- With the president and Secretary Powell joining the British
in declaring Iraq to be in breach of U.N. resolutions, all indicators point
to a winter war. Though 60 percent of the American people do not believe
the president has made the case for war, nine in 10 believe war is coming.
They are almost surely right.
- Reserves are being called up and sent to the Gulf. Four
U.S. aircraft carriers - the Nimitz, Kitty Hawk, Abraham Lincoln and Harry
S. Truman - are in the region. The Constellation is on the way. Britain's
Ark Royal will bring to six the number of carrier battle groups within
striking distance of Baghdad.
- With all this firepower present in the Gulf, and after
all his bellicose rhetoric about "regime change," can President
Bush now back away from war, while assuring our War Party that Hans Blix
is disarming Iraq? No way.
- Absent regime change in Baghdad in 2003, President Bush
risks regime change in Washington in 2004.
- Yet, our obsession with Saddam Hussein seems to be blinding
the president and the administration to greater and more imminent dangers.
- Afghanistan is far from pacified. Al-Qaida elements are
back in the country. President Karzai has survived one assassination attempt
and several plots. Iran, whose oil resources are abundant, plans to build
two new nuclear power plants that produce weapons-grade uranium or plutonium.
Its missile-building program is far ahead of that of Saddam Hussein's.
- In Pakistan, anti-Americanism is pandemic, and Islamists
have taken over two of four provinces. This disintegrating nation is but
one assassin's bullet away from being a rogue state with nuclear weapons.
- But it is North Korea where the situation appears truly
ominous. Caught in flagrante by U.S. intelligence, Pyongyang brazenly confessed
that it is constructing two secret plants to produce weapons-grade uranium
in violation of the 1994 Agreed Framework, under which North Korea closed
a plutonium production plant in return for food and fuel aid.
- Retired U.S. Gen. Barry McCaffrey describes the brooding
menace that is the hermit kingdom: "The North Koreans are a huge,
immediate and unpredictable threat to the security of South Korea, Japan
and U.S. military forces in the region. A million-man army, which has in
uniform 20 percent of the military-age male population, consumes 31 percent
of the GDP in this land of misery and starvation. The 10 million innocent
people of Seoul live within the potential range of 11,000-plus North Korean
- Writing in The Wall Street Journal, McCaffrey notes that
North Korea already has hundreds of missiles that could spew biological
toxins, nerve gases, deadly chemicals and a few atom bombs across South
Korea, Japan and every U.S. base in the Western Pacific. "The North
Koreans are going to use this coming year to rush nuclear weapons into
production and operational deployment. We must attempt to forestall this
WMD proliferation through direct diplomacy or else we may be forced into
pre-emptive military action within the next five years."
- "Forced into pre-emptive military action"?
Intending no disrespect, if, in five years, North Korea has vast arsenals
of chemical and biological weapons, thousands of missiles and artillery
shells to deliver them, and a dozen nuclear-armed rockets, what sane man
would launch a first strike on North Korea? This would trigger almost certain
and suicidal retaliation with those very weapons of mass destruction, whose
use our strike was designed to prevent.
- For the United States to start an Asian war by attacking
North Korea and triggering a crazed retaliatory response by Pyongyang with
chemical, biological and nuclear missiles on South Korea and Japan is probably
something we ought to discuss with Seoul and Tokyo. They may have some
thoughts on the wisdom of the idea.
- What course does Gen. McCaffrey recommend? "Pyongyang
must be held in loose check for at least 12 months, until we deal with
the acute stage of the Iraqi crisis."
- Translation: First, we invade, overrun, occupy and disarm
Iraq, then shift the carriers, bombers and ground divisions to the vicinity
of North Korea, order Pyongyang to shut down its nuclear facilities and
allow inspections. If North Korea refuses, we prepare a pre-emptive strike
that would surely trigger a second Korean War.
- Sixty percent of the American people do not believe President
Bush has yet made the case for war on Iraq. Have they any idea that the
War Party, which has the president's ear, is planning even more wars in
the years ahead - in their name? Happy New Year.
- Related offer:
- Buchanan's latest book is here!
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- Patrick J. Buchanan was twice a candidate for the Republican
presidential nomination and the Reform Party's candidate in 2000. Now a
commentator and columnist, he served three presidents in the White House,
was a founding panelist of three national television shows, and is the
author of seven books. See what else Pat Buchanan has to say.