William Arkin catches George W. Bush musing again about World War III: “This is a country that has defied the IAEA — in other words, didn’t disclose all their program — have said they want to destroy Israel. If you want to see World War III, you know, a way to do that is to attack Israel with a nuclear weapon. And so I said, now is the time to move.”
Obviously, as we’ve had several occasions to note, Bush’s efforts to portray his Iran stance as in line with the IAEA are wrong and dishonest. What’s more, while it would obviously be a horrible turn of events for Israel to be subject to an Iranian nuclear attack, the response would be an Israeli counterattack and the destruction of Iran — no World War III. And, more to the point, since the response would be an Israeli counterattack and the destruction of Iran, there’s not going to be an Iranian nuclear attack on Israel. The whole thing is ludicrous. But the Bush administration, by repeatedly talking as if the US and its allies have no ability to deter rogue states, is possibly opening the door to some kind of dangerous misunderstandings.
As Condoleezza Rice wrote before going insane “These regimes are living on borrowed time, so there need be no sense of panic about them. Rather, the first line of defense should be a clear and classical statement of deterrence — if they do acquire WMD, their weapons will be unusable because any attempt to use them will bring national obliteration.”