Last week, hell came to the tiny Christian village of Maaloula where they still speak Aramaic, the language of Jesus.
"Rebels of the Free Syrian Army launched an assault aided by a suicide bomber from Jabhat al-Nusra," the al-Qaida-linked Islamic terrorist group, writes the Washington Post.
The AP picked up the story: One resident said bearded rebels shouting "God is great!" attacked Christian homes and churches. "They shot and killed people. ... I saw three bodies lying in the middle of a street."
Maaloula is now a "ghost town." Christians left behind were told, "Either you convert to Islam or you will be beheaded." "Where is President Obama?" wailed a refugee. And, indeed, where is Obama?
He is out lobbying Congress for authority to attack the Syrian army that defended Maaloula as John McCain beats the drums for a Senate resolution to have the U.S. military "change the momentum" of the war to the rebels who terrorized the convent nuns of Maaloula.
If we strike Syria and break its army, what happens to 2 million Syrian Christians? Does anyone care?
Do the Saudis who have signed on to Obama's war — but decline to fight — care? Conversion to Christianity is a capital offense in Riyadh.
Do the Turks, who look the other way as jihadist killers cross their frontier to set up al-Qaida sanctuaries in northern Syria, care?
Do the Israelis, who have instructed AIPAC to get Congress back in line behind a war Americans do not want to fight, care about those 100,000 dead Syrians and 400 gassed children?
Here is Alon Pinkas, Israel's former general consul in New York, giving Israel's view of the Syrian bloodletting: "Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death. That's the strategic thinking here."
According to two polls reported this weekend by the Jerusalem Post, Israelis by 7-1 do not want Israel to go to war with Syria. But two-thirds of Israelis favor the United States going to war with Syria.
Peggy Noonan writes that the debate on war on Syria "looks like a fight between the country and Washington." She nails it. The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal and Weekly Standard are all up for air strikes. In the think tanks of D.C., the corridor talk is all about "On to Teheran!"
But what of the soldiers who will fight the neocons' war? Major General Robert Scales speaks for our next generation of wounded warriors. Our fighting men, Scales writes, "are tired of wannabe soldiers who remain enamored of bloodless machine warfare ... Today's soldiers know war and resent civilian policymakers who want the military to fight a war that neither they nor their loved ones will experience firsthand."
Enthusiasm for war is likely higher at Cafe Milano in Georgetown than in the mess hall at Camp LeJeune.
Why is opposition to the war surging? Because the case for war is crumbling.
U.S. credibility is on the line, we are warned. If we do not attack Syria to punish a violation of Obama's "red line," no one will believe us again. Our allies will no longer have confidence that America will come over and fight their next war for them.
Yet George Bush blustered in his "axis-of-evil" State of the Union that "the world's worst dictators" would not be allowed to get "the world's worst weapons." And Kim Jong Il went out and tested an atom bomb and built an arsenal of nuclear weapons. And what did The Decider do? Nothing. Did our alliances collapse because "W's" bluff was called?
Should Congress really authorize a war on Syria because Hillary Clinton and Obama said "Assad must go!" and Obama said his "red line" has been crossed? Or should Congress use this vote as a teaching tool for Baby Boomer Bismarcks by declaring: "We are not taking our country to war because you blundered in issuing ultimata you had no authority to issue. Rather than go to war, you should admit your mistake, as real leaders do, and take responsibility."
How many Syrians should we kill to restore the credibility of Barack Obama? How many Syrians should we kill to impress upon Iran how resolute we are? How many Syrians should we kill to reassure nervous allies that Uncle Sam will forever come fight their wars for them?
In America, before we put a man to death, we prove him guilty of murder "beyond a reasonable doubt." Should we not set as high a standard of proof before we kill a thousand Syrians and plunge the United States into another war?
Where is the evidence Assad ordered a gas attack? German intelligence says it intercepted orders from Assad not to use gas. Congressmen coming out of secret briefings say the case is inconclusive.
The American people do not want war on Syria, and such a war makes no sense. Who is trying to stampede Congress into war on Syria, and then on Iran — and why? Therein lies the real question.
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)