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Make Congress Vote On War

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By:Pat Buchanan | June 24, 2014

With the Islamic warriors of ISIS having captured all the border posts between Iraq, Syria and Jordan, we may be witnessing the end of Sykes-Picot.

That was the secret 1916 treaty by which the British and French carved up the Ottoman Empire, with the Brits taking Transjordan and Iraq, and the French Syria and Lebanon.

Sykes-Picot stuck in the craw of Osama bin Laden. Now his most fanatical followers have given him a posthumous triumph.

President Obama said over the weekend that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, which seeks to create a caliphate out of the Sunni lands of Syria and Iraq it occupies, poses a threat to the United States.

Obama has thus committed 300 special forces to assist Iraq's defeated and demoralized army, and there is talk of U.S. air and missile strikes and drone attacks on ISIS, in Syria as well as in Iraq.

That would constitute a new war. Yet the president, who taught constitutional law, says he does not need Congressional authorization.

He is dead wrong. Not only has he no authority to take America into civil wars in Iraq and Syria, he would be insane to do so without the support of his countrymen, as expressed in a vote by Congress.

Obama is about to make a decision fateful for himself and for his country. Does he not realize that he is on the edge of an abyss, about to stumble into a tribal and religious war across the Middle East?

The Iraq we left behind three years ago no longer exists.

It has been divided up into a Kurdistan, the Sunni region of the north and west, and a Shia-dominated Baghdad and south.

To put the Iraq of Sykes-Picot back together would require thousands of troops to recapture and hold Iraq's border towns and to reimpose Baghdad's rule over Anbar and the Sunni Triangle.

As the Iraqi army has been routed from this region, recapturing these Sunni lands could require U.S. troops in numbers to rival the surge that enabled Gen. David Petraeus to defeat al-Qaida in Iraq.

Yet the situation in the Sunni region is more hostile today.

The Sunni do not want U.S. troops fighting to force them back under Baghdad's rule. Some have welcomed ISIS as allies in the fight to be free of a hated Shia-dominated army and regime.

Some Sunni Arab states are expressing bewilderment that the United States seems about to start a war on the Sunni regions. Are we really going to send planes to bomb and kill our former allies, with their wives and children as collateral damage?

Among the Shia volunteers on whose side we would be fighting are the Badr Brigades we fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom. Many have blood debts to collect from U.S. soldiers.

Ayatollah Khamenei says that while he might welcome the use of U.S. air power against ISIS, he does not want U.S. troops to return to Baghdad or the Shia south. Is the U.S. Air Force going to become the Condor Legion of the Ayatollah Khamenei?

Assume that we intervened massively, led the Iraq army back into the Sunni north and west, and helped it to recapture Mosul and the border posts. How many U.S. troops would we have to leave behind in Iraq to prevent a future Shia regime from losing its Sunni provinces a third time?

The Iraqi army that we trained at a cost of $25 billion and left behind in 2011 folded like a house of cards.

How many times must we do this? And if we defeat ISIS, would not these jihadists simply retreat into the Syrian territories they now occupy, as their privileged sanctuary, to come back and fight another day?

Who wants U.S. troops back in Iraq? The American people do not. Congress does not. Tehran does not. The Shia extremists do not. The Sunnis do not. And ISIS does not.

We would be fighting in a war with enemies in all directions.

Yet, is there not a danger that terrorists could use the ISIS-dominated region of Iraq and Syria to plot attacks on us?

Surely. But that would be a far greater threat to Turkey and Bashar Assad's Syria, and the Gulf states and Saudi Arabia, than to us.

Let them do the fighting this time. After all, it is their backyard, not ours.

And as we saw on 9/11 and at Ford Hood, Muslim fanatics who want to kill Americans do not need safe havens in Tora Bora to plot and prepare. They can do that in Northern Virginia and Delray Beach.

Rand Paul is right. If Barack Obama wants to take us into a new war, with air attacks and drone strikes, or with ground troops, he has a constitutional duty to get Congress to authorize that war.

And if Congress does authorize a new war, at least the voters will know whom to be rid of this November.


Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of the new book The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose From Defeat to Create the New Majority. To find out more about Patrick Buchanan and read features by other Creators writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Web page at




Bryan Fox
6/24/2014 02:35 PM

  Only the unitary Nationalist Neo-cons want U.S. combat troops to return to Iraq.

6/24/2014 03:31 PM

  Twenty years ago Pat Buchanan wrote : " We Americans bear responsibility for those horrors. We are guilty! Therefore, we owe mankind reparations and must never again shirk our duties to the world. This myth is the greatest of the “Blame America First” slanders. It is endlessly exploited, here and abroad, by men whose dreams have always been to leech out America’s reservoirs of blood and treasure for their own global ambitions." Oh, t'is true, t'is true! Are we really better off as a country than we were twenty years and so many wars later? Yet, the same folks who got us in these expensive blood lettings are proposing more of the same and calling it conservatism.

6/24/2014 03:36 PM

  Another fine mess Washington has gotten its self into, not surprisingly however. Perhaps predicaments arise such as the current one in Iraq and the surrounding area when elected officials, advisers, political pundits and military commanders don’t know Rat S*** from Rice Krispies in regard to “mildly interesting” subjects such as cultural and historic caveats for a given area they choose to stick their nose’s. I can only imagine that having two oceans of separation from most of the world and a $600B a year military, that gets restless from time to time, does not help. When did the elite class and their elected officials start believing their own BS and ruling by Catch-phrase in this country I do not know? I am sure all of us gullible peasants only have ourselves to blame. It is laughable or tragic really, that all the liberated people in Iraq are probably praying for a return to the good old day under Saddam Hussein. Who knows, there might be more to the Assads, Putins and Husseins of the world than the “comic book bad guy characters” they are reduced to by well to do U.S. and Euro Blue Bloods who are overseeing the decline of their own culture into a cartoon.

robert m. peters
6/24/2014 05:45 PM

  I am often wrong, but I am not so sure that at least for some in the vipers nest of Washington this is not going just as they had hoped. It is not a surprise; they were not caught off guard; this is not an unintended consequence. I could, however, be wrong; I often am.

6/24/2014 06:37 PM

  Mr. Peters, your assumption is probably spot-on. It is the end game these vipers desire that I am curious about. My gut tells me agitating instability and discourse is their main goal. The only reason I can think they prefer this is because they fear or despise stable economies, banking systems and seats of power they do not control or cannot influence. Sad to think about all the blood and treasure wasted because a powerful few acted childishly. This assessment may be wishful thinking on my part but I hate to contemplate more sinister goals “They” may have.


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