Conservative columnist Pat Buchanan made a statement about Friday's announcement concerning Syria definitively having used chemical weapons on its people that is guaranteed to raise eyebrows on both sides of the aisle.
Appearing on PBS's McLaughlin Group, Buchanan said, "This has Tonkin Gulf written all over it...false flag."
JOHN MCLAUGHLIN, HOST: Let’s assume that Bashar al-Assad, he’s the head of Syria, himself authorized the chemical weapons deployment. “Five distinct conflicts have become tangled together in Syria: a popular uprising against a dictatorship which is also a sectarian battle between Sunnis and the Alawite sect; a regional struggle between Shia and Sunni which is also a decades-old conflict between Iranian-led grouping and Iran’s traditional enemies, notably the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. Finally, at another level, there is a reborn Cold War confrontation: Russia and China v. the West…The quagmire is turning out to be even deeper and more dangerous than it was in Iraq.” So says war correspondent Patrick Cockburn in the current London Review of Books. The fan out impact of this?
PAT BUCHANAN: John, this has Tonkin Gulf written all over it. We’re putting the United States now militarily into a war where our side has al Nusra folks, al Qaeda people, jihadis on its side. The war there is being lost. We have no plans to win it. We have no plans to end it. We have no plans to get out. You are right, it’s a Sunni-Shia war throughout the entire Middle East. We’re getting ourselves into a conflict: Iran, Russia, Hezbollah on one side, and us, Saudi Arabia, Qatar on the other side. It is insane. It could damage…
MCLAUGHLIN: What do you think of that?
ELEANOR CLIFT, NEWSWEEK: First of all, it’s not, the Tonkin Gulf was a made up incident…
BUCHANAN: I think this was made up.
CLIFT: …and I don’t believe that the sarin gas…
MCLAUGHLIN: You hear what Pat said? He thinks this was made up.
CLIFT: I disagree.
BUCHANAN: Or false flag.
CLIFT: I don’t believe the sarin gas is made up. You’ve got the Brits who’ve tested it, the French have tested it. There is a belief that this so-called red line has been crossed.
For those unfamiliar with the terminology, in August 1964, the American Navy supposedly had two serious encounters with the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin. As a result of the second battle, Congress passed the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution thereby allowing President Johnson to seriously escalate the war.
It was later discovered that the North Vietnamese were in no way involved in what supposedly occurred during the second encounter, and it is believed that the incident was tremendously exaggerated or falsified to gin up anger in the states and get Congress to give Johnson the authorization he wanted.
That said, I'm actually with Eleanor on this one.
Obama at the start of his second term - with all the scandals surrounding him - is not looking to get into another war in the Middle East.
America has serious war fatique, and has no appetite whatsoever in another such conflagration.
If Obama does anything in Syria, it will be kicking and screaming regardless of what former President Clinton says.