Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s visit to the U.S. is part of a concerted effort, by the Israeli government and its American lobbyists, to convince U.S. lawmakers – and, most of all, President George W. Bush – that the time to attack Iran is now. The Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot reports that Olmert will tell Bush “time is running out” on diplomacy and that he’d better launch an attack.
In his speech to the AIPAC conference, Olmert’s message was harsh and unrelenting: Iran, he said, “must be stopped by all possible means” from acquiring a nuclear capability. Yes, sanctions must be tightened, but these are only “initial steps”: what’s needed, he averred, are “more drastic and robust measures” – and that can only mean one thing.
Israel would rather not act alone, but Olmert signaled that he was willing to do so if pushed: “”Israel will not tolerate the possibility of a nuclear Iran, and neither should any other country in the free world,” he declared, in what was clearly a threat of unilateral action. Citing Israel’s record in regard to Iraq in the eighties and Syria last year, Tim Butcher warned in the Telegraph: “The speech shortens the odds significantly on military action against Iran’s nuclear program.”
The U.S. would almost certainly be drawn into the conflict if Israel carried out its threat, and Olmert knows that. So does Bush, who, in any case, may not need much persuading. After all, in his speech to the Israeli parliament last month, the President declared:
“Permitting the world’s leading sponsor of terror to possess the world’s deadliest weapons would be an unforgivable betrayal for future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”
The clock is ticking, and time is running out for the War Party: they must get in their licks before the most pro-Israel president, ever, leaves office. As Butcher writes: “Among Israeli supporters of military action against Iran there is concern something must be done before Mr. Bush’s end of office next January as Mr. Bush is perceived as closer to Israel than any potential successor.”
“I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Everything in my power. Everything.”
“Everything” includes murdering tens of thousands of Iranians, mostly civilians – driving the price of oil up above $300 a barrel and destroying the US economy – and involving us in a war that will make the Iraq conflict look like a Sunday school picnic. And for what?
Iran’s Nuclear Fascilities
The irony, of course, is that Iran is nowhere near obtaining nuclear weapons, as the President’s own intelligence agencies recently informed him: but no matter. That’s a small obstacle to those who disdain “the reality-based community,” and see themselves as Making History while the rest of us watch, helpless and aghast. As Ha’aretz recently reported
“Olmert will try to convince Bush to set aside the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran’s nuclear program in favor of data presented by Israel, and determine the administration’s policy on Iran accordingly.”
The coming war with Iran has nothing to do with “weapons of mass destruction” – no more than the invasion of Iraq ever did. It’s all about preserving Israeli hegemony in the Middle East by wiping any and all recalcitrant Arab-Muslim states off the map. First Iraq, then Iran – and Syria will have its turn soon enough, along with poor prostrate Lebanon, once the jewel of the eastern Mediterranean and now an economic and political basket case.
It is almost certain we will be at war with Iran before a new President is inaugurated: now that Obama has capitulated to the Lobby, nothing but Divine Providence can stop it.
God help us all.
I have to say I was wrong – dead wrong – about Obama. In my eagerness to find a bright spot in a rapidly darkening world, I grasped on to his alluring rhetoric and his at-times trenchant critique of the Bush foreign policy, like a sinking man holding on to a life-jacket. But looking for hope in all the wrong places doesn’t create opportunities for peace – it only prolongs our illusions. We must face the prospect of a much more terrible conflict than we have ever known, and look it squarely in the face, without flinching or looking for false messiahs. I know many of you are disappointed, and some of you are now exclaiming “I told you so!” All that we can do now is hope, and pray, that our country – and the Iranian people – will somehow survive the coming catastrophe.