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The 3 sisters' war

| Saturday, March 26, 2011

WASHINGTON

America once followed the dictum of Washington, Adams and Jefferson: Stay out of foreign wars.

America "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own," said John Quincy Adams in his oration of July 4, 1821.

When Greek patriots sought America's assistance, Daniel Webster took up their cause but was admonished by John Randolph. Intervention would breach every "bulwark and barrier of the Constitution."

When Hungarian patriots rose up against the Soviet occupation in 1956, Nikita Khrushchev sent in hundreds of tanks to drown the revolution in blood.

Hungary was behind the Iron Curtain. There were no U.S. troops on any Hungarian border. So President Eisenhower did -- nothing.

Until the modern era, the idea of sending armed forces across oceans to kill and die for moral or humanitarian causes would have been seen as an insult to the Founding Fathers, an abandonment of a vital American tradition and ruinous to the national interest.

Why are we in Libya• Why are U.S. pilots bombing and killing Libyan soldiers who have done nothing to us?

These soldiers simply are doing their sworn duty to protect their country from attack and defend the only government they have known from what they are told is an insurgency backed by al-Qaida and supported by Western powers after their country's oil.

Why did President Obama launch this unconstitutional war?

Moral, humanitarian and ideological reasons. Though Robert Gates and the Pentagon had thrown ice water on the idea of intervening in a third war in the Islamic world -- in a sandbox on the northern coast of Africa -- Obama somersaulted and ordered the attack for three reasons.

The Arab League gave him permission to impose a no-fly zone. He feared that Moammar Gadhafi would do to Benghazi what Scipio Africanus did to Carthage. And Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and Samantha Power conveyed to Obama their terrible guilt feelings about America's failure to stop what happened in Rwanda and Darfur.

This is the three sisters' war.

But why was it America's moral duty to stop the Tutsi slaughter of Hutus in Burundi in 1972 or the Hutu counter-slaughter of Tutsis in Rwanda in 1994• Why was that not the duty of their closest African neighbors, Zaire (Congo), Uganda and Tanzania?

When Spain had its civil war in the 1930s, in which hundreds of thousands perished, FDR declared neutrality. A million Ibos died in Nigeria's civil war from 1967-70. No one raised a finger to help them or the million Cambodians who perished in Pol Pot's killing fields.

Since Bush I, we have intervened in Panama, Kuwait, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia, Serbia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Libya. Had Sens. John McCain and Joe Lieberman gotten their way, we would have been fighting Russians in Georgia and bombing Iran.

Add up all those we have killed, wounded, widowed, orphaned or uprooted, and the number runs into the millions. All these wars have helped mightily to bankrupt us.

Have they made us more secure?

Pat Buchanan is the author of the book "Churchill, Hitler and 'The Unnecessary War.'"

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