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Tuesday, March 18, 2003 at 1:00am

Over the last year, a number of antiwar arguments have taken center stage. It's a war for oil, a war to distract from the economy, a war to boost the president's ratings or to avenge Saddam Hussein's attempt to assassinate the elder Bush. And now, it's the Jews.

"If it were not for the strong support of the Jewish community for this war with Iraq, we would not be doing this," Virginia Democratic congressman Jim Moran said the other day.

The same week that news came out, Pat Buchanan announced from the pages of his odd little magazine that "a neoconservative clique seeks to ensnare our country in a series of wars that are not in America's interest."

He went on: "We charge that a cabal of polemicists and public officials seek to collud[e] with Israel to ignite those wars.

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