Sunday Night Journal — August 20, 2006
Pluto: a Conservative Conundrum

Hysteria or Head in the Sand?

What is the real threat from Iran? This column by Thomas Sowell, who is not an idiot, says it is grave: if Iran gets nuclear weapons it's only a matter of time until it uses them against Israel and, via terrorist proxies, the U.S. Others write that off as hysteria, perhaps deliberately fostered by neocons who want war--are they just hiding their heads in the sand?

I wish I knew. I suspect both are wrong. Some on the right really are in a state of near-hysteria, expecting the mushroom clouds to appear any minute, and far too eager for war. Some on the left appear incapable of seeing any threat in the world that wasn't caused by American or Israeli misbehavior, and therefore disarmable by a change in that behavior.

President Ahmadinejad certainly knows how to appeal to the latter group. I saw on C-Span most of the uncut interview Mike Wallace did with him a couple of weeks ago and it was really astonishing to see how adept he is at appealing to the sensibilities of Western liberals. He has certainly learned how to handle the media. What touching solicitude he showed for the forty million Americans who lack health insurance! Google "world without Zionism" to add nuance to this picture of benevolence.

I don't have a lot of doubt that those who think Ahmadinejad and his comrades are harmless are engaged in wishful thinking. The question is just how bad and/or crazy they really are. Would he really court the destruction of his own country that would follow, sooner or later, if he used nuclear weapons? I tend to doubt it, but in a climate of opinion divided between "see no evil" and "see no good," it's very hard to tell. I pray to the God whom we both acknowledge that the Iranian rulers have, or will develop, a core of sense that will keep them back from the brink.


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