Back in 1995, Benjamin Netanyahu published a scary book called Fighting Terrorism: How Democracies Can Defeat the International Terrorist Network that says that radical Islam is trying to conquer the west and extend Muslim rule. I carried a copy out with me to Jordan. From page 121:
"The best estimates at this time place Iran between three and fve years away from possessing the prerequisites required for the independent production of nuclear weapons. After this time, the Iranian Islamic republic will have the ability to construct atomic weapons without the importation of materials or technology from abroad."
But in Jeffrey Goldberg's scary Atlantic piece warning that Israel is preparing to strike Iran in the next year, and he can understand why, he says that Israel believes Iran is one to three years away from "nuclear breakout capability," the point that Netanyahu warns about above many years ago.
So who do you believe? Netanyahu in '95 or Netanyahu today? Shouldn't Goldberg have passed along Netanyahu's 1995 warning to readers and suggested that he's a Bibi who cries wolf? Goldberg said he'd spent years working on the piece. Maybe he should have read Netanyahu's back pages.
One has to question Netanyahu's sincerity because Israel uses this alleged threat. It uses it to distract the world from its oppression of Palestinians, and from Obama's pressure on it to stop settlement activities. Netanyahu has never wanted to stop settlement activity. He needs an existential threat to turn attention away.
I'm traveling in Jordan, but when I get back I plan to compare the Netanyahu book (published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux by the way, by Bibi's friend the late Roger Straus.) and the Goldberg piece more closely. I notice that Netanyahu refers to "annihilation," a recurring word in the Goldberg, and continually compares the Iranians to the Nazis. Auschwitz is the recurring point in the Goldberg. Is this paranoia masquerading as policy or simply manipulation? Israeli didn't strike at Iran back in the late 90s; it's always wanted us to do the dirty work.
These folks have been trying to wind us up for a long time.