghanistan and potential disaster in
Pakistan, and are being pushed from behind into a war with Iran.
"America rejects the false comfort of isolationism," said George
W. Bush in his 2006 State of the Union. And we did reject that
false comfort. And now we can enjoy the fruits of