As President Obama departed for Israel, there came a startling report. Bashar Assad's regime had used poison gas on Syrian rebels.
Two Israeli Cabinet members claimed credible evidence. Justice Minister Tzipi Livni said, "It's clear for us that (gas is) being used. ...This... should be on the table in the discussions."
Yet, 72 hours later, the United States still cannot confirm that gas was used, and Syria and Russia have called on U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to investigate whether it was used, and if so, by whom.
What's going on here?
It does not require Inspector Clouseau to surmise this may be a fabrication to stampede the ever-gullible Americans into plunging into Syria to win the war for the al-Qaida-saturated Syrian rebels.
But sucking America into Syria's civil war is only a near-term goal for the War Party, which is after larger game -- greasing the skids for a U.S. war on Iran.
And lest we underestimate the War Party, the likelihood is they will get their war. For they have already gotten Obama to make concessions that are steering us inexorably toward such a war.
First, Obama was persuaded to declare it U.S. policy that, where Iran's uranium-enrichment program is concerned, "All options are on the table!" Translation: Absent major concessions by Iran, proving she is not seeking a nuclear weapon, war against Iran is in the cards.
Yet, even as Obama parrots the mantra, "All options are on the table," he has been persuaded to take off the table the option that won the Cold War, the George Kennan option of containment and deterrence.
Obama has been goaded into proclaiming that though America contained an evil empire that spanned 13 time zones and possessed thousands of nukes, containment cannot work with Iran.
Why not? Because the Ayatollah, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahs, we are solemnly instructed, are religious fanatics who could easily opt for committing collective suicide should they get a bomb -- by using that bomb on us.
This, of course, is to attribute to Iran's leaders an insanity they have never exhibited. Not in memory has Iran started a war. Saddam attacked Iran, not the other way around. When the Vincennes shot down an Iranian airliner, Ayatollah Khomeini himself ordered the Iraq war ended for fear America was about to intervene on Baghdad's side.