Pat Buchanan

Other countries that rely on nuclear power, Japan and South Korea, surely have the capability to produce an explosive device. They have preferred life without nuclear weapons.

Will Iran also be content with this, knowing that if it explodes a device, the Saudis, Egyptians and Turks will follow, that Israel would put a hair trigger on its nuclear arsenal, that the United States would retaliate massively against Iran if any nuclear weapon were detonated by Islamic terrorists on American soil?

The sanctions road appears headed for dead end, or war.

"Smart sanctions" that punish Iran's leaders are not going to persuade them to give up a nuclear program for which they have already suffered and sacrificed greatly. And a cutoff of gasoline to Iran would hit hardest not the Revolutionary Guard but Iran's middle class, which tends to be anti-regime and pro-Western.

As for an attack on Iran, what would be the purpose of bombing Natanz, when IAEA inspectors says that its thousands of centrifuges are producing only nuclear fuel, which has never left the facility?

When Israel bombed the Osirak reactor outside Baghdad in 1981, which was subject to inspections, Saddam Hussein started a secret program to build bombs. Would not an attack on Iran's facilities that are under IAEA inspection lead inevitably to a regime decision to go for a bomb as the only deterrent against Israel or the United States?

As one steps back and looks at a decade of U.S. intervention and war in the Middle East, what has it all availed us?

Iraq cost 4,000 U.S. dead, 30,000 wounded and a trillion dollars. It divided our country, alienated the Arab world, and left scores of thousands of Iraqi dead, and hundreds of thousands wounded, widowed and orphaned.

The Shia who now run the country are moving away from us, and closer to Iran, as we depart.

In Afghanistan, after eight years, we face a longer and bloodier war or, says McChrystal, "mission failure." With Iran, we are heading up a sanctions escalator toward yet another war. And 10 years of involvement has not brought the Palestinian conflict a centimeter closer to resolution.

The killers of 9-11 were over here because we were over there. How has being over there benefited us, to compensate for the cost?

Pat Buchanan

Pat Buchanan is a founding editor of The American Conservative magazine, and the author of many books including State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America .
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