Should We Fight for South Ossetia?
The term seemed a mite ironic. For, as
Bush spoke, Iraqis were dying in the hundreds in the
bloodiest fighting in months in Basra, the Shia militias
of Moqtada al Sadr were engaging Iraqi and U.S. troops
in Sadr City, and mortar shells were dropping into the
One begins to understand why Gen.
Petraeus wants a “pause” in the pullout of U.S.
forces, and why Bush agrees. This will leave more U.S.
troops in Iraq on Inauguration Day 2009, than on
Election Day 2006, when the country
voted the Democrats into power to bring
a swift end to the war.
A day before Bush went to the U.S. Air
Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio, to speak of normalcy
returning to Iraq, he was led down into “the Tank,”
a secure room at the Pentagon, to be briefed on the
crisis facing the U.S. Army and Marine Corps because of
the constant redeployments to Afghanistan and Iraq.
As The Associated Press` Robert Burns
reported, the Joint Chiefs “laid out their
concerns about the health of the U.S. force.” First
among them is “that U.S. forces are being worn thin,
compromising the Pentagon`s ability to handle crises
elsewhere in the world. … The U.S. has about 31,000
troops in Afghanistan and 156,000 in Iraq.”
“Five plus years in Iraq,”
the generals and
admirals told Bush, “could create severe, long-term
problems, particularly for the Army and Marine Corps.”
In short, the two long wars in
Afghanistan and Iraq are wearing down U.S. ground forces
of fewer than 700,000, one in every six of them women,
to such an extent U.S. commanders called Bush and Dick
Cheney to a secret meeting to awaken them to the
strategic and morale crisis.
This is serious business. With the
Taliban revived and the violence in Iraq rising toward
pre-surge levels, the Joint Chiefs are telling the
commander in chief that the U.S. Army and Marine Corps
are worn out.
Crunch time is coming. And what is
President Bush doing?
He is flying to Bucharest, Romania, to
persuade Europe to bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO,
which means a U.S. commitment to treat any Russian
attack on Kiev or Tbilisi like an attack on Kansas or
Article V of the NATO treaty declares
that “an armed attack against one or more (allies) shall
be considered an attack against them all.” Added
language makes clear that the commitment to assist an
ally is not unconditional. Rather, each signatory will
assist the ally under attack with “such action as it
deems necessary, including the use of armed force.”
Yet it was understood during the Cold
War that if a NATO ally like Norway, West Germany or
Turkey, which bordered on the Soviet Union or Warsaw
Pact, were attacked, America would come to its defense.
Can any sane man believe the United
States should go to war with a nuclear-armed Russia over
Stalin`s birthplace, Georgia?
Two provinces of Georgia, Abkhazia and
South Ossetia, have seceded, with the backing of Russia.
And there are 10 million Russian-speaking Ukrainians in
the east of that country, and Moscow and Kiev are at
odds over which is sovereign on the Crimean Peninsula.
To bring Ukraine and Georgia into NATO
would put America in the middle of these quarrels. We
could be dragged into a
confrontation with Russia over Abkhazia, or South
Ossetia, or who owns Sebastopol. To bring these
ex-republics of the Soviet Union into NATO would be an
affront to Moscow not unlike 19th century Britain
bringing the Confederate state of South Carolina under
the protection of the British Empire.
How would Lincoln`s Union have reacted
With a weary army and no NATO ally
willing to fight beside us, how could we defend Georgia
if Tbilisi, once in NATO, defied Moscow and invaded
Abkhazia and South Ossetia—and Russia bombed the
Georgian army and capital? Would we declare war? Would
we send the 82nd Airborne into the
Fortunately, Germany is prepared to veto
any Bush attempt to put Ukraine or Georgia on a fast
track into NATO. But President Bush is no longer the
problem. John McCain is.
As Anatol Lieven writes in the
Financial Times, McCain supports a restoration of
Georgian rule over Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and NATO
membership for Georgia and Ukraine. He wants to throw
Russia out of the G-8—and talks flippantly of bombing
Why we should fear a McCain presidency,
March 24, 2008 1]
McCain, “I would institute a policy called `rogue
state rollback.` I would arm, train, equip, both from
without and from within, forces that would eventually
overthrow the governments and install free and
democratically elected governments.”
Wonderful. A Second Crusade for Global
But with the Joint Chiefs warning of a
war-weary Army and Marine Corps, who will fight all the
new wars the neocons and their new champion have in
store for us?
CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.
Patrick J. Buchanan
no introduction to VDARE.COM readers;
his book State of Emergency: The Third World Invasion and Conquest of America, can be ordered from Amazon.com. His latest book
Hitler, and “The Unnecessary War”: How Britain Lost Its
Empire and the West Lost the World,
Paul Craig Roberts.