That is to say, wrong.
In the address on Tuesday to the United States Congress by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, we witnessed a new peak in the long-running hype over Iran’s nuclear energy program. Yet all his predictions about how close Iran was to acquiring a nuclear bomb have proved baseless.
Despite that, alarmist rhetoric on the theme has been a staple of Mr. Netanyahu’s career. In an interview with the BBC in 1997, he accused Iran of secretly “building a formidable arsenal of ballistic missiles,” predicting that eventually Manhattan would be within range. In 1996, he stood before Congress and urged other nations to join him to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear capability, stressing that “time is running out.” Earlier, as a member of Parliament, in 1992, he predicted that Iran would be able to produce a nuclear weapon within three to five years.
In front of world leaders at the United Nations in September 2012, Mr. Netanyahu escalated his warnings by declaring that Iran could acquire the bomb within a year. It is ironic that in doing so, he apparently disregarded the assessment of his own secret service: A recently revealed document showed that the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence agency, had advised that Iran was “not performing the activity necessary to produce weapons.” The United States intelligence community had reached the same conclusion in its National Intelligence Estimate.
Despite extensive inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, no evidence has ever been presented to contradict the clear commitment by Iran’s leaders that they would under no circumstances engage in manufacturing, stockpiling and using nuclear weapons. In 2013, for example, only Japan, which has many more nuclear facilities than Iran, was subject to greater agency scrutiny.
Someone else remembered that Bibi told Congress in 2002 that getting rid of Saddam Hussein would have “enormous, positive reverberations on the region.”
Seriously, even Tom Friedman was unconvinced by Bibi’s speech yesterday. There is broad consensus that Netanyahu failed to explain how trashing the White House negotiations would result in anything better. He reminds me of the progressives who were opposed to the Affordable Care Act because they fantasized that trashing it would magically give us single payer.
Jim Newell of Salon called the speech an insult, not just to the White House but to Americans generally.
Where to begin? How about the section in the beginning where Netanyahu, patronizingly, delivers a history of the Iranian regime and its sponsorship of terrorism and insurgency against Americans in the region. Excuse me, but we don’t need to be told, by a foreign leader, how Iran has treated the United States. And then this: “Don’t be fooled. The battle between Iran and ISIS doesn’t turn Iran into a friend of America.” Again, thanks, but we’ll figure out our foreign policy for ourselves.
So a foreign leader stood up in Congress, insulted not just the President but Americans in general, and the mostly Republican audience gave him 26 standing ovations. Why do Republicans hate America?
The Israeli prime minister pretended to criticize the specific deal that the United States and five other nations are currently negotiating with Iran, but it’s clear from his words that he opposes any deal that falls short of Iran’s total disarmament and regime change. He pretended merely to push for a “better deal,” but he actually was agitating for war.
Wingnuts think all peace agreements are “appeasement”; war is the only “serious” solution. Hence, 26 standing ovations.
It’s appalling that so many members of the U.S. Congress cheer Netanyahu’s every utterance as some holy oracle, seemingly unaware that many senior Israeli security officers dispute his assertions about the urgency of an Iranian nuclear threat—unaware even that he’s increasingly unpopular among his own citizens. It’s downright unseemly that these same members of Congress cheer his condemnation of the P5+1 deal as “a very bad deal”—they stand up, applaud madly, and howl toward the cameras and galleries—without giving their own president and his diplomats a chance to complete and defend the deal themselves.
Anything to give them an excuse to express their raging hatred of President Obama. That’s what’s really going on here. They’d invite the Devil himself to address Congress if he promised some anti-Obama red meat.
Unfortunately, a few Democrats went along with this circus. I want names, and I want them primaried. This crap has got to stop.