Pat, things seem to be heating up. And the president of Iran, as crazy as he is, seems to enjoy provoking America, provoking Israel, provoking its allies, saying he‘s going to wipe us off the map.
Does that not give President Bush the cover he needs to say, this man can‘t be trusted with a nuclear weapon; we need to act sooner rather than later against Iran?
PAT BUCHANAN, MSNBC POLITICAL ANALYST: Well, first off, he‘s prophesizing we‘re going to disappear from the earth. Secondly, he doesn‘t have control over the military authority in Iran. That is the ayatollah that does.
But there, Joe, what exactly what he is doing, he‘s appealing to the Arab and Islamic street. He‘s uniting Sunni and Shia by mocking and belittling and provoking the United States verbally.
I wouldn‘t worry about that much. He‘s been doing it for a year. Iran is yet to take a single military action that they know would result in massive American or Israeli retaliation.
I do think, on our side, the president is probably considering - has to be, he and Cheney - whether or not they want to leave office with Iran still moving toward enrichment of uranium, toward the possibility of a nuclear weapon.
So, I think if there‘s .
SCARBOROUGH: Don‘t you think, Pat, that this president and the vice president are right now considering the possibility of military strikes on Tehran - not an invasion, but military strikes?
BUCHANAN: Well, I don‘t know about Tehran, but I would think the Bushehr plant, the Natanz plant and the other nuclear facilities, they‘ve probably got - we probably have active plans for taking those out. My guess is the Israelis do.
But I don‘t think the president‘s going to pull the trigger yet, Joe. He‘s still moving down the diplomatic track. They might get some sanctions on Tehran. I think there‘s the makings of a deal.
One Iranian spokesman said today, we will accept inspections, and we will agree to peaceful nuclear power and accept inspections. That‘s a solution. If we could get a solution like that, I think we should go for it.
SCARBOROUGH: Michael Crowley, though, isn‘t it possible - I really believe that this president may consider attacking - along with Israel - attacking some nuclear site in Iran, simply because, you know, the way they work. They don‘t trust the Iranians. They‘re not going to sit down with the Iranians and negotiate with the Iranians like the Baker commission suggested.
So, in the end, don‘t you think we may see some military strikes along with Israel against some of these nuclear positions there, especially if their president continues to threaten wiping out the United States and Israel?
CROWLEY: Yes, well, you know, Ahmadinejad does not - I mean, I can see the strategic reason for how those words play in the Middle East. But as far as trying to get the United Nations and our European allies off his back, he does not do himself any favors with that rhetoric and this crazy Holocaust conference he had.
I wouldn‘t be shocked if there were military strikes. I do think that it sounds like Cheney, and maybe Bush also, think that it‘s a very plausible option. But it‘s a very frightening one.
I mean, first of all, it‘s not clear to me that .
SCARBOROUGH: Well, talk a little bit more about Iran‘s president. This is a guy that was involved with the students back in 1979. He‘s been at the epicenter of this Islamic revolution all these years.
I mean, people, especially in Israel, but conservatives in America, are scared to death by this man, aren‘t they?
CROWLEY: Yes. I mean, he definitely seems crazy. He says - he may be crazy like a fox, but he says crazy-sounding things. I mean, the Holocaust conference was appalling. He talks about the destruction of America. And there is a persuasive argument that says, sometimes you have to take people at their word.
You can‘t always - I mean, it‘s a tired - Hitler analogies tend to be kind of tired, but there is truth to the fact that some people thought that Hitler said a lot of crazy things, but he didn‘t actually intend to act on them. Sometimes people mean what they say, and you can‘t always just write it off.
I just feel like it‘s not even clear whether bombing these nuclear sites would be effective. You could have the worst of both worlds by striking at the nuclear plants .
CROWLEY: . and not knocking them out.
BUCHANAN: Joe, .
CROWLEY: And we know how taxed our military is right now. We can‘t afford to be starting a second war, particularly with our troops so vulnerable there in Iraq. Iran could make life miserable for the U.S. military in Iraq.
BUCHANAN: Joe, here‘s the thing, though. Ahmadinejad is not a - he‘s not crazy; he‘s a fanatic. He‘s a dedicated, serious fanatic.
But here‘s the thing. The president of the United States does not have the authority to attack Iran. That is an act of war against a country we have not declared war against.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, didn‘t Ronald Reagan .
BUCHANAN: The Congress of the .
SCARBOROUGH: Didn‘t Ronald Reagan attack Libya?
BUCHANAN: He attacked Libya in response to an attack. If Iran attacks us, George Bush has authority to smash them. And he would.
But what I believe Congress ought to do is pass a resolution, if it‘s got any guts, saying the president of the United States does not have the authority to attack Iran unless and until it comes to us and gets our approval of acts of war against Iran. If the Congress had any guts, they would do that on January 5th.
SCARBOROUGH: I don‘t think they‘re going to do it. And I think this conflict is going to continue to rise. And I wouldn‘t be surprised if we didn‘t strike out against Iran in the next six months to a year, because I believe - look, Pat, and you alluded to it - I believe this president will not leave office with the Iranians holding a nuclear weapon.
BUCHANAN: But, Joe, isn‘t that .
SCARBOROUGH: I just - I don‘t think it‘s going to happen.
BUCHANAN: Isn‘t that a impeachable act to take us to war in the absence of a declaration of war and in the absence of any attack? Where does he get that authority? He‘s not a king.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, a lot of people would say right now that the president‘s acting like a king in Iraq. When you‘ve got only 12 percent of Americans wanting more troops.
SCARBOROUGH: When you have him going against all of his generals.
We‘re in a very frightening time.
BUCHANAN: But, you know, Joe .
BUCHANAN: Joe, the Congress could cut off the funds for the new troops, if they had any courage. They don‘t. That‘s the problem.
SCARBOROUGH: Well, we‘re going to see what happens. We‘re going to see if the Democrats deserve the majority, or whether they‘re going to be booted out two years from now.
Pat Buchanan, thanks for being with us. Michael Crowley, I greatly appreciate it.
And as Pat said, it‘s all in the hands of the Democrats right now. They‘re in charge. They asked to be in charge. Now, let‘s see what they‘re going to do with the power that the American people entrusted them with.
Republicans have certainly blown it over the past six years. Let‘s see how Democrats handle it for the next two.