Thursday, October 18, 2007

Is a country that hasn't launched a war in 222 years likely to start World War III?

“President Bush Bush issued a stark warning on Iran on Wednesday, suggesting that if the country obtained nuclear arms, it could lead to ‘World War III’,” as reported by The New York Times this morning.

“We got a leader in Iran who has announced that he wants to destroy Israel,” Mr. Bush said at a White House news conference, referring to a remark by the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Israel “will disappear soon.” Mr. Bush said he had “told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.” [emphasis mine]

Is it obtaining nuclear arms or having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon that's going to trigger World War III?

Is Iran a threat? According to Juan Cole, who posted The Iran Hawks on October 17th, “Iran has not launched an aggressive war against a neighbor since 1785 and does not have a history of military expansionism. Its population is a third that of the United States and its military is small and weak. Aside from the Republican Party's long history of fear-mongering as a way to get power, throw public money to their corporate clients, and scare Americans into giving up their civil liberties, what is driving this obsession with Tehran?”

Cole adds, "...His [President Ahmadinejad] expressed wish that the 'occupation regime over Jerusalem' (i.e., the Israeli government) eventually vanish has been mistranslated.”

Juan Cole speaks and reads Persian, so I suspect he’s right.

(photo of President Bush by Stephen Crowley for The New York Times)

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